Japan, Inspiration, 2015

My time in Japan is drawing to a close for this trip and it’s been a great 4 weeks with plenty of good food, old friends and new inspiration.

This time I didn’t compose or track any new music, but I discovered something far more important. Over the past 12 months or so I’ve been struggling to find the right ‘moment’ to work on actual music and it’s been extremely hard to even get started on new tracks.

I’ve spent a lot of time agonising over the direction of Glitzerstrahl and where I really want to go with the music. How serious am I really about this whole project?

Turns out that within 24h of leaving Sweden and getting on a plan to Tokyo I started feeling the familiar grinding urge in the back of my head. New tunes started slowly, like trickling streams of lost water droplets, meandering their way into my conscious.

That of course begged a different question…

Why couldn’t I muster this excitement while in Stockholm? Was it the darkness? The swedes? The narrow horizons of living in a country the size of a third of Tokyo?

Or was it something else?

Part of my current studio layout

Part of my current studio layout

I knew it wasn’t work. I love my work and I the people I get to share everyday in the office with. In fact, they are some of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had the pleasure to learn and draw professional inspiration from.

I knew it wasn’t the tech. I have amassed a well planned array of instruments and effects and while my studio PC (iMac) was getting sluggish under the weight of new versions of Komplete, Logic and Live, as long as I had the ‘drive’ I would have found a way around that limitation.

Instead, after much examination what I realised was that I was lacking three things:

  1. The right studio layout and creative environment (for me this is extremely important)
  2. A clear musical direction and ‘goal’ (what is the Glitzerstrahl ‘sound’ all about?)
  3. Enough theoretical knowledge and experience to realise no. 2

This was a great revelation. When looking back at the past 12 months through this lens so many struggles started to make sense.

Next I decided to turn these ‘problems’ into actions:

  1. Slim down the amount of tech stuff I have connected and rearrange my studio space to facilitate greater focus and an easier workflow. (I have a plan!)
  2. Create a new alias to explore a modern version of the Shibuya-Kei sound that was one of my first introductions to Japanese pop culture. A sound I love and treasure to this day and that lives on in the works of Nakata Yasutaka and others.
  3. Build a solid foundation in music theory and composition to give some structure and process to the ‘art’ of channeling inspiration into actual tracks.

This is not going to be an easy venture, especially not no. 2. I realise it will take the better part of 2015 to resolve these issues, but I’m determined to give it a try.

I’m super excited and can’t wait to get back and get to work.

Look out for lots of updates in the coming weeks and months!

Miku agrees!

Miku agrees!

僕、何でこんなにカプセルを好きになったのか?

簡単に言うと、僕は中田ヤスタカさんの大ファンです。。。

Capsuleだけじゃなく、きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅとPerfumeも好きだし、他にContemodeでリリースされたアーティストもどれも僕の好みに近いです。

そして、前日北陸新聞を軽く読んだら、最近中田さんが金沢中央駅の駅メロをプロデュースすることになったのが分かった。聞きに行きたいな。。。

(中田さんは金沢出身なので選ばれたのはそれほど不思議な話ではない。。。)

音楽の才能があって、幾つかのサウンドやスタイルにおいて天才と言っても可笑しくないと思うけど。だが、どうして僕がこんなにファンになったのかをちょっと考えてみた。

やはり僕にとってあの「渋谷系」の代表的なアイコンだからかな。。。

初来日前、大学時代から僕はピチカート・ファイヴ、カヒミ・カリィ、Round Table等がとても好きで、Capsuleを初めて聞いたときはとても感動した。それまでの渋谷系の良いところを全部吸い上げて一つのサウンドに纏めたと感じた。

後で調べて分かったけど、Capsuleは1997年、当時17歳で同級生のこしじまとしこと立ち上げたユニット。その後金沢でサウンドを磨いて、2001年上京したそう。確かに渋谷系のブームが終わりかけたころだったけど、もしかしてだからこそあんなに上手く出来上がったのかも。

上京後は多面で音楽活動を続けた。自分のラーベルを立ち上げ、映画のサウンドトラックを制作、他のアーティスト(Perfume等)の音楽をプロデュースし、メジャーのリミックスを世界に送り、そしてCapsuleのアルバムを次々とリリースしてきた。

そのCapsuleの最新アルバムだけど、「Caps Lock」という名前で2013年に出た。

サウンドは今までとちょっと新しい方向を示しながら、更にCapsuleが面白くなった感じです(是非聞いて見て下さい)。

とはいえ、本人は認めるがどうか分からないけど、僕から言うと今でもしっかりと渋谷系の響きが聞こえる。。。

ま、ちょっとバラバラの話になってしまったけど、とにかく中田さんファンです!これからもたくさんのアルバムをリリースし、他の面でも音楽で是非頑張って欲しい。

新年2015年のお約束

明けましておめでとうございます!!

って今更だけど、年末はお買い物やら美味しいものを食べることで忙しくて、新年のご挨拶が中々。。。

さて、この2015年に向けてどの様な一年になれば良いのかを考えてみたところで、以下の約束を自分することにした

  1. 毎月一曲完成する
  2. 5つの曲のデモを完成する
  3. 週一度このブログを更新
  4. 毎日少しでも運動する
  5. 毎週琳と一緒にピアノの練習する
  6. 日本で買った本を全部読む ;)

これで頑張ります!

皆さんの新年のお約束は如何でしょうか?

日本語での更新

このブログを始めてからの日本語の更新は今までほとんどなかったけど、新年の約束として、2015では必ず回数を増やして、書き込みをします。

最近スウェーデンに引っ越しし、日本語を使うきかいが減ったので言葉数もまえより大分少なくなってるけど、頑張ります!練習にもなりますので :-)

この2015年も、よろしくお願いします!

Rock on! or off…

While my inspiration for the electronic side of the Glitzerstrahl project is running a bit low at the moment, I decided to do some intensive guitar practice instead. For this I need a new practice amp since I sold off my old ones when leaving the states.

So far I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following:

The Bugera V5 which is a tiny all tube amp with a power attenuator that allows you to switch between 5, 1 and .1 watts. This should come in really handy when practicing late at night. It’s a really simple amp with what sounds like a great clean channel and no frills except a built in digital reverb.

The Orange Crush PiX 35LDX which is a solid state amp rated at 35 watts with a 10″ speaker, digital effects and a built in tuner.

Both amps have headphone out and are comparable in price, so really the choice is between an all tube setup or a solid state. I can’t get rid of the feeling that the Bugera would sound just a tiny bit better (as in warmer, fuller and more natural) thanks to its tubes, but that the Orange would be more convenient.

Btw, I already have the pedals I would need to create most of the effects in the Orange box, but it would be more of a hassle to pull them out every time I just want to add a bit of delay…

Which one would you have chosen? Or would you go for something completely different?

Update: After much back and forth I ended up getting the Orange. Yes it may lack some of the tonal character of an all tube amp, but it makes up for it in convenience. Also, in all honesty the little different I could here in tone between the two is sure to be blanketed by my poor playing any way.

I’ll save the tube lure until I’ve learned to play properly and saved enough money for a really good one…