Friday, 27 May 2011

A week left in limbo.

Hiya guys.

How're you doing? Well I hope, it's been a frustrating week, but at the same time one where I've felt I've been left hanging, where? I don't know.

I've had to deal with a couple of packages being all over the place. My pre-order L.A Noire only arrived today,  a week after the initial release day, and get this it came complete with no pre-order bonuses, whether that was a problem with, or someone tampering with my mail (like it looks) I have no idea whatsoever.

The case of the missing pickups continue. Where are they? who knows, at least I'm not at a loss with those now, but either way I was looking forward to beef the Telecaster up with some hotrails!

Practice with the band on Monday was great, I used some new silly sounds of mine, making one of the slower songs sound like a 50's B-Movie. Me & Joe have been working on some tracks that we will be putting together over the coming weeks. Speaking of the coming weeks, our gig at Plug has been cancelled, blame our promoter, however on June 17th we are playing at The Actress & Bishop in Birmingham, as long as were playing you're in for a great show, seriously.

I was hit by a sudden realization when drinking the other night, do I spend too much time developing these sounds? If so, am I cutting myself off from everybody except for the band and my work colleagues? Alot of people have been texting me and I'm at a point where I feel I have nothing to say to them anymore. I can't put my finger on why, or if there's been a distinct change, I know these people are there and I love them to bits, but honestly, I have nothing to say to them.

Monday, at band practice I turned on the lights in the rehearsal room and there, sat a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, the amp of my dreams, I'm glad to report that it wasn't a case of "Never meet your heroes" because after having a twiddle with all the dials, I tried the amp on the third channel, gain cranked, I played a few riffs and stuff and it sounded like the norse God of Thunder beating ten tons of shit out of the worlds dictators!

You can understand that now I have G.A.S and wish to acquire one, there is a flaw to my plan, a £2000 flaw. I'll be honest, I struggle to have any kind of focus at work, because of the atmosphere I just tend to feel really distant from what I should be doing, hence why I couldn't even consider saving that biblical amount of wonga to buy one...unless of course I rob a bank...Banco El Rob maybe.

I have a couple of new YouTube videos up!

Enjoy! Tutorials will not be available, unless the secret handshake is applied.

Lots of new music and stuff, I'll do an album review blog like I did before, you dig?

This week saw the completion of Framed's official website too, go and take a look and bookmark it for future updates!

Now, I've found myself doing alot of thinking just lately, which isn't good for me, this isn't helped with a stupid amount of mindgames going on, so please if you're causing grief via text, quit speaking in riddles and being suggestive, and just be straight please. I have enough on my plate dealing with fluctuating symptoms/side effects.

On that note, I'll be leaving you for the world known as 'Bed'
Take Care, B.Cool

Your mate
Luke Clarke

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Insight into my guitar style.

Welcome back readers.

I'd just like to give you a little insight into my recent playing style, as I mentioned in my latest blog, I've come to realize I won't be a shredder, even though I have the Buckethead Les Paul, it doesn't mean I can play as fast as the guy does, as much as I'd love to and as much time as I've put into trying, my wrist cramped and swelled up when I got to just half speed of one of his solos, that was when it hit me, that I wont be playing 32nds at 130bpm.

Alas, I've been looking and listening to my style just recently and I've come to realize I'm at a good middle ground, I've got a nice thick sound that compliments how I play, the kind of style is around people like Peter Frampton, Carlos Santana, David Gilmour, Billy Gibbons, The Edge, Mark Knopfler etc and that's just my general Lead/Rhythm style. As Framed will mention, I do alot of ambient stuff, creating moods using swells, loops and synths with the guitar, which is all based off the work of Robert Fripp, sure it may sound boring to most, but I use it for a reason to really create and set the tone in the background of a song, using it to expand the sound and compliment the atmosphere that the song is aiming to achieve.

