Archive for the The Clockwork Quartet Category


Posted in The Clockwork Quartet on 25 August 2011 by Ed Saperia

…so, I’m not very good at blogging, it turns out. Or rather, I hate showing unfinished work… or more specifically, writing about unfinished work. Somehow it locks you down into your half-formed ideas and makes you less creative. I look back at what we had a few months ago and shudder at how mal-formed it was.

But I feel it’s been a bit cruel keeping you all in the dark. I’ve been peppering the Facebook page fairly regularly with things that are interesting to look at, if it’s any consolation:

Let’s just say – we’ve been working very hard, we have a huge amount of material stored up, and we’re attempting something much more ambitious than you’d probably imagine. This ain’t no poxy album o’ songs. Things have been hideously delayed by various illnesses, scheduling problems, and – in one case – a server crash that cost us several months’ worth of work. Come September though, we’ll have our own production studio and a full time staff of five, and many more part time and freelancers, making some pretty special stuff. Hang in there.



The drum rolls…The music swells…

Posted in The Clockwork Quartet on 9 October 2009 by patrickgleeson

All’s been pretty quiet on the blog for the past month or so. Why? Well, because we’ve furiously preparing our live show, our new online shop to sell tickets for our live show, and all manner of publicity materials to induce people to come to our live show. So you’ll excuse us if we’ve not had much time to stop and reflect.

The advertising and selling of tickets has been a phenomenal success. We very quickly sold out all the tickets we put on sale, and people are clamouring for the final batch (to be released on Sunday morning). As for the show itself… well, we won’t know until it happens (15-17 October, the Horse Hospital, London), but I’d say it’s shaping up pretty well.

If you haven’t been able to get tickets to see the show, don’t worry – we’ll be performing more in the future, as well as recording a full album early in the new year and, just possibly, releasing a video of the show online. If you are coming to see the show, you might be wondering quite what to expect. Well, here’s the best I can do:

If you come expecting to see a band play a gig you’re in for a shock. Yes, there’s going to be a group of musicians standing in front of you. Yes, much of the time they will be playing songs. Yes, you’ll be able to buy drinks, sing along and clap if you want to. But we’re aiming to deliver something far more involved than a mere gig, to immerse you fully in the world we’ve created, to give you spectacle, to give you surprises. To give you the creeps.

If you come expecting to see a piece of musical theatre you’re also in for a shock. Yes, there are stories to be told. Yes, there are characters to be portrayed. Yes, we’ve put serious time and money into creating something visually compelling, with an outlandish selection of props, and costumes. But jazz hands there are not, rousing chorus numbers are not to be found, and no-one will be trying to convince you that it’s all good fun.

What is the show? The show is stories. The show is music. The show is the bastard love-child of an insane producer, a terminally morbid songwriter and a motley ensemble of musicians, actors, artists and layabouts, squeezed mercilessly into this world over the course of a gruelling, remarkable year, now tottering to its feet and vomiting out its antenatal nightmares into a basement where you can still see the stains of century-old horse blood.

Welcome to the show…

Before & After

Posted in The Clockwork Quartet Storybook on 31 August 2009 by Ed Saperia

Book is coming along apace – almost all the illustrations are finished. It’s going to be touch and go whether we get all the layout and design done in time to have it printed for the October shows though, which is a shame.

A most perfect invention that still kept immaculate time

A most perfect invention that still kept immaculate time...

For the illustrations that show things happening directly on the train with the characters, we do shoots to make it easier on Lara. These are always great fun! One of our unreleased songs is called “The Case Of The Withering Eyes”, in which The Scientist asks The Doctor to give his eyes a quick checkup:

I stood in for The Doctor in this shoot...

I stood in for The Doctor in this shoot...

...turned out okay though I think!

...turned out okay though I think!

The Steamdrone Speaks…

Posted in The Clockwork Quartet on 29 August 2009 by Ed Saperia

Use headphones or a giant soundsystem for full effect!


The Book of Sand is online

Posted in The Book Of Sand, The Clockwork Quartet on 3 August 2009 by patrickgleeson

It’s been quite a long time since I posted about the Book of Sand. This is not, I hasten to add, because the project’s been on hold. On the contrary, I’ve been holding off posting until we had something in the public domain for a reader to play with, and the existence of a public instance of a Book has been delayed not because of the project stagnating, but rather because we’ve kept having ideas for “must-have” features that have taken time to incorporate. (As with so many small-scale web projects we’ve been using the sort-of-but-not-actually-Agile development methodology.)

However, Book Of Sand 0.6 has now seen the light of day in the guise of the Clockwork Quartet forum.

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What makes a Steamdrone?

Posted in The Clockwork Quartet on 22 May 2009 by Ed Saperia
The Steamdrone (& friends)

The Steamdrone (& friends)

It is to our great chagrin that the beast that is the steamdrone is powered on the inside by electronics. It was long the intention that it be actually coal powered, but producing a reliable, let alone useful sound proved elusive, so we shelved that particular avenue of research for a while.

For those of you that haven’t had the fortune to hear the cursed thing, let me describe what it sounds like. The sound of the Steamdrone is a cross between…

The pedals on a Wurlitzer organ...

The pedals on a Wurlitzer organ...


A harmonium...

A harmonium...

A hurdy gurdy...

A hurdy gurdy...


And me playing a long bugle...

And me playing a bugle... the bottom of a big staircase! the bottom of a long staircase!

These sounds are all magically combined via Ableton Live, and brought forth on command via one of these:

The Sacred Alesis, touched only by The Engineer and his apprentice

The Sacred Alesis, touched only by The Engineer and his apprentice

And I was going to post an MP3 of how it sounds, but The Engineer appears to have gone to bed without sending it to me, so you shall have to wait until tomorrow for that.

Fear not though, coal boiler experiments ARE continuing, and one day we’ll have a fully functioning acoustic steamdrone for your delight and delectation…

What we (don’t) sound like

Posted in The Clockwork Quartet on 16 May 2009 by patrickgleeson

I want to talk briefly about the overall sound of the Clockwork Quartet.

In my first meeting with Ed we discussed the sorts of instruments we wanted to use. We were both clear that we wanted plenty of percussion, but that it should be unusual stuff – i.e. no drums, cymbals or the like. Joe Schermoly has been hard at work putting together an “alternative” kit for us out of scrap metal. Then accordions were an obvious choice, and Ed convinced me that plenty of banjos were the way forward. I was initially keen on a trombone or equivalent, as brass and steampunk go together like, well, steampunk and brass. However, we realised that finding a trombonist might be tricky, and it’s not quite as versatile an instrument as we needed (unless it’s played really really well), so we compromised by including the Steam Drone.

But aside from the actual instruments the show is written for, it’s easier to talk about what we don’t sound like than what we do.

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