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Thread: Leviathant | War Film | Up Your Cherry | Slow Andy | Tears for Agnes

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    Leviathant | War Film | Up Your Cherry | Slow Andy | Tears for Agnes

    I got started making music back in 1995, making horrible recreations of Nine Inch Nails songs in Screamtracker, and later Impulse Tracker. I used to work over the internet with a guy in Alabama on an instrumental electronic music project called The Product of Frozen Sperm, and even performed a set of thePFS songs 'live' in York at the Fenix nightclub on New Years Eve 1998. I also released an album of original electronic experimental music on MP3.com under the name Leviathant. There were some neat ideas, but I was terrible at writing melodies, much less making songs with any sort of structural evolution. But there was a period of time where I was higher on the industrial charts on MP3.com than Sister Machine Gun. I took a screenshot at the time! No idea where it went.

    In 2001, I joined a punk band called Slow Andy. It was kind of a joke band assembled by a bunch of friends, one of which quit drumming. "Hey Matt," the lead singer Jamie asked me, "You program drum machines, right? We have a drum kit, do you want to join the band as our drummer?" So I played drums with the band for five years, and bass for the sixth. We gave out thousands of CDs, played hundreds of shows, and have a full album recorded, but unreleased because the vocals were never finished. I just put up a video compilation of from the years when I was drumming. The first track is painfully out of tune, but I promise we bought tuners after that show. I'm actually pretty proud of most of what we put together, but our standout track is definitely Codename: Trixie, which follows the story of the original "The Crazies" film.

    During that same time period, I continued exploring the electronic aspects of music by joining up with another group of friends trying out the 'making music' thing. In 1998, "Stasis" was a loosely formed group of myself on drum machines (Yamaha RY10, Electribe ER-1), Jordan Smith (bass, acoustic guitar), Tony Topper (keyboards, some drum programming), and Ryan Shorb (electric guitar). What came out of that project were a lot of sketches, a few jam sessions, but no real songs to speak of. However, I started working on a side-side project with Jordan, a project he came to call Tears for Agnes. Essentially, Jordan wrote melodies on an acoustic guitar, and arranged them alongside a bed of electronics and field recordings. We released a five song EP in 2002, which I essentially took orders of through MySpace. We set to work on a full-length continuation and expansion, which resulted in the 2005 release of Shui. We did a short run (100 discs) which we sold through CD Baby, who also puts our music up on iTunes & the like.

    In 2006, my wife & I moved into a house that we had to completely renovate. Four years later, we finished, and I started thinking about music again. Doing much better financially than I was in 2003, I finally bought a somewhat decent drum kit. A few years ago, there was a rash of shitty music that came out by the likes of Sleigh Bells, and fuck I've blocked out the other shitty music that was just so simple, and yet so popular... Melissa and I decided that rather than bitch about it, let's put our money where our mouth is and make our own simple rock music. She picked up an Eastwood Mandocaster and some pedals, I got a ridiculous deal on a 50 watt JCM800, and we started Up Your Cherry, the initial idea being that it would be a noise-pop duo, with effected electric mandolin, acoustic drums, and drum machines. We have a number of original songs, but have only properly-ish recorded one of them back in 2012. In true Spinal Tap fashion, we've opened up for several puppet shows, and have been the house band for several theatre acts, playing between scenes and such. I'm really hoping to get more of that recorded this year.

    In April 2013, I joined up with a band some guys at work were trying to get started. They basically wanted to do something heavy, and since Up Your Cherry was so sporadic, I offered to try my hand at the drums with them. When I signed on, Jon was writing riffs, Nate was laying down bass, and Lance was doing guitar acrobatics. After a few months, we started to tighten up, and I started upgrading my drum equipment, and bought a Zoom R16, doing multitrack recordings of just about every practice. Here's an example of what we sounded like by August. Around this time, we started looking for a singer. It took some finding, but now we're fronted by Renee, who's maybe 21 years old as of this post, and has a great knack for picking up on our odd time signatures, and writing lyrics on the spot. We played our first show in the last week of December, and the day after we took our equipment back to our rehearsal space, it was shut down because of water damage to the electrical system. It opens back up February 11... hopefully.

