Kalimba & water bottle.
More experiments with AudioMulch.
Above is some ukulele improvisation drowned in reverb in one channel and run through a granulator in the other. A granulator pretty much smashes the incoming audio signal into tiny pieces milliseconds in duration (the grains) & spits all the pieces out in semi-random order, pitch, & volume. Enjoy.
I’ve always wanted to mess around with live audio processing computer programs as opposed to just linking tons of effect pedals to a mic. I think I found an ideal program in AudioMulch. The user-friendly interface acts a lot like physical effect pedals—you drag connection between effects and audio out like you would with actual patch cords between pedals and amps.
I had some fun with this, but it’s kind of a long story:
I came across that hilarious (& beautiful) 800% slowed-down Justin Bieber track & went through one of my brief internet obessions where I get intensely fixated on one thing for a little while. Anyway, listened to that epic, subversive track & knew I had to play around with super stretched music. A quick, free download of Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch (link to download) & I was on my way to elongated epic sonic bliss!
The above track is actually this track (well, just the second half because the whole file was too big for Tumblr to upload) super-stretched! It’s like instant post-rock! It’s weird that it’s still me playing; no added effects or programmed sounds, just ukulele & melodica stretched beyond all natural means. Enjoy!
Update: Something’s wrong with the play-counter & the notes on this post. For some reason it’s not updating…Tumblr’s weird like that sometimes.
Via Scott Hughes:
Here are the rules:
1) Pick a few notes. I did 4.
2) Improvise until you’re sick of them.
3) Change one of the notes.
4) Lather, rinse, repeat. I think I went through about 5 or 6 iterations. Do it!
This was crazy fun! I may have cheated at one point, but rules are made to be broken—especially musical ones. This little improv game is a great exercise & I’ll be trying it out on my guitar & uke for sure. Fantastic idea. I tried to stick to 3 notes at a time.
Here’s a random track. I wanted to play with a ukulele drone, so I recorded a short little two note thing, chopped it up, rearranged the pieces, reversed it, did some other stuff to it, then just played melodica over it.
I like the feel of it, even with its roughness. I’ve been recording through a webcam mic lately—it’s just so convenient, even though I know I’ll get a better sound through my Samson Go Mic. Oh well, laziness wins.
p.s. 100th post!
"Free Uke," loosely inspired by Derek Bailey & my mood right now. Recorded through a webcam’s mic.
Blue Bossa (sheet music) was one of the first jazz songs I ever learned when I started playing guitar. It’s a classic & a standard & for a little while I found it boring. Playing it on the ukulele, however, gave me an entirely new perspective on the song & renewed my appreciation for it.
I recorded this video years ago on an Amtrak train from Boston to New York & pretty much forgot about it. Then, the other week, I was playing around with one of my Kalimbas & a delay pedal & I immediately thought of this clip. After much hard-drive searching I found the clip, recorded a little piece I felt went along with it & buh-dow! Here it is for your enjoyment.
For the tech/gear minded: Small wooden Kalimba with a contact microphone rubber-banded to it, fed through an Ibanez DE7 Delay/Echo effect pedal into a Tech 21 Trademark 10 guitar amp recorded to Audacity using the Samson Go Mic. The pitch-shifty sounds are the result of changing the delay time dial on the pedal while playing. It sounds like much more than it is.
In an ideal world this would be playing on an infinite loop somewhere…probably my head.
Above is a ukulele & percussion cover of the Sun Ra song ‘Along the Tiber’ from the album Other Voices, Other Blues (review). I had a lot of fun with this one. To get a bigger sound I pitched down my uke a couple of octaves in Audacity and stuck it below the melody & harmony—so it kind of acts like a bass. The gong sound in the beginning and at the end of the percussion break is actually a big metal mixing bowl from my kitchen.
This file was also my submission to the Sun Ra project previously mentioned here. I’m not entirely sure if &/or how my submission was used, but no matter; here it is now.
The triangle sounding thing is actually a brass incense burner I got years ago at the Little Five Points landmark Junkman’s Daughter in Atlanta.
I think one day I’ll get back to it & finish it up, but for now enjoy the little bit I have so far. I like how it’s coming out (I’m still learning my way around a melodica; my childhood piano lessons are coming in quite handy).
As always, feedback appreciated.
When I was home over the Memorial Day weekend I found an old cassette tape with an interview with my grandfather on it that my older brother made for a high school biography project. His stories were endlessly fascinating, but the most striking part is his description of walking around Nagasaki after the bomb hit, which is excerpted above.
It’s crazy to hear so many stories I’ve never heard before. It was also nice to hear my grandfather’s voice—I was pretty young when he died.
This one’s called “Interlude” and is—you guessed it—an interlude. It’s pretty raw, a little noisy, but I dig it. It’s ukulele, beatbox, triangle, and shakers.
It’s called Interlude because I made it as a break from working on a ukulele & melodica version of MGMT’s “Time to Pretend,”* which is still in the works but will hopefully be going up here sometime next week.
*I’m not really a fan of MGMT or really any of that indie-pop stuff that’s huge now, but I find the song catchy & I like to cover pop songs on the uke. That’s it.