Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Album 2009


For the past few years Josh Nelson has been curating Christmas compilations featuring various groupings of our friends playing both originals and covers. I've contributed something each year and it's my opinion that results are usually interesting.

This year was a little slim with only eleven tracks but there is some solid stuff, including three contributions from Beru and two from Colin Alexander's Tiny Specks of Many Things.

Josh didn't include album art, so just to make this post interesting I put up that picture of my cat next to our Christmas tree

Download it HERE

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Mooninites - Experiment Station Road (2003)


So by now we all know about The Mooninites, (Three dudes, I'm one of them, along with Zach and Travis) if you don't know of our thrilling history check out the older posts. Anyhow, since I've been traveling basically backwards with my posting of Mooninites albums I'll explain that this is pretty much the second thing we ever did. The story, as I understand it is that we had made this one record and Zach played it for his friends at school (UGA, go dawgs!) most notably Lars Gotrich (or Thor, as we know him now) and Lars who ran the local music show, invited us to play at his "Live in the Lobby" event, where a bad would come to the station and, obviously, play in the lobby. Now at this point we had never had an official show (there was an unofficial show, which was videotaped and could maybe maybe be posted at some point) and we didn't really know how to go about doing one. So somewhere along the line we decided to just bring a bunch of instruments and "see what happened". We didn't even know the word "improv" at least not outside of the context of comedy, so we didn't know what we were doing.

So we loaded up the cars and drove to Athens to meet Zach at the station and play. On the way there Travis rear-ended me, (I was driving Simon Sharp's car, which to this day has a trunk that doesn't operate correctly.) and when we after the cops came and left we saw that we had wrecked at the intersection of "Experiment Station Road", so later we named the record after that.

When we got to the station there was little time for any kind of explanation or sound check or anything. We explained to the engineer, Miles Styer that we would just set up a bunch of stuff and sort of move around the room playing each thing at different times and volumes.

And then we played for about a half hour. Joe McNeill was present as were about twenty or so UGA students, all sitting in chairs or on the floor around us as we played. At times the music became incredibly loud and I actually think Joe was the only the one in the audience not covering his/her ears at some points. It got quiet at the end and Zach coaxed everyone into clapping along on the last bit.

The session was broadcast live, recorded somehow and was given to us on a CDR. Upon listening to it we realized that due to loudness of our playing they had turned the master volume down considerably, presumably to control it for the broadcast, which significantly altered the listening experience, making the loudest parts of our playing actually the quietest parts of the recording.

After I posted "Let's Melt Snow" a few months back and this recording was mentioned I revisited it and set about re-mastering it with the goal of at least glimpsing the volume and (dare I say) Power of the actual performance.

So here it is, six years later and I think it's a pretty okay little record. It has an earnest enthusiasm for the playing of weird music that I very much respect and admire now. Were we the masters of experimentation that we wanted to be? Of course not, but we had fun and made some decent music so it shouldn't really matter.


Zach Smola: Primary guitar, tambourine
Travis Knowles: Bass, SK-1, organ
Ben Collins: Drum loops, Korg Synth, feedback guitar

(Acoustic Cigarette: Joe McNeill and Simon Sharp)

Engineered by Miles Styer
Produced by Lars Gotrich
Mastered and Edited by Ben Collins

Get it HERE

Update: I now know for sure that the photo was taken by Erin R. White, thanks Erin.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Maybe Yr New Here...

I thought it might be a good time for me to reintroduce myself and this blog. Since moving out to Los Angeles almost a year ago now I've been meeting new people and so I thought I would provide an easy way to understand what we're doing here and a sort of primer to the more popular albums up on here.

So My name is Ben. I'm from Atlanta originally and I went to college in Savannah and recently moved to Los Angeles. Throughout all of that I have recorded a lot of music and made friends with other people who do likewise. I started this blog as a way to post up music for people to download, just as a way of getting it out there in the world instead of forever festering on CDRs made in an edition of five.

So I've posted a lot now, it's close to a hundred, maybe in the seventies and I have plenty more sitting on hard drives waiting to go up. I recognize that if you are new to the site you may have no idea where to start so I thought I would guide a bit and tell you about some of the key bands/albums featured on this blog.


