Archive for the Music Category

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.

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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.

First Delirium Dog Live Set

Posted in Free Downloads, Music, Performance, Scarehouse on November 7, 2011 by deliriumdog

After several weeks in which I spent every waking moment preparing for the first live performance of Delrium Dog, I finally have to time to stand back and take stock. We recorded a good bit of it and I’m surprised how much I’m happy with it overall. I just made one set available for download (below) and the only editing I did was to snip a couple minutes out of T.O.L.S, which I played live for about 20 minutes.

Click fast! This will only be available for a few weeks (or until I run out of space on Soundcloud and need to replace it). Click the little arrow on the right to download for free.

The deal was that sometimes the groups passing through the Scarehouse would be spaced out more than five or ten minutes apart. This was not often, but during those times I would go into a holding pattern until the next group showed up. This made for a recording that was, to my ears, irritatingly repetitive at times. So now if you find the edited recording to be irritatingly repetitive, I have not excuse other than it seemed to make sense at the time.

The first three tracks (“Summoned,” “Stay” and “T.O.L.S.”) are extended versions of the ones found on Delirium Dog’s first two albums. The last tune, “Shragger’s Blues,” came from my new fascination with Abelton Live. While all the music was performed using Live, all the little bits were reassembled from Logic Pro. “Shragger’s” is the first tune that I composed completely within the program. The hot drum beats come from a solo I recorded from drummer Rich Shragger back in 1999, when we were in a band together. When the horn section kicks in, it’s from a 1929 recording of “Blue Is The Night” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TGBGyafhc4). And other sounds from I don’t know where.

On the tail end of “Stay” is a dubstep style riff that also did not exist before I was preparing for the live show. When I was saving the pieces in Logic Pro, I found myself creating new permutations as well as saving bits that never made the final mix. In some cases, they sound like a whole new song.

Enjoy!

A Strange Show in a Stranger Venue

Posted in Creativity, Music, Music Making, Performance, Scarehouse on September 26, 2011 by deliriumdog

In just four days Delirium Dog will perform it’s first live show. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, will hear some part of it. Maybe a few minutes each. About a dozen folks will hear the whole thing several times (lucky them!).

Certainly I’ve played to smaller audiences, but never a stranger one in a stranger venue. We (Ursula and I) will be in a “DJ booth” about eight feet off the ground inside the ScareHouse’s Delirium 3-D haunt. Guests will be handed 3-D Glasses upon entering this neon world in which every flat surface leaps at you with whimsical imagery. The sets and cast members create the atmosphere of a cartoonish rave inside the whacked-out mind of Delirium, who is there to meet you at the end of the haunt with her new friend, Cupcake.

The "DJ Booth" looks down upon the visitors of Delirium 3-D. Photo by Rachelle Gasparich.

And then there’s music. Loud, pulsating music. On nights we are not performing there’s an eclectic mix of pop, rock, electronica, and novelty songs (including some Delirium Dog) that are all dance or groove oriented in some way. But for six special nights (Sept 30th, Oct. 1st, and Oct. 6th-9th) we will be performing Delirium Dog songs (and some Delirium-ified covers) completely live.

Although I will be triggering a lot of pre-recorded loops and samples, I have it set up in such a way that things will never come out the same way twice. In fact, I expect the longer we perform, the more I will be mutating the songs to the point that they are barely recognizable. I can remix the songs as we go and add all sorts of wacky effects on the fly. Both Ursula and I will be singing live, of course.

The new "DJ Booth" performance area. Computer running Ableton Live, mixer, Launchpad, vocal processor & microphone. Photo by Rachelle Gasparich .

Obviously, these shows will not be seen or heard as one does a typical concert. Instead, the guests of Delirium 3-D will experience a few intense minutes of sound and visuals and catch a glance of us if they look up at the right time. Maybe you’ll hear us playing one of our popular favorites or maybe we’ll be riffing away on some strange combination of sounds and beats. We’d love for you to be able to stay a while, but alas, at the end you surrendor your 3-D glasses and go on to be accosted by zombies in the next haunt. (Does that make me an opening act for a horde of zombies?!)

DD in Tunnel

The music sounds great in the spinning tunnel.

This is all a grand experiment. I figure that after 6 nights for about 5 hours / night, we’ll be pretty good at performing this music. After that, who knows where we’ll show up. Finding a venue that is more suitable for an audience to watch and listen to us perform a whole set should not be hard. But finding a venue more suitable for our first performance would be impossible. Delirium Dog was first born in this wacky place, and it only makes sense that we make our live debut there.

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.

The Vinyl LP: Not Dead and Just May Remind Us We’re Alive

Posted in Digital Culture, Music on February 17, 2011 by deliriumdog

The other night I was at a dinner party with friends.  The hosts had just recently acquired one of those oldfangled “record player” contraptions. Actually, it had a USB output, so it was also partially newfangled. I’ve been in the market for a USB model myself so I can sample old out-of-print recordings to my computer and create further sonic mayhem. So I ended up capitalizing my friends’ player for the evening and charged myself with the duty of replacing or flipping the record when a side ended.

It felt like this was happening quite often. I remembered album sides being 20+ minutes, but these records seemed even shorter than that. That was the biggest downside. The rest of it was fun! Gingerly removing those large disks from their gargantuan cardboard sleeves, plopping them down on the turntable, manually placing the needle down, waiting those first few seconds before the needle hits the first track, hand hovering near the volume knob in case the music comes in louder than you thought…

I missed all that. This experience took me back. We listened mostly to big band recordings from the 40’s, which is not what  came out of my turntable when I was young but made for fine dinner music. You can argue that LPs sound better–I never really had strong feelings about the LP vs CD vs MP3 debate–but it is definitely a different experience.

A composer friend of mine often argues that music requires some sort of frame to be experienced properly. Even if, for instance, the greatest violinist in the world is playing one of the most beautiful pieces written, people are likely just walk by if he’s playing somewhere other than a concert stage. When people ask me at parties or social gatherings to play something for them, I usually say no because the frame isn’t there. (Or I say “just one song” and people will pay attention for about half of it before returning to what they were doing.) Or sometimes everyone is interested enough and other conditions are such that the frame is there and it turns out be a nice, personal mini-concert.

The LP experience is like an instant frame around the music. It’s a ritual. It prepares the body and spirit to get into the mode of listening. (Otherwise, why would you be doing such an odd thing?) The smell that emerges when the vinyl slips from its cardboard sleeve is like a music lover’s incense. Whatever else you may be doing, your time is structured around placing down that needle, listening, and then picking it up again 20 minutes later to flip the album. The songs play as a short set, only in the order determined by the artist. If you make any big vibrations, the record skips. If you leave the room, the record will there waiting for your next physical instructions, most likely still spinning.

Just pause for a moment and put a frame around that. How different is today’s digital player-driven music experience?

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