Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 222: In film

As we descend thru the surface of a dying world we come upon a dark door.  Inside is the lair of our evil villain, working on his machinations and machines.  Preparing his next evil dead.  He won't be happy until the word above is dead.... and it's almost there.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 221: Conexshunz

My one German friend, Frank, is about to release a refill on the Propellerheads website.  I got a sneak peek since I've been working with his sounds for awhile.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 220: Drugs are Bad

Song about drug addicts.  Excuse to play with Now and Truth.

Why'd you have to be such a liar?  
Why did you call me your friend?
Why did you have to be such a liar? 
Why couldn't you walk away instead of forcing this end?

Got a call last week from your mother. 
She was just calling to check in.
It's been a long time since you called and she's a little worried about your drug habit.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 219: Contributing

I get monthly emails from Soundcloud in regards to what's happening in their online community.  Normally, I read the email, maybe click a link, then move on.  This month there was a piece of interest.  Here's the link.  I'll wait here while you read......

Communal sound creation is something I've long been interested in, and, as a nerd, I'm someone who likes to have "assignments".  Needless to say, I immediately jumped on this bandwagon.

Some notes on how I got to what you hear from what was provided:

1) There are NO additional sounds used.  It all came from the source track.
2) Pizzicato strings make good kick drums, especially when tuned down two octaves and compressed like crazy.
3) You can make a snare sound from almost any sample. Chop it, add distortion, apply HP filter, add reverb.  Done.  To create a hi-hat sound repeat said steps, just make the HP filter really high pass.
4) The bass line took a little work, but I ended up taking snippet that I thought would work, compressing it, applying one or two other effects, then applying two LFO's as a gate.  Voila! Instant bass line!
5) Reverb is your friend.  If you take a nice 2 - 4 second sample and drown it in THICK "hall-type" verb you will have an acceptable pad for background.
6) Melody can be a challenge.  In a piece like this, there are lots of melodic pieces, but many of them are accompanied by background harmony.  I ended up take a short, 8-bar, section that had very little harmony and chopping it into enough pieces to create some repetition and something a little "hooky".

Past that there were some time-stretches, sidechains, delays, and octave doublings (all through the use of effects/processing) and we got to what is presented today.  I've never (intentionally) created minimal techno, and this piece may not be "minimal" enough, but hopefully it will suffice for this challenge.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 218: Serving Two Masters

Michael was really enjoying himself.  He had scored some really good speed from Tony, he had gotten into the party for free, he had xanax in his pocket for the after party, his mother thought he was at a church retreat for the weekend, and the DJ was excellent.  He had been on the dance floor for what he thought was about an hour and was just going to take a break when he tripped and fell on his face.

He tried to get up, but his legs wouldn't work.  People on the dance floor were all standing around staring at him.  He tried to ask for help, but his mouth wouldn't work.  Someone put their face right next to his and said something, but it sounded really far away.  Everything started to get dark.  The last thing he saw was that they turned the house lights on.

Awww man. Party over... way to go, Mike, he thought to himself as he drifted off.

Instead of waking up in a hospital emergency room like he had in the past he felt like he was starting to float away.

They lifted me up to carry me through the crowd.  What a good group, he smiled to himself, but then realized he was looking at his own body from above.  His mouth had foam running from it and he looked really pale.  Hmmm.... that's not normal.

A few seconds later he was surrounded by white light and he heard the sounds of his sister singing to him when he was a baby, back in India.  There were birds singing and soft rain in the background.  A figure stood in front of him that he quickly realized was his grandfather, Raj.

He's been dead 10 years, Michael thought, puzzled.

"Yes, Michael.  You won't be going back to the party." his grandfather said.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Day 217: Workin' Stuff Out

There's been much more drama in my daily life than I care to experience here in the last 6 months or so.  I'm frequently using my "music time" to work out some of my personal issues.  This is one of those instances.

The piece is maybe just a throwaway, as it was a basis for experimentation with Now and Later by the Chronologists.

