iLike is a plugin for iTunes. it's pretty handy for both people who like music and people who like to spam social networking programs.
A recent friend request led to a free download of a pretty decent album. Much to the styling of Quasi and Goldenboy, Pro Audio is woth at least checking out.

Free holiday music from Peppermill Records

I don't link out much (is that what they call "tagging?"); but Peppermill is offering a free collection of holiday music. They also are going to be offering hi-res artwork to craft your own package, but only after they test it themselves, which hasn't happened as of this posting.
here's the link:

i hope it knocks your judeo-christian socks off.


Magic Babies - christmas show

In gearing up for the christmas show at KingsBarcade, we'll be practicing at least once more this week, making for a Monday, Tuesday and possibly Friday. This makes me sleepy just thinking about it!
In an effort to minimize the gradeur of my space-pod (keyboard set-up, I've decided to eliminate the Yamaha. The only song i was using it for was the Kinksy Song (title?) for a really obnoxious flute sound, which i'll be replacing with a Melotron flute plug-in when i get my midi controller. For the Saturday show, I will be using the Firman (spelling?) organ with the percussion draw bars open. Sounds a bit different, but I can stack the Organ on top of my Wurlitzer and not have the Keyboard rack boxing me in. This also leaves room for my amp and guitar. That's right - i get to play guitar on a song; we're covering a Hollies song. I'm playing a slide guitar through an ass-ton of reverb - really sloppy like on just a g-formation chords. The production of the original sounds like it must have inspired Kevin Shields - that's the only way I can accurately describe how it sounds when the intermittent chords slide from one to another. It's fun to try and mimic Kevin Shields while staying in the vein of out 60s pop-psych-rock thing.


Magic Babies - virginal posting and first outing

The Magic Babies had their first show last night. At the above linked myspae page, you can read a little about how i fit into the band. My commentary is this:
I have never played proper keyboards in a proper rock band before. I thought that i might have something to add to the process and I was eager for some sort of live multi-membered musical experience. The show last night solidified for me just how much fun I can have while adding something important to some well crafted songs. (that was a big worry of mine - that i would slip into "jamming" - i hate "jamming.")
The song(s?) that are at the myspace page are demos recorded before my joining the band, so there aren't any tracks to post or link to here. Those will come in time, i'm sure. Charles, the head chef of magical babydom, wants to craft EPs and move along so that the sound can change and develop from year to year. I'm game for that.

I like jumping into the song writing process without the onus of building from scratch. It makes for a nice change of pace (although I'm not eager to give up songwriting).

One difficult thing about playing out is moving gear. Oh, yeah - and the late hours. I had a Red Bull with dinner, so the anticipated 7hour buzz kept me going, but i was a little droney this morning - what better opportunity to listen to some Poles Apart tracks on my new iPod! new iPod! new iPod! now my walks home can be study time for lyric writing, too.

Yeah, so the moving of gear is not too big of a deal when you've just got a guitar and amp. I had to move an organ, Wurlitzer, casio and stand. That Wurlitzer, god love it, is a heavy thing. Was it worth the back pain? yes yes yes. it barks. it has the sweetest sound.

we've got another show dec 23rd (no chrstmas trip home for me, then - pressure's off... plus dad's going to florida, anyway) and Charles wants to start recording the songs we've got. i just might get to layer some backup vocals. it's what i do, you know.

till recordings are available, live shows and word of mouth will have to do.


Selacious Crumb - Unfrocked

Today is my childhood friend Ryan's birthday. He has the distinct honor of being the only person to ever get me to play guitar naked in front of a studio audience of very kind friends (none of whom speak to me anymore, for reasons unrelated, i hope).
The video project (one of the few of his in which i had the pleasure of participating - discounting numerous highschool videos) was titled "Selacious Crumb: unfrocked." It came about in an altered giggle-fest joking about MTV's Unplugged show and what if we had a band and what if it was actually about playing without clothes instead of without amps. That was very silly. The song (how i dearly wish i had an mp3 to post) was actually very good. Travis built up some Liaka-esqu loops, i played some vey amateur shoegazery guitar while Ryan busted out the harmonica at Just The Right Moment. beuatiful.
Today's his birthday. Happy birthday ryan!


