Squidfanny's Alesis HR-16

Posting this because I can see myself watching this beaut jam a few times. Lovely work on the Alesis drum machine, enjoying the squealchy sounds.

2012 in 60 seconds

One of the highlights of 2012 has been getting involved with the Disquiet Junto project, who this week posed an interesting exercise.

I've selected 12 five-second segments of recordings from throughout the year based on when different files were exported (which seems to be a bit different to some of the links below).

Here's some context for each section:

The year opened with me procrastinating on finishing my album For 100 Years, which ended up being released in July. On the day of internet protests about the SOPA I remixed a video which Google had alerted me to because it had something resembling Bassling in the title. It gave me a big buzz when the guy I remixed saw it.

This track was my third attempt at remixing Waipukurau Park and had been mostly completed in December when I edited the video but my files show I worked on it around this time although it probably wasn't finished until closer to July.

It's been maybe three years since my cousin Chris died but I still think about him often and this track is one example. Early in 2012 I had the idea of recording an EP of solo bass and I'd been thinking about Chris because he helped me buy my first bass and encouraged me to play it.

This comes from a short mix of Skunkhour tracks I put together around the time I posted about the mix of INXS tracks I made for the project, which was more popular so I'll post the video I made for it here.

A recording of a jam on circuit bent gear and guitar pedals that I titled as an Outkast cover on Youtube.

Another jam with circuit bent gear and guitar pedals, as well as bass and theremin.

2012 was a milestone year as a musician for me and this was a great month with the release of my fourth, fifth and sixth albums.

As well as a great article on my album in a national magazine, I was invited to improvise with some great Wagga Wagga musicians.

Finally able to distribute the mammoth three-hour immersive audio recording of 'the wires' I'd finished in 2010. Dunno what people will make of it, I deliberately didn't master it so that it'd be background noise but that's probably part of how I experienced this otherworldly instrument.

A recording of a Fisher Price clock using my new contact mic.

This Dinosaur Park remix was one I mastered for...

Another 100 Years, an EP of remixes I released to coincide with my exhibition, which followed on from the album. The track heard here is actually the first park remix I made at Waipukurau Park in 2011.

Seems I'm back in a slump again but hope to finish my For 100 Years DVD. The audio here comes from one of the remixes I'm working on using the DVD cover/instrument developed for the release.

Great mixes of 2012

Here are some of the mixes I've enjoyed this year:
  1. Four Tet's Conference of the Birds -- also this mix from Boiler Room
  2. Doc Delay's Beastie Boys Tribute mix -- also this Paul's Boutique mix
  3. Tom Bonaty's Smoke Machine podcast
  4. Stompin' To The 90's by Long Distance Dan
  5. Nadja Lind's Chillout Dub Mix 
  6. Headphone Commute Back to Mine Mix
  7. DJ Rupture's Change the Mood mix
A late contender is Old Apparatus' PlayGround mix, which is pretty great too. And I also like Jamie XX's Boiler Room mix.

And I've been enjoying revisiting a bunch of great artists via the mixes at http://hurroooooooo.blogspot.jp/ -- particularly the Plaid, Aphex Twin and Luke Vibert.

Happy listening in 2013!

More from a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away

Spotted a couple more boutique pedals on Ebay this morning from the guy inspired by Star Wars who I mentioned earlier. These are the Rogue Leader above and the Thermal Detonator below.

July August September October November

Disquiet Junto Project 0050: -…….–.-..-…-
This week’s project explores invokes Morse Code for its rhythmic content. The instructions are as follows: Select a word or phrase. Encode that word or phrase by the Morse method. Record a rhythmic foundation in which the dash is represented by a long beat and the dot by a brief one. Use that rhythmic foundation as a loop for the length of your track, at the speed you desire — speed can vary over the length of the recording. Record accompanying drone/melodic material that takes the underlying rhythm as its compositional foundation.
Deadline: Monday, December 17, at 11:59pm wherever you are.
Length: Your finished work should be between 1 and 3 minutes in length.
Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.
Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0050-morsebeat” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.
Download: For this project, your track should be set as downloadable, and allow for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).
Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:
More on this 50th Disquiet Junto project at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

This track began with Jason, both as the author and the Morse Code beat thumping throughout:

You'll hear this joined by a drone and then broken beats and some echo on a synth playing the intro to a Black Sabbath tune, then it drones a bit more and ends.

Holy Fuck, a band I'd like to see live

Nice work from Frankenmusik

Like the look of this new creation from Frankenmusik that's on Ebay right now.

Circuit bent omnichord

Bought this circuit bent Suzuki omnichord recently and am trying to avoid the cheese by using the MIDI.

