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    A King from Cleveland, ’67


    2014 - 08.26

    So maybe a year ago my mom bought an old King brand cornet at a farm auction.  I recently got it serviced at last and resolved some odd tuning issue it had.  And I gotta say, this thing is hot.  Maybe it’s just been a long time since I’ve played on any new instrument especially at length but man, this horn is really a breath of fresh air.  One with an awesome high range too.

    King Cornet.  Tasty.

     

    Hail to the King, Bb

    Latest Hot Track Obsession


    2014 - 07.15

    Here’s a tune I’ve been listening to a lot lately: “C130” by the band Brownout.

    Seems these guys were trying to make something that sounds as big as a C-130 Hercules aircraft, shown here fighting forest fires.  And I’d say they succeeded, in a genre you could justifiably call Cinematic Funk.  It’s pretty huge.

    c-130-2

    I like to play trumpet and it sounds like this


    2014 - 06.28

    So I’m in a band and it’s called “100% Juice” and I think it’s preaaatty cool.  If you like improvised, funky music or electrified horns, I think this is worth your listening time.  I will post more as we create more.

    So far there are 5 tracks up on our Soundcloud although we’ve been playing for over a year now.  We’re selective like that?  The track “Freeze Pop” was recorded using a multi-track interface, the Tascam US-2000.  I’m quite jazzed about the prospects of using this thing to make progressively better and better recordings of the music we’ve been making.

    I will also mention here that if you REALLY like it, there is a continuously rotating directory which hosts our latest and greatest jams in long form, unabridged format, accessible as zip files.  These are also the high-fidelity, sonically-best way of listening to us.  You will hear a clear difference versus the streaming version.  These can be found here:

    http://www.microcosmologist.com/juice/

    Reason Synchronous Video Tutorial


    2014 - 06.18

    I made this video so I may as well post it here… it’s a video tutorial on using the Propellerhead Rack Extension “Synchronous” in Reason 7.1 to make glitch percussion.  If you know what some or most of that sentence means, definitely check this out:

     

    I also made a shorter version, since this video was created for a contest, and (naturally) AFTER I made the above one, I figured out there was a 5 minute time restriction.  The short version is here.

     

    Saturday Brunch with The New Mastersounds


    2014 - 04.28

    The New Mastersounds at International Fest in Houston TX.  World Music... well they are from Europe I guess!

    Simon at IF“At this point we’re just making shit up.  I don’t even know what song we were playing there,” jokes Simon Allen from behind the drums as they wrap up an impromptu reggae detour lasting a couple minutes or so.  Midway through Simon had broken into what I’d describe as a dancehall or Caribbean type beat which is something I’ve never heard them do.  Having seen this band enough times to lose count, it was one of the more interesting moments in the show for me.  Rushing out the door to get there, I had debated bringing along my Zoom H4 audio recorder to tape the show but decided not to at the last second since I was pressed for time and wasn’t sure where the windscreen was.  Maybe about 3 tunes in I came to regret that decision; despite my familiarity with their catalog, the brits had again managed to step outside my expectations and bust out some new tricks.

    International Fest in Houston was this weekend and as Eddie noted toward the end of their performance, the first time that The New Mastersounds had visited “H-Town” as an audience member instructed them to call it.  They took a certain pleasure intoning this moniker in the most deliberately anglicized accent they could muster.  Eddie was sporting an off-white suit and Pete (who was announced in a nasal-sounding voice as “Peter” at all times during the show) wore a Brooklyn Bowl shirt, which I thought was pretty cool.  Weather was humid and what you’d call “pretty warm” here in Texas.  Thrice the band saw fit to comment on how hot they thought it was even though as their introducing stage manger explained, “this isn’t even the real heat yet.”

    It was a smooth Mastersounds.  Very much a groovy, jazz-in-the-park style performance, which I enjoyed.  There were two things of particular interest in the set: one, where a solo Eddie Roberts on guitar began their tune “Thermal Bad” stretching in a delicate, bare setting all the way until the B section arrived.  Typically this is a super rocking number, so it was intriguing to hear them give a wholly different take on it.  And sure, they took it there eventually.   But this show wasn’t about the meltdown, it was far more focused on the slow builds and the clear, thoughtful solo, delivered to an audience who had recently finished up a casual afternoon brunch and drank that Saturday coffee as I had.

    Joe Tatton on the keys took it into dreamy, full-on Mister-Rogers-Feeds-The-Fish Mode on the rhodes, drifting our minds off into the sky with those delays and open spaces in his phrasing.  There were some bursts of that dexterity he likes to keep hidden in reserve, and some eyebrow-tilting jaunts into the ‘out’ keys, but for the most part, he kept the dial locked on Spacey.  Which is perfectly fine by me since he doubtlessly excels in that realm.  Similarly, Eddie Roberts showed us in a few brief flourishes that “yeah, I could burn it down if I really wanted to, but hey it’s just our first date here, Houston, and I wanna take it nice and easy you know?  Make it special?”

