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the maze car blog

but why ...?

this blog is a medium for maze car to emit ramblings on music, retro tech and general sound mangling experiences. for more info and new tunes, check out the website too!


writer's blog Posted on Mon, April 25, 2016 20:03:36

so i finished the demo of dub croaky and it’s up on soundcloud for FREE DOWNLOAD (yeh!)

i played around with some “loudness” to give the demo a bit of weight, but i don’t think i’ll be changing much before it goes off for mastering – it will probably be the b-side of the next single.

i went back to my other demo to fiddle with it a bit (go listen: those shallow games), and i ended up changing quite a lot! there is a theme and possibly even an actual song (with lyrics and everything) emerging here, so it should end up a bit smoother and groovier in time for a single in the summer 😀

i have been trying to think out how to do the vocals and i may need to acquire the services of a guest vocalist …

also, last week i picked up a tweet from some folk making a film about the 1990s music scene in glasgow and i’m now intrigued to see the results of this thing called lost in france. it should be a good watch for fans of independent music past and present.

it reminded me of the scene i was a part of back then – i played drums for lots of bands, and helped run couple of club nights, not to mention recording and gigging with a lot of the bands featured. i strongly recommend you follow the facebook and twitter streams as the project nears completion!

Epic Proportions

writer's blog Posted on Mon, February 22, 2016 20:00:00

so i’ve been chipping away at my experiments with the new studio gear. i spent a lot of time noodling with the pocket operator, and i ended up recording some long monotonic sequences to form the basis of the new track.

the real fun came when i patched the pocket operator through the moog mf drive pedal and an old zoom 1201 fx unit. the space and depth of a flanger coupled with a sweep of the crunchy moog distortion got me 6 minutes of audio – which by my standards is positively epic smiley
the riff itself is pretty dull, but kind of trancey with the evolving live fx. to spice it up a bit i made some funky, shuffling drum licks using BFD which bolstered the weedy (but lovely) tones from the the volca beats. then i added some really (i mean really) thick, deep bass from the sub phatty and some guitar stabs to make it a bit more dubby. this all seemed to gel quite nicely – but i still had another 3 minutes to play with smiley so then i introduced a big 4/4 kick with some sidechaining and this started driving the whole thing along in a more housey style.

i’m not sure where this track’s going to take me next, but the juno is gagging to add some buzzy riff in there somewhere – hopefully the demo will be up there in the cloud soon!


writer's blog Posted on Mon, January 25, 2016 19:04:33

since the last demo, i have been playing with some new gear in the studio. we have acquired a roland ju-06 and wan o they wee pocket operators from teenage engineering. these are cute wee sound toys, and they will inevitably find their way onto a single release at some point – when i have learnt how to make them squeal 😀

i can sync them all up together outside of the daw – so i have been noodling away to my heart’s content without complications.

having said that, the daw is behaving pretty well, although i’ve not really pushed it hard since the last demo. fingers crossed that the upgrades to all the studio equipment and software will be enough to satisfy the step change in the windows os :s

anyhoo, in addition to playing with funny sounds, i have decided to explore some other genres for my next project. there are millions of “official” genres into which record stores etc. can drop our tunes. it is rare that any of mine fit snugly into these pigeon holes – and i think this is true for lots of independent producers.

what does the pigeon hole give us? many artists may scream that it provides nothing more than a straight-jacket to creativity. true. but i think it can also provide a straight line to more listeners.

i spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks listening through the juno drum and bass catalog (apparently i am “dirty dubstep and trap“). here, it doesn’t really matter if a track is a remix or an original – there is still quite a bit of variation across many of the “traditional” elements of drum and bass. so, i thought i might try and do some tracks that follow a formula and see if this can make my music more accessible to folk who might not otherwise have heard it. obviously, i’m not a die-hard addict of any genre, so i might not be quite true to the form … but it might be fun to try 😀

those shallow games

writer's blog Posted on Thu, December 17, 2015 17:11:53

i finally managed to get the demo finished! you can now listen to those shallow games on soundcloud. it has been a labour of love, this one – wrestling with all the problems and changes in the studio whilst trying to keep focus on the original idea of screwing around with vintage computer games. i think i’ll probably tweak it before it gets released as a single in 2016.

i intend to simplify it a bit and maybe add some vocals – the theme of “shallow games” does not allude only to donkey kong and 8-bit graphics, but also to other aspects of life that involve pointless posturing and maneuvering. fingers crossed that i can actually nail this down in some lyrics :s hope you enjoy the demo!

