AND a new album

Here's a collection of tracks recorded in 2013-14, including a number inspired by Disquiet Junto projects and also a couple that resulted from Naviar haikus. (Coincidentally, Naviar have a track of mine on their new compilation.)

You'll hear that there's a lot of variety, from funky instrumentals to electropunk with cut-up lyrics and a few songs featuring the voice of Jo.

There was a lot of material to choose from, with tracks made from storytime at the library, a boiling kettle as well as a playground and then an assortment of instruments. I'll write something about each next month.

See above for a playlist of 13 videos for some tracks from AND, my collection recorded 2013-14.

Disquiet Junto 143 Live duet through window

Busy weekend this week but I found time for my 70th Disquiet Junto. Instructions were to record a live duet with the world outside my window and the best sound seemed to be that of a lawnmower.

Lawnmowers are a very suburban sound and a couple of my neighbours are very regular about maintaining their lawn. I was lying in the bath when one started on Saturday morning, so I cut short my wash and picked up the semi-acoustic bass.

The engine drone seemed to be in A and I tried a couple of ideas, settling on a rhythm and then an arpeggiated chord progression that I'm fond of playing.

Summer's Day

Filmed a lava lamp tonight, added a solarisation effect and BINGO! A film clip for a song about the weather recorded for a Junto in January.

New Diabolical Devices Casio SK-1

Bought a second Casio SK-1 modified by Diabolical Devices on Ebay and it arrived today. It was going cheap so I couldn't resist.

I was surprised to discover the bends are very different between to two keyboards. Both have MIDI and mini patchbays but that's where the similarities end.

The new purchase is shown below and the switches on the right-hand side control the patches if you use the coloured sockets. In comparison the switch on the older purchase controls a pitch variation knob, producing nice warbling vibrato effects.

The switches on the left-hand side of my new purchase can glitch the rhythms, both the keyboard chord basslines and the percussion. It worked better on the former than the latter, which froze and required resetting by turning the machine off and then on.

Reverb pedal comparison

Tried a couple of reverb pedals today,  the Biyang Tri Reverb and the TC Electronic Hall of Fame. The former has spring, plate and hall settings, while the latter has many more options but I focused on these types also.

It wasn't an exhaustive comparison but at first I thought they sounded kinda similar, then I noticed the deeper bass on the Hall of Fame and the sound was richer, although the Tri Reverb doesn't have an effect blend control.

Guess you get what you pay for.


Circle of Abstract Ritual from Jeff Frost on Vimeo.

Disquiet Junto 141 Bare bones

The Disquiet Junto this week asked we:
Interpret a New Yorker cover as a graphically notated score.
The image is by Saul Steinberg and I decided to interpret it as the barebones of a funk track because the skeleton rat would probably smell funky and at first I thought it was holding a drumstick.

The drums were recorded earlier this year and I'd wanted to record a single-take bassline to accompany them, so this Junto was the incentive.

I used a Rode VideoMic into a Nikon D5100 and recorded it to see myself drumming so I might observe my technique. Can't remember what I played along with but I did think that my effort practicing each day was starting to pay off.

Today I recorded my Tony Levin Signature 5-String Bass using my Mackie mixer. Unfortnately my bass playing isn't so hot at present and my fingers don't have callouses. I've got angry pulsing bumps on my digits that I'll need to piss on to harden up over the next few days.

The bass riff was the first thing that came from my hands when I sat down with a guitar on Friday afternoon and started thinking what I might record for the Junto this week.

When I recorded on Saturday I thought it could use more variation, so I added the bit where it moves to A from G, as well as the chord progression. Then during my second take I added the bit where it goes down to D. The final part was the third take recorded with no edits.

I spent a bit of time getting everything sounding nice, using compression and EQ and a little reverb too. The track really is bare bones and it'd be great if anyone wants to add another instrument on top. Please send me your take.

Schemawound visits Gossamer Park

Awesome remix by Schemawound. Below is the original.

And here is a remix by me, when I returned to the original recordings in 2013 ahead of screenings to conclude the centenary of Leeton and the For 100 Years project.

Disquiet Junto Project 140 Solo Swap

So I've done this Junto and the one I'm covering arse-about.

This week the project was meant to be a cover of a recent track. As I looked over my tracks and considered a cover, I settled on the soundtrack for Josh Azzarella's video. The thing is it was a chord progression I'd developed for a song I hadn't recorded, so I decided to record it.

The lyrics were written a while ago. I forget when but they were some lines that came to me while driving. I've written a few songs this way, drafting ideas into poetry that becomes a song when I find the music.

The theme is intuition, although it's written in a way to keep the meaning open for other interpretations. The line about 'headlights behind a crest' has been looking for a home for more than a decade. Often I write sentimental songs about masturbation fantasies and stuff, but with this song I was trying to explore something different. Not sure the apple fell so far from the tree though.

A month or so ago I settled on the chord progression and remembered these lyrics. I experimented with phrasing and bashed it out on the acoustic guitar a few times. Then I used MIDI to record the version for the previous Junto and ran it through VSTs.

This version was recorded on my semi-acoustic, which doesn't hold tune as nicely as my acoustic but there was too much background noise today to record it on that guitar. In fact, if you listen carefully you might hear kids yelling during the vocals sung by my partner Jo. Or a hum of a lawnmower.

I'm not sure it works. The pace feels slow and the instrumentation a bit yawn, as well as flat in places. I really should've recorded the bass after the lyrics as it's needlessly busy in places. Anyway, it's a good draft for now I guess.

Another view

Thanks to Dan for this pic from my performance in Grong Grong earlier this year. You can see my partner Jo bowing 'the wires' in the projected video that accompanied my gentle arpeggios.

Click here to download an hour-long collection of Bassling tracks that draws together material from music I've released online since 2004.

Restyn Park Remix remixed by Kelp

The Disquiet Junto this week prompted me to return to remixing Restyn Park, which I'd recorded nearly two years ago.

It also encouraged me to see if Kelp wanted to remix the track to share the process he introduced me to in the Ninja Tune remix chains we've been running. We're currently part way through our third chain and once again it's linking together producers from around the world, including some like Lee Rosevere who I recruited from the Junto.

Below is a sampler of our last collection of remixes.

Antipodean in the Antipodes

A blend of two Disquiet Junto tracks from earlier in the year: Aeolian Metrics and Mediated Solo Duet.