    The second point of interest was a very gentle and chilled version of “Summercamp.”  The original tune is already laid back as-is, but this live version subtracted the driving percussion during the melody, instead seeing Simon mirroring its rhythm with light taps on the cymbals.  For me this was the coolest part of the show since Summercamp is one of my favorite joints off their most recent two albums and two, it’s always neat to see musicians taking a familiar song and going new directions with it.  Hopefully they return to Houston sooner than later…

    Dat Suit

    Carl’s Last Interview


    2013 - 12.25

    Check out this cool downtempo track:

    ok, and also, it is past high time that I give a shout out to Groove Salad internet radio from Soma FM.   I heard the above track there, as well as the mind-blowing downtempo masterpiece Music for Space Tourism.  I’ve been a fan for nearly 10 years now and they hold it down.  Microcosmologist Official Recommendation tag for them!

    You Might Be Cool. But You’ll Never Be ‘Personal Disco Component’-Equipped Cool.


    2013 - 07.02

    So recently I was looking to possibly purchase a boombox and, like I always do, I had to go research this matter and determine what is the coolest possible boombox as a point from which to work backwards in determining my final choice.  And I totally found the coolest boombox.  Ever.  In world history.  It’s this:

    image

    Texas 2-Step Sessions Pt.Deux …in one pic


    2013 - 06.22

    Recently had a music making electronic power session with two buddies which was a combination of fun, educating, inspiring, and amusing.  We worked with Propellerheads Reason 6.5 and two keyboard midi controllers, it was a nice setup for electronic composing.  Below is a picture of the trio in action, overlaid with a thor synthesizer and the pattern from the tapestry on the wall (visible in the mirror); both of those were other photos I took that night.  I want to get some finished audio together and post that up too.  More on that later…

    Green Meanie: The 12″/500W Sealed Box


    2013 - 05.31

    So previously I chronicled the construction of a set of hefty bookshelf speakers I built for my brother. They’ve got a new buddy: a 12″, 500 watt subwoofer, in matching green paint! I haven’t written about the process of building this guy near as much because the cabinetry was essentially the same process: cut up MDF, router in the driver openings, glue’n’screw together, router off hard edges, silicone seal all joining surfaces on the inside, primer paint the outside, 4 coats of green paint, and then coat the whole shebang in Enviro Tex for a piano finish.

    This time around I used a thicker, globbier primer called “gripper” in the hopes that it would more aggressively adhere to the MDF. When I put it on, it seemed like oh yeah, this stuff is gonna bond. But sure enough: I set the wet surface down on a few triangular wood blocks to dry, then each of them lifted off a small bit of the paint when dried. Seems like nothing can actually adhere itself to MDF, it just covers it. That’s going to be okay though, since the Enviro Tex finish is very thick and will seal any loose imperfections underneath.

    This is only my second attempt at building a sub. The first one I built for a roommate in college. It used two Peerless XLS extra long excursion drivers, one active and one passive. Using a passive radiator extends the frequency response and lets you get some serious low frequency. The downside is that since the passive driver is, by definition, uncontrolled by a magnet, it’s free to vibrate however it wants. That will muddy up the sound. That sub was definitely LOUD as hell, and low too. We would bump that thing in the dorms and I’ll be damned if you couldn’t hear it on the other side of the building, 3 floors away. And we’re talking about a cinder-block building too!! So that thing was an outrageous amount of firepower for it’s size, which I would credit to the low frequency extension of the passive radiator. But it could never be described as tight, quick, responsive, or accurate.

    As my second attempt, I picked out a driver that could be used in a sealed box, to go for power and accuracy in the audible range. The lowest of the lows are really cool, for sure, but subs with very low frequency output are almost impractical in a sense: that low, low range is going to penetrate ANYTHING, as the cinder block dorm proved in college. You’re going to be irritating anyone within a thousand foot radius when you rock out, no if’s about it. This time around I wanted power in the range of human hearing. Yeah, that’s still going to punch through plenty of walls, but not on the level that <30Hz will.

    I went for a 12″ as a compromise between tightness/control and low frequency extension in a sealed box. The lowest audible frequency, referred to as “f3″, should be somewhere in the high 30s. The driver is a Dayton Reference Series 12” model “RSS315HO-44″ with 4ohm impedance. It’s a dual voice coil driver, although I’ll only be powering one. The T/S parameters of this thing call for a one cubic foot sealed box for its optimum response, which is fairly small for a sub. This would be a superb driver for a car sub, where more amps would be geared toward handling that brutal 2ohm impedance you’d get by wiring the dual voice coils in parallel.

    Supplying the power, we’ve got a 500 watt amp made by Yung International, with a +6dB boost at 25Hz. I went for the 6dB boosted model as opposed to the normal model, with aim of pushing the f3 out a little lower than the driver would normally achieve. Why not use that EQ to my advantage!

    First impressions?  Punchy-est 12” in recent memory!  It’s bass drum hits are concise.  Basslines are even, with no ‘bloated’ notes that pop out louder than the rest.  And the lowest audible pitch notes are there.  The tune “To Feel Good” in the music section is a great test of super low bass, since we used a sine wave bassline at -1 octave to the main bassline synth you hear.  That makes for some low, deep notes!

    Really digging this puppy so far.  Gonna be a hell of a sound system for this fall….

    Hip ‘n’ With It Bumper Stickers


    2013 - 05.06

    Taken on a recent camping trip, and posted to celebrate the release of Reason 7 last week.  Lucky #7!