The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

The Cracked Man Video Diaries

It's coming up to 2 years since we formed The Cracked Man, and not far off a year since we released our EP. So now we're working on an album.

One of the core aspects of The Cracked Man is every song we create, and every arrangement we produce, has to be something we both approve of. If one brings in a riff the other dislikes, or suggests an alteration that doesn't appeal to both, then it is discarded. This means no song has a sound completely dictated by either me or Marcus - every output is a collaboration.

As Marcus once said, "We're not a democracy, we're a dual dictatorship..."

Although we're pretty satisfied with the arrangements of our songs for our live performances, the album is turning into quite a different beast - not least because we don't have to be restricted to to a maximum of 2 instruments and 1 voice.

Marcus is a producer and sound engineer by trade, which gives us the wonderful luxury of being able to play, record, listen back, tweak, add, adjust, rearrange, experiment, delete and start again until we're both satisfied.

And what we've discovered is every time we start recording one of our songs, something new happens that we couldn't have predicted before we began. It could be the addition of an instrument, a different way of producing a sound or even a change of rhythm.

So what we've decided to do, for anyone who is at all vaguely interested in how songs develop, is create a series of short, bite size video diaries (usually around 2 to 3 minutes long), documenting some of these changes on the very evening they've occurred.

This means the videos are not rehearsed, highly produced or polished - they are just 2 blokes talking or playing to the camera to illustrate a particular alteration. We hope this means that what might be lost in slickness is more than made up for in a sense of authenticity.

At the moment, we are unsure how often these video diaries will be put up online - anything from weekly to monthly is our best guess - but over time they should accumulate into a collection that gives an insight into our creative process.

Here are our first three. If you have headphones or decent speakers it's worth using them.

#1 Zero Energy


#2 Moving On


#3 Moving on (again)


For more about The Cracked Man, visit our website or follow us on Facebook:
http://www.thecrackedman.co.uk/
https://facebook.com/thecrackedman

8 comments

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Does that sound eastern or what? Really cool! :-)

Theanne Crossett said...

It's quite fantastic to see the both of you during the actual creation process...when listening to music I'm enjoying the emotion that the piece brings to me at the moment...not really thinking about all that went in to making the piece sound that way. So thank you to you both for taking the time to share with us the process that makes your music unique! Exciting!
Theanne

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - I'm assuming you're talking about video #3 with the shruti box. Of course, compared to Guyana, Scotland is Eastern... ;)

Theanne - I'm delighted you find it interesting. We're creating these videos with no idea if anyone other than us would actually be interested in them, so feedback is always welcome :)

hope said...

This is fascinating! Reminds me of being a kid on car trips with Dad asking, "And what instrument is that?" The blending of it all amazes me.

Ironically, the "drone" that you added to the final one reminded me of a train blowing past...rather fitting for the title. Maybe I need to send you the NASA "sounds" I have of recordings of "stars"....some weird ones, great for a Halloween gig. :)

Nice job guys@

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - With the EP recording last year, and the EP I recorded with Scruffy Buzzards a few years ago, it was more or less about creating the "best" version of how we played live. Each of us played our parts - repeating as often as necessary when mistakes were made - and they were mixed to the ideal balance of instruments and voice.

However, this is entirely different - we get to rearrange the songs, and new sounds and rhythms and introduce instruments we couldn't play live. It's enormously exciting :)

Pat said...

OOoh that was nice - almost like being in the same room and I heard perfectly.
You can drum! So glad you have found someone who shares your artistic fervour.

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - Marcus and I seem to really connect on a music level, taking each other to places we wouldn't have gone alone - which I guess is the definition of a good partnership :)

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Shruti box. I'll have to google that.

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