Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From the Archives: Botba Part 2

Live shots in this post are all by Jen Wilson

So here is another track by my friend Soundbeast and I, under the name Botba (see my previous post for details about the Botba project).

MP3: Botba - studio improv

(This is a pretty lo-res MP3 as it is about 50 minutes long. I will post a higher res, larger version at the store in a few days)

This track was recorded in Soundbeast's home studio. I play an Aria semi-acoustic standup bass, Theremin, Korg Electribe Emx and SCI Prophet 600. Soundbeast played Yamaha Electric Piano, Minimoog, Korg Prophecy, Korg Microkorg and electric guitar through a Boss multi-effects pedal (I can't remember which one, sorry).

As is all of the work we performed as Botba, this track was totally improvised.


Since Soundbeast passed away last year, I have missed our open-ended collaborations. One of my goals in starting up Gnostic Rocket is to find new sound explorers to work with. My friend Sean Beresford has joined me for several shows (and will be joining me for a late night set on May 2nd at the Supermarket - see sidebar for details) and it has been very exciting. He is an excellent dub/funk/whatever guitar player and has an Echoplex, two qualities I admire. There are recordings of the live show we did together at Ambient Ping on Dec. 13/05 available here in both MP3 and hi-resolution wave files.

I am always looking for other partners-in-sound-crime, so if any of the Torontonian readers of this blog are looking to experiment with others, drop me a line, you never know. I've also been thinking a lot lately about online collaborations. If any of you would be interested in finding ways to work together online to co-produce some tracks, maybe we can work something out. Sometimes working at experimental and synth-based music can become quite a solipsistic experience, the occasional opportunity to work with others is good for me.

Contact me if you have any ideas.


I will be out of town, performing gigs in Northern Ontario as my rock and roll alter-ego (the bass player for Evil Doers) this weekend, so I won't be posting again until Sunday night or Monday. However, I am taking my Gameboy Pocket and my Nanoloop with me on tour, so I'll be posting some new all-Nanoloop stuff upon my return.

Monday, April 24, 2006

From the Archives: Botba Live

Korg Electribe EMX

Digging through some of my old files I came across a live show that I performed in the summer of 2004.

MP3: Botba - Live at The Drake Underground - July 15/04

This was a gig that I performed under the name Botba (with my friend Soundbeast - who unfortunately passed away last year), at the Drake Underground here in Toronto. The name Botba was a tribute to Giacinto Scelsi, a composer that we had both become slightly obsessed with. Our methodologies and sounds were not really related to Scelsi at all, but hey, a little arbitrary never hurt anyone too bad.


For this gig I played Theremin, Korg Electribe Emx and my Aria Semi-Acoustic Upright Bass. We both played Yamaha Electric Piano, and Soundbeast played Minimoog, Korg Prophecy and Clarinet.

Photo by Carly Darby

Soundbeast and I spent a lot of time creating fully improvised music. All of the arpeggios and drum parts were created on the fly, never preprogrammed. I find the Korg Electribe EMX is pretty amazing for creating sequences on the fly, I start with an entirely blank patch and have a track rolling in no time.. This gig I also ran my single antenna theremin through the audio in of the EMX, allowing me to gate the theremin signal, in time with the music, using its ribbon controller.

I have another track created that same summer when we spent a long and late night in the studio. I will post it later this week. The studio track was created with a similar methodology, but because we were in the studio we had access to much more gear. As a result, you will hear Soundbeast's fantastic Cluster-like guitar sweeps. I'll try and post it tomorrow.

(For more MP3s and special edition vinyl check out my store)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Recommended Online Experimental Music:
mirakelmusik, INSIDEaMIND and Thinner

Some random sites, all with free MP3s, that I enjoyed this week. Feel free to tip the artists if you like what you hear.



"Mirakelmusik is a young netlabel which will release more or less experimental music, like ambient, electronica, industrial, noise, but no idm, techno or alike."

Listened to a whole bunch of stuff from this site. Here are some highlights:

Artist: Mendigo

A series of drones by Venezualan Renzo Peressi.

Artist: Ubeboet

"A sideproject of m__ who have previously released on netlabels such as Enough and Entity. This time he brings you a 15 minute electroacoustic track based entirely upon field recordings."

Eerie, metallic and sparse.

Artist: Bluedark

Underwater sounding dronework from Swede Erik Glans.



Homepage for fellow Torontonians INSIDEaMIND, a "two man scratch band... stretching artistic boundaries by performing live original compositions with vinyl."