Poles Apart - Digging Through Dirt

Here is yet another step in the right direction for Digging Through Dirt courtesy of Roy. Get your Quicktim up and ready - it's an m4a file:

The missing ingredients to discovering what to do with this song vocally are here in this version. Roy is giving me a lot to work with and to be inspired by. The dwiddly kepboard line at the beginning seems like it would be a perfect melody line to echo and expand on. The builds and progressions also leave just the right amount of space for verse break verse chorus format of which i am apparently fond.
There is a point about a minute and a half through that a keyboard line comes in. That is the point where everything just fell together for me when listening to it. I can't wait to get into writing for it. I've blathered about content before, but mostly that was due to not being sure about content or subject matter. now i think something will come easier for me and there wont be a need to make excuses or talk out of my ass in hopes for stumbling on something extraordinary - i know (but i never seem to use the knowledge) that this never works; i just have to let go and let it happen... which usually only happens when i am comfortable with the music (when working in this format). so now, since i'm comfy, i might pull it off (the lyrics, not my pants... i can do THAT anytime).


Poles Apart - Thaw Gains Momentum

I finally was able to get some music done tonight. I've been really busy with stupid stupid work and have been missing all the things that i love. So, in order to keep my sanity in check, i squeezed in some music making.

Thaw Gains Momentum

This was started by Roy - i linked to the version he sent to me in a previous post ("Round Up") - and was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't let meself not touch it. i like to touch it. I also like the cocteau twins. Simon's basslines are an obvious influence as are the bell sounds - i was trying to hit on victoria lands but landed closer to blue bell knoll.

lyrically, this has nothing yet. I can't tell if it would need anything. perhaps roy will have ideas after rounding out the chord progressions and possibly changing what he was hearing in his head.


Poles Apart - Digging Through Dirt

Oh Thank Goodness. Roy rescued this one from drowning in it's own waste. track sickness. too much buildupitude.
Listen here - probably much to the dismay of Roy - but i'm excited about this one again

The irony of the name is not lost on me. It was doomed from the beginning, i suppose, to suffer from grievous overdubs only to be stripped down to what is absolutely neccessary.

We are at a point with it (as expressed by Roy in an email) where the addition of an acoustic guitar will actually benefit things (i'll claim the adverb there).

From my emailed response to him:
the "dyamic break" could be a hole that is filled by a new instrument like near the begining (at 0:53 and 1:20) or perhaps the acoustic guitar you're talking about could carry on into the beats- - it might be interesting if a part (acoustic guitar or otherwise - i won't presume to write your parts for you!) based it's rythm after the impending beats so as to hail a resounding "hell yeah!" from the listener when the beats drop to the tempo that their heads have been bobbing to. or the lyrics/words could have that 1234 punch to them.

When imagining this song lyrically, I was forcing myself to imagine diggin UP through dirt. This is also an irony not lost on me.
I think now, it might be interesting to consider digging DOWN. There can be treasure, escape (from less gangster/mob/zombie endings than UPwards), china, et al. Far better possibilities than the dead end of what landed you in such an unfortunate position as digging UP would offer.

Or this could stand as an instrumental as well. regardless, the process is once more galvanized by Roy's mix.


Close closed for now

i haven't posted in a while because i've been avoiding this particular topic

Close is in a period of extended hiatus.

Vince needs to take time to work on his own things and be a daddy to his two kids.
All of the material we had been coming up with was very difficult to maintain and remember due to a lack of interest and probably because it just wasn't that great. After we put the acoustic guitars away, theings got a little strange - forced, you know. trying really hard to achieve great songs without actually writing any.

This time away will be great (obviously for him because his kids are cute as hell) because songs need to be written and ideas need to cultivate so that we have something exciting to bring to the table.

I bid a fond - a very fond - farewell to the era of Close that is now over. We made some great songs and didn't get to record some of them better ones (Dog Bowl, Parachute). We did put together a cd - i'll probably post links to those files. no energy for the process of ripping and ftping right now.

Vince and I play really well together and i look forward to the chance to do it again.


September Song

September Song - written in September 2001. Started working on it before the 11th. finished it after. It's an instrumental.


Poles Apart - Grasping At Straws and other meditations

Roy made this one perk up. For sure.
Get your Quicktime out - it's an m4a file.

The underlying original tracks (guitar, vibes, piano, reeeeveerb) don't make an apearance until the appropriate time now. I think by bringing them in after the first verse, they make more of a statement. the dropping the 'lectric piana for the second verse, the ghosty original tracks really come home and nestel themselves up in you earballs.

