Tag Archive for 'Betatron'

Great Barrington + Betatron = Great Barringtron?

Last weekend David Riposo and his friend Ben from Boston, came down to my living room to organize some sound. We are calling this project, “Great Barringtron.”

The setup was simple in our heads, but actually turned out to be much more complicated. Three mixers. A bunch of room mics and drum mics. Headphone amps. Click tracks. Foot pedals. Midi cables. 9v batteries. Roland synths. Mini-kit. Casio synths. The fun goes on.

There were cables everywhere and I got to play to a click via the start of a long long midi chain. I was the midi-master. Woo! At times you can hear me trying to get back in the grove of things. It’s kinda amusing to me.

I was going to go down a list of all the gear we used. But that would take away a lot of the fun of the experiment. I hope you enjoy the songs. FYI, David should be in the left channel. Ben in the right. And I am somewhere centered in the mix as not to draw much attention to. The entire sessions could be broken down in to three movements. Mercury. Gemini. And Apollo.

Mercury Sessions:

  • Freedom 7

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Definitely the most danceable cut of the sessions. Notice the slap-back delay on the snare. It took way too long to achieve this with our rigged up pseudo way we tried to “multi-track” this. Listen around 7:00. You can hear David yelling out a “wooo woooo!” Classic.

  • Liberty Bell 7

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    My delay was channeled through an aux send/return. And somehow the gain got pushed to the top. And all hell broke loose. Mainly what you are hearing are the drums completely over-driven. You can hear me yelp when I slapped my finger with a stick at around 0:40. Not too much else going on here.

  • Friendship 7

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Slow the tempo down. Ben said it sounded like a march. I thought it sounded more like a Latin beat. Ben comes up with some of the greatest bass lines ever. And David does the best space blaster sounds of anyone I know.

  • Aurora 7

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Some serious ring modulations going on. Love the “woooo!” at the fade in of the track. Somehow I doubt any of this song was synced at all, but I think it played off ok with the crunked out distortions. There are some hits I really thought we got tight in. Then there are some where it virtually falls apart. The part at 1:29 is seriously one of my favorite parts of the night. Snare ring and 16th notes on the hihats and all. Towards the end you can hear my synth for the first time. It sounds like feedback. David is doing this crazy fast rhythm, which I assume is looped.

  • Sigma 7

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    A droned out cut with my feedback taking the lead at times. I never realized how loud this was going to be in the mix. I really only wanted it to be buried, at most. Mellows out halfway through and reminds me of Deneb from MONSIII. Strangely Ben had not heard that cut until the day after recording this. I really think this section could go somewhere in the future. My chops can be heard as lacking. I am out of practice. But this is a great end to the first section.

Gemini:

So what’s funny or frustrating (you pick) about this session was that we readjusted the levels of my synths because we thought no one could hear them at all. Turns out in the end by turning up my synths a bit everything else was buried. Not our intention, in fact it’s quite embarrassing at times, but most of the Gemini sessions are virtually all my synths with minimal back up from Ben or David. You can hear their stuff from time to time on headphones. There really isn’t one session here that stands out for me. 12 are pretty similar with the arpeggiations kicking my ass and talking like robots talk. 3 starts as a drone and I lay off the synths for a bit so, in turn, David and Ben can be heard. I struggled through the drums in this cut tremendously. Playing slow is a huge challenge for me. Especially once the click failed. David has this sick guitar part, that can barely be heard. The neighbors jammed out to it though. 45 are more Mat Gone Wild. Good stuff to go to sleep to.

Apollo:

  • Apollo 1

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    These sessions were to be a recreation of the Gemini sessions. They ended up having a theme of their own. Mainly Ben and David. I don’t believe I am heard at all in this sessions. I might have been knocking over drum mics at this point.

  • Apollo 2

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Definitely eerie. The strings are really morose.

  • Apollo 3

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Again, slow slow slow. A challenge. Cathedral ‘verbs make us all happy. I wish my living room sounded like this. David got his guitar up in the mix with his sick ‘verb as well. It’s lush. It’s amazing. It ended up sounding like that Portishead spy theme b-side mixed with a little Angelo Badalamenti. A real gem, if I may say so myself.

Feel free to share this and spread it like jelly. I have encoded this @ 192kbps in the MP3 format. I thought about encoding in the AAC format @ 160kbps but I thought that would leave too many people out. So enjoy it.

The Sometimes Sad Life Of A Recordist

So three things are going on in my head, in no particular order…

#1 – I am burned out from playing in rock bands. It’s now 2005. I started playing drums somewhere around 1991. That puts in about 14 years of drumming mainly in what people would describe as rock music. That’s not to say I didn’t ever play other styles and actually a lot of college was spent not playing rock music. But still it’s a long time. Especially in my thought process. I think I need a break or at least need to slow down. I need to recharge my rock juices. And I don’t know how long it will take but I am slightly optimistic… And I need to be if I am ever going to take The Bakesale in to the studio. Spring 2006!