Funky-ass turntable manipulation at its finest. Lots of great tracks.

These guys are playing at Ambient Ping here in Toronto on July 11th, 2006.



This duo of labels has a lot of ambient dub (think basic channel style), with occasional appearances of field-recording-style drone components.

Artist: Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

Pretty straight up ambient dub, which I am a bit of a sucker for.

Artist: Emil Klotzsch

Emil Klotzsch is a Sound Designer/Editor working in Film Post-Production. This is a beautiful ambient dub exploration of the topography of the Scottish Highlands, featuring field recordings from the area. Quite good.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Rough Mixes - Part Three:
Get Yourself Together


Here's a pretty rough mix of a new track I'm working on: Get Yourself Together

(More MP3s and special edition vinyl available at my store)

Simmons SDS1000 drum head

Part 1 - Together - Using my Korg Electribe Emx as the master controller, I composed a rhythm track using my Simmons SDS1000 (for kick, snare and toms) and my Sequential Circuits Drumtraks (for hi-hats, tambourine and hand-clap). I channeled the individual drum sounds through seperate channels on my mixer. I sent one aux channel through the Springboard Dub and then my Maestro Phase Shifter. The other aux channel was sent through the Korg X911 Guitar Synth filter and then my Danelectro Spring King analog spring-reverb pedal. For added dub-ability the return signal from the second aux channel was returned to it's own channel, so the resulting signal could be passed through the first aux channel as well. I ran the drum sequence, muting/unmuting tracks and tweaking the aux sends for each sound and toying with the Springboard Dub settings.

Maestro Phase Shifter and Korg X911 Guitar Synth

Part 2 - Together - I played a bass part on my Jay Turser JTB 2B Violin Beatle Bass, channeled through the filter on the KorgX911, with a medium attack on the filter sweep to add an auto-wah effect.

Kay Speed Demon guitar and the Springboard Dub

Part 3 - Together - I played a picked guitar part on my Kay Speed Demon guitar, also channeled through the Korg X911 filter (same settings as the bass part, but with the peak filter cutoff set a bit higher). This signal was also sent through the Springboard Dub, set to a fairly short delay.

Arp 16-Voice Electric Piano

Part 4 - Together - I played off-beat stabs using voice #13 on the Arp 16-voice Electric Piano, with the internal phaser set to slow sweeps at a high resonance.

Part 5 - Together - I layered a version of the picked guitar part using voice #11 on the Arp 16-voice Electric Piano with the internal phaser and vibrato set pretty high.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

New Track: One


Here's a brand new track, One.

(More MP3s and special edition vinyl available at my store)

This track is comprised of 3 parts.

Part 1 - One - I sampled an entire drum-kit's worth of samples from my circuit bent Speak and Math by fastmatt on to my Boss SP303 Sampler. Using my Korg Electribe Emx as a controller, I built the drum parts with the Speak and Math samples. I also used the EMX to drive my Korg X911 Guitar Synth for the bass part. I mixed these parts into a stereo track.


Part 2 - One - I ran my 1959 Kay Speed Demon guitar through my Electro-Harmonix English Muff'n and my Danelectro Reel Echo. The clean signal was sent through the Springboard Dub, the echo signal through the filter section of the Korg X911 (with a little of the flute patch added for fun) and then also through the Springboard Dub.


Part 3 - One - I recorded a part on my Arp 16-voice Electric Piano, .

Friday, April 14, 2006

Photos from Vessel

So there are some photos up now at the Ambient Ping website from my recent experience at the Vessel show, featuring Menno Krant and Phil Ogison as The Devil in the Design. By the way, I'm the one painted red. The yellow guy is my brother.

Vessel at Ambient Ping - photo by Jamie Todd

The Ambient Ping, for those of you who don't know, is an excellent weekly experimental music night in Toronto, Canada. Every Tuesday night a varied and unusual stream of musicians parades through the place. I've been privileged enough to play sets with PHHK! and Paydirt (featuring Woodchopper's Assocation member Dave Clark). I cannot recommend this night enough. If you live in Toronto, or are planning a trip here, you should seriously check it out.

Check out their artists links page too, there are links to literally hundreds of excellent experimental artists. I have discovered a ton of great music through their efforts.

There are also two of Jamie's awesome photo collages of shows I performed there on December 13, 2005 and July, 19, 2005.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gnostic Rocket's Online Store is now open!!


I am proud to announce that the Gnostic Rocket Online Store is now open.

