Cinder Skin

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…

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4 Responses to “Cinder Skin”

  1. I always loved this project Scott. Thanks for posting the MP3s.

  2. thanks, hopefully as I am unpacking after the move I will discover some other goodies.

  3. Paul Dunn Says:

    This stuff is awesome. Another example of what you can do with sound.

    –So she keels over and cries for you to do something, and you just stand there, and don’t make the call. Those five minutes are like the material in a song. The fact that music like this exists, just proves that the mind can indeed help destroy the body.

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