Archive for the Delirium Dog Category

70 West by Lunatic Dog

Posted in Delirium Dog, Music, Music Making on August 5, 2012 by deliriumdog

Just a few weeks before I jumped down the rabbit hole that became Delirium Dog, I released an album under the name Lunatic Dog called “70W.” I quickly became too busy with Delirium Dog to promote what was my first fully solo album. It took me nearly a year to record, mix, and master, so by the time it was out I was already ready to move on. (I suspect many artists feel this way about their records.) I willingly dove into Delirium Dog, initially as a small side project from Lunatic Dog, but DD’s music quickly became more popular and overshadowed its predecessor, and here we are.

If you only know my work from the driving industrial edge of Delirium Dog, then you may be surprised. Those who know me personally–and how I listen to just about everything–probably won’t be.

I recently listened to the album for the first time in a long while and realized that I still liked it. I think it still sounds pretty fresh, even if the eclectic mix of songs hang together only loosely. I was still discovering electronic sounds at the time, and still had one foot solidly in my band work. So you’ll hear jangly guitars up against noisy synths.

Thematically, it’s a road trip album inspired by a number of cross-country trips I made, mostly to Burning Man. I’ve always loved road trip movies and felt that a road trip album was a natural thing for me to take on. That sort of justifies the different sounds you hear–the journey from rock to electronica to country and back. The final track, “Cotton Mouth,” is my favorite and somehow manages to meld all those genres.

Please have a listen and let me know what you think. If you’ve never heard it, it’s a new release to you! Right now, you can buy the download for a mere $2.99.


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Death to the Balloons

Posted in Delirium Dog, Music, Scarehouse, Video with tags , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by deliriumdog

I’ll explain this more in a separate post. Right now I’ll just say that I dropped $80 in neon balloons on this video, so the least you can do is watch it. If you click through to YouTube, you can choose to view it in glorious hi-rez. While you’re there, hit thumbs up and leave a pithy comment. Your support is greatly, hugely appreciated.

Summoning my Inner Tom Waits

Posted in Creativity, Delirium Dog, Music, Performance, Scarehouse, Video on January 17, 2012 by deliriumdog

In much the same manner as the DD video for Absinthe Cola, the new video (below) was a mostly unplanned, quick shoot using sets inside The ScareHouse. I’m still amazed how well their sets show up on video. They’re so beautiful that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, really, except I’m also one of the fish in this analogy.

The role of the shooter was played by Steve Friedrick, who co-produced and co-directed the video with me. He also handled all the editing and post-production, which is great because I would have gone insane looking at myself so much. I also would have made it a lot blurrier and layered a lot more effects over my face. In fact, the extent of my contribution to post-production, when Steve was showing me draft edits, was to tell him to use more effects and to dirty it up more. The original footage (shot with my Canon T2i) was painfully crisp and clear. You could count the whiskers on my chin. I don’t know how any actor can survive the scrutiny of the HD camera lens these days. I’ve been noticing more lately how on-screen talent (from newscasters to dramatic performers) use makeup and other techniques to hide the natural process of aging. Some appear to have a “no extreme close-ups” written right into their contract. Anyway, while I’m not afraid of revealing any “age lines,” I’m still a little weirded out by seeing my face so clearly. Especially when I’m performing a caricature of evil incarnate.

I knew that I could not successfully embody said evil if I just played it straight (whatever “straight evil” means). So here you get me channelling Tom Waits, which, either because I’m not being very successful or because I’m not actually Mr. Waits, ends up looking unique enough for a music video. Steve brought the goggles and they are roughly half the character. That wicked smile was quite painful to hold and my jaw hurt at the end of each take. The twitchy dance technique also burned quite a few calories and I was pretty well wiped after a couple takes. Such is the price we must pay for our art.

