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Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

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Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Justin Foley on Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:44 pm

Really thought about posting this in the Tech Room, but ...

A few years ago I had an idea to tune all of the strings on a guitar to the same note across a few octaves. It sounded neat. Not long after I figured I'd strap that down to an amp cabinet and get it to drone like crazy. I liked the way that sounded.

This kind of tinkering kept happening until I had an 1" 8 track tape loop with different notes on each track and I could "play" by turning channels on and off. I liked this enough to challenge myself to doing it again and again to create more songs.

Here's a quick video of the process. (The preview still shows the guitar bungee-corded to the 4 x 12, which is itself strapped to the bass stack behind it.):



The end result of this is a pile of music that I'm putting out. I've described it briefly to folks as equal parts Sunn and Gas.

I'm putting out a simple 12" of four of these songs on 5/4/18. I'll bump this thread a few times before then.

Thanks,

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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby motorbike guy on Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:04 pm

the bits of music I heard during the video sounded cool. can't wait to hear a whole song, or the album or whatever.

yr gonna release a 7" for the collectors?
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby offal on Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:15 pm

Sort of like a Mellotron, but like, not mellow at all -- more like Aggrotron, am I right?

(Sorry about that.)

Super stoked on this. Can't wait.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Madman Munt on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:24 pm

Sounds cool. You need to do it as live band where you strap all the guitarists to their cabs.

PS Cuntrolled Bun Records. Haha.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Anthony Flack on Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:52 pm

The note labelled D in the video is a Bb. The note labelled A# is a D.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Mama Clortho on Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:53 am

Enjoyed the video and look forward to hearing the record -- assuming it will be on bandcamp.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Me Again on Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:08 am

I like the workflow concept and it sounds/looks like a lot of fun.

Naturally this could be done with a MIDI controller keyboard in a program like Ableton with, digital loops, but (a) it wouldn't be as cool, and (b) you'd have to worry about click noises during key changes ...right?
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Anthony Flack on Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:08 pm

I don't think so; I'm not an Ableton user but you should be able to set up a softsynth instrument that uses a sample loop as its source instead of an oscillator, and still has an ADSR amplitude envelope, so you could make the transitions as gentle as you like.

That's the way it's worked with other softsynths I've used anyway.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Justin Foley on Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:56 pm

motorbike guy wrote:the bits of music I heard during the video sounded cool. can't wait to hear a whole song, or the album or whatever.

yr gonna release a 7" for the collectors?


Thanks! There's not going to be a 7", though.

offal wrote:Sort of like a Mellotron, but like, not mellow at all -- more like Aggrotron, am I right?

(Sorry about that.)

Super stoked on this. Can't wait.


Another friend mentioned the Mellotron connection, which I was actually unfamiliar with. Some times you think you figured something out of the first time and then you find out you didn't really.

Madman Munt wrote:Sounds cool. You need to do it as live band where you strap all the guitarists to their cabs.


I've thought for about 7 minutes on whether or not there's an interesting way to do this live. My mind drifts toward "you know what would be really cool?" and then things get complicated. I don't think there will be any live aspect to it.

Anthony Flack wrote:The note labelled D in the video is a Bb. The note labelled A# is a D.


I laughed loudly when I read this.

Sad to say that the video isn't actually a documentary, it's a reconstruction of the process. There's a few concessions to the fact that I was just trying to get the shots done. One of these was when I realized I'd labeled the 8-track wrong and didn't have the actual notes. "Justin" I told myself, "no one is going to notice that at all. Don't worry about it." But I was wrong!

You'll also notice that the notes on the depressed mixing board channels don't actually line up with the same notes shot after shot. Just putting that out there before someone else calls me on it.

And the Vu meters don't actually register the sound that you're hearing as you hear it.

I could go on.

Mama Clortho wrote:Enjoyed the video and look forward to hearing the record -- assuming it will be on bandcamp.


It will indeed.

Me Again wrote:I like the workflow concept and it sounds/looks like a lot of fun.

Naturally this could be done with a MIDI controller keyboard in a program like Ableton with, digital loops, but (a) it wouldn't be as cool, and (b) you'd have to worry about click noises during key changes ...right?


You could make the exact same music with a DAW and it would be easier than the analog process. There are actually some click-y artifacts with the analog approach that I didn't particularly like but figured it was all part of the process. The main value I found to sticking with analog was it forced limitations on what I could do. It also resulted in some cool stuff I wouldn't have come up with on my own. For example: some of the later songs had multiple edits in the tape loop. I realized I could use space out the edit transitions to create a rhythm pattern. That was fun.

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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Anthony Flack on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:31 pm

Justin Foley wrote:Another friend mentioned the Mellotron connection, which I was actually unfamiliar with. Some times you think you figured something out of the first time and then you find out you didn't really.


