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Scenic Mob / Blog

New Recording Capability!

It's been a long while since I've posted any new tracks, and mostly this is due to the difficulty I have with recording directly from the Tower Of Power... In the older method, I had to run a mic and mixer into my old desktop computer to then record, burn a CD, rip that cd to mp3, and then upload... But Recently I purchased a Korg Sound On Sound digital recorder from Ebay for pretty cheap, and it has both a 'line in' recording jack I can run right off of the Tower's mixer, And it can export directly to the computer via Memory card to then post as an MP3... While I've been spending the past few weeks getting a hang of how to run it all, I've also been working on recording some New Demos of my piano/vocal music under the name 'The Dolt Jack Narna' however, I hope to soon get it properly jacked into my Tower so I can post a few of the synth Jams I do regularly... less structured and polished perhaps, but more Experemental and Free form (more in line with what I actually DO with my tower on a daily basis)... once I get things wired in and set my levels and so on... it should allow me to not only readily record experiments, but also to record and post any Live Shows I might do in the future! I do not use laptops, Ipads, or samples, and so Recording readily has always been a difficulty on my current rig... A problem SOLVED however with the new digi recorder!

So, not only will this make my posting easier, but it also means It will be easier for me to share the little improvs and progressions I can make day-to-day which have always happened, but up to now have been so difficult to share!

Like I said, I'm working on piano/vocal demos right now, but they will soon be up and posted - and then we should see some New SCENIC MOB Tracks Fast and Soon! Fingers Crossed! Plenty of progress yet to be made, but something to look foreward to!! Soon then!

A Bigger Badder Tower of Power...

While I've yet to achieve the very real progress of a live show, discouraging tho that can be, I am pleased to report that my tower continues to progress and gain in strength and capability! In fact, I have recently reached a level of whole new approaches to my 'older' tracks meaning each and every song is now also more powerful, varied, and complicated! This is so vital for my musical style because using 'hardware only' my abilities for expression from one moment to another are 100% dependant on the actual components I posess at that time and the way they are set up to interact and flow... my most recent additions of compressors and signal processors lend much more tweakability and control over my synth signals - not only making for a more stable and predictable sound, but opening far more live tweaking possibilities than before as each signal is now reigned in and mitigated... a benifitt I intend to continue integrating with the purchase of even more comps for my other signals... but nevertheless, the tower continues to evolve with each step... my eventual upgrade of each synth will doubtless open up even more sonic possibilities, and I'm far from done... yet it's a rig who's power continues to grow and who's awesomeness already has reached stellar and unheard of praportions! Keep posted! More soon! I look foreward to the day I can eventually unveil its workings and abilities Live! The music sounds better, and pictures are nice, but nothing quite captures the stunning whole in full action quite like being there.... SOON!! (tho not soon enough!)


I finally got about 25 Demo CDs printed up the other day... had to go to Hendersonville to get the covers printed, but I think it turned out well... with any luck, they'll make it all the more likely to have a few Live Shows Comming Up Soon! The Internet stuff is good, but I want to get out there in person! I also spent a bit more cash on some more components for the Tower Of Power the other day... still a work in progress but a more capable and powerful work in progress now! More soon! Hopefully a show or two! Stay Posted!!

What to do? What to do?

