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4/30/01

6/13/01
7/28/01
8/04/01
12/06/01

4/30/01

Hi, this I guess is the first news installment. I felt like I had to revamp the site a bit, and bring it up to date. I can be pretty notorious for letting things go.

So onto a couple news worthy items. The band that I was presently in "Spectrum" has called it a day. We are going through some growing pains and are between bass players. We had gotten tired of the club scene so we decided to start writing our own material. As a band we are pretty psyched at this new undertaking. Our music is gradually beginning to take shape and it's pretty exciting stuff. It's tough to label so I can only give a vague description of it. First and foremost it's definitley heavy. We include some odd time signatures giving it a bit of a progressive feel. It also has a subtle blues/jazz feel in some sections. We aren't afraid to throw in a couple of guitar solos as well as some drum and bass solos as well. As time goes on our sound will become more focused but as of now I think we are off to a good start. Our plan is to get a set of 10 or so songs and start playing them out in local venues as well as the city. Also recording a cd is in the future.

I have also been working on my third cd quite a bit. It will have nine intrumentals on it and it has been quite a challenge to complete. At this point I have eight tunes with all the rhythm tracks recorded, five of which have solos that are done. The music is quite a bit more aggressive and involved than the tunes on "Artifacts". I'm hoping to have it available by mid-summer. I was lucky enough to purchase a new Carvin guitar which I used a lot on this disk. It's a DC 747C seven string. I enjoyed the process of building my own custom guitar and I think I made a wise choice.

It has a neck through design. The sound wood is Koa which has incredible bite and holds the low end together better than my Ibanez 7 string (which can be a bit muddy). The top is a dark brown quilted maple and the neck is blacked out (no dots or inlays). It has coil splitters on it to give me all the pickup configurations I could ever need, and of course a tremolo bar. I have really enjoyed playing this guitar and I guess I would consider myself a Carvin convert. I guess that's it for now, thanx for stopping by.

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6/13/01

Back for another update. I decided to put all the news items in straight html instead of in the Flash movie, it's a lot easier to update that way.

So the band is still happening we have auditioned a few bass players but to no avail. We have another bassist coming by this week to try out (we are keeping our fingers crossed). Our fortitude is still very strong and we have been working hard on our new tunes. At this point we have five pretty much down and we are starting to put lyrics to them. Our sound is finally starting to come together and we are very excited about the direction we are heading in.

As far as my disc goes it too has been progressing. All nine tunes have completed rhythm tracks. Only two more solos to do and then it'll be done. I have been automating all my mixes this time around which makes things a bit easier as far as changing effects, volume etc etc. I also have roughed out all the premaster patches I'll be using on the tunes. I have done a few rough mixes and applied the premastering and I think they sound pretty good, (definitley my best effort so far). I have a good friend who produced and engineered the Nero cd (Buck Brundage), he is going to put me in contact with a pro mastering facility so I can get a nice finish on the disc and hopefully get it ready for replication. I have finished the bulk of the artwork that is going to be used on packaging also.

Probable song titles include:
Trust
11th Portal
Diminshing Returns
Slick
Bonehead
Powderburn
Bugjuice
Unconscience
7 out of 8

Well that's it for now.

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7/28/01

Hi again. Apparently my site was down for a few weeks due to routing problems that my ISP was having. Now finally that we are back up I can tell you what has been going on.

First off the band project is still going strong. We currently have five originals written and they are quite good. The music is very strong and high quality. Our singer, Jeff Skee, is starting to work on vocal melodies which will even make the music that much better. We are still on the search for a decent bass player. We have had a few auditions but no luck as of yet. Our priorities have shifted even further towards completing a CD first then playing out due to this fact.

My instrumental project is all tracked and mixed. I have been listening to it through different stereo systems and trying to find a good balance in polish. I'm trying to emulate the production elements of "Dream Theater" and "A Perfect Circle". I think that they have great production and I've been trying to get as close to them as I can within the limitations of my equipment. I still plan on having my project mastered in a pro enviroment as to bring up the levels a bit and put on the last bit of sheen.