Uncle Owen Aunt Beru - "Black Seas"

It might be the best album on this whole site. Jessica (sole member of Uncle Owen Aunt Beru, now called simply "Beru") is the unquestioned star of this blog, anything she plays on gets downloaded the most and for good reason. Get this record first before anything else.

Download it HERE

Or view the original post HERE



This is another of the most downloaded recordings. It also features Jessica, this time playing drums in our duo Cat People, (which also includes me on guitar). This recording has us playing in double-duo form with Deth Gate, who were (are?) a rad duo in Savannah made up of Stephen Zerbe on keys and Coley Brown on drums.

Download it HERE

Or view the original post HERE


Ben Collins - What is a Lover?

A lot of the records on this blog are mine, simply because I have more of my own stuff than anyone else's. My record vary in style and quality, I have no real objective way of saying what is good at all but in many ways this album is my favorite one I ever did. It has a good blend of styles from noise to acoustic and other...

Download it HERE

Or view the original post HERE


Black Thirteen - Whiskey & Honey

This was the first album I posted. Black Thirteen is a now sort of defunct improv group that had a rotating line up with a few constants. This album is the first to feature the "classic" grouping of Simon Sharp, Wesley Rose and myself: all playing guitars.

Download it HERE

Or view the original post HERE


Will Melton & The Year of Love - Summer of Love

This record features a ton of my friends all playing and singing these songs which are all composed and recorded by Will Melton. I won't break down the various contributions, (see original post) but I'll tell you that it is great eclectic pop music.

Download it HERE

Or view the original post HERE


Wesley Rose - Southern Elegance

This is Wesley's first album. Power. Raw. Noise. Get it.

Download it HERE

Original post HERE


Dixieland Teenbeat Spiritual Waltz

This record is Travis Knowles and myself each playing an organ, as the photo suggests. It's improv, it's fun.

Download it HERE



Ben Collins & Zach Smola - Guitars and Loops

This record is a improv electric guitar duo by Zach Smola and myself. Sort of like a Fripp & Eno record if it was two Fripps and neither were as good as the actual, real Fripp.

Download it HERE



Black Thirteen - Plate Tekroniks

Here is a good example of an expanded B13 line up. Here we feature the classic group plus the inimitable Joe McNeill (Featured eating Long John Silver's on the cover). It's also a good example of how we could play long and weird and whiskey-fueled music that would never have occurred to us in any other setting.

Download it HERE



So maybe that is a good introduction to the unfamiliar... I'll continue with the new posts soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wesley Rose - Humane Trafficking


This is Wesley's forth album. If you don't know anything about the guy look up his older posts and learn something. I've talked him up a lot, he's one of my favorite musicians and one of my favorite people. This albums are slowly revealing the musical powers he has at his disposal, and it's just my opinion but I think he has a great deal that we haven't yet seen. After all he is the drummer in Figurants and really did anyone see that coming?

Seriously though this album is good. It's more organic, less power electronics. That old acoustic guitar shows up, which is great. It's mellow noise, you could listen to it before bed (I am doing this right now). My powers of description fail me, and I can only say that you should listen to this. If this blog existed only to support Welsey's albums it would be worth it to me.

I should say that I promised to post this album a while back and it took some time to do so. What can I say other than that I got married and moved across the country? At any rate partly due to the delay and partly because we love him so much, Jess and I each contributed to this release: she in the form of the video below and me in the form of a bonus remix track at the end of the record.

U.H.I.D. Wesley Rose from Jessica Collins on Vimeo.

But other than that, all sounds by Wesley Rose.

Download HERE

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Mooninites - Let's Melt Snow and Rebuild New York City (2003)

The Mooninites, yes The Mooninites. Ah the follies of youth, naming one's band after silly cartoon characters from a silly cartoon show for stoners. You can really only do that with credibility before you are of drinking age, which is okay because when this track was recorded on the day after thanksgiving 2003 the members were 19 (Travis and I) and 18 (Zach), so I hope you will forgive our frivolities.

