Tag Archives: music

What I’m listening to: Sept 2016 edition

I’ve been listening to Moog on repeat while writing No Man’s Land; I’ve now got to the stage where I pretty much know the entire playlist! I tend to listen to one thing while I write, but it does get to the point that I need to take a break. However, I love it!

I’ve also been listening to Lindsey Stirling’s new album, Brave Enough – I think this might be my option for No Man’s Sky! If you haven’t come across Lindsey Stirling, she does amazing modern pop violin – this album’s more vocals and pop than her previous ones, but I can highly recommend Shatter Me and…well, actually, any of her music!

I’ve also been on classics while I’ve been gaming; 10 Things I Hate About You, Jimmy Eat World and Blink 182…and a couple of newer things, including Blind Pilot’s 3 Rounds and a Sound and Taylor Swift’s Style – yeah, a bit pop-y for me, but I like it 🙂

Random update from June 2016

All of the things! Mostly about me and not much about writing, but there will be a writing update coming shortly…

SFF logoI’m now doing book reviews for Science Fiction and Fantasy World. Currently I’m working on one book a week, and I’m picking them randomly off the submissions list – it’s probably not the most scientific way of doing things, but it means I read a lot of random choices! So far I’ve done The Archivist, Traitor Knight, and I’ve just reviewed The Tree of Souls. I’m loving doing it – I get free books, random reads, and I get to say what I think! It’s awesome!

Almond Press logoI’m also writing guest posts for Almond Press, mostly on writing advice – the latest is on things that stop you writing, but I’ve also done one on taking feedback and criticism, which can be a hard one to learn *winces*, and on the publishing world…

In not-writing news, I’ve been playing more board games! I’m part of the Gloucester Fantasy and Sci-Fi group and we meet up to play games every Wednesday.  So far we’ve done Room 25, Munchkin, Discworld, Forbidden Desert, Fluxx, and Steve’s threatened Dune (he’s the biggest Dune fan, *sigh*) – it’s really fun.

I’m also doing a little bit more with music again, at the prompting of a friend. I haven’t played the piano much recently; if I’m not feeling good then my fingers don’t do what I want which makes playing frustrating, and I’ve just fallen out of the habit of playing. However, my friend has found a couple of versions of One Republic’s Secrets, which are just amazing:

We’re having a look at the piano music and trying to adapt it to piano and vocals, which should be amazing. It’s been really fun to just think about music again without any particular expectations of myself! That said, she’s amazing at piano and singing, so I’m struggling to not feel inadequate…*sighs*

In more personal stuff, I’m actually doing ok. I’ve been fine for the past few weeks and feeling fairly upbeat; I’ve had one or two bad days but even those have been mild. I’m hoping it continues for a while longer!

What I’m listening to: Spring 2016

A random musical update from a nice spring day!

I got hold of a Steven Wilson album I’ve been wanting for a while; Hand Cannot Erase. I’m itching to try and work out piano music for the title track, but it might have to wait until my hands are obeying my brain *sighs* but I’ve also been recommended his latest album, so that’s gone on my list.

I finally got my signed copy of BT’s Electronic Opus, whee! I absolutely love love love this album; it was one of my go-to ones for writing over NaNoWriMo and Christmas. My favourite track is These Silent Hearts, but Skylarking is a close second. The boys have been working on a really nice sub and got it up and running over the weekend, and BT was one of the first things we tried. Wow-eee.

I’ve been waking up with Frank Turner in my head – mostly If I Ever Stray and The Way I Tend To Be. I have no idea why, but it could be worse!

I also spent a large chunk of NaNoWriMo writing to Mumford & Sons latest album, Wilder Mind. Ditmas is my favourite, but The Wolf and Wilder Mind are a very close second, and I think most of Golden Trust was written to Wilder Mind! The entire album is very good, even if it did take me a couple of listens to get used to their new style.

And finally, a random track on a random recommendation: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Soundtrack – A Phantom Pain.

Progress on singing: two years on

I was driving back from Swindon on the morning after BristolCon and put a CD in the player that I haven’t heard for about six months – BT’s A Song Across Wires. Skylarking is my absolute favourite, but then this came on…

I first heard this on Jay’s recommendation, and started to learn it over a year and a half ago! When I first sang it, it scared me a lot. The “crazy” was too high for me to hit without straining, I couldn’t do the verses without a breath in the middle and even that was a struggle, and I admit it really didn’t flow. I loved the song, but singing it was hard!

But I remembered the words, on my drive home last week. And I sang it.

I could hit the highs with relative ease. I could sing the verse with one breath. I actually have form and feeling to the words, rather than worrying about the notes. I had to stop singing because I was smiling so much!

When I got home, I went to find another one I’d learned early on; Lo-Pro’s Clean the Slate.

“Dreaming of a way to start my own revolution…” goes into my upper octave, but it’s one hell of a lot easier now than it was two years ago. I can hold the long notes – even Desperado’s “Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes awaaaaaaay” is easier – and I know my pitch has improved. The lowest notes in Lazarus and Walk are easier to hit, and my highs in everything are stronger. I’m gettin’ better! Woot!

Sometimes we don’t realise how far we’ve come until we look back…

A musical update: September 2015

Random musical update!

I’ve got an apparently unusual talent in that I can transcribe tunes; if I can sing something, then I can pick out those notes on the piano. I find it a lot harder with chords, although I’m slowly learning how to do it (which usually involves experimentation and swearing on the piano). But when Jay twigged that I could do this, I got presented with a list of things that he doesn’t have guitar chords for and “Kate! Halp!”. I really should remember to not volunteer for stuff in future…

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been catching up on my to-do list and working my way through the songs. I can transcribe the tune, so Jay just gets a page of lyrics with “A    D    E-D-E    A-G#    E” under it – but hey, it apparently works! I’ve got a few more to do to finish the list, mostly Celldweller and BT, but I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far.

If you haven’t come across Life On Planet 9, by the way, go and have a listen.

The second musical thing I’ve been doing is re-learning some piano music on the Chapel Yamaha at work. I first learned The Quiet American when I was 18 on my then-boyfriend’s piano above a pub. I managed to leave the music there and only got the sheet music again last year when searching for something else.

Chapel of St Mary and St PaulThe music’s beautiful, and I’m enjoying re-learning it. By the way…this is where I get to play. How amazing is it?!

And the third musical thing is new music that I’m getting hold of. I’ve just got my hands on Positive Songs for Negative People by Frank Turner, and on the 12th October I’ll finally get my hands on Electronic Opus by BT. I’ve been looking forward to this for months and the updates have been irritatingly good, so I’m really going to enjoy the full album.

As a side note – Frank Turner is amazing for keeping you awake in the car (try singing Photosynthesis VERY VERY LOUDLY) and Blue Stahli’s self-titled is really good to write to. Just sayin’.