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cubest 029 by the cube orchestraWhen I hear how brilliant the Cube Orchestra members are I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to play alongside them and to have shared the moments we have experienced together. I carry these moments with me and my Cubest series attempts to capture them for anyone willing to listen

Each track has time to develop, allowing the musicians time to explore, whether it's in the space of a nine-piece formation or a leaner five-piece session, as with the intro to Dead On My Feet, or the simmering journey to the epic finale of Carve Your Own Path. To be honest the structure wrote itself, I just whittled away at a few rough edges

Iíve gone for a black cover this edition. I feel I may have gone as far as I want to with Cubest, so thought the colour apt. I never thought Iíd get to 30 albums, even at number 28!

If this does turn out to be the final Cubest, then Iím happy it contains such a cracking selection of tunes to sign out with ...

Jump to Download link ... Back to Cubest series ...

Babel Fish Earmuffs

2019 01 30 - Keef Chemistry: Synth, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Spudd Connor: Percussion; Becky White: Trombone;

This might appear to be a testing track to kick things off with, less ordered structure, more total wild abandon, but itís the utterly freeform approach that delights me so much. Itís all Spuddís fault, heís the one leading with the rumbling, tribal beat. Martin latches on with his bass and is happy to go anywhere he feels inclined. Becky and Jean-Michel react, Jean-Michelís guitar blistering forth at times, brash and alive. Iíve found a setting on my synth emitting a rough, indistinct sound, like an angry alien Marge Simpson. Iím happy that itís adding to the mayhem. It's a total freak out and the tune gets wilder and wilder, with the guitar screeching brilliantly, until it diffuses into drums and feedback, with a lovely twang on the bass, the trombone joining in, oh, classy end

Such A Pretty Life

2019 01 30 - Keef Chemistry: Vocals, Synth, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Spudd Connor: Percussion; Becky White: Trombone;

This was the track that pushed me to work on this collection. It forms so deliciously, with lots of space, a perk of there only being a handful of musicians at the session, the same session as the first track. In fact I couldíve probably used solely tracks from the single session in January and produced a more cohesive album sound. I chose not to. Spuddís percussive playing is partly due to the fact that we didnít have a functioning kick pedal, so he set up the drums to favour the hands. It echoes nicely through my mic and I think Spudd capitalised on this. I donít know why I sang ďSuch a pretty lifeĒ? It makes no real sense, but once it was in my head I couldnít shift it so went with it. Thereís a nice drop out. We often have a drop out, but it rarely fizzles out, preferring to fire up and launch back into whatever it is weíre playing at the time. I love hearing Beckyís trombone and Jean-Michelís slide guitar. His riff is excellent, dark and gritty. I pump it through the effects. We enjoy an early Led Zeppelin moment between vocals and guitar. It falters to a stop in a way that sounds almost contrived. Spudd puts his sticks down on the snare too early for a perfect fade-out

Cosmic Wave

2019 02 14 - Keef Chemistry: Samples, Effects;

I like our odd outbursts in-between more developed tracks and this one is quite compact and complete. Itís a sample of Branscombe Beach shoreline, a pebble beach, pumped through an echo chamber. Simples. I thought it would go well at this point in your listening pleasure

Dead On My Feet

2019 01 30 - Keef Chemistry: Synth, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Spudd Connor: Percussion; Becky White: Vocals;

I like fade-ins and fade-outs. I never get to utilise them enough on Cubest tracks. With this one I was trying to find the Ďstartí point and found it was while, within the music, I was fading out my synth, so I have attempted to keep it at the same level with my fade-in, making the other sparse instrumentation pop out when they occur. There was a temptation to clean up the bass at the start, but I actually like the way it fumbles to form, emerging joyous and playful. Martinís bass-playing is superb on every occasion, a fact that often gets overlooked in favour of a tasty guitar solo or vocal. Behind everything stands Martinís basslines, dependable, explorative, providing a framework for the other musicians to bounce off. Here it allows Jean-Michel to explore on his guitar, riff after riff, expressive and joyous. That word again. I may just be imagining things, but I swear I can hear Spudd drop a stick and keep the rhythm going as he picks it up again. Iím perhaps at my most melodic on synth, having reappeared after a stint of practising on mute. Becky has put down her trombone and is singing along delightfully. I lean over and add a little echo to her vocals about halfway through to lift it into dreamland. Thereís a nice chord change and Spuddís percussive approach is paying dividends, allowing him to express the mood in punctuation. All in all itís a sweet tune, with Jean-Michelís guitar shaping it, right to the full-on final riffs. To be honest, I cleaned up the last riff a tiny bit as Jean-Michel had made an untypical fluff right at a crucial moment. I felt the meddling valid. Itís true to say Iíve interfered here and there throughout Cubest 030, adding a bass note or snare to hold up the structure. I love the way Beckyís dreamy vocals float at the end and drift away