I've been kinda juggling options a lot lately... Lots of projects in the works... I play guitar, singer songwriter stuff, and blues, rock, folk, as well as all the techno (under "The Dolt Jack Narna"). I've also been teaching myself piano for a couple of years now, which I like doing very much, but probably still suck a fair bit at... ;) I suppose what I really like doing is Composing and arranging (as well as performing of course) I've written lots of pop songs... that was always the thrust of my guitar work. Piano, much like guitar, focuses on accompanyment while singing... (with much work to do!) Techno then, becomes my most effective medium for composing music... where I can play absolutely everything on any instrument I want, and with sequencing I can both perform live AND completely orchestrate and master the work Beforehand! I have returned to the RM1X (RS7000 in future!). The Emu/roland pattern system was cramping my style and The Emu has only ever been about those sound cards... I'm thinking a Vintage Pro will give me what I'm Really After from EMU... (eventually) No, my main problem right now is the RM1X... or more speciffically, the OS... I still need to get new chips! But, long term, that's the way to go... New chips for the RM1X and some replacement buttons and that baby is Perfect! With the idea of going RS7000 in future none the less... But, TILL THEN running external modules is nearly impossible to do practically... It is easyer for me to Be Inspired and Get It DOWN on the RM1X than it ever was on the MP-7... and I decided that's the most important thing, It has me composing again! Love the new stuff from KORG, Makes me want to try other options (which will probably never stop) and I'd still like to get in at Moog downtown... but there are so many different things... so many things, so many ideas... so little MONEY... so little spare time... and I stand around for hours every day at a dayjob doing nothing spectacular... *sigh, Someday, right? :) SM

The Big Crossover...

So, after thousands and thousands of years of thought, I finally decided to make the switch to my Emu Command Station... If anything, it was my love for my RM1X that made it so hard a decision... I mean, the Emu is far more capable in lots of different ways and has an Enormous sound set and untapped capabilities on almost every front, but I couldn't get over the feeling that I was somehow insulting the RM1X... like I didn't want it anymore... Truthfully, the Emu, once mastered, will be streaks ahead of the RM1X at most everything, but almost all of my electronic experience, and All of my posted music was made almost Exclusively with the RM1X... so we're pretty close... Had the RM1X not had an out of date OS, it might well have blended right into the mix... but with the ammount of time I'd have to waste to wait for that upgrade, and the basic inability to put a setup together Without a functioning sequencer, in the end, it was the only good choice. Command Stations are pretty rare and expensive themselves... they're much much more capable, like I keep saying, but in the end, the Rm1X has an extensive manual, upwards of 100+ pages... Dense pages mind, and other appendices are bound seperately, but the Emu has a 350+ page manual!! That's enough to give you pause in and of itsself... but, that's exactly what will make it usefull and powerful for a very long time to come. so, like I was saying, thousands of years later, I've been actually making the switch! Aside from the simply physical, wiring, power cables, midi cables, controller cables, and so on... there's also been the task of setting up the Midi... not only does that mean going line by line through the Emu to set send and recieve signals, or thru signals... but also in designating each module its own channel, sending the right patterns to that channel, or even through that module to another, which means setting the 'thru' module up to not mess with that signal... and many more things... how to do these things must be found in the 350 page manual... and figured out one by one... what's worse, each manufacturer generally chooses to mix up the speciffics of where each action is located from one to the other... so if something's messing up - I've no idea atall where to even begin! (plug pulling time!) That's been job enough... midi's great in theory, and in fact when properly set up, but to put it in basic terms, midi directly links the internal computers of each piece of equipment - everything together... therefore, it's very easy for the wrong signals to be sent, or not sent, or completely lost... or some thing to suddenly start messing with another for no reason... it's like trying to get a group of toddler aged robots to sit down together and focus on a task... And that's not all! the final phase of this transition is the transferring of the core midi data files that make up the songs I've already made to the new machine... which drags outside computers and pcs with their various driver issues and so many more things into play... I've only started that... not having yet figured out how to get them into the Emu... USB, it looks like, is the only way. So, work work work... one headache after another... but the upshot is that once it's all done I should be able to roll out tracks of a quality as yet Unheard of! I look foreward to redoing my tracks with newer and more powerful synths... not to mention setting them up in the end to be readily and indeed easily capable of working together on the fly, in a true jam session... capturing it all along the way! so not only is there light at the end of this tunnel, but it's very bright flashing multicolored lights with crazy designs and visuals for the awesome music that comes with it! No way but the hard way tho... and one foot in front of the other!

Setup Decisions...

