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Posts Tagged ‘omnichord’

Flesh and Mud – 2.16.2011 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae and Dane Hill]

Click to download the tracks:

“Cute Little Echo (Front Porch)”
“Here Comes Jombo”
“Reading Rainbow” (Horelick, Kleinman & Weir)
“Cute Little Echo (Back Porch)”
“Planned Parenthood”

I hate to use the word “groove” in almost any context outside of a crevice, as in a record or the road, but I can’t just ignore the hokier context here.  I’m not trying to liken this set to a jam band type of deal.  There is, however, an essence of  ease on this one.  It’s light.  Positive?  Who knows?

“Blue” – Notice the resistance to the soundscape at the beginning.  No one (except maybe Dane) thought I was serious about using it when I broke it out (as I did just prior to this take).  I had to sell the girls on it.  I mean, it’s a creepy sound.  I think that they think that I was just being an asshole because I’m not usually wanting to play “Blue” as much as I do the other songs.  I knew it would work, though…and it does!  Good version!

“Cute Little Echo” – Yeah.  I know how shitty my singing can get. Definitely good examples of that on these two versions, but instrumentally they are too fresh to omit for bad singing.  The “Front Porch” is quicker and more rockin’ then we have done in the past.  The “Back Porch” is…well…I’m not certain.  It’s happy.  Not so…serious?  No guitar on it.  I’m playing bass instead.  Both versions also have Dane on drums rather than beats as the prior versions have had.  And listen!  Katie’s ukulele is coming through loud and clear finally!  Alright!

“Here Comes Jombo” – Another good ol’ down home, little group jam.  Dane on bass.  Katie on the bongos.  And seriously…doesn’t it sound like someone named Jombo is approaching you?  Isn’t this what you’ll hear when it happens?

“Reading Rainbow” – I absolutely had to carry this over from the Skynet Session.  With Nathan Brown sitting in with us at the Pilot Light show on March 25th, 2011, and also being my counterpart in that session, it only makes sense to apply this one to Never Sorry.  This is the speedy, more “correct” version that they actually play on the show.

“Planned Parenthood” – This session was over.  Done for.  Megan had already left (I think).  Rachel and Katie were chatting it up.  The music had subsided, but the equipment was still on.  I was still starved for one more morsel of sound.  I suppose Dane was as well, because right after he picked up the microphone, I started this beat.  Those girls were powerless to this gangsta ass shit and we got one more aural feeding for the night.  Yes!  That’s Katie playing an old, out of tune piano.  Not keyboard gloss.

Katie Collins – omnichord, ukulele, bongo drums, piano
Megan Driscoll –  flute, harmonica, tambourine, vocals
Dane Hill – bass, drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, vocals
Arrison Kirby – keys, beats, bass, guitar, vocals

Loose Roots – 1.19.2011 – Never Sorry [Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae, Dane Hill & David Davis]

Click to download the tracks:


“Afraid of the Ghost”
“Tender Anomalies”
“House of Satan”
“Wok it Out / Sarabeth”

First legitimate session of 2011.  We were lucky to have Davis Davis (the red cloud) join in on the bass guitar.

I called it Loose Roots because this session made me feel like we were getting back to some low down, junky roots that we probably never really abandoned in the first place.  Also, the name feels appropriate considering that this one feels like a macabre ol’ time gospel session (except for “Wok it Out / Sarabeth”).  This may have the most to do with the lyrical content.  Heaven, hell, the devil and all that.

The picture is my cat, Quinn, when he was a kitten.  His roots are in New Orleans where I picked him up from a group of kids on the side of the road.  However, now in Knoxville, he’s addicted to the cold weather for some reason.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – We play it soooooo much.  It’s an easy one for people to remember, though, so it works well with session guests (such as the present David Davis).  David’s bass alongside my deep synth makes for some good tonal ground punching.

“Tender Anomalies” – This began as a jam between Dane and David.  I joined in and we became a three piece.  The girls were all in the room doing something else.  I’m not certain what, but their dialog in the background seems to fit right with the jam.