2019 03 13 - Keef Chemistry: Synth, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals; Martin Urmson: Bass; Spudd Connor: Percussion; Roger Woodhouse: Trombone; J Ray Molcak: Volca Bass;

This track was never going to be on Cubest 030. It hadnít been produced! I was on the point of releasing it with six tracks, but hadnít nailed who was playing what on every track, so had decided to wait until our next session, a matter of hours, and ask about it. When I got home hours later I knew I needed to sort this track out and find a place for it on this collection. It has a steady rhythm, Spudd and Martin propping everything up, Jean-Michel adding a percussive beat, J (Juraj) joining me on synth duties. This time we have Roger on trombone. He has a different style to Becky. Thankfully Iíd moved the mic closer to his instrument, as heís a little shy of the mic, and you can hear his contributions clearly. The tune is made by Jean-Michelís vocal, which is immediately captivating to listen to, with a tale about frozen sails. I add some heavy-handed effects to the end of lines here and there. I particularly like his mad outbursts approaching the end and the way the riff goes all grungy. In fact the ending is fab and allows me to do another fade-out!

Sad Soul

2018 12 12 - Marcus Valentine: Piano; Keef Chemistry: Vocals, Synth, Effects; Jon Shepherd: Vocals, Monotron Delay; Martin Urmson: Bass; Steve Radford: Alto Sax; Matthew Richards: Acoustic Guitar; Trev Bushell: Drums; Roger Woodhouse: Trombone; Tim Floyd: Percussion;

This track begins so well-formed. Soft acoustic guitar, gentle, sublime piano, the drums, the background electronic effects, Steveís sax, so good. When Trev comes in on the snare almost two minutes in weíre hooked. It's the only track featuring a kick drum. Jon has grabbed Matthewís Monotron Delay and is tweaking it to great effect. I come out with another of my malformed lines, this time repeating ďsad soulĒ over and over. Thankfully my other vocal outbursts are greeted with responses from Steve. Thereís a wonderful point where the music makes way for a fab piano lick from Marcus, just before Jon walks over to a mic and adds his own vocals in his lovely rich voice. You may be wondering where Roger and Tim are in all this? If you listen closely, and I mean very closely, you can hear Roger have a bash at something at one point, just. As for Tim, he sat out of some tunes at this session, but was probably tapping his foot. That counts. The tune finds a good point to wind things up unhurriedly and delivers an ending to be proud of

Carve Your Own Path

2019 01 30 - Keef Chemistry: Synth, Effects; Jean-Michel Maheu: Guitar; Martin Urmson: Bass; Spudd Connor: Percussion; Becky White: Trombone;

From the moment I auditioned it for this collection I knew it would be our parting tune. A bit like I knew Babel Fish Earmuffs would be the first track. Weíre back to the January 30th session featured throughout this album, with Spuddís floaty, punctuating drumming, Martinís steady basslines, Beckyís parping trombone, Jean-Michelís astounding guitar and my tentative synth stabs. Itís an instrumental, like the first track, and it seems fitting to have this line-up play us out. The mood is broody, menacing, like the future raining down on you, heavy and unstoppable. When it drops out and Becky pops forward, her playing is playful, inventive. Iím enjoying tweaking the settings, modulating the sound, ever afraid the next key press could emit a loud bum-note. When you hear Jean-Michel fire up his guitar things take off. His playing is superb, as always. It adds to the tune and, at the epic tipping point, about 4:30 in, adds the right amount of power as we descend into the endgame. Martin changes up his bassline to something audacious, Jean-Michel goes bananas, Becky picks up her playing, Spudd knows what to do, I manage to keep my synth from playing the wrong thing at the wrong time and it dissipates to the best ending of the album at just the right time. Perfection

- keef chemistry

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Last edited November 9, 2023 4:41 pm by Keefchemistry (diff)