So, a technical post... lately I've been mulling over my overal plan for my setup... well, to be completely honest, from the very beginning I've been designing and planning out future arrangements of gear and techniques, but I'm actually finding myself, with the arrival of my new Novation Bass Station Emmanent, finally reaching the point where I'm able to amass enough components to make the move, so to speak, from utilising my RM1X practically Exclusively for tones, to finally expanding my pattern expressions to far superior synth engines... The issue really comes down to an unexpected change in my initial plans with the purchase of the Emu MP7 Command Station... Altho I'd always wanted axcess to the synth engines and tones of the Emu line, the Command station itsself actually doubles duty as a sequencer... which is the main thing my RM1X is for... So I find myself wondering if I'm better off using my RM1X as planned and Not using the 'better' sequencer in the Command station - still using the Command station's sound banks - more in line with what I've always intended, or neglecting the RM1X basically entirely and starting all over from scratch learning how to program the Command Station... which is a bit of a setback... I'm choosing, I think, instead to do a bit of both... I've removed the Command Station from my larger rig... if I can learn to use it as well as my RM1X on it's own, I may work it back in, but in the meantime it means I'm back to basics with the RM1X setup, skipping the sounds of the Command Station in the meantime... I've yet to really find myself hindered by the RM1X's 'lesser qualities' than the Command station, with the exception of the sound banks... and providing I can somehow get the chips and upgrade the RM1X OS, I may never use the Command station at it's fullest potential... in the meantime, practically speaking... I'm running out of space on my little Mixer! I need a bigger one Fast! :) More Soon! Scenic Mob

Just One Guy (right now) and the meaning of "Scenic Mob"

So I wonder sometimes if people realise that my tracks are all Live recordings (which is to say they consist of a single track recorded, no layers or recording several times) and are basically exactly what would come out of the speakers at a show or into the headphones if you plugged in... streight from the 'instrument' to the recording... and the recording one long single stereo track... A lot of electronic musicians operate within a 'studio recording setup' which is to say they, by deffinition, make several small recordings at lots of different times and they thin upload, organize, cut, and paste together the various files that make up the finished track as you might hear it online, like you do here... it's the common method... I do things differently. I program my hardware sequencer, true, and pre arrange parts to coencide with each other in advance, but the sequencer itsself must very much be played even after all the work and time perfecting the underlying arrangements... I always compare it to composing but it's perhaps best described to a layman by saying I write something like the paper rolls that run on a player piano... only I run them more like single sheets and have to keep loading new ones as the others run out... it's a convoluded metaphor I know... but sufficed to say, if you were to sit down at the sequencer, even if you happened to understand how everything runs, you would come up with a completely different thing... as I also vary from time and place in speciffics.. But I wander... As far as the listener goes, and in general regarding my tracks, it's important to realise, or visualise, every single part being played by me... but like a hundred of me... every drum part is me, every chord, every bassline, every solo... and even the effects and routings can be tweaked, either through programming (ahead of time) or live, during a performance... so not only is the band all made up of me's, but the sound guy, the effects guy, and ultimately the conductor of the whole orchestrated malaise... is me... which is sortof the concept of 'scenic mob' which is to say one shouldn't in theory look on it as a guy playing some stuff... I don't want to be egotistical to the point of calling it some variation or pseudonym of myself... instead I wanted to try and convey that the sound is itsself many many itterations and works... carried out by a larger crowd than just one person... because even if it is just me, it's a whole Mob of me's at the least... Of course I also love double meanings (tripple or more if I can ever come up with them) and "Scenic Mob" is also about the crowd... because when there ever is a show, it won't be just me, it's everyone that can join in, it's all of us making the music, making the show... giving it lasting meaning and a life outside of any single individual... I generally point out the first reason more often tho, as the second waxes a bit fruity and koombaya we-are-the-world-ish... it's just that I think the music tends to get you thinking, and sometime you might visualise all the parts and things being done by a multiplicity of Me's... 'cause it's kinda true... Mind you, the mob is an open scene, and were the band to expand, if I added another person to run perameters live, or soloists to do tracks or arangements, we would still be the mob, the scenic mob... and the fans too, they're part of the mob... and if a place books me, they book us... because that night, there will be a scenic mob there... one way or another... I just thought it might be stuff not readily apparent to a listener and thought I'd share... :) thanks for listening!

