curious
Steam Powered Studio is an audio workshop in South-central PA,
featuring contributions from fine local artists.
Many of these projects have been funded by fine people like you!
Willie Marble is back, with Songs in the Key of Marble.

Willie Marble

Here's a track from the CD-

Cold Water
The Stray Birds
Borderland

The Borderland EP began as demos for Maya to take with her to Berklee. It grew into something special.

Listen to
Sparrows
It was a blast recording Britten's War Requiem as conducted by Simon Andrews.

Britten Requiem

Here's a highlight from the performance.

This started out when I got curious how many bands there were around here. Click the map below to see the amazing, growing list of locals.

local area

Then click through to visit their websites...
Studio Blog
He's a busy guy.

Jamie

Between live gigs and travels abroad Jamie O'Brien has begun a project here with an all-star crew.
She came here with a song in her heart. It took a while, but we pried it loose.

Linzi

Linzi wants to be
The Last Girl

I'm the guy with the hammer and tongs-

Jeff Coleman
Jeff Coleman

-trying to make stuff in the workshop.

Check me out on iTunes!
Mr. Bobby and I started posting songs to the internet back when being folkie wasn't cool.

Robert Bobby

It's Not the Heat
that's gettin' to me...
October 30, 2013

I'm getting that itch again. Time for a new look around here.
October 28, 2013

Halloween is almost here.

Stokers Halloween

After Kenny's memorial, me and a couple of Daves recorded this cover version of his song at the old studio.
October 22, 2013

Everyday, another product.

I was thinking what it would be like to eliminate everything made of plastic from my house. I suppose it would be possible.

And this naturally led me to thinking about products. If they are considered abstractly, without regard for what they are supposed to be used for, they are just like any other collectible thing.

Products are so ubiquitous that we hardly notice them- until they are gone. Can I buy a 6-pack of Colt 45 for instance? And every conceivable variation of a product can be collectable. And imagine the fun to be had with misprints!

Fortunately, all products are being carefully preserved in multiple locations around the world- buried and hidden away for future generations of collectors...

collect 'em all!

(later)

The production of Argan Oil supports some 2.2 million people, supposedly. Wow. Products have stuff in them that doesn't come from petroleum???
October 20, 2013

Many moons ago I bought an Alesis DM Pro electronic drum sampler for Steam Powered because having the studio in my basement meant that acoustic drums were mostly out of the question. I used to create drum tracks using low budget home-made triggers. I spent a lot of time cleaning them up.

In the new place I can record acoustic drums just about any time I want, but I still have that electronic drum sampler and it's still got great sounds, useful for a lot of different kinds of music. Today I got an electronic drum kit to drive it.

kit

After all these years, it's a treat!
October 17, 2013

papa

You've probably seen this by now. They've found several skulls at a dig in Georgia that seem to indicate that there were fewer variations among early humans that was suspected. It seems that people, like dogs, come in all shapes and sizes. And always have.

What I think is most interesting is that these skulls were discovered in caverns that collapsed, caverns that had been the homes of big predators. These remains, which are giving us a better idea of how we got here, were once humanoids, "people", who were killed and eaten by big cats.

Their lives came to tragic ends- no one could have imagined that they would enrich our lives. But maybe...

Maybe someone did imagine such a thing. Maybe someone who loved one of them imagined that their death was for some greater good somehow. Maybe they were right.
October 14, 2013

boom box

This is something I just found a use for. What the hell do you do with a sub harmonic synthesizer anyway? I'm thinking dance clubs, walls of 18" speakers, an electronic kick drum at 15 Hz...

But no, actually, I have a bunch of recordings, dubbed from cassette tape. The bass is there, but it's buried in noise, and so everything on the low end had to be chopped off. How can I make the bass guitar and the kick drum sound right? Why, the sub harmonic synthesizer, of course.

It takes stuff from a higher pitch and generates lower pitches from it. This could be a bad thing, but in this case, it's exactly what I needed to restore some bottom to this tape.

Future X Halloween

Future X was a band with Kenny Gross on guitar and vocals. Here they're doing a song he wrote about his experiences wearing a dress to a Halloween party. Classic Kenny.

