Saturday, January 19, 2008

Get Your Death On!, It's Casual and Fu Manchu at the Casbah, San Diego January 18, 2008

First show of the year and it was my first time seeing Fu Manchu live.

Opening up the show was San Diego's Get Your Death On!. I knew nothing about them going into the show so I was curious to hear what they sound like. Thankfully their sound is hard to describe. They mix elements of what people would call "indie rock", add elements of Black Sabbath inspired doom along with elements from the "jam band" scene. If I had to guess, these guys like a lot of the same music I do. Looks like they had a friend on "aux percussion" to augment their quartet. I thought they had a couple of great jams. There's a new album from them on the way and I'm looking forward to hear what they do in a studio setting. Great band to open the night.

In the middle was slotted It's Casual from Los Angeles. I knew a little about them going into the gig mainly that they are a duo on guitar and drums and their guitar player is left-handed. After a long delay as the guitar player was having trouble with his monster rig, they were off and running. These two play with a lot of energy and have a strong hardcore punk influence. You would think that a duo would have a drummer with a huge kit to take up all of the empty space but this guy had the most minimal kit I've seen - bass drum, snare, high-hat and crash symbol. That was it. Just the right band to get the crowd fired up before the Fu hit the stage.

I really don't have any excuses as to why I've yet to see Fu Manchu live (other than I was out of town when they played last year) as I've been listening to them for many years now. I've read all about their live shows and seen video footage. Well they definitely were rocking the Casbah last night. The setlist covered much of their discography, with only their first two albums and 'California Crossing' not getting any attention. The crowd was as into the music more than I've seen at any Casbah show. Perhaps due to more Orange County/L.A. presence? 'Saturn III' and 'Hogwash' and 'Anodizer' were the best jams and the highlights of the show for me. Ending the show with 'King Of The Road' was perfect. Not sure if they did an encore (it wasn't looking like it so I left), but the set ended perfectly without one.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Gear And A New Song

On Thursday the M-Audio Axiom 49 MIDI keyboard I ordered arrived. With 49 keys, 8 touch pads, 9 sliders, 8 dials and loads more buttons, it's feature laden controller that will do much more than I'll ever learn.

My goal is to augment my arrangements with synthesizers, keyboards and organs either in a droning fashion, a way to create different layers or perhaps add melodic element to the composition. Having no formal music training and not a clue how to really play a piano, I'll be using very simple patterns.

Two of the plugins that came with ProTools, Reason Adapted and Analog Factory, have some great presets and allow for lots of tweaking so I'm hoping to create some interesting sounds. Eventually I'd like to get GForce's MiniMonsta and M-Tron going for Minimoog and Mellotron emulation but they are not compatible with ProTools at the moment (or at least the ProTools version I have).

There's a new track on the R³ myspace page that utilizes my new microphone and one of the sequenced synth settings in Analog Factory. The song is called 'Orbiting Planet'. I tried experimenting with some different techniques. There's a track of mostly feedback with some slides and random notes played. Another track has recording my 5-string bass acoustically. There's a track with just me blowing into the mic and a track with a simple cymbal pattern. Lastly there is the synth track. I wasn't too happy with the final master as I couldn't quite get the synth mixed into the rest of the track properly.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Releases From Archive and Glass Throat Recordings

Some fantastic looking releases from Archive arrived yesterday in the post. Headlining the bunch is the 2 disc album collaboration between LSD March and Bardo Pond dubbed LSD Pond. The packaging for the release is top notch and includes a booklet for the first time ever for an Archive set. The second new one from Archive is an album from Chinese guitarist Li Jianhong whom I've never heard of before. There was lots of praise for the guy so I also picked up another album by him in the distro. Rounding out the new releases is the latest from Peter Wright. Also picked up from the distro a double live album from LSD March that is limited to 500 copies and comes in a nice heavy stock gatefold-like sleeve with the discs sitting on hubs.

From Glass Throat Recordings comes a double album from The Elemental Chrysalis that was just released on the end of 2007. The double CD comes in the now typical 6"x6" six panel case with the discs on soft hubcaps. After enjoying Ruhr Hunter's 2006 release, I decided to round out the order with the previous two full length Ruhr Hunter CDs.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


As mentioned in my last post of 2007, I've started to do some recordings with an MBox2 Mini using ProTools with the plugins it came with. Going directly into the box, usually through my Double Muff and/or custom "furr" pedal worked well. But what I really want to do is mic my cabinets, so I bought Carvin's CTM100 condenser tube microphone (along with a telescoping boom mic stand).

A trio of demo songs I did in before the start of 2008 are now part of a music project I've named R³. You can go to the obligatory myspace music page, located here, to sample the music I've done.

I have a couple more pieces of equipment coming and I'll have a nice recording setup.