Tuesday, 21 February 2012

In-Progress thoughts on my Solo RPM album

Filed under: VYBeauregard,new music — Tags: , , , , — VYBeauregard @ 19:00

For 2012, I decided to do a solo album, in addition to the album we traditionally do as Demons of Gyrophonia. I have four tracks recorded, totaling over 40 minutes of music so far.

Before I declare Things I Should Have Said finished, I thought it would be a good time to discuss my process in writing not only this album, but my writing process in general.

It seems I haven’t given it much thought until recently.

A lot of composers are inspired by events in their lives, emotions they are feeling, or other obvious sources for artists to draw upon. The resulting work is usually interpreted as being intensely personal as a result.

Since the last time I recorded a solo album (thinking back, I would have to say it was Robert Shields’ Diary from four years ago), I haven’t really had any specific inspiration to write anything. That’s a big reason I decided to take the RPM challenge personally this year, as it generally has the effect of jump-starting any creative thinking for its participants. And wouldn’t you know it? It worked.

I created a set of limitations I would adhere to while producing the album for several reasons. Obviously it would result in a more cohesive finished product. But I also find as a composer (or performer, or developer for that matter) that constraints help me focus my work and put forth the very best effort possible.

The main constraint was instrumentation. Korg MS-10, a whamola, a 3-string Guitbass and a 3-string Drumitar. All electric instruments, most running through a minimal effects rig including a harmonizer, ring mod, chorus, and delay. No singing, no percussion, no acoustic instruments. The other constraint was length. No short songs. Each selection from Things I Should Have Said takes its time developing; the shortest track thus far weighs in at just a shade under nine minutes. To be honest, with the MS-10 in my arsenal, it would probably be harder to do a short track than a nine-minute sonic odyssey.

With those limitations in place, I was free to explore the sounds these few instruments were capable of and not be concerned with anything else. I allowed myself to forget everything else and just focus on sound. My inspiration for this project: Sound.

The biggest limitation others see when they initially hear about RPM is the amount of time allotted for being creative. 29 days?! That’s silliness!

But it isn’t really. I shouldn’t really bring pop music production into the discussion here, but most chart-toppers are written and recorded in what essentially boils down to a sleepless weekend. The post-production work is another topic of discussion, but there’s arguably a function of diminishing returns in the amount of time and money spent on modern pop post-production.

Working with Gyrophonia, we habitually end up cranking out an album in just one or two weekly(-ish) meetings. Our process generally doesn’t fuss over the niggling details and just focuses on making sound. Some of it’s good, some of it’s bad; we make it, listen to it, and if we like it, make a record out of it.

It’s February 21st and so far I’ve spent five nights on my album. I’ve made four tracks, and I’m happy with the way all of them have turned out. The rest of the month, I’ve been working, eating, sleeping, and doing all of the things I normally do in the course of a month. Oh yeah, and working on another RPM album with Gyrophonia.

Overall, this has been a great experience. I haven’t hit any existential crisis mid-way through that prevents me from moving forward. I haven’t had a complete mental breakdown in the midst of trying to find the perfect rhyme for ‘kumquat’.

I’ve just been making sound.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

RPM 2011 is in the Can!

Filed under: Demons of Gryophonia,News,new music — timbill @ 4:48

Presenting the first Demons of Gyrophonia album of 2011, our third annual RPM Challenge album, The Golden Age of Bastards. It features 11 tracks of brand new material, including improvised solo-ensemble tracks, ambient soundscapes, and group improvs. It’s available for sale on our BandCamp store for $9 (or individual tracks for $1 apiece). As always, the whole album can also be streamed for free online. Enjoy!


Monday, 20 December 2010

Happy Christmahanukwanzaakah, Merry Decemberween, Happy Festivus, Joyous Saturnalia!

Filed under: Demons of Gryophonia,News,new music — Tags: — timbill @ 2:31

Let all the inmates in our corner of the asylum rejoice, for this is the year when Demons of Gyrophonia has decided to record a Christmas album! The Christmas Album was recorded earlier this month, over the course of three recording sessions, and features 14 tracks of public domain Christmas songs (redone in a way that doesn’t make us want to horribly murder everyone in our respective paths), original improv experiments, and a new composition by our own Tommy Scheurich. You can listen to the whole album online on our Bandcamp store, and (should you choose to accept it) buy it for the paltry sum of $7.

This is our sixth and final album of the year (surely, there are few artists who could claim such a thing), and it’s turned very quickly into something we actually like and respect. We all generally regard Christmas music as the lowest form of music (and the newer it is, the worse it is), so we wanted to do something new and creative with these old standards that everyone hears hundreds of times a year over the span of these few weeks. I think we’ve turned out an album that’s unexpectedly reverent in many places, and dutifully irreverent in others. Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Concert recordings, and one more coming up soon

In case you missed our October showing at the Oklahoma Composers’ Association salon concert (and most of you did, for shame), you missed partaking in the madness. However, recordings of the whole concert, including our session are available here

Listen and enjoy. We were able to convince basically the whole audience to join us in the last two pieces, so there are about 10-12 guest performers in them.

The full quartet of Gyrophonia will be performing again at the next concert, on 6 November (once again, Sonder Music, 8pm). We would love to see a lot of people there!


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Rotatable Tremulant Concerts

Members of Demons of Gyrophonia (Tommy, Trey, and I) will be acting ambassadors of improv at the 2 October Oklahoma Composers’ Association concert, performing original improvisations including an effected Cello solo, an all-star ambient improv, and an all vocal improv, featuring everyone in the audience, as well. Anyone is welcome to attend, and is encouraged to bring an instrument and join in, if you please.

