Something else for the Yes fan(s)

Often I sit down at the computer in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed, with the best intentions of doing something productive, and yet somehow before long I find myself watching YouTube videos of people playing “Watcher of the Skies” on their home Mellotrons. (Who even has a Mellotron at home? Someone, I guess.)

Anyway… in the midst of that extremely productive use of my time, I found this rare gem: it’s the original lineup of Yes performing “Beyond and Before” live in France in 1969. Worth seeing if for no other reason than to laugh at Bill Bruford’s t-shirt.

And now, from the “Why do I even bother?” department…

Tonight I proudly finished up the mastering of my new EP, and along the way I spent some more time exploring the blog where I found the great Mellotron promo film I grabbed some found speech from for one of my tracks.

Sadly for my sense of musical self-worth, I also discovered this video, which just makes me wonder why I am even bothering, when I’m so far behind this guy:

Mellotronic EP cover art!

Mellotronic: Far Out Sounds! (And Other Space-Age Hyperbole) front coverI’ve just finished designing the cover art for my new EP, Mellotronic: Far Out Sounds! (And Other Space-Age Hyperbole), and I just wanted to share it.

The EP is a tribute to the Mellotron, and features extensive use of the instrument. (OK, it’s really a software instrument with meticulous digital samples of real Mellotrons, but take the Pepsi Challenge if you care.) You can learn more, and listen once the tracks are completed, on the dedicated page.

Also… I’m looking for a high-quality scan of one of those old 45 RPM adapters, the kind that sticks right into the big hole in the record. I haven’t found any online yet, and darned if I can scrounge up an actual one in the basement to scan myself. I can live without it, but I would really like to have one to incorporate into the package art if possible. Anyone?

Mellotronic, Mk. II: Jazz Odyssey

My loyal reader(s) may recall that back in May I posted a couple of new music tracks I was working on. One of them was a little too… meh… so I probably won’t be doing anything more with it, but I was really pleased with the early results of my work on a track I was tentatively calling “Mellotronic.”

Last night I put some more work into the track and I think it’s nearly complete. I just want to tweak some of the Mellotron parts a bit, and I am also thinking of re-recording the synth solo near the end. (It’s just a little too modulation and pitch bend heavy for the style of the track.)

I currently have 4 tracks I’ve been playing around with since the RPM Challenge that are complete or nearly complete, and they’re all drenched in Mellotron. (OK, I don’t own an actual Mellotron, but I do own the next best thing.) As a result, I am planning to go with Mellotronic as the name of a 4-song EP that I hope to release before the end of July.

This, of course, is the title track, which I am now calling “Mellotronic, Mk. II: Jazz Odyssey.” I hope the reference is obvious. Please enjoy this early rough mix of the nearly-finalized arrangement.


Pay attention to the sustained note at the end. That’s one of the classic traits of the Mellotron, faithfully reproduced by the M-Tron virtual instrument: Mellotron tapes were 8 seconds long, so if you held a note for longer than that, it would stop. But some of the notes are not quite the full length, and since they’re actual recordings of real people playing the real instruments, sometimes they falter a bit. So I held the final chords on the flute and violin settings until they stopped. I’ve noticed in the past that the flute recordings seem a lot more… let’s say “variable”… than some of the other instruments, and that observation certainly bears out here!