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!
The RPM Challenge is a creative challenge to anyone to record music in February. We give you a deadline of March 1 to complete it by and then we host listening parties to celebrate. Any genre, any level of experience, anywhere. Thousands of records and tens of thousands of tracks have been made by people around the world as part of the Challenge since it was founded in 2006.
It’s fun, it’s hard, it’s rewarding, and it’s free to take part. What have you got to lose?
To accompany the fresh new Website, RPM has expanded on the original requirements, which were to conceive and record an album in the month of February, start to finish. It doesn’t have to be good – just complete. Here, an album was defined as one 35 minute piece of music, or 10 songs. The new requirements are one of the following:
Single (1 track or 5 minutes)
EP (5 tracks or 20 minutes)
LP (10 tracks or 35 minutes)
Boxed Set (30 tracks or 100 minutes)
I love it!
I finished an album last year for the first time, and I reflected on that experience in the past 12 months. It was so valuable. I found new possibilities and ideas – and the constraint of having to complete the tracks really pushed me to find different processes, and think about how to produce material in a new way. I recommend this to anyone making music.