I also had Buck Brundage (producer/engineer/friend) have a listen and he was impressed. He felt the material was very strong so he put me in contact with a person in Arizona who could possibly further my "pseudo" music career. Buck also felt that I should consider having Phil Magnotti remix and master my project over at the Carriage House Studios to further enhance the recording. (Phil has a grammy or two so he is definitley a lot more qualified than me to do this kind of stuff, plus he's a nice guy). Anyways we'll see what happens. The artwork for the disk is done. All I have left is to finalize the inside of the CD jacket. I'm still on the search for a replication company. I'm currently considering "Crystal Clear", "Oasis", and "Magnetic Air". I haven't decided on whether I'll have the jackets printed outside of the replicator or not. It depends on the money:aggravation ratio.

Final songlist:
1. 11th Portal (6:00)
2. Mahdah (4:36)
3. The Unconscience (6:23)
4. Bugjuice (4:35)
5. Trust (5:08)
6. Diminished Returns (4:23)
7. Powderburn (5:35)
8. Slik (3:59)
9. Dark Matter (4:38)

Song descriptions coming soon.

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8/4/01

I decided to write a news update dedicated to song descriptions and a bit of info behind the writing of the tunes so if you find that stuff to be interesting stick around.

11th Portal: This tune is one of my favorites I guess that's why I put it at the number one spot. The concept behind this tune is space travel in the context of the 1950's. That's why there are the campy spoken word samples and that scifi "ahhhhhhhhh" synth patch during the softer parts of the song. This song has 3 or 4 different time signatures and I think 3 distinct tempo changes. In other words it was a bit of pain in the butt to play. (Especially the reverse 3 Phrygian run, you'll know it when you hear it because the bass is having a real hard time keeping up with the guitar. You can hear a lot of different influences in this tune such as Rush, Dreamtheater, Symphony X and little bit of Vital Tech Tones.

Mahdah: My son Luke starts of this song with one of his own made up words. Mahdah is simply the combination of mom and dad combined. Apparently he found this a lot easier to say then to have to seperate out the words.
This tune lends itself to a more funk/fusion styling. I had been working on my bass playing and found that Gary Willis' style of playing is definitley the way to go. Basically instead of approaching the strings from the top with your right hand you approach them from the bridge so you can mute the strings with the edge of your hand if you need to. It's kind of hard to describe, he does a much better job on his website.(www.garywillis.com). The music deviates from jazzy funk to a dropped tuned metal feel.

The Unconscience: The intro to this was the beginnings of another tune but I found that it worked well here.
This song has some 80's flavor to it mixed with some slap and pop bass. The break down section is kinda flamencoish (I know that's not a real word). I bring the intro back as the outro and add some ridiculous samples at the end.

Bugjuice:Remember back in the old days when you were a kid and your mom would make Koolaid? Well in our house it was called bugjuice. This song for some reason reminds me of when I was young. The tune is essentially a combination of funk/fusion and metal. This was the first tune I recorded for this disk. Definitley some Tribal Tech influences in this tune.

Trust: This is probably my favorite tune. The beginning has twisted samples of my voice and breaks into the theme. The samples are representing a radio communication of a person who is in some kind of trouble. The message keeps breaking up because the people who want him are homing in on his signal and are trying to intercept his message.
After the initial weirdness the music breaks into the main progression with a contrapuntal melody line which is involved with a question and answer solo. Then it breaks down into a bass run (aeolian/blues) no rhythm guitars.The guitar solo at this point has a phaser on it to give it a spacey feel which kind of goes well with the synth sweep in the background. The rhythm guitars then come back mirroring the bass and the solo comes in (sans phaser) with a diminished run, (kinda wacky but I like it). Finally the tune closes out with the first two themes.
This tune was a real pain in the ass to mix. I couldn't get the guitars to sound right. I find that the more instruments there are the harder it is to have a clean delineated mix (makes sense).

