Yamaha fretless

Nice lines

Let it free

Since my new bass arrived this week, I've been slap-happy.

The riffs in this track sounded a lot like a poor imitation of Primus when I first recorded it today. So I added a funk guitar part and then an airy synth. Now it sounds more like Talking Heads, I think.

I've an idea for lyrics but my live-in vocalist is away at present, so they won't be added soon.

Origin and all

My local newspaper ran this piece this week on my recent contributions to the State of Origin exhibition and compilation, as well as my piece heard at the Regional Arts Australia conference in Kalgoorlie.

Disquiet Junto 152 Comet 67P Cover

Apparently the mysterious song of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has been floated as a likely subject of a Disquiet Junto project since it first was announced by the European Space Agency.

The project this week was to cover this song.

The comet recording suggested an Atari Punk Console, so I turned to my Dr. Blankenstein APC 2600. It's fun toy that I've had for a little while but not found reason to record.

The pitch adjustment on the APC 2600 didn't provide the right sound, leading me to use an Electro-Harmonix Ring Thing -- which is another fun toy that I haven't recorded. For reverb I grabbed the Biyang Tri Reverb I bought recently and also haven't used much. (Hmm, I can see a theme here.)

Once I'd recorded a take on these pedals, I used the volume and panning automation in Ableton Live to try better emulate the original recording.

Then I used EQ and compression to try and get even closer to the orginal. Finally, I added further reverb in the form of UAD's Dreamverb for a darker character and automated the distance effect.

Brand new secondhand bass

Treated myself to a Warwick bass with my tax return this year. I've wanted one since I tried a friend's. They really are a nice instrument and it feels like it improves my playing.
The drop D tuner is a nice addition and will help reach those notes I've been hitting since I bought a five-string.

Naviarhaiku 046: Blown from the west

Today I recorded the bassline for my track 'Wandered' in response to a haiku poem by Yosa Buson, shown in the image on the right, which was another Naviar Haiku Project.

I used my recently acquired secondhand Warwick fretless 'Rock Bass' and a synth pad from Native Instruments' Absynth.

Disquiet Junto 151 Reliving Dead

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for a soundtrack to George Romero's film Night of the Living Dead using sound from within the scene being scored.

After experimenting with a later scene, I settled on this earlier one for the knocking sounds and the telephone. Both were used for percussive effect. The drums come from the first couple of knocks looped, with a couple of instances of Ableton Live's Beatrepeat effect.

The chord progression was created from the word "Food". The elongated vowel was suitable for looping, then I pitched it up and down to create the progression and ran it through a resonator. The crescendo toward the end is the result of the Valhalla reverb Shimmer.

The bassline is the same loop of "food" but pitched down an octave and rhythmically gated. There's also another "food loop that's ran through Quad Frohmage.

One small hurdle was ensuring my soundtrack led into the one that starts at the end. At first I thought it didn't matter, then decided it was a challenge I should meet.

Steve Albini on our musical environment

Music has entered the environment as an atmospheric element, like the wind, and in that capacity should not be subject to control and compensation. Well, not unless the rights holders are willing to let me turn the tables on it. If you think my listening is worth something, OK then, so do I. Play a Phil Collins song while I’m grocery shopping? Pay me $20. Def Leppard? Make it $100. Miley Cyrus? They don’t print money big enough.

Warwick fretless Rock Bass

Bought this secondhand Warwick fretless 'Rock Bass' the other week. It's quite nice for the price, which was about a third of retail.

There's a pleasing phasing effect when both pickups are balanced, like a subtle chorus.

One drawback is it has created a desire for a fretted Warwick bass, which will be the subject of a future blogpost.

Disquiet Junto 150 Sonic Perfume

The Disquiet Junto this week drew on an idea from Jorge Colombo:
Step 1: Consider the time you heard quiet music and didn’t know where it came from, only to realize you’d left your MP3 player running in your pocket.
Step 2: Record a short piece of music with that as the intended purpose. That is, imagine a world not too far in the future when people regularly have a quiet music, a personal score, surrounding them, just as one might wear perfure or cologne.
Step 3: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.
Step 4: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

I had the idea that, since male fragrances are often like a refreshing breeze, I should include wind noise in my track. As it's a personal score, I also included the sounds of the landscape in the form of birds.

The track also had to have bass and I wanted something that wasn't too upbeat or too melancholy, settling on this old tune for the regal sounding chorus riff -- which seems kinda heraldic.

This combination of bass and wind seems an appropriate statement as a regional musician.

Nick Mason on records

Music is capable of tapping directly into a particular phase of your life, and you can maintain affection for dreadful songs for years and years ('Extraordinary how potent cheap music is' as Noel Coward put it ). For recording musicians, the odd thing is that this time-frame is out of kilter, as the reality of an album actually exists in a period up to a year prior to its release.

Disquiet Junto 149 Pine Ave

Interesting Junto this week, involving a field recording in the left channel and a processed version in the right.

I experimented with recording at Waipukurau Park near my home on Friday night, before remembering that there was going to be lots of interesting sounds in town on Saturday morning.

This weekend is the annual Leeton Outback Band Spectacular with marching and concert bands converging (and tonight merging). The main street had no less than three musical acts performing as I walked a short lap along Pine Avenue, starting and ending at the landmark Roxy Theatre.

The processing for the right channel involved a couple of reverbs (Audio Damage's Eos and Valhalla's Shimmer) with Ableton Live's resonator effect using the 'Berlin' preset as a starting point.

This is my 75th Junto and 20th video.

Disquiet Junto 148 Peripheral Listening

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for a loop-able soundtrack to suit a description from William Gibson's new novel, The Peripheral. There were options, which were all great. I settled on:
“Then a ringing silence, in which could be heard an apparent rain of small objects, striking walls and flagstones.”

The reason I choose this passage was it brought to mind an old field recording I'd recently used in the background of the first track on AND. It captured rain on a tin roof and seemed like it would suit.

The tinnitus-like ringing comes from Absynth, as does the low note. Both are treated with a lot of reverb, some delay, as well as compression.