Saturday, 12 October 2013


It's been a few months since my last blog post and even longer since I made my last track. Lately I've had zero motivation to be creative. Honestly though, I haven't really tried. In my spare time I've been  playing Mass Effect 2 and for a little while I was feeling kind of bad about not doing stuff. I don't want to be too hard on myself. I think everyone needs a break now and then.

Anyway, this weekend I have managed to pull myself out of the black hole I had fallen into and got back on the 'track making' horse (or pony, as the case may be). My pony crazed daughter is to blame for the pony influence. Although I'm mostly satisfied with the result, I can't help feeling like I've hit a wall and everything is coming out a bit samey same. I'm definitely feeling the need to learn something new, but I'm not quite sure the best way to go about it. It might be time to find myself a collaborator.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

One of the many reasons I love Nine Inch Nails....

I'm following Nine Inch Nails on SoundCloud. I have all of NIN's albums except for Ghosts I-IV (which is funny because you could once download the whole thing for $5 from the NIN website) and The Slip. What I love about Nine Inch Nails on SoundCloud is that you can listen to a huge amount of their work for free. They have 97 sounds posted, including some sets that are over two hours long, and I can just stream this stuff whenever I want! For free! That's astounding for such a big name act.

Now I know that Trent Reznor is well know for his hatred of the major record labels' propensity for ripping off artists and fans alike. He's told fans to not buy NIN's albums, but to download them instead, "Because one way or another these mother f---ers will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that's not right." (Moses, 2007).

NIN also released Ghosts I-IV independently and made Ghosts I (nine tracks in total) available as a free download on the NIN website. You could pay $5 to download Ghosts I-IV or $10 if you wanted the two CD box-set. You could also pay more for deluxe, limited edition, fancy pants extras (the ultra deluxe limited edition package going for $300 sold out within 30 hours (Grasmayer, 2008)).

I love that Nine Inch Nails have made their music so accessible to fans everywhere and I love what they stand for. If you're not that familiar with them, you can listen to a whole lot of their stuff for free. If you're a hardcore fan, you can pay money for cool, limited edition booty. They give their fans a whole lot of options, which is good for us, but it's also smart marketing. It's not greedy and it's not exploitative, it's fair and it shows respect for the fans.

Now you could argue that it's easy for them to work to this model because they are already so popular and have enough of a hardcore fan base that are happy to pay to keep them working. That may not be the case for smaller artists who are still trying to make a name for themselves and I get that. Having said that, Trent Reznor has some advice for us little guys along those lines.

Nine Inch Nails and other big name artists like Radiohead can defy the rules of the traditional music industry to the benefit of, not only themselves, but fans as well, and they have. And that's awesome.

While researching for this blog post, I came across Bas Grasmayer's paper, 'best practices of the online promotion of new musical content: 5 product launch case studies'. It made for an informative read and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in music distribution.

Friday, 12 July 2013

What I've been listening to lately...

I've had Ida Maria's Fortress Round My Heart on heavy rotation at my house for a number of weeks now. Fortress Round My Heart is the debut album from the Norwegian singer/songwriter/guitarist and although it was released in 2008, it's one of those albums that I revisit on and off over the years for weeks at a time.

I think the thing I love most about this album is just how damn charming it is. Ida Maria sings with a throaty, Norwegian accent that I find adorably imperfect. Her songs are all so unapologetically raw and emotional and I feel like she is baring her soul here with reoccurring themes of loneliness and complicated love. Don't get me wrong though, there is nothing depressing about this album. There is a youthful exuberance about it that reminds me of my twenty something self; emotionally mixed up, awkward and unsure yet determined to have a good time anyway. It's high-energy, good fun rock and roll, and if you've got a hairbrush handy, I highly recommend cranking up the volume, dancing around the living room and singing into it along with Ida.

My favourite track on the album would have to be the single, 'I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked', with lyrics that talk about being hopelessly tongue-tied and awkward around somebody you find so incredibly attractive. I mean, who in the world can't relate to that?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Doom Song

This is my latest track. When I started it, the plan was to create something using only piano sounds. It worked for a while and I used various notes and arrangements and layered effects over the top. But then I got bored and that's when the whole piano experiment went out the window. The result is something darker than I intended, but that seems to be a reoccurring theme with me. Overall I think it's eerily pretty. I hope you enjoy it...

