Shoe's latest ambient drone album
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Author:  Shoe [ Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Thanks Cary. Always gratified that you listen.

Still going through stuff, cutting tracks, focusing on what's best. Getting there.

Have you tried Audacity? I've been using it since the Win 10 update and while it's not nearly as good as Audition, it works in a pinch. Has recorded fine on an older laptop, too.

Author:  Eric [ Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I can vouch for Audacity. I've used that to edit mp3s and do some very light multitracking, and it's not at all hard to use.

Author:  Kimfair [ Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Audacity works great for me as an audio editing tool, but when I used it to record vinyl onto my computer, it sometimes added artifacts. I got a new program for the vinyl download that works great, but still use audacity for any editing. And as Chris will tell you, if I can figure it out, it's easy to use.

Author:  Shoe [ Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Audacity is a cinch to use, yeah, though I'm really not enamored with the strength of its feature set, and high-precision edits are a chore compared to Audition. I recommend it mostly because of Cary's latency issues. I had to jump through hoops to solve that on my current desktop with Audition -- I was unable to multitrack record because of it -- but finally solved that with a new sound card. Audacity, no such problems. Plus, it's free.

Author:  Chris Knight [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

The only time I ever recommend Apple products, is when a musician asks me how to record audio without dealing with latency issues. iPads, especially, are perfect for multi-track music recording. They just work, and are relatively inexpensive. Plenty of adapters available to connect guitars/mics. The device - essentially - replicates the 80s/90s Tascam Portastudio experience (the go-to for home musicians during that era).

Or, buy an actual used Portastudio on eBay. Vinyl made a comeback, so I'm sure tape hiss isn't far behind.

Author:  Shoe [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I still have my TASCAM Porta-7. I'm about to start demoing a bunch of traditional songs and have thought about using it again, just for shits and giggles.

Author:  caryc [ Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Shoe wrote:
I still have my TASCAM Porta-7. I'm about to start demoing a bunch of traditional songs and have thought about using it again, just for shits and giggles.

I still have mine also. It hasn't been used in over a decade. Not sure if it would even still work but at the same time, I was spoiled using programs like Cakewalk back in the day. I may have to check out Audacity.

Author:  Shoe [ Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I didn't switch to digital until about 10 years ago. I used CoolEdit Pro to do noise reduction and minor edits (such as splitting up a multi-part songs into separate tracks), but kept recording on 4-track until almost exactly 10 years ago. I really liked it. Still do.

But digital is WAAAAY more flexible, so I doubt I'd ever go back.

Plus, easier to archive your stuff. I have shoeboxes filled with 4-track tapes, and who's to say if they're even still any good?

re: the thread topic, I'm pretty settled on the material for the next m2 (which is NOT the "outtakes" collection). It all comes from the same brief period and has what I was looking for: a little air. I had gotten into a rut where a lot of what I was recording was really dense and claustrophobic. Here, I'm looking for material that breathes a little more.


Author:  Shoe [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Decided to make some hard cuts and just chop the shit out of Leftovers and Laments, the outtakes collection. Going to get it down to two discs, and not lengthy hour+ discs, either. I want all the material to be worthwhile. I can still drop all the outtakes into Vols. 1, 2, etc. for my own listening. Lotsssss of material I'm leaving out, but that's for the best. I want this to be a good listening experience.

Settled on the next formal m2 collection as well. It'll be called Coming Up For Air. Has some material I really like, all recorded during a fairly brief stretch.

There's one track called "Taylor Swift Used to Sponge Me" that closes it out. I'd laugh when I saw the title -- the titles are usually made up on the spot based on whatever is going through my head at the time -- but couldn't remember why I named it that.

Finally realized last night when going over some other material, multitracks from some recording I abandoned: it follows a chord progression taken from a Taylor Swift song. Hah! You'd never know it when you hear it, but there is it.

Just have to get in, do some minor edits and mastering, and create a cover. I'd like to do it while it's still 2017, but we'll see.

Author:  Shoe [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Spent the early evening mastering the next m2. At the last minute, I cut a 9-minute track that just didn't feel right for it.

