Friday, 4 March 2016

Time To Change and Stay Healthy Maybe?

More of a personal post today. Over the last couple of years I've had to completely change my lifestyle and for the better I might add. I was one of these people always thinking about getting healthy but never actually did anything about it.
My typical thought processes were -  "Yeah I'm going to lose weight and get fit. Yeah I'm going to do it but I'll start tomorrow or after the weekend, no wait I'll start after the holidays maybe the following week! Right I'll start after Christmas (this is in October by the way) or definitely when the winter's over. It's too cold today to go for a run, I'll go when the warmer weather comes for sure. Oh but it's a bit too hot today, reaches for the fridge - always time for a nice cold beer." And so it goes on, any excuse would do and as you get older it becomes increasingly harder to motivate yourself and talk yourself into getting off your backside!
Then one day I got a wake up call, no need for details, but just to say I was lucky, very lucky. At the time I was 3 stones (40lbs) over weight, feeling my age (52), unfit and more.
After tests, asking questions and talking to all the medical people the opinion I took away was, ok you need to change but even if you do it's probably only a matter of time before your health deteriorates. You can slow it down but you can't ever reverse the damage that's already been done. Your past lifestyle has finally caught up with you and it's downhill from now on. Let me tell you now, that is, pardon my French, a Load Of Bollocks and I'll explain why.
I went home and never one to take things lying down began my own research starting on the internet.
I came across Bill Clinton's story and his dietician, then The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and then best of all a Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn. I realise these names won't mean much to you now, but to save all the leg work I urge you to check out two amazing films, then you can make up you're own mind.
The first being Forks Over Knives which really explains simply why following a certain diet (the whole food plant based diet) can completely transform your health and even reverse certain so called Western diseases. Your body is amazing and can heal itself believe me, that's if you allow it to and are willing to put the right fuel into it.
The next film Cowspiracy (Full Film) looks at environmental issues and opens your eyes to the hidden causes of climate change and what we are doing to this planet. Produced by Oscar winner and man of the moment himself Leonardo Dicaprio no less!
Unfortunately I had to take the long way round doing many hours of research, in fact I wish someone had told me about all this years ago. In a strange kind of way I'm glad I got the wake up call when I did but unfortunately so many people don't, my own Father for one. Even much of the medical profession, through no fault of their own, have what amounts to a few hours training in nutrition. Taught to prescribe endless amounts of drugs or cut people open when the answer is staring them in the face.
After embarking on a plant based diet I lost 3 stone in a matter of months, took up walking every day, which progressed to running and cycling. Now I am fitter, free of aches and pains (and many other benefits I'll tell you about in another post) and have more energy than I did 20 years ago.
Hard to believe that cutting out processed and animal foods can have such a dramatic effect on your health and believe me I was as big a sceptic as anyone. I now know it to be true and hopefully maybe just one person reading this might do the same.
Expect more posts on this subject as it's now become a passion of mine.
By the way the gentleman in the picture above is a plant based athlete Follow the links to read more of his story and watch the films...
Best of luck and Good health.

Friday, 19 February 2016

"Judgement Day" video

Here's a video I made for my 2nd album "Still Life".

The track is called "Judgement Day". 

This idea came about from a jam we did with Quecia while recording in Wales. We got the idea down and even some lyrics but it was never finished. I was playing about with the riff and changed it around. Also trying to add some light and shade to the arrangement. The strings just seemed to fall into place and added to the power of the music and gave it a haunting quality I hope. I still had the recording of original bass line I did, so I dropped that into the mix, even though it was a little distorted in places it still worked. In the end I thought what the hell - If it’s not broken don't try to fix it!

Harper Lee RIP and Strange Happenings

I know it's been a while but I was very sad to just hear of Harper Lee's passing. A brilliant book I read at school in English lessons as you do and made into a classic film staring Gregory Peck. 
What was strange - while scanning through IMDB's list of top films earlier today I stopped at "To Kill A Mockingbird" and played the first few minutes, I then stopped it and went back to work. My thoughts at the time were, she's only written 2 books and those a life time apart, she must be getting on a bit now. Meaning she must be quite old.
This all before I knew she had passed... This is all probably some kind of ‪#‎weird‬ ‪#‎coincidence‬ but it makes you wonder how the mind really works and how much we understand of it.
Was it really by chance or have my eyes seen some snippet of the news somewhere reporting her death. My subconscious picking this up has registered it in a part of my brain that is only accessed in a different way. Subliminally making me choose the said film.
Maybe we pick up on things through other media, extra sensory perception perhaps, brain waves, radio waves, ghosts! Who knows? 
I'd like to think that there's much more to the human brain than meets the eye but I very much doubt it in my case. Made me think though. Food for thought and maybe for you too.
Thanks for stopping by and it won't be very long until the next post. 
Yeah! I can hear you say....

