Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weird Weatherman - Music Video

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Children of Mu - The Lands of the West

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How To Re-create Drum Sounds Of The 1970s - DRUM! Magazine

How To Re-create Drum Sounds Of The 1970s - DRUM! Magazine: "The 1970s were a rich era for rock, disco, funk, country, and just about any other style that relied on a solid backbeat. But the types of drums and recording gear available had a huge impact on the recordings of the time. To get era-appropriate sounds, it’s important to know more about the elements that contributed to a golden age in music history."

Read more with the link above!

Friday, June 29, 2012

DIY high quality portable digital audio recorder!

This is something I recently did that I thought I'd share. How to get a high quality audio recorder, perfect for live gigs, practice and documenting performances for under $40! Last year I got a sweet little MP3 player called a Sansa Clip Plus. As a player, it's probably one of the better ones for very little money on the market. I noticed right away when I got it that it also had a voice recorder. I tried using it to record my performances using the built-in recorder, but like most other voice recorders, it was distorted and sounded horrible. Plus it only recorded at low sample rate.

I pretty much forgot about this feature until recently I relocated to Brooklyn, and portability is a necessity in New York City so I started thinking about ways I could use it again. I remembered that a few years ago when I still had my older Ipod, I had installed Rockbox on it, which is a third party firmware that allowed me to use the headphone input as a mic input. I used to use it pretty regularly to record my practices until I got rid of the ipod, but I wondered if Rockbox could do the same for my Clip Plus. I went to the Rockbox website, and sure enough the Clip Plus was a supported player to run Rockbox. I installed the firmware, which was slightly trickier than it was for the Ipod, because you need to have a copy of the original Sansa firmware, which was a bit of a task to locate.

Once I got Rockbox installed, I went into the recording options, and noticed that there was no option to use the headphone input as a line in like on the ipod. I was a little bummed at first, but went ahead and tried the built in mic, much to my surprise, it actually sounded pretty damn good! One of the biggest reasons is there is actually an adjustable recording level now, which it didn't have using the standard Sansa firmware. Also you can change the frequency from 16khz all the way to 48khz! You can select the format as well, either mp3, wav or aiff. I used wav at 44.1khz, which is CD quality. I adjusted the recording level, and a full volume band rehearsal recorded perfectly clear with no distortion!. The only quality issue is it sounds like there's some type of limiting on the signal, so it gives you a somewhat compressed sounding mix, but it's very good for what it is.

You can get the clip plus with the link above at a great price from amazon, download the rockbox installer and firmware linked above and have a tiny pocket sized audio recorder for under $40!
Below is a short clip of a recording made with my Clip Plus using the built-in microphone!

Another great thing about these is they have a mini-sd slot, so you can swap cards for recording and store up to 16gb!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Children of Mu - Shows and Updated Site!

Hey Friends,

I thought I'd let you know about what I've been up to musically.

The Children of Mu has been very busy and we have a newly redesigned website. We also have a bunch of shows coming up.

July 6th at 6PM in Harlem, at the Shrine World Music Center
July 12th at 9PM in Brooklyn at Bar 4
August 20th at 8PM in Williamsburg at Trashbar

We have an exciting new line up and these shows should be very fun. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Max Roach & Dizzy Gillespie Duo!

This is some amazing footage of Max and Dizzy from 1989. This is also one of the best solos I've seen from max on youtube. Max had real phrasing to his drumming, it wasn't just beats and flash, they were like melodies and songs. No doubt the senergy between him and Dizzy brought out the best in both musicians. His toms play the bass melody to Dizzy's soloing. Great stuff!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Children of Mu - Comets (new track)

Recorded live to cassette tape on an Optimus CTR-115 and Radio Shack 33-306 microphone on 6/12/12

Justin Wierbonski - Drums, Percussion
Steve Husted - Bass
John Lavibora - Guitar
Matt Giella - Trumpet
Chris Diasparra - Saxophone
Scott Collins - Guitar

