Thursday, February 21, 2013

Big Rock Candy Mountains

On our cd the Neighbor’s Giraffe we covered the old folk number Big Rock Candy Mountains. I always felt there was a psychedelic leaning to the lyrics and there was no resisting the urge to push that leaning so far the words melted into a whole new consciousness of strangeness.
DNA Girl and I re-worked the lyrics a good dozen times before we settled on the recorded words. The live performance of the lyrics is slightly different but live vs. studio is a subject for another time.
I have no idea how many vocal takes I did on that one before we agreed on one that we both liked.
Part way through working on it we thought it would be fun instead of just ending the tune where it normally stops that we would have it explode into psychedelic abandon and set free some weird sounds.
We thought when we recorded that section (yes this track was a cut and paste job to some degree) it would only be a couple of minutes…. Those who have the cd know the full track is a little over 10 minutes long. We went nuts and had so much fun we didn’t care. We edited the best parts of the sonic exploration into the song.
Part of the soundscape was DNA Girl playing guitar which we ran through the TTT Analog Delay Theresynth which is a mutated pedal/theresynth made by Chamber of Sounds (they rule!). While DNA Girl played, I manipulated the TTT Analog Delay Theresynth in real time distorting her guitar all over the place. It was a gas.

We decided to make a video for the track but figured it wouldn’t be fun to do the entire piece so we edited the song down to just the vocal section for the video.
The Big Rock Candy Mountains video is chiefly comprised of found footage. Some from public domain films and a lot from the Count Robot personal archives. Some people might spot an old Mass landmark in the video.
So here it is.
Dig it like gold.

-Sincerely Groovy,
Count Robot

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Purple Mushroom

Today’s subject, The Purple Mushroom which is an Astro Al cd of course…
This cd came about in a strange alignment.
For a while we had been mulling doing a 70’s style epic recording, a full length forty plus minute recording comprised of only four songs. Well ok two of them are spoken word pieces as it turned out but this our version of those types of albums by bands like Yes, Van Der Graf Generator, and so on.
Whilst hiking one day DNA Girl spotted an odd looking gigantic mushroom. She took a picture of it and somehow the lighting made the mushroom look… purple. So DNA Girl said that it should be the cd cover and that made sense for the whole 70’s vibe we wanted and it was just too easy to call the collection of tracks The Purple Mushroom.
Really when it comes down to it, this cd to me is a tribute to one of my favorite Tangerine Dream albums, Green Desert. That album has only four tracks. The massive sprawling title track and three shorter ones.
Here’s a shakedown of The Purple Mushroom track by track
1.    Ancient Astronauts: The shortest track on the cd. Brian Fowler sent us some rip roaring space rock music and DNA Girl and I filled it out. A lot of fun to rock out in the stars.
2.    Frozen Mass: The longest track on the cd. A lot of the music and sounds came from Wisteriax and Mike Langlie of Twink. They really carried this story of sci-fi Tell Tale Frankenstein into other realms.
3.    Interspace: A meditative song built around the premise of reaching beyond yourself. Always a good idea.
4.    Ripples in the Puddle: A lot of the music here was by Brian Fowler and his gang of henchmen. The words were based on an old sci-fi story I never finished that looked at two characters on opposing sides of a war. When recording it DNA Girl was given narration duties for one side and myself the other.
Just wanted to thank Wisteriax, Brian Fowler and his gang, and Mike Langlie for all of their help making this musical mountain happen! You rock the spaceways.

Here’s the video for Ancient Astronauts.

-From the frozen wastes,
Count Robot

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Unquiet Grave

Recently I chatted about the Astro Al cd Ghosts & Ghouls.
Now I’ll spin the yarn about the video we made to accompany our version of The Unquiet Grave.
A few years ago our friend David Breen got the idea to do a video for a song he was working on for the band Katfish 4 (which just so happens that DNA Girl plays in… is this the smallest world?). So we started shooting footage for that video. We even shot a bunch of video at a few locations in England. One of the locations was Leeds Castle. What an amazing place. Would love to do a gig there some day. Ah I can dream, yes I can…
So we shot over 40 minutes of footage for what was going to be roughly a four-minute song. When creating videos for tunes we’ve found over time that its best to have a giant pool of footage to pull from. The unused bits can always be put to work in other projects.
Well after shooting all this footage and dozens of pictures for some stop motion trickery the Katfish 4 video got scrapped. The details why aren’t the interesting part of the story, at least not to this robot.
So we tried to think about what to do with all this footage we had. We had already recorded The Unquiet Grave so we thought why not take the stuff that would work for it and put it together. There’s still a heap of unused footage lying around that will most likely stay unseen. Making videos for us I guess is a bit like sculpting. You start with a pre-formed mass and then strip away everything that doesn’t belong.
And here it is. Dig it like a grave

-Yours in eternal beauty rest
Count Robot