Paul Jackson Music

Paul Jackson Music

Monday, 15 December 2014

#22: Introducing... Duster Jack

As has already been documented in this random selection of blogged musings, my daily routine had a shake up earlier this year when, after nearly 12 years of working from home, I became a commuter again, travelling daily to a new job in Richmond.
This has meant time spent on the train which has always been my favourite form of transport. However I  knew one  downside when it came to anything music related would be having even less time to spend on creating any. Considering the time I previously had was minimal anyway, it felt that maybe the productive years were long gone . While I have been hacking away a few minutes at a time on unfinished tracks from several years back in my home studio setup, both time and energy are nowadays quite scarce.

However, around the time I started commuting, I embraced one of the more recent developments in technology - that of a  tablet which I bought with some birthday money. Initially I used this to catch up with some YouTube tutorials, TV programmes, web article reading and a little bit of blogging, Then at the tail end of the summer I found some music software that included a sequencer, sampler, vocoder, drum machine and a selection of synths. After a little bit of exploring and experimenting I was suddenly thrown back to my teenage years when I had some new electronic pals to play with. My home studio set up is by no means cutting edge by today's standards, but it does have a large enough palette of sounds and sequencer tracks to keep me amused and that usually would be seen to be a good thing. However looking back I have found I am usually more productive when I am restricted to number of sounds and tracks and the most pleasure I always get is seeing what I can do to sounds to make them different from how they first arrive in the box

The Caustic 3 software I downloaded onto my Android tablet has enough there for me to explore and create that should last me a little while. So in September I began experimenting with the virtual toys such as the modular synth and creating new sounds, or morphing and modifying  existing ones. I used the vocoder to manipulate synth sounds and effects as well as the occasional bit of speech, and while others in the train carriage would either be eyes deep in phone apps, laptop spreadsheets, the Metro paper, or just asleep, I was creating drum samples and building up patterns. I suddenly felt musically revived and started to get the same buzz I used to get over twenty years back when I would crouch over a portastudio, a drum machine and a synth in my Salford bedsit and construct electro synth tracks fuelled by my passion for the records I used to play. It also dawned on me that I had spent a good number of years doing music for other people which have been good projects and served me well - be it music for dance choreographers and teachers, arrangements for dance festival competitions, short film soundtracks, but it made a change to do something for myself.

Whether I then pass the tracks onto someone else for other use remains to be seen, but in the moments the tracks have been created they have been to please only myself.
So as a couple of ideas turned into a handful of tracks, after a few days they became ten tracks and then, by the end of October, I had twenty tracks I felt happy with. I couldn't help but compare this flurry of activity to the other musical project I had been trying to finish this year and had grown a little tired of. As soon as the twenty electro tracks had reached a point I was happy with, I started working on ideas for other tracks.
It was then I realised that come the new year, it will be five years since I released the last Dancesounds album: Volume 12 Mood and Atmosphere, and therefore had really put any new music out into cyberspace. I decided that if I don't do anything else, I should at least get some tracks out there somewhere if only to prove to myself that I can, when opportuniy arises, set to work and get something done and dusted
So the aim was to get the tracks to a place other than my computer device by the end of the year.

Rather than twenty tracks all in one go, I thought stretching them out over a few weeks might be better for those interested to digest. Five four track digital eps seemed to be worth a shot with a couple of weeks seperating each one. However as I started tinkering with mixing and mastering, the weeks left in the year were diminishing and I knew that I could be tinkering with the tracks forever if I wasn't strict with myself. So I decided that no matter what, they would come out in December and would be one every week.
I arranged the tracklistings and took some photos while on my commute depicting images I see everyday, thought up a new name for myself, created a Bandcamp account and started to release them from Monday 1st December onwards.

Whether they are streamed or downloaded by any of those recipients of tweets, status updates or other social media delivery methods, is out of my control, but at the very least I can't help but feel a little sense of achievement to reach the end of the year having outputted some musical content. I can also now look towards 2015 as hopefully a creative period where I can write new tracks, further take advantage of the tools to hand by using sounds from my home studio into the tablet based sampler and audio editors, and vastly reduce the timeframe between executing an idea and uploading a finished version to the web.

Duster Jack can be found on Facebook , Twitter and Bandcamp

The digital ep's are being released throughout December

Introducing...         (1st Dec 2014) 
City Mainline         (8th Dec 2014)
World Construct   (15th Dec 2014)
Forget Not             (22nd Dec 2014)
Export Setting      (29th Dec 2014)