One of the cool things about omnichords is the way they get you thinking about minor and seventh chords. I also like how the MIDI outputs on three channels with the strum notes, a three-note chord and a bassline.

Edit: Found this video of another circuit bent omnichord.

I heard he's in a metal band

Like this image from Bwana Spoons because I've always wanted to be in a metal band :)

Whatever will beep, will beep.

Just occurred to me this is a great title for a collection of circuit bent tunes. Que sera sera :)

Circuit bent dub

Was sorely tempted when this circuit bent omnichord was for sale on Ebay earlier this year. This is a great demo and Squid Fanny has others showing their tasty bends.

The function of music

Saw the above photo on Facebook, dunno where it comes from but I like the message. Another interpretation of the function of music comes from this marimba packaging I photographed:

Today I know

Great cover of The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows by Junior Parker, whose name I first noticed while watching The Chemical Brothers' Don't Stop but I didn't realise it was that Tomorrow Never Knows until I googled.

Wrote about Tomorrow Never Knows earlier this year because it's one of the tracks that really cements The Beatles ongoing influence on generations of musicians.

This mash-up is also kinda cool:

Tomorrow Never Knows by ethanhein

Female = alien?

Ever wonder what an alien would sound like? Apparently they sound female!

Fun pedal but it sounds more like T-Pain or Cher on my voice. I'll give it a go on my theremin next.

Wicked drummer

From the book Ben's Trumpet by Rachel Isadora.

For 100 Years exhibition in Leeton

My local newspaper The Irrigator has a great pic with their article on my exhibition at The Roxy Art Space this month. Read about the For 100 Years multimedia exhibition at their site.

I seem to have given the newspaper the wrong link to the album For 100 Years and the EP of remixes And Another 100 Years, click on these titles to find them.

Here are a few pics from the exhibition:

Contact mic performance

Posted about the Uncovered event at Wagga Art Gallery a month ago but I thought I'd draw attention to this performance by Vic McEwan.

I like his use of contact microphones to turn this sculpture into an instrument with liberal application of delays and phasing. When I was editing the sound I noticed how the audience's applause at the end sounds like a reprise as the vibrations trigger the effects.

Vic also used contact mics during his Hook performance in August, although they're a bit lost in the video because I only had audio from my Rode VideoMic and it captured more of the hammer hits acoustically.

A video of galactic proportions

Mash-up I made using a video by NASA and a tune by Antonio Sanciolo, who tells me this was the imagery he had in mind when he wrote the song. The idea to merge the two was a direction from BoingBoing.net

And Another 100 Years

DVD nears completion

Le Rondo Des Sirènes video

Earlier this year I remixed Le Rondo Des Sirènes by Joachim De Lux.

Recently I got an underwater camera and my pool pass for the season and the track lends itself to the footage so I made a video. It's nothing flash, there's no editing but I like the cool blue fluid shapes and air bubbles accompanying a fluid, bubbly sorta track.

Prince Charles' Harmony

My mum suggests I share an interest with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and sent this quote from Harmony, the book he wrote with Tony Juniper and Ian Skelly:

According to a famous Middle Eastern folk tale Pythagoras was one day walking past a blacksmith's workshop when he heard the sounds of different hammers pounding the anvil. Mostly they just made a noise but every so often he noticed they fell into a sequence that produced something special.

When he went inside he discovered that the hammers were all of different sizes and when he measured them, all but one had a particular mathematical relationship. If these hammers struck the anvil in sequence, the notes they produced had a harmony to them. This was because one turned out to be half the weight of the biggest, another was two-thirds the weight and the next was four-fifths the size of the largest hammer.

 In this way Pythagoras is thought to have defined the octave and how it relates to the third and the perfect fifth. These are the key musical intervals that, for centuries, dictated the entire grammar of Western tonality.

Sounds like Pythagoras had a miraculous agitation!


Their Unfailing Test from abre ojos on Vimeo.

New work from my friend Abre Ojos, see more HAXAN at his website.

Everything makes music

Lovely sentiment. Sometimes kids books really stoke their sense of wonder.

From the book Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees.

Bloody kids

Took my old monitors to Burning Seed so I could play DJ in the Kids Camp and found someone pushed my speaker dome in.

Great idea for Korg

Please make it so.

Kicked to death

Found a dead spider on my kick drum. I like to think my kick was powerful enough to kill but it was probably my smelly feet.

It's not the first time a spider has been attracted to my music gear.

Intergalactic effects

Spotted these Star Wars-themed pedals on Ebay. Neat.

Another promising boutique effect pedal on Ebay is this one:

Talking Machine

A few months ago I posted a video of a theremin through a Talking Machine pedal, which made me want to try one. Seeing as the Australian dollar has been punching above its weight, I decided now was the time and I recommend Mad Ape on Ebay for superior service -- not only did the pedal ship quickly from the US but they included an Australian power adapter. Fantastic service!

