Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.

All submissions (77)

Carved out a little time this week for a track. My initial thought was to do something shoegazey, and then I immediately started making this vintage-y funk thing. Apparently my internal aesthetic compass is a gyroscope.

Drum racks of Acoustified 15 and Emperor kit (through Drum Buss), Operator with a triangle wave and a hint of 3rd harmonic, Electric on the MkI2 crunch preset, Epi P-J with bass rolloff, and Epi Moderne through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. Sends are a convolution reverb and Echo on Dub Syndicate preset. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.

Title from the iridescent quality of iridium (which gives it its name).

25 Iris.mp311mb

Another busy week, but this track still came together. I've been listening a lot to John Zorn's The Book Beri'ah, and wanted to do something with a syncopated danceability like many of the pieces there. I put up a Drum Rack (64-pad jazz) through a severe gate (influence of the new Burial there), and then...just responded to it on bass. Then I responded to that with more bass, added hand claps and percussion, and then a layer of baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe guitar. A touch of reverb and a bit of automated delay on the drums/percussion...and here we are.

Title from one of the properties of this week's element, osmium.

24 Reflector.mp310mb

Very busy week with travel, but here's a rhythm-driven track that I managed to put together. Three drum racks, an Impulse device (hand claps), two Electric instruments for keys, bass (direct), and Res-o-Glas guitar (direct). Standard signal chains; more notes soon.

Title from a use of this week's element, rhenium.

23 Superalloy.mp39mb

Lots going on with work and show prep, but I did carve out some time for this week's track: two drum rack kits (64-pad jazz and Emperor), a bit of electric piano (MkI2 Crunchy), Collision (modulated vibes), Operator on a triangle-wave organ tone, Res-O-Glas guitar (through Auto-Filter and Cabinet), and Epi P-J bass (through EQ-8 for low-end rolloff). Sends: Delay (10.1 flavor) and Convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the mix.

Title from two uses of this week's element, tungsten.

22 Bulb and Tube.mp311mb

A busy week, but I managed to get a track together. Three different drum racks (64-pad jazz, 64-pad special, Carbon kit) with Drum Buss, handclaps, two relatively untreated tracks of Res-O-Glas guitar (though through EHX LPB2ube and Vox Wah) and a track of Epi P-J bass (through the Balls KWB). Not a lot of time for tracking, so this one's collaged together quickly.

Sends: two Echo channels and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master.

Title from the use of tantalum in capacitors.

21 Capacity.mp310mb

A very busy week, including beginning prep for my upcoming performance in Chicago, so I've had my head in Max/MSP (particularly developing performance interfaces I can use on the iPad with Cycling74's Mira). So it was fairly natural to do some improvs with the input shifter patch, and this is one of them. Max/MSP -> file, Ableton Live for tweaking levels and compression, and adding a bit of convolution reverb to the mix. (And it's a rehearsal opportunity.)

Title from one of the uses of this week's element hafnium--as the electrode in plasma cutting.

20 Plasma Cutter.mp312mb

This one was difficult to finish--I didn't want to fall into a retread, and some aspects are similar to a lot of other this-tempo guitar/bass/keys/drums things I've done. So...what to do? I started editing stuff out, and this start/stop approach seemed to pull it into having an identity.

64-pad jazz drum rack, 64-pad special kit (both with M4L Humanizer and Drum Buss, two Puremagnetik Rhodes instruments, Epi P-J bass through the Balls KWB (still pulled down bass with EQ-8), two tracks of Res-O-Glas (KWB and not, one with Auto-Filter drive and not), Sends: two Echo and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the master.

Title from the difficulty of extracting this week's element lutetium, but also kind of a difficult track to extract, so it fit.

19 Extraction.mp37mb

Kind of a chill-out vibe this week. I was hearing some syncopated drumming, so put up a 64-pad jazz drum rack, then some Puremagnetik Rhodes as chords and leads. Saturday night I tracked Epi P-J bass (through the Balls Effects KWB, and with EQ-8 and Cabinet for tone shaping) and Epiphone Moderne (through Vox Wah, both with and without Reuss Effects Repeater Fuzz. Without involved high-pass and low-pass Auto-Filter with drive.). A last pass involved adding some percussion and balancing some chords that weren't quite compatible...and here we are.

Sends: two different Echo plugins (based on vintage presets) and a convolution reverb. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.

Title from the meaning of the name of the village of Ytterby, site of the mine where this week's element (ytterbium) was discovered.