Anyhow, this track was recorded on that day because, since we all attended separate colleges, it was the only day we would all be in Fayetteville to record. We had already recorded our (as yet unposted) first record over the previous summer and planed to record our second album that Christmas. This track was a sort of preview/single or something and now, six years later I think it is one of the best things I've ever worked on.

Back then we were fully trying to sound something like a post-rock, experimental, Yes meets Neu! supergroup. The songs were neither collectively improvised nor pre-composed and each part was recorded separately on one of those old Boss digital eight-track recorders(I think it was this one). I mixed it that day and burned it to CD and what you hear now is exactly as it has always been.

Note the three distinct movements, we were really psyched about that.

Note all of the additional and perfunctory post-rock "knob twiddling" that we all thought was so avant garde at the time.

Note how sloppy my drumming is in the first part (we never used a metronome and drums were always recorded first) and yet Travis still plays his bass to it perfectly.

As far as what everybody played and/or what exactly all of the sounds are, I can't exactly tell you that but as best as I remember:

Zach Smola: plays most, if not all of the guitars and probably the wammy-pedal stuff and some of the percussion.

Travis Knowles: plays bass, probably some kind of keyboard and delay pedal or something as well as percussion.

Ben Collins: plays drums, sounds like theremin, probably some other kind of pedals

Produced by: The Mooninites

Or download HERE

Post Script: the photo is from the only Mooninites live show to ever occur, at WUOG is Athens Georgia. There is a recording, but I will need to clean it up a bit before I can post it, someday I swear.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Late Night LA


Last night I was playing around on the guitar and I worked out a series of melodies that I liked. Jessica encouraged me to record it real quick and I did. So here it is. It's sort of demo-ish quality and I wouldn't be surprised if I revisited it and expanded it at some point. Really i should probably try and do a whole album of guitar compositions like this, if I can.

Well I hope you all enjoy it, I'm pretty happy with it myself, it's sort of an ode to the autumn that we aren't having out here in Los Angeles.

you can also download it HERE

Post Script: that picture of my cat has nothing to do with anything, but in the absence of an appropriate picture expect a cat photo every time.

Jessica's physical release debut

So you all know that under the name Uncle Owen Aunt Beru Jessica released a numer of digital albums, two on the Birdsong netlabel and (I think) two on this very blog. Well she's moved on now. She has cut the name down to simply "Beru" and our good friend Lars has just released her physical album debut. "What would I do without you" is a cassette featuring a 20 minute collage on each side, actually you know what I'll let Lars give his take:

"On her cassette debut as Beru, Jessica Collins unravels a new American folk. What Would I Do Without You is both touched and untouched by tradition, mending the pieces of the world around her in collage. I first saw her destroying drums in the skronk-prov band Cat People, took a photo, and she unknowingly became the logo for TRHP. But as Beru, the LA-via-Georgia songwriter disembodies dub-noise, haunted gospel and improvised folk in loving, sinister ways. Her pastoral drones journey heavenward and pull the silver lining to Earth, collecting songs in the chaos. Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed and imprinted c48 tapes with artwork by Kevin Phillips printed on vellum paper."

That's what it says on the label site and I won't disagree with any of it. Lars is a great guy and has better taste in music than either you or I, so we should trust him. And really what could I tell you that would convince you that you needed to hear this? That I think that Jessica is one of the most vital, under-appreciated artists working in any field, in America right now? Or that I've known her music longer and more intimately than almost anyone, (We're married in case yr new here.) and I am still consistently surprised and amazed by the directions she goes?

Obviously I don't have this one up to download, so I'm suggesting that you go to the Thorr's Rubber Hammer site and order it. It's a limited edition art object with cover art designed by Kevin Phillips, who directed that Mum video I posted a few weeks ago.

Go to the site, buy it and if you don't like it I'll personally refund yr money, double the cost of the record. how's that?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two Gents - First Set (Live at Mountair)


In California, In LA, there is a place called Tujunga. And in this place there is a house venue called Mountair. It's run by a nice guy named John and frequented by bands commonly including his friends who are also very nice. Jessica met these guys on Myspace at some point and they invited her to play there. She did and we had a good time and recognized these guys as being pretty cool.

One of the guys is a multi-instrumentalist known, mysteriously, as Jarrod W. After seeing him play the drums I thought it would be fun to play with him so I asked if he would like to do an improv duo thing and he accepted. A month or so later we met for the second time and played this set.