New Tracks?!

So, after all this talk of difficulties, I had Moogfest Looming down on me... (Tickets for Saturday!) I'm thinking of taking some business cards, and I knew I'd be pointing people to the sight, only, when I found myself doing that I kept talking about how the tracks posted were kinda old and didn't represent my current sounds so well anymore... and I realised how uninteresting it made the idea of actually swinging by to check them out... So, in typical last minute style and the absolute bare minimum in recording technology, I resolved myself to just pressing record and letting the thing go while I played... I've been getting to know my new E-MU Command Station and in terms of a single sequencer core, it surpasses the capabilities of my RM1X in several ways... meaning these tracks may be even themselves bested in future by my new MP-7 tracks... as it should be I'm sure... but in the meantime, I wanted to make a new set of recordings with my RM1X and my KP3... a nice combo... I guess I'm just pointing out how they were made/making excuses... but I find it a good thing to 'frame a picture' (no punctuational pun intended)... And while we're Framing pictues and making excuses I should point out that all sounds are made with the engine on the RM1X alone and that the track itsself is simply their output as a single track, started and stopped but otherwise unedited (tho I had to cut some down a bit for time) Usually I jam with these live sometimes, or make tracks with loops of myself on different synths... which ammounts to much the same thing, but is sample/loop based instead of sequencer/synth... Anyway, I'm gonna try and post a few here in the next little bit... altogether an album of my work on the RM1X... so to speak, that is... More To Come!!

Recording... again...

Hey, I can admitt it... I am Crap at recording. I'm a performer... an arranger... singer, musician, genius, you name it... but I'm crap at recording. I don't like doing it. I can do layers live... I can improv on the fly... What IS it about clicking 'record' and 'stop recording' that turns all my progress into crap... I think it must be the interruption of the groove... the vibe... when I have to think 'begin the vibe' and then 'Stop the vibe now' with weird technical thoughts and processes inbetween, it just KILLS the grove... Smacks it around... steps on it's head when it's laying on the sidewalk and says 'Stay Down!' but sadly, at this point That is the only format for producing a Product I currently have... I cannot help but wonder that the secret to all those dudes everyone knows make great albums as Producers, really Capturing the live sound, are just really good at maintaining the vibe and the groove through the tedious segments in between... Oh, and I'm clearly Crap at that too...

Time and money...

It seems like a long time since I kicked off this little project... Too long to still not have played any shows... There are excuses, legitimate ones, of course, but despite all that I cannot help but get a bit discouraged about these things - having already been so long since I began... A friend of mine told me the other day, by way of a motivational repremand, that musicians are notorious dreamers and always go on and on about things they are 'about to' do and I cannot help but think his point well made and true... I've always been a dreamer, never really wanted to stop, but I do wonder after all this time if that's all it's ever bound to ammount to... I've been playing a lot more piano lately, I had my piano tuned just last week for the purpose, but even that ammounts to just another tangent in an altogether meandering path of musical expression, and it's just as bound to ammount to very little as every other venture I've taken over the years... And the sad thing is, it's all quite good... indeed, better than most... but I continue to languish... Mostly due to lack of money... a problem that never goes away, but in the meantime I'm burning up time left and right and it always unfortunately goes away... I continue to do everything I can, everything that occurs to me, and indeed to continue to develop in the meantime - but it pains me to think that for want of a few extra dollars for equipment, I continue to remain incapable of accomplishing much more in the meantime... and I'm left thinking, I'm developing skills, indeed getting better all the time, but for WHAT!! hopefully this problem will soon be solved, and vindication well on it's way... till then I suppose, as always... *sigh*