Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween tunes vol. 1

Who In The Heck Are You?

Lost in the swamp . . .


"Insane, ee-ane, ee-ane, ee-ane . ."

Creepy Death Dude

Woo, scary . . .

Faraday Cage

Decor from Better Ohms & Gardens.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

More Neon

More Neon

Why call a droning, steady state instrumental More Neon?

Well, one of my favorite neon signs, a big one out on MA Rt. 9 reading "TERMITE CONTROL", has been taken down.

Maybe for repairs, maybe for good.

In either case, and esp. the latter, I say More Neon, not less.

Second Plateau

Second Plateau

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Safety First

Safety First

About the same vintage as It Shouldn't Be This Way, this song has similar lyrical ambitions (but fewer lyrics).

Musically, it's the mutant offspring of XTC's This Is Pop and pretty much any single put out by Postcard Records.

It Shouldn't Be This Way

In a pink caddy of Mary Kay's
Dame Fortune drove by to say
is Love's cheapest refuge

Running out all you could say
"the Garden State's no place to stray"
How could such pretty lips
spill so much refuse
from "It Shouldn't Be This Way"
©1985 Kevin R. Seward

Somewhere between wanting to be Bryan Ferry and wanting to be Elvis Costello, with some carry over from the works of Carl Jung and the Cavalier poets, I had a lyricless noisy thing I'd recorded with a very loosely tuned guitar.

Lyrics just sort of came along as I was walking in a barnyard of long ago. Then more lyrics came and finally way too many.

But for better or worse, the now more conventional music fashioned from the flubbery guitar thing could hold them all.

So below, the early demo or whatever version. Then a later demo or whatever version.

It Shouldn't Be This Way

It Shouldn't Be This Way (1990 recording)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Before During and After

Before During and After

Again with the feedback. Mostly a phone pickup interacting with various (by now forgotten) mini-amp/speaker combinations.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Scrape Bottom

Scrape Bottom

Like Drip Spring, much use of the springy reverb.

Unlike it, there are a couple of spring gizmos doing the ambiance thing, an old Korg gated reverb and a Zube Tube. Getting played directly in more than a few ways is a reverb tank scrounged from a trashed Optigan. Sometimes that is being run through ye olde Korg.

Bake 20 minutes @ 450 degrees. Garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday, August 3, 2008



MixRDrone v.2

A favorite (by now, old) album is the Feelies' Crazy Rhythms. Full of wild restraint and such, there's also some cool ebowed guitar.

MixRDrone is not so pop and closer to Wayohh overall. But it bears some relation to the Feelies with ebowed slide as the swaying and unending voice.

And oh, there's a variable speed blender.

Well, a multitrack chorus of blenders. The first version starts with them and the second one lets them ease in.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Red Mellow Carry

Red Mellow Carry

A short instrumental. All parts were done on a funky old acoustic electrified and played slide.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008



Long, spacy instrumental that meanders, strums, taps, stretches, flexes, wheezes, drones & cries.

Plastic, elastic and voice changer type gizmos. Steady state melodica and kalimba. Nothing bigger than a cakebox.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Till The Very End

Till The Very End

Another upbeat song (as in not so much).

Featuring such earthy things as a funky Kay acoustic and a humble Nashville strung companion.

Friday, June 6, 2008

light beneath a bushel basket

St. Barley Day

A fun, spritely instrumental. Previously posted, just not too often heard.

Shambelle #1

Shaking and shuffling along, holding together as it falls apart, it's a fave. And also not so often heard.

22 May 04

I rather like this one too. One of a few late night/early morning meditations that fell together.

Maybe it needs a better name than a date, but long phrases come to mind:

"at night a pulse arrives"

"the last one found"

Low Field

Spacing out just a little more . . .

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Turkey In The Storm 31 May 2008

Turkey In The Storm 31 May 2008

Another field recording, somewhat louder than the one last posted.

A roosting turkey make numerous "gobble" sounds along with other birds. A thunderstorm moves in and for a while mostly drowns out the sound of the turkey.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Birds & Turkey Gobbler 29 May 2008 AM

Birds & Turkey Gobbler 29 May 2008 AM

A rather quiet field recording, so turn up the volume . . .

A little ways into the track there's the "gobble" sound of a turkey. Probably this fellow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tag Sprung, False Alarm

Tag Sprung

Elastic sproingyness sampled to a VSS-30, bells bowed & struck, distorted voice, more mic feedback, dead battery glitchyness and so on.

False Alarm

Fun with different sounds on a venerable Korg Poly-800 MkII.

21 May 2008 Improv

21 May 2008 Improv

Spacy improv fun with live mic feedback and a Yamaha VSS-30 sampler. Recorded open air with the trusty Zoom H4 Handy Recorder.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Long Gone Away redux

Long Gone Away

A largely identical, slightly different mix.

