roastguider

just an experiment with a synth setting I liked on UHE’s BazilleCM vst synth that I got by subscribing to computer music magazine. reminded me of the proto-synth-punk-actually-kind-of-beyond-genre duo Suicide’s famous Ghost Rider, but not; hence the silly spoonerism for the title.

 

whippit post

Gregg AllmanSo Gregg Allman passed away on Saturday. When I was fourteen or so I was pretty into the Allman Bros, and never actually minded them later when I developed more punkish proclivities. I liked Gregg’s voice and Duane and Dicky’s guitars. The rhythm section rocked with two drummers. And how can you go wrong with a song whose ending was longer than most other bands’ singles. Maybe the best and worst of all their songs was the twenty minute live version of “Whipping Post” from their Live at the Fillmore album. It particularly appealed to my overly dramatic early teen sensibilities.

Later, by my early twenties, I had long since come to my senses and become a punk rocker. After a stint in a Rochester band called the Bowery Boys, I sort of accidentally moved to Daytona Beach Florida. I was hitchiking to New Orleans, actually, and decided to do it by going around the coast all the way. I ran out of money in Daytona, got a job and stuck around for a while. Actually two whiles, but that is a story for another day.

I was the guitarist for a band called the (aptly named) Mess eventually, but on Sundays, when the band had off I would go to a bar that had an open mic jam session. Musicians got really cheap beer which even I could afford, so I was a regular jammer since I could hold my own in a few different styles.

Every local-born musician in that bar swore they were close personal friends with either Gregg or Duane, since they both went to high school in Daytona, where they had a popular band, the Allman Joys. Most of the locals had a sad story of how Gregg and Duane “changed” once they became successful, but spoke of the music with a reverence bordering on worship. Thus I never quite lost my Allman Bros catalog even as I was playing in a punk band. And I was called upon to play “Whipping Post” more than one Sunday. For the record, I never met Gregg, as he never stopped in. Sigh, for a punk musician in the late seventies or early eighties this would have soun ded tantamount to a confession of uncoolness, but I never really managed that part well in the first place so it wasn’t a problem for me.

allman_joys

Allman Joys

Here’s the strange thing. A couple of weeks ago, I was working with a great old plugin by Jeremy Evers called Atlantis Fx, and for the first time in decades, mostly because I could play it with my left hand, leaving my other one to jiggle the plugin controls, I played “Whipping Post,” sort of, through Atlantis. I was going to eventually work on it a bit and maybe post it to demonstrate the plugin, but then hey, Gregg died, so I guess I better get the thing out and give the guy his due, even though I never met him. Thus I give y’all “Whippit Post,” my dutiful homage to the man and the band.

rreplay’ ‘falling through frames’ out now

replay’s new album falling through frames available now on

[Amazon] [Spotify] [iTunes & Apple Music] [Google Play] [SoundCloud]

A dream, after drawing too many charts.  Surreal. Or too real, not sure.  Images: inside frames.  Sounds, though, fall through.  People are reassured by containers, they keep the insides from leaking out, they keep the picture safely separate from the world.  Machines require frames and frequently need reminders to respect their boundaries.  When machine frames fail, people find it jarring in vision.  Then the machines have to be gently, algorithmically nudged back into compliance.  Can’t go around jarring the humans.  At least not all the time.

In sound it can be more interesting though.  In a physical structure, like a house or a window, falling through frames tends to be a catastrophe, a crash.  But in in music falling through frames, even a crash, can produce unexpected delights.

In a film, a frame of someone falling is a still picture of one step in an extended sequence.  Most frames viewed by themselves look just fine.  Only when the thing is put in motion does the falling through frames happen.  And if the image falls through while the movie is moving, it simply falls out of the picture.  But sound, that is a different story. Sound is always in motion, and even in movies, much of the sound happens outside the frame.  How is that so?

rreplay’s new album, a dance of fingers and machines, of algorithms and soul, destruction and creation, does all this falling through frames but with our ears, a little like the sonic version of Dali’s timepiece or Escher’s windowsill

Enjoy rreplay again and again!

 

Eric Parker.  Bass, drum programming.

Rich Rath, Electric guitar played through laptop computer, drum and loop programming and general mangling.

