Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I have posted it elsewhere, but not here, and not in this much detail...that I have completed my 2nd "RPM Challenge" (Record Produced in a Month), which represents the 4th Unknown Quantity "release", entitled "Shinespotting".

I owe a great deal of gratitude to my daughter Haley, who presented me with the perfect setting and circumstance for me to get this done. I was at an impasse with doing the recording I had planned, met some obstacles, encountered some work travel impedance, etc., and then Haley asked me to record 5 pieces of music for a meditation-related program that she co-wrote with her friend to be produced at a youth group retreat during the first weekend of March.
She had 5 settings in mind, and I needed to record 35 minutes of music to fulfill the RPM requirement, basically in one weekend.

My plan needed to be simple:
"5 improvisations on 5 different instruments with effects, 7 or 8 minutes a piece, no mixing."

Track 1 - "Sanctuary" - Soprano Sax
Track 2 - "Single Blade of Grass" - BubbleHarp (iOS app)
Track 3 - "Maze of Inner Light" - Korg Kaosillator (iOS app)
Track 4 - "Lightness and Heaviness" - Yamaha WX7 EWI triggering Moog Animoog (iOS app), connected via a Line 6 MIDI interface.
Track 5 - "Candles" - Alto Flute & Moog Animoog (iOS app)

This music is freely downloadable at at no cost for personal use *All rights reserved*.
If you choose to pay for the music, all proceeds will be donated to my daughter's youth program fund, which sponsors teens to attend retreats, summer camp and leadership training.

I also need to thank my longtime friend Bruce Tunkel, who mastered these tracks, to make them all shiny-like.

Thanks for reading and listening.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chris Koch & Crackpot Theory: Live on 28July11

Chris Koch & Crackpot Theory

Chris Koch - Vox 'n' Guit
Steve Peckman - Winds
Matt Raymond - Doghouse Bass
Dana Alling - Drumkit

LIVE! at Cecil's in West Orange

Thursday, July 28
8:00 pm
(We're playing a set at the beginning of a lengthy program,
so please be on time!)

Cecil's Jazz Club & Restaurant
364 Valley Road
West Orange, New Jersey

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest post

I wrote a guest post on my friend Janine Gregor's blog page, with some thoughts on the "DIY" Music Biz. Check out her other posts too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

mmHmm - Commercial Release

Well, the "commercial release" of "mmHmm" is available at now -->
At just 25 cents per track, it is such a deal.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The mastered stream of "mmHmm"

The mastered audio stream of "mmHmm" is now available at:
After a couple/few dozen listens, this set of tunes has grown on me & there are some solid moments.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"mmHmm" = online and streaming

I completed the RPM Challenge with 2 more sonic collaborations with Mr. Smit. 7 tunes in 28 days.
So, in total, there are 4 Smit/Peckman tunes (1 also includes Dan Singer), one with Dan and 2 solo things.

The tunes are not in their final order on the RPM site yet, I will fix that tomorrow, but you can hear all 7 tunes, streaming at:


Sunday, February 27, 2011

RPM Challenge 2011

I am in the closing phases of submitting a new set of Unknown Quantity recordings for this year's RPM Challenge. The challenges demands that either 10 songs worth or 35 minutes worth of original music be written, recorded and released in the month of February.

To date, I have 5 songs (27-ish minutes) in the bag, and about 2 days left.
I spent way too much time on a song I am calling "The Cloud" this week, but it was worth it.
It has some neo-classical flute and bass clarinet moments with some Debussy-ish material, and a rhythmic "synth harp" track originated by the BubbleHarp app on my iPad. Also in the mix, is some Yamaha WX-7 (EWI)-driven Roland synth action. I may have to crack a music theory book to see what mode I am playing in.

You can hear one sample at the link above, of a song called "North of Yellowknife", which was written by Ian Smit, who also plays acoustic guitar on the track.
My daughter Bryce plays oboe on it and I layered a bunch of bass clarinet and tenor sax tracks. It is the most "organic-sounding" track of the set.

Another collaboration is on "Moog River", with my friend Daniel Singer, who shot me a bunch of Moog samples that he created on his iPod Touch app - I complement those with sounds generated by the BeBot app on my iPad; so it is a fully Apple Product-generated joint.

"At the Water's Edge" is a lovely drone, started by Mr. Smit's "electronic regalia", and then accompanied by some alto flute and fife tracks, which evoke some Peter Gabriel-ish synclavier vibes, but they are pretty much organic. Also, in the mix is a poem which I wrote, and then read through a vocoder. The last that I know, it was still Steve Meltzer's favorite song recorded in some while.

The title track, "mmHmm", which was the first recorded is a groovy tune in 11/4. I hope to expand on this riff at some point in the future, and develop it some more; so it might be said that this is "mmHmm v1.0", but like Mel Brooks' "History of the World", there may only be one...maybe.

