Friday, August 20, 2010
So, production-wise, the next Eutoxita record is still in pre-production, just mostly in my head. Most of my musical energy has--quite happily--been pouring into the phoenix-like continuance of Floodwatch after Charlie's sudden departure. Which leads us into today's blog.
Much has been made over the years regarding synthesizers and drum machines and their replacement of humans. In the vein of both great sci-fi (iRobot, for example) and sketchy corporate/union battles, the introduction of electronic instruments caused a bit of a stir in the music community, particularly in the semi-lucrative session world. (Check out this NPR piece by Mitch Myers - "John Henry: Drummer vs. Drum Machine". Although it's more about turntables than it is drum machines, the idea is the same).
When Charlie left, David and I had a big decision to make: we could look for another drummer and risk the mojo we had going in our working relationship, or we could take a different kind of risk altogether. We took the second route and I hit ebay for an Akai MPC2000, a late-1990's vintage sampling drum machine. The Akai is extra hip, as it has ties to the guy who invented the sampling drum machine (which some felt threatened to put drummers out of work), Roger Linn. The uber-hipness of it, though, is that it (and its newer versions) have been a mainstay in hip-hop. Just search for "MPC2000" on YouTube and you'll see what I mean.
As regular readers (yeah...) know, David and I have a recording-only side project called My Father's Guns. You can get the back story on our collective dive into beat world in that site's blog archive. Suffice it to say that we've been abusing software-based rhythm machines and loops in MFG and decided to hijack that piece of the puzzle into Floodwatch. I tinkered with just rolling out my old laptop, but the poor thing is just too unstable. The MPC was designed to take the abuse of stage-based entertainment, so that's the horse we bet on.
So, yeah... we've been rethinking Floodwatch material with beats and loops in order to go out live again, and just to continue as a band period. Every time we finish the beats for a song and play over it, we get more excited. This is not Kraftwerk. We're grooving hard over these beats. And, perhaps most importantly, we've kept the Floodwatch sound going, which means we get atmospheric and vibey, but we also get Heavy.
One way we've kept things out of robot land is simply to keep things as live as possible. The MPC has this weird, funky, organic feel to it anyway, but we do as little timing correction as possible, and we have a pretty cool way to program. We set a tempo, let the click count us in, and David plays and sings while I play the beats on the MPC's pads. That's it. No ta-da. No ancient Chinese secret... but, man, does it make a difference. No auto-filling twos and fours here - I groove along to David's performance and it shows in the final beats.
A perfect example is a song we finished re-vamping last night, "War Child." This is one of the heavier Floodwatch tracks - it just oozes Sabbath-y sludge. On the original CD--and at live performances--Charles played this great Tool-like triplet beat on the final chorus. We've really tried to avoid just programming his original beats into the machine but this was one place where that flavor would be sorely missed. After David and I got the basic beats together, I slowed the machine down (hey, c'mon... that's a tough pattern to rock out on little rubber pads), made sure the timing correction was off, and went for it. A few overdubbed cymbal crashes later, and it had just the right stink to it.
If you want to check it out... come hear us at the Barley Pub in Dover, NH on Wednesday, August 25th at 9 PM. We're opening for When Geeks Unite.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I hope my title is wrong.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Hey there, fearless readers...
Sometime in the next two weeks, the second official EUTOXITA album, The Cry of a Bird of Prey will be released. The duplicator approved the audio masters (it’s a double-disc set) and should be notifying me soon with approval on the graphics. The second disc includes enhanced content. It’s a little clunky; I bought an old version of Macromedia Director 8 but couldn’t get Flash stuff together in time, so I fell back on an html interface. The disc includes a low-quality mov file of Nosferatu with my soundtrack embedded. It also includes my stop-motion short, Midnight Double Feature. I plan on selling it at a single-disc price, so all five of you who actually paid for a copy of trainwreck should be happy.
I have officially started the new EUTOXITA album. An acquaintance loved trainwreck but said, “Hey, where’s the country? You’ve got every style on there but country!” I offered that “When I Was a Child” is country influenced, but to no avail. I also explained that I can’t stand modern “country” and that brought us into talks of “the outlaws”—Cash, Hank Sr., Willie… Long story short, the first new song specifically written for this record* started as an old-school country waltz… and then got fed into the EUTOXITA filter. No Rascal Flats, mate. Think “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” meets Peter Gabriel.