Alien Visitation

Posted in Delirium Dog, Music, Performance, Scarehouse, Video on December 5, 2011 by deliriumdog

I have a good deal of video footage from our work at The ScareHouse this year. Live stuff and other bits we shot specifically for music videos. I was sifting through it all and planning on cranking out a quick live video, but decided to do more to it. The live footage by itself is interesting, but does not exactly hold one’s attention for the several minutes a song lasts. So I started adding graphics and effects, learning new software all the while, and before long realized that it was going to be a longer endeavor than I initially planned.

That’s where the alien comes into play. A single, focused idea that gives you a little taste of the Delirium Dog live thing we were doing married with some semi-hot alien-dancing action. Ursula has always wanted to put on a puppet show so I brought the alien along for her to play with when she was not singing or pressing buttons. It was her idea to add the lights to his (or her?) arms, which really makes it. We’ve talked about doing our whole act as a puppet show. It could happen. Until then, you’ve got this as a teaser.

Random Thoughts from the First Weekend Playing at The ScareHouse

Posted in Creativity, Delirium Dog, Performance, Scarehouse, Uncategorized on October 3, 2011 by deliriumdog

First thought: Wow, what a blast!

Actually, that’s my first thought now that it’s over. My first thought when we started playing on the first night was “What the hell am I doing!?!?” I’ve had that thought at several moments over the past few weeks preparing for this gig. It especially hit home while putting on my custom-made costume, which is pretty fab but includes a neon green fishnet top which, let me just say, has never been a part of my wardrobe prior to Friday night.

I’ve managed to be free of Impostor Syndrome for  quite a while. Years, maybe. Then came my battle with Who The Hell Cares About What I’m Doing Syndrome. (“There are a million people out there on the internet making music and starving kids all over the world–what makes you feel like you’re so special, Delirium Boy?” That sort of thing.) The supportive atmosphere I found at The ScareHouse, as well as online and other friendly corners of my life, helped me greatly with this. But then the What The Hell Am I Doing Syndrome sneaks up on me and it feels like a proxy for all the previous syndromes combined. My wife reminded me that this is what happens quite often to every artist, and I think “oh yeah, I guess so” and try not to think about it any further.

Then the performance starts. If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know what an odd type of “show” this is. It took a while for the first visitors to wind their way through the first haunt (“Foresaken”) and into Delirium, so starting early as we did was not necessary and the first 20 minutes was basically a holding pattern. No problem, I was still getting my bearings.

The “pulsing” of the groups that evening was strange. We started to see groups coming through, then there would be 5 or 10 minutes with nobody. I tried to time it so that we were not singing our hearts out to an empty room (more than half the songs contain some singing) and got better at extending or shortening sections of the songs as needed. I would use the spaces between groups to switch songs. Ableton Live cannot have two projects open at once, so I would cross-fade to a sound bed on my ipod for the 30 seconds or so it takes for me to open a new song.

What was difficult as a performer was getting any sense of reaction from the highly transient and distracted audience. This was easier Saturday night when there was a sold-out crowd and a more continuous stream of people. Great energy. It often felt like a real party at which new people were constantly were arriving and joining in. I never got tired of seeing people stumble in, a tad disoriented, take in the wacky surroundings and start to dance. One group appeared to be professional club-hoppers because they were dressed the part and could really dance. I was glad to see that the music worked for them.

With all the distractions, few people could actually see me, but some (and not just my brother) waved and acknowledged that they knew who I was. At 8ish, we were told that four Ghost Hunters would soon be passing through. I had a good groove going and didn’t want to risk stopping it just as they entered but ended up keeping the same tune going for over 20 minutes. I felt less guilty about that when closing time rolled around nearly seven hours after we started. That was a lot of time to fill, and somehow I did it without repeating any piece more than twice. Maybe it was a time warp. Perhaps we were abducted by aliens. Maybe the rest of the cast of Delirium are aliens. Who’s to say? The fact they didn’t want to kill me after many hours of sonic assault definitely raises my suspicions.

