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.

rreplay archive

As noted in Eric’s comment, the truly dedicated can now find everything ever recorded by rreplay in the rrepository.  Find out more at rreplay’s home page, part of way music.

rreplay

Eric and I are putting together a demo cd to get gigs, and we will sort out what we think are the best cuts from our recordings here. If anyone is out there, we would love to know what you think of the songs. We have decided to call the band rreplay. We had been initialing all the songs rrep for Eric (EP) and me (RR), and Karen came up with a whole bunch of song titles punning on words beginning with “rep.” We thought rreplay sort of captures what we’re doing then, no? Anyway, on to the music.

My favorite thing we’ve done as of right now is a very loose cover of a chicha song by Los Mirlos — “Sonido Amazonico.” Ours is going by the name of “Amazonia Dub” right now. Chica is hybrid pyschedelic surf twang cumbia music played by hard partying Peruvians who had come to the oil boom cities of Amazonian Peru in the 1960s. Great stuff. You can find out more at Los Mirlos’s website and at Barbes Records, where you can hear a whole collection of Chicha songs. Once I heard it I had to get the album!

My second favorite song that clocks in under ten minutes is this one, which for now is called “cool keep” (We have to figure out what to do with the longer stuff, like this trip-hoppy kind of thing). I also like this little slide blues from last week. This is its rowdier sister. We’ll probably put one blues thing on just to mix it up.

Well, that’s all for now. As always check out all the free music on way.net if you like what you’ve found here.

Way Music…some new music

Eric Parker, from Boston, is in town for a few more months. He is a great bass player and we have been having weekly jams. You can hear him in his Boston outfit, a free form music project back east called Rabid Owl. We are probably going to set up a few gigs under the “way music” moniker (alternate name: rrep) as soon as I can get the laptop stable enough to take out. Here are some cuts from a recent session:

  • outer time” bass and granulated guitar
  • rreplay“– I’ll probably chop of the end jam a bit as it gets rrepetitive.
  • B&D” — don’t worry, it stands for bass and drums, the latter of which get a bit dubbed out.
  • Eric in the Evening in Reverse,” a 40 minute jam that we think progresses in the opposite way from Boston Jazz DJ Eric Jackson, who has a show called Eric in the Evening on WGBH. Jackson starts a set with some mellow jazz and gradually, imperceptibly, edges the music toward more and more out there. Monisha and I used to regularly put him on for dinner thinking “this is nice” only to be lured into a squawking, raucous, usually really interesting excursion. We start with the rawk and mellow out later, hence the title.

All the songs are mp3, stereo at 192k, recorded in one take, Eric Parker on bass, Rich Rath on guitars and computer. As always, share them, download them tell your friends. If you are interested in hearing more of my various projects, check out Way Music. We’d love to hear from you if you listen to us, so leave a comment.

Tony Miles and Kevin Kooyumjian

Rich Rath and Tony MilesJust got back from a visit to the Bay Area. We took a trip down to Monterey Bay one afternoon, and I got to meet, hear, and jam a little with some great musicians, Tony Miles and Kevin Kooyumjian. Continue reading “Tony Miles and Kevin Kooyumjian”