Brain Attack

A true story of stroke survival told through music

For those of you that are technologically minded, here is a list of the equipment I am using to make this recording.  As you will see, most of the gear is fairly ancient (a bit like the user!).

 

Studio Hardware

Acer PC, running Windows Vista, with 4Gb RAM

Roland XV-3080 synthesizer, plus;

·         Roland expansion card (SR-JV80-08) "Keyboards Of The 60s And 70s"

·         Roland expansion card (SRX-06) "Complete Orchestra"

·         Roland expansion card (SRX-09) "World Collection"

M-Audio 1814 Firewire audio interface

Novation KS Rack synthesizer

M-Audio Midisport 4x4 MIDI interface

Cheetah MK5V MIDI keyboard (5 octave)

Roland TD-20X (expanded) electronic drums, with Hart Dynamics pads and Roland V cymbals

Genelec 1029A monitor speakers (x2) with 1091A sub-woofer

 

Studio Software

Steinberg "Cubase SX 2.2.0"

Propellerheads "Reason 2.5"

Native Instruments "Pro-53"

Applied Acoustic Systems "GS-2"

Applied Acoustic Systems "Lounge Lizard Session 4"

Applied Acoustic Systems "Ultra Analog Session 2"

Audacity 2.1.2

Steinberg "Wavelab Essentials 4"

 

Samples

G-Force "On The Rhodes"

Power FX "Downtown Strings"

Power FX "Downtown Orchestra"

Big Fish Audio "Old School Funk Bass"

Zero G "Flamenco Sounds"

Pro Audio 5 "Sounds Of Native America"

Sonivox "Electromatic"

Sonivox "Deep Frets Electric Guitar"

Sonivox "Deep Frets Acoustic Guitar"

Sonivox "Steel Core"

Best Service "Hallelujah"

Best Service "Spiritual Voices"

Best Service "Killer Horns 2"

Best Service "Classical Choir"

 

All the above is the main studio production gear (aka "Mission Control").

For sketching out ideas and rough arrangements (chord sequences, melodies, time signatures, etc), I used a much smaller, more mobile set up:

Asus Laptop, 6Gb RAM (Windows 10 and Cubase) with an Akai LPK mini 2.5 octave MIDI keyboard (see Gallery).

And also a Kindle Fire HD running "Caustic 3.1" (see Gallery).

These two bits of kit enable me to get ideas down quickly without having to power-up Mission Control.  They are also very portable.  Ideal for use in the “Hoot'n'Cat" over a cup (or two) of Susan's best coffee!

 

One of the (many) difficulties I faced with this project is the awful PSF (post-stroke fatigue) I suffer.  It's called fatigue, as opposed to tiredness, as resting does not improve the symptoms.  The result of this is that I struggle to spend more than 20 minutes on doing any one thing (using a PC, reading, etc) before it becomes too much for me. 

I use a timer before I do any task that requires concentration, set it for 15 minutes and then stop what I am doing when the bell rings!  I then need to rest my brain until I feel better (this may take a few hours or a few days).  I can usually manage about two or three of these 15 minute 'sessions' a day, at a maximum.  When things are bad, I can't do anything for days.  As you can imagine, this is not the best environment in which to compose and produce music.  However, one learns to manage the issue, over time, but it certainly interrupts the creative process.