VF Reviewed in Pedal of the Day

•March 2, 2018 • Comments Off on VF Reviewed in Pedal of the Day

Hey all – it appears to be a snow day today. Rare by institutional standards, but apparently it does in fact happen, possibly without Cayuga Lake being frozen from end to end either. In short, office day. Plus a day to hang with the family and take it easy. So far I’ve danced in about 6 “shows” for stuffed animals, went camping twice, built two railroads, houses for the anthropomorphized versions of said trains, read 4 issues of vintage Spider-Man (with the Lizard prevailing as favorite villain so far) and hid from “monsters” (in other words, Pau) about 4 times. I believe we’re experiencing what people have called Cabin Fever. Thinking it might be a good time to get decked out in snow gear and go roll around in the fluffy stuff until we get into possible nap territory. Then some sort of warm beverage, check the slow cooker and see about dialing up some sort of family-friendly feature to get us through until bedtime. I doubt the mail’s running today, but if it is, maybe spend the evening hacking away on a couple projects. I ran out of solder the other day, so if not for that, I’m kind of at a loss, hence webwork. Maybe if I get really desperate, I’ll fire up the old Max patch and see if I can learn me some more Jitter. Because I’m really that far behind. I’m sure I still know Max 4.6 exceedingly well, but hey, video and voltage, kids. But in the meantime, a quick heads up, that the Number 23, which is NOT being retired was recently featured on Pedal of the Day. The video’s at the top of the post. For those into reading, here’s the accompanying article. Good stuff – thanks again for the feature – good words from an awesome site.

OK, being paged. Must return to flustered parenting within the confines of the walls of this-here cabin. Wish me luck, kids.

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Retirement Celebration, Pt 2

•February 25, 2018 • Comments Off on Retirement Celebration, Pt 2

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Post two for today. So ya know how last week I was all “hey, we’re retiring the 24’s?” Same goes for Platanos for the same reasons. Again, Thanks and then one to all the folks who took the plunge on this guy and remember – it’s not the end, just the end of me trying to actively profit off the whole building and selling routine. New projects, they await and all that. Also, for those interested in what the Platano was all about, here’s the schematic. Figure I might as well share.

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Three more industrial hits!

•February 25, 2018 • Comments Off on Three more industrial hits!

So hey gang, as of right now, I’m officially sick. Fun, right? Usually the first half of an illness is me being in denial that I’m actually sick,  but yesterday had me delirious and begging for dayquil, as is the way of my people. Today I’m a little better, but still holed up with a box of tissues hoping that I can get my act together for the office tomorrow. I think I can do it. Waste of a weekend, but eh, gotta nuke something. I’ll probably post a couple more things as the day wears on, but here’s the first. Breaking with celestial phenomenon, new releases from the net label. In numerical order, we have:

Oa – Aeriform Cities

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Matt Davignon and Hugh Behm-Steinberg present a record of processed voice, featuring the quintessential who’s who of voice processors from the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s pretty snazzy. Plus the album artwork provided courtesy of Mary Behm-Steinberg is some of the best VFI’s features so far – tops! This is release number 22, by the way.

FORMS OF THINGS UNKNOWN – No Disposition or Exit Plan

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Number 23, sequentially. Ritualistic synth jams by way of Ferrara Brain Pan, another San Francisco legend from the banewmus scene. This stuff is dark, and I know a thing or two about dark synth jams. Recommended! Finally, we’ve got:

 

Marlo Eggplant – head/rush(ed)

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For those who don’t know her, Marlo’s kind of awesome. Plus she’s about to finish her doctorate in England. Take a listen and love it! This is number 24.

Ok – taking a break to re-up on the dayquil – more post 2 for today = incoming momentarily.

Retirement, Reflection, Celebration

•February 10, 2018 • Comments Off on Retirement, Reflection, Celebration

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So hey. Been a second. Been busy. But not so busy this weekend, so I get to take the time to deal with web logistics, etc. Not to mention laundry and other household sundries. Currently clocking month 3 in Ithaca – feels like years. Possibly a good thing? Still sleeping better and stress levels are still much lower than at any time in the past four years. Lucky me. A couple new releases on the horizon via the industrial wing, but first a few announcements.

Announcement 1: Retirement.