Ho, I guess it figures that the last guy in the world to know what a Mellotron is would be the guy who recreates it. Maybe a little ignorance can be a good thing. Now that your innocence has been shattered though, check out this guy's amazing/ridiculous cassette-based instruments:

Walkman-based Mellotron
4 Track-based drum machine
Drum machine that uses live radio as snare drum

:shock: :shock: :shock:

He was local to you too. I think he's moved now.

Justin Foley wrote: "Justin" I told myself, "no one is going to notice that at all. Don't worry about it." But I was wrong!


Sorry. Yeah, spotted it immediately. Such a dork. :oops:

Anyway, look, Beyond Calculation is no hyperbole one of my favourite records from the last decade so I'm very much looking forward to hearing what you do ANY notes.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby givemenoughrope on Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:33 pm

Isn't this how 10CC did the background vocals on "I'm not in love"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq7oGenbp2I
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Major on Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:00 am

givemenoughrope wrote:Isn't this how 10CC did the background vocals on "I'm not in love"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq7oGenbp2I


Yes.

This is very cool, Justin. Can't wait to hear the end results!
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby tallchris on Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:38 pm

Major wrote:
givemenoughrope wrote:Isn't this how 10CC did the background vocals on "I'm not in love"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq7oGenbp2I


Yes.


Though I believe they had something where there was tape on the mixer and they couldn't pull the volumes down all the way, hence why the vocal parts continue on during the entire song.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby motorbike guy on Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:15 pm

Justin Foley wrote:
motorbike guy wrote:the bits of music I heard during the video sounded cool. can't wait to hear a whole song, or the album or whatever.

yr gonna release a 7" for the collectors?


Thanks! There's not going to be a 7", though.


so, a 10-inch 3 song EP, then?

Madman Munt wrote:Sounds cool. You need to do it as live band where you strap all the guitarists to their cabs.


Justin Foley wrote:I've thought for about 7 minutes on whether or not there's an interesting way to do this live. My mind drifts toward "you know what would be really cool?" and then things get complicated. I don't think there will be any live aspect to it.


well, you need 8 guitar players - each tuned to one note. maybe 4 players, 3 strings one note 3 strings another note, for expediency's sake.

you stand there with a baton, waving it and triggering the drum tracks. some sort of road map on a music stand in front of you.

like glenn branca, or rhys chatham.

the palm muting might not be as clean as switching channels on and off, but it could work. it could be nice and loud, though.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby kerble on Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:13 pm

Justin! This sounds really cool. Looking forward to hearing more of it.
As per usual, I'm a big fan of your videos, too. Salut.

motorbike guy wrote:
Justin Foley wrote:I've thought for about 7 minutes on whether or not there's an interesting way to do this live. My mind drifts toward "you know what would be really cool?" and then things get complicated. I don't think there will be any live aspect to it.


well, you need 8 guitar players - each tuned to one note. maybe 4 players, 3 strings one note 3 strings another note, for expediency's sake.

you stand there with a baton, waving it and triggering the drum tracks. some sort of road map on a music stand in front of you.

like glenn branca, or rhys chatham.


Along those lines, there's a japanese band called Six String Sonics, The where they made six one-string guitars with the intent of changing the chords that can be physically played. Neat stuff:
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Anthony Flack on Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:30 pm

That seems a lot of effort to go to just to sound like Primus.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby kerble on Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:49 pm

hahah. I thought similarly. Definitely like the concept more than the music, and almost wished they'd sync together to play more weird stacked impossible chords as opposed to just a bunch of three note licks playing against each other.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Justin Foley on Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:35 pm

givemenoughrope wrote:Isn't this how 10CC did the background vocals on "I'm not in love"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq7oGenbp2I


FM Ben Adrian noted the same thing in the YT comments. I wish I liked the rest of that song as much as that background noise.

kerble wrote:Along those lines, there's a japanese band called Six String Sonics, The where they made six one-string guitars with the intent of changing the chords that can be physically played. Neat stuff:


Anthony Flack wrote:That seems like a lot of effort to go to just to sound like Primus.


I wondered, when I first started doing this, if the music is too constricted by the process. I'm satisfied enough with the outcomes that I don't think this happened. I could just have an over-developed appreciation for loud, droning guitar, though. Maybe it will sound too "function follows form" for others.

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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby travis k on Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:01 pm

Drone songs built on limitations of a process? Thank you sir , may I have another. Very much looking forward to hearing them.
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Re: Promo post - J Foley "Drone Loops"

Postby Anthony Flack on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:49 pm

Are there vocals and/or drums on the tracks, or is it 100% loops?
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