(Editor’s note: Kev Ellis cohabitates the same worldwide Space Rock scene as myself. He’s played with Bubbledubble, Kev and Trev, and Spirits Burning among others. In fact, I think we are on the same Spirits Burning track from their Alien Injection album. SB being an Internet-based music outfit, we’ve never met in person. I knew he was using an iPad for recording, so I asked him to pen an article for us. He also has some app reviews coming down the pike here at TabMuse.)
Space Cadet is my first solo CD release after over 20 years of playing in space rock and blues rock bands. In March 2013, I received an iPad 2 for my birthday, and set about writing — without a band — the space rock album I heard in my head.
Equipment Used During the Recording of Space Cadet
- iPad 2
- Mackie 1202 VLZ 12-Channel Mixer
- Pair of JBL Eon Powered 10″ PA speakers
- Shure SM58 Microphone
- Fender Music Master Bass Guitar
- Chantry Acoustic Guitar with Electric Pick-up
- Korg Kaossilator
- Korg Kaoss Pad 2
- iPad Camera Connection Kit
- Griffin iMic Connector
Apps Used During the Recording of Space Cadet
- Echo Pad
- Alchemy Synth Mobile Studio
- Digital Dub Siren
- Monotone Delay — check out our review!
- Twisted Wave Recorder
External devices were recorded on the iPad by connecting the mini jack, via the line out on the Mackie desk, to the Griffin iMic, which was connected to the USB port of the CCK, which was in turn connected to the iPad port. Apps were recorded via Audiobus, or externally from the iPhone, if no Audiobus support.
A Track by Track Rundown of Recording Space Cadet
1. Guiding Light
I spent an enjoyable afternoon recording wave sounds at Langstone Harbour edge. This track features great guitar from Grunty McNaughton, His guitar sound comes from a clean stack on GarageBand combined with distortion and a Boss Space Echo pedal.
2. Celebrate The Day
The drones and bubbles come from Alchemy and Monotone. I recorded acoustic guitar clean as a line-in vocal track, then pasted it onto a distorted GarageBand guitar amp preset, which seems to eliminate a lot of gain noise.
3. Resting Heart
The dawn chorus was recorded on the iPad from my back door — blackbirds sing in C#! Crowd noises recorded on iPad at Gatwick Airport departure lounge.
4. Super Cosmic Space Age Baby
This was recorded in two segments, with section 2 a semitone up; then edited together. Harps in two keys and live handclaps in the second section — One Two Three Four!
5. Emerald Eye
I’m really pleased with the harp sound on this. It was recorded clean, through the Mackie, line in to iPad GarageBand, as a vocal track, and then pasted onto an effected guitar preset.
6. Sunrise Pagan Bop
This was an attempt to write a tune like one of those great seventies spacey singles. It has a nice chunky rhythm guitar sound — on an acoustic that cost less than twenty UK pounds — recorded clean then pasted onto a GarageBand guitar amp preset.
7. Time Reflection
This one has layers of iKaossilator. It’s a nice app, but just a damn shame it hasn’t got the sounds of the original Kaossilator box.
8. Ancient Flight
I bring an eighties Hawkwind feel on this one. I used the Dub Siren app for the audio generator noises and added some nice iKaossilator action along with harp solos.
9. Morning Raga
This track drifts off to the end of the trip. There are lots of layered Kaossilator along with some nice tabla and gong samples.
Space Cadet was originally sold as 100 off numbered run of CDs and a free download. The CDs just about gone, bar a few I held back for the summer festivals. (ed- Kev regularly plays Glastonbury as well as other space rock festivals in England) The last few copies are on sale from Amazon UK.
All in all, recording Space Cadet was a totally engrossing fun process and an album of which I am proud.