Archive for the 'Indy Rail' Category

Oct 06 2012

Live at the Health & Fitness Expo – October 5 & 6, 2012

The Arts Council for Long Beach was given a space at the Long Beach Marathon’s Health & Fitness Expo, and they contracted my Toaster Music cohort, Sumako, to curate it. He gathered a talented group of local artists to body-paint lovely bikini-clad models while I performed my unique brand of lap steel & synth based live looping. There was also a muralist working directly behind me. All in all, it was a really enjoyable experience, with everyone working at a high level, and sharing a sense of collective comraderie.

On Friday, I performed for just shy of 5 hours, and on Saturday I performed for 6. It was, ironically, a musical marathon of sorts.

I used two main sound sources: 1) My custom built Indy Rail Lap Steel Guitar, and 2) My beloved Novation Nova Digital Modeling Analog Synth.

The guitar runs through a series of effects: MXR El Grande Bass Fuzz -> Marshall Vibratrem -> Home Brew Electronics Psilocybe Phaser -> Danelectro Surf & Turf Compressor -> Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr -> Digital delay. On Saturday, just for variety’s sake, I swapped the El Grande for my cherished ZVex Wooly Mammoth. It was tasty.

The Nova is a great synthesizer, made by a company called Novation in the late 90’s. It is a computer based synth that simulates analog circuitry. It doesn’t have a keyboard, so it was being controlled via MIDI by a Korg Kaossilator Pro. This is a musical instrument in its own right but, in this case, I was using it as a ‘keyboard.’ The Kaossilator Pro can be programmed with both scale and key settings and, when I move my finger across the touch screen horizontally, it sends only those notes to the Nova.

Both instruments go into a GigaDelay, set for 8 seconds, via a Mackie mixer, where I do lots of stereo panning. You can see a photo of the rig, more or less, below.

Anyway, before I blather any further, here are excerpts from both days:

Craniundulant – Part 1

Craniundulant – Part 2

Part one consists of excerpts from Friday’s performance. I selected several complete movements and strung them together. It reflects more accurately what I do.

Part two was created differently. I divided the 6 hour performance into 10 minute segments and, from each segment, took a two minute chunk. These chunks have a 30 second overlap, where they fade into each other. Thus, you get a brief snapshot of the evolving performance without ever hearing a complete movement.

Here’s a crappy photo of my rig:

HFExpoRig

And here’s a photo, taken by Gertrude Erin Grayson IV, who is the talented artist that is painting the mural behind me:

Artist Village - Day 1

Here’s a shot of the Saturday crew:

Here’s a shot of the Friday crew:

Here are other photos, posted on facebook, and a bunch more posted by Sumako.

I must say that everyone really stepped up, and brought their ‘A’ game to the event. Everyone was really kind and supportive, and it was a real joy to be a part of the event. Mad props and kudos to Sumako for pulling this together with very little time. It was great.

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Sep 13 2007

Industrial Guitar’s Indy Rail

My good friend Mike Weber loves Lap Steel Guitars, also known as Hawaiian guitars. These instruments are some of the earliest electric guitars, and are played with a steel bar in the left hand to select the pitch, and strummed, picked, or plucked with the right hand. He was kind enough to let me play his lap steel and, in due time, I was won over by its charms. I consided buying a vintage instrument, but there is great demand for them, even the ones that are not that great. So, I found Chris Fouke who builds modern versions from modern materials. Although he makes instruments that are designed to be played acoustically, his Indy Rail is definately a screamer when plugged in.

Industrial Guitar's Indy Rail

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Mar 23 2006

Dung Mummy Audio Excerpt

With the kind assistance of a volunteer, I recorded my performance at Dung Mummy on my video camera. The performance, in its entirety, was about 25 minutes. This excerpt, about 11 minutes in length, comes from the middle, when I had switched from my gretsch to my Industrial Guitar Indy Rail.


Click here to hear audio. Note: the file is about 10 MB.

If you’re interested, you can see pix of the guitar effects I use and read about what they do.
Enjoy!

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Mar 23 2006

Dung Mummy Pix

Although I had no idea at the time, Jason Savvy (aka Monkey Wrench) was snapping pix while I was performing. He was kind enough to post them, and share them with the performers.

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Mar 19 2006

New Guitar Cases

I got a custom case made for my new custom guitar, and decided to have a matching one made for my lap steel. The company that made them, Morris & Holmberg Cases in Santa Ana, did a pretty nice job. They used material I provided them, and painted it with a custom color. Sweet!

Custom Cases

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