Roy and I were both on the same wavelength, it seems, with the importance of the portamento synth that echos the vocal line (in actuallity it's the other way around - that synth helped write the melody) stands out and should be a little dry. Although he may have his own reaons for mixing it that way, I consider it to be the part of a conversation that the other person doesn't want to hear - the "truth hurts" bit of an evasive conversation, which you can't ignore but which seems to make sense. kind of a punctuation for the scenario that the lyrics are setting up - I am more at home with them than in the previous post, by the way - it took some time for them to grow on me because they are so different (at least in my brain) from what we'd been producing thus far. I didn't even share them last time. i shall now. look out.

I don't know if I should give a reason
I don't know if you're still friends
All I know is that the last time he was leaving
You missed the exclamation point at the end.

If you think that I'm unreasonable
you are not paying attention
Watching you is like a dydream that i can't control
half the fun is my intention
I don't know if I should give a reason
I don't know if we're still friends
All I know is that this last time I was leaving
I turned around and saw the end
All i know is that the last time I was leaving
I saw the ending of the end.

The reason is spaces are hard to fill up with a hole in you heart.

I'm totally guilty of penning a WB scenario here - one that has definite roots in teen movies of yore. Sometimes I do that. Onlooker's Low Soft Shoulder and Revolver for instance. Instead of the World Falling Apart in an environmental sense or some sort of topic like that, the World Falls Apart on the inside first. The scene that is set up in Grasping At Straws is one of fiction, like the others wherein some horrible end is coming to the through external means that are beyond our control - however, in G@S the thing that destroys the narrator is that one thread of truth behind hanging-out (think of the portamento synth here), which is the Crush and the I Love You Why Don't You Love Me Too After All I've Given You.

There is an action missing in the song - the action for which there needs to be a "reason." That's the spot where the listener is sent to retrieve their pown personal data to construct the rest of the scene. The song is only as cold and heartless as you are.


Poles Apart - Grasping At Straws

Right Click and jam on it.

Graping at straws is one of those that was troublesome. Previous versions were an orgy of tracks that either didn't play through or left nowehere to go. So it was mixex down and left to be the basis for a new session.

It took me some months to get back to this one, but the time away proved fruitful. The instrumental and vocal additions were just ujnder the surface.

Notice the 3tracks of whistling (mix down a few dB?). I puckered up as a last ditch filler in between the last verse and the ending chorus. i wanted to use my toy wooden flutes (two of them! i even had them both going at the same time with both hands!) but alas, they weren't in tune. it was fun pretending to be a gelfling anyway. [did i just type that? i'll hear about that later, i'm sure].

I think that this one needs some tender lovin' care from Roy. my beats are rudimentary and my arrangement of them is trivial. I also kind of sound like him on the beginning verses. that's funny to me.

lyrically.... feh. more trite john hughes stuff:

I don't know if I should give a reason
I don't know if you're still friends
All i know is that the last time he was leaving
you missed the exclamation point at the end.

If you think that I'm unreasonable
you are not paying attention
Watching you is like a daydream that i can't control
half the fun is my intention

The reason is spaces are hard
to fill up with a whole in your heart


good to be back singing again (as you can tell, since i tend to get carried away. i guess it's my thing right now).
enjoy, perhaps.


Poles Apart - Out The Window

Out The Window

Me thinks this might be close to being finished. There is still some noise on some live instrument tracks that bothers me.

The intro was shaved off per the duscussion below.
i removed some of the reverb (how could i tell? there is still alot there!) to bring the vocals to the forefront a little better.
still one of the more mellow songs that roy and i have done.

I think the lyrics mean more to me than they show. When I listen to it, i tend to think visually of the sidewalk at Franklin and Person where it's always so freaking hot when i walk home and the car exhaust feels like it's teaming up with the humidity to suffocate me and you can see me (if you watch) pick up the pace because i need to get home as soon as possible to take my medicine; and it all feels a little futile when i get home, because i've taken this walk and a walk everyday in order to get better and maybe i won't need the medicine anymore, but the weather just keeps getting hotter and it all feels so heavy on my chest - both literally and figuratively.

{Maybe in five years, i'll read the above and take a closer listen to this song.}

Roy's moving right now and has been a little busy with that. There might be additions/subtractions later if needs be.

Onlooker - Follow Me Down

delayed 07/23 post
New mix by Travis

I recorded some banjo* to replace the linear acoustic part during the second chorus. Then I added some harsh banjo strumming to the space out. Oh yeah, i then thought I'd try out one of the mic's travis shipped (so generously) to raleigh. Because i am mostly lazy but also eager to get beyond setup and into recording, i chose little Teaball mic - it's a condensor inside a teaball with a 1/4" plug in the back. I pressed it up against my throat to get some tonal groans (how else to explain that?) - these also take place during the space out; travis was wize enough to keep them simple and mix out most of their annoying repetitious line, to the benefit of the part. I can't tell if he likes it when i fool around and send him stuff like that. I wonder if he thinks "what the -? okay brandon, whatever" only to create something worthwhile out of it.

