New Studio

Here’s what I did today: tore down my office tables and gear entirely, and built a little home studio.

I’ve certainly worked in / broadcast from worse locations, so meet the new Lava Lamp Lounge – Studio A. Since I’m not doing any live shows for a while, and since my own “home studio” is essentially any flat surface I set up on to record, I decided to use those turntables that kiisu gave me, and make this my home for the foreseeable future. (And: beyond?)

The iPad can be traded out for any other 1/8” jack device. I can also have a cord to swap out devices that need RCA and 1/4” jacks, too. I have a mic-stand / microphone that I can fly in, to use for situations like that. Tapes, CDs, records and digital… right now, I can play almost anything, and I even have that 16 Speed turntable and a reel to reel player I can hook up, if need be. (As I’ve said before: I dare someone to record a song on a format I can’t play.) It’s not ideal, certainly, and I don’t have real monitors or a real studio mixer. But it works, and I can swivel my chair around, stand up, and it’s there, ready to go. 

This will be where all future radio and podcasts are created and recorded, and it is also the same setup I use to perform live, with extra gear I usually can’t bring to shows. (Two turntables is just too much for the stage, given the space it all takes up.) So I can probably stream live, too. 

I haven’t figured out how to get the streaming sound quality to be as good as the recordings, and I think I might need some more sophisticated cameras / mixers / etc to really pull that off. (Possibly a second computer to manage taking the signal from the mix and putting it through to the streaming camera.) I’m pretty sure I can take calls and / or Skype too, but its not as easy as, “I hear the phone ring and I push a button and the caller is on the air.” I would probably have to hot-swap a couple of items to make it work, and I’m not sure I could mix music behind the call very easily, like I can do at a pro studio. I will be able to add delay or reverb, which will be fun.

It’s a start. I may try some broadcasting later, just to see how it works in practice. For now, you will have to settle for “room sound” on the stream when I do, until I can figure out how the pros do it.

(Also: anyone sitting on any old radio / studio gear that they need to part with? I could certainly use an actual studio board, or something a little beefier than my tiny six channel Behringer. Anyone wanna donate anything to the new studio?)

Hopefully this will help me get through feeling crazy for… however long this winds up being. 

Broadcasting

Artists and friends: Where are we with streaming services and delivering your work to fans? I have only ever used FB streaming, but it is decidedly “one-way,” and they get cranky about copyright. (Ditto for IG, but at least there you can have two-way interaction fairly easily. Can you add more than one person on IG, I wonder?)

I use Skype for straight conversations, and I have only ever used it for recording / playback, never for a live show. It seems like it might work, but I’m not sure Skype is ideal for a streaming / broadcasting service.

Marla used Zoom the other day, but it sounds like someone needs to either pay for the service, or have credits of some kind, to use it. But that allows any number of users to all interact, and I imagine there are other’s that don’t cost.

What I’m looking for: a free two-way (at least) service that I can use to send video / audio to any number of people easily (and publicly). I would also like to be able to “add” callers / viewers to the stream, and receive / capture the incoming audio so I can mix it into the show.

Preferably, I’m looking for a software / computer solution, and not a phone app, but I’ll be curious what anyone uses, and for what, regardless of the tech.

I’m almost to the point where my office is clean / re-designed, and I want to start broadcasting as soon as I am able. I have turntables, tape decks, and CD players (in addition to a number of digital options), so I feel like this would be a good time to get into regular broadcasts again. What are people using?

Unreasonable Opinions. 

I have a lot of unreasonable musical opinions. “I can’t stand arias. All country music after 1975 is crap. Shellac is good.” We’re all guilty of it, and we all say the most extreme inane untrue bullshit, partially informed by taste, and largely informed by how we FEEL at the moment.

What kind of unreasonable music opinions do you have? 

 


“Miller: A lot of people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly, somebody says, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. Out of the blue, no explanation. No point looking for one, either. It’s all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.

Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller? Back in the hippie days?

Miller: I’ll give you another example. You know the way everybody’s into weirdness right now. Books in the supermarkets about Bermuda triangles, UFOs, how the Mayans invented television. That sort of thing.

Otto: I don’t read them books.

Miller: Well, the way I see it, it’s exactly the same. There ain’t no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America, for example. In South America, thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just, like, disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there were no people. Right?

Otto: Yeah. I guess.

Miller: Well where did all these people come from? Huh? I’ll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? Huh?

Otto: The past?

Miller: That’s right! And how’d they get there?

Otto: The fuck do I know?

Miller: Flying. Saucers. Which are really? Yeah you got it: Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That’s how come I don’t drive, see.

Otto: You don’t even know how to drive.

Miller: I don’t want to know, I don’t want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.”

Three-Way Split!

It’s a new release for the spring, with new music from all your favorite Experimental Artists.

Three new tunes by Bast Awakening! (Ellen & Chris)

A new jam by DEATH MUTATIONS. (Chris & Myself)

…and…?

Over an hour of new music, and it can only be yours, easily, if you want it. Not available for download (yet), if you must have this, you’ll also need a CD Player.