During the final hour, delirium was more than just a concept–it was our true state of mind. I was working a new high-energy piece that strings together dozens of variations of the Amen Break with sound effects, rhythmic bird chirps, deep bass hooks, and other bits of randomness. (You may not realize it, but the Amen Break is etched into your sonic memory in a way that forces you to want to dance.) Thinking that closing time must be just a few minutes away, I must have kept that going for 45 minutes–adding different effects to extend the sounds and slowly boosting the beats per minute to keep people from falling asleep. I searched my hard drive for more sounds to throw in, but I’ve kept the performance computer lean. Too lean, apparently. Next weekend, I’ll be better prepared.

“Fever Brain Battery” it is, then…

Posted in Creativity, Delirium Dog with tags , , on June 2, 2011 by deliriumdog

They say you should engage your fans and bring them into the decision making process whenever you can, but the same they’s don’t often discuss the unpredictable results.

Last week, I came up with three possible album titles. One obviously good one (in my mind) and two obviously lesser ones. One of the lesser ones was something like “Trance Chimera” but a friend of mine mentioned that trance is too generic a word in electronica these days. If you buy a keyboard, it’s likely to have a trance button or preset right on it. So ok, I ditched the Trance title and came up with another odd choice that I knew would be equally rejected: “Fever Brain Battery.” I don’t know where it came from. I was just trying to fill the slot.

I put up all three for a vote, knowing that Vox Anodyne was surely, clearly the best title. And here were the results, with 24 votes in…

Fever Brain Battery was the runaway winner! Maybe it’s because I put it first on the list. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just better. I have to say, it does seem to wear well. I like that it could possibly mean something, but never the exact same thing each time you read it. Like a chord that never completely resolves. I like lyrics like that, too.

So the people win…and I lose? Well, they’re all my titles. I allowed people to enter titles of their own, and I only got gag responses. (A high school friend posted “My Colon’s Rally Cap” — har har, Dan!) So I guess I win, too. I was talked out of a lesser title, and I still have Vox Anodyne to kick around for maybe a song title later on.

Absinthe Art, Deliriumified

Posted in Creativity, Delirium Dog with tags , , on April 15, 2011 by deliriumdog

For a while now, I’ve enjoyed the art and style of pre-1920’s vintage
advertising art for beverages, usually aperitifs such as Campari and Martini & Rossi. Having named a recent song Absinthe Cola, I figured that the wealth of absinthe-related art would be a good place to start for new imagery for Delirium Dog. I’m not sure if I’m going to run in this direction or not, but I can at least share my first attempt.

This Absinthe Cola poster takes an early sketch (sometime between 1898 and 1901) and gives it a delirium spin. The work-in-progress and the original are below. Please leave your impressions in the comments.

Delirium Dog Absinthe Cola (Poster Mock-up)

The original work:

UPDATE: feedback from some Facebook followers moved me to revise the text.

DD Desktop Wallpapers: Be The Envy of Anyone With a Computer

Posted in Delirium Dog, Photography with tags , , on March 27, 2011 by deliriumdog

Click on any of the images below to download the 1920×1280 size image: suitable as wallpaper for all but the most freakishly hi-rez screens.

Delirium Dog in Tunnel WallpaperI can spend hours taking photos of the neon lights in the Delirium 3-D attraction at The Scarehouse. No joke. I’ve posted some of these photos around the web (some on Facebook, for instance) but here are four offered as special DD wallpaper.

Last year, I bought my first digital SLR camera (a Canon T2i / 550D) and was able to get some nice timed exposures of the spinning tunnel and other sights around Delirium. The fun thing about the timed exposures is that you never know how they will turn out. When the tunnel is spinning, it’s all about keeping the camera still as the tunnel spins around. Any figure in the photo (like me in the one above) needs to be pretty much still, even if you want to look like you’re moving. It’s fun to play with moving the figure, too, causing the moving parts to sometimes completely disappear. Where is my right arm?

I would also stop the tunnel from spinning and move the camera itself during the exposure for a whole different effect. Spinning the camera in a circle while moving away or towards the glowing lights would create the layered swirling effect you see in these photos.

DD Swirling Lights Wallpaper

Exposure times for these ran between roughly two to four seconds.