This was my first improv performance in a while and my first in a long time where I played with a near total stranger. It was Jarrod's first improv performance period.

So especially given the circumstances I am happy about it. But even despite the context I think we did a pretty good job, and I am looking forward to playing with him more in the future. It's short, it's sweet, I suggest you check it out.

Recorded by Jarrod W.
Mastered by Ben Collins and Jessica Collins
Photo by Jessica

Ben Collins: Guitar

Jarrod W.: Drums

Download it HERE

Or stream it Here:

Post Script:

I forgot to mention, if you hadn't already noticed, that this is not a full album. Rather it is a short ten minute set. But who knows perhaps we will have an album at some point. Also I forgot to mention that Mountair maintains a youtube page where they post various videos from the performances. I highly recommend you take the time to check these guys out and hopefully I will post more from them in the future.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News and stuff for this week

Múm "Sing Along" from Team G on Vimeo.

For starters if somebody somehow missed it, (Joe) here is the music video, directed by Kevin (member of Dolphin Beam for those familiar) and starring my wife, Jessica aka Beru. So there's that, it's awesome, you don't need me to tell you, just watch it.

Additionally, this Friday I am somehow, actually, really going to play a show. Details can be found HERE at the venue's site. It's basically a dude's house and he has shows there and Jess played there a few weeks ago and we met all of these awesome local guys who play music and this one guy Jarrod W. was an amazingly energetic drummer and I just couldn't shake the feeling that I should play some kind of improv thing with him. So I asked him and he was cool with it and so we're going to play together on Friday: he on drums, me on guitar, we've met only once before and have not discussed what we will do. It should be interesting and if all goes well then maybe I will play some more shows.

Also this week Jess is doing something where she tries to record an album in a week. I lack the details at this moment but she'll do it and it will be rad. She already made two songs just tonight and they are awesome.

Also her tape will be available to purchase on Lars' site soon, so I'll give you the details when that happens. And I'll post a new album soon, if anyone (yes, you Joe) has any requests I wouldn't mind...

till next time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cat People+Wesley Rose - Aztec Knife


This has taken way to long to be posted and I'm sorry. At this moment I cannot recall the date this was recorded although I will figure it out when Jess gets home from work... I only remember that it was a very rainy day and that it was recorded in Joseph's old studio space in the house Jessica's family used to live in. At this point the house had been sold and was empty, but the studio was still there so we got in and recorded for an hour. My guess is maybe November 2008?

Correction: Jess just called and she says it was July 2008, that was a long time ago...

Anyhow, this is Wesley Jessica and myself playing loud, electric, improv stuff. Basically Cat People with Wesley added on bass, and a wonderful addition he is.

I dig this stuff, I listen to a lot of stuff like this, in fact if you wanted to you could mock me for this record being basically a showcase of how badly I wish I was Matthew Bower. But if yr like me and you love that kind of Skullflower, Fushitsusha, free type stuff then maybe you can dig this too.

Really, I think I love this album because it's me getting to play loud music with two of my favorite musicians on this planet. And I guess it does get me a little wistful about the fact that Jess and I now live on the other side of the country, making it impossible to have this trio play together regularly. One day I'm sure we'll have a documented reunion, but for now there's this record.

Ben: Guitar
Jess: Drums
Wesley: Bass

Download it HERE

Monday, September 21, 2009

Figurants - Unauthorized Demo 2009


Yes, that title is appropriate. I had no permission at all whatsoever to post this record on here. But you know, try and stop me I guess.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Figurants is a new band featuring various members of Black Thirteen, Telenovela etc. To be specific the band is:

Simon Sharp - lead vocals
Zach Smola - guitar
Joe McNeill - bass
Wesley Rose - drums
Stephanie Clayton - everything else

So for any of you Telenovela fans out there wondering what Z&S have been up to, this is it. So what this Demo is is just a recording of one of their practices last week. I only have it because for weeks I have been begging various members of the band to bootleg a practice just so I could what the music sounded like at all. So they finally did it and when I received the file it was almost inaudible, so to really listen to it I brought it into pro tools and did some mastering. Then I thought I ought to make it worth my effort and just put it up so other people could hear it as well. So here it is.

