Next Sys Machine EP “Imminent Domains” is mixed and mastered! Been working on this since around May. I made a conscious decision to make a wild left turn and create something that harkens back to the late 90’s early 00’s (particularly the way I was playing then which owes heavily to Reeves Gabrels). It has vocals which is a first for Sys Machine. I’ll be posting soon when it’s available as I’m doing all the behind the scenes stuff to get it ready.
1. Can You Hear Me Now?
2. Red City
3. We Submit to Fate
5. The Day After Tomorrow
Mixing/comping and all around assembly of the next Sys Machine is underway. I’m very happy with how it’s coming together. It’s about this time in the process I start thinking about how pedal to the metal I want to take it. As Sys Machine has always been a bit experimental I sort of put things out and let the chips fall where they may. I’ve gotten lucky. The first EP has a couple tracks that ended up on some big (by my standards) playlists and channels and it’s provided a somewhat dependable and usable income stream (usable as in “hey I can buy a case of beer with royalties this month! Neat!” Not “Pay the rent” usable).
As always I put up all my releases on Bandcamp first and foremost. I’m working behind the scenes to do better with Spotify as it’s clear to me that streaming is where indie music will go as reliable but ultimately static platforms like Bandcamp lose steam. I’ve noticed the shift in the last 3 years in terms of sheer usage. When I started out on this 2nd life of music I used Tunecore as it’s what me friends used. I realized pretty quickly that it’s really not a good deal unless you’re going to sell a lot of records. For people who just want to be able to make their music available, it’s not economical at all. I switched to CD Baby for the Derision Cult EP The Grind and that’s where everything currently sits (I let early Jeff Dust and Derision Cult releases expire so Bandcamp is the only place those are). I love the analytics, it seems like stream income is decent but I’ve been looking at Distrokid more and more. Haven’t decided for sure but I am leaning towards trying it out for this Sys Machine EP. My main thing is going to be to see how well it places in category searches etc. hopefully to the end user there’s no difference. But we’ll see
Finished tracking the vocals for the .Sys Machine EP today. Producing and editing them will be a trick. I have some time off from work next week where I’ll probably do that. Still feeling good about where things are going.
First track off my upcoming .Sys Machine EP called We Submit to Fate. This is a pretty general approximation of what its vibe will be. Much 90’s! We Submit To Fate on SoundCloud
Been reading Brian Slagel’s book the past few days. If you don’t know, he’s the guy who started Metal Blade Records and essentially is the reason you’ve ever even heard of Metallica, Slayer, Armored Saint and a slew of others. We’re in this weird phase that basically ANYBODY who did anything remotely of note in the 80’s or 90’s gets a book deal. Sometimes there’s some fascinating insights into what things were REALLY like (Chris Connelly’s book is a good example), others essentially make a spectacle of the author (Lita Ford’s book basically screams “I’m a mentally unstable person, here’s all the shit I did as a result”). I’m about into the early 90’s of the book (in typical bio fashion it basically tells the Metal Blade story chronologically). It’s equal parts enthusiastic because you get a sense of what kind of passion it’d take from a guy like Brian to be able to do what he did just from a mental standpoint. But on the other, there’s a bit of a sad side because you realize how a record label like Metal Blade simply could not be started today. Its roots lay in a network of tape traders and people genuinely enthusiastic about a genre (the Capital Records tape swaps would have been amazing to go to in 80-81). It doesn’t matter now that a guy like Brian was willing to spend 20 hours a day 7 days a week devoted to his label, promoting shows, recording artists etc…there simply isn’t a support network now that would facilitate something like that (at least that I can see). As great as the reach is through things like Bandcamp and Facebook, it’s not the same as a bunch of people attending swaps, or shows. All this by the way of saying it’s probably good reading for anybody under the age of 30 interested in heavier stuff just to get a sense of what the world was like in the 80’s for metal.
Good read though. Brian comes off as a pretty pragmatic person with a serious passion for the art he curates. I am really fascinated by the number of units that were moving. Maybe my 90’s upbringing messed my sense of what indie records were selling (my Wax Trax friends left me with the impression that the virtue of being on a label with any credibility in a given genre meant you were guaranteed to move 10k units unless you were absolutely tragic). Brian was saying moving 3k was a reasonable success and selling 30k of Haunting the Chapel was an epic windfall. In other words, it wasn’t much different in the 80’s for an indie than it is now…other than getting the resources together in the first place.
Brian’s Book on Amazon
Picked up Elevate yesterday. My stereo 2 buss usually has a 670 style compressor at the top just barely kissing the mix (for the most part, I’ve been a little more heavy handed lately) with a tape sat very lightly touching the mix followed by an optic comp with about 1db of gain reduction and then whatever (if any) EQ needs followed by a Brickwall limiter. This setup gives me a fair bit of control over the dynamics and overall balance of the mix but pushing any one of those things and it’s been a bit middling. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how awesome Elevate is in preserving transients and keeping an overall natural sound without sounding too, I dunno? Fizzy? when you push it. Specifically for the next .Sys Machine and Derision Cult projects I want a pretty aggressive sound. As it happens there’s a sale going on through tomorrow on this bundled with Equivocate (I don’t have any burning graphic eq holes but hey why not). I played around a bit yesterday with it and other than the fact I’m reaching peak-plugin capacity with my rig I’m pretty impressed. No doubt you can get a lot more volume out of the mix with that deeper control over the transients across the spectrum. I’ve got a ways to go in understanding this beast, but I see it essentially replacing everything on my 2 buss save for the 670 and tape sat. Should be a net positive.
Elevate Bundle from Eventide
Today’s ear worm. Otis isn’t really widely known outside the trance blues scene which is a travesty although he shows up in a lot of soundtracks. I finally got to catch one of his shows this summer. Most excellent
Lee and Arnez on Youtube