Wednesday, February 28, 2007

more crap

Crap art is a new movement in art.

From what I've found it revolves around the idea that art creation is an exploratory process of discovery. It holds a disregard for common opinions of what art should or shouldn't be, and that quantity not necessarily quality should be the driving factor. The overall idea revolves around cranking out as much art as possible. Crap art follows the 80/20% rule: "If only 20% of the effort is needed to get 80% of the quality, then by spending only 20% the effort we can create five times as many artifacts at 80% quality!"

The underlying factor: Crap Art motivates people to actually do something. They put down the remote, they drop the game controller, and become productive. I know I've talked about this before but I was reading something and it brought me back to the the concept of Album a day (AAD).

Let's be honest here. How hard is it to make a full length album in one day? At first thought, churning out a CD is a lot of work in itself. Hooking all the wires up, checking the levels and connections is a feat in itself. Depending on the concept of the album, it could take weeks, months, or years to finish. I guess the idea is developing a consistent system to compose music. While many of the AAD's are pretty freaking weird, I've found a few that really hit the mark and make you wonder... "Am I capable of making something this good in one day?"

I've really been thinking about making new music this year. What I lack in motivation I make up for with weird ideas.

Not Album a Day, but something similar is Podington Bear. This bear makes a song every other day and is good. His podcast can be found on iTunes.

Some links:

Crap Art
Podington Bear

Monday, February 26, 2007


Random music on my iPod

1. The Pillows - I've liked this band since watching the anime cartoon "Fooly Cooly" on Cartoon Network one night 3 years ago. The Pillows are a fine example of 90's Alternative rock at it's best. I wish I knew Japanese. With catchy guitar lines and awesome dynamics I find myself humming their riffs throughout the day. What makes them great are the random bits of Engrish that they throw into their songs.

2. Radiohead "Live from Astoria"(concert circa 1994?) - I like this concert mainly because it bridges the gap between Radiohead's first album, Pablo Honey, and their second, The Bends. When they play material from The Bends the crowd doesn't react, like they're hearing it for the very first time. Some notable performances are "Just" and "Maquilador". Seeing Thom Yorke with shaggy yellow hair was interesting as well... "My Iron Lung" was recorded during this concert and later appeared on The Bends.

3. The New Pornographers "Twin Cinemas" - Listening to Twin Cinemas has really opened up a new chapter of music to me. My friend Jethro let me in on them and I'd have to say they fall somewhere in between what my dad listened to in high school mixed with Fleetwood Mac. I'm not trying to offend any fans of the band, I just think that musicians draw their influences from bands they like and The New Pornographers sound like they stole 70's rock and got a better drummer. Songs like "Use it" really keep me going.

4. Phantom Planet - I remember watching the video to "Big Brat" thinking "what the heck am I listening to?". Their songs are sound different every time, and makes them stick out like a sore thumb. It marks a big contrast between their earlier work and the stuff they crank out today.

5. REM "UP"- I think I like REM because they seem to put out album after album and continue to make great songs. "Daysleeper" is a good example of how REM are still viable today years after the death of Alternative music. The album is a departure from works the band has made over the years- the first without their long time drummer Bill Berry.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

guitar 1

I'm going to detail the building of my new guitar.

I've decided to piece together a guitar, so I can get what I really want. Every time I go to a music store it seems like they have the same row of Fender, Gibson, and Ibanez guitars. They're all the same made in Japan copy of some instrument that was made 20 years ago. Going from what I've studied on the internet, I think I'm capable of putting together a good instrument made from parts from here or there.

This is the plan:

1. Telecasterish guitar.
2. Olympic White paint
3. Tortoise shell pick guard.
4. String through construction.
5. Fender Strat headstock (just to be different).
6. Relic hardware.

I've got some other ideas for this guitar... I want to incorporate some onboard effects and try some other things... This is just another experiment to see what happens. If everything works out this time I'm going to try and piece together another guitar, like a Gibson or a Jazzmaster.

I've got all the parts together and everything came in the mail just fine.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007



1. I'm in school.
2. I'm in a band?
3. I'm building a weird guitar.
4. I'm married to an awesome super wife.
5. My wife is sick.
6. I got a new phone.

That's pretty much it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


I've come across some interesting ideas while researching for my next music project. Tying to find the right sound was one problem, but listening to a Smashing Pumpkins CD the other day gave me a push in the right direction. "Siamese Dream" is my favorite Pumpkins disc and despite their expansive library of songs I keep coming back to the simple riffs and guitar layers that made "Siamese Dream" such a great CD. I looked into why it sounded different from subsequent Pumpkins CD and stumbled upon the sound of the Electro-Harmonix guitar pedal called the Big Muff Pi. I've seen this pedal before in catalogues and on the web but just brushed it off as just another lame distortion pedal. Electro-harmonix is known for their interesting pedals and the artists that have supposedly used them. But the key to the Smashing Pumpkins sound was the Big Muff distortion that was quite popular among early 90's grunge/Alternative bands. I know I've heard that sound elsewhere and found out that bassists also use the same pedal for fuzzy bass lines. Examples of such can be found on Ben Folds Five and Muse albums. For being such an analog synth fan, I found that I was really dumb when it came to analog guitar effect pedals. I just figured that they were all the same and that anything could be fixed or effected later on the computer. I was so impressed that I ordered a Big Muff Pi and it came in the mail last week. I was not disappointed. Now I just need to find a Tremolo.

In my search for the perfect sound, I've also been looking for a new guitar to use for recording and live shows this summer. Guitars are expensive. There's really no way to get around it. But I may have found a way... I can piece a guitar together from spare parts, and have the ability to customize it to fit my needs. There are also some Do-it-yourself kits on the web that turn out ok when assembled and painted. Its probably the primal urge inside of me to build or cut something, but this is something that I've wanted to do for a long time. So I've looked and looked at pieces and parts and decided that I'll need a Fender Telecaster or a Gibson Les Paul to finish this project. The Strat copy I have is really noisy, and the Big Muff doesn't help with the hum either. The problem is shielding the electronics from interference and the single coil pickups are just noisy to begin with, making recording a guitar a nightmare. So I'm still looking.

I've also run into some interesting sites that make "Relic guitars". Guitars that look and feel like they've been played for decades. There are some interesting ideas floating around on the internet about how to damge and ding up a perfectly new guitar and make it look 40 years old. Bill Nash and his guitars are really impresive, and expensive. Making a guitar look convincingly old is an art in itself, and its something I would like to try if I can get my hands on some guitar parts in the not so distant future. The Guitar Attack website also has many restored guitars and the some useful hints on refinishing a guitar. They post guitars that people have made or fixed as well. Project Guitar pretty much has everything you need to make or break your guitar.
The information is out there!


Nash Guitars
Guitar Attack
Project Guitar