Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Nerves

Here is a new favorite band: The Nerves.

The version you remember:

The original:

The version you remember:

Jack Lee of the Nerves wrote it. The Nerves have a great punk version. You can get it on the iTunes set list, but I could not find it on youtube. Here is a Jack Lee solo version:

Apparently Jack Lee, the guitarist of the Nerves, also wrote Blondie's "Will anything happen," another favorite track of mine:

The Nerves. Jack Lee. Rad.

Why does it seem to take me so long to make these discoveries?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

two new tracks

Here are two more tracks I'd been holding on to for far too long. Mixed, bounced, shared.

The first one is about, well, I'm sure you can imagine. Any dysfunctional systems in your life?

Figured Out by Tetramorph

The second one was just pure fun. It took me a long time to let go of it, because I was afraid it was too "silly" and not "serious" enough. Enough of that.

Rock 'n' Roll Festival (of Love) by Tetramorph

Hope you enjoy them! Please let me know what you think. Thanks for the support. Peace.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Incompatible new track

I finally finished and uploaded a new track to Soundcloud. I am really happy with it. It is pure pop, but that is what I am enjoying creating these days. Two things about it:

One: I named it "Incompatible," because it came from doodling around with "incompatible audio units" in Logic and a scare window kept popping up, reminding me of the fact. As it grew, I realized it was about an important new relationship in my life, so I ran with it.

Two: I am singing almost entirely in falsetto. In a dialogue with Stretta about a year ago, he gently commented on the quality of my singing voice by commenting on his own ability to control his voice better when in falsetto. Hint hint. Got it. And it is true. To sing pop, you just can't fudge, you've got to hit the note dead on. And I still don't; but at least in falsetto I can fake it a little bit better. I also like, in a Brian Eno kind of way, the way in which the falsetto allows me to distance myself from my work, take on a persona, so to speak. And, heck, I just like the sound of falsetto in pop. Okay, so there is my apologia pro falsetto mia.

Incompatible by Tetramorph

Please let me know what you think. Thanks for following, and thanks for the encouragement. Peace

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

solovox, my love

My great aunt has loved and played music all her life. Her instruments are keyboards: pianos, organs, accordions, and the Solovox. Growing up, I remember many a rendition of the Tenessee Waltz in the music room of her great big old house. Great uncle on the violin, Aunt on the piano. Every now and then the cool electronic whistle of the Solovox would come humming out of that piano cabinet. When I first saw and heard my Aunt's Solovox it was already 30 plus years old and sounded great. Well, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

In the 90's my Aunt bought one of those new-fangled midi-pianos. No need for the Solovox. But she is a smart one, and she kept it.

I visited my Aunt last month. I went looking for something in one of her closets. There was her Solovox! In storage! Sometimes considered the "first synthesizer" (there are many artifacts that could qualify), pure tube power! I had to take it out. My Aunt knows my love for music (although she has no love for the kind of music I like). She insisted that I take it home. Well, here it is:

Above is the underside of the keyboard unit. The keyboard is designed to be mounted underneath the keyboard of a grand piano. That long metal rod is the on-off and volume lever. It is designed to be operated by one's knee for dynamic control. RAD.

Here is a shot of the top of the keyboard unit shown, not as it ought to be, but placed on my grandmother's old coffee table.

The next picture is of the sound cabinet. This would be mounted within the piano's sounding board. Can you imagine someone being willing to do this to a piano?

The final picture is of the other side of the sound cabinet. Here you see the tubes in action. The thing still works (basically). And the tubes emit their yellow glow that says: you are now playing with electricity.

The two units are hooked up to one another by a (very proprietary) multi-pronged interface cord. Just so unbelievably rad. I can't wait to take it in to my local music shop and see what they can do with it. Even if they only clean it up and getting it in working order, that would be pretty cool. But I hope they could find a way to hack me into the (I believe five) formant filters on this thing!

Now, where to keep it I have no clue, but I am so happy to have this thing! It is both an amazing and historical piece of electronic musical equipment and a reminder of my cool great Aunt!

But what does it sound like? I am glad you asked. Here I am noodling around (top note priority):

After recording it with a friend, we started dropping different channel strip settings from logic on it. So I decided to turn it into a little electronica / techno / house track (still can't tell the differences between all those unbelievably specific sub-genres - does every artist / band just have its own sub-genre now? Doesn't that defeat the point? I digress).

Vox Soli by Tetramorph

Thanks for listening. More tracks to come. I keep brooding over them. They will hatch soon.

Thanks for following. Peace.

Friday, July 23, 2010

down to the wire

Okay, so why didn't anybody ever tell me about Wire? I'm sure I had heard of them or read about them in other contexts but no one ever said to me: all the people that you like to listen to, listen to Wire and Wire is rad so you have to stop and give them a listen now.

So, apparently, Wire is the most under-recognized serious influence on punk, post-punk and new wave that I currently have finally found out about.

I am exploring their work and enjoying it. What I love about Wire is what I love about so much post-punk and early new wave: no fear of recording a short pop-song with both wild guitars and heavy and obvious synthesizer use.

I love Eno (like any synthesist should) -- but I love his early solo rock stuff as much as his ambient. I love a good synth-based song every now and then: but who ever said that being a synthesist meant that you had to be obsessed with music primarily driven by the synthesizer. I am not aware of there being any bass-rock out there. Or ambient bass music. (I know it is not a very good analogy, but just give this one to me, okay?)

I saw a documentary recently where the Edge talked about being the kind of guitarist who understood his role as being accompaniment to a pop-singer. I remember reading an interview of Nick Rhodes once where he talked about not being interested in novelty sounds, synth-solos, and bringing the synth to the fore of the music. He saw himself as created background atmospheres with strings, etc., and rhythmic interest through sequences and arpeggios. So the order is: singer, then guitar, then synth. I must admit that I am an odd kind of (amateur) synthesist: I basically like pop and rock music that is unafraid of bold and obvious synthesis but that still privileges rock's first two main instruments up front: the voice and the guitar.

Having finally figured this out about myself and becoming able to name it has allowed me to realize that it is hard to do the kind of synthesis and synthesizer accompaniment I really enjoy most listening to and contributing to because a.) modern DAWs hand you the capacity to make synth-rock on a platinum platter and b.) I do not actually have a band around me and I am what I would call BARELY proficient on the guitar. That being said, when I recently added an electric guitar to my project studio I was happy to discover how much easier it was to record a line-in distorted and/or heavily effected electric guitar and sound okay than trying to microphone record a nice take of acoustic guitar.

Oh, well. My bare proficiency at the guitar is a limitation that gives structure to my creativity. Besides, isn't barely proficient guitar what (post) punk music was and is all about anyway?

With that said, I have about three unfinished tracks that I am still working on but too self-conscious to share. I should have at least one of these up on Soundcloud and discussed here before summer is out.

Thanks for following. Peace.