So in order to accomplish this I bring you to my 2nd grand idea…

#2 – I really need to start recording and playing my own music again. The river dried up and that’s not a good thing. I honestly haven’t recorded since say 2003. And really I finished most of the production for MONSIII during 2001. Playing other people’s music is fun, but only fulfills to a slight degree. I had a seriously in-depth (for us) conversation with David R. this weekend after gathering food at the Farmer’s Market and having a grand breakfast over Alice Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness. We touched on composition and creation and finding sounds. What what they mean and context. I always thought Daniel was my music life partner and I guess he still sorta is on one level, but David really hits it home with me. Definitely on a different level. So we decided to extend a project we had started working on a year or so ago called Betatron. This new project of mine already has a name and will mainly focus on found sounds and field recordings of usually general everyday sounds that people hear but don’t necessarily listen to. And I can record simply on my way to work! Or where ever it takes me. They will be mainly stereo recordings made my an X/Y pattern and perhaps an M/S pattern, if I can get my M/S mic I built working again. Damn Paia. We’ll also intersperse our own compositions on top and layer quite a bit. But not to give it all away… Yeah, a little more high-concept than I am used to working with, but I really like the idea…

And lastly…

#3 – And kinda most importantly, my recording studio needs to be rebuilt. Like, for real. It’s my home away from home that’s really in my basement. Plus it makes money. This needs to happen so I can begin to start thinking about quitting my day job and working from home doing what I feel I do best and love the most in life. #3 is very important to my well-being!

Ok… Signing off…

A Betatron Is Used To Accelerate Beta Particles

A year or two ago I posted a message on Craig’s List looking for musician(s) to play new and interesting music that fused organic and electronic music. There were a handful of people that responded. Mainly nondescript musicians who were simply looking for a drummer to fill a void in their rock band. I wasn’t interested.

One guy who responded completely stood out. He listened to a lot of the same music I listened to. He also listened to a ton of music I had never hear of before. I apprehensively asked him to come by to play with me. We were both pretty timid as neither of us had done the online music dating thing before. Things actually worked out and after a few practices in the basement we had something going. To this day it’s been one of my favorite projects I’ve ever been involved with. Musically, creatively, sonicaly and emotionally.

We recorded pretty much most of every rehearsal we had. We, being David and I, dubbed this collective project, Betatron. And I’d like to offer up a few of my favorites.

  1. Cyclotron of Louvain la Neuve

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    This was completely live. David on synths and guitar. I played the Casio SK1 and the drum machine run through a ring modulator. Pretty ambient. And it was just the way our improvisation was intended to come through.

  2. Grand_Accelerateur National d’Ions Lourds

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    This was actually lined up with the song right before, but we split it up. And added a ton of reverb in post-production. The David’s guitar still haunts me and for some reason saddens me. I think the drum machine was going, but then David started doing this mantra that propelled me to the kit. And I remember there wasn’t even a mic on the kit. I took the mic that was on the amp for the drum machine and placed it in front of the kit. I was lucky it worked where it did. One mic is sometimes all you need.

  3. Aarhus Storage Ring in Denmark

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    With sadness always brings hope. This song always reminded me of what it would feel like to be in the eye of a tornado. David on guitar run through this crazy reverb box of his that could produce minutes of reverb. Yes minutes. And you can hear it here. The verbed sounds in the background was simply his guitar blended with a Casio keyboard. I love how there is no attack. You can hear the more appegiated guitar part he was playing toward the end. I think my favorite part is where the drums kick in half-time about middle-way through around 3.30.

  4. Amplitude Evaluation

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    At some point we added a bassist. I am not honestly sure why. Perhaps it was the next logical step. Gordon was first, but regretfully never made it on to a recording. Here is one of the few times we played with Chris. He really added another element but completely changed the band. And it definitely turned in to a band in this instance. This song was really long, but we really gelled. There are parts that reminded me of early Sonic Youth.

  5. Potassium Iodide

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Perhaps the only song that actually had overdubs. The overdub being the bass that David layed down one rainy night in Takoma. Actually, come to think of it, this was also the only song we wrote. Everything else was completely improvised. Again, another song of hope. The drums were actually played live all the way through the intro, but I felt it took away from the beautiful verbed out circuit bent casio keyboard. The drums eventually come in as a rather slow fade a few minutes later and add some bombast. It was David’s idea for the syncopated delay on the drums at the end. It worked out nicely. I really love this song. It was a hit, at least in my head.

  6. Single Pole

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


    Another song with me on a rhythm box with a ring modulator. I also played my Roland Jupiter 6. David on the circuit bened Casio. I always thought that ring modulators sounded like electronic sympathetic vibrations. And I guess in reality, that is sort of the principles involved. Sort of. I think this song was recorded out of sequence with Cyclotron. This was the material that really got us started.

We only played for a few months in the old house down 2nd Street. I wish there was more time to play more right now. However, once the studio is done we’ll be able to get in there and make the noises we both love to make. Just David and Me. Just Betatron. It will happen again!