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His Master's Ukulele

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Archives for: April 2006

The Hypnotist

Today I have posted my version of Craig Robertson's song "The Hypnotist". If you are not aware of Craig, he is one of the best songwriters and ukulele players around and you should check out the excellent downloads on his website.

Last week when cycling to the supermarket I began singing "The Hypnotist" and I imagined a reggae version. I think it was the bass line that came first and the rest of the arrangement just slotted together. I got home and quickly noted down the idea. Over the next few days I found time to record the bass and drum parts into cubase. I felt that I needed to get this track done more quickly than usual, so on Monday Mrs Nipper kindly looked after the little Nippers which allowed me to spend the whole day and night recording ukulele parts and a vocal track. I recorded lots of X chord rhythms which form the introduction and end of the song. Working late into the night I tidied up tracks and picked the best takes until I had a basic version laid out and ready to be mixed.

Yesterday I spent much of the day mixing; I used vst effects to add compression, reverb, delay and eq to the tracks and then balanced the mix, panning to create a stereo picture. I usually then use the automated mixing in cubase to further work the track, but in this case the balance sounded good so I decided to post it. I will probably do a full on Dub mix in a few weeks time and this will definitely require an automated mix to trigger all the delays and balance more complex effects. I used a Stagg soprano and a Risa classic concert ukulele to record all the ukulele parts. The melodica is an old Hohner soprano, which sounds great with ukulele and lends an authentic reggae vibe. The bass and drums were played on keyboards to trigger samples of the real instruments. "The Hypnotist" is a great song and I hope you like my version.

About My Songs

The first song "Bound for Ukeland" is in response to a bulletin board posting about scratch recording gear. Over the years I've moved away from making songs simply and take months to 'produce' a track. I wanted the old feeling of song writing back, so I wrote and recorded this tribute to in just one day. I used a Sony mic and recorded straight to minidisk, I then transferred it to my PC and mastered it to mp3. Thanks to Zathras for making it the Ukeland Theme song.

The Second Track "Harmony Dub" is an adaptation of a song by Jeff Reed and Charlie Thorley from the reggae band Skaville Train. It was originally called "Living in Harmony" and my version features a sample of Jeff singing from a live recording of the song. The song was never released, so I thought I would do a ukulele version. You may also recognise some of the ukulele riffs are the same as those used in the His Master's Ukulele Theme. The track is inspired by the cult TV series ‘The Prisoner’ and features references to number 6 and the episode ‘Living in Harmony’. My friend Jugs is playing the congas and I'm doing the rest. This track took months to make.

I make a lot of Dub reggae ukulele music so I should perhaps explain what this is. The Dub style was invented in the 1970's by producers like Lee Scratch Perry and King Tubby who took already recorded reggae songs, took away most things from the mix and then used delays and effects to change the song into something completely different. I make this sort of music with the addition of ukuleles.

Be seeing you,


Welcome to my Ukeland blog

I will start by thanking Zathras for setting this up for me; I'm still quite new to the internet so it's good to have some help.

My Name is Nipper and you may know me from the "Ukecast" podcast. I live in Somerset in the UK, where I am a primary school teacher. On this page I will share the ukulele music I make in my modest home studio and tell you a little about my ukulele world.

Be seeing you