Preparing to for live gigs

Little quick update. Currently the album production is on a little hold. Two tracks have been making me scratch my head. But the other riddle is starting to reveal itself already.

Now there’s two live dates very soon. One with the full Mr. Fastfinger Band this sunday and one Mr. Fastfinger duo gig nexy thurday.
Wouldn’t feel right to base the setlist on old material. Too excited about the new stuff.
So, there’s so much practicing on mastering some new songs to live condition. Hey, it’s another thing to record and develop stuff in studio than to rock out on stage.
We have only two band rehearsals. Yaiks! Tomorrow and on friday.

Here’s the current setlist plan.

Epic
Exploding Solo
ThunderPantz
Mountain Mover
Action Beat
Big Trummors
Desert
Unravel
Tapping Boogie

in addition we might do some full improvised stuff. If it feels right and the audience want more than we rehearsed.
Need to go preparing all the files and myself for the rehearsals.

Oh and in the picture you see the new Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 18. Little huge amp! Checked out this amp last week and I couldn’t let go of it. It’s an amazing amp. It’s very small sized but has a mountain like tone. You’ll be hearing a lot of this amp in the furure!


Go!

Animal was harmed during the recording of this album

One day in the studio, we started smelling something bad and suspicious. The next day it smelled even worse. We soon started realizing there needs to be something evil in there. Mr. Fastfinger has a very good nose and we soon traced the direction. It was the left back corner of the studio where the real smell was coming from. Right behind the amplifier.

Many of our Facebook friends were afraid that it was real daemon hidden in there. Daemons are known for their ultra bad smell.
It was clear there was no option but to open the floor and wall, tosee what is hidden there. We first opened the floor to inspect if the evil was hiding there. Nothing. It only smelled healthy and good down there. Then we opened the wall. For our surprise there was quite a bit of mouse poop everywhere. Hmm. We took all the insulation out and just when we were giving up, we found a mouse corpse in the very corner.

We didn’t need C.S.I. to tell that us the mouse had died because of a heart attack, caused by a enormous and loud sound wave. Just look at the picture (we didn’t want to show the image of the dead animal corpse because we want to keep this family friendly website). We carefully drew the silhoutte down with a chalk. Just look at the hard waved tail and the horrified stiff body figure. A loud guitar amp can create such strong sound waves.

It’s getting normal in the studio again. The smell has dissapeared and we’re just closing the wall and floor. Soon we can continue our work with the album.


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Guests are always surprising – Jordan Rudess

About two months ago I was working on a song called Super Sinister. There was a solo spot I felt it had to be somebody else do it, it was not for Mr. Fastfinger! In my head I  actually heard lunatic avant garde grand piano playing on top of this Locrian – Super locrian.

So I asked my friend Jordan Rudess if he’d be willing to do a solo for the album. He replied me on skype “Of course I will play on your album. at the moment – I am starting keyboard tracks for this band called Dream Theater“.

Sent him and his assistant my short guiding notes:
1:15 – 2:01 The actual solo spot. Play something deranged, mad, lunatic and scary!
2:02 – 2:31 B minor part with “Soviet Red Army choir”.This part can be skipped it’s kind of filled already.
2:32 – 2:59 I’d love to hear  something here aswell. Bang the chords or do little arps or…

The entire song goes in the tempo of 129 and 7/8 time signature.
I’d be most happy receiving uncompressed 44,1 / 24 bit files, Aiff or wav.

Finally last weekend. After finishing the DT album (and while getting ready for the tour) he finally found a moment to do my requested solo. Had a Dropsend package awaiting for opening when I got home from a weekend trip. What a kick ass it was to hear the solo. It was something else what I had imagined but such a perfect and cool lead solo. This is what always happens with guests. You never know what comes.
In addition to the solo, for my surprise he also created a super cool melody for the “Soviet Red Army” part. You know what I mean when you hear it. And don’t blame me if Mr. Fastfinger album sounds a bit Dream Theaterish for a moment.
How ever he didn’t touch the 2:32 – 2:59 part. But after hearing the inspirational leads from Rudess. It wasn’t hard to come up with a new part to continue with the story.  Aaah, “Super Sinister” is pretty much a ready for mixing now.

I respect this moment,
Mika


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Fingernation Skinslide

Here’s a lick from a guitar part that I recorded yesterday. The track is called Fingernation. Nasty type of sliding. Atleas if your finger is not used to such amount of sliding. Don’t be as stupid as I am. Do not practice this too much at once. You saw the picture, you’ve been warned!