I tend to avoid the Pentatonic & Blues scales where I can in fear of sounding like Slash or Zakk Wylde , more times often than not using the Phygrian & Dorian scales, sometimes tastefully going out of key, adding quick triplets over a stupid amount of frets (12-15-19 the other night)

I may sound like I know what I'm on about, but I really don't. I've been self taught for the entire time I've played guitar, so my knowledge of theory and application of said theory is ridiculously low. I just thought the price of lessons was horrific, just to spend months learning "Knockin' On Heavens Door"

To be able to do what I do, when I do, I use my Boss GT10, which a year ago I would have classed as taboo, I was a tone nut, using many analog pedals to achieve a tone I'd be happy with, but that was proving difficult and VERY expensive, and I was nowhere near the tone I wanted, not by a long shot.

And I fell over while trying to switch sounds on the fly, that was when I realized I can get what I want and need from an effects unit. the ability to switch from a U2-like shimmer delay sound, up to a hot rodded "Frampton Comes Alive" sound to the soft swells of a Frippertronics soundscape patch.

The tones I can achieve are exactly what I hear in my head, with minimal feedback into the FX loop on my AC30, it's all there and live, it's very easy to operate which is a big bonus.

Alas, that's just something I've shared with you.
I'll leave you with a song.
Thanks for reading.
Take care
Luke Clarke

Friday, 20 May 2011

Rain, Vinyl, Music And Contemplation.

Welcome back, to another edition of the blog.

Been a busy week for me and also a very interesting one.

The Wednesday just gone me and my old friend Rich went into Birmingham, as we often do, much to my own surprise, I found I was skint, except for the £10 I had in my wallet, £6 of which I'd spent on food, so that's £4 to throw around, so we went down past the Bullring and FairDeal music, to a record store we had spotted while we were avoiding The Island Bar when we played there.

So we went in there and it was a proper retro record shop, I picked up Peter Frampton's Classic "Frampton Comes Alive!", Bruce Springsteens "Greetings from Asbury Park" and a rare 90's U2 CD single "Last Night On Earth". and spent £4! which in my books is pretty damn cool.

You know people say "Vinyl quality is superior"? Well, in this case, it really is. I listened to FCA start to finish and it blew the 320KPS MP3s I have out of the water, it sounded like utter perfection to me, I think we'll be returning to that shop...

That evening as the dark fell, I was stood in the doorway of my back door the rain lashing down, I had a whiskey in my hand and I was doing some thinking, about how I'm gonna have to do all I can to keep myself sharp musically and mentally too, but I was not only things that are to come, but inevitably the past, I mean sure, it cannot be changed, but it doesn't mean it's easy to forget and with the constant haziness that comes with my tablets, it kinda amplifies everything to the point where I was so zoned out, I didn't hear my phone ring, but I think that's for another blog...

But hey...

This week sees the release of one of my most anticipated games, LA Noire, I had it on pre-order, it was dispatched the other day, I thought "lovely job, weekend on LA Noire",  release day is here, do I have LA Noire, no.

Hopefully, I'll get it soon, Rob (of Rob Cotton's Blag fame) says I'll love it, and he very rarely gives that kind of opinion. (Soon being tomorrow, or the postman will be embalmed)

I digress...
Last night me and the band, Framed, played at The Adam & Eve in Birmingham, or as I recall last night "The Morgue" we got all of our gear there (albeit a little late) set up, soundchecked, went and got food, we were on at 10pm so we had time to kill, we had a laugh, I got onstage and realized someone had left my AC30 turned on all night, wasn't happy.

But we went on to play a really tight set, I really fluffed up one of the tracks but the rest of the set was flawless and we showcased a new song, to a crowd of about 5 people who we didn't bring with us, which at the end consists of an all out rockfest, Me & Joe trade solos, Matt really pumps through on the bass, Kim is really kicking it and I saw Andy go jumping off the front of the stage, and not being big headed or anything, I played one of the best solos I have in years!