Ok – sort of – I’m not retiring. Really of anything. Hell, I’m 35. I’m not eligible for nearly anything for another 25 years. Nor am I giving up the goat or throwing in the towel in the whole creative life thing. The day gig will continue to be the day gig and the nights will be spend with building, writing, recording and what have you until further notice. What is retiring, however, is the Number 24. And no, it’s not going away. In fact, I’ll probably be building them at a greater pace than I’ve been for a while. In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite builds and currently forms the backbone of my home built analog rig. Seriously, it’s great, folks. What I am retiring it from is capitalist production. It’s been 6 years since I built the first 24 in Costa Rica, partially in a response from a client to build something similar to a Supersonic Fuzz Gun – which it actually isn’t, by the way. And in those 6 years, it’s ended up in the hands of some awesome players, who I have nothing but thanks and gratitude for with regard to support, enthusiasm and their willingness to plot a course into the unknown and take a chance on this particular weirdo. But there comes a time when you realize that you have too many balls in the air and it’s only a matter of time before they either come crashing don or you’re simply going through the routine of keeping everything in motion. Especially last year, that was definitely my case. Build, sell, build sell, etc., without any time to design, invent and experiment. Seeing as it’s a new year, in a new town and new everything, I decided that it would be grand to concentrate on a couple new endeavors, and by extension, hopefully figure out new ways of making this industry more efficient and time-friendly. Because trying to work full-time, do the art and electronics thing, write music and be present in the life of a very active preschooler is kind of a handful.

So what does this mean? Simply put, no more direct sales. If you want one, feel free to reach out and I’d be more than happy to build one for you. But no inventory, no marketing, no building with the expectation of exchanging said device for cash unseen from mystery buyers on the internet. I’ll still have them available from time to time on merch tables and as a workshop unit, but other than that, hey, it’s had a good run – let’s put it out to pasture and see where my experiences in building that particular model will take me as I dream up new stuff.

Announcement 2: Reflection.

I’m sure I’ll inevitable go deeper into this one later, but something kind of strange happened the other day while I was sitting in on a lecture by George Lewis at the day gig. He was talking about the notion of Creole aesthetics in contemporary music and while he was listing examples, I kept referencing various pieces of Latin American contemporary art. Which kind of makes me wonder why I feel like I associate with the academic elite in contemporary western music or if that’s a label of a time gone by. It’s weird to think that a gringo farm-kid from upstate New York (currently living and working in upstate New York) could ever potentially identify as a Latin American contemporary artist, but hey, in an era of non-binanry fluid identification where anyone can be anything, why the hell not? Who knows. Like I said. Reflection. I’m sure more will come up on this subject over the next couple months.

Announcement three: Celebration!

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So yeah. I’m 35 now. Statistically, hey, my life is half over! I’ve never really made that big a deal about the passage of time, but for some reason this time it’s been a bit of a positive affirmation that I’ve now been ding this creative sound stuff for half my life. Or a quarter of my life if you think of things as being half over – time to refine a thing or two, methinks. Concentrate on what matters most. Rededicate. Enjoy it. Like I said, celebrate. That being said, here’s a horrible recording from my show last week. My flash recorder bit the dust after a decade of use so I attempted to use my even older portable MiniDisc recorder from undergrad. Apparently MD does not do well with my current sonic aesthetic (bass, dynamics, etc). But in effort to document the good, bad ad ugly, here it is. Next workshop, I’m totally investing in a decent Sound Devices recorded (says the noise musician with expensive tastes), but hey, for now, enjoy the crunch.

Until next time,

t.

Frozen Globe Illuminates the Ice Sky

•December 21, 2017 • Comments Off on Frozen Globe Illuminates the Ice Sky

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So hi – it’s been a second since the last update on this thing that I swear is a functional website that’s about art and music and not just a forum for me to vent in absence of a presence on social media. Maybe one day I’ll rejoin the hive, but at the moment, the current administration is pretty hung-ho about trolling our media presence at every border crossing, so eh, call it a public service to keep the line moving faster.

On that note – so hey, what’s new. First and foremost, we, being Pau, Xime and I are no longer in Baltimore. Yup. A new phase in all things VF, in this case meaning VauxFlores and not Vanity Fair or Vauxhall, for that matter. Here’s what went down: After nearly 11 months of looking for an upgraded occupational position that will allow such human luxuries as a decent education for my daughter, I was offered and subsequently accepted an IT position at a college in Ithaca, NY. I’ll leave it up to you to discover which one, but in less than two weeks, the house was packed and we were on our way north. 2 months lair, we’re still only kind of unpacking, but I pretty much hit the ground running and our heads are still spinning from the rapid transition. In spite of that, we’re happy to report that Ithaca living is pretty chill – it’s a smaller city for sure and you owe some of the amenities of being on the coast, but it has it’s perks. For instance, we can now afford to send Xime to preschool and I appear to be less stressed out and happier. Always a good thing. Not to mention that there’s that “gorges” joke to acknowledge.

