My buddy Beale was an alt-rock god in LA when he played guitar for Lutefisk. His guitar playing was melodic and yet wildly abrasive and noisy. pop perfection really. Part of his secret was hand crafted effects, creative routing, using tubes he found in abandoned electrical appliances on the street, and Beales famous guitar tuning: E-A-C#- E- A- B. Try it out.
Cool new music: I think it sounds like 90’s shoegaze music played with synths and drum machines. But to those who are in the know, it goes by Dreampop, Chillwave and Glo-Fi. So far my fave band is Washed Out. But I also enjoy Blackbird Blackbird and have been told I should check out Toro Y Moi, Memory Tapes, Teen Daze, and Millionyoung. I love shoegaze, electronic and psych music. this has lots of reverb and delay (which I love). Blackbird Blackbird seems to enjoy sidechaining the entire mix though, which can become grating after awhile. I do seem to remember stories floating around where My Bloody Valentine supposedly ran whole mixes through a phaser, and I love those records.
Free samples: A guy named Epoch over at the dubstep forum made an interesting percussion kit from a bunch of stuff in his kitchen. Here’s the link.
a guy named Chad Kirk posted a track that was built around these sounds. very nice. check him out as well.
and here’s an oddly touching video about a fork and a spoon
Click the player to hear “You Have No Peace.”
Wish I used one of these
I made this song as a result of an experiment I was doing. Put a reverb send up for a guitar track, and then put a pitch shifter on the reverb. Played around with automating the pitch and I liked the results. If you just listen to the guitar track, there are a bunch of weird overtones and it starts to sound like trumpets and strings are playing in the distance.
Spacemen 3 how I love thee
It was really just meant to be an experiment, but the results reminded me of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, so I made a song out of it. A glorified drone really. I bounced out just the reverb signal and pitch shifted that as well, which really made it droney.
Logic’s Pitch Shift is a pretty simple affair
Did the drums with Ocean Way Drums which I got in a group buy awhile back. They sound pretty real and live to my ears. Also used AAS String Studio. I took a clean electric guitar “jazz” patch, and added fuzz, rotovibe, wah-wah, and finally a healthy dose of tape delay. Logic has a pretty awesome tape delay and I find myself reaching for it constantly.
Brian Eno’s tape delay set-up
I love to just tinker with the whole process, and figuring out what different types of effects and routing will do. That said, I am a complete novice and my desire to hear something outweighs the skills I have in finding those sounds. Fun to play though.
I’m more like the monkey
I think this song would be pretty cool performed live, with real instruments and real musicians. I have 2 kids and a computer, so it is what it is.
My friend Bryn took this picture
I have always loved science fiction, and horror movies; Creature Features, paperback books and Aurora monster models were a big part of my childhood. I always wished that I could see a UFO, but it never happened . I won’t say that they don’t exist, but if they do, we’ll never see one (it’s much too far a distance to fly to Earth from somewhere else).
I have posted this song already, but I put together a video for it. Haven’t had any time to record lately, so I have been messing around with iMovie on my lunch breaks.
I got the footage that I used from the internet archive, which is a great site. They have a ton of open source and public domain films, music and other stuff. I have spent hours on the site just poring through old home movies, sci-fi commercials from the 50’s.etc… There is a great 2 hour documentary someone made in the 50’s about their familys camping trips.
I think I still have a lot to learn about iMovie; the audio track sounds a little warbley to me at points, while the original sounds fine. I guess I could read the manual, but then I would have spent my break reading (as opposed to cranking out a lo-fi video). All in all, a really fun program (probably as I enjoy tweaking on things).
Hope you enjoy the video, it’s really cheesy, but that’s how I pictured it.
click the player to hear “Outside”
My friend Aaron Embry lives in Nashville and plays piano for all kinds of great people. Daniel Lanois, Willie Nelson, Brian Eno and Elliot Smith are just some of the people he has worked with. He was also in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I think his solo stuff is where he really shines though. It’s like Gershwin composing an avant garde space pop theater piece. Very heady stuff. When he lived in LA, we used to do shows together and I always found him to be one of the most creative musicians on the scene. His latest project is called We Are Each Other, and it’s wonderful.
Check out We Are Each Other here
I wrote this song Outside, and at the time I was pretty much thinking “what would Aaron do?” So I just started playing what sounded like haunting chords (at least to me), and then started singing about aliens coming from the sky. It’s a little apocalyptic.
The inspiration for the lyrics actually came from a trilogy of sci-fi books I read in 3rd grade. Tripods Trilogy (The White Mountains / The City of Gold and Lead / The Pool of Fire). These creatures came from space, and took over the world. They drove around in giant tripods, and lived in giant domes that replicated the atmosphere of their home planet. Scary stuff for a 3rd grader.
get the Tripods Trilogy here
The only instruments that I used for this tune, were a Roland SH-101 synth (the grey one), and a horrible digital piano that I borrowed from a friend (hey it’s better than nothing). It turned out pretty well for as fast as it was recorded, but I was thinking of re-recording it as I have better gear now.
click to Hear “I’m Just Fine”
Wrote this song awhile back as an indie rock fuzz pop tune. I ended up getting bored one day and re-working it as an 80’s synth pop number. Picture a John Hughes movie.
