Monthly Archives: March 2013

Ex Machina Series reaches the end of phase one

When I first started recording my own music, I programmed a lot of the guitar parts with samples in Reason. Then Cakewalk bundled a demo version of Guitar Rig in SONAR, and when I tried it out with my then-new computer in 2010, it opened up a whole lot of possibilities for me.

I’ve since spent the last three years replacing those programmed guitar parts with real ones — where my limited technique can manage, that is — and generally improving the overall sound quality of my recordings. I called this initiative the Ex Machina Series. (“Ex machina”, as in “get the performance of these songs out of the machine.”)

I can now report that the first phase of this initiative is complete.

What went into phase one?

Well, by the end of 2007, I had at least 90 recordings scoped out. I had entire albums with fake guitar parts and very minimal effects processing. The Ex Machina Series pretty much involved me going back into each of those 90+ recordings and adding effects, replacing parts and cleaning up mixes. Better sample libraries powered drums. Convolution reverb added a sense of depth.

I wanted to establish a base where I could go back into these recordings and refine them.

In the last month, I created new mixes for the last remaining albums to get the Ex Machina treatment, and they are now all available in the Music section.

It feels good to some working material that’s closer to a finished product than I had back in 2008.

Radio silence does not indicate a lack of productivity

Months can go by with nary a peep from me about what’s going on. That’s not to say work isn’t being done.

In fact, Eponymous 4 is undergoing something of a transition.

Since its creation, Eponymous 4 has been billed as a home studio project — something created in the confines of a personal space. I would tell people I’m not a performer, which is true — before Eponymous 4 launched, my previous performance was a concert with the college chorus in the mid-’90s.

And while I was busy putting down tracks from 2005-2007, I put no thought into how I’d make these recordings work on stage.

Then something happened after 2007 — I came down with writer’s block.

「光がない」 is the only new work I’ve recorded since 2007, and it consists of leftover lyrics written from around that time. I needed to do something to get me out of the rut.

So I decided it was time to start performing. My writing technique is pretty much overglorified theft, and I simply ran out of sources to steal. I needed to play other people’s music to internalize their voices so I could steal from them.

Considering the gap of time since my last performance, I knew that it would take concentration to get to a point where I would be passable on stage. I wasn’t writing anything anyway, so I made it official — while I was practicing for performances, I would write no new material. I would set aside time to continue with remixes, but I would not lay down tracks for new material in the foreseeable future. I do give myself leeway to jot down ideas if they come to me.

As of this writing, I’ve already done two open mic sessions. They’ve been terrible, and they are meant to be. Failing is the best way to improve.

At some point, I may pick up the pencil again, but for now, I need to reacquaint myself with how to get in front of people and play music.