Monday, 17 June 2013

Women I love: Part three

Billie Holiday

I think I'm pretty lucky. Growing up, my house was always full of music. Sunday mornings I'd wake up to the symphonies of Tchaikovsky or the crooning of Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole. After school we might listen to Glenn Miller or Louis Armstrong, and Carole King was always good for a Saturday afternoon. If my mum ever got to the stereo first, it would usually be a musical, maybe Cats or Oklahoma, and my dad has always been a big jazz fan. I always got to pick what we would listen to at dinner, and more often than not it was Billie Holiday. 

Billie had a truly unique and moving voice. She sang with such emotion, you can't help but hear the pain and sadness in her voice. It's a singing voice tinged with sweetness and vulnerability. And it is powerfully honest. Listening to her as a kid stirred a lot of feelings in me that I didn't quite understand. She made me feel happy and sad all at the same time. When I got a little older I felt bad for her, but I also felt her strength and I found that empowering. The first time I had my heart broken, I listened to Billie all day and night and cried. After a while I felt better, stronger and I knew that I wasn't going to die. That's the first time I think I really understood how her voice made me feel.

Billie was truly a gifted vocalist in the way that she could inspire such powerful empathy. I think she was amazing and is definitely one of my biggest influences (what? You can't hear that in my music?!)  

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Today is Tomorrow's Yesterday

I've been listening to a lot of Concrete Blonde lately and one song that really gets to me is their cover of Andy Prieboy's 'Tomorrow Wendy'. It's beautiful, soulful and tragic. I sampled it in my latest track, which aside from the powerful riff borrows nothing else from the song. The mood, style and feeling of my track is completely different. It's sort of a subtle nod to 'Tomorrow Wendy', without any attempt to capture its essence. Listen to both and see what you think....


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Adventures in song writing: Part one

Sandra Talty

For the first post in my series of chats with music and sound artists about song writing and creative process, I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Sandra Talty, a jazz drummer and vocalist in Melbourne.

Sandra has played with many of Australia's well renowned jazz musicians and bands in Melbourne and at various jazz festivals around Australia. Sandra currently plays regularly with The Sweet Lowdowns, Michael McQuaid's Red Hot Rhythmakers and the Dancehall Racketeers.

Sandra is an experienced musician with a vast knowledge of jazz and it certainly shows in this interview. I enjoyed talking with her about music and song writing in particular and hope that you get as much out of this interview as I did.

If you want to find out more about Sandra, you can check out the Sweet Lowdowns, who were winners of the 2008 Australian Jazz Bell Award for Best Australian Classic Jazz Album.

You can also listen to the song  'Busy Baby' which Sandra co wrote and performs with Michael McQuaid's Red Hot Rhythmakers.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

I Wish I was Batgirl (Derezzie Remix)

It's exciting when somebody asks if they can remix your track. I came up with something that somebody else likes enough to want to put their own stamp on. Weeeee!!!!! That's awesome!!!!!!

Derezzie, an electronic artist from the United States, has remixed one of my earlier tracks and you can listen to it here. I've also included the original for those that are interested. Enjoy :)

Women I love: Part two

Karen O

Karen O is the frontwoman for New York band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and is the vocalist and pianist. The band formed in 2000 and has released four studio albums. Yeah Yeah Yeahs have often been described as an 'arty punk rock band' and are one of those bands that is constantly re-inventing itself, with each album differing significantly from the last.

Not only does Karen play with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, she has also collaborated with artists such as The Flaming Lips, Santigold and James Iha (one time guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins). She also wrote the soundtrack for the film 'Where the Wild Things Are' and contributed to the soundtrack of the English-language version of the film 'Girl With A Dragon Tattoo', working with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Karen O has a powerful, distinctive voice, which together with her striking, offbeat style and outlandish on stage antics make her incredibly appealing. Not only is Karen O talented, she's edgy and opinionated with attitude. In an article for the New York Times, Lizzy Goodman describes her 'as the first post feminist rock star, a descendant of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury who also happened to be a girl'.

I am such a huge fan of Yeah Yeah Yeah's and also admire the way that Karen O works with other artists and in different genres, always pushing the boundaries and delivering the unexpected  One thing is for sure, she can't be pigeon-holed. I love her non conformist style and her seeming unselfconsciousness. She rocks!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Women I love: Part one

I love women who make music. Being a woman musician myself (can I even call myself that?) nothing inspires me more than seeing other women producing, performing and being passionate about music. When I listen to my favourite female artists I feel reassured. I feel like I can identify with these women, even if we are worlds apart. I admire their work and take their songs to heart. Billie Holiday's soulful renditions can move me to tears. When PJ Harvey's heart breaks, so does mine. I can listen to my favourite Magic Dirt album on repeat and scream out the words to each song, deep down from the pit of my stomach, over and over again. Don't get me wrong, I have feelings that are just as strong about music made by men. Oh man, how I feel like I've lived through many a Dinosaur Jnr song! But it's the women that get me off my arse and really make me try.


