last rreplay for a while…

Ahh well, Eric has gone back to Boston, thus ending for now one of the funnest musical projects I’ve had in a while.  rreplay recorded our last-for-now session on July 1.  It was a bit out there for a number of reasons on my part.  First, I had not regularly practiced in a month while I was away in Kolkata and Japan (more on the sounds from there later…), so the ideas were bubbling up but the fingers were a bit sluggish.  Second, I had just returned from Tokyo, where Monisha and I stayed a few extra days so I could catch the avant gard Japanese experimental guitar festival (also about which more later).  So what’s to listen to?  My favorite for weird factor is “squelch.”  What is not bass is manipulated guitar echo.  “drip grind” has a cool wash thing going that mutates over time.  I think my favorite is “nothing to declare,”  though “spider camp” and “flow control” are kinda cool in an experimentalist sort of way…all three are in the key of z.  That leaves “low town twilight” where I was trying too hard to evoke a particular mood instead of just going with it, and “neither flotsam nor jetsam.”  Not bad all in all.  I’ll certainly miss rreplay-ing.  We’ll put together an album or two more from it…if you find anything in the rrepository particularly compelling, in part or in whole, let us know in the comments here!

This week’s batch from rreplay

Just a couple more weeks to go and I leave for India and Eric goes back to Boston. For last week’s session, go to the rrepository and look for files dated 080505 at the bottom of the list. My favorite for the moment is Hoffman’s bicycle ride [fixed link, 5/14/08]. Besides some timing issues here and there the whole session came out well so check out the other eight cuts too.

As always, check out rreplay‘s album rrepertoire and the rest of the music at way.net.

rrecent rreplay rrecordings

The last three rreplay sessions are online in the rrepository, for April 14, April 25, and April 28.  Let’s see, from the April 14 session, I kinda like cello panetta for its faux strings (all mangled guitar, btw), steel driver for its beat, and round the perimeter for the synth line following the guitar around.  From the 25th, aoomph takes a while to get started but then closes out with some sicko guitar-following synth stuff.  This one will probably turn up again in edited fashion.  There is also convolution blues, which tries to go straight, but ends up, ummm, convoluted.  A couple more blues, this time with slide, start off the April 28 session. Here’s one, and here is the other.  The rest I need to listen to a little more before making a recommendation, but you can check ’em out in the rrepository, along with most everything else we’ve recorded.  WHy so much blues?  Maybe just got back from Chicago….

rreplay take it on the road

rreplay ventured into the public ear for the first time this past Sunday evening, hauling our gear down to Ong King‘s open mike. In case you don’t know about it, Ong King is as combo gallery/multimedia/music/event space, probably the coolest place in town. We played a short set after a smoking jam from Quadraphonix, Drummer/percussionist/vocalist Shazam, and awesome ukulele player Taimane Gardener. Jonathan Heraux, Quadraphonix’ (awesome) drummer, owner of Ong King, and mc for the open mic commented “that’s a lot of wires” once we were set up. He also said that when he got the cd he popped it on in his car, and by the time he reached his destination, he was on the phone to us to see if we would come down for open mike as a sort of proof of concept…I guess a few other times laptop oriented bands would come for gigs and not be able to get the software running, so he wanted to see if we could do what we do live. We could, cuz basically everything we’ve recorded is live, just minus the audience…no overdubs or post-processing other some “mastering polish.” We did our thing, it seemed well received. It sounded like us but louder than usual, going through their PA, people clapped, it was fun. Taimane Gardener then followed with an awesome set showing a voice to match the uke chops. Good company we got to keep!

Hopefully it will lead to some gigs before I leave for India and Eric has to go back to Boston. Gotta book this incarnation before mid-May, if anyone is interested. The leader of a dance troupe heard one of the pieces and is planning on choreographing a performance to it…either “amazonia dub” or “pilaf,” not sure which….hmmm maybe they’d do something with us live? Have to find out who it is first though. We were so busy setting up I didn’t get a chance to exchange numbers. I forgot to press the record button on my computer, so don’t have a digital recording of the event, but Eric got it on his mini recorder, so if that came out, we’ll post it later this week.

A mess of tv and sixties stuff

One more tune from the mess . . . actually let’s see, more like eight…see if you can name them all. This has one of my favorite “wall of squall” moments in it, where for about fifteen seconds we ran everything on eleven and a half before returning to your regularly scheduled programming.

As always, If you were around when the mess was playing, drop me a line either from the way.net contact page, or to rath [at] way [dot] net or leave a comment. If you do the latter, I have no other way of responding than commenting back, so you might want to subscribe to the rss feed (over in the right column).

More rreplay in the rrepository

The 3/24 and 3/31 rreplay sessions are now in the rrepository. From 2/24, I really like “sizzle” and “summer shirt” — see if you can figure out the pun in the title of the latter one from the music. From 3/31, I like “basspace” — that’s all Eric’s bass other than the drums. No guitar until the bat sonar near the end. This came out of a mis-connection in the program that was sending Eric’s bass through all the guitar effects by accident. Once we figured out what was happening and fixed it, we went back and did it on purpose, with Eric playing and me knob twiddling the drums and bass. “Sand garden” is an introspective piece that gets chopped up and reconstituted at the end. “Pali night ride” is another moody piece that I like. We’ll probably eventually fade it out after the first few minutes of guitar cuz while the keyboard textures that follow are interesting, I think the guitar section captures a better feel.

  • rreplay home page, including our first album, rrepertoire, which you can listen to and download free.