It goes that way sometimes.

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I'm opening the year with a new album, a new m2 record, my "guitar soundscapes" project. It's easily my favorite since 2012's "Falling Back Into It." More sparse than usual, more spacious, and better reflective of the mood I'm trying to establish when compared to some previous records, which could be somewhat claustrophobic. I think you'll find that all 20 minutes of "Unborn Child," for example, have a lot of air and space.

All song titles are links to download directly. You can also stream it directly here: ... air-by-m2/

Put it on, meditate, zone out, get lost, or wonder what the hell is wrong with your speakers. Whatever works for you:

Coming Up For Air (2018)

comingupforair.jpg [ 60.7 KiB | Viewed 8978 times ]

1) Doc Brown's Car Brought Down The Towers (7:43)

2) Unborn Child (19:37)

3) Giving Up The Test (4:01)

4) Around Every Corner There Is A Lie (4:17)

5) Taylor Swift Used To Sponge Me (9:37)

Recorded in 2015. Prepared in 2017. Released in 2018. Cover photo by our very own Cary C. Thanks, Cary!

A lot more music to come this year.

Author:  caryc [ Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I have company occupying my office at the house until tomorrow. I'll be able to get in there and download this after they leave. Really looking forward to it.

Author:  Shoe [ Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Sat down for my first purposeful recording session in a long while a few weeks ago. Recorded for four or five hours straight, just a mic in a room (an attic, actually) a few feet in front of my amp.

Really cold up there. My fingers were numb.

Laid down ten tracks of material, lots of layered guitar work weaving in and out of one another rather than the dense sound assault I've done in recent years. Tried a new approach to playing and just attempted various iterations on it. The interplay of the guitars excited me.

Had about an hour and a half of material when it was wrapped up.

Got super focused on working that material over the other day and started mixing. Then chopping. Then cutting out songs. Then mixing some more. Brought it down to about 45 minutes.

And I think it's close to done. Have to do some more tweaking. Looking at the spectrogram, the audio has a big hole in the highs, so I want to fill that in a bit so it sounds fuller and more "complete."

Otherwise, I'm really fucking happy with this.

I had been working on the next m2 project already, and it was (and is) going to be an abrasive downer, probably double album length. The title is a clue as to the mood: Dead Country. It's probably going to be difficult to listen to at times. And I fucking love the cover.

But this one will come first.

It's a suitable follow-up to the last, was recorded on pure inspiration, and is about as un-messed-with as m2 has been since my first few. Every sound is right out of the amplifier. No further trickery or effects.

There are even a few moments when the illusion is broken and you can hear that it's just me in a room -- I accidentally bump the mic, that sort of thing -- but I decided to leave them in (though if I said I left them in purely for the sake of having an "honest" recording I'd be a liar. Fact is, editing them out would be REALLY hard, if not impossible, due to the nature of the music. I could chop them out and stitch the remaining pieces together, but you'd lose some of the ebb and flow of the pieces as they evolve from one sound to the next, which is a big part of this music).

Pretty excited about this.

Will drop this one Feb. 1, when I check in on social media again after a break. Seeing as it's a follow-up to Coming Up For Air, this is called First Breath After, and my headspace while recording it was very much about plunging back into creativity for its own sake and just getting lost in making sounds again.

As for Dead Country, I'm going to keep recording material for a while and maybe do a symbolic drop on July 4. The cover is too awesome for me not to get this right (though in this case, "right" doesn't necessarily mean "soothing" or "easy to listen to.")

Oh, and I'm finally bringing m2 to Bandcamp. So that's fun.

Author:  caryc [ Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Just saw this! Very cool, Shoe. I finally downloaded Coming Up For Air tonight. I'll give it a listen over the weekend. Sunday, I'm going to be writing for a solid four hour block (the family will be out of the house) so I'll probably put it on then.

Really looking forward to it!

Author:  Shoe [ Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Hope you dig it.