Fingernation Skinslide by Mr. Fastfinger


(click the image to zoom)
Do not worry too much about the transcription rhythmwise. I just played the part with the feel and didn’t want to go exact 16 notes or such. This type of timing is always interesting to transcribe. Just play the notes and feel the time!


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Mr. Fastfinger anti-competition

SCARE US WITH YER GUITAR
This is not a competition, we’re asking your help and participation! This is an open invitation to take part on Mr. Fastfinger’s song “Daemons & Ghouls” which will be part of the album “In Motion” released later 2011.

DEADLINE
for sending your recordings is 18 of July 2011. Aaah, let’s continue this deadline untill 1.8. 2011. I have no chance to get deep with this until it turns to august.

ABOUT
As the title suggests this song is about facing demons, ghosts and other spirits. The song is pretty much all together, but we now need volunteers to play the parts of these spiritual creatures. We want you to take your guitar and record us the scariest sound you can imagine. Consider this more like a sound design assignment than music assignment. All level of players are most welcome. Simply perform the most scariest sound on the guitar you can!

IDEAS AND RULES
There are no actual rules. But here’s some suggestions to give you ideas.
First think what kind of creature you want to bring alive. More of a friendly little Casper or like a ultra bad dark demon. Okay, then imagine how this creature should sound like. Then make it happen with the gear you got available.

All effects, tricks and methods are allowed and recommended!
For instance you could:
- Scream at the pickup
- Saw the strings with an electric toothbrush
- Add the craziest flanger fx to your super wide doublebended note
- Turn the amps spring reverb to 100 and play the devils interval reversed
- Turn the amp to max and make your guitar scream in feedback
- Do the deepest dive bomb you can imagine

Etc. Use your imagination, go wild, do what ever it takes. Do anything, but don’t hurt yourself or your guitar!

We are not really looking for actual guitar solos, melodies,licks or riffs. Altough your part can include some musical content as well, we are first of all looking for sound effects and craziness. Different types of approached to creating monsters are welcome and needed. It’s time to do something out of this world and dimension.

You can do what ever you feel like. Single guitar performances  and not fully composed orvedubbed pieces of ready music. We want parts that we can be mixed into this composition.

BACKING TRACK
Here’s the primary part of the song where we would want the creatures to appear. ( altough the performance could end up in some other part / song on the album aswell.nevermind). You can download this backing and do your thing along to it if you wish. Just make sure the backing is not audible on the final mp3 you’re sending us. We cannot use recordings where the backing track is heard in the background.

Daemon Ghouls backingloop
In case you’re wondering the tempo is 205 and the meter 7/8
Note: if you feel your part is more like an free flow effect you just ignore this backing and do your thing free. It’s an option to use the backing for the feel and timing.

RECORDING GEAR
Use any gear you’re able to reach. We don’t care if you use high end studio gear, modeling amps or just the microphone on you mobile phone. If it sounds scary and innovative
It is what we are looking for. Use any gear as long as you can send us the final clip in mp3 format.

High quality 320kb mp3 would be most excellent, lower resolutions are okay aswell. Note: We want the guitar part you play isolated: you guitar+effect only. Again: please do no mix it with the backing track and max 20 sec. Give the mp3 file your own name, so we can make sure you’ll will get credited on the CD and website if the sound gets used.

WILL MY SOUND BE HEARD IN THE ALBUM
We want to get various demons to appear on the song. One at the time or appearing together. It’s hard to say how many will end up on the album, from 3 to 300. Please, understand that your parts can and most likely will be edited in one way or another to fit the overall track. It can be mixedin the very front or buried as part of a huge backing monster ambience. Have open mind, just do your thing and submit it!
Your sounds can be any length between 1 to 20 seconds. Please, no longer than 20 second recordings.

WE PAY YOU NO MONEY – ONLY HONOUR!
You will not receive any prices, royalties or payments at any point. If your sound is being used on the final track you will be properly credited on CD version of the album as well as on Mr. Fastfinger’s website. All submitters will receive a free download of the final track in mp3 once it’s being published along the album.

Looking forward hearing your contributions. Don’t take this too seriously. Have fun. Scare us with your guitar. Thank you already for helping out!
If you got any questions please ask them here in the comments.

E-MAIL US
E-mail to fastfingerup(at)gmail.com

Copy the rest of this instruction to your e-mail and fill-in all the requested info. Please, copy also the legal agreement to the bottom of the the e-mail.

