I spent the weekend hacking tape players, and fooling around with electronic components. Here’s a cool xravistan that adds tremolo functionality to a cassette player. The LED shows the pulse.
I randomly recorded myself playing drums, and then listened back. There’s a break in the loop (not sure why) and then I played along with it. It’s difficult, in a way, because unless you sync to the length of the tape, you can end up with a glitchy section in the loop. This one kind of works.
Here’s a bit of a WIP, where I tried a screen test in the Theoretical Audio Lab. I’ve been fooling around with animating photos in the studio to have as a visual accompaniment. Promising!
And just look at the crazy drums I’ve been using.
I’ve been scouring reverb and ebay for very cheap, MIJ (made in Japan), no name blue sparkle drums. That’s what Dad and I had when I was a kid. Back then, I felt somewhat “less than,” when I compared my drums to my school acquaintances’ Lugwig, Rodgers and Tama drum sets. These days, however, I take great pleasure in using these drums.
The tom features a hook mount, and I’m 99% sure it’s identical to the drums we had in the 70’s. Tuning is a little bit of an issue, but I think it sounds pretty good. That floor tom is missing the bottom hoop and lugs – not a problem for now, but I’ll try and find one. The snare, however, is the real treasure. There is no latch to disengage the snare, which is old, wanky, and stretched out. There’s a nob that doesn’t turn. The drum head indicates many, many hours of use, so I think this baby was well loved.
It’s a little bit of a project, reassembling my shitty childhood kit. I’ll use the shit kit this spring snd summer!
This has been a nice, long walk to get here. Here being the beginning of a project from which I’ve been assembling materials and ideas throughout the pandemic.
I made a joke to myself a while back that goes “if you don’t have someone to play with, play with yourself.” And then I laughed to myself. And so, I’ve created the Theoretical Audio Laboratory in which to conduct my experiments. Sound Experiments (SEx)! And even Song Experiments.
This is turning out to be quite a hoot. Stay tuned. Or, detuned. Please stay!
I’m calling time! Stopping the clock! Ringing the bell! Buzzing the buzzard.
I finished the challenge for the second year in a row. 10 new songs are in the can! Or, computer. In the cloud?
As with last year, I’ve arrived at a destination that I didn’t set out to find. I had envisioned a more traditional, polished collection of songs. This year’s result is very guitar oriented, with layers of MIDI supporting it.
Early in February, but after I finished the Punk Frocker’s tracks, I began recording with an Epiphone Les Paul “Black Beauty” guitar with three humbucker pick-ups. It has very heavy strings (12’s?) and I used a random, non-standard tuning. I decided to only use this guitar for the rest of the month.
I recorded some live drums here, and I relied on Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators for other rhythm tracks.
My results are a bit like last years, with heavy signal processing weirdness and odd production values. I have a few gems that I’m excited about. Some of this stuff is probably self indulgent, in that the music will likely only be interesting to me.
That said, I’ve made the decision to not share this material at this time. I want to continue developing the gems into a more polished state, and the other half will go into soundtracks.
I can’t recommend this challenge enough. Something good always happens.
I’m resuming my daily music exercises now that this is complete.