Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 Roundup

Blimey is it that time of year already?!

After the peaks and (at times pretty deep) troughs of last year, 2012 by contrast turned out to be rather unblemished professionally-speaking. In fact the goals that I set myself on January 1st were all met, with several surprise happenings of the happy variety also occurring, so I can’t complain eh? I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but perhaps I ought to from now on - In fact, there’s the first...

Looking back I’m pretty staggered by the tally of achievements: In summary, 2012 was the year in which I released a semi-solo album, produced / arranged / mixed this and another critically acclaimed project, co-produced a third, began mixing another, mastered thirteen more (plus several standalone tracks), ran a successful crowd-funding (PledgeMusic) campaign, received generous reviews via the blogosphere and selected international print press, guested on numerous radio stations (inc. the BBC), got radio airplay via these and specialist web stations / podcasts, had my production / arrangement / mix work featured on an international cover-mount CD, appeared on a music industry panel, gave audio master-classes, launched my online film series, agreed to became a trustee of a wonderful arts organisation, and won the South West Music Awards 'Best Producer' accolade. And this is just the stuff I can recall off the top of my head.

It was also a year in which I met lots of great people and had the pleasure to work with some of them. My musical family continued to grow, but I still managed to see existing friends from afar playing up-close, which is always a pleasure. Plus, I turned some stuff down...

Thank you hugely to all who have been on the ride with me, and to the many (old friends and new) who’ve supported my work. It really does mean a lot :-) I can’t wait to see where the cards land at the end of 2013! There are several exciting projects already in the works that I haven’t yet fully announced, with others in the planning stages. Oh, and I’m continuing to listen to "the inner voice"...

"Happy New Year" folks!

Lee x

Sunday, 4 November 2012

'Best Producer' Award

On Thursday 1st November I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with the 'Best Producer 2012' award at the second annual South West Music Awards! I already knew that I was a nominee, which in itself was gratifying having largely been the result of a public vote, but taking the title was the icing on this shiny, inscribed, non-edible 'cake' :-)

Does it really matter? Well, no and yes... For me the creative process is never governed by outside critical forces, and that ain't gonna change. I don't need an industry pat-on-the-head in order to be musically motivated, and my approach won't alter one jot as a result of this accolade :-) Nonetheless, given the often remote nature of what I do the post-release period can be both rewarding and enlightening - Having let go of the completed work it's incredibly interesting (to me) to see where it flies and who it touches...

Whatever the stylistic nature of a project (be it my own material or an album I'm helping to facilitate) it's always my wish that it'll reach the widest audience possible, and catch new ears along the way. As an independent artist and producer operating without the muscle of a marketing juggernaut getting the music "out there" can be a hard slog, so receiving an award like this is undoubtedly helpful; and maybe, just maybe, as a result the work will travel a little further. Perhaps also one or two doors might be nudged ajar leading to as-yet unforeseen creative encounters? We'll see.

But you know, aside from the above rationalisation sometimes it's just nice to be recognised and told "hey, you're doing some good work". We're all human, and a little encouragement can go a hell of a long way in terms of fuelling our internal 'feel good' sensors :-)

Thanks to all who made this happen - It just so happens that it came at a good time personally for me.

Lee x

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Faith @ Burning Shed

I'm delighted to announce that the limited hand-numbered / signed edition of 'Faith in Worthless Things' is now also available via the wonderful Burning Shed store; home to a myriad of excellent artists...

You'll find us in the Art Rock section. If you're not familiar with "The Shed" do have a look around - We're in extremely good company :-)

Lee x



Update: The initially allocated stock sold-out within just over a day! We've subsequently doubled that allocation, but orders are coming thick and fast so 'Shed customers are advised to move quickly... :-)

Monday, 15 October 2012

October Update 2: Reviews + Radio

Generous reviews for 'Faith In Worthless Things' continue to come in, and here's a snippet from the latest penned by Roger Trenwith for the Dutch Progressive Rock Page (DPRP):

"Lee's words are from the heart and full of soul, and most importantly REAL. Some so-called lyric writers would do well to learn a thing or two from this man... With his first solo album Lee has stepped out from behind the mixing desk to reveal a burgeoning talent that deserves far wider exposure."