I think there will be 7 tracks in all, at least one more collaboration with Mr. Smit...tomorrow afternoon I'll get back to work. More soon.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Independence Day (Realism is What?)

In the spirit of Independence, I am formally exposing this set of recordings into the sultry air of early July. I did these recordings a few years ago, and did not release them because I always thought I would do more tunes to accompany them, but I didn't...and I have come to think of them as their own "set" now.

The "album" is called "Realism is What?", and 90+% of the sonic material was created with my Realistic (yes, Radio Shack) Concertmate MG-1 Synth, which is always "a lovely X-factor" for me, especially when run through 21st Century effects.

I'll do a quick write-up on each of the tunes in the coming days, but I'll tell you that there are some "factory samples" used, and one other (mangled) sample which I nabbed off a CD. The first person who can correctly ID the sample, will win some sort of prize. It's not that difficult really.

And for today, I leave you with this quote:
"The way to write American music is simple.
All you have to do is be an American and then write any kind of music you wish."
- Virgil Thomson

Enjoy, Happy Downloading! Let Freedom Ring!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Out Like A Lion

(click on song title to download)

This track combines all of the instruments that you've heard in Tracks 1-5. I think that this "title track" about sums it up. Looking forward to your comments.

Sea Glazed

(click on song title to download)

"Sea Glazed" combines the soprano sax and synth intentionally starts similarly to "Opacity", but then it veers off.


(click on song title to download)

"Opacity" is one of my recent favorite words.

All of the sounds on this track emanate from my soprano sax. I have done some pitch shifting to lower some of the passages, so that it was not all sonically in one place.

Cerulean Undercurrents

(click on song title to download)

Combining Elements of Tracks 1 and 2.

Blue Fondue

(click on song title to download)

Ah, the Realistic MG-1 in all of its Old School and Analog glory, processed by 21st Century effects, and then served in layers...enjoy.

Right Under The Surface

(Click on the song title to download)

This is the track that inspired the whole set, and now I can say that "the cat is officially out of the bag".

I dusted off my bass on March 1st - played for a while in a pretty dark room, and the main riff emerged. I decided to record it, and then I recorded about 9 other tracks of bass guitar. I have been calling this process "linear improvisation", because I didn't listen to the other tracks while recording the next. But, as mentioned on an earlier post, I sliced/diced/mutilated, and then layered and mixed the WAV files that I recorded in Ableton Live, and at the end of the night, Track 1 was done.

For those of you who might be wondering...I really don't play the bass all that often. I do enjoy it, but I often think of it as a music theory puzzle when I play it.

"Out Like A Lion" Song Titles

1) Right Under The Surface (all bass guitar)
2) Blue Fondue (all synth)
3) Cerulean Undercurrents (bass & synth)
4) Opacity (all soprano sax)
5) Sea Glazed (soprano sax & synth)
6) Out Like A Lion (bass, synth & soprano sax)

Recorded at my home.
Mastered by Bruce Tunkel @ Beanland Studios.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Out Like a Lion"

Hello Travelers -
If you are reading this, you were probably prompted by me to do so, so I am likely not truly an "Unknown Quantity", but that's what I decided to call my "group" a while back. It might be an anti-group or a non-group or a solo project too.

Also, you might be wondering about the URL of this blog; "Ub4Q"...It's a statement of thinking differently, because everyone knows that "U is always AFTER Q".

At any rate, I am releasing two sets of recordings this spring. One is called "Realism is What?", which I actually recorded a few years ago, and have been sitting on, enjoying the tracks every once in a while on my iPod. This set features my Realistic (yes, Radio Shack!) Moog-Copy Synth that I bought in 1982 or 1983. More on that in another blog posting.

And this one is called, "Out Like A Lion", which is a play on words, because everything was recorded in the month of March this year. There were 3 sessions, which I recorded on this new piece of gear called a Belkin TuneStudio, that Sue gave me this past holiday season. Basically, it is a mixing board that you can record with, but the media is an iPod. So easy to use, and so clean.

The concept for "Out Like A Lion" is this - There are three "primary" tunes; one that is all bass guitar, one that is all Realistic Synth and one that is all soprano sax. I improvised about 10 "tracks" during each session, through various signal processors, and then layered, mangled, stretched, chopped and mixed the tracks on my Mac, using Ableton Live.

Then, there are two "secondary" tunes; one that is bass and synth, and one that is soprano and synth.

Then, there is one "tertiary" tune, which is comprised of all three instruments. Now, look at the "album art" again.'s just like that.

As I have been listening to these six tracks for the past month or so, they have really grown on me - I think they are pretty original sounding. I think sonically, that the "sound elements" (the audio version of pixels) are also pretty original sounding too.

In the following posts, I will comment on, and post a link to, an MP3 version of each tune over the course of the next week or so.

Friday, April 2, 2010

This is the place...

...where the music of and words about "Unknown Quantity" live.