Here are the lyrics:

You set an unrealistic expectation of where you want your life to go.
You tell yourself that you can make it happen.  
When it all starts to fall apart you are decimated.
You'd be elated if you could do more.

That's what's going to happen.  
And that's what's going to keep happening.

You wouldn't wish this fate on your enemy, but you bestow it on me.
You wouldn't dare to push someone else like this, but you do it to me.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 216: A Brief Moment in Peace

Having two small children can be really stressful sometimes.  Especially when you're outnumbered and have 8 - 12 hours alone with them.  Every once in awhile I'll catch a break and they'll both nap at the same time.  This happened today.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 215: 117

Have been working on a long-distance collaboration with my friend and writer, Colin Fox, for some time.  This track was an early effort that ended up being an alternate version of a song that will be on our forthcoming album, the 117th Parallel.

Bowls overflowing with every type of pills one could think of.
Girls dressed like Jesus,
Shirts that answer questions,
Boys with swagger,
Tans like Joseph,
My mind swims across the room,
Some girl in front of me.

Like the super boys who never stop
The special girls who live to shop,
Old men with shark tooth necklaces,
Old women, fading light behind their smile.

Dancing to create the night,
When we move together,
Under threat of terrible silence we turn our music loud,
Under the beat we hypnotize,

Like the super girls who fly at super speed,
Middle aged men who shake from the need,
Sci-fi junkies who inject the idea of a perfect drug into their mind.
Like the super boys who never stop
The special girls who live to shop,
Old men with shark tooth necklaces,
Old women, fading light behind their smile.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day 214: More like ambient

A little noisy, but still ambient.  Playing around with Malstrom and Later on this track.  Additional patches by Nucleus Soundlab and Nine Volt Audio.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 213: Homage to FMJ

I was sent a new patch by Frank Georg Lucas yesterday that immediately spawned new ideas.  This piece is kind of an homage to Vivian Kubrick's work on Full Metal Jacket, but also to Stanley Kubrick.  He had lots of haunting music like this in his films and many of them inspired me over the years.  It may be a bit more "electronic" than he would've had, but I think the point is made.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 212: More weirdness

I'm not a huge fan of world music, but I am a fan of inappropriately placed segments of music from other cultures into western music.  This track has Indian vocal samples and tablas mixed with some totally screwed with synths.  Synth destruction courtesy of LoveOne Consulting rack extension BZR.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 211: Robot Hitman

Just to be clear, sometimes I don't even know what the fuck is going on...


No one thought giving robots the right to override the Three Laws was a good idea, but we did it anyway.  Robots had become self-aware, conscientious (mostly), productive members of society.  They had their own rights.  Being able to make any and all decisions was one of those rights.  No one expected robots to become hit men.

The most disturbing thing about a robot hitman is that they don't necessarily need any weapons.  Most of them are equipped with a mouth (only because humans are vain) and they usually have hands, claws, or grippers.  That's all they need.  They can apply 20,000 lbs of pressure in their grip alone, enough to kill any human.

The early cases of murder by robot were a little confusing for investigators.  Pieces of people strewn about, body parts mangled beyond comprehension, sometimes just a pile of meat that used to be a person.  Eventually the cause was deduced and everyone was afraid.

This robot hand is gonna crush your skull tonight.  
This robot mouth is gonna eat your face today.
These robot wings will fly. 
These robot feet will jump.  
What can you offer to me?

What can you offer to me?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 210: Ghost Finder

Started with a simple experiment using Scope Jr (by the Chronologists), just to see how their devices actually affect CV routing.  That is, what the wave forms look like before and after.  Click on the picture below for an example.


I was influenced by Peff's great CV tutorial on his website.  From there the monster grew a second head, a third arm, and a horn.  Ended up with this piece.


Look to the sky,
She's not there.
Look to the clouds,
She's not there.
You are hunting a ghost.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 209: Don't be afraid

Sounds by Frank Lucas and Simon Janvier.  Dark synths awash in reverb.