    Simultaneously, I'm working on electronic music still. I've got a pretty decent arsenal of equipment now. Today, I did this with my Tempest. It's just a sketch, cut together from a live jam over a single pattern. But it's a start.

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    I posted a new DSI Tempest sketch last night. You can listen to it here. I'm hoping to move from sketching to painting in late spring.

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    It would be misleading to call these "new" tracks, but I've posted two new-to-you Slow Andy songs at our shiny new Bandcamp page.

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    Here are two tracks from my current band, War Film. Of course they're on Bandcamp.

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    Rehearsal recording of one of my favorite songs I play in Warfilm. It was mixed late at night in headphones, so the bass is probably terrrrrible. I flub the drumming a little in the beginning because I'm thinking too much about what I'm doing, but hey, that's what rehearsal's about, right? Of course it's about death by heroin overdose!

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    I put together an instrumental atmospheric track last night. You can listen to it on Soundcloud. It started with me designing some droney sounds on my Poly Evolver Keyboard, and then I added in a beat that I'd put together earlier in the month, run through my Yamaha E1010 delay into a Moogerfooger Phaser. I was poking around on the keyboard for a melody, and after coming up with one, ended up playing it on my Danelectro Baritone guitar instead - although that was processed pretty heavily through Pod Farm. I doubled the melody on my PRS, run through a shitty-tape-player style effect. Here's a screenshot of my Reaper timeline.
    Much cutting and pasting of effected tracks ensued, and the result is what I linked to. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathant View Post
    I put together an instrumental atmospheric track last night. You can listen to it on Soundcloud. It started with me designing some droney sounds on my Poly Evolver Keyboard, and then I added in a beat that I'd put together earlier in the month, run through my Yamaha E1010 delay into a Moogerfooger Phaser. I was poking around on the keyboard for a melody, and after coming up with one, ended up playing it on my Danelectro Baritone guitar instead - although that was processed pretty heavily through Pod Farm. I doubled the melody on my PRS, run through a shitty-tape-player style effect. Here's a screenshot of my Reaper timeline.
    Much cutting and pasting of effected tracks ensued, and the result is what I linked to. Thanks!
    I listened to it, I liked it, I will be listening for more.

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    Two new WarFilm tracks @
    SpotifyiTunesBandcampSoundcloud


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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathant View Post
    I put together an instrumental atmospheric track last night. You can listen to it on Soundcloud. It started with me designing some droney sounds on my Poly Evolver Keyboard, and then I added in a beat that I'd put together earlier in the month, run through my Yamaha E1010 delay into a Moogerfooger Phaser. I was poking around on the keyboard for a melody, and after coming up with one, ended up playing it on my Danelectro Baritone guitar instead - although that was processed pretty heavily through Pod Farm. I doubled the melody on my PRS, run through a shitty-tape-player style effect. Here's a screenshot of my Reaper timeline.
    Much cutting and pasting of effected tracks ensued, and the result is what I linked to. Thanks!
    once the guitar line kicked in, i was hooked. it reminds me of something i can't quite put my finger on, which is awesome, because it might just be making me FEEL similarly to music i know.

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    The Moog Sub 37 that I pre-ordered in April arrived the day before Halloween. I'm still exploring it, and this weekend I decided to put something together. That I've posted it online is probably the side effect of listening to Coil's Time Machines a few times too many in my life, but you can listen to the track here. It's all Moog Sub 37 and outboard effects, multitracked into Reaper, where levels were set, and a stereo mix was output.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathant View Post
    The Moog Sub 37 that I pre-ordered in April arrived the day before Halloween. I'm still exploring it, and this weekend I decided to put something together. That I've posted it online is probably the side effect of listening to Coil's Time Machines a few times too many in my life, but you can listen to the track here. It's all Moog Sub 37 and outboard effects, multitracked into Reaper, where levels were set, and a stereo mix was output.
    preliminary thoughts? I played with one over the weekend -- the layout almost seemed too crowded for me, but I guess I'm just used to my relatively sparse little phatty

