this is my second enhanced CD, follow up to last year's 'turbine time.' [TurbineTime] I also think it might be my last, probably will distribute my interactive toys other ways in the future (higher bandwidth internet for one), and keep releasing music CDs as well. |
A lot has changed for me in the last year. One, I'm a father now, my daughter Kwesi Kirei TerboLizard [shag baby page] was born March 9, 1997. Otherwise, the internet and making www pages has taken up a lot of my creative energies. So, like, these notes are in .html format... with web links and all, not very archival I guess... expect some link rot over the coming years. I'm sure anything that can read this CDrom portion in the future would be able to see this .html file anyway... so more writing. Musically, I've taken a break from live midi based techno improv performances here in San Francisco. Much of the music on the last CD was based on that style. I did introduce my new cut and paste technique on the last CD, and now, almost all of the tracks on this one are built that way: I am sample editing on my mac to create songs, instead of using a mixing board, hardware sythesizers, drum machines, DAT tapes, etc. My midi gear is sitting in a pile, woefully underused, decaying... lots of it has stopped working last time I checked. the last CD made it around the world, and I'm grateful for the ability to share my stuff.
Originally my plan for this album was to call it 'Nice Packaging,' and I was going to print a cardboard gatefold pop-up sleeve. The most typical response to the last CD was 'oh, thanks, cool, hey, NICE PACKAGING...' so I was going to go overboard on that end and release a bunch of really crappy tunes deliberately. hee hee. But putting anything out like this is really all about money, and I just don't have enough extra to spend $4 a piece for the wrapper. So, after months and months of telling everyone I'm going to put out a cool pop up CD, and not having the money to print it, and all this neurotic insanity... I came up with the idea of 'shrink rap,' sort of like intelligent techno or something but mentally ill. If you take off the 'Shrin' part it says 'Krap' and I really like that too. So, here's a cute plastic case with cellophane wrapper for your CD. And I really hate the plastic stuff that comes with music CDs, they're so hard to open and the cases always break and yuck, I like the paper sleeves so much more but they're actually a lot more expensive to make.
Have fun, feel free to make copies for your friends.
If you have a hard time quitting something, remember: command-period or command-q
About the Macintosh Stuff|
This one is an interactive epic, fourth in an annual series including PaxMan(94), TerboPaint(95), and TerboView96 [download TerboView96]. All I can say is have fun with this toy.
The response to TerboVille has been tremendous. It officially debuted at the 'DIG IT: Digital Art, the Next Generation' show at the LIMN Gallery in San Francisco, January 1997. Then it appeared on the 'Computer Chronicles' TV show, aired in North America on PBS and NBC in Europe. As this disc is going to press, it will be showing up in two Japanese publications.
The piece is designed to run on a 640x480 screen in 256 colors and will perform best at those settings. Command-period to quit.
This is the video that goes with the song 'I'm So Happy (to be getting old)' on the audio portion of the disc. See Terbo, Graham, Scrappi [scrappi.com], Sparkin [email@example.com] and David [firstname.lastname@example.org] rock out. Directed by Alex Windsor [email@example.com]. Special thanks to Ming Lau at BlueWaters [bluewaters.com] for the use of the space and the video gear.
Should play fine with any quicktime player right off the CD... helps if you have a CD drive that's working at contemporary speeds (4x at least). If it skips while playing off of the CD, copy it to your hard drive.
This is a silly little toy. I wrote this neat rollover code based on an idea I had for a musical collaboration with Aaron Winnett, the result of which being the also included 'can someone exit 1?.' So this was the first version, low res, and it made it to the web as a shockwave. A handful of other web-ready beatgrids [beatgrid zero zero] have been made as well. It's based on 8 beat loops and 8 sound effects. The beats change horizontally and the sound effects change vertically, so any of the beats can be mixed with any of the effects, or vice versa. command-period to quit.
The most elaborate of the original beat grids, this one uses high res sounds and loads of images. Music by Aaron [firstname.lastname@example.org] of Spaz, Bass Travellers, Planet Six and DJ Aquarius fame. Images from all over, including Aaron's brain. Code by Terbo.
A set of QuickTime Virtual Reality Panoramas I've worked on. Most of them are wacky experimental terrains, made 'em myself, mostly for the internet. Two of them, 'kitchen' and 'sewing' were photographed by Olivier Laude [email@example.com] for Atlas Web Magazine [atlasmagazine.com] (That's me sitting there with the orangish hair). Later these two QTVRs made it into the permanent collection of San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art with the entire Atlas site, one of the first three web sites to be so honored.
