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.