I recorded this all with freeware stuff. I believe the synths are Automat and Alpha (both in the freeware section). Wish I could remember what I used for the drum track. The thing I love about MIDI is you can crank stuff out really fast if you have an idea what you want to do. You don’t have to tune anything or plug anything in. Perfect if you have only a limited amount of time to record.
These pictures are little miniature pieces of gear that were lovingly crafted by a guy named Dan McPharlin. You can see all of his work (and even buy some of it here:
Cool Miniature Gear
You may or may not have noticed that the blog has a new look. Still tweaking it, and need to add my links section back in. I have a bunch of new spots I’ve been haunting so I will add them all into the final layout.
click the link above to hear “I Need Gasoline”
I wrote this song awhile ago; it’s about my neighborhood Echo Park. At the time it was really a pretty bad neighborhood and I had a real love/hate relationship going on with it. Things have been looking up for a little while now, and while it can still be a little rough, I’m feeling a lot better about the place. Weird mix of people.
This song was recorded using a cheap $100 Kay guitar that I bought from http:www.larkinthemorning.com. they are an awesome acoustic instruments store with a focus on obscure instruments. i would recommend getting their catalog as it makes for great gear porn. I drooled over it every night before bed for months.
I recorded this in Logic, and the mic was a MXL USB mic (since replaced), drums are the indie kit that comes with Logic and Garageband, and the synth is Automat free. It’s listed in my freeware section, so go grab it. Very nice synth. The delay was Logics Stereo Delay, and I think I used the Sample Delay to get the panning on the acoustic reverb.
This tune could use a re-mix as I did it really quick and there a few things that bother me about it (although I won’t point them out here). Think of this as urban hillbilly music.
Driving (with my girlfriend)
I wrote this song awhile back and just made it up as I went along. It’s your basic 90’s style Pavement rip-off; nothing original here at all, but it kept me entertained for a few hours.
Back before I got Logic, I was recording on Garageband. This was one of the tunes I recorded at that point. Nothing really fancy or complicated. The synth I used was Automat It’s a really great free synth, and the folks who put it together seem really into it.
The guitars were all done with my old tele, my crappy Ibanez bass and Podfarm. A lot of people seem to hate Podfarm for some reason, but I like it. There are some technical aspects of it that drive me nuts on a mac, but I have always found a way around them. Haven’t upgraded to the new version yet as I can’t seem to find a reason. Drums were done with EZDrummer.
I originally gave this song away to anyone who wanted to add something to it. Quite a few people took me up on my offer, and created their own versions of the tune. After a couple were done, I felt really lame that I couldn’t finish my own song, so I ended up writing lyrics and a melody for it.
I wrote it about how my girlfriend and I used to drive around for hours, exploring side streets and greasy spoon diners in out of the way towns. Nicole is now my wife, we don’t thrift shop anymore, and it’s a little hard to do those aimless drives with a 3 year old and a newborn.
here’s some other versions of this tune:
I bought a homemade banjo the other day at a swap meet for $20. Actually plays really well, stays in tune and sounds like a banjo. That’s my Harmony Broadway to the left, and to the right you can see a duck decoy my daughter likes to play with.
The guy I bought it from made it from a Carvin electric guitar neck, that he bolted onto a snare drum. As a “bridge,” there are holes drilled into the snare body that the strings pass through.
Waltz Of Time (re-mix by Jim Bouchard)
I have posted this song before, but here is a re-mix my friend Jim Bouchard did. He’s a really talented guy, love his sound. Very much on the mellow tip with primarily organic instruments, but definitely can go all over the place when he feels the need. He basically threw away all my tracks except for the vocals. Love his use of pump organ, kalimba and BANJO. my version was a lot busier, he really stripped it down.
Here is Jim’s music page
There is a screw on capo above the nut that keeps the string tension taut.
Carvin tuning gears. Carvin always makes me think of hair-metal bands in the 80’s. But they are good quality. worth $20 right there. if you figure in the capo, the neck and the snare shell, I got a really great deal.
That hunk of wood bracing the neck looks like it used to be a coffee table leg joint. Check out the mismatched screw. pretty crafty actually. The banjo plays great, actually pretty much feels like my Tele.
This is total pop fluff, weighing in at about a minute and a half.
I recorded this song with my friends Scott and Io (for a record that is yet to come out). We recorded it live, with the exception of the guitar overdub and the Casio overdub.
We went camping at Jalama Beach, and Io and I had to get there early to claim a spot. Had the acoustic guitar so we worked out the harmonies and recorded this a few days later when we got back.
I used my tele for the wah wah stuff, and my trusty Harmony Broadway for the rest of the song. I got the Harmony one time when I was on tour; paid $50 for it because I happened to have mutual friends with the guy at the music store.
Io is about to have a baby (if she hasn’t by now), and I wish her luck.
Another song; this time it’s about a guy who is stuck in outer space.
Stars and Dust
He misses the people that he knows back on earth, but there is no way to get back. He misses simpler times and outdated technology.
There is something to be said for things that you normally take for granted.
Simplicity = serenity
Technology = thought
Now to go study some embryology