I’ve made two other major decisions for this album. The first is that the record will, whenever possible, be a mixture of cinematic-soundscape-like textures and acoustic or rock-based instrumentation. This is where my voice (the writing one, not the singing one) has been going anyway; I’ve simply decided to be more intentional. The second is that a good portion (a third? half?) of the record will feature guest vocalists. I have, for example, already started writing a song for David Steadman (Floodwatch, MFG) to sing. It is neither Floodwatch nor MFG like in the least...
The working title of the album is voices inside outside.
*There is already one completed song that will go on the record. It was not, however, written specifically for the record.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
All I can say is... I was right about my title...
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
As much as I love tracking (I you will be able to tell with the countless washes of feedback that adorn the soundtrack--whee! Frank Zappa once said, "The disgusting stink of a too loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time."), mixing has become an incredible, edible obsession for me. I'm not saying I'm any good at it, just that I'm obsessed with it. There's a whole other level of artistry going on with mixing; it's like painting with sound.
On a final note (for now), three (well, four, as one of the "three" is/are a set) kind benefactors are assisting my future musical endeavors. First up, one kind benefactor has adopted the role of Executive Producer for The Cry of a Bird of Prey by offering to have it duplicated. The pair one (yup) have gifted me the funds to get a newer computer (soon), as the ones I have been tracking on are 5-8 years old. And, finally, a kind benefactor from the dark depths of my past (well, high school...) is gifting me some high-end digital recording gear as an upgrade from my humble Lexicon Omega interface. I aim to honor them all by cranking out oodles of music...
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Anywho (really?), I'm eagerly awaiting trainwreck. I'm somewhat annoyed with the duplicator. Apparently, I missed the part where they told you that "orders like mine" (read: small money) don't warrant individual attention. The only way I've gotten info is to pester. Even that uncovered the fact that they thought they had been sending me e-mail updates, but hadn't. Can't a brother get a little attention for three Benjamins? At any rate, I'm hoping to see a box of disks SOON.
In the meantime, fearless readers will know that I've signed up for the RPM Challenge again. I think I've also convinced my brother to sign up as an artist, and I'm hoping Lees will as well. The Army of Dorkness, er... Darkness is growing... MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Over the last couple of days, I've been tying up my gf's bandwidth downloading a DVD-quality version of Nosferatu. I have a DVD already, but it's a bit sketchy, according to the experts. The first red flag was that it's about an hour long, while the original film clocks in around an hour and a half. Of course, the original original has yet to be fully realized. Apparently, text slides were removed and lost, some sections of the film are supposed to be tinted, etc. This is all because Bram Stoker's estate sued Prana Film and the court ordered all copies destroyed. Yikes.
My plan is this: I will improvise a score on my digital piano while watching the film from start to finish, a la Neil Young's Deadman soundtrack. Once I have this musical road map down, I'll go back and add what needs to be added--upright bass (arco, most likely... the Voice of the Abyss), guitar(s), possibly drums, synth, dijeridoo... whatever. At some point, I'll chop off hunks that call for David's voice and drop them to disc. Then he'll give 'em the MFG treatment, listening and singing in his truck on his way back and forth to work. I might pull my bro in for some Floydian guitar touches. Who knows? Other than broad brush strokes, I have no intention of locking it in ahead of time. The singing will be wordless, although I am toying with the idea of doing the ubiquitous Hollywood end-credits song.
"Half a league, half a league, half a league onward..."
Friday, January 22, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
As of 3:17 PM this afternoon, I have officially uploaded the CD master and Photoshop graphics files for the eagerly-awaited (well...) first-ever EUTOXITA album, trainwreck.
That is... if I did everything correctly, which--as the name of the album might suggest--is no guarantee. However, my fingers are crossed. The final track order stayed as projected. (NOTE: When you buy the CD--hint, hint--try my brother's suggested track order: 1, 2, 4, 3, 10, 5, 6, 7, 9, 8).
I will post when I have an anticipated availability date.