Thanks to Dave Crossley for making and preserving this recording!
October 12, 2013

skull

Ya know, the scariest thing about death isn't actually death. Some people believe that it's not the end of themselves, and so for them it's a time to look forward to rebirth or eternal happiness. Some believe that death is final, and so what? We won't know or care- we'll be dead!

But no matter what you think about actual death, the scary part is not knowing where the line is. How will we know when we're dead? What if we sort of die, but sort of keep on going? Scary stories center on this aspect of death. Movies often feature people who are dead but don't know it. Sometimes they are the good guys, sometimes they are just zombies.

And then there are vampires, who cannot die and "complete the natural cycle". And ghosts, who seem to feel emotions but who are unable to release their grip on earth.

In reality, all these things are life's inventions, and they reveal our uncertainty about life and death. Death itself doesn't actually do anything. Death means being acted on, not acting. Interestingly enough, one thing all these scary "undead" creatures have in common is that they continue to act.

Scary "undead" things include non-human beings that seem to perform willful actions. Robots and monsters of all kinds. Do they have minds, intentions, thoughts? We can't know for certain, but we can imagine how they feel, and we give them feelings of rage, of hatred, and we do this because we can't imagine that "they" could be satisfied with having will or consciousness without being human.

The scariest thing about death isn't death- it's that we're not sure what being alive is. Maybe we're afraid that we will reach the end of our ride without finding out?
October 10, 2013

Added some of the recent studio work here on the homepage. Check out the audio segment from Britten's War Requiem for some thrills and chills...
October 09, 2013

Halloween night of 2007 I stuck a microphone out the third floor window of our house on Maple Ave in Lancaster and recorded the sounds of the trick or treaters. Our neighborhood was a popular trick-or-treat zone. People came in from all over town.

Here's a short segment from early that evening six years ago. It's amazingly busy, and it kept up like this for hours. You can hear handfulls of candy hitting sacks...
October 05, 2013

An Unexpected Treat!

wireless mixing

Here's me as Liv Pooleside, sound engineer, mixing a Curious Kin gig using one of them eye-pads.

Can you tell that I'm excited? It's a fantastic way to run a show! It was funny, because as I was walking around through the crowd to hear the PA from different places people must have thought that I was filming the band. They kept ducking out of the way!

I only wish that we had a chance to work out some of the details before start time. When it locked up half-way through, we couldn't be sure we could restart it without loosing all our settings, so we had to disable the remote and work the digital faders by hand. But it did lock up gracefully, and didn't play any tricks.

Sadly, this was the last CK gig- Dave needs to retire the band. Fortunately, there are recordings of the show...

October 04, 2013

carnival

Now as far as great soundtracks go, it's hard to beat Carnival of Souls. Most people will remember the creepy organ parts, but really, the folli work is pretty cool. When Mary is running, her footsteps are over-loud, and twice as fast as natural. Also, there's a strange rhythm to them- the sound is "footsteps", but not really. More like tribal drumming.

(doesn't he remind you of someone? David Lynch perhaps?)

The camerawork in this is fantastic. The image seen here is just one of the many effects in the movie. Made in three weeks, they say. Click the pic to watch it, and try to stay out of the water!

October 02, 2013

Years ago I posted a field recording up on Free Sound. I used to drive past this little factory in Lancaster, the National Novelty Brush Co., and in the summertime, when they had the windows open, you could hear all the machines in there making stuff. I love the syncopated sounds machinery makes, and the ambience of concrete and glass, and one night I recorded it from my car parked outside on the street.

Someone else loved it too, and used it as an intro to their song.

torture of hypocracy

Used it for my metal band's new single. Your authorship is mentioned on all our pages in track infos. Thank you for this perfect sound!Cheers!

I wonder what they make in there, at the National Novelty Brush Co.?
October 01, 2013

October. Soon time for the grave digger's ball
Joe Ellis

Without a doubt, Joe Ellis has provided some of our most rewarding moments.

And we just
Slough it Off.

Who are these loonies anyway?

Woggi Noggi

Why, it's those cute lil' Woggi Noggi girls!

Find out why
Goats are Great!

Summer Thieves

I see the boys of Summer Thieves in their ruin. (that's poetry, you kneau)

Here's their song
You Can't Lie.