Here's a collection of Terbo-made fonts. The only new one here since the last CD is TerboFarm/TerboForm, which was used on the CD cover. Feel free to use and share these.
I didn't even record this myself, but I have reason to believe it's from San Francisco.
this is pretty fun, huh.
For Lizard. An instrumental love song I wrote originally around winter 91-92. I had a crush on my future partner to be, Liz, and she didn't even know I existed... I didn't even know her name. She was on the club scene then, I used to see her out all the time. IG2FU stands for I'm Going to Find You. I did.
This recording is a cut and paste combination of several different versions. The opening bit uses the original midi file (sent to another machine though) for the musical parts and Liz's favorite beat from my live sets, we call it the Liz beat. The middle section was made in layers on my then brand new 303 groovebox, and the end has parts of a live version of the song recorded in March 94. Liz and I started hanging out in 94 and now we're parents and business partners. After the birth of our daughter we both changed our last names to TerboLizard, but we are not married.
This is my favorite on the album. Way wacky cut up beat mash thing, almost like silent film slapstick in its mood. Maybe it's like Benny Goodman with Gene Krupa but done with a sampler. Most of the sounds were lifted from the internet, and all over the world at that. Some of these are recordings of the Akan Language in Ghana, the names of the week for children. I made this before our daughter Kwesi was born, and when we were researching baby names I went back to look at what her day of the week name was (sunday) and wouldn't you know it!
This song does a lot to illustrate the power of cut and paste sample edit music. It turns on a dime, and inside out. The bass sounds I generated from scratch, based on hZ (cycles per second) tones that work well with amplified recordings, instead of being based on musical pitch. And I originally made them 100% as loud as their wave can be in digital format, and since they stayed digital all the way, they are still exactly 100% as loud as possible for a music CD. I debuted this song on KUSF radio in San Francisco after I'd written it, and the engineer was freaking out watching his analog audio meters go beserk, way over the top, with no distortion. It was the loudest thing he'd ever played there.
this song makes me relax. I tend to get typecast as an experimental happy hardcore guy sometimes, but that's not ever been completely true. Anyway, I liked the idea of having a slow repetitive bass line carrying the rhythm instead of beats. And the bass is so solid that I could put some super scribbly sound effects over the top and not have it sound completely bizarre. maybe I was trying to do something trip hop, or sound like a mid sixties psychedelic rock band.
This one is kind of like an electro revival tune. I tried to put in the most stupid audio samples, everyone always has to put these deadly serious samples in their techno tunes, what's up with that? Silly is good sometimes. Lots of the percussion sounds come from things like camera shutters and classic cartoon sound effects. I'm really happy with how well the overall levels are in this one, it's nice and loud and clean. The high end morphing riff was generated on my mac using some software that lets you type in mathematical algorhythms to make synth like tones, but really a lot more complex than you could get on any synthesizer, as it's from scratch and numerically based. that software is so hard to use, and so slow to render, that this is the only time it shows up here. you should hear the sound it makes when you have the formulas not right and it gets too loud. POP POP CCRRRRRRRRUUUUUNNNNCCCCHHH.
This is part of my seasons collection, a musical joke. You know, how classical music or opera would have some requiem or something that went through the year, epically, like Vivaldi.
The concept was to present four approximately one minute pieces that were very crudely performed and recorded, as long as they got the mood of the season across. did it.
Recorded in one go at Post Tool Design's [posttool.com] old office, during autumn even. David Karam [firstname.lastname@example.org] on Trumpet, Me on piano. We used a really low quality mic connected to a boom box. The idea was that I would dash into his office with a blank cassette, say, 'let's record a song RIGHT NOW!', but of course, it took him forever to find his microphone and then a little while longer to get it to actually record on his crummy tape deck, and the speakers weren't plugged in right, and so on. David has this bent up rusty trumpet, all tarnish, missing a tap I think, best at making bird calls probably. And his upright piano is even worse. I've never played an indoor piano that looked kind of okay that was so out of tune. Not as bad as one of those exterior art installation deconstructed things by any means, but its got all of its keys on it anyway. The funny thing is, with the super low quality of the recording, our little improv jam sounds way more musical than it actually was, almost like instant magical vintage sound. Bad tape decks can't get the authentic out of tune thing over well I guess.
This is a rock and roll song, a follow up to the version of 'Faces in the Clouds' on the last album. It was recorded live to stereo, no remixing, January 97, at Blue Waters studio [bluewaters.com] in San Francisco. It's a digital video studio, we set up all the audio gear from scratch, almost entirely borrowed. Thanks to SPL, TK, G, HSM, SPAZ and all the other places stuff came from.
