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.