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    Quote Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
    preliminary thoughts? I played with one over the weekend -- the layout almost seemed too crowded for me, but I guess I'm just used to my relatively sparse little phatty
    Well... on one side of the Sub 37, I have a Poly Evolver Keyboard, which has 78 knobs. On the other, a Korg MS2000, with 34 knobs. I think the Sub 37 has 40 knobs. The thing is... it's really well laid out. It was a little bit intimidating at first, but most the functions are right there for the tweaking, and in a very sensible layout. Some of the deeper modulation stuff that's tucked behind menus takes a little getting used to, but I find it to be the most intuitively laid out synthesizer I've used. Instant gratification. It sounds deep in ways my other synths don't, and it's the best looking synth I think I've ever seen, although that's not terribly important. The Voyager's layout looks like it was designed by engineers in 90s CAD software. The Sub 37's layout looks like engineers laid it out, and then handed it over to a clever graphic designer with an eye for efficient, balanced layout.

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    Over the weekend I made a remix for a friend's band, which you can hear here. It may or may not be strongly influenced by Error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathant View Post
    Over the weekend I made a remix for a friend's band, which you can hear here. It may or may not be strongly influenced by Error.
    excellent excellent work, man

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    I put a new electronic track up on Soundcloud. It started out as me learning about the modulation routings and the sequencer on the Sub 37, which is what drives the main line that runs throughout the track (with the filter running in 1-pole mode). I double it up with another track of Sub 37 on a sub-sub-bass patch. This seemed to go well with a drum pattern I'd made on the Tempest - what you hear throughout the track is a single pattern that's been manipulated, entirely within the Tempest.

    Wanting to change things up a bit, in the middle I came up with a little melody on the MS2000, which I don't give nearly as much attention as I should. I ended up doubling up on those lines with guitar. Before and after that melody, I fired up my Poly Evolver Keyboard and played the first thing that came to mind when I sat down.

    I've got a vague notion of an 'album' that I'll be collecting a lot of this stuff into at some point next year. When I'm working on these tracks, I've got ideas in mind of short science fiction vignettes, a la The Twilight Zone, that inspire the mood and direction of each individual track. We'll see if I actually follow through on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathant View Post
    I put a new electronic track up on Soundcloud. It started out as me learning about the modulation routings and the sequencer on the Sub 37, which is what drives the main line that runs throughout the track (with the filter running in 1-pole mode). I double it up with another track of Sub 37 on a sub-sub-bass patch. This seemed to go well with a drum pattern I'd made on the Tempest - what you hear throughout the track is a single pattern that's been manipulated, entirely within the Tempest.

    Wanting to change things up a bit, in the middle I came up with a little melody on the MS2000, which I don't give nearly as much attention as I should. I ended up doubling up on those lines with guitar. Before and after that melody, I fired up my Poly Evolver Keyboard and played the first thing that came to mind when I sat down.

    I've got a vague notion of an 'album' that I'll be collecting a lot of this stuff into at some point next year. When I'm working on these tracks, I've got ideas in mind of short science fiction vignettes, a la The Twilight Zone, that inspire the mood and direction of each individual track. We'll see if I actually follow through on that.
    somehow missed this until it came up in my soundcloud feed today. probably the thing of yours I like best so far. nicely realized, and the sound is crisp

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    Quote Originally Posted by screwdriver View Post
    somehow missed this until it came up in my soundcloud feed today. probably the thing of yours I like best so far. nicely realized, and the sound is crisp
    Thanks dude! The stuff I'm putting up there is, theoretically, demo material, and if I get enough of it to fill out an album, I'm going to revisit everything and spend a little more time on the mixes, and maybe expand some of the ideas into longer versions. I particularly liked mangling the drums on this track, but I also feel like I'm leaning on that too much lately. Anyway, thanks again for mentioning it