As far as like a description or review I'm not entirely sure what to say. I guess I could tell you it is certainly NOT noise or improv or jazz or ambient or any of the other things that I typically put up on this blog. This doesn't mean it is without interest to me. In fact it's a really interesting record and I think one that shows what an enormous amount of potential this group has. We've obviously heard plenty of polished music from Z&S over the years so their combined powers don't come as a surprise, especially not to anyone who frequented Telenovela live shows which were always more loose and rockin' than the recordings suggested and more in line with what this demo shows us. I'll go on a limb and say that both Wesley Rose and Joe McNeill are in top form as musicians. I've known them both for quite a while and I am very pleased with what I am hearing, especially since each are playing secondary instruments (they are both typically guitarists) that I've only ever heard them play in very loose Blackthirteen jams. So it's cool to have these two pairs basically meeting in the middle as far as style in concerned and uniting to create the groundwork for what is the best use of Simon Sharp's vocals to date. Listening to this record it's a bit embarrassing that a band like this wasn't formed sooner given Simon's availability and talent.

I can only imagine what they must be like live, supposedly there is a video out there somewhere which is heading my way and will certainly be posted when I can. So everyone check this out and if you live in or around the Atlanta area keep your eyes open for their shows.

Download it here

Post Script: I wrote this entry before I had made this album cover. I don't know what to say about it... insert yr own joke about how I make everything look like either Jandek or Black Metal...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This new thing I'm doing

So Joe McNeill recently visited me in Los Angeles and encouraged me update this blog more, even if I didn't have music posts every time. He blew my mind by saying that he just liked to read whatever was going on and didn't mind there not always being music. I guess I just needed one person to say that to get me going. So starting today I will write occasionally about other things, though probably still music and try to keep this thing going while I try to get back on track with standard album posts.

I hope that all makes sense.

Joe also brought me a rough copy of his new band's demo and at least one song from that will be posted soon. I also hope to bring you some sort of something from the other band Joe is playing in these days, which also features just about everyone else on this blog namely: Simon Sharp, Wesley Rose, Zach Smola and Stephanie Clayton. They are I believe called Figurants and they just played what i hear is a very successful first show in Atlanta, hopefully more to come soon.

Out here music is different, or well, I should say that Los Angeles hasn't really impressed me yet. Okay that's not true either. I've seen some amazing shows here because basically any band that is touring will come to Los Angeles. So there are dozens of shows to see all the time which is awesome. But all of these bands come from somewhere else to play here, I'm hard-pressed to name ten bands in Los Angeles that I care about at all... I'm scratching my head and John Wiese and Chris Schlarb are all I'm coming up with. Now granted those are two of my favorite dudes but in a city this big there ought to be tons of bands, right?

To be fair this is the home of hair metal and a lot of dumb hippy rock stuff and gangsta rap so what should I have been expecting...

Okay okay Pocahaunted is out here as well.

Really though I'm sure there is plenty of music for me to love I just have to find it. I mean Schlarb is in Long Beach anyway which is the second largest city in LA and I've never even been there so clearly much of the city and its music scene is still to be explored. But I guess it just goes to show the pro/con type situation with cities and music: in a place like Atlanta there may only be one cool show every month and so you can feel totally connected very easily and inexpensively and you are allowed to complain all of the time because it will never get any better and you can always wish you lived in a better city etc. Or you can live in Los Angeles and not know where to go or what to do and miss all of the shows except for the few amazing ones you actually hear about and can afford to go to (John Wiese Burning Star Core and bunch of other dudes for five dollars!) and still complain that there must be all of this cool stuff happening, only you don't know about it.

Eeeeeeee. this seems boring. In other news:

-Jessica is finishing an amazing new album called Gathered Souls, the future of which is still unknown, any suggestions?

-Her Cassette will be released soon on Thor's Rubber Hammer, details when I have them.

-She is also playing on my new album which will go up whenever I finish it (2025 anyone?)