Thank you Roger! To read the full article at source click on the image below, or head over to the Reviews page here where I'm steadily adding recently published articles, (including this one).


In other news I'm pleased to announce that I've been booked to appear on John Govier's popular Saturday show for BBC Radio Devon on the 10th November. Guests tend to stick around for much of the show (which is broadcast live between 9am and 1pm) and interact with one-another on-air, so it could be lots of fun :-)


More updates soon... Be safe! :-)

Lee x

Monday, 8 October 2012

October News Roundup

There's lots going on at present, so here's a whistle-stop roundup of recent happenings, inc. some fresh announcements:

I'm currently mixing the forthcoming album by Troy Jones titled 'New Peace'. Guest contributors include Adrian Belew and Tony Levin amongst others.

Recent mastering projects include 'Deep' - the imminent release from Stick Men (Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto, Markus Reuter), Namgar's 'Dawn Of The Foremothers', and 'Believe It' by Ila & The Happy Trees.

I've been nominated in the 'Best Producer' category for the 2012 South West Music Awards. The event is on the 1st November, so we'll soon see the final outcome...

My documentary film project OLDER THAN GOD is now live, with the first two webisodes available and more planned on a monthly basis for roughly one year.

'Faith In Worthless Things' continues to be the major focus for me, with various associated projects coming up soon-ish. These include a special set of remixes from both guest contributors and myself, plus the first full-length promo video... Recent radio features are up on my Soundcloud page. Oh, and the album will also soon be available via the excellent Burning Shed store as well as my own Bandcamp site.

Finally, I've been updating and improving the web content here, including the addition of an Index to the Reviews page which is steadily being expanded. More reviews (some of which need translating) will join the ranks v-soon. Also the Discography section reflects recent releases, (though not yet any unreleased / forthcoming titles).

More soon - both here and via my official Facebook page, (feel free to "like" it to remain in-the-loop)...

Thanks, as always, for your interest & support!

Lee x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

OLDER THAN GOD

This week sees the (much delayed) launch of my OLDER THAN GOD film project / website. Here's the official web blurb to describe what it's all about:

"OLDER THAN GOD is a non-linear documentary film project that explores the creative life of musician & composer Markus Reuter. Featuring on-screen contributions from collaborators past and present, extensive interviews with Markus himself, and unique fly-on-the-wall footage the film casts new light on this multifaceted artist from a multitude of perspectives. Originally envisaged as a feature-length film the project (a zero-budget independent production filmed and edited by musical collaborator Lee Fletcher) lay untouched for 18+ months whilst audio productions took precedence. However in September 2012 the pair reconceived the film as a series of concise chapters, or webisodes, each focusing on a particular theme. The series is expected to run for many months and will doubtless evolve over time.

Potential future spin-offs include a soundtrack album and eventual DVD release when the web series is complete."

So there you have it! I'm thrilled to get this project moving again and finally out in the public domain after being on ice for a lengthy period :-) Music projects (such as my semi-solo album 'Faith in Worthless Things' and extensive production work on GRICE's 'Propeller', etc) have been my priority, and will largely remain so, however the monthly 'webisode' format will allow me to attend to OLDER THAN GOD in a more manageable fashion...


Related news, photos, and background info will also continue to be published via the official OLDER THAN GOD Facebook Page, as well as my own (Lee Fletcher: Official Facebook Page).

Lee x

Monday, 1 October 2012

South West Music Awards: 2012 Nominee

I've just learned that I've been voted through to the nominees shortlist (of three) for this year's South West Music Awards, under the category of 'Best Producer'.

Thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to vote - I'm touched! :-) This will be a great boost to both 'Faith in Worthless Things' and the work I did on GRICE's 'Propeller', not to mention countless other projects from the Unsung Productions camp...

Winners will be announced at the event on the 1st November which I've been invited to attend. I'll keep y'all posted.

Cheers,

Lee x

Friday, 14 September 2012

Faith in Worthless Things - Video Trailer

Here's the all-new teaser-trailer video for 'Faith in Worthless Things', featuring animated images from the album artwork...

Please feel free to share and/or embed the link wherever you feel folks may be interested - Help spread the love :-)



Thanks - I hope you enjoy!

Lee x

Monday, 3 September 2012

Reviews Page Updated

Just a heads-up that the Reviews page has been updated to include a selection of recent 'FIWT' articles. Older reviews (for 'Propeller') also now have clickable links, making it easier to access the originals.

I've also added a Contact form, which was a glaring omission previously ;-) (Though I can also be reached via my official Facebook page). Plus a mini Bio for those who are new to my work, and one or two other site tweaks here and there.

Further updates soon...

Lee x

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

'FiWT' Reviews - Part 2

No sooner had I posted "two of my personal favourite reviews" for 'Faith In Worthless Things' than another bunch cropped up, and boy they are pretty special!

I'd like to highlight two more here, the first of which is a wonderfully detailed and insightful essay by Misfit City lead writer Dann Chinn, who really gets under the skin of the album. This goes way beyond the average review, and Dann at times gets eerily close to my thinking in his analysis of the work. WIth writing as good as this you could do far worse than spend a few minutes absorbing Dann's take on the work. (And while you're there check out some of the equally enjoyable critiques of other interesting work).

It's difficult to pull out a single quote to sum up this meticulous review, so instead I'll take a snippet of his analysis of the title track:

"It’s the heart of the album and the song that binds everything together – including Lee’s divided impulses as skilled producer, exploring songwriter and man with a heart. Affection and anger, dislocation and commonality, families and strangers, nature and the grind, all linked under a lovingly gilded arch of strings, soft voices and soundscapes."

To read the full article please click on the screenshot image below...


Following this epic is a shorter though nonetheless well written and enthusiastic review by musician, blogger, and all-round good guy Will Cruttenden, (who also records under the name Spingere).

Here's a snippet:

"Lee has achieved a dream. To make an album of songs which engage the brain and the heart. He has made his own template and he has bothered to sweat the little details as much as the big ones. Most importantly, when the time came to find the right singer, he asked his wife."

Check out the whole thing by clicking the pic below...


As I write this blog update two more reviews (one in German, and another in Italian) have crossed my 'desk'... With a little help from Google Translate I can see that these are both super-favourable articles - Hooray! I'll try to get more reliable (i.e.human) translations and will post in due course...

Also, over the next couple of weeks I'll add the text of most 'FIWT' articles to the Reviews page on this very site, which is currently home to a few select 'Propeller' write-ups.

Lee x

Monday, 27 August 2012

'FiWT' Reviews | Radio | Feedback

The early reviews of 'Faith In Worthless Things' have been universally positive, which is genuinely heartwarming I must say. I've said before that I don't really consider critical reaction when creating the work, nonetheless after signing-off a project (especially one as personal as this) it's uplifting to know that it touches people's hearts :-) Here are two of my personal favourites to date:

First-up is this offering by BBC producer and freelance writer Chris Jones, who says:

“FIWT has a rawness and honesty that's at odds with its polished outer shell, but which makes it far more worthy than 99% of what crosses my desk these days. We need to be thankful that work this beautiful still gets made.”

Click on the image below for the full article...


US broadcaster (Progopolis radio show) and author Vince Font generously describes the album as:

“A collection of songs with lyrics deep enough to be considered poetry and arrangements rich enough to make George Martin pitch an envious fit.”

