Category Archives: musical bits

What we played, part one

Thanks to everyone who came out to our SoCal shows last week. I’m going to post a rundown of the music we played on both nights (both shows were basically the same), starting with set one, which was as follows:

1. “The Truth and the Abstract Blues” (from Industrial Jazz a Go Go!). At one point, our drummer, Dan, asked for some chord changes to be written into his part to help him keep track of the form of this piece, which was dropped from the set back in 2005. In the process of doing so I realized that “Truth” is actually pretty polytonal in spots. I guess the effect is almost like having three or four different blues records, in different keys but at the same tempo, playing at once. Oh yes, and the title is an obvious inversion of a favorite Oliver Nelson album.

2. “The Bee Dance” (unreleased, though you can hear a rough mix on the ReverbNation player widget, off to the right there). With any luck, this tune will appear on the next album. Though the composition dates from 2007, it wasn’t until 2008 that the arrangement fell into place. Based on one of our heavier grooves, this particular arrangement is adjusted slightly in order to make the Rimsky-Korsakov references a little shinier.

3. “Howl” (from LEEF). Like “Truth,” this one is heavily blues inflected. The title refers not so much to Alan Ginsberg (though I love Alan Ginsberg), but to Chester Burnett (aka Howlin’ Wolf), whose importance to me is somewhat greater: without him I might not even still be making music. It is probably easy enough for the other Wolf fans out there to disentangle the various lupine riffs that have been folded into the first part of this piece. Exhibit A: the trumpet line at about a minute in (again, you can check the version of “Howl” that is cued up in ReverbNation player if you’ve never heard the tune), adapted from the classic Roosevelt Sykes song “44,” of which my favorite version is still Wolf’s. The whole thing ends with a rather dissonant vaudeville two-step sort of thing. Because why not?

4. “The Seagull” (unreleased). One of two brand-new tunes we performed on this tour. There is some serious time displacement nonsense happening here (7/4 against 8/4, or some such thing). I’m not sure I understand it, actually, and I know for a fact that I can’t let my guard down for a second in performance, because there is so much to concentrate on, but I swear the whole thing makes sense once you know how it all fits together. Take away the time madness, and you’ll find the song is based on a pretty simple set of riffs, one of which is very firmly in the “surf sax” genre. You can hear some of the craziness excerpted in this lo-fi video (note how at various points my conducting doesn’t seem to match up with the actual piece — even though I swear it does). Also, this one was originally called “The Pelican,” until I realized it sounded much more like a seagull.

5. “Bajaja” (unreleased). Wow, this is yet another thing you can hear on our ReverbNation player (a veritable potpourri, that). This is a Go-Go era song, and it almost made it onto that album, but was dropped at the last minute, for reasons I don’t quite remember. The tune takes its cue from the Baja peninsula, SoCal culture in general, and Mingus’s New Tijuana Moods stuff. The last time we performed it was in 2005.

6. “The Star Chamber” (from The Star Chamber (duh!)). One of the harder tunes in our repertoire, not least because of the infamous letter E, in which one portion of the band is in 13/8 and another portion is in 13/4. “Chamber” dates from 2002, making it one of the older things in our current set. I think that the next time out I really need to re-insert the piano part (a la the album version), but for this last tour I was too busy trying to make sure everything fit together the way it was supposed to.

7. “Antennae Town” (unreleased). Another one that I hope to have on the next album. A rather sharp shift from “The Star Chamber” in the context of this set, as “Antennae” is an unabashedly melodic and singable tune. I have to say, this is one of my little babies.

8. “Tuxedo Trouble” (from City of Angles). Comically, the twitter pseudo-avatar “Jazz Nerds International” recently posted a tweet that refers to audiences sitting on their hands in the presence of a song that happened to be in 11/8. This tune is in 11/8! (Most of the time, anyway.) And yet people danced when we played it. I guess that’s more evidence that the IJG is not nerdy enough to be jazz nerds, but too nerdy to be jazz non-nerds. Great.

9. And what better way to end set one than with “Jazz-Pop Jerkoff” (unreleased, slated for next album)? Apparently this one caused a bit of a titter in the audience when I announced it, because of course we were performing as part of the Hammer’s “JazzPOP” series, and there was a gigantic sign that said “JazzPOP” hanging right above us as we played. I swear that was just a big old coincidence.

