sinister chemical wisdom

2010.04.24

Ennui by yukbon
I made this using a mixer i got for 50$ via craigslist, my tele, audacity and the onboard mic on my netbook (couldn’t get my mic/cable back from eden in time) last week. Reading Xibie’s words put me in a Jesu mood, but the music that came out was very much not that. But I like it, so there you have it. The Good Witch said it reminded her of Aphex, and both she and Kat thought that the laughing was my voice (it’s a sample), Eden said it reminded him of GYBE! if they were a 1-man-band consisting of the guitarist who didn’t get into the band (uh…thanks ed?).

you just don’t do that

2010.02.17

Always the same, always different

2009.11.03

The role of the bass varies on the music, of course. New Order made the bass a melodic, lead instrument and the drum machine and synths the ‘new’ bass instrument; a lot of the Beatles’ stuff with those slinky Paul basslines he’s known for also works as kind of a lead guitar. A lot of funk or fusion stuff mutates the bass into something else like a drum (e.g. Primus) or a staccatto guitar (Victor Wooten with Bela Fleck, for ex).  But for the most part, the bass functions as the center of a piece, tonally and emotionally. It becomes the simplest abstraction to a piece, implying chords and melody (when not explicitly stating both — Jaco was good at that, but his jazz sensibility meant that the songs weren’t ‘pop’, I think this is the crucial je ne sais quois that McCartney’s basslines really brought to the Beatles’ songs — his basslines were melody, they had a pop sensibility and they still kept the crux of the song intact. Bach’s counterpoint stuff does that too. A lot of it is simply that a low tone has a lot of room to play in and will resonate longer. Once you get the air moving, it wants to keep moving, and low tones go through just about anything (and really high tones — this is why marching bands will have a single flute or piccolo player, often, they cut right through all the mids).

I don’t know why I’m even thinking of all this stuff. Olive Oyl and her Tattoo’d Man broke up and I picked up his old bass at their we’re-breaking-up-and-getting-different-places-so-buy-our-old-shit garage sale for 20$, maybe that’s it.

Here’s the band that John Peel called ”always the same, always different”

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thou art thine art

2009.03.13

I enjoy making stuff.

Let me ‘splain. No, takes too long, let me sum up:

creating is fun. you make a new thing and ideally in the process you learn something about yourself even if it’s something trivial like “i was able to finish this stupid tiny goal”.  Not every song has to be some Leonard Cohen self-torture brutally honest thing about how Janis Joplin blew you in a hotel room (no, really). Sometimes it has to be. Sometimes you gotta blow off steam about whatever — war or how you can’t stand your fucking job or how that evil bitch broke your heart or whatever. I’ve found that to do that type of stuff justice I have to focus, I can really only get to the austereness, the economy of language that says it exactly right, if I grind against the thing, let it fester like a thorn in my side and then I can think about it dispassionately, clinically. But for making the thing for the sake of making the thing, I find that I need to collaborate, even if it’s improvisationally, with someone else. Something to bounce off of, a spark that makes you go “I had never thought about it quite like that”. There’s a Tom Waits interview where he goes on and on about his wife and he describes how sometimes she’ll help him write a song by suggesting that he write as if they were, for example, travelling in China with a banjo. I don’t know where the hell I’m going with this. Maybe I should collab more. Today’s jam at Eden’s place was short because we ran out of cabling and couldn’t record and I wound up having to go play taxi driver again. C’est la vie.

Set Theory Primer

2008.05.04

I just stumbled on a site about Set Theory Primer as it relates to music theory. Which reminds me of my favorite story about music I wrote that no one ever heard.

Bunny called me up, “hey there’s a gallery opening, we’re doing a music/performance/installation — the theme of the gallery is Summerian/Babylonian art, they’re showing some pieces etc etc”

I dig Sumer, cradle of civilization etc etc and I’ve read through Snow Crash so I know just a bit more than nothing about their language construction (atonal glosolalia? or some shit. doesn’t matter, i’m not writing poetry). So I look up Summerian music. Turns out it uses a 60-tone scale. Because I am S-M-R-T smart, I figure OK, I can make music akin to atonal 12-tone theory pieces, but I have to use 1/2 and 1/4 microtones (ie, bends and half-bends) and viola, 12-tone automagically becomes 60-tone. So I write this long droning piece in an open D tuning and because it would be a bitch to be bending whole chords (although you get some really awesome dissonances, some sonic youth/glenn branca shit going on where the notes beat against each other in the air) I go and get me a slide. So it’s like this blues hawaiian indian drone monster thing. It’s made of pure, concentrated awesome.

And then the day of the show, come to find out they go on an hour before they said they would and also that the music has been relegated to the alley behind the gallery. Which is OK, since that’s where the party people’s at anyway. Ran into solo and other people from the wayback.

The secret is using lots of duct tape

2008.04.28

Enjoy this discussion on the nature of reality by Phillip K. Dick: How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later.

You know, there’s a reason why I traded Johann Hz my trusty old Peavy amp for 60 or 70 PKD books.

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