Finished Minirig

I finished the Monotribe-based Minirig – quite a while ago – and have had some fantastic jams on it, though I haven’t recorded anything with it yet.

Long story short, there’s drums, two synth voices, two drones (Thereatari, DS-1), and effects. It sits in a sweet spot of possibility and limitation; there’s certainly enough to keep busy and make a full, if minimalist, track, but whatever I make with it retains a kind of smallness befitting the rig itself.

One of the design goals was to build something that could be used for solo performance, and I hope to give that a live test soon.

All the geek stuff below.

Before I go into the different signal paths here, there are two important secrets to know about this collection of boxes:

  • The Thereatari (left side, multi-colored knobs) contains 3 circuits: the Thereatari noise synth itself, a sub mixer for the Monotribe’s external input (jacks on the Thereatari’s right side with attenuation knob), and a main mixer (jacks on the left side)
  • The Monotribe has been modded many ways, one of which is to separate the drum and synth sounds (mostly; there’s a bit of drum bleed in the synth path)

Signal paths:

  1. Korg Monotribe (modded) drum sounds > Ibanez PM7 phaser > VFE Triumvirate multiband distortion > main mixer
  2. Korg Monotribe (modded) synth sounds and external input > EHX Memory Toy delay > main mixer
  3. Korg Volca Bass synth > DigiTech Turbo Flange flanger > Boss DS-1 distortion (“Dark Satellites” modded; can be a drone oscillator) > TC Electronic Flashback delay > main mixer
  4. Thereatari noise synth > switchable: main mixer or sub mixer
    1. Sub mixer (inputs: Korg Monotribe synth sounds, Thereatari, extra jacks for other inputs) > Ibanez DE7 delay > Korg Monotribe (modded) audio input

Night Mode Data Visualization

I challenged myself to come up with a way to visually communicate the sequence of Night Mode recordings and releases, and the result is below.

Click to embiggen

OTHER was first recorded, and first released. Dirac Spike was second. So far, so good.

Then Damon and I made a collaborative album that’s finished, but hasn’t been released. In this chart that means it has an entry in the left side “Recorded sequence” column, but no line (because it doesn’t have a “Release sequence”).

The line for Gentleman Scientist was tough to place, but I went with its approximate recording sequence based on when Drew started working on it. This chart displays sequence only, not absolute time; there’s six months between Load Exceedance and Gentleman Scientist, then only one month from GM to Capsule even though the visual gap is larger. This choice prioritizes the story of artistic development from project to project over an accurate depiction of the passage of time.

You can see from the angled line how Your Pain Matters was recorded early but not released until much later. In contrast, we put out Thinking About The Meaninglessness… very shortly after I made it (shown by a nearly-straight line).

Our recent appearances on compilations with “No One,” “No Two,” and “Sonar Love” were sourced from the unreleased albums “Merritt” and “Murder Mountain.” They’re b-sides, not album tracks.

I did this in Excel, with a lot of customization of the data labels.

THINKING ABOUT THE MEANINGLESSNESS OF EVERYTHING, THE EXPANSE OF ETERNITY, THE INDIFFERENCE OF THE VOID THAT CONSUMES US ALL, AND WHAT WE SHOULD HAVE FOR LUNCH | Night Mode

Today’s Pedals

As I work on guitars for Fight Songs, every electric-based tune gets its own sound. (About a third of the songs are electric, the rest are primarily acoustic split between the regular acoustic and the classical.)

Today I did the bridge overdub part on the titular “Fight Song.”

Snark SN-1 tuner

DOD 280 compressor

Mr. Furious Audio Falcon Heavy drive

Mr. Black Shepard’s End flanger

Dawner Prince Boonar delay

The 280 and Falcon Heavy will probably be on everything, or almost everything. Other dirt, modulation, and space pedals get switched out depending on what sounds good for each song.

Next up is “Lost,” a solo acoustic version of which appeared yearrrrrrrrs ago on the Furious Instance comp. I’m planning to try some phaser on the verses. Not sure what else it might need.

Don’t Blame Me, BLAME THE GAME

Here, for the first time online, is the Blame the Game EP recorded in February 2003. Thanks to Tim J, we have some pics from the session!

To my ears, this EP still tells a compelling story about the individual guys and the way they came together musically. I’m really happy it’s available to hear in 2021.

Night Mode Droneuary Track & Cory on the LPLP

There’s a new Night Mode track, “No Two,” on the Silber Records Droneuary 2021 compilation. We’re honored to be included! Pay what you can for a ton of drone, ambient, and experimental music.

If you’d like to grab Droneuary 2021 for free, go to http://silbermedia.bandcamp.com/yum and enter one of the following codes:
3gx3-glnl
wtc5-um5j
szjf-j62y
p3gl-yy4f
ujvj-gvbt
v9f8-b9s7
6yd2-w9h5
nuq5-htmr
mm8b-v2kd
f8zl-gczh
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Then, Cory returned to The Long Play Listening Party today to get into the weeds about re-mastering “Pardon My Pretension, But Isn’t It Blackbeard’s Birthday” for modern listening, including on streaming platforms.

Shacker Arrives on Bandcamp and Streaming

We’ve released Shacker’s three LPs on Bandcamp and major streaming platforms!

This includes a re-mastered “Pardon My Pretension, But Isn’t It Blackbeard’s Birthday?” which hasn’t been available online until now.

We’re celebrating the release with an episode of The Long Play Listening Party guest-hosted by Rob. Get it on your favorite podcast platform or Instagram TV here, or on YouTube below.

Tearing Down the Fight Songs Bass Rig

…Which has been up since at least January 2020, if not December 2019.

Signal path is:

Tuner > big gold bypass looper (duplicates the signal) > output 1 recorded in Reaper

Looper output 2 > Falcon Heavy Drive prototype > Wheeler Leveling Amplifier > ART Dual RDB passive transformer-based DI > recorded in Reaper

(The production Falcon with four white knobs wasn’t used)

It’s the second path that provides the main bass sound in the mix; not obviously distorted but super warm and even, inspired by James Jamerson’s Motown tone. The clean path is just for backup, blending in something punchier when needed, using with a virtual amp for something different, that sort of thing.

I had no idea when I set this up, of course, that it would last through most of a year-long global pandemic and a month-long minor basement flood issue. Tearing down rigs is always a bit of an emotional milestone – not sad, not happy, just a feeling of before and after – and while this one was simple and easy to re-create, a whole lot has happened while it’s been up.

And yet, onward. I need the space for some synth things, and will be setting up gear for “Fight Songs” guitars.