Hand made music! Discs assembled and duplicated, with covers cut / folded / stapled by hand! Limited to 50 copies! Reversible covers allow you too present this disc in four different ways!

It’s the WTBC Three-Way Split! Get yours today!

Lessons From D&D

This common bit of wisdom from my early days as a young gammer has been on my mind a lot lately – “Health Is A Team Resource” – and I’m surprised that someone else hasn’t already made a meme.

This was, of course, advanced thinking to a lot of gamers. So many are focused on just themselves, and so they don’t consider the health of others. Often, these kinds of characters don’t last long. They don’t know how to act as a group, and so they often die under embarrassing circumstances. Largely because they didn’t put the group over their own desires.

Here’s my take on a meme for our time.  I have a feeling someone else could probably do something a little more concise, but at least the sentiment is there.

Settle Your Debts

The Ides of March was upon us, and rather than cower in fear – which seems to have been what we should have done – The Olsen Twins Ghostlight Ensemble convened for a Sunday morning recording session that just so happened to tickle our fancy. Hopefully, you enjoy this one, too.

This arrangement includes: Scott Eave (Guitar, Woodwinds), Kevin Van Walk (Drums) & Austin Rich (Ronald’s Luggage / Electronics / Synths).

The Lava Lamp Lounge has been a nice room to host a number of folks, and this particular arrangement is very nice. It sounds good, and I think we play well in this space. And this might be the primary way you hear us from now on, so we’ll continue to iron on the way we present these to you. Maybe we can improve the camera stuff in the future? Hard to say.

Perhaps you can pick up this recording, and help keep us in new strings and cables? It’s really our primary expense, and we want to keep bringing this to you, somehow.

Mail Call

I’m assembling packages / mail to go out. If you ordered a t-shirt, a zine, or are in any of the music exchange groups, and you are expecting something, it should be in the mail by the end of the day.

Did I overlook you? Do you want some mail art? Or, even, just a letter in the mail? I’m not sure if we should worry about costs at this time. Let’s just make sure the people who want something in the mail are getting it.

I’m happy to send you something. No one needs to suffer from the “no mail” blues.

It’s funny how slow social media is when social distancing was enforced. 

untitled by Austin Rich
untitled by Austin Rich

A lot has changed in a few days.

I hope I can change enough myself to keep up.

I’m considering hosting some organized streaming events, to give us something to do with this technology we all have in our pockets.

It would probably have a host who organizes the event and manages a calendar of who is doing what when. The host would DJ and introduce the performers, tell people where the next stream is and how to find the music to purchase, etc. And then you could have performers log on throughout the show, and do their thing.

If nothing else, it would incentivize a lot of us to clean our offices or practice spaces.

Welcome To Apocalypse

When I discovered punk rock in the early ’90’s, one of the things we talked about was how we were living in the apocalypse already, and the rest of the world hasn’t yet caught up. (Cathead even had a song about it, of which this is the best recording.) Most subculture seems to have been “hip” to the notion that all of THIS <waves hands around our civilization> could just <snaps fingers>, and then we would have to live with what it’s like when people stop being nice and start being… well, untethered to cultural references, anyway.

So, there is a tiny part of me — a very, very small part, I should underline — that feels like I’ve seen this coming for 20 years, at least. The writing was on the wall when The Ramen City Kid and I realized that Eugene was no longer viable, and as we looked around, all of our options were… bad. The punk in me always knew that all of this was temporary, even the rock and roll paradise that Portland seemed to be when I got there.

Anyway, in light of this crisis — this very real, very bad, and very-likely-to-have-LONG-TERM-consequences-that-we-have-not-really-fully-thought-through crisis — there is a part of me that keeps thinking, “Well, how is this different from how punks and weirdos have always seen the world?” We’ve been catastrophizing everything for decades, screaming at walls and coloring our hair as brightly as possible, to try and wake all of you up into looking past what you expect to see.

It’s like, the rest of the world needed this many catastrophes and crises to happen before they finally see the world the way punks do.

Welcome To Apocalypse

Deliberation

[untitled] by Austin Rich
A more or less full day ahead of me. Olsen Twins Ghostlight Ensemble rehearsal early, and closing Salem Cinema tonight. Current virus and panic concerns sort of throw a little wrench into things. Who knows what today will hold? Perhaps there will be a live stream?

Sometimes, I want to put everything on hold and just do nothing for a few days. But the moment I sit down to take a break, I just start working instead.

If only I knew how to relax.

Mental Health Improvement Diary

I did some backing up.

And something thinking.

I watched a movie with Marla that we both knew pretty well. On the whole, it was pretty casual.

I spent the day making merch. It’s looking good. You want one?  Message me. There’s a limited quantity, and I want the people who will like this to get it. It’s a three-way split CD, Bast Awakening (Ellen & Chirs), DEATH MUTATIONS (Chris & Myself) and Mini-Mutations. All the primary work is done. All that was left was the printing, disc duplicating, folding, and assembling.

And, of course, thinking about how I want things to look, and where I want things to be, in the future.