Pluckin’ Away

I’ve been working steadily on guitars for Fight Songs, switching over from electric to acoustic a few weeks ago. I think I have six left, something like that.

Keepin’ it DIY

Most (all?) songs are getting two guitar tracks to start with. Then I’ll add some shakers and tambourines and other percussion and get the mixes roughed together before doing vocals. At that point the question will be “What details will help this song?” and the answers will be different for everything, “None!” being a viable option.

Mic is an Audio Technica PRO-37, which I am absolutely loving. It happens to be a very affordable mic, but it sounds like a million bucks to me. To my ear is has a full-frequency, flat-ish response for a small diaphragm condenser, and most importantly the off-axis phase cancellation that’s an inherent aspect of condenser mic design is minimized. Really great.

MAGNATISMECROSIS | Frank-N-Puter x Night Mode

We’re donating 100% of today’s revenue for this and all of our releases to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, along with Bandcamp.

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
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.