Now available:

High Resolution Wave Files

Coming soon:

GR0001 - Gold Vinyl 7" 45rpm
-Limited edition run of 200
-Signed and numbered
-Coming late May 2006
-Now available for pre-order

Glow-in-the-Dark Tshirts and Thongs
-Coming June 2006

Gnostic Rocket's Online Store


For those who don't use Paypal, you can always email me and we can arrange for payment by cheque, money order, cash or whatever.


GR1 - Gnostic Rocket - 3" mini CDR
Track Listing:

1 - The Old Man Didn't Blink an Eye (Spaghetti mix)
2 - Behind Him Follows
3 - a huge blubbery creature with piggish eyes
4 - Twenty-five Tentacles
5 - Excerpt from "A Eulogy for History"
Price: $6.50 including shipping

GR0001 - Gnostic Rocket - Gold Vinyl 7" 45rpm
-Side A: The Old Man Didn't Blink An Eye (spaghetti mix)
-Side B: Behind Him Follows
-Limited-edition: 200 copies, signed and numbered
-Arrival: Late July 2006
-Price: $10 CDN plus shipping
-Email me to reserve a copy.

Hi-Res Wave Files
Upon payment for the high resolution wave files, I will contact you with a link for downloading the files.

Gnostic Rocket - Ambient Ping, December 13, 2006
6 tracks - 49 minutes total
Featuring Sean Beresford on guitar
Price: $6
Free MP3s

These MP3s are all available for free, just click the links below.
An optional donation button has been included if you really enjoy the tracks and would like to help me out.

MP3: Mr. Brown please don't leave here (details)
MP3: Botba - studio improv (details)
MP3: Botba Live - July 15/04 (details)
MP3: One (details)
MP3: Satin (details)
MP3: Twenty-five Tentacles (details)
MP3: a huge blubbery creature with piggish eyes (details)
MP3: Experiments in Audio - Part 1 (details)
MP3: Experiments in Audio - Part 2 (details)
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 1
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 2
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 3
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 4
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 5
MP3: Ambient Ping - Dec. 13/05 - Track 6

Album: A Eulogy for History
A free online release exclusively available at the Umbrella Noize Collective, an Oklahoma City based experimental drone/found sound/noise label

About Gnostic Rocket's Online Store


Here's a little blurb about the Gnostic Rocket Online Store and how it works.

I will be releasing a new 7" 45rpm vinyl record every month or two. Each volume will be printed in a hand-signed and numbered limited run edition of 200-300 copies, with different colour vinyl each time. After the first printing, these tracks will never be available on vinyl again. The first 7" will be released in late May, in a run of 200 copies on gold vinyl.

For those of you without a record player, you will still find MP3s at the store for your downloading pleasure. Unlike Sony or iTunes, I am not interested in gathering a tonne of info on you, limiting your choices of platform, or installing spyware on your systems in order to ensure "copy protection". I am a firm believer that a pay-what-you-can model can actually be viable (check out Magnatune - they have been an inspiration). You will be under no obligation to pay for the MP3s that will be available here (and are free to pass them on to your friends), but if you enjoy them, please help me continue to create by clicking the donation button. Even a couple of dollars from each person who downloads tracks will allow me to maintain my gear and continue to produce music for you. Think of it like digital busking.

I am also making high-fidelity wave files available for those of you who are not happy with the sound quality of MP3s. Upon purchase, I will forward you a link to download the hi-res files. If you are looking for a wave file that is not currently listed as available, drop me a line and I'll post it to the store.

Thanks and happy shopping,
Gnostic Rocket

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Track: Satin


Here is a brand new piece called Satin, inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with a guy in Columbus, Ohio about an upcoming lo-rez music compilation, which I am going to submit a track to.



This song is comprised of the following three tracks:

1 - I sampled a bunch of short, percussive sounds from my circuit bent Speak 'n Math by fastmatt into my boss sp303 sampler. I also programmed a sequence into my Nanoloop (on a gameboy pocket). Using my Korg Electribe Emx, I sequenced the speak n math sounds and synced up the nanoloop sequences and recorded a stereo take, tweaking and muting/unmuting the parts on the fly. The parts were channeled through the Springboard Dub, .


2 - I played my Little Tikes toy xylophone into my Audio Technica ATM41HE mic and through the Springboard Dub.


3 - I recorded a track with my circuit bent radio shack elephant keyboard by jamforthelamb, also channeled through the Springboard Dub.