Essential albums in the scene

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-40-greatest-stoner-albums-20130607

I’m going to start listening through the albums on this list that I haven’t heard yet.

and here’s something for the heavier side…

http://www.metalstorm.net/bands/albums_top.php?album_style=Stoner

and here’s a lot of recommendations from fans…

http://theobelisk.net/obelisk/2012/09/05/in-search-of-the-10-greatest-stoner-rock-records/

Listening to as many of these albums as I can will give me even more of an understanding of the scene I’m working in and can only be helpful for my creativity.

Using vocals in an unorthodox way

There are a lot of examples of interesting vocals on the 1992 album Spine of God by Monster Magnet – a sometimes overlooked gem in the stoner rock scene and an album that has been very influential to me so far in the recording process.  An example of what I mean is right at the start of this song. Making use of effects such as echo and reverb can make vocals very spacey and otherworldly. This is definitely something I want to experiment with.

Bass tones

Another reference for the bass. Once I have recorded all of my tracks I am going to spend some time focusing on getting the right bass sound so it is helpful to listen out for the sound I am going for wherever I can. This track has a lovely warm bass tone with lots of presence. It drops in and carries the song perfectly.

Also, in this song I like what they have done with the vocals during the guitar solo. They are very subtle but create an eerie atmosphere.  I have already experimented with this in one of my songs but I need to go back and EQ them some more to get the sound I am imagining in my head.

Live Performance 1

This was a pretty much improvised jam over an original song written by Herve (the guitarist/singer). It is an excellent starting point for a live project and I hope to continue jamming with this group of musicians. enjoy.

Next book

The next book in my reading list, which I am currently working my way through is called Everything is Miscellaneous – The Power of the New Digital Disorder, by David Weinberger. So far, so good…

Bass reference

This track is from an album called Jalamanta, one of my all time favourite albums. The bass tone throughout the album is warm and direct. In an interview with Brant Bjork, he talks about how at the time of writing and recording this album he was heavily influenced by jazz and reggae music and that the bass tones in those genres of music were what inspired him. Although I haven’t achieved this sort of sound yet, I hope to go back into the songs I have recorded and work on this. Perhaps listening to some jazz and reggae music will help me with this too.

Baoding Iron Ball

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Famed as one of the three treasures of Baoding, China, these balls give off different sounds – one high and one low.  They are known to build up physical strength and remove diseases.  I am hoping to use these on one of my tracks.  If it works, it will give a very unique, calming feel.

Instrumental music referencing

This is the title track from the album Rock Formations by Yawning Man.  It actually said in a review on the front of this album when I bought it that it is an essential album for anyone working in the stoner rock scene.  I couldn’t agree with this statement more.  I listened to it the whole way through and only noticed at the end that it had no vocals at all. For music to be able to capture you and create so much imagery in your head without vocals is something special. Yawning Man are a big influence for me at the moment.

A spin off band of Yawning Man, Yawning Sons have a similar approach. Instrumental, atmospheric and full of character and emotion. Of course, my music isn’t going to be just like these bands but I would imagine there will be some reference to them in that I hope I can create an atmosphere like these bands do, particularly in my instrumental pieces.

Short and sweet. Another instrumental piece I particularly like for its simplicity.  There isn’t many layers and there isn’t much going on but it works.  Sometimes more is less – something I must remember when trying to add layer after layer to something that sounds better left alone.

Again, short and sweet. Again, not too much going on, not too many layers. However, again, it works so well. Something like this, about a minute in length is a great addition to an album.  It usually works well slotted near the end of an album, where it can act as a nice interlude.  Something like this, about a minute in length, is something I am considering doing myself.

Reading…

So, reading has officially begun for the dissertation.  I have started by reading a book called “Machines – masters or slaves of man?” by Meredith Thring.  It talks about the differing thoughts people have on society.  It examines an affluent but more dehumanised society against a creative society in which quality of life is viewed as more important than consumption of goods. With my dissertation being about the effect of technology on music eg. internet, music editing software etc, this book seems as though it will be extremely helpful.