Next: set two.

Love me some drum fills

Reading Andrew’s post this morning about The Art of the Fill reminded me of a neat thing that happened a few weeks ago. I thought I’d share.

I wrote this on April 30th, 2010, so forgive the present verb tenses:

I had to go to the Claymont post office today to mail some stuff. As I was walking out, I heard some music blasting from someone’s car stereo. I walked through the parking lot towards my car, and I saw a mid-20s guy with long hair sitting in his beater with the windows down, unabashedly rocking out to In the Air Tonight. He was waiting for the big drum fill of awesomeness, and he was singing along in full voice, shamelessly.

I smiled to myself at his I-don’t-care-who’s-watching groove, and I walked to my car. But then I thought hmmmm… wait a minute.

I turned on my heels walked over to his open drivers side window about 35 seconds before the big drum fill (Well I remember…and I remember don’t worry…), and as he looked up at me I said, “Dude, I just need to hear the drum fill.” He gave me that 100% acceptance nod because he totally knew that this was a necessity. It wasn’t weird at all; no pretense. It just was two people about to ROCK.

And then… “The hurt doesn’t show; but the pain still grows / It’s no stranger to you or me!

DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DJAT! DJAT! / DOOM dugga djat-jat etc. etc…

I played some delicious air drums! He banged on the steering wheel!

And after a few seconds of the chorus had passed, I said “Thank you!” and he said, “Right on!” and I walked to my car to drive away, both of us wearing doofy grins of pure happy.

By the time I got my car started and my seatbelt on, the guy had gotten out of his car and walked over to mine to wave goodbye.

That was it.

I love people.

So with that said, what are your favorite drum fills? You know, the ones where you can’t turn off the song until you’re basking in the drumfill afterglow? These don’t have to be epic “quaalude thunder” fills; I also wanna know about the delicate pizzelles of drum fills.

  • So the obvious one is In The Air Tonight. Duh.
  • Durkin’s post mentions D’yer Mak’er by Led Zepplin… also fabulous.
  • Neil Peart’s killer fill in the intro to 2112
  • Misunderstood by Dream Theater — the fill from 5:31 to 5:40 is awesome.
  • But I’m also a fan of the gloriously simple fill that consists only of two simple quarter notes in Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot, about 47 seconds from the end of the tune. (Yes, Gordon Lightfoot. I love him.)

What else?
Talk to me!

The “Howl” Remix Contest


(Updated December 4, 2009.)

As another one of my crazy schemes to get the word out about this silly band, I offer up the first official IJG remix contest. Ever.

(Credit where it’s due: this was at least partly inspired by a similar contest conducted by Chris Schlarb back in 2006.)

The song I selected for the remix treatment is a “perennial favorite” (if such words even obtain in the land of Industrial Jazz) from our LEEF album: “Howl.” (If you have never heard it before, you can grab it from the ReverbNation player embedded there on your right.)

What we have here, first, is a breakout of every track that went into creating the Frankenstein version of the tune that actually ended up on the album. As explained in the album’s liner notes, said version was actually a combination of live Bimhuis tracks, plus a bit of studio sweetening (from a multi-tracked session that preceded the Bimhuis show). All of the tracks (except drums) are mono, and are taken from the mix that I made at home before lugging the entire session to engineer Nick Moon. Voila:

Soprano 1 / Soprano 2 / Alto / Tenor 1 / Tenor 2 / Bari / Studio sax 1 / Studio sax(es) 2 / Trumpet 1 / Trumpet 2 / Trumpet 3 / Studio trumpet(s) / Bone 1 / Bone 2 / Studio bone(s) / Bass / Drums (stereo) / Vocal

And just because I know (believe me, I know) how challenging it can be to mix that many tracks, and just because I know you may prefer to work with something more, uh, scaled down, I’m going to provide some simple stems as well:

High saxes / Low saxes / All bones / All trumpets / Rhythm section

*** UPDATE! *** In response to several requests for higher quality source material, I have now uploaded AIFFs of all tracks here. (And if you prefer WAVs, I believe that iTunes can do your conversion job.)

*** ANOTHER UPDATE! *** AIFFs have been re-upped here. Should be live until the deadline, but let me know if there are any more problems.

