Idea Channel recently posted this video exploring the idea that broken things can be beautiful.
Personally I think that what we initially see as unwanted and bad changes over time as those things become less of a problem. There’s a certain nostalgia that develops when we are able to look back with fresh eyes and this helps us to see the beauty in the broken.
For example, the dust, scratches and grain inherent in film photography were once looked upon as problems. They were unwanted artifacts of the photography process. Today our digital cameras do such a great job of taking pictures without those artifacts that they are no longer a concern. Having escaped those artifacts we are now able to look back them with fresh eyes and see the aesthetic beauty they can provide.
Inspired 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.
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]
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.
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]
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.
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.
- Laptop HD
- Compact Flourescent Light Bulb
- LCD Television
- Cell Phone
- Phone Charger
Download Pickup Coil Recordings [.zip]
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
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.
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.
Download CD01 [.zip]