Posted by & filed under Sound Design.

Various metal objects arranged on a tableInspired by my research into horror movie sound fx and DIY instruments I decided to gather up an assortment of metal objects and start recording.

Scrounging around the house I had no trouble quickly locating several candidates for my ‘metal session’ \m/ (ascii devil horns are optional).

The metal sound makers would be a soup can, beer can, metal ruler, knife, and two pot lids of different size. I also fashioned a homemade violin bow but to compare it to the real thing would be an insult.

The homemade bow was made using a metal yardstick, masking tape, and heavy cotton thread/twine like that which you might use to tie up a turkey before roasting. Tying a string to two ends of of some sort of stick so that there is a bow in the stick is so basic I won’t bother explaining how I did that.

With everything prepared I began recording and discovered some truly horrific sounds: the squeals and screeching of tortured metal.

The pieces of thin beer can aluminum dragging across stainless steel pot lids proved to be a notable combination.  Sadly, the bow was a little disappointing but I believe my choice in thread and lack of rosin was to blame.

All in all my Metal On Metal experiment was a success. I will likely be revisiting this again in the future so don’t be surprised if you see a Metal On Metal II.

SndBnk_Metal-On-Metal_Sampler

The samples have been consolidated in a .ZIP file for your use. There are 72 recordings in two folders (straight & percussive) in .WAV format recorded at 44.1KHz/16bit.

Download Sound Bank – Metal On Metal [.zip]

Posted by & filed under Sound Design.

Train going by on tracks.The other day we had some unusually warm weather here in the Midwest. I took the opportunity to get out for a walk among the mountains of thawing snow and ice to collect some sounds.

My neighborhood is in close proximity to quite a bit of industry and the train yard servicing that industry is also close by. The sources of these sounds are trains, bridges, trucks, cars, puddles, and drains.

My field recording hardware admittedly has its drawbacks but the results are still worth sharing. I’ve edited the recordings down to some of the more interesting sounds.

SndBnk_Industrial_Sampler

The samples have been consolidated in a .ZIP file for your use. There are 9 files in .WAV format recorded at 44.1KHz/16bit.

Download Sound Bank – Industrial [.zip]

Posted by & filed under Sound Design.

Pickup coil attached to digital audio recorder.

A short time back I was reading an article about using a telephone pickup coil to record EMFs created by everyday electrical devices.  The article on the Radium Audio Labs blog comes from the brilliant sound designers over at Radium Audio and if you haven’t checked out their award winning work I suggest you do for instant inspiration.

I wasted no time in locating and ordering a telephone pickup coil for next to nothing to make my own recordings. Walking around my place I quickly found a half dozen electrical appliances to try it out on.

It’s also interesting to note that while a pickup coil can record usually unheard EMFs it is equally capable of recording the EMFs of stereo speakers only without the background noise associated with regular microphones. I discovered the latter recording method lends a certain thin sound to music and voice while recording my alarm clock radio.

I have compiled a short example of the sounds I was able to gather around my place.

Pickup-Coil_Sampler

The longer recordings of each individual device have been consolidated in a .ZIP file for your use. There are 6 monophonic recordings in .WAV format recorded at 44.1KHz/16bit.

  1. Laptop HD
  2. Compact Flourescent Light Bulb
  3. LCD Television
  4. Microwave
  5. Cell Phone
  6. Phone Charger

Download Pickup Coil Recordings [.zip]

Posted by & filed under Sound Design.

After yesterday’s post Making Horror Movie Sound FX I began wondering were I could acquire a violin bow and and possibly a cymbal for super cheap. Before I discovered cheap bows on Amazon.com I looked around for some DIY articles.

Most of the homemade violin bow articles I found were of the artisanal variety involving expensive wood, specialty tools and most importantly, skill. Then I stumbled on the Awful Horsehair Bow at Moonmilk.com.

Clever as it is to use such cheap materials, I’d end up spending about the same on the wood, hardware, etc. as I would purchasing a cheap bow on Amazon.com.

Quibbles aside, Moonmilk is a virtual warehouse of DIY din makers. Its purveyor Ranjit Bhatnagar has been constructing instruments of questionable construction and unique timbre since at least 1993.

There is no question that making your own instrument is a great way to acquire some wholly unique sounds. If a little inspiration is required a quick dig through Moonmilk should get the gears turning.

Posted by & filed under Sound Design.

Recently I’ve been looking into doing more sound design. When I was putting together Suffer This Mortal Vessel: An Exorcism I found myself digging for a microphone instead of digging for samples.

