Archive for August, 2009

Cinder Skin

Posted in Projects, Rumination with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by scottsplatter

It occurred to me I probably haven’t posted about music as much as I should. So, here is a long story that ends with some MP3’s of a demo few heard.

Cinder Skin was the first solo project I did.

I had a project in Michigan called Grinch with my brother in arms, Marty Rytkonen (Worm Gear, Bindrune, Charnel Valley etc…) for a few years. There was no drummer, towards the end Bob Green (now creating Alien Devices) joined up on drum machine. Grinch wasn’t a band really, but it was all we had in Northern Michigan in the late 8o’s. I left Michigan in 1991 headed for San Diego. Once there I tried to get into a couple of band situations. Here’s my favorite of those stories…

This guy would come into the record store I worked at talking up a bunch of  songs he needed bass and vocals for. Bass and vocals were what I did. He assured me the influences of bands like Godflesh, Voivod, Neurosis, Scorn (that I was mentioning to him) had been woven by their deft hands into Obituary, Morbid Angel etc.  style Death Metal. I was skeptical.  His enthusiasm and an actual a drummer eventually convinced me to give it a go.

When I showed up for my first and only practice, the drums were in the bedroom closet, the guitar amp was on one side of the bed, and I set my amp up on the other. I think the mic was plugged into a Peavy Audition. The guitarist and drummer launched into their repertoire enthusiastic that I might be the last piece of the puzzle. Each of the 8 or so songs they played sounded exactly like Bad Religion. Crap.

We practiced a couple tracks and I tried to get some vocals arranged. The call to break out the boom box and record was sounded. The room was too small to record and not have it sound like Incapacitants. So they opened the bedroom window and set the boom box on the hood of the car in the driveway. One of the resident girlfriends was tasked with hitting record when we were ready to bring the hammer down!

I wish I had a copy of that tape but alas the magic captured on that day has been dispersed in the ether.

That was the last straw for me, and I decided to go it alone. I bought a 4 track, sequestered myself in my sweatbox studio apartment, tried to figure out gear I had no idea how to use and started writing. At the same time I also started experimenting with noise and found sounds. This was in 1993 I believe. The first track I recorded (Memory Scars) I used a toolbox,  a plastic pitcher and some other crap from around the house for drums. It sort of works, but I decided I needed to shell out for a drum machine. I bought an Alesis SR-16 from this guy and set to figuring it out. I got a couple of tracks recorded with it before it crapped out on me.

Some of those tracks ended up on the first Gruntsplatter release, and “Irritation Hive” ended up on the Cinder Skin release. While I was trying to save up the cash for a second drum machine I continued to work on the experimental stuff figuring I would mix the noise tracks in with the “regular” tracks. I ended up with more noise tracks and Gruntsplatter was born. The first Gruntsplatter release came out in 1995 and was made up of stuff recorded either originally for Cinder Skin or during the down time between drum machines.

I scraped together the money for a Boss DR-5 which I chose because it some synth sounds. I continued to work on Gruntsplatter but also needed to finish this Cinder Skin project. In 1996, 3 years after it started, it was released on cassette. The original mixes of the tracks sound better than what ended up on the tape. It was mastered by someone whom I found out later mostly worked with church groups on spoken word recordings and aspiring mariachi bands. He muddied it up real good. I made him do it over, the second time was a little better, but at that point he was done with me. These MP3’s were taken from the release, the original masters are in a box somewhere. I tried to re-eq it a bit. So, culled from a 13 year old cassette that sat in a number of dank basements and miserably hot apartments over the years is the Cinder Skin “Sunken” demo.

cinder_sunkenCinder Skin – “Sunken” Demo

1)
Cadaver Man
2) Congeal
3) Memory Scars
4) Introspection
5) Blood Gutter I
6) Irritation Hive

There are some reviews on the Cinder Skin page I linked above. I still have a bunch of these tapes, without covers. They are sitting in my dank basement.

I always intended to come back to do something in this vein with proper equipment.  It never happened. I’m finally going to have a my studio set up again in the next few weeks as the wife and I are moving to some place with more room. It will be the first time I’ve had my full studio set up since I finished “The Aberrant Laboratory” that Gruntsplatter released on Dark Vinyl in 2006.  So who knows…

Eyes Wide Pus

Posted in Video with tags , , , , on August 24, 2009 by scottsplatter

A crony of mine did the 48 Hour Film Festival last weekend. This is what they came up with.  From no idea to finished film in 48 hours.

Nightmares on Tour

Posted in Recommendation with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by scottsplatter

If you are in the midwest Nightmares a new project featuring Jonathan Canady, Mark Solotroff and David Reed will be hitting the road shortly for a brief tour. You can find all the important info here.

Jonathan Canady is best known for his projects Angel of Decay, Deathpile and Dead World. Mark Solotroff best known for Bloodyminded, Intrinsic Action and Bloodlust! Records. David Reed for Luasa Raelon and Envenomist. The three are combining forces for this phantasmagoria of analog synth goodness. I haven’t heard the project yet, but all three do great work on their own so the combination will no doubt be something genuinely special. They also have three new releases which I am sure will be available at the shows.

So if the tour comes through your area check them out. All three are good people, talented people and have been friends or supporters of what I do for a long time.

