Tuesday, November 1, 2016

10th anniversary notes - In the Future

Ok, so there's 2 short EPs that are planned for next year. The first is definitely called Gossamer Peel Shreds, and is more of a pseudometal album, and is a bit different than the usual material. It might be out sometime in the spring.
The second is currently called Computer Space, and is going to be like Robot MonStar and Basic. It's probably going to be the last of that style too, because I want to start incorporating the keyboard in different ways in the future.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lum notes

Lum (2016) is the 8th album, and also is the 10th anniversary of the first album. It was originally going to be titled "Image & Sound", partially in reference to the song, Warming Glow, and partially in reference to David Bowie. The album artwork was also different and had been finalized early on, but was scrapped when the title changed a little over a month before it was released. A few of the songs (You Are the Dope, No Feeling, Rosebud, and Warming Glow) were leftover material from BASIC, but the rest of the songs were pretty much all written all at the same time back in February or March. Only one song didn't make the final album, a song called "Monkey Spank".
As for other changes, there's not much. The working titles for some songs were changed several times (as usual). Creeping Lilly was called Sux2BMe-H82BU, "Here, There, Nowhere", "Moon Ride", and Near/Far. Melodia was originally titled Tomahawk. Risky Boots was called "No Respect" and "Howdy Doody". Syntax Error was called "Gossamer Peel Shreds", "Whatever It Seems", and "Howdy Doody". Hello Trilobyte was called "Tribble", "Fossils", and "Howdy Doody". Murky Shining was "Murky Lurking", "Murky Shines", "Gossamer Peel Shreds", and "Howdy Doody". The most interesting noteworthy thing about this album is probably that several songs were at one time going to be called Howdy Doody, and in looking back, I have absolutely no idea why. Anyway, I think it's probably my best album, or at least equal with A Collection of Songs (FDOA).

Saturday, August 27, 2016

C.o.t.C.F. (Soundtrack) notes

The 10th anniversary album (Lum) is almost ready, but I'm going to wait until next month to talk about it, so for now here's:

C.o.t.C.F. soundtrack (2011) - Except for the first song on it, this album was recorded in about an hour and a half in one night. I was working on Robot MonStar during the same time period that I was working on a short film, and was using the keyboard to come up with some ideas for the background music in the movie.  I don't know if I came up with this music first or the songs on Robot MonStar, but I want to say that I came up with the main riff for "Breathe Like an Alien" on the same night I did this. The first song from the album (Boots) is more in line with my older material, because it was actually music from an unfinished song.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

i 10th anniversary notes

"i" (2006) was the first studio album. Most of the songs were Polymer Bloom-era songs, except for Spage which was 100% new material for the album. "Terrapin Drop" and ""Pleasantries & Other Such Things" were never officially performed by Polymer Bloom, but rough demos were recorded, and "Briney" was only performed during a couple of the last few rehearsals. "Manvoice" was originally supposed to be a "Hardcore" Devo style song, that I came up with around 2001/2002, and eventually rewritten a few years later. It was going to be performed at the first "all-new" Polymer Bloom show in mid-2005 (which featured several new songs, and a new bass player) but that show was canceled after the band split up, which incidentally was the day of that show.

The first two tracks recorded for "i" were Manvoice and Fester. While the first albums was recorded and mixed in a very amateur manner, I always thought these first two songs stand out as slightly more competent than the rest. Some others, like Brown Towel, were a little more rough around the edges. Two of the tracks on that recording (I think the drums and guitar) had been recorded on an analog 4-track, and then copied onto a digital 8-track, where the bass and the vocals were added several months later.  Which is a shame, because it's a fun song, and deserves a better quality recording than what it has. I may George Lucas it in the future...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

ii notes

ii (2008) was the second album.  It was very similar to  the first album, as it features a mix of Polymer Bloom era songs, as well as some newer songs at the time. Bubble Unit and Seed were played frequently with Polymer Bloom, as they were two of the oldest songs. Lost at Home and Spratt's Medium were fairly old bust played less sporadically.  New York Simon Underground, Spoiler Monkey, and Lilac Stray were introduced around the time just before Polymer Bloom broke up.  Art, Galaxian, and Interlude were all new songs written for the album.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

iii notes

iii (2009) was the third album. I really don't care much for this one. It starts off okay, but then gets cringe-inducingly bad. The first half of the album (up through "Wednesday") features all new material, but then a lot of leftover throw-away songs from the "Polymer Bloom" days, and other half-ass demos make up the second half of the album. At that point in time I was just trying to record as many songs as I could, and after a certain amount, I would collect them together for an album. So after getting 14-15 rough demos together I figured I had a new album ready. I set a release date for a few weeks later to give me time to work on cover art, and semi-promote it. Then about 10 days before it came out I realized it sounded over half the songs sounded absolutely terrible. It would have taken a while to re-record everything from scratch, and I really should have, but I didn't. Instead I tried to fix individual parts of songs, and the results were sloppy. Also, the audio mix is probably the worst I've ever done. It's a way too tinny sounding, and actually hurts my ears. I don't know why I set a release date, maybe it was a personal challenge or something, but I did learn to never set an exact date set in stone for something that doesn't exist yet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

