Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ben Collins - Odds (2006-2010)

Here is another archival record of mine. This one is cobbled together out of random tracks that I found in my itunes, which were all recorded for some reason or another, but all of which never found their way onto any other album. Encompassed here are a variety of styles including old standards of mine such as solo guitar and noise but also a few tracks featuring beats and keyboards.

All the tracks are titled just as they were labeled, and I put them in an order I thought would be interesting.

All music by Ben Collins

Download it HERE

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ben Collins - Thoughts (2006)

I was digging through old hard drives today when I happened on a massive amount of music I recorded in 2005 and 2006. All told there is like 15 hours worth of stuff, some of it I remember and more strangely some of it I do not. This album it a collection of five tracks I have no memory of at all whatsoever, which is probably why I am pleased with it.

It's mostly noise although my voice and guitar make appearances as well and one song seems to be a processed version of a recording I made with Zach Smola and Travis Knowles where we all three play the drums.

There's a part of me that thinks this is some of the best stuff I've ever made and I guess it goes to show you that sometimes you can make something and think you know whether or not it's good but the truth is that it can take years before you approach yr own work objectively.

I should also note that given the date my computer tells me these were created I must have been using a beta version of Audio Mulch on my Dell PC. How I achieved any of these sounds is a total mystery to me, especially the closing track.

So download it HERE


Monday, March 8, 2010

Black Thirteen - BIRD light

It's been more than a year since my last Black Thirteen post. Which makes sense seeing how the band is on a pseudo-hiatus. However the group recorded so much during its active period that I am still in possession of a wealth of unheard material. One of the best and certainly most unusual pieces of forgotten B13 is this little record.

As many of you know, the classic B13 line-up consists of Simon Sharp, Wesley Rose and myself. We always welcomed collaborators with open arms and none more so than Jessica Collins (Née Calleiro) and on this record she played with us, recorded it and then went on mix and edit the session, basically recreating Black Thirteen in her own image. Which we later found out was vastly superior to our own image.

So what you get here are six tracks pulled together from two different sessions, four from an initial set which featured Simon, Jessica, and me. And two tracks from a second session, (lost due to hard drive failure) which (thankfully) features the inclusion of Wesley Rose.

Those familiar with Jess's BERU work will recognize her incredible cut-up/collage abilities employed to very subtle effect here. (Those NOT familiar with her Beru work will kindly stop reading and familiarize yrself now.) And those familiar with Black Thirteen's other records will probably notice the sometimes too-crisp aspect of our low-fi, all-improv approach has been dully soaked in reverb and mellowed out like a lot, turning all of our guitars into this floating pillow for Simon wonderful voice.

Jess just told me she thinks this record is some of the best work she's ever done. I feel pretty strongly about it myself and I know that Simon and Wesley do also. In fact really the only the thing to complain about is the shoddy craftsmanship of Western Digital and their "My Book" hard drive which failed out of nowhere and caused the rest of the session with Wesley to be possibly lost forever and made the resulting record a mere 23 minutes. Don't worry though you'll want to hear it twice in a row.

Simon Sharp sang lead vocals on all tracks and played an acoustic guitar.

Jessica Collins sang backing vocals and whistled sometimes and played a keyboard sometimes and also an acoustic guitar.

Wesley Rose played acoustic guitar on tracks 3 & 5.

Ben Collins played electric guitar on all tracks

and a sample of Joseph Calleiro drumming was used on one song.

Recorded, mixed, edited by Jessica

All songs collectively improvised by the members.

Album photo of Bella, taken by Jessica.

Download the album HERE

The Mooninites - TK Traxz

Back in 2005 The Mooninites spent a day jamming in a church. We used the mics and PA that were there as well the drum kit and vintage Fender Rhodes. Josh Nelson recorded us and it ended up as a sort sloppy, three piece version of middle period Soft Machine (we wish). Anyhow, at some point Travis Knowles did a handful of remixes of those sessions using some of the old synths he had access to at the dearly departed Atlanta College of Art.

Hear a track:

I'm sure at some point I'll put together a reasonable set of the original recordings, but for now these remixes are way better. And to think they've been just sitting around on my computer, forgotten, for five years now. I feel like a tool. This stuff is really good, it's all loop-based using a keyboard that could make loops which could be both pitch-adjusted and time-adjusted while playing so get all of this cool early Steve Reich-ish stuff.

And if you like this please check out TK's other stuff, especially my previous post of his newest album.

Track listing:

1. Night Train
2. The Heart of the Heart
3. And Other Stories
4. Blue Blood
5. American Pastoral

In case it is worth noting, the original sessions were roughly:

Travis Knowles on bass
Zach Smola on rhodes and guitar
Ben Collins on Drums and tapes

recorded by Josh Nelson

Photo by me of this weird time when Wesley Rose had this strange pixelated giant ruby floating in front of his head while he was sitting on this dock with a cigarette.

Download it HERE

Post Script: Thought I should mention a few house-keeping items about the blog. In case you bother to look through the archives anytime soon you may (or may not) notice the lack of the embedded IMEEM players which used to be featured in some of last years posts. Well I took them all down because IMEEM SUCKS, really really bad and they started replacing my embedded player with some stupid banner ad. So in case you or ANYONE you know ever wonders DON'T USE IMEEM! On the other hand is stepping up their game and it looks like I will be able to upload things easier and more effectively on there.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Travis Knowles - Axis Mundi

I've been delaying this post because I wanted to write something really meaningful about the album so that you would download it and dig it like I do. Well maybe I'll go back and add something later but for now I'll just tell you that this is a new record from Travis Knowles, aka TK, TK 421, etc. Member of The Mooninites and Black Thirteen and Telenovela and sometimes Figurants and all sorts of other things.

If you have followed this blog at all you've heard this man before. He's great, I've literally known him since kindergarten and I recommend everything he does, all of his music and his incredible visual art and photography.

So this album is him doing some kind of minimal electronic noise thing. I'm unclear as to how he is deriving the sounds, but they are great.

Oh and the album art was made in collaboration between Travis and myself.

I might write more on this later, but download it now.

Get it HERE

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Untitled Stylophone Improvisation #1


Happy New year! It's 2010 now and I just recorded my first music of the new year and decade. Yesterday Jessica and I bought a Stylophone, which is a little hand held synthesizer built in the sixties which as been enjoying a resurgence in the past few years because it is inexpensive and easy to play. We purchased ours from Urban Outfitters in Hollywood and I expect many other people will do the same. I wouldn't be surprised if this new decade saw every band with a dedicated Stylophone player so before it becomes too ubiquitous I thought I would throw my hat into the ring with a solo Stylophone improve album.

So that's what I did. So what you have here is a half hour of me playing Styophone through a loop pedal. There is one edit early on where I screwed up and went back to a good part and started again but other than that it's pretty raw, no mastering or anything.

So here you go, enjoy it and I promise to post more soon.

Or download it HERE