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August 27, 2011

Morley Volume Wah

I play the organ. Frequently. And one thing about "real" organs is something they call the expression pedal.

Most of us would call this a volume pedal, and many guitar players would ask "What would you use that for? Just crank it!" But the expression pedal is very important, because the notes on an organ are either on or off- full volume, or none. This is not very musical, and so every real organ has an expression pedal.

Hammond organs, for instance. The old ones have really smooth optical volume pedals, which, unlike cheaper pedals which use potentiometers, don't make scratchy noises or change the tone. Farfisa organs have something similar. These are both analog instruments, but when synthesizers came along, they never included volume pedals. Seems like everyone decided thay weren't needed or something. Well, you end up playing with one hand working the volume control, which is not very handy.

Ever since I started playing synthesizers I've wanted one of these smooth, optical Morley volume pedals. They used to be favored by pedal steel players as well- again, to get those swoopy swells from another instrument that basically has so much sustain that it's either fully on or off. I finally got this one, used, and it's a blast to play with. Bonus- it has a wah-wah switch, so not only can I have more fun with my organ, I can recreate classic triple X movie soundtrack guitar noises!

August 24, 2011

Sporting Hill Ramblers

There is a Doug and Dave show tonight at McCleary's.

August 21, 2011

People. The president is an employee of the state. As such, he will deliver the message that the state requires.
He's no Reagan, but then, Reagan was a professional.
Now, if you sponsor Steam Powered Studio, you will be striking a small blow against the Empire. It's entirely up to you...

August 19, 2011


Studio mojo?


It's obviously the result of the newly installed retroencabulator
Here's the original, I understand... the turboencabulator
A virtual version.

August 11, 2011



This is a 38 year old guitar. Made of pear wood, supposedly. Seems to glow...

August 09, 2011

I was thinking about how I like studio videos and movies, and how somebody ought to make a list, and so I sort of started looking to see what was out there.

First up in this search was Weird Al.
weird al

Here's a funny man at work. Lots of clips about things that really happen in a studio. It's work that might be fun!

Next is The Strokes in the studio. It's almost painful to watch, but it's an honest statement too.

Next, Busta and Timbo messin' around, and Busta discovers a sweet beat that Timbaland has on his synth. That's why he the master.

Fun to watch how smooth Timbo is. He jokes around, but he's dead serious about getting work done.

These Artic Monkeys actually say schtudio. They are brits, yeah. Serious about what they're doing.
artic monkeys

Speaking of brits, here's some classic brit rock gold. The Pink Floyd, and despite the production, much of it seems like real moments.


August 08, 2011

Another night of song. The first one, Living Through the Great Decline, is dark, and has a strange rhyme scheme which is going to take some work. But it may be close to finished, lyrically- if three verses is enough. It wants to be sort of electronic, sort of thick. I've got a recording of a dryer running that might form the basis for a rhythm.
After that some lines came along that rolled right out. Also pretty dark. I need to work on the delivery, but here's the first (best) attempt.

No Reason.mp3

Reason takes you on a road trip
And leaves you out by the roadside
And peels off screamin' Asshole!
On a dark and rainy night
And there you are, all alone in the woods
No reason, nothin'

Beauty has her way with you
She lets you in and she makes you shine
The impossible is possible
And every fairy tale comes true!
'Till one day when she hands you back your skin
The empty shell of your own skin

Well I do believe, I do believe
What I believe is to believe

Well, there's nothin' in gods, nothin in devils
There's no paradise on high
They're just convenient stories sold
To make you do what you been told
And if you like that I can make one up for you right now

'bout how tha Lord made the waters stand up on the mountains
And the stars spell out his name!
And all the animals gambled
And the moth turned into flame!
And man's savior is coming, any day, any day, any day...

Well I do believe, I do believe
What I believe is to believe
Well I do believe, I do believe
What I believe is to believe

August 07, 2011

alex 1979

I love studio videos/films. There's some good stuff from Wilco, and from Nilsson, and here's one from Alex Chilton making Like Flies on Sherbert. Sweet.


I didn't feel much like writing anything today, or doing much of anything, but that darn Alex Chilton seemed to be having so much fun there in that studio, playing electric guitar with his foot and whatnot, that I just got inspired to see what I could do.

Flew the Coop
"Indian" Love Song
Over and Over
Thinking of Brazil
On the Banks of the Northern River (?)
Come On Now
A Little Place in Memphis
Up On the Hill
You Can Make Me Love You

Of these, Brazil is complete for the most part, Memphis nearly so, as are Come On Now and Up on the Hill, but those two and You Can Make Me Love You are the kind of uncomplicated rock and roll songs that write themselves, pretty much. Still a lot of fun!

August 05, 2011

Bad economy. There are bargains to be had. Like this voice changer thingie...

vox horn

Boy. Kid. Robot.

Borders had some CD's on sale. I bought a bunch, and some books also.

John Coltrane Blue Train
Emmylou Harris Luxury Liner
Gorillaz Gorillaz
Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um
My Morning Jacket Circuital
Eddie Vedder Ukulele Songs
Sufjan Stevens The Age of Adz
Emmylou Harris Hard Bargain
Various Alan Lomax in Haiti
Alison Krauss and Union Station Paper Airplane
Paul Simon So Beautiful or So What
London Symphony Orchestra- New York Philharmonic The Rite of Spring The Firebird Suite
The Stanley Brothers An Evening Long Ago
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brahms Double Concerto
The Mahavishnu Orchestra The Inner Mounting Flame

David Foster Wallace The Broom of the System
Alex Ross The Rest Is Noise

That's a lot of culture for $178.00. Mostly I bought them based on the (probable) sound on the disks, rather than anything like how recent or cool they are. So far nothing has been disappointing- and Paul Simon can still make good records. The Mingus is my favorite I think.

Meanwhile, yes, I'm still making up songs and stuff...

August 04, 2011

That's funny- I find out that these guys have a website because of people coming here from their linkz...

Jen and Charlie

What a great picture! We had a lot of fun recording. Miss it.

August 03, 2011

Working titles:

Please Tell Me Now (Big Star)
I'll Show You
I Believe
Dark Guitar II
Over the Line
Never Understood

Fewer in number, but more complicated progressions...

(this morning...)
Spider on a Windowsill (not actually about spiders...)
Couldn't Be 'Cause Of You (reads both ways)

(still later) well, I didn't write a bunch of songs tonight, but I did write one song and spent the rest of the night recording it. I am not a good player- everything was difficult and it could all be better someday, but as far as the writing went, it was so easy... took all of 10 minutes. That's how this streak is running.

So here is Horst Oxenbinder and his Oxen Drivers doing their song from 1966-

Hurry Home and Hurt Me

It's an MP3 by Midnight production...

August 02, 2011

The writing streak continued last night. Working titles:

Conversations You Can't Hear (Dylan version)
Look Out Kid (hey, speaking of Dylan...)
Can Ya?
Up All Night
Rattle My Cage
Prog Roc guitar #1
In the Night
Prog Roc Guitar #2
Time for Something
Morning Glory

Nothing finished, mostly sketches to work from, scraps of melody, a few words, a progression... but all of these ideas rolled out in about three hours. I am grateful. I don't normally get this much in a year.

featured song
Featured Song


rants 'n repairs