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    Last Friday, we got our names on the door to see a couple of guys who go by the name Thugfucker, because they saw a tweet Melissa made about a sign with their name on it. The doors opened at 10, we got there a little before 11, and we sat through at least two hours of a DJ playing Deep House music, which sounded like the 90s but even more repetitive. The guys in Thugfucker recognized Melissa from her Twitter profile and invited us to the green room to hang out before their set. We had joked earlier that we wondered if when they took to the booth, to their credit, their music was actually varied, they were mixing stuff live, and it was definitely an improvement on the stuff that had been spinning for hours beforehand. Which is smart - never bring an opener who can upstage you.

    Anyway, I haven't been able to dedicate much time to music in the last couple of months, because I just bought a building in Philadelphia that has a performing arts space on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor, and since the middle of February, we've basically been gutting it. It's exhausting, and it interrupted a really good flow I had going. Seeing all the people at the Thugfucker show who were actually paying attention to the DJ spinning incredibly repetitive and boring music inspired me to make my own really boring repetitive music.

    I spent a night with the Tempest making sounds I wouldn't normally make - a kick drum that kind of emulates an analog kick played against a high noise floor with compression, misc percussion ticking sound, noise snare, simple analog bass. For about five minutes, I mute and unmute parts, but aside from a little bit of filter adjustments on the bassline, keep it relatively static. All sounds are from the Tempest, everything's in-the-box except for the high-pitched noise pad, which is just a sample of the line noise, amplified and run through a very long delay. Not my usual thing, but still fun.

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    So, most of my gear's in storage, or at least packed away in the second bedroom. I have been extraordinarily busy at work. The whole theater-building thing is kind of on pause, but there's a lot of dull administrative crap going on there too. There's just plain a lot going on right now. I had set up a little spot upstairs where I had my Sub 37, Tempest, and Zoom R16, with the intent of doing some minimal electronic stuff without any computers (using the Zoom as a tape deck, basically), and a few months ago, when I sat down to get started, I discovered that my Sub 37 had an issue with the cutoff knob, so I sent the controller card off to get fixed, and pushed off to the next thing.

    As a reaction, I decided to go all-in-the-box for my next exercise. I have about a year's worth of rehearsals with Warfilm recorded in 8 channel multitrack format. I spent a day or two going through most of them and finding notably weird noises... sometimes as simple as plugging a guitar in. In one case, an amp was slowly dying while Lance played his gutar. Nate has a bunch of handmade effects units and they make amazing, nonmusical noises.

    So I took all that into Reaper, cut and pasted it into little bits, and arranged it around a set of samples from a documentary about Bellevue. A friend & coworker was playing the clip one night, and I sympathized with the sentiment. And I started thinking about making an aggressive, noisy house for those samples to live in - 95% samples from Warfilm recordings, the rest from my Tempest. That's how Stabilize into Equilibria came into being. And as usual, here's a screenshot of the Reaper session - 42 channels total on this one. Kinda nuts. It could be mixed better, there's a lot going on. But I'd rather just get it out for now.

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    Today, I recorded an instrumental version of a future Up Your Cherry song.

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    it's amazing how my laptop speakers don't convey those lower parts at all. i knew you were doing SOMETHING down there with your left hand (uh...that sounded dirty, sorry) but even with my ear right up to the speaker, it just BARELY comes through. i had to put on headphones to hear it. but i like it a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by eversonpoe View Post
    it's amazing how my laptop speakers don't convey those lower parts at all. i knew you were doing SOMETHING down there with your left hand (uh...that sounded dirty, sorry) but even with my ear right up to the speaker, it just BARELY comes through. i had to put on headphones to hear it. but i like it a lot!
    The first four notes go: MOOOOOOOOOOG. MOOOOOOOOOOG. MOOOOOOOOOOG. MOOOOOOOOOOG.

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    I made a music again. Have a listen to Fascist Weave over on Soundcloud.