The acoustic guitar(s) and the porch rainfall were recorded through an mxl 990 and an ART mic-pre. The synths and electric guitars where all sent through my LabSeries L7 (not at the same time) and recorded with a cheap-o 57 look alike.
Don't remember what i recorded the vocals with (i had my eyes closed!) - probably the CAD that travis sent down.

I love the way travis mixed the vocals here. The placement and levels on the second verse make it sound like there's a third middle harmony that is added - there is actually only a doubled lower harmony added and a reverbed double of the melody buried in there.

After i sent it to travis, he jumped right on it and mixed it correctly. He also did some tweaking to the vocals. Overall i think it's a huge improvement on the last version.

* standard G tuning - stripped the peg on the drone as i was tuning that, so the 5 is now a 4 string, which makes me feel a little bad. sorry trav.


Onlooker banjo research

"Follow Me Down needs a banjo!" cries Travis.
Kindly sending one down with Huck and India on their return from the Renegade Craft Thang, Travis enabled me to fulfil his dreams.

Now i have to learn how to play - or rather how to tune it. i can probably play it in my own fashion, as is my wont. The particular banjo that i've been bequeathed will not keep the drone (5th string) where i think it should stay. so mayhaps i'm wrong.

Here's what wikipedia has to say about tuning the 5 string banjo:
Many tunings are used for the five-string banjo. Probably the most common, particularly in bluegrass, is the open G tuning (gDGBd). In earlier times, the tuning gCGBd was commonly used instead. Other tunings common in old-time music include double C (gCGCd), sawmill or mountain minor (gDGCd) also called Modal or Mountain Modal, and open D (f#DF#Ad). These tunings are often taken up a tone, either by tuning up or using a capo.

If i can't get the top string to stick where it's supposed to, i might have to tune it to a non-traditional (perish the thought) note that fits nicely with the rest of the instruments in the song. That might be fun, since the song is in a minor key and banjos are traditionally tuned to a major key. I might be able to work it so that that the 5th string makes up the difference between the major tuning and the rest of the song.

Poles Apart round up

• Another Afternoon
• The Pressure (formerly Papio and Burning Oak)
• Fierce, the Fallow Foe
• Knowing Where We're Going
• Fact Follows Fiction

Still on blocks:
• Out the Window - need to strip out the intro, but keep underlying horn and mtron. Also, vocals need to come up and be more clear.
• Digging Through Dirt - mixdown existing and shred it for a new foundation
• Grasping at Straws - full frontal vocal attack monkeys must needs be unleashed.
• Thaw Gains Momentum - i want to get into this one; it SOUNDS SOOO GOOD right now! all roy!

There are two more, thursday and Try this, which (desoite having the most creative of titles) I'm really on the fence about. They sound nice and I can really get into them, but they are probably not going to progress much further. They will most likely sit on the back burner and wait for our 25 year retrospective blu-ray disc with far too many extras.

* not mastered, but finished writing/recording


Poles Apart - Out The Window

It's been a while since i've been able to get to any of the Poles Apart project. Let me be the first to tell me that I am relieved to have gotten back to it. To anything actually. Sometimes life gets in the way of livin' if you know what i mean.

So roy had sent some guitar track to me that he named Out the Window, probably because he thought ill of the tracks, or maybe he was playing to the dude across the street who had moved all of his wordly posessions to the curb . I liked his parts alot. There are three tracks, all acoustic. The first is the basis for the following two, which are the great linear plucks that bounce around eachother. I liked them so much that I sat on them forever.

After listening many times, I decided i need to get at the heart of my difficulty in finding anything to add - the introduction of the part. I worked out a part using my favorite contrived soft-instrument, my Tebetan Horn, and the Mtron Choir on chords that served the guitar parts well enough without being too notey - I didn't want to take away from the guitars, you see. I played with the guitar line then moved it aside so that i could "introduce them." That seemed to work well enough in a very dead can dance sort of way. I guess i don't mind the reference (self-imposed).

After that was left alone for a while (until tonight), i really had no idea where it was going to go.
I listened and listened finally settling on a noodle on the wurlitzer that would maybe bring some chordal form to it that i could follow vocally. Easy 'nuff. I guess the weeks of not doing much creatively (there WERE a few things here and there) added up tonight's relative ease at settling into a song after having little idea what to do to complement what was given to me.

