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:
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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.

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)

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.

New Instrument Day

I got a new instrument to learn this winter, as we keep staying home to avoid and prevent the spread of COVID-19; a Roland SP-404SX sampler, the defining box of lo-fi hip-hop.

To start learning I recorded some terrible beatboxing on my part, and CA singing the chorus of Dessa’s “5 Out Of 6” and an improvised accompaniment part.

Here’s that material chopped up, with effects applied, and arranged into something like a song.

Next up is working through the manual in detail (yeah, I RTFM) and pulling some samples from Night Mode and Dark Satellites.

Bear & Joe

My sister’s co-worker and friend Allison has a brother, Scott, and Scott’s friend Jon was a staff member of Joe Biden’s in the Senate. (That’s four degrees of separation, if you’re counting.) (Thanks to Allison for telling this story on FB a couple weeks ago and reminding us of some of the details. I also think Lisa Silberstein was involved from Bear’s posts on the 6th, but I’m not sure how.)

As Bear’s cancer was progressing in 2014, Allison and Scott asked Jon if he could get Joe to send a selfie or something to give her a little boost. It doesn’t sound like Jon was optimistic, but said he’d try.

On March 6, Joe actually called and left a voicemail:

Mary, Mary, Mary, this is Joe Biden, Vice-President Biden. I just called to say hello to you and tell you I’ve kind of been where you are, and you’re an incredible young woman. And also to wish you happy birthday, and I hope if I’m around Chicago on March the 20th I’d come to your birthday, I don’t know whether they’re going to have me…

I’ll try you again but I just wanted to, I hear nothing but wonderful things about you, and you know, you’re going through hell now, and that’s happened to my family too, but guess what; don’t give up hope, don’t give up hope…

I’m going to try you again if that’s OK, and I hope I’m not being presumptuous calling you, but I’m going to try again later. Love you, kid. Keep it up.

Joe Biden to Mary Howard, 2014 March 6

Remember that Joe’s son Beau was also in treatment for brain cancer at this time, having been diagnosed in 2013.

True to his word, he called back on the 20th and left another message, only hours after returning from Poland following Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. Bear was unconscious by then but we’re told she could hear, and Joe’s message was played for her:

Mary, happy birthday, this is Vice-President Joe Biden. I told you I’d call you on your birthday kiddo, and I’m thinking a lot about you. I’ll try you again but I just want you to know I’m thinking about you, you’re a wonderful woman. Anyway, happy 30th birthday, child.

Joe Biden to Mary Howard, 2014 March 20

Fight Songs

I’ve mentioned it in passing before, but here it is officially; recording for “Fight Songs,” my seventh solo record as Sally Ride and first since 2015, is well underway.

“Fight Songs” is the punk-, Motown-, and Elvis Costello-influenced follow-up to “Ventura” (“Valiance” being a kind of one-off).

The view for the next few weeks

My aim on “Fight Songs” is to absolutely nail the rhythmic feel of those influences, and the key to that is the bass. I’m using a James Jamerson-style rig, with the foam-deadened strings you can see above and a fully DI sound.

Customizations to the bass sound include:

  • Running the pickups in series for a bigger timbre
  • Using my Falcon Heavy prototype pedal for some clipping and saturation
  • Using my Wheeler Leveling Amplifier pedal
  • Using a transformer-based DI box with a wider pass band than Jamerson had available (I may end up high- and low-passing the signal a bit more in the mix)

I’m really happy with the timbre, have four songs down (out of 14, one of which will be a Cool Drugs song), and am working at a pace of a couple songs per week.

Writing bass parts has become one of my favorite things to do, musically. It utilizes all of my rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic sensibilities while not requiring me to step into the spotlight like a vocal or solo would. Mid-major solo artists and bands seeking ringer bassists, get at me! Cory and Drew can provide unbiased references!!