(Please, write your name as the topic of the e-mail)

1. You full name:
2. Give a name to your creature or a title to your work:
2. Short explanation how you created the sound on the guitar:
3. Guitar / recording Gear you used:
4. Attach the mp3 file (give the mp3 your name, otherwise we cannot give you credits for the use of it)
5. If you want you can attach a making of image of yourself performing the sound. Or just an image of the gear. Please, keep the image file size small.max. 1MB. Jpg format would be the best.

LEGAL AGREEMENT
By sending the files (music/sound effect mp3, images and all information) I’m giving Elektrik Pyjamas unlimited rights to use my submitted work in any commercial or non-commercial publication in any format. I agree that what I’m sending was created by me and I hold all the rights to it. By submitting my entry I agree and warrant that it is my own performance I’m uploading and it does not contain “samples” of any third party’s content.
I also give Elektrik Pyjamas all rights to edit and manipulate my submitted work. Deadline for sending your recording is 11th of july 2011.


Go!

Daemons & Ghouls w/Bass&Drums

We got bass! We got drums!
Thought it would be time to update info about this song. Sharing some ideas on Bass and Drum recording with you.

Compare these two version of the song with the demo bass and drums and final versions. Oh and atleast some of the guitars seem to be re-recorded as well!

Daemons & Ghouls – February 2011 demobassdrums

Daemons & Ghouls – June 2011 Bass & Drums

This is still a rough mix from the recording phase. Drum mix is basically just triggered sample to the kick and perhaps slight high boost on snare EQ. then balancing all the drum and room mics. We’ll get most out of the tracks during the actual mix.

THE BASS
Last month we did several days of Bass session with Lasse. This was one of the songs we worked on. My original Bass synth lines dictated the lines quite a lot, but indeed Lasse came up with a good load of new ideas and definetly brought the song to the next level. When you compare the original demo synth and Lasse’s enormous bass it’s like comparing fart and thunder :)

In this song (and on many other ones aswell) I wanted some fuzzy tones with the bass. More edge and buzz to the tone. But using Fuzz or any such pedals they many times weaken the low end of bass. So when recording bass I always record two lines. One is direct from the bass unaltered and second one with the effects.
This way you can do freely crazy stuff with pedals with out worries, because you always have the clean version there anyways.
When starting to mix bass I usually have three bass tracks.
1. AMP. First track is clean bass line going into IK Multimedia’ss Ampeg plug-in. I’m using bass amp simulation here. I don’t like to use amp simulations with the guitar but with bass I’m not so picky. Ampeg plug is has many amps/cabinets to choose from and you can easily choose the one that suits the song best. With this amp tone track I cut low frequencies out (from around 100 Hz) because…
2. LOW END. Second track is (doublicated) clean bass line. But this time with only low end. All frequencies abobe 100 Hz is cut out. No amp simulations or whatsoever. You can get the most solid low end for bass when it doesn’t have any effects or amps involved. Also when you have the low end on a separate track it’s easier to adjust the low end volume of bass.
3. THE FX. Third track is the FX channel that was recorded during the sessions. Here I might have some serious Fuzz or chorus. When you have it on a separate track it’s easy to balance it with the overall bass tone.

THE DRUMS
The song was composed on top of Thomas’ demo drum tracks. The improvised drumparts were heavily edited. When the drums session was approaching I gave Thomas the demo of the song and he had time to checkit out and learn it in peace at home. Learn his own stuff that I had put together. So when we got to the studio he basically just banged the drums in.
The overall drums sessio was very quick to do this time. Previous time we did some time taking experiments with all the mics and everything. This time we just took the same mics and placed them there. Checked the mic levels and did few mic position tweaks and that was it. Thomas had different drum set this time so everything sounded a bit different. Actually much better than on the first session. I’ve finally realized the importance of room mics. Room mics are really the ones that can make the drums sound big and that’s where the power is.

This time we had to room mics for the stereo image. And also one Neumann in front of the Bass drum to capture whole kit in mono. This Neumann track is highly important and give’s a lot of power to the overall sound. Even if I use sample for the kick these room mics give the kick a little bit variation and makes it more alive.
FInally you can notice there’s a huge difference with drums that have been looped and edited together with the drums that have actually been played to the song.

WHAT THEN?

The thing that is still open is the middlepart. I’m sure there will be some soloing but something else aswell I’m hearing. I will need your help with this. Will get back to this in a couple of days and let you know more. Hatchaaa!


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Arpeggios from the Ripples

Listen on SoundCloud

This is a teaster clip from something we’ve been working on these days. It’s from a track I needed to add to the album to give the album listeners a little break to breath before the action continues.

edit: here’s the 4 arpeggio shapes in tablature format in case you’re interested trying it out.