-Jon Lynn's Uncolved Mysteries' new album is possibly days away from completion and it features Jessica and I guesting on one song each, a wistful nod to those days of yore when we had nothing better to do than to constantly play free shows in Savannah. The album is amazing and I'll let you know where to find it when I am told such things.

So anyway, I'm going to end this now. I hope it wasn't too boring. I'll try and put up real music next time.


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Okay, hi all two of you. I have been slow on stuff recently so I thought I would give an update or two about what's happening.

I've got a crazy amount of albums to be putting up. Particularly the last classic line up Black Thirteen album, and the two most recent records from that group, the ones that don't have me playing on them, (but are unsurprisingly good). Also I think Wesley Rose has something new he's supposed to give me.

And you know there's always like two billion other things to put up. "Aztek Knife" for instance is this awesome record that Jessica and Wesley and I did one day during a crazy rain storm. It was basically Cat People plus Wesley on bass, which is to say great. I remember that I was listening to a lot of Skullflower around the time we recorded it and I thought we should sound like them. Well we don't, but it's pretty rad anyways. So there's that too that will be up soon.

Other than that I had a little scare the other day when I heard rumor that is only giving free users (like myself) two weeks on uploads rather than their previous, Forever. I have still yet to confirm this rumor. It doesn't seem to be true because all of the links I put up more than two weeks ago seem to still be working, but if anybody starts finding dead links please let me know.

All in all I think I'll be okay either way. They still have the Net-Label program on Archive and so worst comes to worst I think I just have to do that instead, which is probably more legitimate anyway, but also a boat-load more work for me and I don't really want that, but I'll do what I have to do.

Some of this does seem to beg the question of why does it even matter? This is a question I avoid like the plague, or maybe I avoid it more like the plaque, which is to say it comes up, I brush it off and don't think about it again until the next time it inevitably comes up. So I guess now is that time: Does it even matter? Does anyone care about this blog or the music I put up on it? I am pretty sure the answer is no and don't try and argue me out of this one, I know how little people care about this, I deal with it everyday. There are housewives in Arkansas who blog about cookie recipes that get more traffic than this site. But I guess I don't really care. It doesn't matter to me if anyone reads this. I'm just gonna keep doing it anyway.

But if I have to switch to net-label status some of you are going to have to help me.

Well I guess I just needed to rant today. Sorry, I've been sort of down recently. New music soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New blog for a very special project

Is the home of my new remix project. I made a different blog so that if I get in trouble with copyright stuff this blog doesn't get shut down. I will continue to put stuff up on this blog but I will be adding stuff to the new one as well.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ben Collins (SFCD) - Not Sleeping/Plus a Darkened Room (2009)


I was bored out here recently, up late and scanning my hard drives for old unfinished sessions and I found these two tracks which were originally recorded in my old house in Savannah, in like 2007 I think.

They were done on two separate nights where as far as I can remember, I couldn't sleep but didn't want to make an entire album and furthermore wanted to play something loud and electric. So I did these, which are comprised of my Fender Jaguar (Red Alone) plugged through a distortion pedal or two and straight into the m-box and with a ton of different reverbs added afterward.

So it was recorded two years ago and mixed the other day here in Los Angeles.

It's just a short little record, only about fourteen minutes.

Check it out.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Ben Collins (SFCD) - HewaitsforHer (2009)


Hello everybody,

I am here in sunny Los Angeles with my first post since moving out here, which is also the first record I've made since moving out here.

It's a single thirty-nine minute track of processed electric guitar. I would say it is ambient, drone, glacial, and probably good to sleep to. As a note to the listener though: the sound was processed to be heavy on the low frequencies, so if you attempt to listen to it on yr laptop speakers it will seem to be very quiet because laptop speakers can't handle the frequency range that nice speakers, or a car or even headphones can. So for the optimal listening experience I would suggest another form of playback.

It's also worth noting that this is the first record I've made that was in some ways inspired by David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest, which I am reading now and would recommend to any reader who has a mind that needs to be blown.

More to come.

thank you.



