Thursday, September 30, 2010


At the end of the sixties Miles Davis, who had started playing second trumpet to Dizzy Gillespie, was pretty much the center of a new musical cult called fusion.  He used his musical clout to start mixing parts of jazz and rock with bizarre sounds produced by some of the newer recording techniques and equipment.  He later went on to collaborate with Michael Jackson, and then he apparently stole MJ's hair:

Somewhere along the way he hired and eastern European accordion player named Joe Zawinul, who went on to become my synthesizer hero.  Here he is playing "Birdland" with his band Weather Report in the 70's. 

I like instrumental music with melody lines wandering around between driving drums and bass.  Below is an attempt of mine at a fusion-ish track with drums, synth bass, electric piano, and an analog-sounding lead synthesizer.  As always, there are some incoherent bleepity-bloopity things in the background for good measure.

Monosodium Glutamate by are.kay.more

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pure Sacrilege

You don't tug on Superman's cape. You don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off the Ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't dub a midi Polka Band over a James Brown.

What we now know as "soul" came from James Brown's body in the "Soul Big Bang" sometime way before I was born (like maybe the seventies, or maybe even whatever came before the seventies). The instantaneous decompression of all soul looked like this when it happened:

 There are reports that babies also resulted as a rather odd secondary reaction.  As soul rushed forth from the singularity, some of it was captured on LPs (black musical pizzas, which you cannot eat).  Scientists have since converted said pizzas to mp3s.  Thankfully, the soul reamins unharmed by the transfer.

Now, back to me.  For years I've tried to make funky, soulful home recordings, but have generally ended up frustrated.  In a moment of genius (sleep deprivation?) I decided to start with a recording in which soul was present, and go about the process of removing it.  That would certainly make it easier to put back into tracks later, right?  At least, the whole disassembly-reassembly thing proved educational with clocks and phones growing up, why not with music?

With the stage now set, I submit for your approval:

Like a Math machine by are.kay.more

Thursday, September 23, 2010

quantum mechanics fixing tiny cars

Sometimes I like to play music. Sometimes I just like to make weird noises. Other times I like to do something in-between so that I can claim either.

Uncle Reeree:"Hey check, this out" [shoves headphones on unsuspecting passer-by]
UPB:"Whoa, strange. You know, I don't think that chord progression really works."
Uncle Reeree:"No, no, it's just noises. Just exploring some sonic space."
UPB:"Oh, I see, must be over my head."
Uncle Reeree:"Yes"

Uncle Reeree:"Listen to this"
UPB2:"With your earphones? Nasty!"
Uncle Reeree:"They're clean...-ish."
UPB2:"It looks like your sweat has worn off the vinyl cushion covering"
Uncle Reeree:"Just listen, it's like a minute and a half long is all"
UPB2:"Play it through the speakers"
Uncle Reeree:"The laptop speakers??!?!"
Uncle Reeree:"But I mastered it using the...No, the laptop speakers aren't an option."
Uncle Reeree:"OK, OK, here's five bucks"
UPB2:"Five dollars to risk contracting an ear-communicable disease?"
Uncle Reeree:"Fine. Ten. Now listen."
Uncle Reeree:"Well?"
UPB2:"It was nice, but the synths all sounded like VSTs. Hardware oscillators are needed to bring it alive."
Uncle Reeree:"There was a cracklebox in there..."
UPB2:"I know. I don't count that. And you're kind of heavy handed with the delay."
Uncle Reeree:"Well the instrumentation and mastering may not be there yet, but it's all about the melodic lines."
Uncle Reeree:"Yeah, I used a mixophrygialocrian mode with an altered temperment. Could you hear the was submediant pulled upward a few cents? It always makes me smell cinnamon."
UPB2:"No, I didn't catch that..."
Uncle Reeree:"And the phrases are shaped like Ives would have done if there had been microwave popcorn back then."
UPB2:"Sounds like you're playing to a different audience."
Uncle Reeree:"Most definitely."

With that, here is a track of me playing around in Ableton Live (recording software). The bass guitar and cracklebox cracklebox clone are real. Everything else is a software instrument or effect controlled by my keyboards. The dblue Glitch VST effect is used for the nutty piano processing. It's a kind of strange track, so I named it to refer to one of the entry level problems in quantum mechanics (a strange subject with even stranger math).

Particles In A Box by are.kay.more

Monday, September 20, 2010


Guitar is fun to play. I've acquired several over the years, which is silly, really, because I usually don't play more than two at a time anyway. This is a recording I made one evening a while back. On the computer I can record a "track" of me playing something, and then go back and layer another recording ("track") on top of it. This mp3 is just two guitar tracks, one rhythm, and one lead over an almost-certainly-not-original set of chord changes. I think that I was in an Alman Brothers-y kind of mood that day, wanting to hear a wandering guitar solo over some changes in a major key.

My Four Hands by are.kay.more

Pretty regularly I record things thinking they are original, only to realize later that it's the theme to a TV show my kids watch. Let's make a game out of it: If you can name the tune these chords come from, you get all of the money in my Swiss bank account!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stuttering Rhodes piano

This is a short piece that I put together a year or more ago.  The piano is a Rhodes electric piano, which was an attempt by Harold Rhodes to make a portable piano from aircraft parts in the 1940's.  Back then something counted as portable if it took fewer than four men to lift it.  Hammers attached to the keys hit large tuning forks next to modified guitar pickups, instead of real strings over a resonant sound board like in a real piano. 

The Rhodes piano sound is processed through a modulated delay software effect called Fire by Mdsp.  A link to the page with the free VST is here.  The results are rather pretty and ethereal.  Enjoy!

Stutterrhodes by are.kay.more

Greetings, beings of the cyber-universe

This is a blog.  A blog uses words to communicate thoughts, convey information about events, and maintain social contact with people you don't actually care to talk to.  Information on words can be found here.

This blog, however, will not be a funnel for words, primarily.  It will be a place for me to post music that I make, or original music from other people who permit that their work be posted.  For years I dreamed of planning, writing, recording, and producing an album - a coherent body of work with pieces that complement each other and flow.  I have learned that my "method" doesn't lend itself to such an effort.  I typically wander into my room of noise toys half an hour after the kids go to bed, search for cables that work properly, and piddle with drum machines and synthesizers until I have about 45 seconds worth of something I like.  The next time I get around to playing, I start over.  Still, I've found that I have fun and I enjoy listening to some of the pieces later. was not the first name choice, but was already taken, as was  Information on the brown note is worth looking up.  Should Oprah ever desire to make a blog to share with the world posts about her DethMet Favs, I'll gladly give up the URL.

The computer revolution has made it far easier to make and share music than it ever has been.  I hope that this proves to be an effective way to share music, instead of letting it all die on my hard drive.