I'm So Happy (to be getting old)|
The band is me singing and playing guitar, David Karam [email@example.com] on bass and vocals, Mark Larkin [firstname.lastname@example.org] on vocals and guitar, Scrappi DuChamp [email@example.com] on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and Graham (Scottish Graham-- don't know his last name) on drums.
I got a guitar when I was 15 and taught myself to play music that way. I was in a series of pick up bands through high school, the best of which included Mark 'Sparkin' Larkin. We then moved to San Francisco in 1987 to start an original band called 2%. It was kind of a cross between Duran Duran and the Grateful Dead, if you can imagine that. David was in the next rock band, Tahoe Ted's Electric Chair, he played bass. We later switched to electronic music. I met Scrappi doing studio work for Mondo Vanilli, a Mondo 2000 spin off he wrote music for. Met Graham later on in the rave scene, he used to play in Swervedriver.
All of us had that magical dream when we were teens that we'd be in some amazing group like the Beatles or something but that never happens. We tried though. Being in a band is so hard, moving around piles of gear and staying friends. Musical styles change. I used to own seven guitars, now I don't have any, had to borrow one of Scrappi's for this one (I pretended to be interested in buying one at Guitar Center so that I could practice!). Now I play and write my music on a computer. Anyway, we had a great time doing this. There's this really euphoric body feeling you get when you're playing rock in sync with other people, loudly, sweating... I think that we all talked about how much fun it would be to be in a band again. It had been so long for some of us, that our life lessons had made us more cooperative, like we all intuitively knew what to do, or something like that I can't explain. But then as soon as you say that, yeah, lets form a band, you realize you have to move around and maintain all this gear, stay in daily contact with each other through their turmoils, try not to get pissed when everyone takes their turn to flake, rehearse and rehearse and rehearse just to play some crappy gig somewhere, spend all this money and not make any back, and then, if you're really lucky, you get to tour cause some record label is paying for it but we'd be making less money than we make now unless we sold a ton of records like the Beatles. But that never happens.
oh yeah, the lyrics:
The sun came up the same today
For everyone, for everyone, for everyone
If you looked into the skies tonight
You'd see the stars were shining there just fine
Feeling so du du du du
We were here a thousand years ago
But what we said then, you know I don't know.
And the future was so very fine but
I can't remember what it was we did then
I'm So Happy
To Be Getting Old
du du du du...
I really like listening to Cypress Hill, the great So Cali hip hop group. So I figured I'd have a go at making a Cypress Hill kinda instrumental. Totally derivative. Thick Smoke being a pot reference. I really dig the erhu (Chinese fiddle) sample that loops in towards the end, stolen from a tape manufactured somewhere in Asia.
This is a dub solo. It's like a drum solo, but done with sample sounds and computer editing. I used something like 211 drum sounds over about three minutes. It's cool how it doesn't repeat, just banging out riffs and sounds. Lots of it could never be played by hand as it was done on a machine. I predict that all great techno albums a couple of years from now will feature a dub solo, just watch. At this point it's not easy listening for sure, most people will not get it as there is no real cultural standard for this kind of thing-- yet.
I really really really like this song. Originally I was going for a trip hop tune but it wound up being all fast. Most prominent is the use of the text to speech synthesizer which provided the vocal track: 'I wanna wanna pump your bumping monkey baby, oh yeah.' Not an easy song to forget if you listen to it all the way through. It's kind of like a gabber pop song. There's a train wreck at the end too. The inspiration for this one was sexual, with a climax to end it. Kind of in your face and intense.
This one was recorded off of a series of web pages called the Death Patrol [Home of the Death Patrol]. They're these collaborative sites I started based on crash-dangerous plugins, hacker posing, and lots of appropriated skull images. The original intention with this site was to make it really extreme, scary, pointless, really cyberpunk. But people seem to think it's okay, I never expected that... one of my web clients actually used the look and feel of it for the overall design concept of a very large commercial site. Totally tripped me out, I thought it was anti-everything. Oh well. The layered sounds were achieved by putting a couple looping sounds in each page, and then putting those pages in seperate frames, or having two simultaneous browser windows. The mix here is layered from two different takes, I crashed in the middle of the first one. Death Patrol: 'Guaranteed to Crash Your Browser or Your Money Back.'