Monday, June 11, 2012

Photos from Figment NYC

Here's some of the photos from Figment on Governor's Island 6/10/2012! I was playing drums with Con/Science Experiment. It was a great time and good sound. There was a lot of great music happening all around. Kids playing everywhere, bike riding, amazing artwork and a great view of Manhattan and The Statue of Liberty. I had a great time! The back line consisted of this awesome Yamaha Maple Absolute, which sounded incredible. I brought my Ludwig snare and cymbals. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Playing at Figment NYC 6.10.12

I'm going to be playing some drums at Figment NYC with Con/Science, and experimental improv group. It's on governor's island and going to be packed with all types of art! We start at 2PM, take the ferry over and spend the whole day, it's going to be awesome!

What do drums look like being hit in slow motion?

Pretty much exactly like this!

This amazing video shows you what drums look like being hit in slow motion. it's pretty amazing that they can take that kind of beating if you think about it. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Video - GGFL by Derrick Heart - Drums by me :)

Here's a new track from my old friend Derrick Hart. I played and recorded the drums on this song. He sent me a rough mix with a click track, and I used headphones and tracked the drums to his rough mix. I used my Pro Tools setup and miked up the kit using a somewhat interesting mic setup. 

I miked all the drums pretty close, but backed the snare mike up a bit, about 3 inches from the drum and aimed it right at the center of the shell, like the wood, not the head. This is a technique I picked up from the infamous Rat Bastard and it actually does a good job of picking up the top and bottom of the drum. 

The toms were pretty standard miking, but the kick I actually mounted the mic inside the drum, and had a front and batter heads with no holes. Both heads were Clear Attack "No Overtone" single ply heads, which has become my favorite bass drum head. They just sound awesome, and are cheap too! 

The overheads were something new this time, I had one pointed straight down towards my ride and right crash, and the other I had at a 5 o'clock angle from almost the back of the hi hats pointed more forward towards my left crash. This gave a great stereo separation and I think the drums came out sounding rather nice on this.  

Derrick's song is awesome of course, very spacey and almost swervedriver-ish vocals on this track. I like how it's more of a hypnotic piece than a verse chorus arrangement. 

Reverend Al's Big Ride! Alex Van Halen Signature Ride!

I obsessed over this cymbal for several months, and think it's probably one of the nicest sounding ride cymbals I've ever heard. My only problem is with the way I set up my drums, I just don't have the space for a 24" ride, I went to a 22" again for a bit,but had to get rid of it too because those extra two inches threw off my whole game, haha.

Anyway, this cymbal is Alex Van Halen's signature Paiste 2002 ride. It's a mammoth 24 inches and doesn't come in any other size. What makes it so cool, is it is actually a bit dark and VERY washy. This could definitely be used in jazz as well as hard rock, which makes it unique. It really doesn't seem to sound much like any of the other 2002 rides, with possibly the exception of the now discontinued "Cool Ride" which I have no idea why they stopped making, since it sounded great. But still, Big Al's ride definitely has it's own sound. Sure to be a collector's item one day too!

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All Mothman Synths Now Free!

Since I don't think I am going to have time anytime soon to release any updates for the Z3000 and the Mothman 2000, I have decided to set them free. It has been about 3 years since I released them and I sincerely thank all of you that have purchased the synths in the past! Now you can download the entire set in a single free pack. Just unzip it to your vst directory and you'll have all the mothman synths!

Also, I happened to find these nifty demos of a couple of my synths online! Very cool somebody took the time to do that, thanks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Entirely Experimental Ensemble - Live at PAX Miami

Drummer, Steve Bristol sent me this video of one of his latest projects, The Entirely Experimental Ensemble. Steve was the drummer for Antipope, after I left and is one of the most dedicated free jazz/avantgard drummers in Miami. 

Miami does have pockets of Free Music if you know where to look, and quite good ones. 

Ludwig Remakes the Club Date set!

