“Pretzels, Fruits, and Keys”
Another one: A twisted up knot of 1-second samples and a toy horn. Includes samples of African vocals, thumb piano, acoustic guitar, and hopefully the last time I use drums samples from the “Bumps” collection.
“Skateboarding Towards the Oracle”
You can download all of these at Soundcloud, ya know. They will sound much better in your car.
I have a ton of new songs I finished over the summer that I am going to post as my free-time winds down, and Back to School begins.
After I’ve posted these tracks, they’ll be available on Spotify as part of a new album/set/group/whatever called “Zoom Era.”
A new, improved mix and arrangement of “Zoom Era.”
My short attention span originally had me insert a pointless acoustic guitar riff in the original mix of this song. A cooler head prevailed and I decided it was okay for the original riff to repeat without being interrupted by something stupid, just for the sake of jumping all over the place mid-song. Lesson learned?
“Visit the Black Rock”
The riff that recurs through 90% of this song is a loop built out of the Tenori-on running through a Boss Loop Station.
For the drumming, I thought a lot about avoiding crash cymbals. There were a couple songs by Born With a Tail where I never hit the crash cymbals, kind of as a personal challenge. Since then, I’ve read lots of things written by Peter Gabriel and Nick Zammuto regarding their dislike of cymbals. We’ve become accustomed to hearing at every transition or at the end of every set of 4, even people who know nothing about music can predict it from a mile away. A transition without a cymbal crash seems even more sudden, and without that fading bit of white noise in the way, it’s easier to hear exactly how the transition worked. This song is by no means the best, or even a good, example of what I’m rambling about.
This song is based (almost) entirely on electric guitar parts in groups of four. The first 2 1/2 minutes or so are based on cut-and-sampled guitar parts built with the tenori-on. The rest of the song is fairly straight-forward but sloppy guitar playing.
So, in the first part, it’s all about sequence. Sixteen guitar sounds arranged into chunks of four, mostly unadorned with extras. Then, somewhere in the middle it changes from being about sequence to being about overlapping. All the guitar parts happen at the same time.
The main thing that made me stop caring about “songwriting” was that I liked having tons of sounds/notes/guitars overlapping each other. Those tiny moments in songs were more fun to make than trying to find novel ways of writing verses and choruses. It didn’t matter if the piece of music “went” anywhere…it just mattered that all the sounds passed by each other in cool ways I never even planned. This song has a song structure in the beginning, but by the end it turns into an exercise for 4 overdubbed guitars.
Possibly the slowest-burner I’ve ever recorded: I usually don’t have the patience for the free-form spaced-out stuff at the beginning of this one.
I also tried to make this one have lots of stuff going on, since it’s a little “on-the-grid,” and I hate music that’s just a series of 4/4 loops and riffs that outlast their welcome.
I also hate music that just takes wholesale dialog samples from movies, etc. and places it in with no rhyme or reason over an instrumental track. I broke that “rule” here by adding in one line from a hilarious Vincent Price International Cooking Course LP. In fact, there’s not a lot of sample-based tomfoolery in this one.
Video composition for Tenori-on and Hamilton Beach milkshake maker.
If you remember the old Hi Ho Six Shooter! drumkit, you know that I like using metal mixing bowls as percussion instruments. This song features samples of a variety of mixing bowls, and a very cool loop made by a malfunctioning (?) cash register I heard at Walmart.
I wish there was a way to transmit music straight to cars so that people could hear this on speakers that are bigger than one millimeter. There are two awesome bass drum hits that I can’t even hear on my laptop. Maybe one day someone will invent some kind of “radio” transmitter that allows people to hear music in their automobiles!
“Name Ten Movies Without Guns” - retooled, quality-control version 2.0