Frail and faltering follower of Jesus

Norli - The Four Of Us

By Gavin Davies

Moody tremolo telecasters, gritty samples, recorded on lo-fi 4 track

After recording 15 tracks for brutal primitive grindcore for my Reckoned As Dead project, I wanted to do a more gentle project, so here’s the first track!

I got a 4 track something I’ve wanted since I was a boy - and I decided I’d record some more melodic guitar-based music on the Telecaster I built with my children.

I built a tiny “studio” on my pedal board with the 4 track as the centerpiece and a patchbay so I could route all my effects easily. The pedals are all hand-built by myself based on kits from FuzzDog and Jed’s Peds, except the Laney Digbeth bass preamp.

It’s lo-fi, it’s hissy, but it’s exactly what I’ve always wanted. There’s something cosy about cassettes. I don’t know if I can go much more lo-fi than this, except if I record on a dictaphone that I got for £3 on eBay (and which I have to fix first!).

“Norli” has a special meaning to my family and these songs are a bit more personal. I’m planning an album, or at least an EP, of this material.

Oh, and Shinbones Man will return. He aten’t dead!

1 Waiting For

This was written about long periods of uncertainty and how they affect the family.

The samples are all from The Man With The Golden Arm. I’ve used them before, but I like ‘em!

Download Norli-Waiting-For.mp3

2 Aberdyfi

This is about the feeling of family holidays. The rough and the smooth. The tide out, the tide in. The kids playing, then the kids scrapping and shouting. Kids, eh?

The second track I’ve recorded on a 4 track cassette Portastudio. I’ve had these chords knocking about for 20 years, I’ve finally put ‘em down on something through this janky Telecaster I built! Guitar effects also built by me. My studio-on-a-pedalboard can be see in this video

The video was generated using Cathodemer. It doesn’t work great on my Intel-based mac so I just set it running and didn’t touch owt and captured it in OBS! My eldest child helped me make that video patch years ago, I just loaded it in and recorded it.

Download Norli-Aberdyfi.mp3

3 Roadtrip

A guitar part I’ve had kicking around since perhaps university that I used to play on acoustic guitar. It got gigged maybe twice times with a singer but it’s been dormant since so I brought it back, but faster and electric and through some of the pedals I’ve built.

I think I’m getting the hang of recording to 4 track, pushing it JUST hard enough to get the saturation, and more input level means the hiss isn’t as pronounced.

Video generated in Cathodemer.

Download Norli-Roadtrip.mp3

4 Starfishing

A song about times when the kids find it hard going to sleep.

Video synthesised using Cathodemer.

Recorded on 4 track Portastudio

Download Norli-Starfishing.mp3

5 Nibbles

A song for our beloved family pet, Nibbles the hamster.

Recorded on hand-built guitar and pedals onto 4-track cassette.

Video synthesised using Cathodemer.

Download Norli-Nibbles.mp3

6 At Jiu Jitsea

A song titled based on how my kids mispronounce their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes!

Video synthesised in Cathodemer, featuring Nibbles The Beloved Hamster harassing my Telecaster.

Download Norli-At-Jiu-Jitsea.mp3


7 El Chimpo

Twin guitars playing chonky chords. If only I could sing, this would be a song! I tracked the Telecaster, then the bass, then scurried to my drumkit (Yamaha V Drums) and bashed out some beats. No click track. You can probably tell! I then threw on a second guitar track for more heft on my Yamaha.

Video synthesised in Cathodemer from a video of me working the heavy bag.

Download Norli-El-Chimpo.mp3