I've been seeing these things for a while now, so I thought I'd do a post on them. Ludwig seems to have remade the classic "Club Date" set, which as you can see below looks pretty darn awesome! The club date was a popular setup in the 50s and 60s for ludwig, and you can see many legendary jazz players from back in the day playing these kits.

These kits feature the same single lug design that made the old club dates stand apart from the other Ludwigs. They are pretty true to form of the originals, with the exception of a modernized free floating tom mount, which is probably a good idea.

They're reasonably priced at around $800 and come in awesome looking sparkle finishes and come in 3 different shell configurations, an 18/12/14, 20/12/14 (my personal favorite) and a more standard 22/13/16. Combined with Ludwig's new line of flat based stands, these drums look classy as hell. The shells are made of 6 ply Cherry/Gumwood, and have oldschool roundover bearing edges.

For some odd reason Ludwig does not feature these kits on their website, but it seems like they're a little slow in catching up with their site sometimes. Anyway, I'd love to have one of these myself, click on any of the pics to see the prices and options they're going for.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Video - A Whale's Song

This is a video for "A Whale's Song" which was originally composed for a short film I helped produce, but later reworked the track and released it on my album Yemaja.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Children of Mu - Slabs From Patambo

Slabs From Patambo -- First/Main section recorded on 5/1/11 at the Anthill 2 with Justin Wierbonski on Drums, Adam Deimling on Bass, Kevin Wilder on Keyboard, Gonzalo Ovelar on Percussion and Christopher Kirk on Laptop/Synth. Zanzithophone overdubs by Justin Wierbonski. End section recorded on 4/24/11 at the Anthill 2 with Justin Wierbonski on Drums, Gonzalo Ovelar on Percussion and Christopher Nadeau on Guitar.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Eu Amo São Paulo

This is my third visit to a wonderful city, São Paulo, Brasil! It's a behemoth of rolling hills of brick shanties with thin fiberglass roofs filled with so much energy and life, smiling faces, warm people, delicious and strange food, loud music everywhere, beautiful people, kids playing in the streets, wild dogs running wild, motorcycles making daring moves darting between traffic, tiny alcohol powered cars, loving family, beijos, muitos beijos, high tech electronics juiced from twisted and taped cables through holes in walls, incredibly steep staircases without railings, packed bus stops, people talking in the streets, me understanding more than ever, tons of percussion instruments I want to buy, endless skyscrapers, laughing, playing, working, making great use of what they have, tropical plants and fruits popping through the cracks of cement, love this place.










Monday, April 2, 2012

Jay Demko and Friends New Band - Centers

I got an email from my life-long friend, Jay Demko the other day telling me about his new band called Centers. This is great stuff, Jay is on guitar and oud, which is an African acoustic stringed instrument that has a very unique sound.

Also in this group is Courtney on organ, Jay's wife and long time musical partner in bands such As On and World B free.

Rounding out the lineup are some talented Portland locals to make up a group that blends together world and blues instrumentation with minimal percussion and almost Discord Records-like vocals and melodies. You can listen to and purchase their new album here!

This post is a little short and doesn't really give them the full attention they deserve, but I'm currently on the road and typing on my iPod. Next stop São Paulo!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Download Store!

You may have noticed that nifty download store picture/link in the upper right, and some of you might have already even clicked on it. If you haven't already go ahead and check it out, and possibly buy some albums. They're all super high quality, and darn good if I do say so myself. There's a lot of content, I'm in the process of uploading the 10th album right now.

Also, some time soon I am going to be transferring all the old Shulaka tapes from 1995 - 1999 and posting them as well.

So go ahead and check it out!

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Most Influential Drummers

I've been kicking around a posting like this for a while, since everybody always talks about or asks me who my favorite drummers are. My reservations with a list like this, is I can't possibly list everyone because that would take me forever and some I don't even know their names, just old recordings they are on, especially with Latin and Brazilian music.

