Dulltown, UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity is the scarab beetle, or the man with a scarab beetle for his head, the god Khepri – he is the creator, and his attribute is solar. (K)
Dear reader, as I’m sure that you know by now, I dabble in quite a few different visual art forms, a jerk of all trades me! Drawing, painting (sort of), print making (linocuts and decalcomania) and of course photography.
I wonder sometimes if I spread myself too thinly… But, never mind that, it’s great now we have the internet, you can show your creations to complete strangers, or even incomplete ones… Oh, I forgot to mention sculpture in my list of pastimes, oh yes, and my mail art postcards too, they have been going a very long time… See, even I forget what I do!
But, hold hard, there is music too! I have always played guitar and have been in various low-level bands over the years, but I don’t really engage in that any more. I’d really like to be in a band again, but then, who wants to go and see an old guitarist playing in a band composed of old people? The answer is – other old people! Oh dear, standing there on stage playing my little heart out, in front of a bobbing sea of over-weight over-sixties dancing in the flamboyant styles of the hippy years… No, no, no…
But several years ago with the advent of synthesisers, drum machines, and Atari computers to link them all together you could have your own ‘band’ at home. I started ‘writing’ or ‘composing’ (these words don’t seem quite right) my own music with ‘virtual’ instruments; it was great! I used to get a few of my ‘tunes’ together and make an album of them, not a vinyl record, but a cassette tape, and later when the technology became available for home use, a cd. What fun! I’m still doing it, but with more up to date equipment of course.
My latest ‘tune’, ‘piece’, ‘composition’, (you see, I’m still not sure what to call them) was started in the summer of 2015, but I only finished it a couple of days ago. It didn’t really take that long to do, but there were very long gaps in between the sessions of working on the thing – the reason for the gaps might employ the words: apathy, lack of enthusiasm and oh dear, the ultimate pointlessness of it all – hey ho! The usual excuses for not doing stuff…
Anyway, my new piece has some electric guitar in it. In a little book on scales for guitar, I found one they called the ‘Japanese Scale’ – it’s great, just play a few notes and you find yourself in a black and white Kurosawa film with samurai running about, waving swords, sneering, and laughing at each other. Aren’t scales fantastic? Just a some simple intervals, but they can evoke anything you like, if you pick the right ones. Anyway, I made up some phrases using that scale and added some drums and synthesiser sounds to them.
It is not really a very ‘serious’ work, so I decided to call it ‘Hey up Ryuk!’ – ‘Hey up!’ being a northern English dialect greeting, and ‘Ryuk’ being a character in Death Note, a manga I enjoyed reading last year – he is a shinigami, a god of death, with a liking for apples. I photographed a packet of Yorkshire Tea with the book propped up behind it to use as the picture to accompany the music when I put into onto SoundCloud to share it with the world. You should easily spot Ryuk, he’s the cute one on the right.
If you’d like to hear my new tune, please click here.