18 Outer Village.mp311mb

I spent the weekend at Cycling74's Expo, which is devoted to things we can do with Max/MSP, so this week's track is in Max. I used the input shifter patch I've been using for a while, with a filtered square wave as source material, and then dropped the recorded result by an octave. There's a convolution reverb send, and Full-Chain Master on the output.

Title from the use of Thulium in lasers. (A lot of these elements are getting tricky to differentiate.)

17 Green Light.mp317mb

Kind of like last week's, this week's tempo was all over the place before I tracked guitar and bass. Finally it seemed like uptempo dub, so here we are. Percussion is the 64-pad Jazz Drum Rack, 64-pad Dub Techno kit, Impulse of some hand drums I have, and hand claps. Keys are Puremagnetik Mark I Rhodes, Drawbar, and CP-70. Guitars: baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe for clean-ish rhythm, and Epiphone Moderne (Reuss RF-01 Fuzz and Vox Wah). Bass is the usual Epiphone P-J (with EQ8 to roll off lows).

Sends: auto-filter to roll off lows before a convolution reverb (marble foyer), and two Echo channels, one Dub Syndicate with high-pass, and one Analog Triplet with an LFO-bandpass filter in front. Full-chain master on everything, and auto-pan on the keys and percussion.

I submitted this, and then listening back...didn't like the lower mids. Here's a corrected mix (still on Sunday!)

Title from the use of erbium in lasers..

16 Pink Light.mp310mb

This week's track started much differently--at 117bpm. I had some interesting drum patterns going on, but couldn't find a way into them. Guitar and keyboard lines weren't all that interesting. So I took a radical step on Saturday and cranked the bpm down to 68--ah, now it's a dub track. OK. Then I could finish it.

Instruments: Drum Rack of 64-pad single hit jazz kit samples, Drum Rack of Dub Techno single hits, Impulse of hand claps, Operator with pitch mod (sort of a cuĂ­ca effect), Puremagnetik CP-70 ("Lite" preset), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows), and Epiphone Moderne (through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah) for guitar. At the last minute, I remembered to put Drum Buss on the drums. (Oops.)

Sends: two channels of Echo (Dark Fade and Dub Syndicate presets), and one empty-swimming-pool convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the out.

Title from the use of this week's element, Holmium, an atom of which was used by IBM a couple years back to store one bit of data.

15 One Bit.mp312mb

A couple times during the week I played with some different drum patterns, playing them off against each other, finally coming up with the drum theme heard throughout this piece. I also added a few simple passes of percussion, and then embellished a few with more beats.

I'd thought maybe I'd do just two basses against each other, and recorded a lot of clips in E and G that I ended up throwing out. Saturday night I re-tracked bass in A, and then did another pass of fuzz bass through the Balls Effects KWB. I put a few Rhodes lines, and then a pass of clean Epi Moderne that I'd thought of as glue, but ended up using a lot of it.

Sends: one room-sized convolution reverb, and one lightly modulated echo.

Inlines: some auto-pan on percussion and keys. EQ-8 on bass to roll off some lows, and some Cabinet for air. Auto-filter with drive and cabinet on guitar. Drum Buss on drums. Full-chain master on the stereo mix.

Title from the use of this week's element dysprosium in dosimeters.

14 Dose.mp312mb

Noting that (musician) Scott Walker passed this week, I had The Drift in mind, and thought I'd let his influence percolate. I tracked ring-modulated Puremagnetik grand piano, ring-modulated electric piano, and Ableton's 64-pad jazz drum kit without an obvious clock at first, playing intuitively. I did a similar pass with ring-modulated Res-o-Glas guitar--not paying attention to other tracks. Then I put down more regular drum patterns and Saturday night tracked bass (ring-modulated for tremolo, and audio-range ring-modulated on another part), and then a little sends-only percussion. Sends: two convolution reverbs. Auto-pan on most things, though I should have auto-panned the one alternate bass track. (Too late now.)

Title from the use of this week's element terbium in the SoundBug transducer--it turns any flat surface into a speaker, apparently.

13 Window Shaker.mp312mb

Back to the funk. This week brought a new pedal (the Balls Effects KWB pedal, a variant of the MXR Distortion +/Ross pedal with switchable diodes and sweepable clipping), so I used that on guitars and bass. This one started as drum tracks (Drum Rack 64-pad Jazz kit), to which I added a bit of a low end with additional Typhoon kick and some percussion). Then I added two Puremagnetik Rhodes pianos, and laid down guitar (modulated wah and stationary wah) and bass (EQ-8 for bass rolloff). Sends: room-sized convolution reverb and an Echo channel.