1. floaters (5:13)Falling Through Frames - blue cover -Distro 10-noblur
2. bosunsweet (2:55)
3. elephant walk (4:02)
4. lucid dream (2:01)
5. to tahrir (5:01)
6. more lost (4:44)
7. back before going (6:41)
8. atmospheric phenomenon (2:32)
9. pareidolia (3:38)
10. connection fail (1:57)
11. where weld dwelled (3:22)
12. itchy (3:31)
13. scancore (3:52)
14. we suppose (3:50)
15. waterburn (4:48)

All songs improvised live in the studio by Rich and Eric.  Tracks 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14 recorded at Eric and Karen’s in Somerville, MA or South Boston, Everything else recorded at Rich’s studio, Honolulu, HI.

Cover Image Stained Glass by Karen Suyemoto

Eric and Rich play live through a single laptop running Plogue Bidule with a zillion vst plugins, almost all of which are used on the guitar and drums.  Eric mostly runs a beautiful Pedulla fretless directly in and almost directly out again.  ALso to be found:, a Wacom Bamboo pen tablet transformed into a synth by way of Cycling ‘74’s Max, controlled by host of controllers including but not limited to: Behringer FCB 1010, Keith McMillen SoftStep, Source Audio HotHand, Mercurial Innovations Group STC 1000, Korg nanoKontrol2, stealth switch 3 footswitch, Axon AX 50, Godin xTSA, Rich’s own RhythmEcho.  Mixing by Rich and Eric takes place mostly in Cakewalk Sonar with some help from Celemony Melodyne, Izotope Rx5, and the great open source editor Audacity.  

 

Available now on [Amazon] [Spotify] [iTunes & Apple Music] [Google Play]

Sound is Promiscuous

From my research and from decades of playing music, I have come to the conclusion that sounds are somehow inherently promiscuous. They are always mixing up and screwing around with other sounds, transgressing boundaries, creating new wholes from disparate parts. Musicians crossed race lines before civil rights. Even if the musicians stayed segregated, the sounds drifted from one camp to the other. African American jazz pioneers worked with classical European instruments, and white dance band leaders borrowed extensively from African American musical stylings. Mari Yoshihara, in her book Musicians from a Different Shore, explains how Asian and Asian American musicians have encountered European classical music.

Microphone bleed: one instrument gets in another one’s channel, interfering with the sounds of analog recordings.  Studios have all sorts of contraptions to isolate the instruments, but then the problem becomes that the music sounds sterile and dead, so there is an opposite “live in the studio” tendency as well, where precision gives way to the different feel of promiscuous sounds all getting into each other, which would seem to be what is at the heart of ensemble playing of any sort.

TR-808
TR-808, By Eriq at Dutch Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

In the digital realm, where every drum in a kit can have its own channel with no bleed, software has to add in microphone bleed along with overhead microphones for the drums to sound alive.  The unmixed drum sound has found its own niche in hip hop and electronic dance music, where the Roland TR-808 and 909 drum machines are ubiquitous and instantly recognizable, but there, especially in hip hop, sampling mixes sounds promiscuously in other ways that have quite disrupted the music industry before being co-opted and stabilized as a commodity (although there are still undergrounds).

Of course music is not the only place sounds mix. In spite of writerly (and thus visual — print and writing are after all, visual media) attempts to standardize and fix languages, they keep coming together and changing into each other: Spanglish, hundreds of pidgins and creoles, African American Vernacular English, all the Latin borrowings in English.  Languages are constantly changing in the speaking, only becoming fixed when dead. Indeed the morality that attends promiscuity can be found in these places as when creole languages were and occasionally still are deemed inferior and corrupt, with campaigns made to stomp them out so that the “true” written language might be kept “pure.” Such campaigns coursed through public schools in Hawai?i in the first half of the twentieth century and are still occasionally proposed, though thankfully no longer executed, today.

Or just listen. For me a kid shuffling feet outside mixes with traffic whooshes to create an ambient texture over the yelling from the ballpark half a mile away. Above, trade winds whisper in and out of the treetops, planes rumble across the sky. Inside, another person pecks at a keyboard in the other room even as my own keys clack away. The more I listen the more I hear, so that sometimes there is a sort of inscrutable hum of something intimately familiar yet unidentifiable any more for being the mix of a thousand local sounds too quiet to each be distinctly heard, all mixing it up, the sound perhaps of life itself.