So what’s different in this new phase? In all honesty, I’m not sure. It’s not every day that you pack up and move to a city you’ve only ever been to once before where you know maybe three people from the time before you moved there. I’m sure I’ll figure out some manifesto, but in the meantime, boxes are being built, projects are being finished, sounds are being recorded and the Industrial and Video wings continue to do their thing – possibly even with slightly more gusto and determination that before since there’s not the hovering spectra of where you’re going to end up in the next 6 months. Not to say that Ithaca is the forever home, but there’s currently no exit strategy – all said, it’s kind of this happy, affordable, quirk-filled, northeastern, liberal farm town populated by some of the smartest people on the planet. I guess what I’m trying to say here is it could be worse.

In the meantime, let’s talk releases, yah? After all, it is a solar event and if we go by VFI rules, that means new tunes.

First up is Windfall from the Oakland, Ca. duo Usufruct, otherwise known as Tim Walters and Polly Moller Springhorn. If you recall, Tim’s first VFI release The Difficult Third Wish was our smash hit of 2017 and this release if the perfect follow-up, blending haunting electronics with Polly’s disembodied intonations. Seriously, take a listen.

Also on deck is the next adaptation of my Songs of the Rain and Urban decay. Maybe I was inspired by the overall terrible nature of vaporwave videos or the insistence that in order to make it on nearly any level of the music business at this point you need a video, I decided to create a video album of sorts to accompany said records tracks. Of course not being on social media really stymies the inertia for that particular drive and YouTube craps out years worth of media per day, rendering one’s personal videos pretty much culturally insignificant, but hey, you never know. Not to mention it was fun dorking around with Final Cut for a second. I’m still rusty, but who knows – after spending most of a decade only really filming terrible examples of audio electronics, it could be fun to get wacky for a second.

So that’s what’s up. Go list to Tim and Polly’s disc, go watch my videos and enjoy the celestial phenomena. Then get some sleep. You need it. I need it. We all need it.

 

Endings, beginnings and remixes

•October 16, 2017 • Comments Off on Endings, beginnings and remixes

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For those who tune in regularly just to see what I’m up to as opposed to via referrals from music blogs or pedal reviews – speaking of which, yes, I still do that stuff (pedal building, that is), just not as much as I’d like to or as quickly as I could – the joys of balancing work, life and extra-curriculars. Anyways, this is what’s up.

First, some new tracks from the Industrial branch – Esteban of the Bloqueos variety cooked up some pretty convincing tracks in the style of Black Dice. I, not really knowing anything about Black Dice, offered to create dub remixes of them and failed horribly, creating mixes that are my usual walls of sound but with more delay. Not to say that they’re bad. Several years ago, while on tour with the Pink Canoes, Aram mentioned that regardless of his output, he’ll always end up filed in the jazz section at the record store. So it goes. Or course Aram is versatile and is actually an accomplished sax player while I’m an Eno-inspired acolyte of 90’s era Merzbow with questionable actual musical abilities, but hey, not stopping me. Anyways, here’s the link for these mixes.

In other news, it looks like its full steam ahead for a pending move from Baltimore, Md. to Ithaca, NY. Still finalizing paperwork, but boxes are being packed in anticipation. More on that as it happens.

Moving Images + Geology

•October 6, 2017 • Comments Off on Moving Images + Geology

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A quick one considering it’s day 5 of my 2nd 6-day work week in a row and for lack of better description, I am dragging here.

Two updates. First, I’m happy to announce that a 9-month collaboration with Colorado-based improviser Paul Mimlitsch has just bore fruit by way of Uncompahgre, a new album from VFI featuring Paul on bass and contrabass clarinets and me on electronics. We’ve been bouncing tracks back and forth now since January and I’m happy to report that they’re quite freshly-certified on the usual aggregates. By the by, for those curious about the meaning of said word, it’s Ute and is on loan to such locations as the Uncompahgre River, national forest and what have you on the western slope. Roughly translates, it means “water that turns rocks red” – fitting, since Colorado itself is basically bastardized Spanish for “the color red.” Said national forest was also the site of one of the more amazing things I’ve heard over this particular lifetime, being expanding ice on a frozen basin, amplified by several peaks around it, turning each crack into an epic space-war of echoes. Possibly you hear that in these tracks? Or not. They’re improvised. Hear what you want to hear. As should be the case.

In other news, after nearly a decade of inactivity, I’ve somehow found myself working with video again. Granted it’s primarily using footage the remaining footage that I shot back then, but it’s something. I’m not sure if you would call them music videos, video art or something else, but seeing as the entire media world seems video crazy at the moment, I may as well follow suit. Or at least add a tab to page navigation. Things are a little sparse there at the moment, but I’m sure it’ll get fancy eventually.

And with that, coffee beckons. 16 hours left to this work week. If I’m lucky, the phone will ring with good news.