Just spent a few weeks at Eric and Karen’s in Somerville recording new stuff and remixing some older ones. Here are four new songs then. the link will take you to a new page which will play in the background. FB people may have to visit way music (http://waymusic.way.net) to get it to play. never can tell!
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.
The Kolkata monsoon, promised weeks ago, may have finally arrived this evening with the first rain in some time. In honor thereof, please cool off a few degrees by listening to the following, in no particular order, except you must listen to the new cut from rreplay, “Wash Away,” first last or in between.
- Rreplay, “Wash Away,” from our most recent sessions, this one on June 9.
- Jimi Hendrix, “Rainy Day, Dream Away.” Jimi, with killer sax over jazzy organ…sit back and groove on a rainy day.
- Velvet Underground, “Hey Mr. Rain (version 1),” Where John Cale gets it all to himself.
- Beatles, “Rain,” psychedelic classic, backwards guitar, how can you go wrong?
- Robert Johnson, “Come on into my Kitchen,” You can feel the humidity and the vague sense of threat in this one.
- Elmore James, “The Sky is Crying,” Listen for “and I WUNDAH,” one of the greatest single vocal phrases in the blues.
Back to Boston tomorrow night…not sure if I’ll get another Kolkata post in before returning to the states.
Went to hear Ozomatli and an East LA band that I had not heard of before, Upground. Both were great. Ozomatli was one of the best live gigs I’ve ever heard. More later, once I get done with some of my real job.
After a very busy couple of months, finally a little post. Just finished mixing rreplay’s dnb piece “multigrain serial tiller.” Give it a listen! I have lots to write, just no time to write it. There are some great developments on the DIY scene, bringing multitouch to the masses. I have to post some of my soundscapes from last summer’s trip to Kolkata. One of my favorite bands, deerhunter, has a new album out…soon come, byem bye writem.
Eric and I are slowly sorting through our collection to find candidates for the next album. I’ll post a couple of mine for right now because I haven’t gotten to remixing Eric’s mixes, as he only has Garageband and the mp3s sound kind of fizzy when processed by it. As always, it’s just Eric on bass and me on guitar and laptop. No overdubs, all live. First up is “cutter” — the mix of the day with a lead in the middle that sounds to me like very acidy Beatles. “Sizzle” is a bomping one-note workout. The hosebeast, one of arcDev‘s creations turned all into a single note with lots of different tones. But its a great note. “Cubanecho” vaguely recalls exile-era Stones trying to play a Latin groove from the bottom of a swimming pool. Ksshuck emulates ZZ top playing disco with a whomping bass drum…watch yr woofers. As always, leave comments if you listen…we’d love to hear from you.
Another plugin maker who makes cool music is Skye Klein from Australia, who plays under the moniker of Terminal Sound System along with a bunch of other projects. His music, in TSS anyway, is dubby, minimalist, occasionally bordering on ambient but at other times moving towards industrial glitching. His latest album is Compressor, and another, Constructing Towers, is due out soon You can hear the latest music at the TSS site. His older stuff is all downloadable from Embryo Records. Among my favorites from the old stuff are minimal tolerance to injected errata, deep trauma, and tomorrow will not come, though I have not really listened to the whole catalogue yet.
His plugin and software site is arcDev Noise Industries, which has a frustratingly cool web interface that evokes some alien version of DOS or the ancient gopher net protocol. Type ‘help’ if you can’t figure it out.
I use two of his plugins a lot. The first is the aptly named hosebeast, which you can hear in action on rreplay‘s sizzle. Hosebeast is a “5-part fx processor for noisy, lofi, glitchy and general audio mayhem” with a filter, granulator, warper, bitcrusher, and ring modulator in any combination, including multiples of the same. In other words a FSU device.
The other great arcDev plugin is arcDev’s entry in the 2007 KVR Developers’ Challenge plugin contest, Ellipsis. It, along with mdsp‘s livecut, which I’ll discuss in its own post some time, are responsible for the drums in cubanecho and f it from rreplay. Cubanecho also relies on mdsp’s entry in the 2006 KVR Developers’ Challenge, fire. If you take a guitar and set it standing up with the strings against a tabletop, then pull it away a little and let go, then the strings will bounce on the edge of the tabletop ever more rapidly, just so: Booooooooing Booooing Boooing Boing Bng Bn bn bnbnbnbnbn (I take no responsibility for any damage to guitars or furniture this may cause). Mdsp has figured out how to mathematically model that warping speed change using delays in fire.
The way Ellipsis works is that you load ten samples into it, most usefully, drum loops that will more or less go together. You have to tweak the settings a bit to make the drums play at the right (or wrong!) speed. Then when you hit a corresponding note on your midi controller (usually a keyboard, but I use a footboard), it triggers the loop. You can set it for any BPM and it will speed up or slow down your loop accordingly, or sync it to your plugin host. If you only like the last half or the first quarter of the loop, you can play just that, or play it in reverse. One useful way to set it is to put the same drum loop in several times and play different portions of it frontwards or backwards to give some variation to the drums.
So that’s it for today. I couldn’t find any of mdsp’s music to play for you, but I hope you enjoy rreplay and Terminal Sound System.
I finally broke down and bought Oli Larkin‘s great dronebox and polycomb VSTs. I’ve been using an old demo version of dronebox for a while, but when I figured out how to run midi notes out of my guitar into the polycomb filter, the results were too cool so I straightened up and bought it. Dronebox is a set of six or seven resonant comb filters with all sorts of tweakable settings. You tune each one to a note, and when the corresponding note gets fed through, it resonates like a sympathetic string. I use it as the wash in these two ambient pieces: “ambient 040328” and “ambient 040428“. The loop is recorded live with the elogoxa Elottronix plugin, which has a great filter section you can hear tweaked in both pieces. A bit more rocking, this song combines the dronebox with another of my favorite plugs, Krakli’s TrAmp, in a song suitably named “dronebox tramp.” This time the looper is loopy llama or mobius, can’t remember which. Both are great…I’ve generally gone with loopy llama lately ‘cuz its simpler and uses less resources. You can hear it a lot in rreplay, where TrAmp, Dronebox, and DK+ drums, all get worked out regularly in plogue bidule. Mobius is a spot-on emulation of the Gibson echoplex. You can use the same manual for most of the controls. Oh, except mobius is like having 8 echoplexes. Oh, and with unlimited loop length. Oh, and its free instead of about a thousand bucks.
And now back to Oli’s plugins. If you want to know what polycomb will do to guitar, check out this freshly recorded piece, polycombatose, where I am just working through all the presets. The looper is loopy llama this time, recording just the bass (the trusty Hohner slammer run through an electri-Q eq and ruby tube tube emulator). Missing Eric on the bass… The drums on both dronebox tramp and polycombatose are from nusofting’s most excellent DK+ drum machine, this time imitating an ancient Acetone rhythm box. In order to get midi notes out of the guitar, I use G-Tune (which besides being a strobe-accurate tuner, converts the signal it reads to a midi note) and then run its midi out to a maple midi port. Of course, everything is played and recorded in one take via the ever-amazing plogue bidule.
Leave a comment if you wish, would love to know if you are listening.
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!