Djent Kennedies

sticker,375x360.u3I had too much fun with this. Recently when I was reading about geeky guitar stuff I kept running across this word “djent” and got curious. It turns out is is an esteemed sound in this sort of bro-metal genre, like frat-dude-with-a-sideways-baseball-cap-at-a-keg party metal. It refers to the appropriate sound of the guitar : “dj-dj-dj-dj djent.” It obviously follows that he appropriate question to ask of all proper music is “Does it Djent?”  Some of it is actually kinda cool, like this guy who made a djent guitar with only one giant piano wire string on it.   I tried to get the sound and found it was super easy and made flailing away at one or three notes sound really cool.

“Djent Kennedies” starts with my take on the death metal vocal howl. I always thought the vocals in death metal sounded like a cappuccino machine, so I did this thing called vocoding and crossed my distorted metal voice with the sound of a capuucino machine. I think I was right.  I then wondered what would happen if brometal got in a soundclash with the Dead Kennedies, so the howl is followed by Djello’s response.  Sorry Djents.  Sorry Djello.

Geek part below the soundcloud.

Geek Part:

The key to the sound is a gate that shuts off all the sound immediately upon the guitar going below a certain volume, making the stops sound way more accurate than they actually are. I should have tuned several octaves lower too, but made up for it with a bass synth. I then put the gates on everything else too, so everyone (i.e.me &me) plays and stops together.

 

rainish

Play it on a sunny day if you’re only happy when it rains. This is a chill thing, not much going on it seems on the surface. Nice background music that will make you reach for your raincoat when you leave. The track is a simple live guitar improv run through four different lanes with the use of some rain sounds in unusual ways.

Only read more if you want to geek out on the details.

The first thing to come in….the pit-pat of drops splatting…is a guitar synth triggering samples of my home-made wooden-keyed sansa.  This is “lane 1”

IMG_0114Soon after you gradually begin to hear two sets of ambient rain sounds emerge in the background. These are the only other thing than the four-lane guitar. The first to enter are a group of snippets of from a freesounds field recording of rain on a tin roof. The recording is split into pseudo-mid-side, with one section of the clip providing the mid, the common base sound to both stereo channels. Then two other clips, both from different times on the same recording are placed, one on the right channel and one on the left, to provide some stereo, giving the track a sense of space. All this was because the original field recording was mono and I want the stereo to be big on this. The second track is a stereo field recording I made of the rain as it sounded on the 9th floor outdoor walkway of my apartment. It is in stereo from the start, and much more “ambient” than the tin roof.

The second guitar lane comes in during fade in of the ambient rain. It is still the same guitar notes as the pit-pat samples. It is electric guitar, more or less pretty clean, run through two vocoders, one with the “left” side of the tin roof pseudo stereo recording, the other with the right side. On one vocoder it is the carrier, on the other it is the modulator. This means that one side of the guitar sounds like it is playing through the rain, while the other side sounds like the rain is playing through the guitar. The two sides are sent through the rain yet again, this time using a convolution plugin that makes the vocoder processed guitar/tin roof sound as if it is playing in the tin roof rain. Got some tin roof rain for your tin roof rain sound. All of this gives the guitar a sort of watery voice I think while still keeping the notes clear.

That gets joined soon after by the third lane, the “acoustic channel” of my Godin e
lectric guitar. This makes the articulation of the “watery” guitar clearer. The fourth guitar lane (still the same single guitar playing though) then fades in, a reverb drenched, trebly guitar that smears everything up again, but just in the background, tying together the guitar with the rain tracks to complete the atmosphere. Past the middle, all of the sounds gradually fade out one by one til only the the vocoded, convoluted guitar and a little ambience is left at the end.

As a special bonus, the art for the song is made from the spectrogram of the mix, which looked nicely smeared and rainy to my eye. That is the part “outside” the car. The driver’s eye view of the road and the inside of the car is stolen. Not saying from where.

connection fail

jammin on that modem like its 1999.  lol, got a “connection fail” message when uploading this.  its a sign.

 

rreplay – where weld dwelled

I told you not to play with that band saw near my bass…

itchy

kind of gets under your skin…

pareidolia

Finding patterns where none exist, I heard this as a song. you?