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Importance of overall drama and changes

BEGINNING – MIDDLE – END
Overall album has progressed forward. The whole album is very much getting together.
Like every book, movie, concert there is also beginning – middle and ending to an album. Classic way of doing rock album is to record a bunch of songs. Pick all or the best of them and then figure out in what order would be the best. I started working on this album in opposite way. I set a loose story and then started to illustrate it with the music. Basically it’s about Mr. Fastfinger leaving his safety zone aka island and moving to unknown territories. It’s about find a Lost World. This trip is most importantly about self discovery. The beginning is about getting to the lost world. Mid section is filled with different trials and adventures along the path. End is about discovering the essential, a little enlightment sort of.
Mr. Fastfinger’s debut album was sort of split into A and B sides (check the back cover) and had additional “Encore”. This new album is probably going to be splitted into 3 or 4 sides. Prelude . The first mid half . The second mid half. The Finale. Splitting album to segments helps to organize the order. I don’t want to see the album as just a long list of tracks.

Since mid-february I’ve composed a lot of music. It was clear  that once I get focused on composing: good stuff started to come out. The focus is on getting a good balanced album together. But it’s no surprise there’s a lot of (even good) music coming out that will not make it there. So in addition to the album there could be digital EP or singles releases in the future as well. How knows where they end.

THE CHANGES AND CONTRASTS AND COLORS
Here you can see the current setlist on my iTunes. The titles of the songs may and will changes atleast with some of them. Note there’s no track number 5. I’ve already left there a spot. At this point there needs to be a little more breathing and relaxe track in this spot. This is very Important for the sanity of the album listener. When working on music I try to set myself in the ears of the listener. The music is made for the people to experience. I try to make sure the whole thing stays stimultating and vivid throughout from the beginning to the end. It’s just the classic “rules” of drama that do work. If there’s many fast songs in a row,  the tempo  just starts to feel the “normal” tempo. The fast becomes medium. But if you but one slow inbetween it clears everything again. Notice in the movies how there’s always silence before the big explosion. Calm before the strorm. Contrats are what we are talking about. Contrasts are what makes things stand out.

When putting together an album, it’s not only the Tempo and rhythm. Key changes, mood changes are something to keep ears and eyes on.Key and Mode has a lot to do with the feel or color of the song. If these doesn’t change too often, it get’s easily very boring. There’s something I’ve spotted a little problematic. 4. Action Guitar and 6. Reveal are both in E mixolydian (Both do modulate but these are  atleast their starting/main keys and modes) . So now if I do my new song in between there in some other key, it should be safe again!

I’ve already created some nice continuity between the songs. More about it later.
This was a long writing any body still reading there? Any thoughs?


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The spring of sessions

I’m sure the image speaks: We’ve been having great time doing sessions for the album. As approx. 97 – 99% of the music has been now composed. We’ve been able to focus on the joy of recording the actual parts. Guitar sessions, Bass sessions, Jew Harp sessions, Keyboard sessions, Drums sessions, Soda straw sessions, Bass drums sessions. And it all sounds fun and great!
There’s still plenty of stuff to record. But we’re progressing!

Mr. Fastfinger in Motion

Still been keeping ears and eyes and mind open for the album title. Currently i’m feeling strongest with the title: “in Motion”. Motions or moving is one of the key elements of music and life. Notes become music when it moves the audience. And I mean it in it’s all ways. It could be from foot stomping to ass shaking to emotional waves. And  the concept story of the album is definelty about moving forward in life and music and guitar.
And in bonus addition when you spell it out loud, “in Motion” easily sounds like “Emotion” !

Later,
Mika


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There’s material allright!

Yeah, I already got nearly 50 minutes of songs that will most defineltly make it to the album. This is the stuff I’m happy and sure about. But I also got another 26 additional ideas, approx. 42 minutes of cut out ideas and parts, variations and actually some very nice potential jam tracks.

To put together a very strong album with no weak moments it takes a lot of work. Lots and lots of composing and working. A lot of “killing your darlings”. Need to think of the whole album and the listening experience. I want it to be super versatile, no two songs that are similar to each other allowed. This album kind of takes of where the last of left. I don’t want to re-do the same songs I did on last album eather.

For the sake of the album story and drama. I’m still missing a couple of compositions!!!
Wait: another folder found with more than an hour of material from last spring and summer with some songs and ideas that I left out very early.


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