Nevermore

Posted in Recommendation with tags , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by scottsplatter

Nevermore2

Jeffrey Combs is finishing up a theatre run as Edgar Allan Poe in LA this month. From what I understand the show was extended through the end of August despite what the poster says.  You can read more about it here.

Combs also played Poe in Stuart Gordon’s adaptation of “The Black Cat” for the Master’s of Horror series. As you can see from the poster (which I would love to find a copy of) the resemblance is spooky.

I really hope they take this show on some sort of tour, it would be magnificent to see.

And while we are here, how about an excerpt of “The Black Cat”? It is curiously animated to give the impression Poe is talking.

also while we are here, we happen to have a black cat named Nevermore. He looks like this sometimes…

If you are interested, Jeffrey Combs also played H.P. Lovecraft in “Necronomicon.”  I should  also mention his bit part in the adaptation of Poe’s “The Pit And The Pendulum” starring Lance Henriksen, also directed by Stuart Gordon.

I was trying to babble long enough to get the text to the bottom of this picture and I think I have done it. Huzah!

writing playlist 001

Posted in Rumination, Writings with tags on August 16, 2009 by scottsplatter

I have an iTunes playlist I use for background when I’m writing sometimes, this was what came up tonight. I got a fair amount done too. I’ll post these once in awhile if I remember to. I think it would be cool to make the playlists downloadable but I probably won’t end up making the time to do that. Maybe at some point.

Die Sonne Satans – Body Snatcher
Vidna Obmana – Bloodshift
Mondblut – Scorn
PBK – Fusion
NOS – Greed
IBurn – Overdone
PBK – Fire Must cure This Place
Wilt– I Can See Clearest At The Height Of My Fever
Maath– Humanize Memory
Band Of Pain – Submission
NOS – Ultimatum
Vomito Negro– Land Of Confusion
Bad Sector– Rsaa

some work doodles

Posted in art with tags , , , on August 16, 2009 by scottsplatter

I keep a sketchbook on my desk at work. Here are a couple of the recent ones. These are done in very short bursts usually over many, many days with no plan.  

eBooks

Posted in Rumination, Video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by scottsplatter

I’ve been holding off on posting about this topic, but news just came down from Delirium Books that has brought it to mind again. Here is the announcement from Delirium.

Delirium is discontinuing all publishing of trade paperbacks (TPB) in favor of digital publishing for Kindle and other eReaders. Delirium will continue to produce limited and lettered special edition hardcover titles for the collector’s market.

This is disappointing because I am signed up with Delirium’s TPB book club and that will be coming to an end. It was a great way to check out new authors and titles at a very fair price. The collector’s hardcover book club will continue, but sinking $40+ bucks (at  least)  into an author I haven’t read is not something I’m interested in.

The digital products will be affordable. However, I sit in front of a computer well over 8 hours a day. I’m not going to read at length off my desktop screen for fun. One of the pleasures of reading is not looking at a screen. The other option is to shell out for an eReader. The Kindle is $299 right now and it looks like the Sony one is around $275. Everyone I’ve heard from that has used a Kindle says that it’s not like reading off a computer. I am skeptical, but I will give the benefit of the doubt to those who have actually done it. The market is new enough that the devices out there are going to go through an evolution and sinking that kind of money into something destined to become obsolete in short order seems a bit silly.

While the digital releases will be more economical, that point  does appear to be undergoing some debate. I don’t see this as being an issue with the small press community like it would be with the big publishing houses. However, for the eReaders to take off and remain viable cooperation from the big publishing houses will be necessary. If they fight it or seek to manipulate pricing, then it will be more convoluted than the mp3 fiasco. With publishing there are different rights available for an author’s work, electronic, print, audio, foreign, anthology etc. If people start bootlegging books on mass, those permissions will become entirely clouded and work will be devalued because of it. (Though, the thought of a world where people cared enough about books to bootleg them is not wholly unpleasant)

As it stands now, publishing a story on your personal website, blog or whatever is considered publishing by many publishing houses. Thus selling that story to one of those houses becomes even more difficult than it already is. Suddenly you are selling to the reprint market rather than the new market because you hosted it on your site. The pay rates for reprints are often reduced and this is assuming the houses are interested in reprints at all.

For people writing for the small press market,  I wonder what accepting digital publishing for their work may mean for that piece to ever see a print edition.

In theory all of this means writing (books) can be distributed at a much lower cost, allowing consumers to get more for their entertainment dollar and the author stands to be paid more for their work because the publisher doesn’t have the overhead to recoup. Sounds great, but whether that market establishes itself and what paraphernalia you will need to read that market are all still question marks. Whether eBooks are able to shake the stigma that say print on demand/self published books have in regards to quality is also up for some debate. One would hope that reputable publishers will produce reputable eBooks, but from discussions I have seen the quality definitely varies even from reputable publishers. I will add, since Delirium is my jumping off point for this, I have heard nothing but high praise for the quality of their ebooks. 

Delirium is one publisher. I’m not suggesting this is a death knell to paperbacks. However, the Delirium folks are highly respected for their catalog, and business practices. In addition, they operate The Horror Mall (which you should go buy something from) and the horror themed social networking site The Haunt. Their position in the community makes this a significant development that  I suspect will have some influence over other publishers in time.

Here is an interview with award winning book designer and novelist Chip Kidd with his thoughts on “the death of books.”