This song was playing in head most mornings late last month. (Now playing: a song I haven't written yet.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Long Gone Away

Long Gone Away

The Marble Index
is one of my favorite albums.

Still I had to laugh when I read (some damn place) how the professionals mixing the record did as much as they could as fast as they could. The songs, written and sung by Nico and arranged by John Cale, were simply making these guys suicidal.

One might cite Plato and Aristotle and argue than music and the broader swath of arts & culture may either invoke bad feelings or deliver us from them through catharsis. I'd guess it works either way, to the point that positive thinking and primal screams can by turns harm or help.

In any case, if a song or whatever really wants to be written and played and recorded--well, good luck doing otherwise. Tho' you may have to mix it yourself.

Tho' not the iced over river crossing that is The Marble Index, such was the story of the song above. At times couched in broad social terms, an elegy for & goodbye to what's behind.

Saturday, March 29, 2008



Usual fun stuff. Toy piano. Kalimba flutter. Some 60 Hz hum sampled into a Yamaha VSS-30. Slide whistle and loon call. Lantern battery terminal springs sproinging, voices and such.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Kitchen Improv

Kitchen Improv

This starts out quietly then gets good and loud.

Just something cooked up one day with assorted kitchen items as percussion: a kitchen sink, an oven rack, a kettle partially filled with water, various lids and a porcelain bowl submerged in water by varying degrees (to create pitchbendy goodness), water sloshing in the sink and so on.

All the sorts of cool sounds one hears when washing dishes, but one is, well, too busy washing dishes to do much about other than listen.

Recorded with the Zoom H4 and mixed on Cubase LE.

Friday, February 22, 2008

short nature clips

Some very short lo-fi field recordings made with the ever trusty MemoMate--just click on the titles or the icons to play:

Fairhaven Peepers

Fairhaven Peepers - Share on Ovi


BirdSong@EgyptLane - Share on Ovi
Egypt Lane is a short road through woods and marsh. It was an inspiration for this song and this video (and this alternate version of the video).


TreeFrog?@UMASSDart - Share on Ovi

Monday, February 11, 2008

of frogs & thunder

Faint recordings--for close listening, turn up the volume.


After a particularly heavy downpour last May, the fields & backyard where I was visiting were flooded with more than rain. There were frogs near and far. Mostly you can hear the near ones.


(BTW: not thunder exactly, but frogs & distant fireworks . . .)

You may find these thunderstorm recordings to be somewhat louder--please adjust volume accordingly.


These thunderstorms were all recorded in Massachusetts.


The one below is from earlier in the same storm, so the rain and runoff is louder. But the thunder gets close starting around 1:43.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

goose again & river splashing


Yes, again with the geese.

Beyond some nearby birds singing, it's a faint recording. Turn up the volume to hear a goose, calling out & flying over around 1:45 to 1:55. Yep, you can hear the cycling wisp of its wings in motion.

Not to mention faraway cows and dogs, roosters crowing, cars passing.

Hard to believe it's early Sunday morning on a farm. Cageian silence, country-fried.

A bit more of the same here.


This is louder--so turn down the volume a bit. If only to save any subwoofers from the rumble of the wind.

But it's the same Sunday morning as before. Just later on with a change of venue.

The James River splashing, a plane, a boat passing. And the aforementioned wind rising up now & then.

If it's more geese ye be needing, here's a long ago lo-fi snip of winter on Hog Island.

Monday, January 28, 2008

summer out, winter in

Continuing in the field recording vein, late summer outside at night. Recorded where I currently live, not too far south of Framingham MA.

Night Sounds 23 August 2007 #2

Crickets, frogs, some passing aircraft & distant cars. About 17 minutes 5 seconds in length.

Night Sounds 24 August 2007

About 26 minutes 35 seconds long.

I don't recall if the 23rd was a cooler night than the 24th. (One might count cricket chirps.)

But the 23rd certainly has a cooler, more relaxed & uncluttered sound than the 24th.

Choose according to mood.

Whistle of Oil Tank Filling 22 January 2008

Now winter inside: the whistle created by a heating oil tank being filled up, plus the shutoff noise and the very quiet sounds that follow down in the basement. About 4 minutes and 3 seconds long.

Again, all the sounds were recorded with a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder using the built-in microphones.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

goose & geese & distant sounds

Goose and Geese and Distant Sounds

Given the faintness of this field recording, you'll likely want to crank up the volume. I recorded it earlier this month during a visit to southeastern Virginia.

At roughly 21 minutes 23 seconds, it's indeed presented as is with no edits. You'll hear wild geese and (further off) barking dogs, high-flying jets and passing cars.

(About 4 minutes 13 seconds in, you can hear the wings moving on a passing goose.)

Recorded with a Zoom H4 using its built-in mics.

UPDATE: More geese now . . . Plus more than I've ever heard or seen.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tremble Melt, Zoobish Call, Rocky Rajah

Tremble Melt

Zoobish Call

Gotta love Zube Tube reverberation.