Clare Boucher is a young Canadian woman who makes music under the name Grimes. I have recently discovered Grimes, but I only had to listen to 'Infinite Without Fulfillment',  the  first track on Grimes' latest album 'Visions', to know that I was in love. Grimes employs a variety of elements in her work but I would probably best describe it as experimental electronic. What I love about it is the catchy beats, textured compositions and her unusual arrangements of gorgeously girlish pop like vocals. She has a beautiful voice reminiscent of Julee Cruise. Her music smacks of intelligence and thoughtfulness. It is complex and pretty. I love her!

Friday, 17 May 2013

When I write a song, am I doing it wrong?

This is a question I ask myself often. What is my song writing style? Do I have one? Do I even need one? When I make a track I tend to start with a beat and go from there. I rarely begin with a clear idea of what kind of song I want to make. Sometimes I wonder if this is because I'm a novice songwriter. Maybe with time and experience I'll develop a creative process that is more structured and less fluid. Or maybe I won't. Maybe that's just not how I work.

In an effort to find out, I plan to do a series of blog posts dedicated to exploring song writing and the creative process. I will be talking to a variety of music artists about their creative processes. If you have any burning questions about song writing, or are a musician who would be willing to talk to me about your creative process, please post a comment below.

Anyone for chiptunes?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

30 Second Review - Clark - Iradelphic Sessions

There is something gorgeously dreamlike about Clark's Iradelphic Sessions, a series of free downloads I discovered on the Warp Records website that is currently available. Short tracks with pretty melodies, sweet sounds and use of reverb make for a pleasurable aural experience.

Repetition is something that Clark doesn't shy away from and perhaps 'Soft Eruptor' in particular, could benefit from some variation in arrangement. 'MFB Skank' is a bit different from the other tracks. It's a little harder and focuses more on beat rather than melody, while employing some mild glitch and distortion. 'Guy Fawkes - Night Night' has a beautiful childlike feel about it, with idyllic string and piano sounds.

 Iradelphic Sessions is delightfully atmospheric and I found it to be a welcome interlude in an otherwise ordinary day. The six Iradelphic Sessions are available as a free download from the Warp Records website until 1 May.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Ten songs that are significant to me

Let's Go Crazy - Prince - Purple Rain (1984):  My favourite track from the first CD I ever owned. I think I was nine. I used to dance around the lounge room singing into my hairbrush and pretending I was Prince. No way I could ever be that funky.

Drain You - Nirvana - Nevermind (1991): It was 1993 and I was 13 when I first heard Nevermind. 'Drain You' was my favourite song. It touched me in ways I can't describe and opened my eyes to a world of music that wasn't pop. I became completely obsessed with music and grunge in particular. I fell in love with Sonic Youth. It was the first time in my life that I realised music was a huge part of who I was and who I would grow up to become.

Wish - Nine Inch Nails - Broken (1992): I felt so strongly about this song when I was 16. I would turn it up loud and scream along to the lyrics in my bedroom. I felt so lonely and misunderstood. I wondered if maybe Trent Reznor did too.

Kiss Off - Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes (1982): When I was 16, at school one Friday a few of my friends and I organised to meet in the park that night for an impromptu party. Word spread and I was surprised to find 20 or 30 kids showed up. Some of them were kids that wouldn't even look at me twice at school. But here they were. I decided not to let that bother me in the interest of having a good time. We had no music, so at one point we all joined in for a sing along of Kiss Off by the Violent Femmes. We belted it out with so much enthusiasm and feeling that I was blown away by the experience. I had no idea that most of those kids even knew that song, let alone that they seemed to identify with it as strongly as I did. It was a rare moment of solidarity for a bunch of disaffected teenagers. And one of my only fond memories of high school.

Groove is In the Heart - Deee-Lite - World Clique (1990): This is my ultimate good time song. In my early 20s I would spend every Friday night at a Melbourne Goth club called Abyss. This song would get played every week and no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would meet my friends on the dance floor for a collective boogie within the first 30 seconds. Even now when I hear it, wherever I am, I have no choice but to succumb to the groove. I guess it's true what they say; Groove is in the heart.

My Red Hot Car - Squarepusher - Go Plastic (2001): This is the song that made me realise that electronic music didn't have to be just the soundtrack for a rave or some club. I love this song. Like Nirvana's 'Drain You' it completely changed the way I think about music and was the catalyst for Twinkle Noodle Star.

