Another guitar-only track, this one three tracks of PureSalem Mendiola. I tracked a few loose improvisations (much like the last few weeks), and then went off on another key--and these were tighter chord progressions and themes (in response to the first loose line you hear in the left channel). So I threw out the first couple passes, and kept responding to previous snippets in the new key.

Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola (one track neck pickup, one bridge, one both) through EHX LPB2ube. Channels got a couple different convolution reverbs, and there's the Wide & Warm preset for multi-band compression.

Title comes from the galaxy M94 apparently having little dark matter (that we've detected).

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Continuing my solo-guitar thing, this week has a fretted instrument (Univox Effie Hollowbody in Fahey C tuning) going through the Afghan Rubab resonator network I put together last week. There's also a send to a convolution reverb with a large space impulse, and Ableton's Wide & Warm audio effect rack on the output.

Recorded live with no edits--you can hear some notes against the side of the frets...but it seemed honest to leave it.

The title comes from M101, the pinwheel galaxy, and the dedication is to a friend who would have been celebrating a birthday today, had he not left us earlier this year. (I raised both a glass and a guitar to Russ today.)

This one's solo guitar--specifically, a fretless and headless guitar put together roughly from remnants of a smashed acoustic, built by Phosphene Audio. I've had it for a few years, having traded a pedal for it. I knew there were songs in there.

A couple days ago I retuned it from concert tuning to something approaching the three drone and three melody strings of an Afghan rubab, and did some quick improvisations, one of which is the playing you hear in this piece. Cool...but it didn't sound enough like a rubab. I sent it to some convolution reverb, which was good, but I could do more.

First I added Ableton's Corpus plugin inline, and added a membrane resonator. That helped get a bit of a banjo quality, but didn't address the rubab's 13 sympathetic strings. There was, however, nothing stopping me from adding 13 more instances of Corpus using the string resonator, and setting them up in parallel chains using an audio effects rack. I brought the membrane Corpus instance in, and another chain with no effects. That's what you're hearing here.

The title comes from the galaxy NGC 100 being a deep-sky spiral.

Another all-guitar one. This started pretty loose, and then coalesced around one chord progression. And a busy weekend meant I couldn't wrap it up until now. The overall result...could be music.

Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola, through Balls Effects KWB (for some bits) and straight into the board. One send: a hall-sized convolution reverb.

The title comes from the hydrogen bridge coming off of Messier 99.

Another very loose all-guitar piece, tracked quickly, but it took fiddling to get it into a structure. Guitar: Univox Effie hollow body in Fahey-C-like tuning (B here). Inline effects: high-pass Auto-Filter with drive. Sends: two convolution reverbs and one echo. Wide&Warm effect rack on the output.

Title comes from a proposed highway 98 in upstate NY.

Still chasing that all-guitar thing. Here's a four-track piece with just PureSalem Mendiola (done after an attempt with all-pedal-steel didn't go anywhere good). There's Balls Effects KWB on all these, and one track (the single-note pseudo-bass-line) got high-pass auto-filter.

There's Valhalla Supermassive on one track, and a church-sized convolution reverb on the rest, as well as an audio effect rack on the Wide&Warm preset for eq/compression.

The title comes from M97, the Owl Nebula, in Ursa Major.

Another four-track all-guitar thing, again very loose. I'm working toward something with these, and while this one doesn't get there, it's a step. Four channels of PureSalem Mendiola, one of them through Balls Effects KWB, all of them with varying degrees of convolution reverb.

The title comes from the "beginning" association of the surat Al-Alaq.

This week continues the guitar-only approach: three tracks of guitar (though there's a fourth channel I used to cover note tails for smoother edits). Guitar was PureSalem Mendiola, straight into the Focusrite, with no inline processing of the different channels, but everything had some convolution reverb (same concert-hall-sized impulse). There's the Wide&Warm preset for multiband compression.

Title comes from the 95th Section of Swedenborg's The Worlds in Space, in which he describes that as a representation of the inhabitants of Mars.

Another entry in the trying-to-work-fast one-guitar series. This time it's the Danelectro baritone, through the Balls effects KWB. This one's three tracks--one was a straight-through five-minute improvisation I ended up cutting down some, and the other two are responses to it.

No inline effects, but there are two different convolution reverb impulsess: one with the "dirty spring" preset, and one with the "large wooden room" preset.

The title is from M93 containing seven Delta Scuti variable stars.