Trying to go back to the style of my original techno tunes, 88-89 era. Legato fuzzed out bass, all 16th notes, with straight ahead and predictable beats. It came out a lot more modernized I guess. I don't really like this song, I cringe when I hear it, but it's nice to put on here because it's hard and fast, the album needed some of that flavor.
So I was taking a bath, alone at home, really needed to chill out. I had my ears under water for about 15 minutes and was listening to all the subtle ringing sounds and clunks, etc, coming through the water, the tub, the pipes, the house, and so on. Very ambient and very rhythmical. Oscillating tones would suggest a rhythmic or beat structure and then ripple away into something else entirely.
So I got right to making a song to approximate that feeling using really sloppily edited beat samples and a new ring modulator software filter. The song goes all over the place unpredictably, then sticks to a limited pallete of motifs. Just like my bath. Really happy with how it turned out.
Even though this song was based on me relaxing in the tub, the finished song, which still makes me relive that feeling, has a totally abrasive effect on almost everyone who has heard it so far. Sounds like pots and pans, really poorly done, not fitting any genre, why the hell would anyone listen to or write a song like that. I like it and don't mind the criticism. I think non-metric or non-quantized electro beat tunes will come into fashion at some point in the future anyway.
This is a song I wrote for guitar/vocal/band over ten years ago, when I was about 18, the entire lyrics of which are: 'Nothing to Do is alright with me, being with you is all that I need. All I know is all that I see, I know you know what you mean to me. Minutes to hours, hours to days, time goes by strangely, I am amazed. Hope this feeling won't go away, all I know is that you can't be replaced. I could lie, here for hours, hours and days, forever be free from sorrow and pain.'
It's definitely a mid sixties acid rock kinda thing, we used to play it in one of my early bands, jamming on it for as long as half and hour sometimes. One of the first songs I ever recorded in a studio too. Kinda inspired by the song 'Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow' by the Strawberry Alarm Clock, and kinda Doors-y or Santana-ish but way more garage band for sure.
This snippet was recorded at the same session for 'I'm So Happy.' I think the lineup is the same as that song, except no bass, David must have been taking a break. The guitar solo was just a classic derivative thing, made us all grin. Just a joke really. I like putting it on here as it shows some musical roots, and I hate strict genre based albums. It's fun to be all over the place.
This was a great loop I made and never turned into a whole song. It uses lots of samples I brought back from my Japan trip in 96, biggest apologies to Digital Boy CDrom magazine, Magical Power Mako and B-2 Dep't [Aikido Dojo]. I've gotten a lot of use out of this considering it's way under a minute long.
Another one of the season pieces here, this one originally appeared as the home page soundtrack for the Winter 97 Atlas Web Magazine, [atlasmagazine.com] in quicktime midi format. The limits of file delivery size on the web pushed me to write using the horribly tinny and unchangeable midi general instrument preset sounds. Egads. The drums usually sound so bad, I couldn't even be bothered.
Moodwise, going for dark skies, cold leaf-bare trees and the sound freezing water would make as it crystalizes.
This is a radically different remake of the song compared to the version on the last album. I had recorded the song in Scrappi's studio [scrappi.com], played almost all of the instruments myself, really pop rock straight up originally. Somehow I convinced him to do a remix version, just minimal vocals and more synth-based. He radically reconstructed it. Some of the sounds here are still me, but most of it is Scrappi [firstname.lastname@example.org] This is just too cool and I had to put it on the CD, I love listening to it.
Faces in the Clouds (Scrappi ReDu)|
I set off to write a song that was just plain old driving techno, stripped down to what really works on a soundsystem, driving low bass, four on the floor drums, shedding all the limiting style-specific genre requirements in fashion here last year. Realistically, I can't picture anyone dancing to this, as I haven't played a club or party gig in over a year and have only danced maybe once in that time span myself. Mostly, as you would well guess on your own, I've been writing music for listening-- I just like hard beats to bounce around my head.
As with the song 'It's Not Rocket Science,' I gathered up a bunch of vocal samples of people saying really stupid and nonsensical things, like the guy counting, 'oh yeah, right, that's four...,' or the baby talk (not my daughter Kwesi by the way), or the Japanese woman saying something like 'happy to help you' from a CDrom. All the vocal samples in songs are always people saying something like 'dance baby' or 'open your mind.' That always gets on my nerves for being too predictable, a no-brainer.
Another season, written for harmonica, dogs and guitar. Played the instruments myself. The harmonica is this totally cheap thing sitting around the house, the guitar was a really beautiful Fender Mustang with a vintage Music Man amp, I was baby sitting them. Going for that hot sunny sittin on the porch kinda mood. Recorded it in late fall I think, some of the hottest weather in San Francisco really, but totally cheating. I was going to use cricket sounds but chose dogs instead as I found better samples.