I'm told it's all on camera and someone was taking snaps, ready to get the wobsite going, so keep your eyes peeled. As stoney faced as the crowd was, we enjoyed it, had a laugh with it, but there are big things on the horizon, and you'll be the first to know. We're building the foundations ready for what's to come as a single unit.

I'm excited, seriously, I'm playing better and better stuff, constantly jotting down ideas for future use, ticking over, I've realized I'll never be a shred-level player, but I'm happy being in the middle on Frampton/Santana/Gilmour level, and with me constantly swapping around sounds to get the right one for me I know I'm doing well.

Tonight though, I recieved an odd text from somebody unexpected, so I'll figure that out when I can be arsed.

That'll do you for now
Thanks for reading

Friday, 13 May 2011

Launching "The Soundscape" + A Rant

It's very rare, here on the Luke Clarke Blog, I have a full on rant, but here I go, about Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Hereon mentioned as Blops) and Mirror's Edge. Now I've been playing Mirror's Edge on my downstairs Xbox 360, so my Mom & Sister have been watching most of the time, and I've started to really hate the game with an unbridled passion, it;s a real challenge, the objectives are very vague, and the controls are hard to work with, but my Mom raised a good point "what's the point if it doesn't challenge you? you'd only moan if it was over in 5 minutes" which is true, but when does a game go from challenging to annoying? when you hit the start button on Mirrors Edge's opening screen. Never has a game sent me loopy to the point where I shout at my big TV and call the main character a whore, though I still say it's a pretty game, visually engaging at least.

Now onto Blops, now the Campaign, I really enjoyed, but my main complaint is the pathetic map expansion packs that are a constant cash cow for these repetitive games Activision churn out year on year. After a right laugh on Double XP weekend with the guys, I figured the new Escalation pack would be worth the investment using my remaining Game Loyalty Points, but no, 5 Terrible maps, 1 is an unplayable zombie map, and the rest are all miserable rehashes of what could have been decent maps, I've played them only once, because there are only 4 game modes, £10 for that? at least I didn't pay for any of it, because I would slag myself off in a mirror if I had wasted £10 on them.


So, I hope you've all been well, I have, this past week has been great, I caught up with Chris & Rob when we went to see Thor in 3D, it was a right laugh, and Rob (of Rob Cotton's Blag fame) had a chat with me about life and everything, which we've never really discussed, so it was kinda cool, while we were all in Walsall though, we were in HMV and there was this Boogie Woogie track that came on that grabbed us as soon as it started, was it Jools Holland? No... Dr.John? No... out came the Shazam app, it turned out to be Hugh Laurie! 

All I can say is wow, I have the album, and it's been on my playlist non stop ever since, it's an eclectic mix of blues, folk & jazz that must not be missed, review coming soon from both me and the Cotton Blag soon I assume (right Mr.C?)

Work continues on the Framed official page, alot of work is going in, it's been a while since I made a website, but it's looking great so far and there will be a new branch of my blog there. "The Soundscape" and it's co-blog "The Soapbox" are two blogs written by me and the other guitarist in the band Joe, (mine being the soundscape, Joe's being the soapbox) so if you want to know my take on music, The Soundscape @ will be where you find me, Akimbo Blogging!

For now, that's all there is to know, but how about you go to this page, and register on the petition to get NASCAR 2011 released in the UK? It's made by a UK company, but publishers Activision won't release it here, It looks really cool, so do a guy a favour! Tweet and go and sign this Petition

Thanks for reading
B Cool
Luke Clarke

Sunday, 8 May 2011

More Reminiscence...

Cast yourselves back, November 2010, here on the blog I made out that things were all good in my little world, but more than anything I was a bit lost in life, unsure of where I'd be going, lots of things going on that I was very undecided about, swaying my thoughts constantly, I'd just met Maccie & Kay for the first time, which was fun, and has introduced me to a great bunch of people, as I've discussed before, a looming sense of doom was just there, casting a shadow over everything, negativity ensued.