More mess from 1983…

Wow, posting a mess song turned up Melody and Greg, neither of whom I’ve heard from in 25 yrs (more my fault than theirs!), so let’s see what happens if I post a few more. Here are the other three songs from our only studio session. The first one is a fast and loud guess at what 1999 would look like from 1984 if folks like Reagan stayed in power…hmmm, not too far off….Its called suburban dogs after the last verse, which I wrote along with some other stuff after a long night of partying …when I woke up, someone, I think Bobby, had read it and told me, all hungover, “this sucks, this sucks, but this one is ok” with the ok one turning into the song and the other stuff going out with the trash. The next one we came up with during a sound check in Jacksonville Beach about a week before the recording session. Corey came up with the beat and I started playing the guitar line, and Palmer heard it and came up with the lyrics: the result was new beat. The last one, she’s mine, was Palmer’s ode to Melody, who was not exactly ownable! It is a Psychedelic Furs-ish sounding thing with a weird intro and break.

Again, if this post turns up more people from back then, join waymusic and then you can write what what you remember from the Daytona scene in the wiki as soon as you log in. I’ll keep putting up more music in the meanwhile. If you leave a comment here, don’t forget to also leave me an email addie by sending a note to me from the contact page so I can write back if you want. And if you are just coming here for the first time, don’t forget to check out the rest of way.music, including rreplay, my current project with bassist Eric Parker – as always, the music is listenable and downloadable for free.

rreplay new album out, home page live

rreplay’s first album, rrepertoire, is now out. You can order it on cd by donating $10 to way.net using the amazon paybox and sending us an email with your address or just download the mp3 files for free. The rreplay home page has also gone live.

Also, there are a whole bunch of new mp3 files from the last week in the rrepository. A lot of the new stuff explores granular guitar and drum chopping. There are some swampy psychedelic slide blues, some Latin inflections, and one attempt to run three different echo units through each other, among other things. Enjoy, we did!

As always, check out way.music for more free tunes.

The Mess

I have a little musical down time while Eric scuba dives in Maui, so I thought I’d at last go to the vault and clean up some tracks from my favorite band I was in, the aptly named Mess of Daytona Beach. The Mess were Palmer Wood on vocals and guitar, the sorely missed Corey Levin on drums, Greg Drais on bass, and Rich Rath (me) on guitar. Palmer and I wrote all but the covers, and we worked together really well. We played as the house band at a place called the Concrete Jungle on A1A right across the street from the ocean for about six months in 1983-84. The owner called it CJs, named after his daughter or wife or something, but hey, who was he to tell us what our bar was called. He went out of business a month after we stopped playing there. We left because we were packing the place up every weekend and some weeknights, but he’d only pay us $100 a week (for all of us, not each) for playing six nights…oh yeah, and all the Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap we cared to drink …urgggh. We then went “on tour” of central Florida, playing memorable gigs in Jacksonville Beach, Tampa, and Gainesville, before spontaneously combusting while trying to find a Spring Break gig in Daytona. But for a short while, CJs was the place to be for alternative music. Our friend Jonathon spun tunes, and we would play, once or twice bringing in special guests as well. People danced, fought, heckled, drank, made out, made up, broke up, played pool, and danced some more.

There are many stories, but I’ll save them for another time. Here is a studio recording of us trying, somewhat successfully, to play a ska thing with no horns or keyboards. It is called “We Deliver.” I am going to paste this into the way wicked wiki to start things off there, and maybe Palmer or someone will come by and tell some stories…

African music in seventeenth-century Jamaica

koromantiI have been working on three pieces of African music from seventeenth-century Jamaica that are notated in Hans Sloane’s Voyage to the Islands, a rare book published in 1704 about his trip to Jamaica and other parts of the Caribbean in 1688. Here is a rough mix of the first and the last items, called “Angola” and “Koromanti.” The transcriptions are interesting because they contain features that were not present in Western music of the time, including particular forms of syncopation and polymeter, microtonal blues scales (which can be heard in the third section of “Koromanti), and more.

Stringed instrumentsThe Angola piece is made of two interlocking parts played in quite different scales. It was most likely played on the banjo-like instrument (bass) and the harp-like instrument on the left. Part of it resembles the music of the Angola region, but the other part does not. Probably this piece was played by two musicians who were from different places. Perhaps neither was entirely pleased with the way things turned out, although to our ears, which have grown used to this particulr combination (It sounds quite good cranked up on an electric guitar and bass actually!), it sounds fine. The musicians in this piece had not internalized the mixing of West African styles as in Koromanti, so my guess is that this piece was played by more recent arrivals. This piece is not in its final form yet…I just sketched it by playing two guitars.

Thumb pianoThe instrumentation in the “Koromanti” piece is more accurate. I made a wooden keyed thumb piano from an old dresser drawer with nice tone and a bunch of the little sticks that used to go in new women’s shoes to hold the paper in the toe and keep the shape (I worked in a shoe store a long time ago). I then tuned it and sampled it, three different velocities for each note, and played the samples in a sequencer, which allowed me to get the music down exactly as transcribed (seeing as I am not much of a mbirist). The microtones are particularly interesting, because they turn up in the third part of “Koromanti” as sometimes one note and sometimes another that make a totally messed up eight note scale. If the notes are instead read as a microtone that the transcriber did not know what to do with, you are left with a seven-note bluesy scale with a slightly flatted major third and a dominant seventh. Koromanti was most likely not an “authentic” (whatever that means) West Ghanaian song as the title would indicate. Rather it was creolized, showing evidence of traits from other parts of west Africa, perhaps indicating that the musician had been in the Americas for some time and heard and absorbed music from other parts of West Africa too. I am pretty sure the instrument was a thumb piano.

There is lot’s more to say on this subject, which I do in the introduction and chapter two of my book, How Early America Sounded, if you are curious for more. Once I finish the rest of the music I’ll post the newer sound files with the completed work. As always, check out the other music on the site from rreplay and on the main way music site.