Thursday, January 31, 2013

Count Robot’s top 3 cds of 2012

Limiting myself to three otherwise this blog might go on and on….
1.    Storm Corrosion:
 This cd is almost flawless. 2012 was a great year for new music but this one was easy to put on top. I knew after just one listen that it was going to be my favorite of the year. The 5.1 mix on the Blu Ray version is perfectly blended. The music is a wild blend of folk, noise, experimentation, orchestral, and innovation. Favorite tracks are Drag Ropes and Hag. The way they produced and mixed the guitars for Hag is beautifully surreal. This is the first Storm Corrosion cd and I hope there are more in the future. The lyrics and vocals are hypnotic. One thing I love about this disc is it hits a good length for an album. Somewhere in the forty minute range. Hate it when discs go on too long.
2.    Alan Davey: Cyber Tooth
Alan has really out done himself with this release. He is clearly not afraid to make a collection of songs that people wouldn’t expect. The keyboard work on the album is trippy. Alan has decorated the cd with a wealth of different synth bleeps and sweeps. Blending jazz and psychedelic tones the song Harmonic Orgone feels as though it flowed out the consciousness of a dreaming computer. This tune is so unearthly and really works its way into my brainstem. I couldn’t stop listening to this song over and over for a few weeks. This is true psychedelia. The track Doomjuice is a revelation of disparate sounds weaving over each other. 
The violin sound in Doomjuice is so romantically old world that it sounds like it came out of a distant past yet we’re swept to the future on programmed sequences. The cover of Cyber Tooth is a collection of random imagery and crunching computer code.
3.    Rush: Clockwork Angels
Wow. This disc floored me. It took me back to the heady days when Rush blew the barn doors off. Their best work since the 90’s. Headlong Flight is a classic Rush song, great riffs and fantastic musicianship in an extended jam. So jaw dropping it could have just kept going and no matter how loud I turn it up I feel like I could play it even louder. The Wreckers and The Garden are two amazingly sweeping songs. Three songs on this disc rate with the best material they have ever done. Not something a band that’s been around as long as Rush has been can pull off. Fantastic stuff!

Here’s the video for Drag Ropes by Storm Corrosion.

-Yours in sonic joy
Count Robot

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ghosts & Ghouls

So a couple of months back we released our 10th cd, which is called Ghosts & Ghouls.
Since we have this bloggyspace I figured it would be good to discuss the disc a bit track by track for those who might be foolish enough to be interested.
1.    The Unquiet Grave: This song is an old murder ballad. We re-worked it a lot and must have done close to fifty vocal takes before sealing the deal. We were ultra picky with the vocals on this one. We played around with different voice sounds bouncing some of the vocals out of a mixer into an amp and then putting a microphone on the amp and running it back into our recording deck. Gave the vocals an unearthly sound but was a lot of work.
2.    Ghost Town: This is our tribute to Johnny Cash. The Man in Black wrote great story songs to say the least. My favorite thing on this track production wise is how we managed to ring the tone out of the guitar for the fade out.
3.    Death Comes Creeping: There were a lot of guitar takes with this one and lots of vocal takes. In all this tune has a the most tracks on it on this cd I think. We did a bunch of static tracks that are way off in the background.
4.    The Headbearer’s Song: After Death Comes Creeping we knew we wanted something lite to follow it up. We really don’t buy into the download culture. The song order of our recordings is something we spend a lot of time on and is far from arbitrary. Each bit is meant to flow in a specific order. Anyhow one of the fun things on this track was to run the electric ukulele through an echo pedal so it just loops endlessly around.
5.    Windshield: This one was inspired by untrue events. We were in the Black Hills in a giant fog bank one night but we won’t confess to seeing any spirits. The backing tracks were piles of noise experiments heaped atop each other.
6.    Predator & Prey: As a duo sometimes we want to fill up the space in our tracks with sound. So that can mean looping, running back tracks, etc. Thought it would be fun in this case to let the voice become a reverb explosion that fills the entire song.
7.    Eclipse of Blood: DNA Girl wrote the words to this tale. We figured it would be fun to put some soundscapes behind it and here it is. Our ode to the horror movies we love.
8.    I’m Nuts: DNA Girl wrote the melody and some of the words many moons ago. We decided to go crazy with it and try anything we wanted. We did vocal loops, samples, kazoos, and any other stupid idea that popped into our warped heads.
9.    Monsters are Universal: A tribute to the horror films of yesteryear. We used samples from some of our favs and worked some guitar through it.
10. Therapeutic Spiritualism: Another track based on not so true events. Yes somewhere there is someone who is being followed by a ghost named Joey. We thought about throwing a music bed under this but decided against it because it just didn’t make sense. It’s a skit so we figured let it be a skit.
11. Weird Western: This was the first track we put together for Ghosts & Ghouls. Most of the music is by our musical bud Brian Fowler (Brian is in tons of bands, Echobeast, Spaceseed, and Bibb City Ramblers. He also has an amazing solo mandolin cd out!). I knew after we finished it that this would be the last track. The story has an episodic quality and leaves room for your thoughts to go about the character’s exploits which we figured was a good way to send you on your way.

Here’s the first video for Ghosts & Ghouls. It’s for The Unquiet Grave. We’re hoping to do a video for The Headbearer’s Song in the Spring.

Your scribe, Count Robot.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A blog about what this blog will be about… or something like that….

A blog about what this blog will be about… or something like that….

So here is the latest Astro Al blog. We used to run one on Myfacespace but those dwindled down and well here we are at blogspotty.
We hope you dig this ramble and the rambles yet to come.
So what are we here to yak about?
Well the B horror/sci-fi psychedelic band known as Astro Al of course.
We’ll discuss things that don’t fit well on our site or our Facespace pages. So this won’t be much of a news portal but more about items that are more involved than that and this space won’t serve as a site to imbibe our recycled updates.
We’ll discuss how we do things and why. We won’t divulge everything. Why? Because life is damn boring without mystery in it.
We are all over informed these days so while we lift the backstage curtain a wee bit you won’t get to go all the way to the dressing room door.
Not that what goes on back there is some super secret but why not let our imaginations have some fun?
So we’ll discuss some of our lo-fi recording techniques and B video athletics but we’re not going to give it all away….

And now here’s one of our videos for those of you who stumbled across this blog and are unsure of what Astro Al is all about.
This sums it up…

Scribed by Count Robot