iv notes

iv (2010) was the fourth album, and was the last of the numbered albums as well as the first of the non-numbered ones. It's a bit different style-wise than the previous albums, and the songs had a lot more time spent working on them up to that point. It was my favorite up until 'A Collection of Songs For Dancing or Amusement' but I still think it's pretty good, especially following the unpolished turd that was 'iii'. All of the songs were completely new, non-Polymer Bloom songs, although early ideas for shaved + tame were originally recorded during some of the later sessions for 'iii'. Grendel King was written on Christmas Eve 2009, a few hours before a live acoustic performance, and Retro Space-Age Future Vision was written later that night after the performance was canceled. My personal favorite songs from the album are: Pink Rattle, Buzzkill, Thing, Retro Space-Age Future Vision, and Plastic Ono.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Collection of Songs For Dancing or Amusements Notes

A Collection of Songs For Dancing and Amusements (2013) was the sixth album, released on November 12, 2013. It is my personal favorite. The songs on it were meant to be more structured and complex than previous ones, while still trying to maintain a sense of simplicity. With a couple of the songs, namely Goofy's Lament and Hrt & Soul, they started out as a bunch of several, similar sounding songs that were somewhat lacking in various ways, and were combined into one song. Heart & Soul was originally part of an outtake song from some recordings done between 'iv' and 'Robot MonStar'. Drool a Puddle is the first instrumental song on an album, but it was originally going to have lyrics, though none were ever written. The version of Medical Needs that appears is from a pair of recordings done in September 2012. The other song was terrible and has never been released, but it was eventually drastically re-worked in 2014 and ended up becoming Some Moments of Violins from 2014's 'Basic' EP.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Basic Notes

BASIC (2014) was the seventh album, though it's technically only an EP. It was the spiritual successor to Robot MonStar, and was likewise a concept album in many ways. While Robot MonStar's main sound was of a more robotic and mechanical nature, Basic was supposed to be more primal and primitive.  Originally it was intended to sound like a post-punk/new wave DIY compilation album, which were semi-prevalent at one time period (like the 'Killed By Death' compilations), with the more raw guitar oriented songs making up the second half, or B-side of the album. It sounded good on paper, but felt too disjointed when listened to as a whole. I abandoned the idea midway through production, and focused on the keyboard songs. Warning Light, originally titled "No Warning" was an example of the style of songs from the aborted second half of the album, although it remained on the final version.
I thought about having all of the song titles follow one of 2 types of name patterns. Pattern A songs were all titled "___ of ___" (Matter of Tact; Monster of Noise, etc.), and would make up the first half of the album. Pattern B songs would be on the second half of the album, and were all titled "No ___" (No Violins; No Warning, etc). Some of those remained for the final versions, like "Matter of Tact", and "Monster of Noise". "Moments of Violins" was originally titled "No Violins". "Warning Light" was called "No Warning", and "Future Arcade" was originally called "No Words".

Although BASIC was supposed to have been twice as long, had it included the planned second half, I decided to play off the name and make it the most minimalist version of an album I could. (Also, because I'm lazy.)  It would have around 8 songs or so, and run just on the borderline between full length LP and short play EP. And once again, because I like gimmicky things, the title BASIC also was meant to signify that it's mostly features songs of an electronic/computerized type as well. I think it's a pretty good album, but it went in several directions during it's production. I was still restructuring it up till a couple days before it's release. Some of the cut songs included, "You Are the Dope", "Meanie Beanie", "Aurora Bearing Malice", "Kitty Spit-Up", "Circle Squares", 'No Feeling', "Sound of Television/warming glow", 'generic pop fair' and a couple others. Another short EP with the deleted songs was planned, but pushed to the side temporarily. A few of these songs have turned up since then in various forms.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Radioset 10th anniversary and more notes

While last year marked the 10th/or 11th? anniversary of the first live show, this year marks 10 years since the first Radioset studio album was released. So this year I'll actually update the blog (or whatever those things are called now) with random facts about the albums and things.  And today I'll do Robot MonStar...

Robot MonStar (2011) was the fifth album. It was meant to be a concept album, surrounding themes of science and sci-fi, and sound very electronic and mechanical. I wanted it to be very Devo influenced. I had gotten access to a keyboard, and spent some time playing around with it, figuring out how to play stuff and playing with the different effects settings. I discovered one that sounded really new wave, and kind of 8-bit. I came up with the idea for the song Quark, and then went on from there, coming up with similar material for a "new-wave" album. I had a lot of ideas for gimmicks, like song titles that were highly complex math equations. The release date of Nov. 1  was chosen so as to look like a binary sequence (110111) when written. The album wasn’t ready in time for release in October, due to the cover art not being complete, but ideally I would have liked to have it out on Oct. 1 (100111), or Oct. 10 (101011). The album title was supposed to reflect the mechanical and science/sci-fi elements. MonStar is the name of the main villain from the mid-eighties Rankin-Bass outer-space cyborg action cartoon, Silverhawks; and Robot Monster is the name of a 1950's sci-fi film. The album was meant to be longer, but I was working on it at the same time as a video project, and that ate into a lot of the time. A couple of orphaned song ideas ending up in the video instead of being finished for the album. But I think it holds up pretty well, and I still like it.