Wanna hear it? Here it go:
Out the Window as of yet - right click, save, whatever

The shade my impression promisses
Lies to the burns on my back

With chemicals and floating rain
we force it down and leave a stain

The steps I am taking go nowhere
They're lies and my body won't last

The chemicals won't heal the pain
It's not safe out in the prayed-for rain.


My hope is that Roy can dig me and my vocals out from my insecurities - upon a listen... dang that's a lot of reverb!
Enjoy, n,joy,oy oioioiiii


Close - spacedawg (working title, obviously)

We hadn't gotten together in a few weeks due to an adorable new arrival in Vince's household. Congrats for birthing another cute kid.

When we got together last week, we just started to play our guitars to freshen up. Vince started plucking his chords the way he do; and I - feeling very lyrical (must have been the blousey jester's outfit - picture it if you will) - work out some linear phrases to chase his part around.

This was the result.
He EQ'd his part and split the panning - very nice. the linear part was begging for a tweaked out feeling to keep the hits on the strings from being a distraction to the lengthy melody line.

We will definitely rename it (name came from a comment of the type of drummer we might need... whatever that means!) as vocals and lyrics develop.



Onlooker is on myspace

we've moved a little bit forward in promoting our 2004 record "Today I'm A Gunmaker" which we finished up just before Travis moved to Brooklyn.
go on and click yerself over. you can listend to and download four songs. for nothing!
we're going to use the space to showcase small collections (some might call them EPs) as they develop so that we aren't hindered by the 10 song album mentality.

enjoy being our friend.

Onlooker - 93 and Cry

93 and Cry started as a recording excesize to try and create a pace and percussive tone with only the acoustic and without a pick. I didn't want to just try something and leave it, so i wrote a song with a standard structure so that things could be added easily. I also recorded to a metronome just in case anything needed that level of exactness later.

Upon listening to this after a break from it, I think the end of the second verse and chorus lose me. I tend to follow the bass part that comes from one of the acoustic lines; and it suddenly dissapears and the chords change their structure at the same time - it's very distracting, since the tone of the whole song is very foggy and drifty.

Lyrics will need to be written. I kind of left it open for travis; and i think he mentioned that he had started working something out.

I'm excited to hear where this goes: will this version get sliced and diced, remixed and played over? who knows.

click to hear this first draft of 93 and cry


Poles Apart - Knowing Where We're Going

Roy did his thing with the foreboding midsection of Knowing Where We're Going. He also found this blog - more on that below!
you'll need iTunes i think - it's an m4a file... real player might work too

He sent this explanation:

Here's what I did:

dug that hole in the middle a little deeper: removed that glitchy
guitar and the frenetic acoustic strumming that was bugging me... then
I took a chunk of your vocals and tweaked the hell out of it. I don't
know... it was sounding more dramatic on the headphones, but listening
now on the shelf system I'm wondering if it's enough. It's weird; you
may hate it.

I also dropped the level of the glitchy guitar in the beginning, as
that had been distracting me as well...

oh, I killed my vocal additions as they just weren't adding anything.

Let me know thoughts...

I like how much he hates what he has added. That's funny to me. he's so modest. He's also reading this! He "found [my] blog."

The other reader(s) out there may wonder why he didn't know about this blog since it's a work journal.
As ironic as it is, the reason is that i am shy.
There's a strange sort of detatchment around posting to a blog so that i can feel confortable enough to air out the feelings and work out the problems and kinks in a project; but, it's also a bit nervewracking to tell someone that you "have a blog." My biggest excuse which went on for far too long was that I hate when someone asks you to visit their blog and there is nothing there - one or two posts. feh. I wanted to save up so that the "volume" - the tome that is my thought - would be "impressive."

I will most definietly hate this post.

But my journals in design school were full of random and sometimes painfully stupid ideas. I think that this "work journal" represents me adapting to my always-at-the-computer-much-too-pre-occupuied-with-the-web-to-pick-up-a-pen mentality.

That said, Knowing Where We're Going is near completion. all that remains is final mixdown and archiving. You might say that it's In The Can.

Good good. i hope you like where the song was going.


Poles Apart - Fact Follows Fiction

Fact Follows Fiction was an unending musical rant that we both couldn't seem to control. We kept adding parts and never editing behind one another until it blossomed into a sonifucicus gargantua, as it is known in scientific circles.

I think the last two rounds, we spent far too much time - hours on end for each of us - trying to make sense of what we'd piled up by piling more on top. It was a brilliant strategy, indeed. We had so much bunk in there that GarageBand wasn't even going to play it for us.

