Here are two more tracks from a jam with Chris Dixon of Slimpocket (rapping), Alison Hearn (keyboards), Jake (rapping and sax – sorry never got his last name), Eric Parker (bass) and me (laptop guitar and beats). The first one has a cool two bass thing happening. The second is “Catch me on the Streets.” These and the ones from the other day are all recorded on a pocket digital recorder stuck over by the PA. Not too bad for low rent recording tech. FB people might need to come to http://waymusic.way.net to hear.
I promised FB friends a link to the music I’ve been doing lately…bassist Eric Parker and I (i.e. rreplay) jammed 3 different times with rapper Chris Dixon (check him out at slimpocket.com) and keyboard player Alison Hearn. Here is a cut from that session. The second time I forgot my laptop AC chord and so just played straight through an amp in the room with no fx for a change after the battery ran out. One cut came out a little like a digital underground throwback with some conscious rapping [edit: maybe a little by way of NYC No Wavers the Contortions :)] Chris was unfortunately drowned out this session (maybe because we had live drums), but here the link gives a sense of the music and a little bit of rapping. That session we were joined by Jake, a sax player/rapper/beatmaker guy and drummer Justin. Did not catch their last names. Jake came back for an encore the third night and we got a few more good tracks. I’ll go through them and post an excerpt. rreplay is also recording some more, and hopefully we’ll finally get to mix our second album while I’m here in Boston. As usual, FB people may have to come to the blog at http://waymusic.way.net to hear stuff…never sure how that is going to work.
I have been working a little with a soundscape construction program called tapestrea from the sound lab people at Princeton. The result is a couple of second snippet of a birdcall I recorded in Manoa raised, lowered, warped, multiplied, shrunk, and stretched. The first few seconds are the complete unadulterated sample from which the rest of the piece is constructed. Try it with headphones, as the stereo placement of the tweets is pretty cool. As usual, if you are picking this up on Facebook, you may need to come to http://waymusic.way.net for the links to work and to hear the music. Hah! and I bet you thought I was going to announce I’m on twitter or some such. I haven’t seen a good reason to become a twit yet though.
The game of life is what is a mathematical game known as a cellular automaton. It creates patterns that grow and change in a seemingly organic manner that vary depending on the initial state of the game. Invented in 1970 by Cambridge mathematician John Conway, it is fairly simple to realize on a computer. It consists of a grid of squares that are either populated or not depending on a simple set of rules. The rules are as follows:
- For a space that is ‘populated’:
- Each cell with one or no neighbors dies, as if by loneliness.
- Each cell with four or more neighbors dies, as if by overpopulation.
- Each cell with two or three neighbors survives.
- For a space that is ’empty’ or ‘unpopulated’
- Each cell with three neighbors becomes populated.
Over at the bidule forum, Hansje provided a variant that instead of turning a cell on or off, assigns it a value between zero and one with the value depending on the “neighborhood” conditions. I hooked the output of it up to some effects. Actually, not the the effects, but low frequency oscillators (an LFO is a thingy that makes wave shapes that turn controls up and down, like volume or the length of an echo) that are set to sync with the drums. The LFOs are thus what gets varied, allowing the sound to get manipulated by the effects but still stay in time.
I recorded the result a while ago and decided it needed a bass, but let that go for a while, just getting around to recording it today. The song is called, of course, game of life, and a recent post reminded me of it. Thanks Hansje.
As usual, if you are on facebook reading this, you need to go to http://waymusic.way.net to get the links to the music and so forth.
I played at Mercury Bar the other night for a 20 minute or so set. Thanks to everyone who came down to hear the great poetry, improv, and me. I wanted to keep things that could go wrong to a minimum, so I did not try to record, but today for kicks I did record the same thing, more or less, as what I played at Mercury and two other songs. Here they are. Just load it in the background while you do something else.
Facebook people will need to go to http://way.net/music/audio/mercury%20set.html or else come to the blog at http://waymusic.way.net in order to hear.
Here is the missing flyer for Wednesday’s MIA night at Mercury. Starts at 7:30. Hope you can make it! The music in the link is from when I was in Philly. M said it sounded funereal.
I’ll be playing at MIA at Mercury Bar for a short set along with a great bunch of pets and other types like that the Weds. after next, starting time 8 PM. Guaranteed to entertain and amuse. In honor of my extreme case of overwhelment and disorganization, I’ll post a new song every time I figure out a new detail as far as the date and event and participants. This one is kind of fun…if you set it on repeat, it seamlessly starts over again where it ended. It is called circ’later.
[2/18…fixed link to mp3]
For my friends who might not know, looping is the one of two ways to play with yourself live and not get arrested for it (the other way is to lucubrate). The term comes from the old way of doing it, which was to take a piece of reel-to-reel tape and make an endless loop out of it by taping its end to its beginning and then running it between two decks set however far apart the loop would stretch. I’m forgetting exactly how it worked, but you could basically record on one of the decks and it would playback a few seconds later on the next one while you were still recording on the first one. Depending on the deck, it could be set up for sound on sound, so that the recording got denser as you proceeded, or it would regenerate every time it went around if not.
Echoplex first managed to fit the whole contraption in a single box, but the tape heads were only a few seconds apart at most. The cool thing was to be able to move the tape heads while playing, giving a great flying saucer/swooping effect (heard about four minutes into this song by the Mess) and generally good for dubbing out.
It got stolen or I got drunk and sold it or something, and the Mess self-destructed fairly quickly, so the old echoplex is one more of a series of musical things I wish I never sold or lost. I was more or less broke through the rest of the 80s and 90s, so I missed the new digital loopers which for a thousand bucks or so would get you maybe thirty five seconds of loop. I started messing with vst plugins and software loopers in the late nineties. I could never afford a mac or protools, instead slowly worked my way into the wild world of windoze plugins (can you say “crash?”). Discovering Plogue bidule changed everything for me, and that is what I use for live playing and spontaneous recording today.
Software loopers come in many flavors and have reduced the price point from thousands of bucks to zero, as long as you have a computer and a sound card. I still have files from an old program called ambi-loop which was not half bad, but now my main loopers are mobius, when I can keep it running, an ancient, idiosyncratic plug called ellotronix which has some cool features (here hear), and a thing called Loopy llama, which is stable and never seems to fail. Mobius is the most advanced, being a dead knockoff of the thousand dollar digital echoplex except that the loops are however long your computer can stand it and you can stack up eight of them instead of just one like the hardware version. I also really like arc-dev’s free drum looper ellipsis (here/hear in action). It is versatile and easy to control externally. I like setting that up against another “accent” percussion loop in bidule’s looper, which lets you only play portions of a loop and leave the rest silent (hear here). That last one also uses a one-bar looper called repeatler with a neat feature of letting you slice chunks out of the loop as well as put them in. The mix is not finished, so it is a bit long. Here is a shorter one using repeatler if you are either in a hurry (just listen to this) or have too much time on your hands (listen to both).
If you like any of the music, I have tons more posted at Way Music, about half of which uses loops in one way or another.
Well, I adjusted the Chipsounds post to reflect the somewhat sad state of the world, at least in the corner of it where I am living for a few months. And give another listen to the renamed first song, which I remixed much better, I think. Most of the work was on the balance between the channels, with a light touch of mastering effects and some motion added in a few spots in the mix via panning and AZ Audio’s ADoppler2. Remember, Facebook readers need to go to the blog to listen to the music.