“House of Satan” – I could not resist resurrecting this one.  I changed the lyric I was not fond of the last time we did it.  Unfortunately, we lost the theramin for this version, but we did gain the bass.  I feel like I should have sung “the chous” one more time maybe.  Who cares, though?  I love this ballad ass shit.

“Wok it Out / Sarabeth” – I’m not sure how this came to be, but we all felt really really good about it as it did.  That’s Dane rapping.  The beats come from a song called “Sarabeth” that I’ve performed live, and we’ve tackled as a band, but don’t have a solid recording of for some reason.  Because of the source of the beats, we decided to interpolate elements of “Sarabeth” into this song.  It’s great, because “Sarabeth” includes the primary lyrics, “Eight sixteen,” which I wrote in reference to the title person’s birthday.  However, in weaving it into “Wok it Out,” Dane places the numbers into the  completely different context of hours and minutes.  Ah, sweet expansion!

Katie Collins – omnichord, bass
Megan Driscoll –  flute
Dane Hill – drums, vocals
Rachel Jae – auxillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, keys, beats, vocals
David Davis – bass

“Creep” (Radiohead cover) – David Davis & Arrison Kirby

Click to download the track.

photo by McKenzie Michaels

“Creep” (Radiohead cover) – David Davis & Arrison Kirby

David Davis (the red cloud, Mar) has been hanging out around the studio recently.  We haven’t really pushed a session yet, though we did end up shitting out this cover of the Radiohead standard.   We did use the session set up to record it.  Unfortunately, so much usual pre mixing was neglected because of the spontaneity of this track.  The iffy result is a few vocal lines mixed a bit too quietly.  (We can’t fix it because it’s mic’d with the omni.)  It’s especially evident at the beginning, but the projection increases into form by the end of the song.  All in all, it’s a tolerable flaw.

David is singing and playing guitar.  I’m accompanying on Katie’s omni.  It was my first time actually joining in on a full song with the omnichord.

David Davis – vocals, guitar
Arrison Kirby – omnichord

“Automobile” (NWA / Parliament cover) – Never Sorry

Yay!  The band has a video!

This song and the video were recorded on 12.1.10 at a session that only included myself, Katie Collins and Megan Driscoll.  It’s cover of the NWA song, “Automobile,” (as they reformed from the original by Parliament) from their highly misogynistic, but wonderfully produced Niggaz4Life .  It’s different than the version we did in the last session.  That one was rockin’.  This one is more chilled out and electro.

Lots of offensive language on this.  Again, I’m no fan of standard camp.  But this isn’t camp…these are gangstas!  They mean it!

And as always, if you’d like to download the MP3, here you go:

“Automobile” – Never Sorry

Creation and Deconstruction – 9.1.2010 & 9.8.2010 – Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill

Click to download the tracks:

original artwork by Antony Gormley

“Bristol (Bare Bones)”
“Afraid of the Ghost”
“New Beginnings”
“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)”
“Anemone” (Brian Jonestown Massacre cover)
“Untitled as Yet”
“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)”
“Katie’s Waltz”

This is actually an accumulation of material from two sessions, each with it’s own unique processes for evolving the material.  Of course, that could really be said of any series of sessions involving the same material with the same people.  Here, however, the session from 9.1.2010 had us fleshing out a newly written song, and trying new arrangements on older songs.  The later session, from 9.8.2010, revolved around a thick underbelly of “organized improvisation.”  Several of these tracks contain vocal direction as we worked them out on the spot.

“Bristol (Bare Bones)” – I introduced this song acoustically in my office at first.  This is the first time it was played in the studio.  I like the minimalism of this version and kind of hate that I cut it off before finishing the song.  The interplay between ukulele (Katie), bass (Dane) and guitar (me) is particularly nice in the first verse.

“Afraid of the Ghost” – This was one of those sudden improv deals.  The entire track consists of three chords, borrowed from the bridge of a song I wrote called “Sarabeth.”  It was Katie’s idea to “jam” on this, I believe.  The lyrics are freestyled right out of my head and not entirely on key…also a bit loud.

