Vistalite is Vista-Live

Forgive the photo quality; I played in the poorly-lit garage out of deference to our neighbors.

We don’t have a Dark Satellites show booked, but when we do, EDIT: The next Dark Satellites show is Thursday, July 20, in KC at minibar and I’ll be bringing this guy – a three-piece Ludwig Vistalite in smoke – and I’ll be a lot louder.

The snare is a stand-in Slingerland marching snare (not the one I’ve been using live.  I did use this one recording Ventura); Matt’s working on some custom hardware that will let me use the middle Vistalite tom as a snare.

The garage is reflective as all get-out of course, so while it sounds good I want to play it out before I make decisions about a resonant kick head, second cymbal stand, and heads generally.

It sits higher than the other kit (which, you may remember, is a tiny jazz kit) due to both the rack tom mounted on the much larger kick, and the enormous snare.  Felt good, though.

I plan to loan Cory the gold sparkle Slingerland kit for a while to see if it’s of use to him.

The Colour And The Shape

Twenty-year anniversary pieces in Stereogum and The AV Club this week reminded me that the Foo Fighters’ sophomore album reached that milestone recently.

I remember the excitement of seeing the video for lead single “Monkey Wrench” on MTV for the first time; the red room, Dave’s short hair, the impossibly high level of energy captured in the recording, and then the third verse hitting and taking it from 11/10 to 12.  It overwhelmed every pleasure center in a rock kid’s brain.  It was like switching to color TV from black and white.

Bear and Matt have been my super-geek-out fellow Foo Fighters fans.  Bear and I traded links any time there were singles out for upcoming albums, news of tours or recording sessions, or random Dave or Taylor interviews and videos.  I watched “The Pretender” video on repeat with Matt for the first time together (itself 10 years old in August) at his old house before Five Star Crush practice one night.

It’s not cool to be a big Foo Fighters fan and hasn’t been for a long time.  I think that too-cool-for-Foo take is pretty tired; they’re the best mainstream rock band of the last 25 years and it’s not really close.  Criticizing them for not being what the critic wants them to be – noisier, less popular, more arch, whatever – says more about the critic than anything else.

I don’t listen to The Colour And The Shape very often because I don’t need to; I know it by heart.

Thingsss

  • All five Falcon Heavy Drives are built and tested; the final two should be delivered this week.  This has been a successful run on both fronts I was pushing on: I broke even, and I learned some methods for making multiple pedals more efficiently and reliably.  Three of the five required zero troubleshooting, and a fourth had one tiny, easily fixed issue.  (The fifth is the one I’m keeping.)
  • Both Night Mode shows were successes musically and in terms of attendance, in my book.  The concept is proven and we’re now a fully functioning recording and performance collective.
  • Cool internet uncle, actor Wil Wheaton, has a good ambient EP out (embedded below).

With the Falcon Heavy and Night Mode projects hitting these milestones I get to transition to some other things.  For fun I’ll be working on my next solo-ish Night Mode recording and some new pedal designs, with no particular deadlines for either.  I should edit howie&scott drum tracks, which is kind of tedious work but necessary for us to have fun later.

It’s also time to release the EP Cory and I made last fall ;-0

This may be worth a listen

Link (expires 4/1): https://we.tl/7vCNMine7j

Remember those Chipmunks songs a guy slowed down? I re-created that with mid-side processing on The Romantics “What I Like About You.” Low quality (source file; mp3) but you get the point and it’s weirdly addictive to listen to. For me, anyway.

The mids and bass are glitchy and don’t resonate like they would with an analog source, I assume because of the mp3 data compression.

In a related story, I have not worked out as I planned to this morning.  The working theory is that I’m metaphorically hung over from yesterday’s political victory for health care and the weeks and months of tension that preceded it.

Synth Rig

Setting my controls for the heart of the sun:

Missing: iPad mini for upper right (used to take this pic)

I’ve set up and torn down my synth stuff enough lately, with more to come, that I built a synth board this weekend.

Naked board with red couch

Neither the board or the rig is very fancy but they’re fun to make sounds with.  Three sound sources (Alesis Micron, Korg Volca Bass, iPad mostly running the Poly app) route to a mixer.  The mixer has an effects loop (pedals are in that loop) and sends dual mono out (not stereo; one output is the dry signal, one is the wet from the effects).

Now that things are laid out I’ll buy some shorter cables to reduce all of that mess.

When I plugged in to test everything out and set levels I ended up writing and recording the backbone of a new Night Mode piece.  That’s always a good sign, when new gear or new arrangements of gear inspire music right away.