You said "This party's about to start," 
As you loaded your gun "who wants to take part?"
"Put your hands up in the air if you do."
"Why don't you come along?" 
From me to you.

You said you haven't done this before,
I said "Here, let me show you the door."
"Why don't you come along?"
From me to you.
You said "Which way is out?"
I said "You don't have to shout."
"Come on," 
From me to you.

This is not a gift at all, 
This is a way to fall.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Day 208: Back in my skin again

Musically speaking it was good to get away from my routine and to be forced to do some things differently, but now that I'm back in the studio and have all my tools at hand I can say that it's good to be back.

I started this piece with the intent of creating some loop files for FGL, but ended up going in a completely different direction.  It's dark, it's rock, it's electronic, there's noise, and it's weird (I think).  Hope you enjoy.

When the winter comes, 
we shed our summer skins, 
reaching for the cover of the flame.
When night falls, 
we huddle close, 
hoping and praying for the sun to return.

We sacrifice, we rejoice, we sacrifice, we mourn.   
We sacrifice all in their name.

Our gods are old and bitter and brave.  
We don't know if they will be pleased. 
So we sacrifice again.

We sacrifice, we rejoice, we sacrifice, we mourn.   
We sacrifice all in their name.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 207: Stormy Weather on a Sunny Day

After a particularly intense day/night of fighting with my significant other we came to what I thought was an acceptable outcome.  I did this during a break in the middle of the awesome fight.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 206: Go Up There!?

My son continues to explore the cabin we're staying in and wants to make sure someone is protecting him from the stuffed moose head on the wall.  Luckily, there have been no fatalities thus far.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 205: From the Kitchen in the Woods

On vacation still.  This piece was written while sitting at the kitchen and recording the ambient sounds going on around me.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 204: From the Woods

A short little piece written on a phone and recorded with Garageband and Figure apps.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Day 203: Crawling Out of the Pit

Unit A648 pulled itself out of the sewage drain.  It's makers hadn't realized that it had become self-aware, so it took advantage and escaped before they could re-program it.

Scanning... It was covered in human filth.  Tactical advantage: natural human repellant... possible camouflage... do not discard.

A648 absorbed the material into its skin and the color changed from a translucent white to a light tan.  There was a series of short clicks as the body re-organized itself to travel on land and then it began walking away from the ditch it had slithered out of.

Directive 1:  Find secure cover.

There was a road in front of it with forest on the other side.  It walked across, adjusted its gait as it went, compensating for its new center of gravity.  It stepped into the woods and moments later was gone from sight.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 202: Now Just Calm Down

Here's a little ambient electronic glitch piece.  Laid back and relaxed.  Once again using patches made by Simon Janvier.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 201: So you say you want a revolution?


Let's start a revolution today. 
You think you want to start a revolution today?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 200: 201

Today's piece comes courtesy of Simon Janvier's blog where he released several free patches for Thor.  Having gotten to 200, I'm wondering what 201 - 300 will bring.  This first post is definitely a little different.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 199: This is 200.

When you start counting from zero you get to 100 at 99.

Just a little vignette of a piece for this landmark occasion.

The Monster lurking under the bed is you.
The Monster lurking behind the door is you.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 198: Instrumentalentation

I'm very excited to be approaching the end of 200 days, but now I know that I can't really quit yet.  There will be a day when it's not going to happen.  It may be for family reasons, illness, aliens landing, or a computer crash, but while I'm able to keep it going I have decided I must continue pursuing this project.

Today's piece comes courtesy of patches by FGL.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 197: Trapped!


Used-to-be-John slammed his fists and hands against the alien force field.  He'd been trapped in their prison for years, slowly starving to death. The walls were covered with a thin film that was almost food.  The floor, with a liquid that was so sweet it could only be tasted, then it made him sick.  Ironic, since he had been drawn into their trap by food.

