Monday, June 8, 2009

What's next?

So, now that I've let out my inner experimental Coltrane with "Saturation", where do I go from here? I'm going to pursue four threads:

--Big improvisation. Long-scale improvisations with massive amounts of overdubbage. At the moment, I've conceived of two ideas. The first is an atmospheric improvisation that has many layers but largely lays off the percussion. The second is a zillion layers of percussion with a focused guitar and bass in the top line. I'm not sure yet where this will go.

--Trio improvisation. Sort of like "Saturation", but my Modulus bass guitar gets to join the party. I could knock this out pretty quickly once I get my guitar sounds sorted out (see below).

--'70s blues/jazz/funk rock. Hendrix and Jimmy Page meet John Coltrane. This one will take awhile to happen, but I'm committed.

--'80s rock w/jazz influences. Big '80s hard rock bursting with melody and crunchy guitars, but not mid-scooped double-kick metal. I've been avoiding it for years, but the fact is that, musically speaking, I came of age in the '80s and can no longer deny it. Think Journey or Foreigner with jazz chords and minus the sappy vocals.

Have I committed myself to four albums? Not necessarily. These four threads could merge into a couple larger projects or fall apart entirely. I just wanted to let the readers know where I stand at the moment.

A note on my guitar sound. "Saturation" involves an extreme guitar sound that comes from my Axe FX preamp direct into the mixing board. I've tried the Axe Trak isolation speaker cabinet, and it sounded like ass. However, a company called Grendel Sound makes an isolation cabinet that seems like it might do what I need. I'm going to spend the $$$ to make it happen. If I could get the sound of a real guitar amp into a microphone, I'd be very happy. As an apartment dweller, this is difficult. Perhaps the Grendel Dead Room will do what I need. You'll find out soon. ;)

I'll be off to Bonnaroo next weekend. Don't know if I will post before then, but I'm sure that my experience at Bonnaroo will lead to many new musical insights that I'll be eager to share.

Peace out!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturation Time! And the blues, too.

Saturation album cover

Well, it's here. My newest album is finished and online for your listening amusement. You can check it out at my new BandCamp site. It's far from an easy listen, but I think anyone who likes Frank Zappa's guitar playing might be able to get into this.

BandCamp is just a great site for us musicianly types. I was able to upload all three of my albums in full and proper sound quality, and present them in a cohesive and artistically pleasing fashion. This doesn't render my SoundClick site entirely useless, however. I'm reserving BandCamp for completed album projects, while SoundClick will allow me to present oddball stuff and preview tracks before an album is completed. You can download music from my BandCamp site free of charge in both mp3 and FLAC format, which is full 100% original sound quality!

My last week has been quite busy musically. In addition to finishing up "Saturation," I acquired another Heritage Les Paul to go with my existing Heritage Black Beauty. The new one is a mellower sounding instrument, allowing me to get some Gary Moore-style warmth to go with the Black Beauty's metal craziness. Here's a pic of a portion of my guitar family, with my three Heritages up front, the new one on the left, and the Black Beauty in the middle:

Family shot 5-28-09

I'll get around to posting detailed pics and stories about all my guitars, eventually.

With my new bronze beauty and the Black Beauty, I recorded a new blues track to show off the sonic differences between the two guitars that otherwise look similar. Unfortunately, the sounds I used don't do a very good job of that. But I'm happy with the track anyway. It's called "Kalamazoo Blues," after the hometown of Heritage Guitars, which are made by former longtime employees of Gibson Guitars who stayed behind in the old factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan after Gibson moved its operations to Nashville. The Bronze Beauty is in the left channel, while the Black Beauty is screaming away in the right channel. Enjoy!