Another season, could you guess, with Reverend Markus Hawkins on the Erhu. I played a gift store drum (an ornamental toy!), a pan pipe (I really suck at it and it doesn't really count as PLAYING it) and my house keys (for metallic percussion). We way cheated on this one, recorded it during the winter. Sonically going for the refertilization of the earth, plants regrowing, warm skies returning, etc. Markus came over, we jammed really quick, and then edited and added effects on the computer right away. Lots of backwards, echoes and layering. Whole thing start to finish took us less than an hour.
Recorded realtime off of a web page I made. [the midiwall] It's a realy cool page, I put about 30 audio loops, mostly general midi format, into one page, no graphics except for the control bars for the sounds. You can turn them all off or on, change their volumes, make them play backwards, etc, from the web browser. Really fun and unexpected, lots of fan mail for this one. The weird thing is that it's hard to get a bunch of loops running at the same time on a computer, but the browser let me do it really easily, so I went for it. The midi files I used are all so teeny that it loads up pretty quickly, and then constantly chokes the computer as it tries to decide what to play out of so many things at once. Crashed a lot of people on the web I'm sure.
Some of my friends and I used to make reel to reel tape loops, which is really fun. At one time I had three quarter inch decks, so I could get three loops playing at once, really neat sounding. One favorite was to get drumming loops on all three, so it would make this weird drum circle kind of sense, you could quickly memorize the three loops, but they wouldn't repeat in the same time signature and always be turning inside out on each other.
Also, when I first got a computer midi sequencer in the late eighties, I liked to make a lot of loops of different lengths playing totally different things, really hectic... I'd get out my calculator and figure out that all these loops wouldn't repeat the same overall mix for like 16 thousand years or something and really really trip out on that. Made me want to give up the guitar, which I did.
Anyway, the midiwall has been totally fun because in context with a really understimulating internet, this was something people could understand and like right away. And it's interactive in that form. It seems like whenever you have an audio cassette of some really cool noise people are always trying to compare it to Michael Jackson or something and that never works.
More sounds from the 'I'm so Happy' recordings. Part of warming up for us, as we had never played before in that lineup, was to do really basic things like 12 bar rockabilly blues kinda structures, which everyone seems to know, kind of. The version here is made of a bunch of goofy edits from the first night of that session (we did two nights), and we were really drunk by then and having a total laugh. Graham, the drummer, had split, and we'd changed instruments for fun, Mark was on bass, David on guitar, Scrappy on drums. This has got to be some of the worst rockabilly ever to appear on a music CD, and was very intentional: trying to go for the Sex Pistols 'Great Rock and Roll Swindle' Documentary sound, but even worse, and therefore, more punk. Also trying to officially kill rock and roll by making it sound really bad. Hee hee. And showing some more roots.
One technique we learned from Liz's Mothers' group in regard to calming a crying baby was called 'step pat grunt.' While holding screaming baby: take two steps, pat their butt, then grunt (repeat until baby is calm). Strangely, this almost always works, has something to do with recalling the womb maybe. So it was a goofy joke at home and around the other newborns we knew.
The song starts off with Kwesi screaming. Liz unfortunately hates this because when I was working on the song at home, she's always be checking on Kwesi to make sure she was okay. Parents develop super sensitive hyper hearing right away, tuned into the sound of the smallest squirp your kid can make. I finished it with headphones on.
I went out one night to see Alec Empire from Digital Hardcore Recordings/Atari Teenage Riot dj at a small club I used to play in. Years ago people always thought I played the hardest fastest most distorted techno around, which may have been true, people were saying I was deaf and stuff. This was when 130 beats a minute was hardcore and anything faster sounded like a jackhammer. Of course, now, all the hardcore stuff is way more intense, with really distorted glitches from abused samplers and 240 beats per minute kick drums, people screaming vocals like FUCK YOU over the top and slam dancing club kids. Punk rock all over again in a new suit of clothes.
So I went back to my dusty and dying midi setup, dialed it up to 240 beats per minute, turned up the distortion all the way, and hassled my aging sampler. Recorded about 15 minutes of improv onto cassette, threw it into my computer, sliced it into a ton of different pieces, and wound up with this song. Hardest, fastest, most out of sync and distorted as I could go. It's funny, because if you speed up drum beats fast enough they just come out as tones or musical pitches with the audio resolution around now. Can't wait to hear what the future brings.