A collection of half baked electronically tinged alt-folk tracks. The culmination of months locked away from the world during the 2021 pandemic. Download from https://cowtonguetacorecords.bandcamp.com/album/ep-1
I got a new music production device today, and put this track together to test it out. A work in progress.
Music: ease and desist – mad dog
When it comes to making music, I’ve tended to avoid using too many samples – preferring to create the constituent parts of any track with my own hardware. Over time though, that has changed, and in the middle of 2019 I decided to try working on some completely different styles of music than I would usually.
One thing led to the next, and before long I had a track which was crying out for someone to rap over it. I took to the Internet, and found Maya Miko, who came up with awesome vocals, based on my ideas. The video for that track is below.
Throughout 2020 this pattern continued, and I found myself with a bunch of tracks coalescing around the same kind of musical theme. I tried collaborating with a few different vocalists, but in the end, always ended up going with Maya’s takes.
MAD DOG 2020 is the culmination of this experiment, resulting in a six track EP. It took over a year to put together, and mixing/mastering this was a particular challenge, as adjusting for a totally different genre to what I usually work with was tougher than expected.
The EP is up on Spotify to stream (under the ‘ease and desist’ moniker), and also available for download on the Cow Tongue Taco Records page:
Bacon Bacon Sizzle Sizzle
Another productive Friday evening in lockdown. Singing about bacon through a vocoder.
Making Music with Test Equipment
Recently I embarked on an experimentation with old audio test equipment, Specifcally, these devices used in labs and by engineers to diagnose problems with amplifiers, radios, and telephone lines. Err, I think. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what they were designed for, as I was no good at physics.
Either way, they look cool, and I’ve been interested in exploring some of the possibilities for a while, but didn’t know where to begin. However, I came across this guy called Hainbach on YouTube, who has put together an awesome guide that helped give me the push to dive in. I picked up a few different pieces for cheap on eBay, and began playing about with them to see what I could do. I mostly got a hold of audio signal generators, which are essentially what gives synthesizers their voice. The extent to which you can control them differs from instruments, but I was able to get some amazing sounds out of them.
I put together the track below with a single one of these devices, controlled by my Eurorack to some extent. Unlike a lot of my other music, there’s very few effects on here, and very few layers; the sounds of the test equipment stand on their own. Pretty much everything you hear (minus drums) is from the Feedback Function Generator. I love that I can get a really incredible ratchety bass sound out of this, jumping down from nice and melodic to aggressive. Perhaps I’m imagining it, but I haven’t been able to get that kind of usable range from any of my other equipment. Either way, there’s something deeply satisfying about making music with aging bits of technology that were never intended to be used this way – it sparks the creative process in a different way.
At some point I’ll go through and write a bit more about this stuff in detail, but for now, I put together this video with my initial faffing about:
New Music: you really think the rain will stop me?
Another track that I’ve been working on over the past few days, to wave goodbye to the year that was. A glitchy festival of AY3, SID, and other pish.
New Music: bomb the hospitals
A new tune I’ve been working on. Dark and glitchy. Melodies from 2x Game Boy DMGs.
New Music: Fame from Lockdown
Saturday nights in lockdown result in electronica.
New Music: slowly boiled frogs
It’s been a while.
Hog Wild EP
Back in November, Lee came to stay with me for a week or so while he was looking for a new flat. We decided to make the most of the time by collaborating on a new side project.
In between making food, walking the dog, and working from home, we took turns writing and recording parts of what turned out to be a five track EP. Lee focussed on the drums, guitar, and bass, while I added the vocals and electronic parts. Both of us helped shape the structure and feel of the tracks, and Lee did some kind of production wizardry to make it all sound fantastic.
Gear wise we had a pretty simple setup, despite what the pictures below suggest. Lee had a basic audio interface for the instruments, I used a cheapy Behringer condenser mic for the vocals, and the synthy parts were almost all based on a single Eurorack voice (utilising a C64 SID chip). Listening back, it’s pretty crazy to think that the songs can sound so huge when they were literally all recorded between my kitchen and living room.
One of the coolest bits about the project for me was the collaborative part though. It’s easy to get stuck when you are working alone. Here though, whenever we hit a block, we would just pass what we had on to the other person. More often that not, they would hear the potential in what we thought sounded crap, which helped push the process along. A healthy way to produce, and truly collaborative rather than combative.
Here is the result:
Artwork by the fantastic Ghostvoices / Jake Brown.
You can download the EP for free over on the Cow Tongue Taco Records label page. It will be available to stream on Spotify etc from the end of the month, and there will also be a limited cassette tape version available too.