Friday, October 28, 2011

Song With No Name (Plurgid's Transformer Mix)

Song With No Name (Plurgid's Transformer Mix)

"Transform, and roll out!"-Optimus Prime

This is a remix I did for local heavy metal band RoadKill. This is my "Transformer" remix of Song With No Name, off their upcoming album "Refried" which should be out next month.

I did the orchestra and synth effects on the original album mix, and so it only seemed natural to pull the whole thing apart, and decimate it into a mangled glitchy dark electro thing. Especially since I'd recently figured out how to make make the classic 80's transformers sound out of just about anything. This is as Halloween-ish as I get, so enjoy the seasonal "flava".

If you've not had enough funky robots after this, check out the breakdancing transformers video (not my work but awesome).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Intravenous (Hospitals Suck 2011 rework)

"Rice-o-nators"[1] on the drums.

Intravenous (Hospitals Suck 2011 rework)

"When life gives you IV drugs, be sure to make samples" - Me

The sound you are hearing is a sample of an IV pump in a hospital room. I was connected to it at the time, as a result of an emergency appendectomy in 2009. The rhythm of it's little pin roller resetting is the basis for the entire track.

These are the things you do when you're a sound obsessed individual, out of your gourd on that good medical hooch, and you just happened to pack a mic and headphones with your laptop.

Any television executives who are interested in licensing this track as a title for ... I dunno ... let's say a show about adventurous doctors who are also comedic police and dramatic lawyers ... drop me a line, baby. Have your people call my people. Let's do things.

I made this track shortly after the hospital stay back in 2009, and I posted it on myspace. You can still hear the old version over there on the plurgid page, if you can find it. There were some things about that original mix I never cared for, specifically a really harsh hiss in the vocoded beat texture thing, but I left if up there and to be honest I'd completely forgotten about it until yesterday.

Out of the blue, Bill sent me an email last week mentioning it. I thought to myself "I should fix that thing, it was a pretty good track", and so that's pretty much what I had a blast doing the last few days. After I cleaned up the vocoder, then I thought "hmm, it needs some stutters and effects", then I thought "this needs drums", etc, and so on and so on.

Here it is, the 2011 re-work of 2009's "Hospitals Suck" a song that came entirely out of a cool sounding IV pump and the drugs it was putting in my system at the time, which made me think it sounded so cool.

[1] "Rice-o-nators" on the drums
I have found that the resonance of the toms on my drum kit creates a sort of crappy sounding reverb when hitting other drums, like the kick or snare. When it comes to crappy sounding reverbs, I prefer to add them at my discretion via cheap digital plugins, or home-made analog slinky-verbs, because frankly that's just how I roll.

I have literally no idea what the proper solution to this problem is. My guess is it's some combination of not having a crappy beginner kit, and tuning the toms correctly. Let's face it, I'm not buying a new kit anytime soon, and I'm for damn sure not going to kill my vibe by spending an hour tuning the toms.

Dig it sucka, make yo' self some rice-o-nators out of a couple socks and a few cups of rice. Hang 'em over the rim as shown. Kills resonance like raid kills roaches, mang!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Too Soon


Father's Day

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.  The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy.  How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? We make tools for these kinds of people.  Because while some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. And it's the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world who actually do." -Apple Marketing circa '99

I find myself sitting here tonight thinking to myself "holy crap, what are we going to do without Steve Jobs?", without a hint of irony. I never knew him, except through the companies he created. I never even worked for one of his companies. But the decisions he made at those companies were unlike decisions that could ever be made at any other company in the world.

Those companies came to define my reality, and the reality of the entire world.

Apple was to many in my generation: our Beatles, and Steve Jobs was our John Lennon.

The thing that made Apple special in those days, and to a lesser extent these days, was one simple thing: they gave a crap about quality. More than that ... it was the only thing they cared about. It was quality and quality only that mattered. Late deadlines be damned, profits be damned. It was insanely great or it wasn't shipping.

It inspired an entire generation of programmers, myself included, to be able to look past requirements and deadlines ... to look past the way things were and to see the way things could be, and to make that your vision.

This story from Apple's early days, when they were literally inventing the first macintosh, is one I've always found inspiring. It's more than the story of how they got some real primitive hardware to be able to do fast circles and rounded rectangles: it's a story about a workplace that values the creativity of it's workers, that is a fertile ground for great ideas to take root and blossom into world changing stuff.

In all seriousness. Is there any company left in America that is even remotely focused on building great shit anymore? I'm not sure what exactly Steve Jobs was at a technical level, but he must have been one hell of a manager ... and I haven't even mentioned Pixar.

Damn, damn, damn.  It feels like the tech world is on it's own now ... like the last grownup has left the building.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birthday Beats

Birthday Beats

"This is a narrative of very heavy-duty proportions." - Dr. Teeth

I couldn't have asked for a more fantastic birthday weekend. The show at the Madison Street Festival was a blast. The weather was perfect. My kids got to see me play, and they dug our show, except "Opossum" -- I guess having your dad's band belt out an ode to a dead opossum in the road is just a bridge too far for the Hannah Montanna crowd, LOL.

The only unfortunate aspect was that my actual birthday (Monday) was as horrible at work as the weekend was transcendent. But what you gonna do? I suppose Red Forman was right "if it was fun they wouldn't call it work".

Kelly got me the Wobble virtual instrument for my birthday (she's a pretty cool wife!). Not that I don't already have a descent collection of dubby nastification tools, but this one has a neat tempo sync'd step sequencer feature that one can use to drive not only arpeggiator style note sequences, but also (and more interestingly) all the virtual instrument's parameters. I played around with it a little bit last night. It's clearly intended for non-ninja type users, and I actually appreciate the limitation of that. What it does it does pretty well, and lets you get right to it. What it doesn't do ... well I've already got FM8, Reaktor, etc, etc, if I want to get nitty about my gritty. I put together this quick little beat just messing around with it out of the box last night.

Birthday Beats! There you have it!
We have a minimum of 1 birthday per-week in the Hicox crew until Christmas.
It's that most wonderfully (expensive) time of year.
Wub. WubWubWub ... Wuuuuuuuuuuuub.