Monday, January 26, 2009

Ben Collins - Tapeworks/Guitarworks (vol. 1)


So I'm in Fayetteville right now, packing my bags to leave for Los Angeles on Wednesday, two days away. And I was just importing some recordings that Simon and Wesley and I did the other night as a sort of farewell to the classic Black13 set up we do. I'll post that record soon, but listening to it got me thinking about the guitar and the guitar style my friends and I play and I started mentally wandering down old musical roads in my mind, some of the places I've been, and things I've recorded and what not. And I suddenly remembered an old album I made in 2003/2004 called "Tapeworks/Guitarworks."

So I was about nineteen years old (yes dark tower fans) when I made this album, although I'm sure there are pieces of it that were recorded when I was younger, the gist of it was made in my house in Savannah GA, during my sophomore year of college. What the record is, as the title might imply, is a collection of tape collage and guitar composition. This was really my first foray into either form and even now I find the results pretty satisfying.

The tapeworks are, it should be clarified, cassette tape works, which are comprised of various sounds and musics recorded by me over a few years and then dubbed together in different ways. A few interesting notes on the sounds: the drumming that opens the first track is played by myself and a then eighteen year old Jessica Calleiro and was intended to be used in Kevin Phillips' film Silo. Also in that track you can hear what is probably my first use of full-on noise, which I believe is achieved here by playing a data disc in a CD player. On the second track there is a lot of screwing around with amps and feedback stuff and then there is a big section of guitars (all played by me) being layered out of time so that they sound like two people, instead of the same recording played on two tape players simultaneously. Then there is a bit of dialogue from "L'Avventura" and at the end is an extended blues guitar part that I have never in my life remembered playing, even only a month or two after finishing this album. I can tell it is me, but I'm not sure I even know how to play like that now.

The Guitarworks are simple enough, I had not reached the point of being comfortable with myself as a solo improv player, nor really did i have any understanding of what the idea meant. So these tracks are sort of imrov, in a sense. "Guitar 1" is three tracks of guitar and the other tracks each has four. Each track is played improv on top of the others but probably with some thought before-hand. I did not have any effects pedals at time and I don't remember using any of the built-in effects on the digital recorder I was using, probably a little bit of reverb though.

All in all I am proud of this record. It's probably one of the best things I've done. It stays true to itself and seems pretty comfortable with its existence. It doesn't sound too dated, to me anyways, I would have been proud to record this album yesterday, not to mention when I was still a teenager and I had never heard Keiji Haino, or Ray Russell or Loren Connors or even Derek Bailey or most of the other people I now revere on the guitar.

Not to get too sentimental, but very soon I am moving forward, so I thought it might be nice to look back a little bit at a previous time in my life where I made something I was happy with. I only hope that I can still be as uninhibited now as I was as a the weird kid who thought this record was a cool way to spend afternoons and weekends while in college.

So again, all sounds by Ben Collins, except I think some drums at the beginning played by Jessica Calleiro and the movie clips which are obvious.

Download HERE

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wesley Rose - Agressor's Energy is Key


And now the Rose's third album is upon us. The mere existence of this record came as a surprise to me, one day Wesley just told me he had another album and then he gave it to me. I'm not sure when these tracks were created, only that they were, like his other albums, using Audiomulch software.

I've listened to it three times already and I don't really know quite what to tell you. Obviously the fact that I listened to it that many times is a positive thing. I could tell you it is mellower than his other two records, but I don't want to make it sound like he lost his balls somewhere and started burning a lot of incense or something, but it definitely has a different tone, while still seeming to be a continuation. Fans of noise will have a lot to be happy with here, but there is still the presence of Wesley's acoustic guitar changing things up and a few turns that will probably surprise anyone listening.

I'll just tell you that Wesley is one my favorite people making music today. I say this because he is making things that are new to him with very little to guide him and when I listen to his music I feel that excitement and uncertainty and it is refreshing. When I listen to Merzbow or Prurient I am hearing the sounds of a seasoned vet, dudes who have been doing this stuff for a long time and know how to do it right. But with Wesley's music it's the sound of a dude just trying to figure out what he wants and whether or not anyone else will give a damn. And I think that is an attitude most of us could understand.

This is raw, fresh, exciting music, good for headphones or out loud. It's electronic, it's noise, it's improvised and yet tight and composed.

It's real and I think you should check it out.

All sounds by Wesley Rose.

Cover art by Ben Collins

Download HERE