Rocky Rajah

Fibrillating home organ rhythms and the tune's namesake looped on a Yamaha VSS-30.

Broken Starlight, Slap and Keen, Short Fridge, Carry Point

Broken Starlight

My oldest brother when he came back home would go out in the clear cold night just to see the darkness and the stars inside it. I was no trooper and would shiver too much to see the sky.

Years later I can still only recognize Orion, but visits back home I'll look starward too.

Much use here of a glockenspiel found in a Salvation Army Thrift on Mercury Blvd. in Hampton VA. Also a funky ol' Kay acoustic found at Candyland Music in Richmond VA.

Slap and Keen

Many whistles, a loon call and the like are brought to bear. Plus something as inorganic as an Alesis Air Synth.

Short Fridge

Carry Point

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Almost Gentle, Child Star

Almost Gentle (Also on Box.)

There's also an alternate recording of Almost Gentle.
Both versions are on Mood Wring Reenactment.

Either way, another unreliable narrator song. Was going for a little John Donne action, too, with the schizoid marriage of opposites--violent and "almost ready to love". Wouldn't want to drape any more words on this stark frame.

Child Star

Too Far, Broken Promises, Say When, Musica Musica

Too Far

Broken Promises

Say When

Musica Musica

Better Set Sail, Guide, Wearier and Wary Of

Better Set Sail

The wraith of Herman Melville would not be impressed. Tho' he might find his toe tapping and his voice joining the chorus erelong . . .


A more arch variation on the theme of composite identity found in say Wire's "40 Versions".

Wearier and Wary Of

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Provisionally Yours, Someone In There, At Night

Provisionally Yours

Somewhere around the spring of 1985 I had the presence of mind to go shopping for an actual guitar amp.

Through the Auto Trader I found a Fender Twin Reverb for sale. The owner was an electrical engineer who lived in Eclipse, worked for GE and gigged in country bands. He was looking to sell the Twin and get a more reliable Peavey combo instead. I liked the amp, he showed how to check speaker polarity with a battery and that was it.

Soon after I was putting that tremelo & reverb to heavy use recording the likes of Provisionally Yours and working up my Howard Devoto impression.

Someone In There

At Night

This was recorded some years after being written. I like it musically and like the arrangement done here. Even tho' this meant to be a classic unreliable narrator kind of tune, the lyrics still spook me.

Literal minded folk (of either a dark or a protective frame of mind) be warned--this just ain't your song. Go behave.

Wheel's Reinvention, My Sweet Plaything, Fried Chicken Blues

Wheel's Reinvention

My Sweet Plaything

More spookiness of the unreliable narrator variety.

Fried Chicken Blues

Another scary tune . . one that pushes some of the already dark lyrical impulses of the Blues clear 'round the bend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Comfort Waltz, Winter Palace, Hear Me Call

Comfort Waltz

Winter Palace

Hear Me Call

All three songs were written in the mid 1980s. All bear some grandiose notions-- the latter two wanting to be something like Fairport Convention circa "Tale In Hard Time" with a touch of Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, et al.

(Yeah, go ahead, laugh . . .)

Whatever they are or aren't in terms of concept or execution, they are some of my faves.

Gratuitous geek note: Hear Me Call might be one of the first things I recorded with anything sequenced besides a drum machine. Indeed, I used the band's Roland TR-505 drum machine as a rudimentary sort of MIDI sequencer to drive my bandmate Dale's Korg Poly-800. Still doing the passing between two cassette decks trick, I could record the drums, a very basic synth bass and whatever live stuff in one pass.

The versions of the others were recorded later on with, at the very least, the best MIDI gear a Caldor or a Lechmere could offer.

T-Improv, Smashed In Doors


Smashed In Doors

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Faraday Cage, I've Got A Doll Now, Fear Itself

Faraday Cage

I once met an intelligent, self-possessed fellow who talked of how he and others were having signals broadcast into their heads. That kick-started this song. The bit about "Flowers By Irene" is an allusion to a Simpsons episode.

I've Got A Doll Now

Maybe some of this comes from Talky Tina on the Twilight Zone, but it was loosely based on a macabre dream I had and was meant to be more open-ended/less literal-minded. Something spooky that was nonetheless about loss & change.

I never made up my mind where the singer is moving off to in the last verse--maybe boarding school or college or a psychiatric hospital. In short, the singer has healed, is healing, or needs to start healing. I like that a listener can take it in any direction.

Fear Itself

Never Young, Sweet Days Gone, Sun Rises

Never Young

Sweet Days Gone

Sun Rises

Better Listen, Better Go

Better Listen

Better Go
(Also on Box.)

In my bossier moments, titles advise and outright order . . .

Ordinary, Try


Standing out, blending in--hard to know if one really want or choose one or the other.