Tone chasing

I’m always interested in finding new sounds, new pedals, whatnot. Experimenting with stacking pedals and effects and the different sounds you can get from them. One day I plan to get a Tascam and start recording some of these experiments. Right now they sound like shit, to be honest, but someday I might get something worth recording.

One problem with YouTube videos dealing with echo, delay and reverb pedals is the style of music featured. You rarely, if ever, see ambient, space rock or drone music featured. It’s always some guy with a douchey sense of humor, playing the same boring blues and rockabilly riffs to the same slapback reverb setting. It almost seems like there is a factory producing SRV clones with the same playing style.

Don’t get me wrong, there a couple of channels dedicated to ambient music (a lot of electronic, which is cool, too), but they get lost in the avalanche of bad blues impersonators.

Of course, the same problem applies to your average guitar teacher, or music store personnel.  If you’re gonna go pedal shopping, they’ll always tell you the pedals and settings that Page or Clapton or Hendrix used on whatever song. Again, I don’t really fault them, as the great majority of buyers are going for that sound. I’m an oddball, and that’s fine with me.

There used to be an online community, but I never joined because of busy life stuff, but it’s now defunct. Which is just me always be late to the party.

But at the same time I plan to do more experiments and get my own sound. For one thing, most ambient guitar guys use insanely expensive pedals. Stuff that costs $500 a pedal. The four pedals I will use cost about that much combined. Yes, I use stuff by MXR, TC Electronics and Line 6. That’s just what I can afford. Or justify paying. Maybe if I made thousands of dollars a month at Bandcamp I would put the money towards a Strymon, or a Death by Audio pedal. Some of those Death by Audio pedals are tempting. And they’re made by Oliver Ackermann of A Place To Bury Strangers (one of my favorite bands), but I still can’t really justify or afford the cost at the moment.

Also, when people use the same boutique pedals, often times their sound is too similar. I won’t fool myself into thinking I’m getting a revolutionary sound out of my four, moderately priced pedals. But I like to try. And I like to go for something different.

I’ll be honest for a second and say that if I had a pedal that gave me an instant Windy & Carl sound, I’d be happy. At least for a few minutes, until I realized I was simply poorly replicating music that came about 15 years ago.

For now, I’ll simply experiment and go from there. Most of the fun of ambient music is finding new sounds, and ways of making sounds in different ways. And sometimes that kind of thing is best done alone.

Oh so close…

I’ve been working on an XR1300 album lately. It’s strange in that it’s less dancey than the last two, but also more ambient. Yet it’s too dancey to be a Rural Citizens Band album. I’m using a lot of fuzz bass on this one, and as I play around different effect pedals (mostly delay, reverb, echo, etc) I’d love to make a sort of space rock album and release it under the XR1300 name later in the year.

But first I need to complete this one. And that is proving to be kind of a chore. I have 11 of 13 songs done and finished. Baring any unforeseen difficulties, I will leave them as is. Another song is damn near done, I just need to add a few touches here and there. I’d say it’s 80% done. The last one isn’t even started yet. I’ve tried three different songs, but none of them are past the planning stages. One I used my trusted Fender Precision bass (named Marceline) and had a pretty good bass line. Sadly, I thought the song was in C, when it’s really in B. So the bass line clashed in a really bad way with the rest of the song, changing the pitch in Audacity made it sound like shit. But I’m not too bugged, because the rest of the song was shit, TBH.

This always happens, then at the last minute I pull out a winner. Something completely different. It just comes to me. I have a couple of muses, as it were, for this album, so I will continue until the battle is done. The nice thing is that I have no real set release date. I also know that I’m most likely the only person who will ever hear any of this, so I really do end up in the shitter, it won’t matter that much. Except it’s my album and I want this track to be perfect. There has to be 13 songs on it, otherwise it won’t be right.

Thought crimes R us

The human impulse to dehumanize by Jim Goad: 

British TV personality Katie Hopkins was born with a very unfortunate nose. Her proboscis is roughly the size of a toucan’s beak. Blonde-haired and with sparkling blue eyes, the poor maiden would actually be visually fetching if it weren’t for her giant, crooked, sloping honker.

What’s more important is that I doubt Katie Hopkins would feel compelled to call the police on me for saying any of that.

The same cannot be said of her many detractors. In recent days thousands of those who hate her—in the name of love and tolerance, but of course—have encouraged the police to arrest her for maligning fat people and Scottish people. 


This new generation of insta-snitches—and there are endlessly dreary armies of them—who appear to feel justified in having human beings caged merely for hurting their feelings all seem afflicted with a self-absorbed notion that the only possible reason someone could have said something they found offensive was for the singular purpose of offending them…rather than, say, because it’s what they really believed.

But in the case of Hopkins, her allegedly “offensive” comments appear to be rooted in an ethical conviction that being fat is not only unhealthy, it unfairly burdens those who have to pay the fatties’ medical bills. “[Obesity’s] cost to the NHS is more than six billion a year,” she explained during the same televised segment where Szrodecki called the police, “and the Chief Surgeon at Guy’s Hospital said, ‘It’s killing millions, costing billions, and the cure is in our hands,’ and as a taxpayer that’s why I feel I do have a say, it’s because I’m paying for your health.” On Twitter, Hopkins has written, “My hate for fat people has grown from the fact I have to pay to make them better.”

Forgive me for suspecting that her real crime here is criticizing the bloated size of the British welfare state.

I recently mentioned that Anita Sarkeesian represents everything wrong with the modern world. I see more and more examples of this every day. Simply put, nobody has any skin anymore. Soon, everybody, and I mean everybody, will probably find their lives turned upside down for any perceived slight. And, in the case of feminists, if you didn’t say anything, they’ll lie and say you did.

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year everybody!

To celebrate, I have released “The Best of RCB” Basically I chose 23 songs (and create 3 new interludes) that I thought were the best of the best, minus the drone tracks. I also managed to improve the sound quality over the original versions by remixing and remastering the tracks to eliminate clipping and increase dynamic range. Old versions of said songs are still available, but these are the definitive versions. Rooms II has been completely reworked and is one of my all-time favorites now.

As always, it’s free to download, and free to distribute, provided you credit me.

Best cover disc 1 tBest back disc 1 t

Best cover disc 2 tBest back disc 2 t