No Specific Rehearsal

Well, that’s not entirely true. This clip of No Specific Harm was filmed in rehearsal last Friday night, 30 March.

Somehow, in a power trio configuration, we’ve managed to whittle down the grand orchestras and sweeping desert landscapes to just the three of us. This is hopefully a musical taste of the live show we’re putting together. Featuring Chad Borchard on bass and Jason Green on drums. Filmed by Renae.

Now let me leave you with some footnotes.

1. Stage socks are the new black.

2. In the 21st century some of us still have box air conditioners.

3. Wiggling the tremolo arm madly in an attempt to coax some more sustain out of the guitar at the end of the song was a bad move. In a world’s first for me, the trem arm actually broke off later that night as I tried to remove it. Stay in school, kids.

4. This was the first time we’d got together in two weeks, poor old Chad having had eye surgery the week before. It never occurred to me what a powerful effect the bright studio lights would add to the mix. Performing sans sunglasses, sans eye-patch and sans blast-shield left Chad lying on the ground in urgent need of a combination of heavy painkillers and special medicine.

What price art!

Great & Terrible Potions – Vinyl now available!

Finally!

As some of you have already argued, this is the way Great & Terrible Potions was meant to be heard – on vinyl.

Well, the records have arrived, and are ready for shipping!

The album is pressed on 180 gram heavyweight “audiophile” vinyl, and factory-sealed in a magnificent gatefold sleeve designed by the great Roger Dean.

This is a limited production run and at present there are no plans for a repressing.

If you purchase the album from my Bandcamp site, you’ll get an immediate digital download of the CD version to go with it. I specifically mention “CD version” because the track running order and mix are slightly different for vinyl:

Side 1
1. Diabolique
2. Nobody Dies Forever
3. Aquamarine
4. Ready To Lose
5. The Conjurer

Side 2
1. No Specific Harm
2. Solace
3. Great & Terrible Potions

A quick note on international shipping. I’m not a fan of Australia Post’s prices, especially since they have no competition. I’ve managed to minimise the shipping cost by keeping the weight of the package just below 500 grams (this saved $20!). The flat fee I’m charging is the actual cost of postage and packaging to the US, and this amount is cheaper than most other countries.

So, Great & Terrible Potions on vinyl is now available at http://bencraven.bandcamp.com. If you don’t already have the CD, you can order a combined package and save on shipping costs!

Now excuse me while I go find my anti-static carbon-fibre groove-cleaning brush.

Two False Idols – 2012 remix

Some of you might know that in 2006 I released an album called Two False Idols under the name of “Tunisia”. It started out life as a band project and went through a number of changes before being branded with a solo moniker.

Two False Idols by Tunisia was a lush production with a spacious sound and dense atmosphere. A version in 5.1 surround was even released. During the making of Great & Terrible Potions my sonic preferences changed. I wanted to revisit the first album to bring out all the parts more clearly in the mix. I also re-sequenced the track running order to improve the flow of the album.

Here then is my new take on Two False Idols, this time released by “Ben Craven”, and remixed with the benefit of hindsight. You can listen to it in its entirety at my Bandcamp site (and even purchase it for as little as AUD $5).

Press Updates

The Press page has been updated to include the latest reviews and news since the beginning of the year. Here’s a sample of some of the reviews:

Progressive Rock Central
Progmistress
Background Magazine
Powerplay
Music Waves (French)

And if you’re in the Netherlands, keep an eye out for issue 106 of the print magazine io Pages, which features a lengthy interview touching on topics like working solo, Roger Dean, Pink Floyd, and my thoughts on cover versions.

 

Music Piracy

I’ve said this before, but I find file sharing and torrents to be a bit of a grey area. I don’t want to go out of my way to condone them, yet at the same time I acknowledge they can just be seen as another form of marketing. Radio for the digital age, perhaps. And in turn I hope that people who genuinely like what they hear go on to support the artist by purchasing the music, buying merchandise, coming along to a show, or just spreading the word.

It’s all a bit of a moot point in my case anyway. Anyone who wants to can already listen to my album, Great & Terrible Potions, in its entirety, online, for free, at my Bandcamp site. Potions was also streaming freely for a few months at the excellent Progstreaming site.

But recently I came across a pirate website selling digital downloads of my album at an incredibly low price. The site looks like an official retailer, and even has a real photo of the actual CD packaging. It’s one thing to trade files freely, but deliberately trying to fool people into thinking they are buying music legitimately (and supporting the artist directly) is absolutely abhorrent.

If you come across any websites like these, please don’t give them the time of day. Honestly, I’d much rather you just downloaded the album for free.

I’m Dreaming Of A White…

In the spirit of the season, I’d like to offer up this raw nugget from the vaults, from the heady days of my old cover band, Rabble. It’s a version of that Cream classic, (I’m Dreaming Of A) White Room, recorded live in the rehearsal room back in March 2004.

Featuring Brad Douglas on verse vocals and drums, Renae Craven on keys and Jason Curtis on bass.

[audio: http://bencraven.com/blogposts/20111223_white_room/rabble_white_room.mp3]

New interview at mwe3.com

Recently I was interviewed by Robert Steven Silverstein about Great & Terrible Potions, guitars, music practice, studio engineering, Roger Dean and Brian Wilson.

Plus he managed to extract some never-before-revealed great and terrible secrets about the making of the album.

Check out the full interview!