What do all those things on
the floor do?

In advance of our performance playing support for OM at the Rainbow Warehouse in Digbeth, here’s some proper effects-geekery which may be of marginal interest to folks who enjoy making a racket with amplified tubas. Of which there aren’t all that many. Hey ho.

I’ve recently made some changes to my live setup to remove some kit that wasn’t, in the final analysis, working too well. The Danelectro “Reel Echo” tape delay simulator I’ve used previously may come back into play at some point if we can find a way of stopping it from clicking when brought into the circuit.

Also gone is the Bass Big Muff. Amazingly, despite how good it is with electric bass, it simply doesn’t give a meaty enough distorted sound with tuba when used with settings that prevent constant howling feedback. At higher gain, it’s OK, but then there’s all the screeching, and The Jesus and Mary Chain we are not.

My biggest recent revelation was my discovery of Blackstar equipment. If you don’t already know, Blackstar comprises various folks who used to work at Marshall, and are dedicated to producing high-end valve-based gear. Buying the HT-DIST (HT stands for high tension – because they come with a step-up transformer to give you the necessary voltage) was a bit of a gamble, because you can’t try pedals out with a tuba in a guitar shop. BUT the gamble paid off. This thing is magnificent with tuba. It preserves all the low end and you get a fabulous warm, rich, distorted sound.

In place of delay I’ve added my EHX “Ravish Sitar” pedal. It not only processes the signal to give a sitar-like lead sound (which I turn right down to get the dry signal only) but has a second output which gives sympathetic resonance, just like having loads of sympathetic strings on an Indian classical instrument, without quite so much faff in tuning them. It allows you to select the scale you want – tonight, Matthew, I’ll be using an Eb Raga Bhairav scale, and even program in custom ones. Appropriately enough, it has a nice “om” symbol on it, too.

Rehearsal videos – 1st July 2012

2012 has been a year of refinement and development for both of us – both in our individual playing and what we do as a group. The sound of ORE is constantly evolving; there’s more improvisation than ever before, and much stronger melodic material. We’re also placing a significant emphasis on our material working acoustically, without any support from amplification or effects. We have also both stopped shaving our heads and have newly-impressive flowing locks. Or something like that.

To that end – here are a couple of videos of our rehearsal on Sunday the first of July.

A tune that we first played live in Bristol earlier this year is “Rebirth”. This has become a more flexible structure as it’s gone along, and is working quite nicely now.

Those of you who have seen us play live will have heard us do Earth’s “Ouroboros is Broken”; we’ve now added “Charioteer” from the Pentastar album. Stuart plays his Wessex “Bubbie” travel tuba on this tune, giving the lead line a lighter tone than usual.