About a week ago I liked the sounds I was hearing on the back porch of our hose, so I set my Tascam DR-05 out on the porch to capture a few minutes of sound.
Then I forgot about it. The next morning I went out and the recorder had turn itself off, but it had captured 3 solid hours of sound. The sound is primarily that of insects, tree frogs, and the occasional bird, combined with the drone of Interstate 80 which is about a half mile away as the crow flies.
I’m going to try and play the whole thing at work tomorrow, because it’s a good way to drown out office noise, and I think living with environmental sound like this — especially when one’s attention is focused, e.g. on refactoring C++ template classes — allows it to go into your brain bypassing conscious critique. Maybe you can try it too. It’s like the Ice Bucket Challenge. Without the bucket, or the ice, and you don’t have to donate money to any worthy cause.
My friend David Talento was trying to organize his studio and found some cassettes I’d sent him in the 1990s. The real find was what may be the last remaining copy of tracks by Jason Welch, local rave promoter and sometime musician. But I’ll deal with that stuff later.
One of the other things is a recording of a live set I did in 1996 (I believe) at the Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company (what is now Moonrakers restaurant). In those days I pretty much dragged my whole studio out to play live — a Roland Jupiter 6, Casio CZ-1, Roland TR707, a home-made plywood rack of gear, a desktop computer and CRT.
I don’t even remember most of the stuff I played, or even how I played it — I suspect I was using Opcode Vision and a Turtle Beach Pinnacle card as a sampler. Vision had a facility something like Ableton Live’s clips — you could trigger chunks of midi sequences live. The beginning of the set sounds a bit like Drexciya. Anyway it isn’t bad, and interesting to hear it as a time capsule from 16 years ago.
Special Afternoon edition during the Mision Creek Festival. This was in the basement of Public Space one, standing at a cramped counter with crap monitors. I didn’t have a lot of new tracks to drop, so I let each one ride longer than I usually do in the mix, and I think they’re worth it — particularly the Rick Wilhite and Virgo Four joints. The other things I played might overlap a bit with previous mixes, but I hope this his its own flavor…
This set was driven by a trip to Dave’s Records in Chicago, where I crouched on the floor going through the used $1 Dance Records. I also did what I usually do, which is look through a section of floor to ceiling shelves of records in my office I haven’t visited lately.
I didn’t post very often in the past month on this blog. As it happens, most of my writerly energies were being devoted to the Little Village Magazine blog and magazine. I wrote a couple of lengthy (for me) posts there that some who read this blog might find interesting:
The Bomb Squad made history in Iowa City, using the bully pulpit of their fame to bust the dubstep cherry of a couple hundred sweaty nutters in the Yacht Club’s brick-lined basement. They tweeted a link to a Mediafire download link, but I hate Mediafire, so I’m hosting it on cornwarning.com.
I’d love to see a track listing of this mix, but as far as I know that’s not how the Bomb Squad rolls. Also, if you were at the show, you’ll notice Keith’s hyping on the mic wasn’t part of the set recording…
As Greg Davis pointed out to me last night, making music with just sine tones isn’t an original idea. But for me, the simple setup of 4 sine wave synths in Ableton Live, set up such that I could jam out live felt really good. In the context of live music in 2010 I’d have to say I heard a lot more raw sawtooths and white noise than sine waves. The purity of sine tones is seductive to me. Sines are a mathematic abstraction, a Platonic ideal, that you can perceive with your senses.
I originally was going to record the set in Live –i.e. record MIDI and fader actions, but instead I captured the performance along with room sound using my Zoom H4. Not to get all po-mo, but the people blabbing, cracking open beers, the dodgy PA, and even the sound of ventilation system give what I did a texture the ‘pure’ recording would never have had. There’s a moment about 3 minutes in that I love, where my friend John Schlotfelt shushed the audience. Apparently a fair number of people hadn’t recognized that a performance had begun. That I was cross-legged on the floor, facing the wall, might have had something to do that, but honestly, it would have been just fine with me if they’d carried on chatting all the way through.
If you’re in Iowa City, and you like FREE music, with FREE food and FREE drinks, I’ll be playing this Friday at Dawn’s @ Dusk
In a week with a lot of sweet shows, these will be very interesting — the concept is every live set is 10 minutes long, so 12 artists in 2 hours. With food and drinks. For free.
Those who don’t like FREE can find somewhere else to pay to chill.
I will be performing a live, improvised set consisting entirely of sine waves. I’ve wanted to do this for years, and I’ve boiled it down to an amazingly simple setup, involving very little staring at the computer. Mostly Akai LPD8 to choose record channels and trigger clips, keyboard to play the notes. I use the computer keyboard to turn off clips and change scenes in live.
A 10 minute set of this is a perfect length. Any longer and unless I’m the reincarnation of Eric Fucking Satie, it will wear out its welcome.
Posted this morning to the Little Village Blog
My favorite sign — inexpertly enhanced in The Gimp:
I spoke to them briefly — apparently the man knew me but for the life of me I couldn’t remember who he was — sorry dude! They were responding in character when people asked them about their sign: “Um, he’s sick. My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”
They said one man asked them about the sign and his response was “my wife has cancer.”
The Java House has been branching out into having more live performances of late, and a week after a wonderfully raucous show at the Mill, Kate (of Lipstick Homicide & Boo Hoos) and Sam (of Miracles of God & SLW & the Boo Hoos) did an acoustic show. Pictures by the lovely and talented Barefoot Adrianne