Friday, September 01, 2017

New Album: Ex Machina

It was one year ago today I released my seven albums over on Bandcamp all at once. Or “rereleased” one could say, as they all had been floating around in highly obscure fashion as cassettes and/or compact discs since way back in the day.

The music contained on all seven was recorded from the late 1980s through the early 2000s. In other words, it’s safe to say even the newest tracks on the seventh one, Circular Logic, were all well over a decade old, with some of the earliest material dating back more than a quarter-century (sheesh).

Here they are (all available for free download, if you’re curious):

  • Daisy Hawkins (1987-1990)
  • Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose (1989-1991)
  • Perpetuum Mobile (1990-1991)
  • The Omni-Balsamic Reinvigorator (1991-1995)
  • Imbroglio (1991-1993)
  • Welcome to Muscle Beach (1993-1999)
  • Circular Logic (2000-2003)
  • I describe each of the albums in a post here from last year. Clicking through to my Bandcamp page also gets you to more information about each album (and each track). Six of the seven albums are all instrumental, with my pop-rock opus Welcome to Muscle Beach the only one featuring songs with lyrics & my vocals. (It’s my Revolver, I joke.)

    The music was played on various instruments (guitars, bass, keyboards, pianos, percussion, keyboards and synths, and a midi sequencer) and produced using an old Tascam 4-track cassette recorder which I still own although is hardly in working condition anymore.

    These days with Garage Band and similar programs the work of producing such self-made music has become so much simpler to do. Indeed, the process of digitizing these old tracks and releasing it all on my own has become trivially easy today compared to what had to be done way back when in order to get your recorded music heard by even a small audience.

    Among the dozens of unrealized ideas I have laying about currently, one of them has been to create some videos to go along with various songs. In fact, I’d like to put all of it up on YouTube at some point -- I even have a dedicated YouTube channel for it -- but just haven’t gotten around to it.

    I’d also like to find a way to create new music, although again it’s a matter of reestablishing some sort of “home studio” in which to do some recording. Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with some of the older tracks (including some unreleased stuff), and from one of those experiments I came up with something interesting enough I’ve decided to release it as a new album today.

    The album is called Ex Machina and can safely be described as my first wholly “ambient” LP -- a single, almost 37-minute track called “Ex Machina (Redux).”

    For this one, I took the opening track of Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose -- a short loop of electric guitar and effects -- and slowed it down a lot (like 800 percent) which resulted in a much longer, still uncannily melodic piece. I then reversed that track and spliced the two segments together, added a few more treatments to it all, and the long piece is the result.

    Unlike practically everything else from the earlier albums, this one works pretty well as “writing music” (I’d suggest), for those who like to have something to accompany their scribbling. Or if you’re still playing online poker, it might work as a soundtrack for that, too.

    I’ve even made a video for this one, a very slow pan across a panorama photo of the farm capturing a fairly stunning sunset from a few months ago. Here it is:

    It’s probably hard to believe, but every sound you hear was made with an electric guitar. No shinola.

    Feedback plays a big role, of course. In fact that’s where the name of the track came from, as the primary melody was spontaneously generated from the feedback being manipuated by the effects rack I was using. In other words, while a human played the notes, a machine (or multiple machines, really) served as co-composers, to be sure.

    Speaking of feedback, let me know what you think! And if you like it, go ahead and download the audio over on Bandcamp.

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