Total personnel (live + studio): Beth Schenck, Cory Wright, Evan Francis, Brian Walsh, Katharina Thomsen, Josh Sinton, Ariel Alexander, Damon Zick, Ryan Perez-Daple (saxes); Dan Rosenboom, Phil Rodriguez, Andre Canniere (trumpet); James Hirschfeld, Wolter Wierbos, Ron Christian, Mike Richardson (bone); Dan Schnelle (drums); Oliver Newell (bass); Jill Knapp (vox).

So. What are the specifics of this contest?

Consider it this way: I’m not particularly interested in hearing another mix of “Howl” that attempts to present the tune for “what it is,” and leaves the compositional elements more or less intact. What I am interested in is a true remix, something that re-imagines (indeed, improvises upon) the tune — say, by filling it out with some new voices, or by slicing and dicing its roadmap, or by mashing it up with the latest Christina Aguilera hit. You probably know my aesthetic by now — the crazier, and the more creative, the better.

We (the Industrial Jazz Group) will be selecting a winner based on that set of (admittedly vague) criteria. Said winner will receive $50, and will be given the option (if he or she so chooses) of having their creation included as a bonus track on the next Industrial Jazz Group recording (due out in 2010). He or she will also get a copy of said recording.

Need a deadline? Okay. How about we say that all entries are due by 11:59 PM on December 31 of this year (2009)*** UPDATE! *** The deadline has been extended to 11:59 PM on January 31, 2010. You get a whole extra month! (Don’t you wish everyone was that flexible?)

(For the curious, entries will be posted in this blog space upon submission — barring any objections, of course.)

Questions and submissions can be beamed (or hurled) at the following email addy: industrialjazzgroup (at) gmail (dot) com.

Everybody ready? Go!

Some videos from the 4th

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of beatboxing videos on youtube.

These are just two videos that are blowing my fucking mind as of lately. These videos are from the beatboxing world competition wildcard division. The first video is from Julia Dales (who actually won the category) and the second is from a Daichi who didn’t even place, but in my opinion could’ve easily taken first or second place. Both beatboxers have some amazing control of the entire envelope of each different sound.

The reason why I’ve been watching videos like these is because I’m trying to find some crossover applications to playing a wind instrument; specifically trombone. There are some literal attempts of applying the ‘beatboxing’ to wind instruments, such as the beatboxing flautist and some decent beatboxing tuba-ists (is it tubaist? I prefer tubist) on youtube. However, I don’t really think those attempts have really examined all the parameters.
But thats not really what I’m here assert/insert my opinion about…

Under the ‘related videos’ category on the aforementioned Julia Dales video is a video of what I originally thought was a 5 year-old Julia Dales beatboxing ‘Merica’s national anthem. Wrong. Its a completely unrelated little girl singing the national anthem in probably her parents living room. Which blows, ’cause I really wanted there to be a beatboxing prodigy. Damnit… But, after being mildly dissapointed at first, I was soon rendered speechless…then, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Don’t get me wrong. I know its a tough little fight song to sing. And I know she’s only 5. I know some of the lyrics are a little graphic… BTW, here are some translations of some other countries national anthems that are awesome-ly gory:


“We swear by the lightning that destroys, By the streams of generous blood being shed”

“When we spoke, none listened to us, So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm, And the sound of machine guns as our melody”


“Mercenary swords, they’re feeble reeds. The Austrian eagle has already lost its plumes. The blood of Italy and the Polish blood it drank, along with the Cossack. But it burned its heart.”


“No freedom’s flowers return, from the spilt blood of the dead, and the tears of slavery burn, which the eyes of orphans shed.”

There are more at this link.

Anyways…I was laughing at the 5 year-old because of the musical humour of modulating at the end of each phrase, something at the beginnging of new phrase…Its so fucking funny to me. There’s also another funny video of a police officer really fucking up the national anthem:

On another topic of videos/songs I have been watching recently that are blowing my fucking mind is this:

Nick Cave’s “Mercy Seat,” live, with a little intro from Nick about the staying power of this AMAZING song.
This goddamn song has been stuck in my head for about a solid 3 weeks now. I cannot get it out of my head. I’ve had dreams of hearing it or singing. I’m trying to find as many different versions as I can. In the intro, Nick explains that its a song that the Bad Seeds (almost) always play at every show and that its the kind of song thats so good it can be played in many different ways and still remain effective. I agree. But, the lyrics are also pretty fucking good, Mr. Cave.