DAW 84

writer's blog Posted on Sun, November 22, 2015 18:59:26

i have been having so many problems with the latest updates to the studio DAW that i decided to simplify the situation a bit. above shows the new system – it never crashes and it never needs a software upgrade.

not really. this actually represents a test setup for the next project – a 1984 acorn electron connected to a beautiful 1970s Sony television. the internal speaker of the electron is picked up by the mic arrangement for some vintage 8-bit sound vandalism. there is no audio output, so it’s back to old skool mic technique smiley

the current project (codename dirty donkey) is progressing slowly, and the first demo will be stuck up the cloud when the 2015 DAW stops crashing. i have spent the last week or two trying to sort this out, but if it goes on much longer, Red Six Studios may need to experience The Return Of The Mac, in the most literal sense.

my website is undergoing some aesthetic changes at the moment – something a bit more sleek should emerge in the next couple of weeks. you will be able to listen to releases and demos direct from the site – but most of the “action” still happens here on the blog.

in general, i’m thinking of starting a campaign to reduce the frequency of software updates – i’m not yet convinced that “little and often” actually benefits the world of technology from a customer’s perspective. it seems like there is a generation of developers breaking more than they fix.

i frequently need to update software (on a daily basis) before i can use much of my equipment. recent examples include the 5 hour doomsday of the Windows 10 November Update, three iOS updates to my three apple devices in one week, and the latest PS3 update which now means the console fails to detect my network drive (it’s ok though, there is a big fat spotify app in its place).

#LessOften please …

broken windows

writer's blog Posted on Wed, October 28, 2015 19:50:25

a somewhat painful month is coming to an end.

i’ve managed to add some new sections to the break-bit project, but this has been fraught with technical irritation (boo hoo, poor me).

firstly, a warning must go out to those upgrading their DAWs to Windows 10 – or Windows 8 as it is underneath smiley … some existing drivers from the days of Windows 7 are not compatible with modern times (specifically old USB drivers). eventually, i discovered my USB hubs and my printer were too old to work with the more modern gear, and worse, they screwed up all the audio processing. so … be prepared to take the old stuff to the tip!

secondly, a big shout goes out to the support staff at Focusrite for helping me diagnose some of the problems – they helped me get the Windows 10 rig up and running despite the fact that all my Focusrite gear works perfectly.

so, the tune continues and hopefully a demo cut will be available soon!

break-bit and chimes

writer's blog Posted on Sat, September 19, 2015 14:48:23

i’ve been fooling around with the samples from my (now cherished) donkey kong game. i’ve not been able to pitch these sounds to use them as an instrument yet, but i’ll keep trying. either way, they sound pretty cute in their own percussive way.

on top of this i’ve been tinkering with vocoders – once you get the knack of this it can produce some interesting fx. i’ve started in the “old skool” manner, by routing a mic through an old novation synth and recording the results. this will probably add some mellow mystery to the overall tune.

the aim is to blend the 8-bit chimes with some groovy break beats. i’ve been making breaks for years, but i found i had limited source of good analog electro drums (other than the basic sample kits).

i’ll probably try and purloin wan o they korg volcas soon enough, but in the mean time i found some great little ipad apps for drum machines. these have pretty sweet sounds, even if i’ve found some of the midi controls a bit confusing thus far. much as i’d love to own an old 808 and/or 909, the ipad emulators are still pretty good smiley

dirty donkey

writer's blog Posted on Sun, August 23, 2015 17:18:51

since the meat street dog star project, i have extended my collection of vintage toys. i acquired a nintendo game & watch donkey kong from circa 1982. the sonics of this device are limited to some atonal beeps, but why should this prevent me screwing with them …?

sounds are typically puny, but once you stuff them up an analogue fx
chain they grow a character all of their own. just fooling around with
some delays, distortion and filtering brings some dub wonderland out of a
twee 80s play thing.

my next project will focus blending
chiptune with breaks – i’m really enjoying the crossover between organic
grooves and the chimes of retro digital equipment. hopefully this will
bear fruit over the next few weeks – it’s the kind of thing that makes
me happy smiley

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