Ten Storey Love Song - The Stone Roses - Second Coming (1994): My husband and I share a mutual love of this song. And each other.

I Would For You - Jane's Addiction - Jane's Addiction (1987): This song was played at my wedding. Some people might think that it's an odd choice for a wedding song due to the politically charged nature of the lyrics, but I think it's beautiful.

Thank You - Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969): The other song played at my wedding. My husband chose this song and it melts my heart whenever I hear it.

Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkle - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970): I used to sing this to my daughter when she was a baby whenever she was upset or I was trying to get her to sleep. It's an incredibly catchy tune and enjoyable to sing. She was crying one day and I started singing it in and effort to settle her. It worked, mainly I think because of the 'Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh' part. After that it became a staple.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Breathing In and Out 2.0

So it's Saturday night and here I am blogging. Yay me.

Breathing In and Out 2.0 is a re-work of one of my earlier tracks. I revisited the original this evening and thought that it had some beautiful sounds and a gorgeous melody. Melody is something I really struggle with most of the time but I was very happy with the melody in this track. I figured that was enough to rehash and polish it for a second spin. I adjusted the levels and gave it a crisper, cleaner sound. I also altered a few of the sounds, added a couple more and slowed down the tempo. I hope you like it!

Friday, 26 April 2013

I Slayed the Troll and Saved the Prince

I Slayed the Troll and Saved the Prince is a track I made about a year ago. It was probably one of the most difficult tracks for me to make. That's because I had some very specific goals that I wanted to achieve with this track and I forced myself to do it.

You see, I have a tendency to start with an idea or purpose and lose sight of it very quickly after I get started. I'll be all like 'OK, I'm going to make a reggae track. I'll just put down some steel drums and then slow the BPM right down. Yeah, that's good. What's this do? Hmm... I like that. Maybe if I put some reverb on that and crank up the bass and then...' and before you know it, it's not even close to sounding like reggae. And I do that all the time. ALL THE TIME! Except for this one time.

One of the things I really wanted to do with this track was to make something a little more complex than I had in the past. Something with more depth to it. So I layered with sounds. And I kept on layering until I could stand it no more. The other thing I wanted was to not be so dark for once. I think I achieved that. Anyway, here it is...

Someone commented that it reminded them of Adventure Time. Back when I made it I didn't know what Adventure Time was. Now, it's Adventure Time all the time!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Twinkle Noodle Star by Twinkle Noodle Star

If you have been to my Soundcloud or Facebook pages you may have already seen some of these images. They are self portraits that I have created specifically for TNS.

You might notice that there is a particular focus on eyes. I love eyes. They are so revealing.
There are plans for an amazing Twinkle Noodle Star photo shoot, which will hopefully come together later this year.  I have been working with some very talented people to come up with some fantastic concepts so stay tuned.

The Glitch Mob

While browsing on Soundcloud yesterday, I came across this awesome remix of The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army by The Glitch Mob. I have a really bad cold at the moment. I played it loud through my headphones and it cleared my sinuses :)

I suppose I should start by introducing myself....

My name is Lia and that's me in the photo below...

I make music under the name Twinkle Noodle Star. At least that's what I call it. Music. It's really just a whole bunch of sounds that I create and lay some effects over and then arrange in a way that sounds good to me. If you're interested here are some links to a few of my favourites...

I tend to use a lot of samples as a way to express my personality and my sense of humour in my work. Also, I really like movies. I love jazz too and that is evident in a lot of my earlier tracks. They are pretty rough and the sound is a bit amateurish, but I feel like this is some of my most emotive stuff. Or maybe it's just the jazz....

Originally this blog was going to be an account of my development as an artist. The idea was to begin blogging when I was just starting out, making music on my laptop and trying to figure out which dial does what and how to make that wub wub sound that's so popular nowadays. But I have to confess, I'm incredibly lazy and that is the reason that my first blog post is about two years late. And I still haven't figured out to how to make that wub wub sound. I guess you could ask me why I'm even bothering with a blog. I'm not entirely sure, to be honest. I like to write and I guess this is something I could write about that's important to me. I don't know if anybody will read it, but that's OK. Mostly I write for me. Just like I make tracks that I enjoy listening to. If other people dig it, that's cool too.

I've been using FL Studio 9, but I'd like to be able to get my head around Reason or Ableton and so that is the challenge I've set myself this year. That and playing a set in front of people that's not in my lounge room. I guess we'll see how that goes.