After a long discussion last week, we decided it was best to put her down, like the arthritic beast she was. But what do you do with your pet when you don't want to see her go just yet? have it stuffed, natch.

The last edit was mixed down and dropped into a new file with some of the original tracks - easier on Garageband, for sure. And instead of just a stuffed beast, we could add some bionics and watch it grow
again. Well, that didn't last long. I archived that mess so i would feel better about cutting my losses; and then i chopped it all off at the 5 minute mark to start there with a nice 4 minute song. That's right. It was 9 minutes. I wasted at least a half hour listening to it only three times to try and decide if it was worth it. I finally got so tired of waiting for the good part that i ordered it up express.

here she is, in all of her original-coat-metal-bones-and-working-
gears glory:

Fact Follows Fiction

In our younger pictures we are dreamers and replicas of what we are today.

Now we wait for visions because our heroes, when we were growing up, all went away

and left no point of reference; so, our lines trail and leave a whole in our peculiar shape.

The missing piece is fiction on the next page, whose energy keeps us both awake.

Promises are approximations

But what I need is your inspiration.

We're gonna get there.


Onlooker - Follow Me Down

Follow Me Down - round 1 to travis

This song I've had up my sleeve for a while and have just recently decided that it was time for it to crawl out of there. No more hoarding songs just to see if I can make something happen with them. I can't; I need travis on this one.

This song is more or less a look into flooded rivers and the ruin that comes along with them as an allegory for the river styx as approached by someone who has no chance to survive its crossing. 


Follow me down
The river's backed up and brown
and poised for the attack
Scewers and snakes won't buy it back

my whole life for this.

Slipped up and fell behind
the back deck and mis-aligned
the reasons I had to stay behind
Skewers and snakes won't pay the fine

my whole life for this
for this?

There have been a few discarded incarnations o this song. Most all of them sucked. This is the best by far: amazing what a little time and seperation can do. 
I've recorded this at 107 bpm to a metronome to make it easier for drums and other things that travis may want to do.

Oh yeah. I decided to record this tonight because there was a great thunderstorm (that had petered to a strong rain by the time i wa sset up) and it seemed perfect. the noise at the begining is in fact rain on my porch underneath the acoustics. I thought it would be a cool effect; but it ended up being a strain on the ears after a while - it sounded like white noise. So, i faded it out while an electric came in playing the same part. We'll see. Mostly I've just laid this out and semi-mixed it so that Travis can hear what I was thinking and go from there. As always, It's wide open ofr him to screw around with.

Night Night,


Poles Apart - Knowing Where We're Going

I should have posted this earlier - much earlier.

Knowing Where We're Going has been incubating for a few months. it's present roy-brandon-roy-brandon-now at roy's state is as such:
click to listen


We are stranded
on the interstate
They are stuck up
in a plane.

either way
we'll get there, but
we'll both be late
But knowing where we're going
i can't complain

We will walk
until we fall down
they will tumble
to the ground

either way
we get there
too soon or too late
through tunnels into starlight
why can't it wait.

the middle part (where the vocals so painfully drop to half volume) is an intended filler of some sort (i can't remember what i was thinking). I know that i wanted roy to do something there and left some of the vocal track in there as a guide.

we talked about it earlier this week and he may have a new treatment soon.

maybe a frikkin sweet sax solo.

The Ups - NEW NAME

From here on out (and until we find out that there is an argentinian rap star that goes by this moniker) Roy and I, The Ups, will be calling ourselves..

[dramatic pause]

Poles Apart.


The Ups - Grasping at straws

I just sent the following email to roy expaining how i tackled a problem we were having with GarageBand hanging up on us during playback of songs that had a lot of recorded (or "live") tracks - also too many effects going on each of these tracks, i'm sure. The following work-around could be helpful if posted and ...erm... forgotten, if i don't:

roy -
are you ready? here it go:

i mixed down what we had; snatched it from my iTunes library (i didn't
want THAT popping up randomly!)onto my desktop; renamed that aiff with
a _052206mix suffix; saved the garageband file with the same suffix to
an out of the way folder for archiving; dragged the aiff into the open
grageband document (it created a new track); i deleted the now
unnecessary tracks (and deleted the aiff from my desktop as it is
copied into the band file now), and; i saved the garageband to the "at
Brandon" folder with the original file name (sans suffix) thereby
overwriting and moving beyond all stumbling blocks.

a length process with a high yield of creative grain. that single
mixed down track with some reverb on it makes for a nice foundation.
just to see, i laid some 'lectric piano over the top. very nice with
the ambient buzzing in the background.

if you've got the patience, it's a good hail mary approach to our
glitchy problems. {and if it doesn't work out, you've still got the
original to dick around with} I was also able to open up the original,
copy a drumloop that i wanted to isolate, close the original and paste
the drumloop into the newer band file. tricky and not aligned
correctly, but the midi notes were there.