Obviously I am interested in creating dark and disturbing sound effects so I was incredibly pleased to find these videos showing how everyday items are used to make gruesome sounds.

The videos come from Tim Prebble’s sound design studio called Hiss And A Roar but the Website seems to be under construction for the time being.

Vegetable Violence from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Bowed Cymbal recording from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Posted by & filed under Music Releases, Singles.

I’m glad to announce that today my 40 minute soundscape Suffer This Mortal Vessel: An Exorcism was released on The Dark Tapes net label. If you’re not familiar with TDT you need to check their other releases on Tumblr as they’re equally compelling. Or you can follow/stock/like and poke them on their TDT Facebook page.

Now about the track. It’s a dark twisted atmosphere of eerie drones and the pained vocalizations of souls possessed by the supernatural make this one creepy audio workout. TDT says: “… is creepy as fuck cult ass exorcism soundtrack and documentation recording business.”

The sad truth is that I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something around exorcism for a long time now. “How long?” I hear you ask. Well, long enough that some of the samples used in this release were recorded some 6 years ago.

Lamentations aside, it’s here now and that’s a good thing. Even if it did take the better half of a decade to bear fruit.

Download TDT006 + TDT007 at darktapes.tumblr.com

The download page has moved to the grinthieves.com blog.

Download TDT006 + TDT007 at grindthieves.com

Posted by & filed under Live Performances, Music Releases.

Back in March of 2009 I was invited to perform at one of the Twin Cities so-called “difficult listening sessions.” The Thinktank collective encourages: “… awareness and activity for the harder, darker, stranger sounds of the underground.”

Lacking very little new music to perform I endeavored to develop some new tracks after a long hiatus from music production. Inspiration struck and I began working on a conceptual album based on the retelling of an old black and white suspense story.

The performance went well (ignoring a false start error) and the results were recorded for posterity.  Sadly I was unable to complete all five intended tracks of my new album before the performance and was forced to make due with only three. Shortly thereafter a computer problem derailed the completion of the album and I still have yet to finish it.

For now, this live performance is all that exists of the new tracks. It’s a jungle break fueled ride through some dark and disturbing landscapes. Enjoy.

Year: 2009

Epilektric-Live@ThinkTank_Vol.4

Posted by & filed under Albums, Music Releases.

This collection of techno tracks was constructed entirely on a Yamaha RM1X. Clips were constructed ahead of time but the arrangement was improvised. User Projects was mostly an experiment in creating tracks for live performance utilizing the Yamaha hardware.

Influenced by Detroit and Midwest techno and artists like Plastikman, Joey Beltram, DJ T-1000, Paul Birken, and the Drop Bass Network, these are straight-up techno tracks with a hard and dark bent.

These tracks are a little raw and unfinished with the occasional technical error. Being the unpolished experiments that they are I still feel they stand pretty well on their own despite their flaws.

Year: 2002

Download User Projects [.zip]

01-Epilektric-User Projects-U01

02-Epilektric-User Projects-U02

03-Epilektric-User Projects-U03

04-Epilektric-User Projects-U04

05-Epilektric-User Projects-U05

Posted by & filed under Albums, Music Releases.

The first full length album released under the Epilektric moniker, CD01 has a gritty lo-fi quality to it. The tracks are experimental and highly influenced by IDM artists like Autechre and Aphex Twin although they don’t sound much like those artists.

There was a lot of sound design involved with creating samples for this album. Clips, snips, and bits of processed audio were collected and edited for sequencing. Very little in the way of live FX processing was used.

The tracks in CD01 represent a leaping off point for my exploration into complex rhythmic structures. A music critic might write in his review

“Slices of percussive noise bounce amongst dissonant tonal constructions and disembodied voices.”

But that’s just a lot of B.S. and really it’s an amateur collection of fuzzy sounds imitating better tracks by far better artists.

All in all, I still find this album an interesting listen and queue it up from time to time.

Year: 2001

Download CD01 [.zip]

01-Epilektric-CD01-Fisc

02-Epilektric-CD01-IDM6v2.2

03-Epilektric-CD01-KrakBabies

04-Epilektric-CD01-Prj.v1.1

05-Epilektric-CD01-PupPoo

06-Epilektric-CD01-TrdCntr

07-Epilektric-CD01-Syv

08-Epilektric-CD01-7734

09-Epilektric-CD01-Indisia

10-Epilektric-CD01-Soep

11-Epilektric-CD01-Frac