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.

Bonzo Madrid’s “Worry” On The LPLP

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!

Get The Long Play Listening Party wherever you get your podcasts.

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.

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
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.

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.

Made a Night Mode Record This Week

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

DrewHowieDamonEd(Collaboration)
Feb – Dec ’15OTHER
Jan – Aug ’16Dirac Spike
Feb ’17Duo (H/Damon) –
(Untitled/Unreleased)
Mar ’17Trio –
Load Exceedance
Load Transcendance
Mar – Jul ’17Your Pain Matters
?? – Jul ’18Gentleman Scientist(there’s a Drew/Damon
noise / Marshall reamp /
drums project in
here somewhere
Jan – Apr ’18Working Bears Or Barely Working (unreleased)
Jan ’18 – Mar ’19Only Mostly Dead
Come In Alone / Stuck On You (Sep ’18) (unreleased)
May 8 – Jun 6 ’19Duo (Drew/H) – Murder Mountain
Jun – Nov ’19Not One Person Left Out (unreleased)
Jan-Feb ’20Duo (Drew/H) –
Capsule
Mar ’20Duo (Drew/H) –
(Merritt/Unreleased)
Summer / fall ’21Asterales x Night Mode “Orbital Debris Vol. 1” and “Extra Junk”
Jan ’21Title TK
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)

AxNM Receipts

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.

11 Days of Bitter Cold

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.

We have four episodes of The Long Play Listening Party in the can, with the first going up tomorrow morning. Smash those subscribe buttons.