Earth, Wind & Fire - I Am
My friend Rob Yeo is an excellent source for discovering groove-based music, old and new. He told me he’d been getting into Earth, Wind & Fire’s back catalogue lately. The other day he played me some of the less well-known tracks from I Am. Now I’ve got it on near-constant rotation!
‘Can’t Let Go’ and ‘Let Your Feelings’ show are my highlights so far. Great examples of the relentless, four-to-the-floor groove that EWF do so well. I’d like to transcribe them soon, but for now I just want to enjoy the listening experience.
Negative points - the artwork. Whut? My eyes hurt.
Visuals aside, I’m not really a fan of EWF’s ballads, where they seem to turn up the cheese dial to 11*. That’s just personal preference though. I also tend to skip past the hits, mostly as I’ve heard them too many times!
*Sorry for this laboured attempt at a turn-of-phrase. I won’t try it again.
A few months ago I wrote about sorting out a ‘real’ synth set-up; i.e. using a keyboard and a synth module, as opposed to creating an emulation on bass guitar with effects. I’ve been getting pretty comfortable with it in a live setting, so a video was inevitable!
I’ve gone and done another MJ tune. (I’m not obsessed, honest!) I chose ‘P.Y.T.’ because it’s got a relatively simple yet well constructed bass line, with a couple of tricky fills. Greg Phillinganes did it originally. He’s utterly brilliant - if I can one day claim to have as much talent as he possesses in his little finger, I’d be happy.
My set-up is as follows:
Evolution MIDI keyboard -> Ableton Live -> Novation Bass Station VST -> Novation compressor VST
It’d be nice to simplify the signal chain a bit though… I would love to get a hardware synth in the near future!
Anyway, hope you enjoy the video. More to come soon.
(Photo: Matt Money)
For the past two weeks, I have mostly been holed up inside a dark, windowless room, doing repetitive tasks and eating unhealthy food. Sound familiar? If you’re a musician, it can mean only one of two things:
agoraphobia rehearsing or recording. For me, it was all rehearsals.
Two weeks. As luck would have it, the infamous British Summer flickered into life during this time, and I missed out on a considerable chunk of it. If yesterday was any indication, it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. (Yesterday was also my first day off since mid-July, but I won’t go on about it…)
The rehearsals themselves alternated between two bands: The White Keys, and a new project (currently nameless) directed by Peter Lee.
Big love to No Treble online magazine for featuring one of my videos earlier this month. I just happened upon it recently - must say I’m a bit chuffed (and very thankful)!
Read the article here.
The Rev is featuring heavily in my soundtrack for today. Perfect weather for it!
I’ve always loved Al Green’s earlier material, but I only got into this album recently - I can’t believe it took me so long! Produced by Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson, which can only be a good thing.
‘The sound of two unrelated instructional videos playing at once’. I love the Purdie groove - it fits with almost anything!
Was sad to hear about Bob Babbitt passing away. He played bass on one of my all time favourite tunes - ‘Inner City Blues’, the closing track from What’s Going On. From a bass playing perspective, it’s a masterclass in note choice and feel.
R.I.P. Funk Brother.