Haven't given it much of a go yet but it sounds amazing on bass guitar, great variety of filters ranging from fuzzy wah through to vowel-y and classic funky sounds.

See Audio Technology this month

You'll find many tips on recording with contact microphones, as well as free software in my interview in the October issue of Audio Technology.

Or you can read it on your tablet FREE at www.audiotechnology.com.au/tablet

Rod Cooper's instruments

I'd forgotten how cool Rod's instruments sound. Saw him perform in Wagga a couple of times and have been meaning to hear his work on the Rogue soundtrack.

Rare Speak and Spell back cover

This Texas Instruments Speak & Spell possesses a rare component, one which anyone who has ever looked at secondhand Speak & Spell units would appreciate. This Speak & Spell unit has an intact battery cover.

The device works but soon I hope to make it work in way not intended by Texas Instruments by creating some new connections.


These images were taken at The CAD Factory's night of short performances at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery last weekend for the Uncovered exhibition. I've begun editing my video footage and am thoroughly enjoying revisiting the event.


Have you seen my SHOCKING guest blog post at The Walk to Work?

Fisher Price clock

Recently I treated myself to a Barcus-Berry piezo microphone and tried it out on this Fisher Price clock I've been meaning to record for a while. Listening back to it now I can hear there's too much compression, just listen to way the sound is slapped down after each tick.

Don't Look Bach

Here's my track for the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud this week.The instructions were:
Disquiet Junto Project 0036: Still Life

The painter Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was one of the great practitioners of abstract expressionism. The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado, not only houses a wealth of his works, it also has on display artifacts from Still's daily life and practice, such as his smock, his old paint cans — and his record collection. These records, displayed behind glass, include pieces by Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, among others, and they're accompanied by a small note: "Clyfford Still was passionate about music, particularly classical music. Shown here are several samples from his record collection." In this week's project we're going to take that word "sample" literally.

There's an interesting question inherent here about matters of aesthetic influence: how it is that the man who painted such massive and graphically evocative works was, in fact, listening to music far more figurative than the art he himself produced? The goal of this week's Disquiet Junto project is to take a shared sample of the sort of music that Still loved — a 78rpm recording of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, II. Andante — and turn it into something that might be deserving of the term "abstract expressionism."

So, the instructions for this week are as follows:

Step 1. Please select part of this MP3 of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, II. Andante:


Step 2. Then transform that sample, through any methods you desire, into something that you feel meets the definition of "abstract expressionism" provided by the Clyfford Still Museum: "marked by abstract forms, expressive brushwork, and monumental scale."

You cannot add any sounds to the sample, but you can manipulate the sample in any way you see fit.

Deadline: Monday, September 10, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 2 and 10 minutes in length.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Milestones in recording technology

A little while ago I mentioned Perfecting Sound Forever and how it gave a great overview of the development of audio recording technology in the 20th Century. This remarkable video does a great job of demonstrating the technology.

DVD cover as instrument

For the DVD release of For 100 Years I'm making these handcrafted instruments. They sound pretty good, the kind of percussive tap sound you'd expect. I'll share a remix soon.

Soundtrack to sculpting

Hook was a collaborative performance between Vic McEwan and John Wood. Molten steel, furnaces, anvils, clarinets, guitars, contact microphones, underwater microphones and an iPad created this 40-minute collaboration between music and the blacksmith sculpting process.

It was held outside Wagga Wagga on Friday 13 July 2012. Afterward Vic joked you can see how many rehearsals they had in the number of hooks that you see hanging.

Great setting -- can't think of the last time I watched hot metal being sculpted!

Reasons to date a bass player


My partner adds that bass players also have "less strings attached"!

I'm resisting pointing out to her that we bassists know how to get into the pocket but she should know that if you want this sort of awesome then you're going to expect it'll cost you something.

Advice from Andrew Weatherall

This advice from Andrew Weatherall to take your sounds out of the digital realm or to include something that isn't a sample or VST makes a lot of sense.

Another interesting take on the difference between analogue and digital recording mediums comes from Mike Stavrou.

Vibrating String

Above is a recent image of one of 'the wires' built by Alan Lamb and Scott Baker outside Wagga Wagga, NSW.

This large-scale aeolian harp has been an influence on my work in a wide variety of ways and I've written about it on this blog a number of times now.

In February 2010 I made a three-hour recording of some of my favourite recordings from 2004 to 2009 and also included ambiance, such as birdsong, cicadas, insects, bats and a lonely frog. There's a bit of me bowing early on and then the wind plays the rest!

For a couple of years I wasn't sure how to share this material but it's now up on Bandcamp to hear or download for free.