Again, click on the image below to access Vince's full review...


Furthermore, I was recently the Friday night guest on Vic Morgan's BBC Radio programme 'The Late Show'. Vic kindly gave over 30 minutes of his show to chat with me and played a track from the album. A recording of this interview is now available via my Soundcloud page... He graciously described me as "one of the talented musicians we are lucky to have in Devon. An artist not afraid to push those musical boundaries."

Radio slots on various stations are currently being booked... Keep an eye on my official Facebook page for the most up-to-date info :-)

Finally, here are a handful of instant reactions from a selection of all-important listeners / customers:

“Incredible production, gorgeous vocals (by all involved), impeccable instrumentation, and heavy lyrics. There's nothing here not to love.”

“After first listening the word 'incredible' comes to my mind... There is no weak track on the album. Hooray!”

"The best song-based album I've heard in years".

“Stunning! Tempts and delights the ears. The production is amazing! There is range and my ears love it as the 'norm' for production today is 100% all the time.”

“It's going to take many listenings to fully absorb all the nuances. It's a bit like a sculpture where you have to walk round and examine from all sides, step closer, step away, reach out and touch.”

“Oh man, it's happening again! Listening to 'Faith In Worthless Things' for about the seventh time today. Must be the best album of the year 2012 (at least so far)!”

"It's the kind of richly textured, thoughtful, properly adult and rewarding art-pop which deserves so much more than to be hidden away in a cul-de-sac with a pocket audience."

A massive thank you to everyone who has purchased the album so far, and there are quite a few of you! Despite still being in 'soft release' mode (with minimal marketing) the orders are steadily coming in which is hugely gratifying. Each and every fresh order gives me/us a real boost as it's our aim to share the work with as many people as possible :-)

Lee x

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Long Time No Updates...

Has it really been three months since I last blogged? Well quite clearly it has ;-) My 'excuse' is that I've been finishing my album, and dealing with all the business stuff that comes with a major (for me) release...

Since announcing the associated PledgeMusic campaign on the 18th May things went a little crazy. But good 'crazy'. We hit our initial figure within seven days, and wrapped-up the project with a healthy 167% of target achieved. Heartfelt thanks to all who generously supported this venture :-) It's clear to me that the crowd sourcing model works, and is likely to be a major player in independently produced work for some time. This is good for both artists and audience.

Over the next few days I shall update this site with fresh reviews, articles, and news. But in the meantime you can stream (and purchase if you wish) the album via the embedded Bandcamp player to the right of this page... Visit the official store for full details and images of the beautiful physical CD packages:

http://leefletcher.bandcamp.com/album/faith-in-worthless-things

All the best,

Lee x


Friday, 18 May 2012

Faith in Worthless Things | PledgeMusic

'Faith In Worthless Things' is the title of my forthcoming semi-solo album, created in part with my two closest musical allies: Markus Reuter, touch guitarist extraordinaire and member of King Crimson offshoot bands Stick Men & The Crimson ProjeKct (with Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, and Pat Mastelotto), plus Lisa Fletcher, my long-term musical partner, vocalist, and "better half".

What’s more, our virtual band is augmented by a cast of dazzling musical talent, including, amongst others, BJ Cole (pedal steel guitar), Tim Motzer (electric / acoustic guitars), Luca Calabrese (trumpet), Steve Bingham (strings), Chris Wong (bass), and Alan Burton (uilleann pipes / whistles). Between them these guys have performed and recorded with artists such as Scott Walker, Bj√∂rk, David Sylvian, Toyah Willcox, No-Man, Ray Charles, Sting, Elton John, and many more... We’re truly thrilled to have them onboard for this project :-)

Background

With our album nearing completion we faced a choice: We already have the digital infrastructure to release the work as a download and promote it via the usual channels. We could also have waited until the end of the year, or longer, to fund a low-key CD release with minimal packaging or frills. Yet after all the love, creative energy, and hard work that’s been poured into this album (by myself and all the wonderful players who’ve graciously given their time, talent, and support) these ‘options’ felt like short-change.

