I built a reverb tank

I’ve been soldering and drilling away… and now I have some sweet surf sounds with time to spare before it’s beach time!

Here’s some shots of the build:

And here’s what it sounds like, being fed by my guitar and a Tensor:

Highly recommend the kit to anyone who is reverb-curious but a bit iffy about the cost of a tube-based tank. I sold mine off a while ago but wanted some real springs back in my life, even though there are some really good impulse responses out there that can do the trick sound wise… I do feel like the drip isn’t replicated in the digital world.

Anyway, enough from this hodad… catch you later


is a word you’re going to hear a lot more of around here.

I’m making granular loops of my playing, into instruments.

And just because Rebecca hasn’t heard this enough: there’s egregious use of LFOs.

All nonsense aside, what I’m doing is taking recordings of my playing, chopping them up into 1000’s of pieces, and then playing those pieces in random order. Sometimes I use these LFOs to add, or vary the randomization in different ways. The effects are all noise, but after a while the human brain begins to recognize order or patterns in noise. Right now I’m using that noise as another instrument, and playing both with and against it.

I’m completely hooked on this, and have amassed a small collection of devices and algorithms that help me do this. So far mostly with guitar, and one as-yet-unpolishable attempt at using a sample my dogs snoring as a bass.

Oh yea, it’s also interesting to use on found sounds. Have we talked about “Found Sound” yet? No!!?!???!! Well pull up a seat kid, have I got a yarn for you.

It’s a super cool time to be a nerd about sound.


Update #2

I won’t complain about the cold. But man I want to.

The name of the game this week has been drum grooves. And Radiohead. The Numbers and ful stop have been two obsessions of mine this week.

Last night I spent a bunch of time editing some ‘found sound’ recordings that I did on my first trip to The Hague last year. I made it to Amsterdam for one night on that trip and it was a goldmine for field recording. I spent a lot of time at one intersection where there were about 5 different crosswalks nearby. Cars passing, trains ringing bells, etc.

But most interesting to me were the crosswalk sounds made for those with vision impairments. It’s not unlike a clave, and it plays in two different tempos. The really cool bit was how it would shift emphasis, and sound like compound meter when various combinations of the 5 were playing. I used an x/y pair for some of the grabs and the stereo imaging adds to the lilting effect of these moving in and out of sync.

I spent some time isolating some cool bits, and eq’ing like mad, with some cool effect. There was rain too, so while the conditions weren’t awesome for walking in January… it made for very interesting sound captures.

I’m going to hit them with some gating to clean them up further, but I think I’ve got the perfect idea for a track to use them with.

Stay tuned. And warm.


Update #1

If you live in Canada, and probably most other places that are cold at this time of year, everyone is sick. Or they just were sick. Or they’re about to be sick. It was -51 in Sudbury yesterday. Yeesh. Anyway, as a part-time musician, full time parent, my children are always introducing me to the the hottest pathological circles. These Gen Alpha’s… what’re ya going to do, eh? 🤷🏼‍♂️

At least healthcare is free. 🇨🇦

Anyway back to the issue at hand: album progress.

    Some organization. I’ve moved all the clips, samples, memos, etc. that we’re spread across my iPhone, work phone, portable multi-tracker, and various tucked away Ableton sets into my user library. I’ve also used the sweet new collections in Live 10 to organize these by genre, artistic idea (more on that later), and also by state-of-readiness. I can’t tell if it would be better or worse for my productivity if I could attach more than 3 collection labels. They probably made the right call to limit them.
    More writing. The lyrics are usually the hardest part. Really I have a hard time settling on an idea. But usually I leave them until last so anything I jot down now is a bonus.
    Pedalmania. I picked up two new pedals over the holiday so I’m getting to know them. One is a Stone Deaf PDF-1 (Thanks Mom & Dad), which I’m using right before my delay as a shaker of sorts. It’s in a loop with my Red Panda Particle reverb appropriately named ‘the sauce’. The other is a… well it’s a lot of things, but it’s named Tensor, again from Red Panda (Thanks Simon & George!). So I’ve been doing a lot of plaguing around with these two. They’re polar opposites in many ways, and both so awesome. The PDF it’s super intuitive to shape the sound of my guitar; where my amp only has two knobs (which I love), it helps to have some tools to get variations of tone in the studio. The Tensor might have intuitive controls, but the magic is in the unpredictability. This box is full of beautiful accidents. You’ll hear lots more about it.
    Lots of Ableton learning. I’ve been such a synth nerd lately. I’ve even oscillated an oscillator with another pulse width modulated oscillator. I mean, I don’t modulate the pulse widths myself… we have people who take care of that for us here, but I oversee the whole thing. (haha)
    Lots of midi programming. I might have to diy a midi host to be able to control tensor via midi controller without a laptop connected.

Anyway, that’s the main points over the past few weeks.

Talk soon


Album 2019: kickoff

Out with 2018, in with 2019. 2018 was a crazy big year for me/us/maybe even you? The important part, if you’re reading this, is that I learned how to compose on a schedule, with some sort of regularity, and how to get the music from my head into ones and zeroes and across the internet to you, Dearest Listener.

I spent the dwindling days and hours of 2019 getting my studio into shape to get working on some new music for you asafp in 2019. It was a valid effort: I cleaned out some old ideas and things, in order to clear space for new stuff to grow (including new pedals and other assorted gear :-)

I’m going to shoot for a weekly update on here, and try to post some snippets to instagram or soundcloud as I go: the content will also be somewhere here for you to peruse as a work away.

So here’s to a productive 2019, and to giving you a little peek under the kimono while I work away.

Take care of yourselves,