Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New to You: Fending/Matis “Three Rocks” (2006)


Several years ago, I released this album as a very, very limited edition CD-R. I only made 20 of them, and most of those are still in my house. Since I bungled the original release, I'm delighted to offer it up now, far & wide, thanks to the interweb. Listen / download / buy it here (pay-what-you-like, $0 ok).

I used to play in a guitar / drums duo with Brian Fending. He moved to Buffalo. Now we don't get to play much.

Thanks to several things outside my control lining up just right, I was offered three days of free studio time at a cool little recording studio in Minneapolis. I'd never been to Minneapolis, and this seemed like a great reason to visit. In retrospect, the cost of airfare, hotel, and rental car came out to more than we would've spent for the same (or slightly more) studio time here at home, but it was fun to go out there anyway. Minneapolis is cool, and in the summer it's really nice.

We had no idea what music we might play, so we just set up and dove right in. Most of the record is improvised. I had a fortunate technology problem: my laptop got zapped by a virus when I joined the hotel wireless network on our first night. It wouldn't boot up or anything after that... so I did most of the session without fancy gizmos or looping. The studio had a beautiful Vox AC15 guitar amp that I think I might still be in love with. Yeah, a little bit in love with a guitar amp. Embarrassing but true. I did some overdubs and played the looped parts manually. That was much better. The first two tracks have “laptop guitar,” the rest are post-virus-crash-meltdown. (I'm still using that damn laptop and it's never really been the same.)

Some highlights:

  • Track 5 is a short little rock number. I love Brian's entrance.
  • Track 9, “Perpetual Motion,” is a math-y piece that we wrote at a bar after our first day in the studio. It's built on a cliché metal riff of steady 8th notes. After that's established, we each start dropping 8th notes (We each have a different pattern for the dropped notes). Eventually we only have one 8th note left (the “and of four” if you want to count along at home). We hit that a few times together and end it. I do loves me some math rock.
We did a very short little East Coast tour when we first put the album out. That didn't work so well, logistically, but the music was solid. We haven't played together since... but I'm still proud of this record and I hope you enjoy it.

Let me know what you think.

More history:
original blog post about the recording session
original blog post about the tour

1 comment:

Daniel Burkholder said...

I guess I'm one of the few people to have physical copies of this album - I actually thing I have the whole (or close to the whole) Matis library - and this is a wonderful album. I listen to it, dance it, use it when I'm teaching classes. It rocks.