There are other songs that are suffering from this problem. we discussed this tonight and resolved to find ways to move ahead with the songs via subtraction or anyother method.
we'll see where it puts us...


The Ups - Another Afternoon

Another Afternoon's lyrics have been finished and recorded.

dig it

Every hundred heartbeats I have to force this down.
There are subtleties in the way this control works to keep my blood
from turning brown.

The heat covers the hurt so your worries don't compound.
You're the better of this worse; all our friends are in the ground.

When the image of me that runs deeper than the space wherein my skin
shutters and spits me back to Earth, may the brightness stain your eyes.

[only nothing can go nowhere]
If I'm only holding on here, it's much too bright to leave.

Until I go to sleep you'll watch my breath get slower and deeper.


I hope to hell you like it.

The Ups - papio and burning oak

I think this might be the final version of Papio and Burning Oak:
Listen to Papio and Burning Oak

The lyrics were getting lost, so i revisited the recording of them
and ended up changing them a tad:

There isn't any time
to do the things we said.
The pressure's coming down
And spinning round our heads

We're not the only ones
who didn't follow through.
Everything around
is dying too.


I wanted to seperate the intent from the individual whoa-is-me-plight
that can really damage a song. I pushed the narrator out of himself
and into more of a participatory position in whatever was causing the
whoa-is-me to begin with.

I also thought a little more confidence was required in the
performance.... especially since the Self didn't have to speak anymore.



the ups - another afternoon

i added some vocal tracks to Another Afternoon last night.
It had been a few weeks since I'd been able to do any work on Ups stuff.
I opened up Another Afternoon just to start taking inventory and stock
of what I had to work on. By the time the end of the song hit i was
moved to start adding vocals.
Structurally, this song turns a corner at the very end: the chords
change as well as the tone. It's got a sense of resolve.
I suppose the whole piece could have stood on its own but there was such
energy in it, I would feel like i wimped out if i didn't just try.
I worked the lyrics from the back to the front. It seemed i needed that
"conclusion" to know where to start.
This is a very rough draft:
Every hundred heartbeats
I've got to force it down
There are subtleties in the way this control works
To keep my blood from turning brown
Tearing off of shirts
To keep the fever down
The better of the worse
When friends are in the ground
[nothing yet.. ideas - hand grip hanging on see only spots and figments.
you=bright spot distraction]
[nada - proximity of bodies distance of spirits]
until I go to sleep
you'll watch my breath
get slower
and deeper
go to sleep
and watch my breath
get slower and deeper

that's where that is. next week maybe an mp3.


close - southern tabernacle

Vince and i started a new project last evening. i may have mentioned
before that Vince's only day that he can make music is Thursdays (our
scheduled time); so he wants to refocus our energies into more creation
instead of the slow writing process we've been sucked into.

I laid down a track (we're working in garageband now, so that we can
work at his house, my house or anywhere on our laptops) of a really
sleepy guitar melody as kind of a "pencil sketch" of the song. The idea
is to approach it like a painting or illustration, filling in colors and
details as we go.

I added some detail around the first chorus to bring out the chordal
shaping (i just made that up! maybe i should post this at .dork).

Then Vince added a wash of distortion from his fender solid state.

no mix to post yet. it's just too soon and we're so fragile. and we
haven't mixed and panned.


Close - new attitude

Vince and I had a discussion about the direction of Close today. He
revealed to me that our practices are pretty much the only time that
he gets to do music. So, naturally, he wants to get a little more
creative with what we've been doing. I can't argue with that. We'd
kind of hit a road block after putting the acoustics away and
learning how to play the 'lectrics. We've got a handful of 'lectric
songs, but we need to move past the "waiting for drummer" stage.

So he had the idea (and analogy) that we should approach a new
recording project like laying down watercolor washes. you get what
you get and you build on top of it. We can play together until we're
comfortable with whatever "hot licks" or chord progressions we've
got; but mainly it would be fast and furious. And it would keep it

Most of the appeal of working with Roy is the sense of wonder after
we've blitzed through a song and the whole's sum definitely
diminishes even the memory of the parts and their creation.