The full collective will be performing at the 6 November concert, also doing original improvisations (no Jersey this time, we promise!).

Both shows are part of the fall 2010 OCA Concert Series at Sonder Music, Dance, & Art at 225 E Gray, Norman, OK 73069
Concerts start at 8pm. We hope to see you there!


Saturday, 17 July 2010

An Evening With… Complete Set is Complete

Filed under: Demons of Gryophonia,News,new music — timbill @ 20:50

Announcing the finished “box set” (online only, except by request) of An Evening With… All four albums were recorded in 5 sessions over the course of a sesquimonth.  Volume 1 is only Trey, Tommy, and me; 2 is only Trey, Melissa, and me; 3 and 4 are the full quartet (except for a couple of select tracks).  All tracks are improvised without parameters, other than instrumentation, and everything is acoustic—no effects or post processing, outside of the usual gain, noise removal, and a little EQ.  All lyrics on anything with vocals are stream-of-consciousness.  All four volumes are available at the store, for free listening, or non-free purchase ($1 per track, or $6 per album).

Individual album links:

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4



Sunday, 16 May 2010


We kind of…recorded a new album Thursday night.  We didn’t plan to record an album worth of material in a single night; it just kind of happened. The first notes of the album were played a bit after 8pm, and it was all done in about an hour and a half (counting a 20 minute break in the middle).  The next night, as Trey and I were going over the recordings, we realized we had 42 minutes and change of material, and it worked pretty well together.  The only regret is that Melissa wasn’t with us that night, due to a previous, rather exciting engagement.

The end result is An Evening With… A seven-part suite of improvisation, all recorded in a single night, completed and published within 27 hours of its start.  The majority of it can easily stand up alongside our February release, Demons of Gyrophonia & the Rotatable Tremulant All-Stars, and we think the instrumentation and textures explored here worked quite well as a whole.  The album, like all our others, can be streamed for free online at our BandCamp store.


Friday, 5 March 2010

RPM 2010 Challenge Complete, New Store, and Twitter Feed

This month, Gyrophonia has a new crowning achievement; a double album. 103 minutes + 14 tracks + all free improv + 3 two-to-three hour sessions + 6 musicians (including 3 guest demons) = Demons of Gyrophonia & the Rotatable Tremulant All-Stars. We’re all extremely happy with how it turned out–it’s obscenely good. Even if you’re not usually into avant-garde music, you should give it a listen, preferably with a good pair of headphones.

Images of the artwork and Photos from some of the sessions can be viewed here. We even have videos of the performance of about half the tracks. Man vs sun hasn’t uploaded all of them yet, but you can check out the videos for three of the four tracks that we’ve posted so far to MeFi, so far.

Track Listing for the album is as follows:

01. Hypoxia (Styrofoam/Bass Intro)
02. Heist! (Delayed Bongo Improv)
03. In the Region of Leeds (Accordion Duel)
04. Trek of the Nautilus (Theremin solo, theremin/flute/alto/voice improv)
05. Homemade Napalm, Pt. II (All-Star noise jam)
06. Bushido (Bass Flute solo)
07. The Dissociative Unhappening (Tutti improv)

08. Take Up Yer Cudgels (Bass Duel)
09. Ceylon Timaliid (Recordaphone/bass flute/viola/tubulon quartet)
10. Differential Spectrum Radiation (Bass/viola/flute trio)
11. Sanctus langanum Immolare (Viola solo)
12. Rhu-Zhi-Bureth (Bass/Bari duo)
13. Étude Chronographique (Viola/tenor duo)
14. Éxi Láryngas (vocal improv)

Final play time: approx. 103 minutes

Oh, feel free to buy it, too, at our new store.

For anyone on Twitter, you can now follow us online at www.twitter.com/gyrophonia.  It will auto update with info about new tracks, webcasts, and whatever other random useless info Trey, Melissa, and I decide to spew forth.

Friday, 12 February 2010

RPM 2010, checkpoint #1

Filed under: Demons of Gryophonia,News,new music — Tags: , — VYBeauregard @ 22:12

Halfway through February, I think it’s an appropriate time to announce that we are indeed doing an album for Record Production Month. Our first recording session was last night and can be viewed on-demand on our livestream page.

Last night’s session involved zero preparation and three special guests: Curtis McKinney on Bass with SuperCollider effects, Tommy Scheurich on Tubulon, and Dexter Ford on Bass with a pedalboard full of effects.  The sub-ensembles that resulted included a bass duel, a Casio orgy, a vocal sextet and a Flute/Sax/Guitar/Tubulon ensemble.

The pieces are yet to be named.

Timbill has composed instructions for an improvisation (for up to twenty performers) based on the Doomsday Clock entitled Gladly Transform Cold, Smoky Codas. We’ll probably run through that next Thursday.

I still haven’t personally written any music for the album, and I’m not sure I will.  Keeping the record 100% improvisatory has a distinct appeal to it, especially considering the timeframe we’re working with, and last year’s last-minute scramble to save several wasted recording sessions.

Besides, improv is what we do best.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Live webcast tonight 0100 GMT (8pm CDT)

We’re turning on the cameras tonight for our recording session. You should be able to tune in on our livestream channel. Broadcast start time is approximate, so follow @vybeauregard for instant updates.

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