There's memes for everything that wingers love.
Eagles.
Wars.
end gun violence

I made some to post if you're not crazy about guns.
and also...
Mission Statement:

Only pretentious asshats post mission statements on their websites. Be that as it may, I do have a mission here, and that is to discover if there's a better way to make a living making music than by selling little round pieces of plastic. Or charging big money for recording.

I'm looking for a bunch of small-scale sponsors willing to support my work as a musician, singer/songwriter and recording engineer, work that often includes recording up and coming artists for free.

If you like what you hear, and want to keep me going in the future, please sponsor the studio. It's that simple.
I got on a kick of making videos for a while. Here's one now-

Jeff Coleman
Save to Serve Her

It's a song about drinking...

...from a bitter cup.
Jeff Coleman
48 eagles

This is one of my art pieces. Heh.

But seriously, ever notice how may eagle n' flag things there are?

It's an entire industry unto itself I bet.
There really is a history to this website. It started out with mp3.com, then moved to onlinerock before I figured out how to just rent my own space.

archives
Archives
One of Lancaster county's first punk/new wave bands
the Blame
the Blame had a good run back in the last century. Here's some of that for those who remember...

The Kids are Alright (live)
For Hire:
Yes, the studio is for hire. We will record your song, your CD, your steam whistle or your grandmother. Rates on request, generally vary reasonably.

Room and Equipment:
1,000 sq ft open space with way too many guitar amps and old keyboards, some drums and percussion, some interesting mics, a comfy couch.

Vibe:
It's all about relaxing and making good music. I sweat the tech stuff so you don't have to. We can get just about any kind of session player you need.

address
These gentlemen have recorded here-

The Gadjo Playboys
The Gadjo Playboys

We've done about 2 1/2 CDs worth of stuff.

Some of it is still unreleased!
Jenny's Diner
Jen and Charlie

Jen Starsinic went on to collect a songwriting award the year we recorded this.

Birdy in a Cage

Charlie Muench went on to join the Stray Birds.
Craig Wise is one of those good old boys.
He brought a lot of his friends in here.

Craig Wise

And they're

Still Makin' Sunshine
archives

All the Marbles was the first Willie Marble CD.

Commit a Crime

We sure had some good times down in the basement working on this one.

There was a bunch of kids making interesting music...

Old Time Liberation Front
The Old Time Liberation Front

Feeder Mice Jig

Most of them still are...

Kenny was one hell of a songwriter. Back in Paradise, way last century, I managed to get a few of his songs recorded.

The Taking

Kenny Gross
Kenny Gross

A lot of music gets made here by a mixed crew known as-

The Stokers
The Stokers

You never know what to expect!

The Wreck of the Frisco Pier
Dark 30
This band had a good run, and made some good recordings in my tiny studio in Paradise.

Toward the Light

Listen to Bob and that Funky Snakefoot hook into the bottom!
the Sporting Hill Ramblers

I feel privileged to be a member of the Sporting Hill Ramblers, purveyers of fine
Irishacanna

News and schedule at the link.
Night Wolf
Night Wolf

He's gone on to the other shore, but he left a couple of songs with us.

Walkin' Blues

Young Fashioned Ways

A guy came in with a couple of old reel-to-reel tapes his dad made in the '70's.
Ron Cook
Ronnie Cook

Dad played a 5 string electric fiddle. One of the tapes was a make-believe radio show.
Dave Francis has had some awesome jam sessions at his place. I recorded the Honeycut Brothers (and others) live.
9 lb Hammer

Foggy Mt. Breakdown

Stable Jam
Stable Jam

Olds Sleeper

Olds Sleeper has created a whole lot of good music in the wee small hours. I got to work with him on a few tunes at my old place.

Olds #3

Me and Ben recorded Blind Joe Death in a round building at a scout camp.

live at the round house

You Got to Love Somebody

Made a pretty good CD-
Live at the Roundhouse
Old Ezra Shade gets in here every so often.

Ezra Shade
Ezra

Here's a little something seasonal...

Christmas Time
Dr Mo
Dr. Mo

We have stuff here going back years...

Junko Partner

...and new stuff in the works.
One of his recent songs has been animated by Brian McCall.