While I did start with drums this week, I removed them in the spirt of continuing last week's (more successful) guitar-only approach. This one was quick to track (a half hour total), but editing was difficult--I'd recorded snippets, with the thought of stringing them together in a spacious structure. In doing the actual editing...getting it to hang together as an identity was tricky. I had to balance repetition and variety, and I'm not convinced it worked. But...there's a kind of endless-aimless summer-day quality to this, as summer recedes.

Guitar: home-built Res-O-Glas, with tonal variety coming from the bridge-or-neck-or-both pickup selection. This went through the Balls Effects KWB for a bit of drive, but not the distortion of last week. Then some tracks got the Moyo passive volume, to take the attack off.

Two channels got inline auto-pan, and all of them got lesser or greater amounts of sends to a church-sized convolution reverb, and Ableton's Echo plugin. There's the now-usual Wide&Warm compression/eq preset on the stereo mix.

The title comes from there being 92 days of summer.

I was thinking a bit about the work of Charalambides--the idea of two guitars with delay working up some fuzzy ambience. In tracking, though, I found it going in a more clearly defined chordal and less loosely-timed direction.

This one's just five tracks of PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB, with different amounts of gain. There are two convolution reverbs: one "experimental" ABLCR Timelapse, and one more conventional large hall. The stereo output went through Wide&Warm compression/EQ.

The title is from a method of verifying Messier's recorded position for M91.

I'd done some rhythmic composition with guitar and bass, and...it didn't seem that interesting. So Sunday evening I did a few improvisations with home-built Res-O-Glas guitar, Moyo passive volume, and my eight-delay Max/MSP patch with Hainbach's Wires (for grit and warble) and convolution reverb. I recorded that to the drive, and brought it into Ableton for fixing levels a bit.

Title this week refers to NGC 90, a spiral galaxy interacting with NGC 93 to form the galaxy pair Arp 65.

This one started with a sparse and syncopated rhythm I imagined, and grew a bit organically from there: first vibes (removed) and PureMagnetik Berlin electric piano, and then PureSalem Mendiola guitar lines (straight into the Focusrite). Finally, a pass with Epiphone bass. My timing is very loose on this one.

There's the usual processing here: Drums are the 64 Pad Kit Jazz with Humanizer. Bass gets the usual EQ-8 rolloff. One guitar gets high-pass Auto-Filter with drive. Sends: one echo and two convolution reverbs (one large, one small). Wide & Warm audio effect rack preset on the output.

The title comes from NGC 89, a peculiar spiral in Robert's Quartet.

Kind of a late edit on this, but it was a busy weekend. This one's drums (Ableton Acoustified Kit 02), two tracks of Epiphone Embassy II bass (one with EQ-8 low-end rolloff, and the other with Auto-Filter high-pass, played higher on the neck), and two tracks of home-built Res-O-Glas guitar--one through Montreal Assembly Count to Five (the backwards-sounding one) and one straight to the Focusrite, though with some low- and high-pass Auto-Filter with drive.

Sends: one echo (with LFO band-pass Auto-Filter in front), one convolution reverb (with high-pass Auto-Filter in front), and Valhalla Supermassive. There's Wide&Warm preset compression on the stereo output.

Title comes from this week's number, counting from last year.

A very collage-like piece, tracked Friday night and Saturday. I started with an odd drum track with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special, added a few keys with PureMagnetik Rhodes (Berlin), and then tracked several loops with bass (new D'Addario half-round strings replacing the flats; there should be a touch more high-end) and PureSalem Mendiola through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. The result? Kinda dense, maybe.

Sends: two convolution reverbs (with high-pass in front), Valhalla Supermassive, and Echo with modulated Auto-Filter in front, as a pouring-one-out in honor of Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Inlines: Max Humanizer on drums, EQ-8 for low-end rolloff on bass (still), some high-pass Auto-Filter and Cabinet on guitars. Wide & Warm audio effects rack preset on the stereo mix.

Title comes from 87 being the international calling code for (apparently) phone calls to Inmarsat.

This one's a bit of a departure: just five tracks of Univox Effie in Fahey C tuning (dropped to B), three of which go through the Montreal Assembly Count to Five.

There are two sends, both convolution reverbs (one of which has low-end rolloff with Auto-Filter). One track has that same in-line high-pass, and three of them have auto-pan. There's an audio effect rack with the Wide & Warm preset on the output buss.