Foreground

So dear reader we’re diving head first into the crowd-enabling world of PledgeMusic and directly asking YOU, our friends and supporters, to help facilitate a quality physical release of the kind we (as music lovers and collectors ourselves) feel sure will enhance your experience of the work :-) Plus, once manufacturing costs are met we’ll be able to give a little back to those who worked for free.

Given our rationale for taking this route we’re ultra keen to make the experience a highly satisfying one for all our pledgers. This isn’t a typical online ‘store’, nor is it traditional ‘fundraiser’ campaign; We certainly don’t expect you to give your hard-earned money as a charitable act – You’ll get cool / rare stuff in return, and all ahead of the official release: Most of the album packages and exclusive offers we’ve devised are designed to give you, our supporters, something unique and extra special. From personalised / signed ltd edition numbered CDs through to interactive creative opportunities with the team; Few of these offers will ever be made available beyond these virtual walls.

Furthermore, 10% of everything we raise over-and-above the minimum (i.e. “break-even”) target will go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society. This is a very personal cause to me as sadly my mother has the advanced progressive form of this cruel, debilitating disease... I hope we can raise some much needed funds for the charity.



[Please note: The album artwork is in development – None of the images currently shown on the campaign page represent the actual packaging. We’ll post details as they’re signed off in our Pledger updates...]

Wide Angle

OK folks, it’s in your hands now; We need to make as much noise about this campaign as possible for it to be a success, so please do tell your friends and share links across your social networks. Unless we hit the minimum (break-even) target Pledge Music will dissolve the project – That’s the way the cookie crumbles here. But we’re not going to let that happen, so let’s get cracking and have some fun! The more we raise the more we can plough back into a quality release for you :-)

To join in the fun either follow this link: Faith In Worthless Things - PledgeMusic Project, or simply click on the button on the righthand side of this very page...

A massive “thank you” for your support!

Lee (+ Lisa & Markus) “triple eggs” to y’all xxx

Friday, 20 April 2012

Propeller: Background + Reviews

It's always nice to have one's work reviewed. It's even better when by and large the reviewer enjoys the work - Better still when they 'get' it, or at least parts of it... ;-)

'Propeller' is the solo debut by singer-songwriter GRICE. It also happens to be one of my major projects of last year, as I produced, mixed and co-arranged the album. Several members of my extended musical family appear alongside GRICE's crew, plus my *actual* family is present in the guise of (wife & frequent musical cohort) Lisa Fletcher who provides additional vocals here and there. Incidentally I too perform on most tracks and wrote one or two new parts for other players...

So, reviews... There have to date been some wonderfully generous articles regarding this album, for which I'm truly grateful. Nonetheless "will people like it?" is rarely a motivating factor for me when working on something, be it my own musical compositions, contributions to outside projects, or (as in this case) when I'm in producer-mode; helping both to translate and expand upon a collaborating artist's ideas. The only question I tend to ask myself is "am I making the right choices for this project at this particular time?" And I ask it a lot.

However, when an album is complete I'm usually able to detach myself from it and begin listening as a punter, (or not at all, as a little distance can be a good thing)... At this point it's fair to say that outside reactions are generally welcome. The process of creating is a fairly isolated one, so it's always nice to see the work reach people in the real world and provoke a response of some kind - Even if it's a negative one, as sometimes that reassures me all the more that I did something right ;-)

The two most recent 'Propeller' reviews landed within hours of each other, and so pleased was I by the content and quality of writing that I'm prompted to share them here with you dear reader...

First-up is this offering by US writer and co-host of the excellent Progopolis radio show Vince Font: "GRICE's 'Propeller' - Where Music & Cinema Converge" (click image below for article).



