Another new album – Compositions For Fake Pianos II and a small feature on point blankets

Posted on February 26, 2011

It’s been a rather busy time for housekeeping within the four walls of my home.  Not only did I recently complete Electronic Works Volume 2, I have also completed Compositions For Fake Pianos II!  You can go here and check it out.  You can listen to the whole thing for free and you can buy it for peanuts if you wish.

More fake pianos

If you liked the first fake pianos record there’s a very excellent chance that you’ll like this one, since it’s quite similar.  What’s different?  Well, this time around I have added some (fake) strings in a few places, some (fake) woodwinds in a place or two, and (fake) drums on one song.  The arrangements are still pretty minimalist, but maybe they’re a little grander.  Just a little.  I also altered the piano sounds more between songs.  On the previous album I essentially used one main piano sound that I tweaked a bit.  On this one I changed it up quite a bit, using different piano models, very different reverbs, frequency modulation, et cetera.  The result is that each song stands out more from the rest, in terms of the timbre of the pianos, though I hope it’s not distractingly so.  The whole thing was created using Reason.

My favourites are probably Blue Of Sint-Niklaas and Enderby Island.  The piano sound on Sint-Niklaas is pretty interesting, it’s distorted a bit into sounding like bells.  Sort of.

The last song: Velveteen, is too big to upload to my bandcamp site, because it’s 31 minutes long.  It is a digital manipulation of one of the tracks from the album, made very long.  So if you want to hear it you have to buy yourself a bona fide CD copy of the album.  Which isn’t so bad, since they’re so cheap.  Drop me a line and I’ll see that you’re taken care of.

This album marks the fourth in a series of instrumental compositions I’ve put together (two piano-based, two electronic).  All told it’s 49 songs and 3:48 worth of stuff that I’m quite happy with.  Observant (or at least sighted) observers will note that they all have similar covers, distinguishing them from my many other releases.  The covers are photographs of Hudson Bay Company point blankets.  You know the classic Bay blanket?

Biological warfare platform

Of course you do.  It’s called a point blanket because of the little black lines stitched into the side.  The lines denote the size of the blanket, so for example the blanket above is the size of a double bed, and the more points the bigger it is, ascending in half point increments.  Common sizes are three and a half, four, and six.  A widely held belief states that the points equal the blanket’s value in beaver pelts or some other fur; alas this is not true.  Go here to find out more (it’s HBC’s site, but they do have a nice history section which tells the tale of the blanket).  Interestingly the Bay, and other companies, also created (and continue to manufacture) point blankets in all sorts of colour configurations.  Usually one dominant colour, with a single stripe in a darker version of said colour.  Here are some examples:

Point blankets in various colours

The Bay even made a royal purple blanket with a white stripe to commemorate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  Needless to say, I want one.  Bad.  Sell me one.

Rule Britannia

I really hope they do likewise for King Charles.  Man that sounds weird.  One final tidbit:  notwithstanding the fact that they are the archetypal Canadian symbol, Bay point blankets have always been, and still are manufactured in England.  A quaint little colonial holdover, which I like.  I have a number of them, and they make very good abstract album covers, as you can see.  But do they make very good blankets?  Yes!  Some folks might find them a bit scratchy, but oh doctor they are terrific.  The older ones are usually worn a bit thin and have lost some of their loft and fluffiness (technical terms) but the newer ones are ridiculously warm and comfortable.  And heavy!  A brand new six point blanket weighs a tonne!  The end.  HBC, you can contact me via email to find out where to send the cheque for the endorsement.

Posted in: Music, The Obscure