So what I am going to do is list the ones that have had a big influence on my playing, past and present. This is not in any type of order whatsoever and it is not a rating scale. All of these drummers are fantasic and I am not stating that anyone of them is better or more important than the others. So here it goes.

Max Roach - Max Roach is pretty much on everybody's list since he is one of the major innovators of Jazz and played with pretty much every legendary Jazz performer in history. When I first started learning Jazz I studied Max heavily. He has an incredible swing and amazing separation between limbs.

Alex Van Halen - I was seriously influenced by this man when I was in Jr. High. Alex always came up with the best fills, had awesome sounding drums, especially the snare, and is probably one of the most criminally overlooked rock drummers in history.

Billy Cobham - He is without a doubt one of the greatest drummers to ever walk the earth. He is the man who set the standard for fusion drumming. His mind boggling speed and power is augmented by his understanding of complex time, ability to play just about any style needed for the song, everything from searing be bop as well as all latin styles, rock and progressive. He's the one guy who can use a 26 piece drum kit and use ALL of it in a single fill! His football player physic makes him probably the most powerful and intense jazz drummer of all time, but also can play with amazing finesse and a fine touch.  His influence on me is immeasurable.

Phil Collins - Few non-drummers realize how amazingly good of a drummer Phil Collins is. The master of the Concert Toms, his huge drum sound is permanently etched in the consciousness of just about everybody on earth having played the most memorable drum fill in history with "In The Air Tonight" His work in Genesis was monumental, yet few people know of the Fusion band "Brand X" that Phil played in. The album Unorthodox Behavior shows that Phil could hang right up there with the best of them. Phil's phrasing of beats and fills make his drum parts almost songs in themselves. Whether most drummers realize it or not, chances are they have stolen more than a few Phil Collins fills.

Damon Che - This man re-invented drumming. Everything about the way Damon plays is different than just about anybody. He sets up his snare in a way that nobody in their right mind would ever do, uses a beat up old 1980s Pearl Export, likes cheap B8 Sabian Cymbals, plays with the butt ends of gigantic tree trunk marching sticks, yet still makes everything he does sound amazing. I saw Damon play when I was about 18 years old, and that changed drumming forever for me. I'd never seen anybody play like that. He is insanely busy, but has an amazing, flowing feel and the looseness of a jazz player. Damon can push his drumming to such an extreme level that when you are listening to him play, you think he's going to spontaneously combust. Just when your jaw is on the floor from the barrage of tom and cymbal crashes, he steps it up to an even crazier level of bombardment.  Don Caballero II has some of the best and intense drumming ever recorded in my opinion.

Tony Williams - Of course I would have to put Tony WIlliams on this list. He without a doubt was the master of finesse and had the best sounding ride cymbal in jazz. Tony Williams started playing with Miles Davis at a very young age and like most greats, changed the way people though of Jazz drumming. He seemed to possess an unbreakable meteor that allowed him to dance wildly around the beat with true freedom but never loose the groove. He had a dark drum sound that was uniquely signature and fit so well with the late 60s Miles.

Bill Stevenson - The man behind the drums and much of the song writing for punk legends The Descendants, and ALL as well as Black Flag and later with The Lemonheads. Bill Stevenson was a HUGE influence on my playing early on, and Allroy's Revenge continues to be one of my all time favorite drumming records. In my opinion Stevenson is the best punk drummer to ever live, and the most creative and original as well. He is the only drummer to have truly stylized punk drumming. Most other drummers just play fast, or play metal beats, but Bill made it a sound.  Check out this cool interview with Bill about his love of Jazz and Ornette Coleman!