    A coworker of mine sent me a link to this Politico video in the wee hours of the morning back in, like, June. The next morning, he challenged myself and our manager to make a tune using samples from that video. We had about a month to make time to complete the process. It was enough to light a bit of a fire under my ass, and I turned out a version of what's at that Soundcloud link, but without the acidy Moog line, and with the noise only having been processed by a software filter. I revisited it a few months later, running the noise through some outboard gear to give it a little more grit, and last night, I put the synth line on top and pushed the updated cut to Soundcloud.

    The drums are my Tempest, using the onboard overdrive and pushing the channels on my 1280b console a bit. The sample bits were manually placed on or near the proverbial grid in Reaper, with some delay FX from Line6 Pod Farm 2. The synth line's my Sub 37, apparently recorded at slightly the wrong tempo, so I just kinda cut and paste them mostly into place.

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    Woah. Just a little over a month between tracks.

    I've had a beat in my Tempest for a while now that I've been trying to find a home for. For now, that home is called Shook to Beat the Devil. It started out with me programming some drum sounds into the Tempest that were inspired by videos of the Metasonix D-1000 and the Moog 701 & 702 drum synth modules. The thought being, I paid less for my Tempest than a D-1000 costs, and it's quite the noisemaker. If I can make pretty faithful 606 drums, surely I could emulate what I heard from the Metasonix and Moog modules.

    I could listen to that beat on repeat for longer than one should, but it's probably not that enticing to anyone else, so it sat as a pattern on the machine for a while.

    Last month, having traded my MS2000 for a JU08, I started tinkering around with my setup again, and I got a beat going on my 606, but I wanted to crunch it up. So I ran it through a Lizard Breath Chameleon Stereo Boost, which I was running off one of those Danelectro pedals with variable voltage. I used this combination to overdrive the inputs on my Sound Workshop console, and was pretty pleased with the results. To thicken things up, I added that Tempest beat, and that was alright, but it wasn't until I added in the bass melody (played on the JU-08, also run through the voltage starved stereo boost pedal) that I felt good about the track.

    It was still a bit too minimal, so I decided to tinker around with higher-register lead sounds on the Sub 37 in conjunction with the arpeggiator.

    I had a bunch of samples from election protests around the country, but rolled them back a bunch. The one in the middle's from Philadelphia, the bit at the end is from Portland.

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    Hello 2018. Hope you've got your good headphones on.

    If you're following the narrative above: I moved into the new place in September, but it's going to be many more months before I get settled, so I haven't had much time for making music. I have had some time though! Working backward from newest to oldest:

    Here is a solo Moog piece I created and performed at last year's National Puppetry Conference, where I'm on staff (because I'm married to the music director) and I'm occasionally called on to perform live score work for puppetry shorts. This one was for a piece by Marte Johanne Ekhougen, aka doctorsuperhelga. The Soundcloud link is to an "in-studio performance", which means I played this into my computer and uploaded it as-is.

    I revisited Swifter Things this past December: now with effected vocals, and a little more skittering and warbling. The bed for this track is a live recording, but the vocals were recorded separately in a demo.

    Going back another year, in December 2016, I recorded another crunchy analog thumper, Shook to Beat the Devil. It's not as cool as Stabilize into Equilibria, but I still dig it. There's a lot going on with the texture of the rhythm section, which is a combination of a voltage starved TR-606 and my Tempest pumping out a beat using sounds I created, inspired by the Metasonix D-1000 tube drum machine, and the Moog 701 & 702 Percussion Synthesizer modules. Check me out using the arpeggiator on the Sub37 for the first time in a recording! I recently opened the Reaper file for this track and discovered that the arp recording's just... gone. So if I ever compile this stuff into an album, it's going to be a little bit different.

    In gear turnover news, the announcement of the Roland TR-8S inspired me to let go of my Quicksilver TR-606, which I managed to sell without taking a loss, and for enough money that I can by a TR-8S and have about $20 left over. But I've also got heaps of bad debt now, so instead I'm putting a chunk of that into paying off credit cards. Renovating an 18th century building is really expensive, you guys.

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