Title from...a dad joke about the use of gadolinium (element 64) as part of the emergency shut-down procedure of some reactors, including the CANDU. (Sorry.)

12 Can Do.mp311mb

Since I'm still listening a lot to later Talk Talk, this week's piece bears some influence--I wanted something that resisted settling down, collaged together from a lot of loose improvisation. I used a drum rack of Ableton's 64-pad jazz drums, some handclaps, and improvised with some Fahey-tuned Univox hollow body. Keys and bass came later, and for extra texture stretched some of the guitar lines and put them through reverb only.

Sends: two convolution reverbs and one channel of echo. Little touches of auto-pan and auto-pan tremolo throughout. And some M4L Humanizer on the drums. Full-chain master on the 2.

Title from two applications of europium: in the bright reds of CRTs and in memory chips.

11 Red Memory.mp311mb

Another piece that accumulated organically: I'd started by putting up a few drum racks against each other (64-pad rock kit, bongos, Hilda kit), and then put a few chords and figures of different keyboards (Live's MkI3 Mellow Piano and Puremagnetik's CP-70 pack, on the electronic-only setting). I put down Epiphone P-J bass, and then Res-O-Glas guitar through EHX LPB2ube, one pass through a mild overdrive, and another through more extreme boost.

Inline effects: M4L Humanizer on drums and MkI3, Drum Buss on percussion. EQ-8 for bass rolloff on bass, various combinations of Auto-Filter (for drive and to roll off weird direct-sounding harmonics from the Alumitones) and Cabinet on guitar. Sends: Convolution reverb (studio room impulse) and Auto-Filter with LFO into Echo on Tweezy Tape preset. Various auto-pan, and full-chain master on the stereo mix.

Title from one method of growing symmetric crystals of samarium, this week's element.

10 Flame Fusion.mp310mb

Most of my available evenings this past week involved working on a house-style Tom Waits cover for a tribute project, so I didn't start doing anything with this until Thursday and late Friday evenings. Mark Hollis's passing fresh in my mind, I thought I'd try something kind of organic and sparse, though inevitably this one got more dense over time.

I put up a simple beat in Ableton's 64-pad drum rack and did some light fingerpicking on the Fahey-tuned Univox hollowbody, and later did a pass on bass. I added drum variations, and then put down a few passes of Res-o-Glas guitar through a tremolo pedal, and put one channel of more chordal playing through the cistern convolution reverb--with no direct signal.

Toward the end of mixing, I thought I'd use Auto-Filter for distortion on one of the guitar lines, but dropped it on bass by mistake. That actually sounded pretty good, so I added an effect rack on bass with two parallel chains: one with EQ8 for sub-100Hz rolloff, and one with the auto-filter distortion on the high end.

Sends: two convolution reverbs (cistern and room) with auto-filter low-end rolloff in front, and one Echo on guitars. No dub-style automation on this one.

Title comes from one of the properties of the rare element Promethium.

09 Luminous.mp311mb

This week's piece came together kind of organically, from wanting to hear something rhythmic. I put up four percussive voices: Ableton's Acoustified 11 drum rack, a 909 drum rack, an Impulse instrument of hand claps, and a drum rack of Ableton's Ethno Kit. Saturday night I tracked bass (Epi P-J with EQ-8 roll-off below 100Hz) and some old standby MkI2 Crunch Electric (with Around The Head preset Auto-Pan).

Sends: Convolution reverb set to a studio space impulse, and two instances of Echo. Lots of automation in the sends, and full-chain master on the 2-buss.

Title from the fact that my main headphones (AIAIAI-configured) use neodymium (element 60) magnets in the speaker elements.

08 Driver.mp310mb

This week's track came together in little sessions during the week (new job and travel), so it was easier to do an in-the-box thing--I had the drum patterns (a synth drum kit I came up with, a 909 kit, and Ableton's AstroPlay) and an abstract ring-modulated keyboard line (Ableton's Electric piano). It seemed to need a layer of noise, so I added Ableton's Analog's Coptor (sic) preset, and then did a quick improvisation with my randomizable pitch shifting network in Max/MSP (which begins the piece and continues throughout.)

Effects/sends: Drum Buss on the synth drum and 909, and Frequency Shifter (in Ring Mod mode) on the AstroPlay. One Echo send, and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the stereo mix.

Title from a property of praseodymium (element 59): silicate crystals that are doped with it have been experimentally used to slow light.