Jack DeJohnette - This man continues to inspire me on nearly a daily basis. He has been amazingly active for the past 5 decades, has an enormous body of work, and was the right channel drummer on Bitches Brew. His drumming in the early Miles Davis electric period was, and still is a huge influence on my playing, not to mention incredible playing with Chic Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, Ornette Coleman, and many many more. He replaced Tony Williams when Williams left Miles, and has some similarities to Tony with the never-dropping meteor, but definitely has his own unique sound. He excels in intense free-form drumming that dangles far on the outer edges or rhythm. His sound is unmistakable and can range from very minimal delicacies to all out bashing and extreme avantgarde. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and solo artist, he is still consistently releasing great music. No doubt Jack DeJohnette is a huge influence to me, not only as a drummer, but also as a composer and amazingly prolific musician.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ludwig returns to the hardware market in a big way!

Once upon a time an American drum company that produced some of the finest drums in the world, also made some of the best hardware in the world. Then the 80s happened. Ludwig's quality standard for hardware went down significantly in the 1980s, and they had never fully recovered. Though I do own some very nice flat based stands with the Ludwig name that came out in the early 2000s, and still have and love them. But they were not the first name most people would think of concerning hardware.

Well it seems like Ludwig has recognized that and decided to resurrected their old "Atlas" name which is what they used to call their high end hardware back in the day, as well as released several different lines which cater to various types of drummers. They have the Atlas Pro line, which is the heaviest duty line of stands they are offering. This includes all types of stands, thrones, pedals (single & double), the Atlas Classic line, this one is my favorite. It includes a whole slew of flat based stands that are light weight, but well built and sturdy. And last, the Atlas Standard line, which are medium weight stands for your average drummer. This also look quite nice.

All and all, this looks like a very promising like of hardware for Ludwig!

A Website Devoted to Concert Toms!!!

If you've noticed, I was back to using my concert tom setup in the last Children of Mu show posted below, as well as my last studio session with Will Scecina. I can't deny, I love the sound of them. I think they cut much better, and are more expressive than toms with resonant heads. They really have the ability to jump out at you in the mix. The engineer we worked with in the studio was also impressed with them and actually surprised at how good they sounded.

Anyway, thanks to my obsession with concert toms I was feverishly googling for images of setups to see what what some peoples choices for heads were and I came across this completely awesome site totally dedicated to the infamous single headed beauty that was created by none other than Weird Al's drummer, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz! It's a very cool site with a great gallery of famous concert tom kits, including several of his own. Click the image below and check it out!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Show Tonight! The Children of Mu - Last Florida Performance!


Come down to the Dunedin Brewery tonight for an exclusive performance by The Children of Mu. This will be the last show in Florida for some time. There's no cover and great food and homebrewed beer! 937 Douglas Ave. Dunedin, FL.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ludwig Atlas Stands are Back!

Ludwig returns to the hardware market in a big way! 

Once upon a time an American company by the name of Ludwig ruled not only drums, but drum hardware as well. Then the 80s happened. True Ludwig never stopped producing

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sabian Releases B8 Pro "Ozone" Cymbal

Cruising Sabian's website the other day, I noticed that they are now making the Ozone in the more affordable B8 Pro line. For those of you not familiar with the Ozone cymbal, it's basically a crash cymbal with a bunch of huge holes in it. But believe it or not, they sound pretty darn cool, almost like an extremely explosive trashy crash. The 18" retailing at only $108, it seems like it'll be a great deal to add some spice to your kit.

I'm not an "alloy snob" and think that B8 can sound quite good. Allot of people don't realize nearly all of the Paistes made throughout the 70s and 80s were all made from B8 alloy.

Sabian hasn't put a sound sample up yet, but even if they do, this is an area of Sabian's site that needs some work. All of their audio samples sound like they're encoded at 24 kbps or something, so they're pretty worthless in judging sound. My feelings of the B8 Pro line is mixed in general. I had an 18" crash that sounded great, and the Power Rock Ride (which they have discontinued for some reason) is used by Mr. Damon Che of Don Caballero, and he makes it sound damn good. However, I had a set of their medium hats once and they were the harshest and most awful sounding hi hats I'd ever played. For a while they were the only ones I had left and was forced to play them. I cringed every time I hit them, haha.

That being said, I wouldn't just blindly order one until I could hear one in person. But they certainly have potential to be cool.