“New Beginnings” – Anyone who has ever seen me play live a few times is familiar with this song.  Dane played bass on this version.  His idea.  Worked out well.  I kiss the tips of my fingers, in fact.  As to the abrupt ending of this track, it came at the precise moment that a glass of beer totally flew off a speaker.  We chalked it up to vibration.  Though I have set plenty of bottles and glasses there in the past with no problem.

“Bristol (Katie and the Drums)” – We had an early inclination on this song to try Dane on the bass with Katie on drums.  You know…just to see.  We let her begin the drumming and we filled in around her.  It totally worked until we got to the arena-rocky, time changed chorus that didn’t happen.

“903” – This was another improvisational tangent.  I don’t know why everything is all “devil and hell” but I think it works for the overall themes that emerge in these sessions.  Anyway.  Dane called out the time.  9:03pm.  When he said it twice and there was a quality to the way he said it that made it sound like it came out of a rap song.  Thus I suggested we do a rap song.  We picked a single key and went with it.  The “rap” is completely free-styled.

“Anemone” – This was recorded on the earlier, more focused session.  Yes.  The Brian Jonestown Massacre cover returns.  This one is much fuller than the previous one, with Dane playing bass (check out the badass slide shit toward the end) and a good grainy underbelly to the guitar.  Not to toot my own horn, but I handle my improvy little guitar solo bridge thingie pretty well, too.

“Untitled as Yet” – Despite it’s missteps, this may be my favorite version of this song so far.  Dane’s deep, concussive drumming juxtaposed with the reverb-soaked club beats is of particular bounce.  I also am fond of the second half where I find myself able to channel my inner Jeff Tweedy (or was it Neil Young?) on guitar.

“Bristol (Katie and the Bass)” – It’s not perfect but, so far, it’s the best recorded version we have of the newest written song.  This one has Dane back on the drums and Katie playing bass.  On the omnichord is Rachel Jae.

“Katie’s Waltz” – This was initially “just fuckin’ around” while I got the levels kind of correct.  But how could anyone resist the call of a waltz?

“Feedback” – If the beer flying off the speaker was not a supernatural experience then maybe this was.  There was a small but not unbearable microphone feedback going on.  We all joined in, harmonizing with it.  As we moved around the feedback stopped, but we all kept yowling or whatever.  When we all ceased. there was a new feedback, louder than before.  It was none of the microphones.  Then we realized it was the guitar, which none of us had been standing anywhere near.  So either the guitar string struck itself or the vibration of our voices caused the guitar to vibrate with us.  I’m not certain but it feels magicalish.

Katie Collins – ukulele, omnichord, drums, bass
Megan Driscoll – vocals, flute
Dane Hill – drums, bass
Rachel Jae – axillary percussion, omnichord
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

August Prep Session – 8.18.2010 – Arrison, Katie Collins, Megan Driscoll, Rachel Jae & Dane Hill

Click to download the tracks:

“Anemone” (Brian Jonestown Massacre)
“New Beginnings”
“Clap Hands Jam” (improv on Beck)
“Untitled as Yet (Down)
“Really Horrible Shit is Popular”
“Single Politician”
“Family Affairs”
“Untitled as Yet (Up)”

This session was primarily practice for the Pilot Light show with Katie and the Bass Drums coming up on August 25th, as some – if not all – of the players in this session will be joining me that day.  This is also the first session recorded in which Rachel Jae and Dane Hill were present.   It was interwoven with a lot of surprise sounds coming to the forefront. Ideas too.   Some of those surprise sounds and ideas are as follows:

“Anemone” – As noted above, this is a cover of the Brian Jonestown Massacre song. The first or second time we got together under musical pretense, Katie gave me a mix CD with the original version as the starting track. I immediately loved it. It’s not too complicated of a song. So Katie, Megan and I picked it up really quick and then laid it down after Dane and Rachel had left for the night. The first take wasn’t too bad. This was the second and it’s slightly better.

