Monday, December 26, 2016

Inbetween...inner sleeve notes

This album is an extension of the music I created on Journey and Transient.
Every album brings it own challenges and with this one it meant doing
everything in Linux. That meant recording, mixing, mastering and all
the artwork.

Although the album created a considerable (but enjoyable) learning curve the album was recorded within a short amount of and by working in Linux with the Ardour DAW, the recording process became quicker and streamlined.

The album is all guitar and I chose to use effects pedals instead of plug-ins.  I firmly believe that the type of guitar, the effects you use and the way you play
influence the song and what it becomes.  Effects in the mastering and mixing
stage have been kept to a minimum.

There's a few other things about this album. Firstly the tuning of the guitar
was done at 432 Hz (instead of the usual 440 Hz).  For me it gave the guitar a
"sweeter" sound.  There's considerable conversation on the interweb
about 432 Hz tuning.  Secondly, there's looping. Something I've started to explore more and have really enjoyed.

This is a very stripped back album and it's been a joy to create something quite
minimal and to be conscious of the spaces in between the notes and chords.


BJ Boyd  Dec 2016

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


For a while now I've been wanting to complete an album exploring ambient and soundscape textures. I also wanted it to be one continuous track (the album goes for an hour). It was also designed as music to be played in the background or maybe for relaxation, therapy or studying.
Every album throws new challenges at me and my new album "Ambient" was no exception.
I decided to use a new DAW (digital audio workstation), Cubase Elements. The reason was that I've been in the process of stripping down my set-up. I've also been in the process of moving from a Mac to a PC. I'd become disillusioned with some other DAW's and wanted to use some different tools to make music.
As I've continued to make music, I've realised that I don't need thousands of loops, synth sounds or effects and settings I won't use. I wanted something more minimal that I could use more efficiently. Now with any new DAW there is a learning process and this time was no different.
I started off with a few synth pads and built up the album from there. Primarily I used the synths built into Cubase and added some Native Instruments synths from there.
As I got closer to what I felt was the end of the end of the album, I decided to add some treated guitars which I feel helped with the sonic texture of the album.
I added an additional texture, which was rain & birds recorded using the microphone on my smartphone.
As an experiment I'm happy with the outcome, however working with an hour long track did become a chore at times. In the future I expect to work with smaller tracks (say 4 X 15 minutes) and blend them together.
I don't expect to create another album in this vein for a while, but you never know.
My album ideas tend to happen quickly and quite spontaneously.

available only at

Sunday, October 16, 2016


It's been a while since my last posting...

The album Sojourn has been completed and released, I have a new ambient album (primarily synth) in the works (out shortly) and have started working on a new guitar based album "inbetween the dreams & waking".

With "inbetween..." the album title came first and I wanted to move away from the beats and loops I had explored with Sojourn.  Every album I create takes me in new directions. I've recorded using a 4-track digital recorder (Heartland), recorded directly into Logic Pro and Ableton Live and I've recorded into a Boss BR800 when I got tired of spending time dealing with software instead of making music.  

I've dubbed inbetween the dreams & waking "the Linux album". Linux is a computer operating system that is not MAC OS and not Windows.  I really wanted to strip back the way I make music. Some of my favourite music includes demo recordings, out-takes, live takes and improvisations.  I wanted to make an album that was more immediate, not caught up in a multitude of software and that was mixed and mastered using basic tools.

Initial recordings were done on an old computer using the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) Ardour, running with only 160GB.  I wanted to see if I could re-purpose an old computer, having successfully run Linux on a 5 year old macbook.  However, once I started to add a few effects like reverb, delay and compression the computer started to buckle.  So next I purchased a more up to date (but 2nd hand) desktop computer with a solid state drive and replaced Windows 10 with Linux Mint. This made the world of difference.

My guitar effects are primarily through the use of guitar pedals instead of adding guitar effects later via software and virtual amps. This works fine for me because often a particular sound or effect dictates the direction of the song. I got rid of my Thunderbolt audio interface (which I loved, but they are only supported on mac machines and I have read that Thunderbolt will no longer be supported).  I have a new USB interface which works a treat with Linux.

Even the artwork I have created for the album so far has been created in Linux using GIMP, a "image manipulation program".

Although I've spent considerable amounts of money on hardware and software to make my music, I now believe that you don't need expensive computers and software to make music.  I also don't like it when companies design computers that can't have the RAM or memory upgraded or laptops where you can't even replace the battery.

So I've re-purposed an old computer, simplified and downsized my recording process and I must say it's been the most enjoyable and rewarding time I've had recording music for a while.