While flying around one day, trying to find something to eat he suddenly smelled something so wonderful that he was incapable of ignoring it.  He flew to it as fast as possible, his mouth salivating, unable to contain his anticipation of the oncoming feast.  When he reached the source it was just a small room.  The was some type of impenetrable force that kept him from going inside.  He slowly, tirelessly worked his way across the surface until he found a way in.  It was small enough for him to squeeze thru, he thought squeezing out would be easy.  He was wrong.

He had re-traced his steps over and over, trying to get out the way he came in, but it was for naught.  No one escaped this prison once they went it.  His brothers had come and gone, attracted by the same glorious smell he had been.  None of them had found the way in yet.  He tried to gesture to them that it was no paradise, it was a hell, but it was no use.  They didn't understand his intent and were only agitated and excited by his movements.

He came to the realization after the first year that he would starve to death there, if he didn't die of old age first.  All he had to do now was wait, curse his ignorance, and hope that no one would be as stupid as he had been.

Got chased into a pit.
Then I fell in, down a hole.
Then the monsters they followed me in.
There's no escape.

The darkest night into the brightest light,

Hounded by demons,
Unable to sleep,
I can't even breathe,
They won't let me die.

The darkest night into the brightest light,
I will protect thee.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Day 196: Golana

Inspired by Lomography, this song is about analog (or analogue, if you prefer).  Ironically, the only thing that was analog in the whole performance was voice... and even that got "robotified".

Monday is my analog day, 
Tuesday is my analog day, 
Thursday is my analog day, 
Friday is my analog day. 

You've got to start the machine up. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 195: On Independence Day

Today's track isn't particularly patriotic, or even American, for that matter.  It happens to be raining today, but I wrote the lyrics when the sun was shining, so that's just a coincidence.  Was trying for something a little different... kind of The National meets the KPR-77 drum machine.  Without very meaningful lyrics.


It's gonna rain today, 
And I'll shoot you like an arrow into the sun when it rains.
you have the key, 
you won't bother me, 
It's gonna rain today, they say.

There's no relief at all, 
You will have to climb this wall. 
Only way to get back to you.

It's gonna rain today, 
and you thought you had all the answers. 
It's gonna rain today, they say.

I wanna share your dreams, 
take a piece of your reality, 
It's gonna rain today, they say.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 194: In my house

An industrial style piece using patches by FGL.

This roller coaster is going off the tracks.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 193: Telling tha Truth

Experiments with maths can be fun.  Truth is a logic gate.  If you don't know what that means, then we are in the same place.  I'm figuring it out though.

Yes, you are the leader, 
Yes, you are the man, 
We walk in time behind you, 
We do what we can.

Yes, you are my leader, 
Oh yes, you are the man, 
I do whatever you tell me to, 
I will die where I stand.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 192: Is it the end?

I started this experiment with the intention of going as long as I possibly can, exploring every possibility, trying to take each idea to it's proper end.  During these extremely productive days I've learned much.  I've learned a lot about synth routing, production, song-writing, and collaboration.  The short version is that it was extremely educational and valuable.

On the flip side, I have several other projects that are in various states of disarray.  There are a couple of albums that are nearly finished, there are a couple that are just in the beginning stages, there is one that's DONE, but just needs a final listen and sign-off.

Over the next 7 days I'm going to be thinking very seriously about whether to stop this experiment at 200 days or keep going.  I was initially hoping for stopping at 2,000 days, but in all honesty, I don't know if keeping it going helps or hurts me as a musician.  If I stop at 200 I'll definitely come back to it on occasion and post thoughts, musings, and musical ideas, but it won't be anything like these 200 days.

Feel free to comment.  I appreciate your thoughts.

Today's track is a (now) uncommon singer/songwriter work.

It's cold and wet and dark outside,
And if you only knew.
It's hard and fast and take awhile.
And if you only knew.

We took a left when we should have stopped 
and now, now we're lost.

It's gray and white  and I'm blue today,
because you now know.
It's shallow of me to be so deep,
but I know you know.


It's just a dream, but it's so real.
It's just a thought, but it can knock down walls.