Incidentally, Progopolis voted (the digital pre-release of) 'Propeller' #3 in their 'Top 20 Albums Of 2011', which was an incredible honour given the competition!

Secondly, we have this piece by English writer Chris Jones: "GRICE - Propeller". (click image below for article).



Chris doesn't like *everything* about it, but that's perfectly OK with me - He has good ears (as does Vince) and his interpretation of the work is valid. Besides, any minor criticisms are offset by wonderfully articulated observations and an overall supportive and enthusiastic vibe for which I'm grateful.

At some point I'll add further reviews & commentary to an as-yet-non-existant Press page within these virtual walls. For now I'll sign-off by posting the teaser trailer that I put together during the pre-release campaign for 'Propeller' using original super 8mm footage shot by GRICE's father (C J Peters). Btw, the inclusion of this footage is far from random - Mr Peters Senior was the inspiration behind most of the songs in this collection, and it was stories of his adventures (told to me by GRICE during our early production sessions) that prompted the inclusion of many of the 'sound design' elements scattered across the album... Things are seldom random in my sound-world, unless of course they're designed to be so ;-)

Lee x


Thursday, 19 April 2012

A2D

I'm very happy to be once again contributing to the Analogue To Digital Music Expo, held at Sound Gallery Studios / The Phoenix Arts Centre in Exeter, Devon on Saturday 21st April.

This year I'll be a guest speaker on the 'Making Your Way In The Music Industry Panel' (between 13:00 - 14:20). Joining me will be Paul Gray of The Musicians Union (also former bassist for Eddie And the Hot Rods and The Damned), Nick Tarbitt of Integrity Records, DJ/promoter Emma Scott (Kerrang! Radio/Q Radio/Capital Network/Heart), and Ville Leppanen of Animal Farm.

There'll be many other great panels and exhibitors (check the above link for full details) - I'd be going as a punter for sure were I not already involved... ;-)

If you come along do say "hi"...

Lee x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Credit Is Due

I don't often shout about online campaigns but I wholeheartedly support this cause...

CREDIT IS DUE: The campaign to credit performers, producers, and engineers on all online music services

With physical CDs (and therefore accompanying booklets / credit sheets) fast becoming a minority distribution format it's incredibly important that those behind the music & production are more readily and publicly acknowledged (in full) when it comes to digital download sales.

Credits are essentially the combined CVs & business cards of those of us working in the creative industries. It can be hard enough to get proper acknowledgement on some CDs, but digital is 'almost' non-existant. If this doesn't change going forward how will the 'invisible people' build reputations and attract future work?

That is all...

Lee

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Turn Me Up

Anyone who gives a sh*t about the quality of recorded music would do well to watch this 20 min film from TurnMeUp.org...



I've personally encountered the 'loudness wars' both as a producer/musician/engineer wishing to retain the subtlety of my work, and as a mastering engineer with (thankfully not all) clients believing the not-so-old myth that crushing the life out of their work will somehow make it more successful and/or better on the radio, (here's a heads-up: IT WON'T). Friday 16th March was apparently 'International Dynamic Range Day', (see more here), though in my book this ought to be so for the other 364 days of the year... Just sayin' like ;-) Lee

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Starter's Orders

So, I decided to join the blogosphere, and this is my inaugural post: Not all that exhilarating I grant you, but the flag has been raised...

From now on this will be the 'official' site, backed-up and bolstered by my three (count 'em!) public Facebook pages:

http://www.facebook.com/leefletcher.official
http://www.facebook.com/unsungproductions
http://www.facebook.com/olderthangodfilm

I aim to keep this blog a healthy-ish mix of news re: my professional doings, related whimsical musings, and a little photography scattered around for good measure... I can't promise to post at regular intervals, but when I have something to say it definitely 'may' appear here ;-)

I'll be adding further pages and content over time, so do keep an eye out for updates when you stop by.

Welcome aboard, and thanks for your interest!

Lee