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Praise for my Album!

Here's my first review on Amazon for my new album, well chuffed with this!

Chris’s Picton’s latest album, Journey of Broken Dreams, is a mixture of new material and some spirited reworking of older songs from his Quecia days. But these aren’t just rehashed offerings, he’s obviously spent careful time in the studio to breathe new life into them.

The opening track, Awakening, does exactly what it says on the tin. An inspiring and powerful theme with some perfectly timed dynamic shifts in the overall tempo.

The title track is a pacey instrumental song with some solid guitar work over driving drums and haunting keyboard runs.

The Rhythm (a song from the criminally underrated Quecia II album) is led by Kirsty McCarrick’s beautiful and haunting vocals. Strong lyrics are perfectly matched to Chris’s solid instrumentals.

Don’t Stay Away’s delicate and evocative guitar work dictates a fine instrumental track that paints a picture of longing and melancholy that usually only meaningful, well-sung lyrics manage to do.

Calling Me Back has a lighter, jazzier feel with some funky overtones on guitar. There’s a very natural, unhurried flow to this track that never ceases to engage.

Road of Bones is another Kirsty Mc Carrick vocal over reworked instrumentals. Dignified sorrow and yearning suffuse this gentle and moving song.

Back Thru’ Time lightens the mood with a weaving interplay of guitar, drums and keyboards. Dynamically, the most adventurous song on the album. The changing moods and rhythm paint a journey through life’s ups and downs that is never maudling and ultimately sanguine.

Line in the Sand (another strong song from Quecia II) ends the album with more fine vocals from Kirsty McCarrick over Chris’s clever instrumentals.

This is another solid production from Chris that I’d wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in progressive/ambient/instrumental music made by a talented musician who writes with his head and his heart.

Monday, 21 July 2014

New Album - Journey Of Broken Dreams

I have just released my new album "Journey Of Broken Dreams".  
Again a predominately instrumental album, 8 tracks in total with 2 remixed songs from the old days and a previously unreleased track "Road of Bones" from around that time. 
Its taken me a couple of years (far too long) to put this album together having to work in fits and starts balancing "real life" with writing, recording and mixing, which is frustrating to say the least, but here we are again. 
I hope there's a slightly harder edge to this collection, but still hoping to keep the melodic progressive feel I am trying to achieve in my music. 
I've tried to use a lot of different instrumentation this time around, with mellotron sounds, acoustic guitars, flutes and my guitar synth, helping me be a little more expressive in some of the textures and solo's. 
Also a big thanks to my friend Sharon Coupe for letting me use the wonderful photograph for the cover. You can find her on Facebook for more great pictures. 
I hope you enjoy the album and it won't be as long until the next one! 
And finally a huge thanks to my family for keeping me going lately - Karen my wife and my sons Jamie, Josh and Lucas. (You don't have to listen to the mixes any more!)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mastering Time - Part 2

I'm very close to finalizing the music on my new album. Of course I still have to decide on a title and get the artwork done but that's another story. The final part of mastering for me is to create a montage of all the tracks, which I do in Steinberg's Wavelab software. Basically the single audio files are dropped into the Montage workspace (as opposed to the Track Editing workspace) in a linear format, in the order they will appear on the finished CD.
Start and stop markers can be placed either end of each file and gaps inserted between tracks. You can also crossfade tracks into each other so there are no gaps, but as long as you have inserted markers the finished CD will still play continuously or you can still skip from track to track.
The best feature for me of this software is allowing you to match the volumes of each individual track to one another. By simply clicking an icon and holding down the mouse key you can raise or lower the volume of any individual track without affecting any others in the montage. You can tweak away until your hears content, getting levels right until you're completely happy and the sound is balanced across the whole of the finished CD. An obvious but great tool.
There are so many more features I could waffle on about such as track naming, fade in/outs, ISRC codes and so on, but just to get your basic CD sounding professional this is a great piece of software.
There are numerous video tutorials on Youtube for Wavelab and I would recommend checking them out. As the old saying goes - Knowledge is Power! Best of Luck...