Thursday, June 01, 2006
Over the years I have come to accept these down times, I know that when I come out of it there will be as much inspiration as before, and most often something new will have crept its way into my conscious mind. Knowing this doesn’t make the ebb any better, it doesn’t give me that creative kick in the backside that I would so love to have, but it does keep me from thinking that it’s all gone to hell, I’m a hack and I have only been fooling myself and those around me for way to many years. For two weeks now I have been staring at the wall in our living room where I keep all my unfinished pieces, all I can come up with is what ever happened to that game I had as a child Hungry Hippo. How fun would that be to play right now. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s OK to head down to your local video store and rent twelve of the worst horror film out there, set up a nice place on the couch, surrounded by some really bad junk food and just let your mind turn to mush for a while.
Why am I putting this here in my instrument blog, why am I writing this at all? Well I was given a challenge by my special lady friend Jen who witnesses way too many of these creative funks. I will not tell you what that mission is, but I will tell you that it has helped in eliminating most of the self loathing that comes with the dark days It’s always good to know that you have somebody there to help you through the crap of choosing such a non secure field of work.
Thank you, Jennifer. I owe you two for this one.
For those of you that can’t make it the show will be up until the beginning of January.
This is a piece of music I made a few years ago. I kind of put it on the shelf and forgot about it until I started collaborating with my friend Rami. She is a vocalist and player of many instruments (including Fat Bob) in two of the bands that I am in. Jon Was a Machine and Unifire
We started sending files back and forth over the interweb a few months ago and this is what came out of it.
I find it very interesting to work on music with somebody on a computer in two separate locations. I would like to pursue this avenue further. So far we have a few things done. If you are interested in hearing anything just click on the PROJECT 43N.
Some of the instruments on this track are made by me, and some of them are what some people might title as real instruments.
Real Instruments: Tibetan singing bowl, and some crappy air organ, I guess Rami’s vocals would go under this one???
Other things on this track: The sounds of the Vanguard spacecraft from 1957, the creaking of the chair I was sitting on.
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The ashtrays stayed. There is some video footage that was filmed and used in a documentary called Parkdalien. It was filmed by Corrado De Luca, and he was kind enough to use me as the subject matter. It plays on randomly on Bravo, and my mom has a copy of it.
Thanks to MB Dickinson for the photos
I built this amp mainly for use with the Sunflowers of Death, but now it seems to be an integral part of the inner workings of my spaceship. Disregard the fact that the photo is taken in my kitchen, the amp really is part of the ship.
Why do you call it The Realistic University?
That’s a good question Iner, but why are you talking to yourself?
For starters, Realistic is the name of the stereo amp I used to power the beast. I love old stereo tube amps. You don’t get the same kind of volume from a stereo amp compared to a guitar amp, but this blog has almost nothing to do with guitars. In fact I find that with some of the more umm……interesting things that I build actually sound better through things other than guitar amps.
There are three different stereo tube amps in the spaceship along with two guitar amps, which is complete overkill, and that’s why I love my ship.
Now the University is the name of the speaker mounted on top of the amp.
It doesn’t sound nearly as interesting when I explain it that way, but that’s where the name came from.
There is also a 15” speaker mounted in the lower part of the amp. I can choose from the top or bottom speaker to work on there own, or I can combine the two, which is great because there is so much low end on the bottom speaker, and the University can almost be piercing at times with it’s high end. Another great feature is the multiple inputs and outputs on the amp.
Once things are turned on and tuned up me and my ship are ready to transcend time and space.
For the nonbelievers here’s a picture of the amp in the spaceship.
This is made from an old truck horn, a small metal salad bowl, the lamp from my drafting table that my folks bought me when I was a small lad, and a speaker donated to me by Wick who donates all the crap he doesn't want.
It also has a quarter inch input for you to hook things up to. If you wanted to go crazy you could even use it as a mic. That's only if you wanted to go crazy.
originally this was a clock, somebody's electric guitar, and my grandmothers candy dish.
The clock came from the fire at my friends Brian, and Geoffs place.
The guitar neck I bought at a Goodwill on my trip around Northern Ontario that Jen and I took in July.
Tony Iommi, Tony Iommi. That's all I can remember the clerk saying as I paid for my purchases. I think he may have been a bit off.
My grandmothers candy dish didn't really belong to my grandmother, but, that's what i keep thinking when i look at it.
As you can tell this instrument has no strings. That's because it's not finished yet. Someday I will complete it, hopefully in time for my show in August 2005 at Mitzi's Cafe in Parkdale. Hopefully.
If you look closely at the bottom of the image you will notice my boots. I got those at Zellers.
Sometime I just call it the speaker mic. Originally, the speaker was built with a leather neck collar, to keep my hands free. I was able to focus on things like playing the single stringed chicken cooker, or dialing in static from a short wave radio. Ma Bells Speaker fro the Dead has changed a bit over the years, and has grown in popularity. The mic itself is the mouth piece that I removed from an old rotary phone suspended in the center of some cool looking aluminum ring I found at Active Surplus. I liked using it for weird breathing noises and the occasional moan. I think its best performance was on the album 7129/6105195 that was recorded by CRM-114. Supposedly 7120/6105195 is the mathematical equation to the universe, and CRM-114 has something to do with Stanley Kubrick. That’s all I got.
Now, Ma Bells Speaker for the Dead is mainly used by Rami when singing with Jon Was a Machine, or the band Unifire. The photo to the right was taken by Patrick Eves at Brian's house. The photo to the left was taken by Michael Keith at Michael house. It kind of shows the leather collar. In the back ground you can see the Single String along with the now defunct static box. I had all of that running through an amp I built which is sitting just out of frame. I will be posting something about that soon.
Just click on CRM-114 to hear some music by that band.
The Detector was built out of an old truck horn, a mini cassette recorder, a stainless steel server knife, and a light shade. You can use the tape deck for both recording and playback. The lamp shade was used as a mute, much like you see on trumpets.
This horn is bad, very, very bad. It is made up of the hose from a pop gun that was taken out of a bar I was working at. The mouth piece is from a woodwind store just down the street from me. And the bell is a metal funnel from my local hardware store. The horn hung at Mitzi's Sister until Janice found the love for the horn that was unable to find. I just wish it didn't suck so badly. So very, very bad.