Subject: Re: Morning buddy

Scott found the email where I first pitched resuming h&s and working on what became V for Voice. The Mars Lights EP mentioned is Only Bang Is Bang. Here’s the email exchange.

On Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 9:38 AM, howie wrote:

Just checking in. How’s school / home?

I’ve been on a writing kick… picking away at demos for the next Sally Ride joint and Sneaky Sneaky Snakes… had a wild hair to listen to the set of demos I’ve kind of set aside for us this morning, and they’re sounding pretty good to me. They’re mostly instrumental, a few have vocal concepts laid down but not lyrics or anything.

IDK, I guess – what’s your capacity for a full-on collaboration, with no deadline? We’d figure out arrangements and instrumentation together. I’m imagining you’d bring everything you’ve got – sax, percussion, Sleepover-style key leads and textures, your Hush/mr|ten-style key textures – I’ll bring everything I’ve ever done, and we’ll slowly pick away at a spacy, jazzy, art-rock record.

I think I’ve mentioned it in the abstract to you before, but for some reason this morning it’s all just seeming more real and possible. I’m realizing that the demos won’t be as hard to finish as I might have thought, given my success writing some other stuff and figuring out a more regular writing process. And maybe with your new job and settling in to it, you have an idea of how interested you are. And I mean, this will probably take a couple or three years, and I’m OK with that, I’m just excited about the end product. For us and the people who care, I think we have an incredibly cool record in us.

Everything’s alright here, work’s fine, CA got a new job at KU about a month ago so she’s commuting (sort of bummer) but she loves the job (awesome). Mars Lights mixes our new EP at a pro studio here in town on Sunday (we recorded at home).


On Nov 5, 2014 at 9:05 PM, Scott wrote:

a RESOUNDING YES to all sentences stated above. I am super pumped about this idea, and would really enjoy the project. I look forward to more ideas/brainstorms/music etc.!!! hope to catch up soon! -SM

h&s 8/3 Lawrence and 8/9 Crete show details

3 August 2019, Saturday – Lawrence, KS – howie&scott at Kaw Valley Public House with Wild Eye. No cover, 7:30 PM (Wild Eye) / 8:30 PM (h&s), no age restriction but someone in your party should be of age to buy drinks probably out of respect for KVPH’s hosting hospitality!

9 August 2019, Saturday – Crete, NE – howie&scott at The Brew House. No cover, two sets (7:30 & 8:30), all ages. FB event page.

Pitchfork On A Roll

Several well-written reviews and features in Pitchfork lately, including those on Rema, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Sigur Ros, Shellac, and Ray Charles, have me realizing that the site is on something of a hot streak.

I’ve read the site for close to twenty years, and watched it work through phases of zine-like underground discovery and critique, breathless mid-aughts NYC-centrism (remember when Cults were going to be huge?), and overly woke poptimism.

The recent standout pieces – and there are many more – evidence a willingness and secure vulnerability to take all music on its own terms and talk about what’s great, and isn’t, about it. The poptimist revolution is complete, the old hierarchies and canons have been dispersed*, and we got the good version of the poptimist future; the one that circles back and includes the best of the old favorites and finds new gems that had been overlooked in previous critical structures.

(For another blog; perhaps this is only possible after music’s cultural influence recedes, lifting the weight off of opinions about it)

* Narrowly within music criticism, I mean. Political and social hierarchies remain, and Pitchfork isn’t immune from reflecting them

Long story short I’m loving some Ray Charles this morning, because of Pitchfork.

MR|signal re-launch

We have re-launched MR|signal, our reverse-chronological label-plus-extras compilation, on Bandcamp.

Like the weather on the great plains, if you don’t like what you’re hearing just wait five minutes.

As of today I’ve gone about halfway back to the start of all this music; the other half is coming later this summer, and I’ll throw on some of the really old h&s and Shacker pre-MFR stuff in the spirit of those extras (I’m enjoying having “Be Still” and Five Star Crush represented in this version of the comp).

Because people ask, what I’ve contributed to each song is below the fold:

Continue reading MR|signal re-launch

New Synth Rig

I impulse-bought a drum machine (far left in the picture) and set up a new synth recording rig to do some rhythm-focused pieces. It’s an Arturia DrumBrute Impact and I’m very happy with it, especially with the unquantized sequencing and randomization features.

Some of the ideas I’ll be working on are little polyrhythms I’ve written down over the years from tapping on my knees and whatnot. Others will be exploring the extremes of the settings of the DrumBrute, or whatever patch ideas occur to me. The MS-20 is there and patched up to just add a bit of pitched sound, mostly blips and bloops and sweeps more than Western scale-type stuff.

This will end up being the next-but-6th or something Night Mode record. We have a wild amount of stuff stacked up. Roughly:

  • Trio record “Load Exceedance” out this fall, with 2 alternate takes
  • Drew’s 2nd solo effort “Gentleman Scientist” out this fall
  • My 2nd solo effort “Your Pain Matters” with the Come In Alone / Stuck On You single, aiming for February 2020
  • Three collaboration records exploring the different possible duos among our trio; Howie-Damon (90% done, very drone-y), Damon-Drew (various options here, Damon’s sent Drew a couple different things to overdub on I think), Drew-Howie (double LP recorded live over the past couple months)
  • Who knows what the other guys will have ready by this point – likely 2021 – but I have two more *already* 90% in the can, “Working Bears or Barely Working” and “Only Mostly Dead”
  • Yikes! Making synth records is super fun