“Killer Illness” Rhythm Guitar Rig

Recorded a rhythm guitar track last night for a song with the working title “Killer Illness” from the I Am The Brute Squad project.

Guitar pedals

Signal path:

  • DOD 280 compressor
  • Mr. Furious Audio 5KR boost
  • The Sweeping Mids phaser
  • BYOC Triangle-spec Big Muff build
  • (Shepard’s End was bypassed)
  • Mr. Furious Audio JFET boost
  • HIWHAT (Cbread RAH build)
  • BSRI Cab cab sim

I’ve also been finishing off lyrics for Jam My Wave / Don’t Jam My Wave, and wrote the first piece for 23 Infinite Choices (the Night Mode synth hocketing project) over the past few weeks.

More (Earlier) Frog Talk with Cory

Another lightly edited and excerpted email exchange. I should have posted this one first; ahh, welp…

2023 April 12 – From: Howie – To: Cory

Subject: picked out FX for buckaroo bonanza

might perform them tonight.  i’d forgotten i added this cool
little extra sample that really makes it.  i don’t remember if the last
version you heard had the “yeah, yeah!” in it but it rules.  anyway.  2
more songs of FX (buckaroo, ice/disappear), then doing some vocal sample
performances into the computer, then mix/master!  we’re pretty close to
being able to hear the whole record and i’m really excited about that,
because i don’t know what it’s going to sound or feel like to hear all
these different tracks in one go.  -h

2023 April 12 – From: Cory – To: Howie

I don’t think so on the “yeah, yeah!” but a little sprinkle of sample is always tasty! Love them extra touches, Uncle Grabby! 

It’s crazy how quickly this record came together, at least from the outside! Obviously a lot of time and work goes into it, but this kind of music seems less gnarly than something with full drums and winding arrangements. And 27 sax-trax. 

Spring is here and it’s beautiful outside and my head is full of fluid! 

2023 April 12

it’s been fairly quick-ish?  not as quick as a New Synth Record, but a lot quicker than a guitar record.  i think the 404mkII arrived about a year ago (i ordered it when it came out in oct/nov ’21, but there were production delays).  and it took a while to kind of learn and come up with a workflow.  or it felt like it did…  but i had the first 5 songs done by christmas, because over the break i set up and did a bunch of guitar parts for songs 6-10.

anyway, the old 404SX is kind of a blunt instrument… i love it, but it does what it does, even when i max out its arrangement pastabilities by using the pattern sequencer and going one song at a time.  the mkII is extremely well-designed in terms of keeping what i love about the workflow of the older 404, while adding quite a few useful features, so it can go quite a bit deeper… but it doesn’t *have* to.  the main features i’m using are 1) on the mkII i can work on 32 songs at once (vs. 1 on the SX, unless i wanted to use full-on resample method arranging or write down and keep track of BPMs), and 2) with parallel effects paths i’m doing a lot of grab effects on just the drums, or just the guitars, or whatever, vs. the entire mix.  (i’m doing some on the entire mix, too.)  i think that’s nice, it’s still definitely 404-sounding, but it’s not quite so IN YOUR FACE as the crazy SX-style grab FX.  which i still love.  but gets tiring to listen to after a while.

i think Digital Sin might not have any SX-style *full-mix* grab FX.  the drums and bass are in one group, and the saxes and guitars are in another group, and different grab FX are on different groups at different times.

what i truly, deeply adore about the workflow on both samplers is that i make progress, and then it’s locked in and i *don’t* revisit those choices.  on the older unit it might be literally locked in and unchangeable, unless i wanted to go all the way back several steps and re-do work.  on the mkII it’s a lot more flexible, which is great; the *opportunity* to go back exists, but because of how the limited screen works i sort of don’t think to fiddle with stuff ** unless my ears are telling me that something needs to change **.  i could call it an “ears-led” workflow, compared to a computer DAW that we could call “eyes-led” in many instances.  and the ears-led experience is super fun and rewarding (and probably much more similar to tape-based recording than DAWs are).

totes agree about spring.  -h

Frog Talk with Cory

Here’s a lightly edited and excerpted email I had with Cory during the recording of Frog On The King’s Head.

2023 April 23 – From: Howie – To: Cory

going to be listening to a version of the full album for the ** first
time ** tomorrow!  4 songs are missing vocals, that’s next, but i’m
super psyched to hear it all as a piece.  i think my first sequence is
pretty good, too.  “farewell my lovely” is the beat i keep coming back
to.  -h

2023 April 24 – From: Cory – To: Howie

So psyched for you my dude! I love that we have Chandler represented on this birch, let me know how you feel after

2023 April 24 – From: Howie – To: Cory

i feel awesome, i have no idea what this **is** (not that it matters) but i dig it.

i’m ready to read at least one more chandler this summer, not sure which, but i’ll just grab one and go for it. probably the earliest one i haven’t read, i guess.

finding some hooks in chandler has been a really important piece of unlocking this mode of expression. the blank page was just so intimidating, having something to latch onto and use was a huge boost and taught me some things about what works and what to look for. gave me a jumping-off point. and as you’ve seen from texts and whatnot, it’s starting to sink in and i’m bringing in stuff from other sources, and sometimes coming up with something fresh and original (in the sense that it’s not pulled from anywhere).

[tom] robbins, actually, is another ingredient that i may not have said anything about; just the approach that style ** can be ** substance. i think that comes intuitively to some but coming from my headier space, i had to think myself to a zone where when i’m working on something, i can ask myself “well, what would sound cool?” and then chase that without thinking about whether the chords are interesting and unique enough.

ha, this is not news to you, but through at least signs.comets my main concern was You Have Not Heard *These* Chords Before!!

2023 April 24 – From: Cory – To: Howie

“Style can be substance” is something I am still trying to really know. It always feels like there has to be some big heart to a piece of art for it to mean something or evoke emotion, but sometimes stuff just sounds really badass or unexpected or whatever, and that’s thrilling! Obviously there’s got to be some sort of idea or seed in there, however small. Otherwise it’s all effects pedals and no riff, but I have to remind myself all the time that it’s OK if something mostly works because it feels/sounds neat. Jamie is really good at that – synth and bass riffs that work well because they sound badass, and you can build a plenty meaty song around that! 

2023 May 5 – From: Howie – To: Cory

I’m filing this away to blog at some point, but here are some other thoughts I noted down a couple weeks ago…

sometimes by following the trail of style-as-substance, i *find* substance, either because the style touched on or expressed some intuitive, pre-conscious reservoir of meaning, or because meaning attaches itself later through repetition or new connections/insight.  a previously style-only expression becomes entwined with something meaningful.

Does your Gladware even mix, bro?

I built a small passive mixer into this old Glad container to pair with the modded LepLoop.

The mixer, along with the LepLoop modifications, lets me mix the LepLoop’s four signals left and right, two and two, in any combination. This is perfect for recording with the SP-404 mkII for further arranging and processing.

The container also stores patch cables and the passive CV breakout box, which is still in progress.

Modded LepLoop + CV breakout + mixer + 404mkII is a powerhouse. I can bang out weirdo minimal electro jams forever.