07 Slow Light.mp311mb

This week's piece grew organically from a few drum patterns I put down (one of 808 single-hit samples, one from 909 single-hits). I had an initial synth bass I took out, but did some Ableton Analog synth over them, before replacing the synth bass with Epiphone P-J (through EQ-8 for sub-100Hz rolloff), and tracking clean (through bandpass Auto-Filter with drive and Cabinet) and distorted (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah) Epiphone Moderne.

Sends: one convolution reverb (to a medium-sized tracking room space) and one Echo (Dub Syndicate, with timing tweaked). Auto-pan on almost everything. I used automation to send the 808 to the Echo channel. Full-chain Master on the 2-buss.

Title is from one of the applications of this week's element, Cerium, which can increase the stability of pigments exposed to light.

06 Photostability.mp311mb

A busy week of wrapping up a job search...and submitting a couple versions of a track to a cover tune project. As a result, I approached this week's track a bit more intuitively. I came up with a few drum loops (64-pad rock kit drum rack, and 64-pad fingers-on-snare), and did some intuitive guitar with Res-O-Glas through an effect rack of auto-filter with drive and buffer-shuffler for some randomness. Then I put some more Res-O down (Auto-Filter with drive and cabinet plugin)...and finally some Epiphone P-J bass (direct...maybe I should have rolled off lows here, but I didn't).

Sends: Convolution reverb, two different Echo plugins. Full-chain master on the 2-buss.

Title from the meaning of the root of lanthanum (element 57).

05 To Lie Hidden.mp310mb

Job-search stuff took up a lot of attention and energy this week, but I did carve out a bit of time to throw some drums together--Ableton's 32-pad jazz kit and their 64-pad Dub Techno kit, in the parts you hear in the middle section. Saturday night, I added some rhythm patterns (for beginning and end) and Epiphone Moderne with the output going only to a convolution reverb (with the Dan Harpole Cistern impulse). Then I added some sparse lead lines in another channel, and finally put down some Epiphone bass.

Sends: cistern convolution reverb, and one studio-sized convolution reverb, along with a tweaked Echo plugin. Auto-pan on the Dub Techno kit and guitars, and automation on the jazz kit for hitting the echo at the ends of phrases. Full-chain Master on the mix buss.

Title from the French name for the precipitate of barium sulfate, since barium (atomic number 56) is this week's element.

04 Blanc Fixe.mp310mb

Early in the week I decided on an odd constraint: the track should have only one chord. (In this case, a Gsus4. So it's a holy chord, maybe.) I played with a couple drum rack patterns--one rock kit, one fingers-on-snare--and thew a buffer manipulation M4L plugin on the fingers-on-snare one for variety.

Saturday evening, I tracked all the guitar--four tracks of Epi Moderne, some straight into the board, some through Vox Wah, some through EHX LPB2ube, and some through Reuss RF-01. There's a lot of the one chord, but also responses to it. Epi P-J bass went on last.

This was a bit tricky to mix, given the one-chord tonality and the buildup of harmonics (themselves accentuated with fuzz), but high-pass Auto-Filter to cut out lows helped a lot. Drum Buss on the percussion helped retain impact, as did some reverb on most parts, and echo for the drums (automated) and percussion.

Title from an early use of cesium, element 55, used for the getters of vacuum tubes.

03 Getter.mp310mb

Kind of a weird arrangement that came together during the week: severely inverse-gated 505 drums, 909 for some heft, Tension clavinet (seriously tweaked to use plectrum, different finger weight...), Electric Mk1 (crunchy), Analog Off-World pad, Epi P-J bass (replacing initial synth bass) and Epi Moderne (through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, into Auto-Filter). Sends: two convolution reverbs and one Echo, with Auto-Filter in front to make it interesting. Kind of weird to mix. It also changed tonal center during the arrangement process. Starting to feel like I'm recycling bass lines...but maybe it works.

Title from the element Xenon, element 54.

02 Foreigner, Stranger, Guest.mp310mb

First track of the year! A fairly simple dub jam--606 samples (with automated auto-filter on kick and snare), bass (Epi P-J with EQ-8 rolloff), Ableton's Electric (Crunchy piano with auto-filter drive), and tabla samples. Sends: two convolution reverbs (one large, one smaller) and Echo (Dub Syndicate). Auto-pan on keys and tablas, Full-Chain Master on the stereo buss. I tried adding some other instruments here and there, but they didn't fit, so I'm keeping it simple.

Title comes from sources of iodine, element 53 (because I'm picking up where I left off).

01 Kelp and Brine.mp39mb
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