sleeping rays of jupiter

Sleeping Rays of JupiterRehearsals continue, different venue this time.

I’ve got simultaneous Sleep-ins action going on right now, working with Stefan and Josh to record the new record, and rehearsing with Mike Johnson and James Butler to prep for some shows coming up this Summer. We’ll be playing songs by the Sleep-ins, the raydons, Jupiterboy, Jimmy the Wigwam, kingsizemidget, and lonesomerobot.

I took some time away from playing and it some ways it shows, but in other ways it’s just like picking up from where I left off. Playing live shows is the best practice, though.

You probably weren’t wondering what I’m up to, but anyway

jupiterboyWhen it comes to music, I’ve had some fun and then I’ve had some fun. It’s a little hard to believe that the unbelievably loud rock band Jupiterboy — the first band that I ever did anything that could be called “touring” — is a twenty-year-old entity. Or yea, more even. The band played its first gigs in 1995, but we didn’t produce any recorded material until 1996. So that recording, which was called Live for a Day, will get a twentieth anniversary release. [I still have to master it. I should have mastered it by now.]

The cool thing is, there’s bonus material! In 2001, we had a reboot of sorts when I was living in a middle-of-nowhere town, Wheatland, Ind., with my friend and longtime collaborator Mike Johnson. I’d kept in touch with Jupiterboy drummer Greg Mensching and lead guitarist James Butler and we decided to have a go at it with Mike on bass. We had some great jams but it ultimately fell apart, mostly due to indecision on whether to focus on the existing material or move forward with new material. I mean, the new material is good:

But hey like I said, I’ve had some fun. I lived in the middle of nowhere and made a racket in another old house in Indiana that doesn’t exist anymore (same thing happened where we recorded Homecoming Pageant & Parade in Bloomington. Weird, right?). Anyway, there’s about 35-40 minutes of some really good sloppy rock practically no one has ever heard that will finally reverberate in literally dozens of homes later this year.

it also must be said…sleep-ins is DONE

i mean that in a good way (the album is done, not the band). a bit of an incentive to finish as several tracks are now in rotation on wnyz in new york city. so the release date has moved up and we’re all talking about some live shows now. stefan is in london. josh is in sydney. mike is in indianapolis. that will be fun to work out. anyway, this one is coming out on ingot rock soon (this month? it’s completely my decision and i haven’t decided…). we’re going to time it to conicide with a promotional campaign on wnyz, and that isn’t quite ready yet. so hurry up and wait, here come the sleep-ins!

(of course you may listen to most of the tracks at the sleep-ins website)!

quick update

Had to rework some release dates on Ingot Rock — essentially, moving everything back a couple of months while the holidays and some very bad weather dominated our lives here in NC.

Still in the studio, diligently working on the Sleep-Ins, because it truly never ends! The good news: Running Out Here is absolutely done and sounds better than it ever has. The bad news: sometimes improving one song makes another sound less-than-stellar, as a result. Realistically, there’s not much more that can be done, though, so here’s to hoping I really can get those tracks finished by summer. I’m going to say I can… there’s really only 2-3 left to do, and all that’s left are tiny details.

And yet they matter SO much.

Even moreso, the homeowners (waxon, the spoots, gas station sandwiches, the butter spot). More music I’ve been making. It’s a secret. Maybe you’ll get to hear it one day.

Also, a quick word about the apparent and imminent demise of another wonderful label, Karmic Hit. This is truly a shame, as there are few labels left in the world that so obviously relished the opportunity to bring good music to the rest of us. All the best to John Kilbey in his future endeavors; when I was in Australia he was the first to give me a chance at doing something worthwhile, which is something that I’ll always appreciate & never forget.

Until next time,


buried in the mix

lansdowne01-05-2005after stepping away from the sleep-ins project for several weeks’ time, i’ve finally gotten a chance this weekend to get back to mixing. now, it seems like it should be easy, mixing. but it’s not — although i must admit the difficulty is inherently ego-driven. there is some truth to the notion that i might be more perfectionist about my own projects. that isn’t to say i just phone it in when i’m mixing someone else; on the contrary, i suspect that what i need is what others seek when they ask me to mix for them: a different perspective. i might mix a better record for someone else precisely because i won’t get caught up on the minor issues i do when it’s my own music i’m critiquing.

those minor issues become major hang-ups when it’s your baby.

are the vocals too loud/not loud enough/in pitch/lacking proper inflection? is that guitar part interesting enough? why doesn’t the bass have the growl i want? are the drums too sibilant? why isn’t everything perfect?

catnfid12alas, the many distracting sideways journeys that detour the progress of the album’s completion. years have passed while i’ve wracked my brain and tortured my ears with hundreds, even thousands, of repeated listens to music that needs finishing. only recently have i begun to just declare warts and all an acceptable product, because i just don’t have enough time on my hands anymore…and the thought of dying having done a lot with little to show for it is not a very welcome one.

so on that, uh, note – a bit of the awesome happened this weekend. while i didn’t finish the album (that’d be the sleep-ins, songs about girls and outer space), the final track count looks to be 8 songs and here’s how it looks (listen to most of these at ingot rock):