And if this one doesn't work for you, there is a lot more to come this year. :thumbs:

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

For shits and giggles, I made a video:

Author:  brian [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I vow to listen to this at work some time this week.

Author:  Chris Knight [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Shoe wrote:
For shits and giggles, I made a video:

I enjoyed that...

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

You can't go wrong with Apollo rockets. Ended up being a good fit with the music, too.

Author:  caryc [ Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I listened to the first three tracks on the way home from work last night. I really dug them. I see what you mean about it being more open and I think it's a great direction honestly. Where some of the harsher stuff you've done has appealed to me for the way it helps me focus, these tracks had a different effect. It was almost hypnotic and really made me relax.

Looking forward to spending more time with it later this week.

Author:  Shoe [ Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Glad you dug it.

Yeah, the dense stuff has a kind of white noise effect on me as well, where it just blots everything out and you get focused on whatever you're doing. I do love doing that, especially when I can zero in on a sound I like and exploit it, though I'm right now interested in exploring some different permutations of this kind of music and discovering that there is a lot of power in letting it breath a bit.

That said, the video above is fairly dense and droning. (It's why I chopped the track down from a little under 9 minutes to a little over 5. The cacophony of feedback didn't fit the album, but the album NEEDED a dense track in the middle to balance the two halves.)

The thing I'm dropping next, I don't know how successful an experiment it was, but I took a lot of inspiration from Miles Davis and modal jazz for it. You can't hear any jazz in it, of course -- I am not that skilled! -- but I just kind of snatched some ideas for how he improvised and used that as the basis for what I was doing. Just kind of improving with myself around a loose tone structure. It's not as open as this, there's a lot happening, but it's also not a wall of sound like most m2 is.

So we'll see.

Author:  Shoe [ Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I'm going to try and set up a dedicated recording space this spring. It will be upstairs in the same space as the Nerd Out videos, so recording in winter and summer will be sketchy, but at least I'll have a dedicated space rather than having a clutter of junk around my desk, which is located in the living room.

My desktop is getting long in the tooth. It will be 10 years old this year! An old Dell Vostro that keeps chugging along. It's starting to flake out a bit, so it's getting close to time to upgrade.

Thing is, I'd like a dedicated work station in my recording spot (though the extreme cold and heat will probably kill it).

Have a decent enough mixing board. Finally have a good set of mics. Need to get my amps in a dedicated spot. Have to get my pedals situated. Blah blah blah.

But it will be cool if I can transform that spot to someone I can just go to, plug in, and play/record.

Right now it's a goddamn mess.

Author:  Chris Knight [ Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Shoe, this thing just came out, and it's cute as shit. No idea if it's any good, but it might be what you're looking for:

I should point out that, for that price, you could also buy a decent used laptop and use that instead.

Author:  Shoe [ Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

That thing is adorable!

I have absolutely no clue what the intended market is supposed to be for that, though. No one even moderately serious about recording music would use it as their primary tool, and that includes hobbyists, and for casual users they're probably already doing the same thing with their tablet.

I suppose it's probably pretty handy if you have powered mics but no mixing board or interface to wire them into your PC, but if you've got good mics what are the chances of that?

Fun looking device, but yeah, for that money I'd just get a slightly more updated laptop.

Author:  Chris Knight [ Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

It requires a tablet/phone to operate, so it's essentially a pro audio I/O device for people who don't use desktops/laptops. I'm assuming a lot of the cost goes to the software that comes with it. Who knows.

Author:  Shoe [ Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

Here's a two-fer - Shoe AND Cary! Cary writes, I play. ... ehive.html

I was super-honored that Cary saw fit to talk about some of my music while writing about something so personal. Finding a way to get into your own head in a healthy way is HARD. One way I do it is with this music, so I am quite gratified when other people find a place in it the same way I do.

Even if you don't give a shit about my guitar musings, check out his great post.

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I finally got upstairs to record again for the first time in a month and a half. It's just been too cold otherwise.

I've gotten two new delay pedals recently, so I strung three of them together and played a bit. Just one piece, not sure if I'll ever use it.

Then my fingers were numb from the cold.

