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)
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.
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.
There’s no record I’ve listened to more in the past five years than Bonzo Madrid’s Worry. (Vhol’s self-titled may be tied, though!) We had CJ on the show to talk about it, unearthing a ton about its origins and meaning, plus – breaking news – a follow-up is coming!
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.
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 wu2q-uhyv c5m6-evb9 ergt-b8sz
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.
…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.
Last weekend a couple of new modules for my modular case arrived – a 2hp Tune and an EricaSynths Pico VCO – and in the course of learning to use them I made a quick Night Mode record, as one does, five pieces with the modular, MS-20, and 1776 Effects Multiplex delay pedal.
I’m using it as a reason to update the Night Mode timeline, below.
EDIT 2021 MARCH 25: Drew reminded me of the “Murder Mountain” session. After digging around, my best guess is that we recorded this material – maybe an album’s worth, or more – on two dates in May and June 2019
Feb – Dec ’15
Jan – Aug ’16
Duo (H/Damon) – (Untitled/Unreleased)
Trio – Load Exceedance Load Transcendance
Mar – Jul ’17
Your Pain Matters
?? – Jul ’18
(there’s a Drew/Damon noise / Marshall reamp / drums project in here somewhere
Jan – Apr ’18
Working Bears Or Barely Working (unreleased)
Jan ’18 – Mar ’19
Only Mostly Dead Come In Alone / Stuck On You (Sep ’18) (unreleased)
May 8 – Jun 6 ’19
Duo (Drew/H) – Murder Mountain
Jun – Nov ’19
Not One Person Left Out (unreleased)
Duo (Drew/H) – Capsule
Duo (Drew/H) – (Merritt/Unreleased)
Summer / fall ’21
Asterales x Night Mode “Orbital Debris Vol. 1” and “Extra Junk”
In progress: Digitone + 1 LP
In progress: Seen Heard and Known, Monotribe record(s) (Oct ’19 – ??), AX60 record (Nov ’19 – ??), Medusa record (Apr ’20 – ??), Noise record (Mar ’20) Frank-N-Puter x Night Mode (summer ’20 – spring ’21) MS-20/Pico (March ’21)
Nate and I committed to donating the proceeds from last year’s collaborative album and EP to anti-racist organizations. I let it run a little long to see if other donations would trickle in. Proof of donation above.
The only way to get my Bandcamp sales data is via .csv export, easily editable, so you’ll have to trust me on that.
I think I scooped the walk five or six separate times. But it’s a little better tonight.
Two new Night Mode records are immanent-ish. One is the set Drew and I prepared for our show at Records With Merritt last spring that was an early casualty of the pandemic. We have a good recording from our practice sessions. The other, I’m not sure what I can say about yet. The artist will speak when they’re ready.