The title comes from the device number of the lockout relay--86--which may be the source of using 86 as a slang term for canceling something.

A friend sold me his Montreal Assembly Count to Five pedal, so that's featured on this week's track. I did a few ambient improvs with that (with home-built Res-O-Glas and CMI E-200 guitar strung with Nashville high tuning), and added Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz drums, and a pass with 80s Epiphone Embassy II bass.

Sends: two convolution reverbs and one echo.

Title comes from the asterism with this name containing M85.

Tracked over the weekend, but I didn't have much of a chance to arrange it until Monday, and it required a bit of listening for editing. I'd started with some syncopated drum patterns (sounds from Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz), and then I put down some sparse guitar with the PureSalem Mendiola through the Balls Effects KWB, and then bass. On listening, it made sense to move some of the guitar tracks to a different channel, so this ended up being a four-track thing.

There's a slight difference to how I'm approaching the bassline, particularly in the bridge, which makes this a bit of a departure, I think.

Inlines: Max Humanizer on drums. Guitars got high-pass Auto-Filter with some different cutoffs and different levels of drive, along with some Glue compression and different Cabinet modelers for air. (1x12 seemed to work best here.) Bass got the usual EQ-8 low-end rolloff, but also some compression as well. The stereo mix got Ableton's Wide & Warm effect rack for compression/eq.

Sends: two convolution reverbs (one large, one small) with high-pass Auto-Filter in front. Also a channel of delay on the 3.

The title comes from hepteracts having 84 penetrant 5-faces.

Last week's piece required quite a bit of arrangement, so to get myself back on track for this week, I opted to improvise with pedal steel and my eight-delay Max/MSP patch. A few weeks ago, I added FFT pitch shift to the patch, and 50% blend of one-fifth down is very satisfying. So there's a lot of that here

The signal chain going in is pedal steel > Balls Effects KWB (a fuzz/boost), Vox Wah, and Moyo passive volume. Inside the patch, there's the FFT, a VST of AudioThing Reels, the delay lines, a send to a VST of AudioThing Motor, auto-pan, and convolution reverb (Huddersfield Town Hall) on the output.

The eight delay lines were set to different lengths, but they were related by calculating 12-part increments from a base of 15.5 seconds.

To keep things from becoming too austere, I added yet another convolution reverb (Fort Worden Cistern) in Live, and put Full Chain multi-band eq/compression on the output.

The title comes from 83 being a safe prime.

A very late upload by my usual schedule (though not "late" for this streak). All the tracking took place this past weekend, but arrangement wasn't something I could get to until last evening. My usual method of working on these is this:

  1. put up a rhythm, and maybe add keyboards against it
  2. play bass or guitar against it to get some loops
  3. play guitar or bass against those to get more loops
  4. move those snippets around into a structure
  5. adjust levels, add automation/randomization, adjust sends, finishing touches

It was the same thing here, but the pieces weren't quite fitting together until fairly late. Some of the not-quite-fitting might be from A/D latency, which seems to tack a bit higher than the setting when I first open Ableton. It's most notable on bass here, though I did warp some late notes into place when they seemed much later than "feel."

Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Special, with Max Humanizer and 80-90% probability on most drum hits, though 1, 2, and 4 get 100%.

Keys: PureMagnetik Mark Two Berlin

Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II, with EQ-8 low-end reduction

Guitars: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB. One channel's mostly neck pickup with the other being mostly bridge.

Sends: Ableton Echo plugin and convolution reverb (BM7 Clear Ambience) with high-pass Auto-Filter in front.

Wide & Warm preset audio effect rack on the stereo output

Title comes from radio emissions from an unknown object in M82.

Here's a piece I started late in the week, with no plan in mind. I started with a beat that wasn't particularly clear or strong, relocated the 1, and then worked up some variations. The kit: Ableton's 64 Pads Dub Techno Kit, with 90% randomization on a lot of beats, and a touch of Max Humanizer, as well as echo send on the 2 and 4.

Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II, direct to the Focusrite A/D--there are two tracks of bass here, one higher on the neck (panned slightly left) and one lower (center). The higher one got Auto-Filter high-pass, while the lower one got EQ-8 with the low end rolled off 6dB, rather than cut entirely.

Guitar: home-built Res-O-Glas with Lace Alumitones, straight into the Focusrite. There's AudioThing Wires on this, 50% blend.

Sends: Ableton Echo, one convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive on the guitar.

Title comes from M81, a Grand Design spiral galaxy.

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