  1. silver state – is finished(?) although i might still have to dial back the ‘shimmer’ on the drums.
  2. chrome skull cap & matching codpiece – also finished(?), not sure about one vocal trick in there
  3. angelina – is finished!
  4. running out here – might be finished as of last night…
  5. tonya, extraplanetary spaceship girl – thought i had the magic but another listen says otherwise; vocals just too rough.
  6. astro-not – could be finished; this one got a cool treatment a la the warriors.
  7. desert song – is done.
  8. bug on my face – stef came up with what he calls a final mix, but man, those vocals…

not exactly a magnum opus, but a nice project nonetheless. there might be exactly zero people waiting for me to finish this, incidentally. ok, that’s not true. there must be at least 3 australians. and a couple of english gits. but no americans. maybe i should rename it ‘death panels’…

i was a teenage raydon

back in the old days we recorded without computers. yeah, imagine that. we used little machines called 4-tracks that needed cassette tapes (again w/ teh analog). this mode of recording was easy to set up and sounded pretty good (especially the drums, when they were recorded right & in tune) — not really ever “pro” quality, but then what we did actually sounded better without the gloss…most of the time.

the problem with analog recording is it takes longer to mix because you actually have to wait until the tape forwards or rewinds, and it takes a lot longer to edit because that usually involves splicing the tape and/or having another tape machine. in reality, editing wasn’t even a viable option; you were much better off trying to get your takes as close to perfect as you could because there was no way you were taking a razor blade to your master.

well, after many years of 4-trackin’ i ended up with a bunch of tapes. and (wouldn’t you know it) it’s been a long while since i’ve actually owned a machine that will play them. so…hmm, what to do?

ah yes, that’s right, i borrowed heath’s machine. a long time ago. he asks me about it sometimes.

as it turns out, what i’m doing does serve his interests, because he’s on quite a few of the tapes. last night i began the process of recording all of those tapes onto my computer, track by track. there are over 30 tapes so as you can imagine it’s taking a while. between each recorded segment i have to recheck all the levels because pretty much everything was done at different times with different equipment. going through a single 45 minute tape can end up taking 2 hours or more. it’s a labor of love.

maxell_xlii90i started with tape 1 but realized i might have to prioritize things a bit and moved right into the raydons sessions, which i’ve been meaning to do for months. i actually discovered a few gems in there amongst the usual suspects (alternate version of so happy today, and a raucous version of a splinters song featuring fernando the mystery bass player). the best discoveries will end up on some sort of raydons release through ingot rock, i reckon. about a year ago i was holding out hope that the “new” raydons could overcome the logistics and finally get some tunes down, but i think regardless of that outcome, this stuff needs to get out there. i’m guessing it will, sometime this year.

which reminds me – heath called a few days ago and said he might be visiting. i wonder if he wants his 4-track back?

weekly rock out & other observations

monday nite is rock nite. fun stuff… two drum kits, guitars, bass, keys and beer. and a little good ol’ fashioned 4-trackin. i gotta say that stuff was mighty loud n good.

this is my underpants gnomes version of blog writing for today…

1. write cool title

2. ?

3. profit!

sure there’s stuff going on… i’m just not tellin’!

artwork rehash

ksr-homecoming_600pxback in the old days when i didn’t know squat about the interneck or graffik desing i made some bad decisions, and i didn’t really understand the value of keeping high resolution copies of my creations. so the originals are gone. i’m recreating some and starting from scratch on the rest. my latest attempt is the mad scientist, kingsizerobot homecoming pageant & parade cover. this was always one of my favorites because of the simplicity and the value of letting the pictures tell the story. whatever that story is.

i took all those pictures in the southern-ish indiana area (in the areas of bloomington and french lick for the record) with an old argus camera. that’s genu-ine sepia tone (teh analog kind) – not none of that photoshop bs.

o ya, this is getting released via the ingot rock next week (or so… it involves logistical realities). on cd available through amazon and the ingot rock store. also download it now for the super cheap price it will be until it shows up on amazon…(!)

UPDATE: too late, it’s on amazon now!

studio notes…

  • just finished mixing chrome skull cap & matching codpiece for the sleep-ins cd. that one’s due in june.
  • some new lonesomerobot songs in process, should have 9 or 10 songs total. the album is to be called dulce periculum.
  • that should be out later this year (fall?)
  • man i have a lot to do.
  • don’t you just love unordered lists?
  • also working on a side project, codename: the homeowners. don’t know what to make of this one yet.

new music for old times

a historical note:

several years ago i recorded an album with my friend bob peckyno, under the name bathsheva. finishing this record was an arduous task, and the subsequent musik bidness wrangling was enough to make us want to move to hungary and become obscure web designers for the beef industry. this was one of those life experiences that kinda had it all — glorious moments of premature self-congratulatory joy, utter frustration, discovery and personal growth, devastation, boredom and tedious action giving way to inconclusive and often maddening results.

which is why it is ultimately very gratifying to at last say IT IS DONE.
go ahead, click the linky… you can buy it at createspace, amazon and maybe target(?)

needless to say this is something of which we are both proud, and i have to give a lot of credit to bob for taking this one off the shelf, dusting it off and finally pushing it out into the world. i tend to give short shrift to my electronical orchestrations and creations, especially these days.

so, what’s it like? a bit trancy, soundscape, some hints of jazz and classical, and — dare i say it — new age. ok, maybe a lot of new age. it’s a bit of a departure from my normal stuff, but still a valuable contribution, especially in the realm of new age music (because it must be said that there is some awful new age music out there). bathsheva breaks the mold to a large extent.

could i do it again? possibly. i believe for now i’ll just content myself to the satisfaction of knowing mine field dream has finally seen the light of day.

more music on the way…