Diminshed Returns: This starts out with a 7/8 riff that's kinda cool. I also slipped in a swelling synth sound in the background to try to glue things together a bit. The tune then goes into 15/16 scale run that was pure hell to play on bass. Then off to the funky part which I tried to make as old school as possible by using the phaser on the rhythm guitar and doing the old slap and pop. I also stuck in the obligatory bass/organ run which quiets things down a bit. Then comes the the diminshed low C# riff with the Pink Floyd clock sound. Back to the funk. Then to C# again with the masturbatory solo (hey I gotta have a little fun). Then it wraps up with the 7/8 theme.

Powderburn: This starts out with just guitar and drums which kind of sounds of odd but I really wanted the contrast when everything else came in. The song is kind of a tribute to war veterans.
The beginning has that choppy march kind of feel and the middle of the tune where it breaks down I put in a spoken word sample which says "all of the heroism is in the service that they represent". This part actually turned out pretty nice with the keyboard helping out a bit to give it an ethereal kind of feel. Then off to the aggressive part with the obligatory fast guitar runs. Finally it finishes up with the choppy initial theme except a lot more aggressive.

Slik: This song is pretty bare bones instrumentally. It just has drums, bass, one rhythm guitar and the lead guitar. I find the less instruments the easier it is to get a good sound. The bass solo is fairly nonsensical which is why I like it. I put in a lot of drum breaks which is a definite no-no when you're programming drums but I felt the song warranted it.

Dark Matter: This song is probably the weirdest conceptually. Dark matter is basically the same as anti-matter which is everything that matter is not (yeah I know, very trippy). I personified dark matter by giving it a voice. The samples are essentially saying that we, humans, are just trivial thoughts that dark matter thinks of that come and go. The coming and going are parallels to our living and dying. Also a sample says that we are just an anomoly so essentially our existence is a mistake.
The initial riff is just a bunch of descending and ascending diminished shapes. Then it kicks in with the main riff which is in 7/8 on low D. Then strings and guitar come in with a D min9 to D min7 to A min add 9 progression over it. The next part is your basic metal/blues riff and then the mellow part with the samples. A bridge section comes up next that builds into a straight ahead rock groove, then the diminished section, the main theme, and finally back to the metal/blues part to wrap it up.

I'll probably add some stuff to the descriptions as time goes on. I'll also be putting up some mp3's soon too.

Thanx for stopping by.

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12/6/01

Long time no write. Hey what can I tell you, things have been busy. I am slowly getting the wheel turning on my new project as far as getting it out and about. I uploaded one of the new tunes (11th Portal) onto www.garageband.com and so far it has gotten some fairly decent reviews. I've been trying to get a general vibe frome people to see if they are into the tunes so I can make a decision as far as replication goes. I don't want to be stuck with a zillion cds that will do nothing but collect dust.

Another cool development is the fact that I have been able to play some of my tunes in a "Guitar Showcase". The premise is pretty interesting. My instructor, Lou, has picked out about 10 or so students to perform at different clubs in the area (upper Westchester CountyNY). Louie is playing bass and he has hooked up with a top notch drummer named Jason. It's pretty interesting actually playing these tunes in a live enviroment. It's something I didn't think I would be doing. The feedback I've been getting has been quite positive, which is encouraging. It's bad enough playing challenging stuff live but what's worse is wondering if people out there are going to be into your stuff. I'm currently doing three of the tunes off Wyrd - "Diminished Returns", "Slik", and "Mahdah". Our next show is going to be at Danny's Cafe which is on Main St. in Ossining, New York on 12/26/01. If you are in the area and are into fusion, jazz and instrumental rock, check it out.

I'm going to try to get some pics of the past gig as well as future ones to post on the site. (yay)

The band I'm currently in is going along smoothly albeit slowly as far as writing goes. We have 7 tunes down musically and some lyrics being formulated. The tunes keep getting better and better I just wish the process could be quicker but what are you gonna do. Hey I consider myself lucky that I got some great people to work with who are enthusiastic about the music we are writing.

Well that's it for now..

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