Taking this approach with Close will be good. We wont even be
limited by location, since Vince is on a Mac as well. hot dog, it
will be fun and challenging, too. sweet.



the Ups - another afternoon

Another afternoon is on its way to completion.
Another Afternoon (as of 04/13) right click, save as; -
you will need quicktime to play this one.

This piece started out as some crazy beats from roy that he dismissed as crazy beats. He passed them off thinking i might be able to do
something somehow.

i restructured the ins and outs and timing of the beats' effects and
laid out an electric piano part. The idea was to sand down the
frenetic feeling into more of a smooth surface for building. Towards
the end, I changed the direction of the chord pattern and added the
sickening sweet strings just for the duplicitous dramatic effect -
something to encourage the song to stick in your head.

i got the above alteration from roy last night. he added some really
amazing guitar treatments. He's a genius.

Enjoy. and watch for updates.


fact fallows fiction

Last night i tried and tried to get to the bottom of a very spacey piece
that Roy started. I think it was my second attempt at sorting it out. it
turns out that what was throwing me off was the delay on the top synth
track - it was rocking a 6/8 pattern that established itself pretty
well. But as soon as the ambient synth track with the bed chords came
in, everything went wonky in my ears. The chords were hitting at at 8ths
that weren't synced up with the pre-established pattern.
I nudged the offending (to my ears) chords left or right and re-adjusted
the delay on the first track. That seemed to do the trick.
Before I'd made these adjustments, I just couldn't come up with any
additional content, because i kept losing my place. After i altered it,
though, a great palm mute bass line popped into my head. I can thank
tommy james.

I'm not going to post the progress because it would be too much hassle
right now (at work, song's on different computer). I just wanted to keep


Close - plugging it in

Vince and I went through some old songs (I should really post "The Best of Close" - I'll get around to it) to see how they worked with our electrics. We used to be an acoustic duo. now we are trying to "rock." 
It's turning out alright. ironically, most of the acoustic songs sound better slower on the electrics. Low. Codiene. That sort of vibe.

We need a drummer.

Brian can (is capable). But Brian is really busy with Strange. We need to find someone as slack as we are. We're not really slack; we just have other things gong on. Vince's second baby is coming very soon, btw.

songs today:
Thom's Song
Birthday Song
Markie Post
Sacred Space
Dog Bowl

the Ups - FIerce, the fallow Foe

Fierce, the Fallow Foe is finally finished. We (Roy and I) had actually decided that it was complete last month, but there were some small parts that were gonig to bother me the rest of my life if i didn't at least try to fix them. 
I thought that the problems were with quantizing and late midi triggers; but adjusting the velocity of attack on the offending horns and strings seems to smooth out the problems. WHen all is said and done, however, nobody would recognize the difference, i'm sure.

Fierce, the Fallow Foe

This started with Roy sending me a few guitar tracks. I think we were both trying to work on PCs at the time. I managed to sequence some flute loops but got generally sidetracked. After purchasnig an iBook (and, by proxy, new creative energy) i moved it to Ggarageband, convinced roy to use the same application, and began working on it with ease. 

I had worked out a 30 second piece (the first half of the song, mainly) that was intended to be a portfolio builder for soundtracking. Roy's guitar tracks worked seamlessly with where the song was headed. And there the song, fierce the Fallow Foe, as you hear it, was born.

I jokingly told Roy that it reminds me of my reconnissance mission over the Himalayas (not part of my history); but, in truth that's how it makes me feel. We're interested in the space between things; and Fierce the Fallow Foe is about the space between me and the landscape... and also, ironically, the space between completion and dissertation.




no reason not to point you to http://www.onlookersounds.com

Today I'm A GunMaker is the name of the album. you can listen to it in it's entirety at that URL. 

Onlooker is the new name of mine and Travis' project, formerly named Everest. That name was ganked by some German rockers. Mount this. 

Label solicitations are pending as is production of hard copies. For now it's free to enjoy.




This is a trial to see if i can link using html from the blogger widget.

Back in the day - probably dec 2001 - i had finished mixing The Boar and was getting very bored with my "bright idea" of homemade packaging; I wanted to get back to recording

In the same session as a (very pathetic) version of "silent night" as a christmas card for family (i don't think i ever gave it to anyone but Roy... maybe I emailed it to mom... I am the model of Family Touch), I set down "ragdoll" after discovering that my fingers knew how to play a "riff."

Here's the link to an mp3:

To the three or four who happen by this dot blog, enjoy. More original tunes will be posted.
My intention with this feed is to post works in progress for comparison and posterity. Thanks for listening and not stealing.