For the one below, I tweaked the colors a good bit after the capture. The other three are shown here as they were taken (except for the words “delirium dog” added later of course).

DD Swirling Lights Desktop Wallpaper

Here is one with the words especially large so you can enjoy explaining what DD means to anyone not in the know.

I have taken many of these. At some point I will pick a favorite or two an offer them as posters (I know I would like one, at least). Enjoy!

Download: “Paratechnoid”

Posted in Delirium Dog, Free Downloads, Music, Music Making, Scarehouse, Soundscapes on February 19, 2011 by deliriumdog

(To skip right to the free download, click downward arrow to the right of the waveform for “Paratechnoid”.)

This track is one of my favorites. Like the previous download, Wandering Souls, it has been with me for a while (since 1999, I believe) and is usually in the mix of songs played  at the entrance to The Scarehouse. I know that parts of it will come back as a Delirium Dog song (with beats and other elements), but I think it stands well on it’s own. Listening to it now, it sounds like something from a movie soundtrack, which is probably what I was going for.

View in Soundlcloud

Also like Wandering Souls, it was composed in Metasynth.

Note: you can download this track and copy it freely for your own enjoyment, but I’m retaining on to all rights for any other use.

Download: Soundscape to “Delirium’s Dream”

Posted in Delirium Dog, Free Downloads, Music, Music Making, Soundscapes on February 6, 2011 by deliriumdog

(Note: To skip right to the free download, scroll down to the first track, “Wandering Souls” and click the downward arrow to the right of the waveform.)

AND now, time for what will be a recurring feature on this blog, which I call “Posting Actual Sound and/or Music that I’ve  Made (Because That Is What This Blog Is Supposed To Be About) and Write a Bit About It.”  (The feature needs a catchier name than that. Any suggestions?)  I’ll be featuring tracks that you can’t find anywhere else, so consider yourself lucky while I’ll consider myself priveledged to have the attention of your ears.  Thus, the golden circle of creation and consumption is completed.

This track is a sound bed I created many moons ago for The Scarehouse, before they were all successful and stuff. I cannot remember how it was used in the haunt, but it was part of a collection of soundscapes that I made and were deemed cool and creepy enough to add atmosphere to the haunted merriment.

Later on, this track was used as a backdrop for the album track “Delirium’s Dream.”  I initially had some beats and a few ideas, but it was not quite enough for a complete track. It needed something to tie it together, and make it sound more creepy. I recalled this track, which was sitting around unused, and dropped it in behind the beats and viola, a Delirium Dog classic was born.

I find that listening to the naked sound effect track is a lot more creepy than listening to the song. I dare ya to wait for a time when you’re along at night, put on your headphones, and just try to get through the whole thing without pulling the headphones off and asking out loud if anyone is there.

Here is the naked sound bed, titled “Wandering Souls”:

View in SoundCloud

And here is “Delirium’s Dream” in which I brazenly plagiarized myself in order to crank out a new industrial trance track. It’s the longest track on the album, which I think owes a lot to the original track above.

View in SoundCloud

Wandering Souls was created using a lovely piece of software called MetaSynth, which I was obsessed with a few years ago. (I haven’t upgraded to the latest version, but it’s on my list! My old version doesn’t even run on new Macs, so I am currently without it. Aww.) Delirium’s Dream was composed in Logic Pro.

One thing you’ll notice is that the naked track has more of a dynamic range. For the dance track, the volume was compressed so that the lows were boosted and the whole thing could stand up in the mix. You can tell this just by comparing the two waveforms above.  Wandering Souls has more peaks and valleys while Delirium’s Dream is more uniformly loud. Most music tracks you hear (other than classical) make heavy use of compression to raise the overall loudness and improve the odds that the listener will hear and notice the music in loud environments (bars, clubs, your car…).  The Wandering Souls track has little or no compression, and I think it is a lot scarier as a result. It’s as if some of the voices are further away and then others reach right out and touch you.  Love that.

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