“Clap Hands Jam” – This is just one of those goofy little segues that sometimes rise up when live recording. Dane and the girls had a good little percussion section going. I tried to enter with Beck’s “Clap Hands” but could not remember the order of the notes right off. So I bounced around between them, hence being but a “jam.” I did actually find the correct order, but only momentarily before we decided to send itg to its grave.

“Untitled as Yet” – Two versions here. The “down” version was actually recorded immediately following the “up” version. I reordered them and spaced them out in the track listing for the sake of flow. The down version incorporates no electronic beats, only minimalist percussion from Dane and Rachel – plus a little off kilter theremin from me. Also, notice that both versions contain “lyrics” now. We needed some way to signal when we wanted to do the key drop. Looking at each other and nodding is fine, but not always so interesting or reliable. Rachel suggested we all say “Make a wish” right before the drop. We all were in agreement, but then we did not know how to signal the wish, itself. We worked that one out too.

“Single Politician” – Dane is playing a full kit on this one and it sounds grand. We went through a few different alterations to get to this version. Mostly based around the drums, as Dane had two different modes for this song, both of which worked well. With two drum modes and two sections of the song so far, we decided to try a different mode for each section, but run them together. I think this is the best version of this song yet.

“Hymn” – If you are offended by this song, then you might want to consider downgrading your church. Perhaps to a model without an ATM machine.

Katie Collins – omnichord, ukulele, words
Megan Driscoll – flute, omnichord, vocals
Rachel Jae – shakers, wood blocks, words
Dane Hill – drum kit, hand percussion, wood blocks, words
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

Single Inception – 8.4.2010 – Arrison, Katie Collins & Megan Driscoll

Click to download the tracks:

“Family Affairs”
“Single Politician (one take)”
“Single Politician (another take)”
“Untitled as Yet”

I’ve been working on this project, playing music with Katie Collins and Megan Driscoll.  I’m glad to announce that Rachel Jae and Dane Hill are also involved and likely someone else soon, as well.  However, our weekly assembly  from August 3rd knocked us momentarily back to just we three for the night, as Dane and Rachel were out of town, filming a movie.  We worked on only a handful of things, including the performance of a new song, completed only the night before.  Keep in mind that these recordings are rough. Levels are not perfect. You can read descriptions of the surviving takes below.

“Family Affairs” – This is one I have been playing live for a while now. I’ve never been that great at nailing the chorus, vocally, and I did a piss poor job here. Plus my mic volume was too high and I was trying something different on the guitar than what I usually did at that part in the song. Each distracting. If you can suffer that, it’s all worth it for the gritty breakdown at the end.

“Single Politician” – This is a song I started several months ago and finished the night before this session. The girls picked it up really fast and the beat was just a straight and constant punch stolen from something else. Nothing fancy. Just a fun song. I posted these two different versions (of about eight) because they each have opposite strengths and weaknesses. On the first one, the vocals are better, but the lyrics have some mistakes and the omnichord and flute are not as present as they should be. On the second one, the vocals are a tad too loud and not always so tonal, but lyrically correct. The omnichord and flute are crisper. Take your pick.

“Untitled as Yet” – Another take of our new collaborative classic. This version is a bit grittier and clunky at times.

Recorded on August 4th, 2010

Katie Collins – omnichord, ukulele
Megan Driscoll – flute, omnichord, vocals
Arrison Kirby – guitar, beats, vocals

“Untitled as Yet” – Arrison Kirby, Katie Collins & Megan Driscoll

Click to download the track.

“Untitled as Yet”

So recently I have been working on a new project that’s mostly still under wraps.  The scope of the thing is yet to be seen, but so far the music is being sculpted by myself, Megan Driscoll and Katie Collins.  We began with some stuff I had written, got it downish and reconstructed here and there.  Last Wednesday, however, we ended up with this track, which was a completely collaborative process.

We’re not entirely certain what to do with it yet and it’s definitely rough around the edges, but it’s really come together well to this point.   You do have to forgive the levels on the thing.  It was recorded very simply, which did not leave me a lot of room to work with when it came to mixing and mastering.

Recorded on July 21st, 2010.

Katie Collins – omnichord
Megan Driscoll – flute
Arrison Kirby – beats & guitar