I've got all these things in mind but can't explore them until the weather gets better. :(

Author:  Shoe [ Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I've been recording a LOT lately.

Breaking from easy default sounds and approaches, too, to go new places with the m2 stuff. I'm now realizing that "First Breath After" was a little premature, as it was basically just the germ of an idea I've been more intensely exploring the last two months.

I'm taking a lot of inspiration from jazz and from some fringe composers of the '50s and '60s, like La Monte Young.

For instance, I'll lay down a piece that acts as a sort of sonic footprint, the basic track around which everything revolves. In the past, that would be it. That was the piece. It was a sound experiment in drone.

But now I'm taking that piece -- it might involve a drone around two or three or four basic chord shapes -- then improvising to it a few times, in layers, with a really shit understanding of modal jazz and structure experiments.

I'm also adding elements I've never used before in m2, mostly for the "Dead Country' project. News clips and other stuff to tie all these pieces together into a thematic whole, and also sometimes to purposely fuck up what I'm doing. A lot of these pieces are coming out of a political mindset, which is a place I've never gone to before with my drone and noise music.

It's really hard for me to judge right now how this stuff is turning out, but my preliminary listens have been promising.

I'm regretting "First Breath After" (which I haven't posted here). Finding that it was really just scratching the surface. (Plus, it's badly recorded.)

But I guess that's the intentional implication of the title. So there is that.

Author:  Shoe [ Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

One thing I've ... not struggled with, because that implies that it's some flaw that I want to fix, and it's not, but I guess ...

Something I've been exploring, a thing I'm trying to find a balance between, is the droning tones and sounds I've generally explored and enjoyed, and sounds that do the same but that are "interesting" and go somewhere and have more musicality to them.

Drone that constantly changes, I guess.

It's hard to describe precisely what that means, especially given the nature of this music.

The latest m2 record, "First Breath After," is the first step towards that. It's drawn entirely from a single improvisational session where I was playing with a few ideas that would pull modal jazz inspiration into the drone and ambient music I like to do.

Even just two months after I recorded it I now think better of putting it out there, the recording is thin and it's a rough example of the structural ideas I've been exploring since, but as a record of the shift m2 is going through, it exists. So here it is: ... -after-air

Despite being on Bandcamp, there is no "pay." You can enter $0. The email thing is nothing. It just means when I post something, you get a note.

A further extension of the music idea I talk about above is "Song for Pender," which I will upload just for Hole folks shortly, maybe tonight, maybe this weekend.

Author:  Shoe [ Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

When my desktop died last week, on it were a bunch of in progress mixes from material I'm working on for "Dead Country." These include experiments I've never done with m2 before. Sound collages mixed in with the drone music, things of that nature.

The material shouldn't be lost. I should be able to snag it from the hard drive. Just stinks waiting around when this last week I've wanted to keep pecking at the project.

Author:  Shoe [ Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient album

Twenty years ago, I talked my way into getting some club gigs with my band.

Except I didn't have a band.

I asked some friends to play. We had a week or so. No songs, nothing. And two of the three of us couldn't play, so I decided we'd jam on some noise.

We played three shows over the course of a month anyway, even opened for a national act. After that, we were done. That was Slumbersigh.

In 2011, I recorded material I thought might serve as ideas for a "reunion" show. All of it sucked, except for one song.

This is that song.

Author:  Shoe [ Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I think I'm going to just slip in and get "Dead Country" released on July 4, as planned. (I've mentioned it here and a few other places.)

Two "discs," just over two hours of abrasive music.

Just finished up what I think is the final track sequence, culled down from about four hours of material. Just need to give it a few listens before I upload to ensure it works the way I hope it will work.

Author:  brian [ Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

I listened to one of your albums last week. It was good music to compliment the spreadsheet work I was doing.

Author:  Shoe [ Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Shoe's latest ambient drone album

It's good 'zone out and concentrate on other stuff' music. I often listen to it (or similar music by others) while I'm writing.

It's also good 'get stoned and get lost in the sound' music, if you're into that sort of thing.

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