But one day, I was walking home from a long day walking around Birmingham & Walsall on my own, just my headphones and some decent music, it had tired me out and gave me alot of time to think, but as I got around the autumn coloured churchyard, the vivid colours, the setting sun and "Save Me Some Sugar" by fictional band The Midnight Riders was on, I had never felt as if the world was in synchronization with what I had in mind, but in the same sense it made me kind of depressed that there was no one to share it with, which as miserly as it sounds just brought out the sense of loneliness in me, sure I had more friends than you could shake a stick at...but you get it, right?

It's ridiculous how big a part music plays in my life, as you all know I'm a big U2 fan, preferably of the 90's stuff, on Achtung Baby, the final 3 tracks, "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)", "Acrobat" and "Love is Blindness" is the best example of how just three songs can break anyone down, Ultraviolet, is the start, a positive note, Acrobat tells you not to let the bastards drag you down, and Love Is Blindness stabs you through the heart, shocking I know, but it's why I love the band and I imagine there are similar reasons why you love the band(s) that you do.

With things constantly running through my mind, I hardly notice the time going by these days, for instance, I can hardly remember having a drink with Kay, Maccie & Tommy last week, because it all comes and goes so quickly, but it's the simplest memories that stick with me, snapshots in time if you will, alas I'm just stream writing at the moment, I'm not feeling so hot, and there's not really anyone that would take me seriously if I spoke to them in the manner that I do on these blogs, because I'm just not the philosophical type in general, my slurring, vacant staring, twitches often put people off, but that's for another time.

Thank you for reading, and to whoever keeps bothering me on Formspring, get intouch.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011


I'd like to share something with you, this winter just gone was one of very fond memories, for me personally, I spent alot of time alone, either here at the Mac, or walking to and from work or venturing out to Walsall or Birmingham on my own, but with the snow covering everything, I had my iPod to accompany my journeys.

Now, I'd acquired some new music, I'd just gotten into a bloke (whom on a personal level I hate with a passion) called Ted Nugent, so I had some of his songs on my playlist, the days were dark and the nights were long, and there was a song that always kept me going, nothing cliché like "Snowflake Boogie" or anything like that, it's a rather odd song called "Stranglehold", I dunno why it kept me going, it's 8 minutes of really sloppy playing on Nugent's behalf, but fantastic execution, and it seemed as if whenever I set out at 7.30am to go to work, putting my size 13's into fresh snow, it was always "Stranglehold" something about the aura of that song kind of summed up my feelings at that time.

Now it's all well and good me having this blog, but there's a lot of stuff I hold back, I do an awful lot of thinking, mainly about the past, about an odd longing feeling that bugs me, and how my medication regime messes me about... a lot, there are calmer songs that would fit the atmosphere, "In The Air Tonight" or "1/1", maybe "Evening Star" but I dunno what it was with "Stranglehold", it's a distinct memory I have, I heard it today and it just wasn't the same.

I fondly remember around that time that Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit had come out, and me & Rob were on it chasing each other for hours, and again, amongst my eclectic selection of music, "Stranglehold" would come on and I'd be right in my element, sure it was cold, but I had a cuppa, good music, a good mate and I was having a laugh, but I dunno what it was (and still is for that matter) a looming sense of darkness over my life, not so much depression, because I dislike that term, but as if something was missing, I just wish I knew what it was, a kind of emptiness, if you will.

As of late, I feel more connected to what's going around me, but 2011 is flying past awfully quickly, I feel as if I'll miss too much if I hang back and try to get a hold of what's going on, the band, work, my fluctuating mood & health, I feel I'll lose momentum.

I miss the snow, I miss the cold, but most of all, I miss who I used to be before all the tablets and stuff I've been through that constantly bugs me, though I suppose there's no use in having regrets. Below is Stranglehold, enjoy.