I have enjoyed myself immensely making music this year. I’ve gathered up all the noise I’ve created in 2013 and put it here for full streaming. I hope you have a blast listening, and might want to pick up copies/downloads for your ears. Most things I personally release outside of what is put out there by other labels are priced from $1 to $5. Every little bit really helps me in being able to continue doing one of the few things that I truly love.
I deeply appreciate everyone who has supported all my work along the way. I can never thank you enough.
Below are players for everything I’ve done in 2013! Fire ’em up, enjoy…and thank you!
I Wonder What Ever Became Of Me: Deep, deep drone on Moog guitar, live through csGrain.
Baghouse – 3/16/13: Time-bending improvisation on Moog guitar with Baghouse from Athens, GA.
Fantasy Violence – Frangments: Instrumental electronic music created completely on a pair of iPads via Dropbox with my friend Christopher Davis (Battle Path) from TN. Limited edition tapes here.
Mothmeat – Instrumental acoustic guitar music with my friend Drew Martin (BPM, Distant Kin).
Migration Of The Device – Originally conceived to be on half of a split lp. Could happen one day. Until then, there are these 4 digital incantations. Massive electronics & curses.
Suckbuddy – Two Lips: 2nd release by my buddy Keith Goodwin (Liquid Brick, Pferd) and I wiring up our synths and making one huge instrument.
Borne Down Upon: My third solo recording of dark electronic music. Completes a trilogy of recordings that I began in 2011. My favorite of the three.
Without Hope: Longform drone on the Moog guitar. Recorded live on the air on WUOG in Athens, GA.
All this, plus even more racket can be found at jeffmcleod.net. Thanks for listening!
I’ve just released Borne Down Upon, my latest recording, on Bandcamp. While I’ve worked on these 9 songs since April of this year, this is really the culmination of a total of 3 recordings, the first (Under Dim Self) of which I began in January of 2011 and the second (Scalps Of Gods) released last year. On each of these, I’ve attempted to create unique soundworlds using synthesizers, sampling, programming and the occasional “normal” instrument (i.e. the guitar . . . which is really only on that first one from 2011 . . . and is actually the not-so-normal Moog guitar). Equipment failures, the passing of a long-time friend, leaving my job of 11 years and just general living in a world that I really feel disconnected from from have all come into play during these last few years of work . . . and it’s all there, if not a bit abstracted and warped into different shapes. Each release has a sidebar with complete lyrics, if you want to read along while listening–and each download comes with a packet of many drawings completed during the sessions, along with alternate cover art images.
I believe that Borne Down Upon is the strongest of these three recordings, but they all hold special places in my mind. I’m very close to the work, and I’ve put every bit of myself into them, working very hard to create things that are interesting to listen to multiple times, with many small layers working towards the larger whole. On this latest one, I limited myself to only working with 8 tracks, instead of the normal 16, and I found that to be as fun and challenging as way back when I was working with a Fostex cassette 4-track and all of its own limitations. There are only synthesizers, programmed drums and vocals on Borne Down Upon. I eschewed custom sampling for this one, opting instead for sounds created from scratch in a different manner. I think it’s really good. I’m glad to be done with it. I’m glad to be done with all of these recordings, honestly, but completely proud of them.
The amazing Neal Williams has done all the artwork for these, and his work has been so spot-on and intuitive to the root of each of them that I want to offer my deepest thanks to him for that. His work is always amazing and perfect, and I encourage everyone to see his stupendous work at his website.
I hope you enjoy Borne Down Upon. I appreciate the support and interest from all the folks out there who’ve encouraged and helped me during these last few years. You know who you are. Beyond you few fine humans, Borne Down Upon, and all of these songs I’ve written and recorded over the last three years, are dedicated to no one, nothing, never & nonsense.
In the new year, I shall bring you much noise…
Even though I’m nearly done with a full-length recording that I hope to make available by November/December, I’ve got a new 4-song release now available that I finished much earlier this year. I began work on these songs in late 2012, and their ultimate destination was to be on a vinyl split with an awesome artist on an equally awesome label. But, as these things go, for a variety of reasons well beyond my control, it seems that this isn’t going to happen. At least not in time for me to get this music out there before I begin finishing up my full-length. I won’t bore you with any of the details any further, but I’m moving forward and releasing this one on Bandcamp today . . . before it gets lost in the glut of other musical output.
It’s called Migration Of The Device, and it’s in line with the electronic-oriented style of things that I’ve been doing for the past few years on other solo releases. This one, however, is quite different than the last couple (2011’s Under Dim Self and 2012’s Scalps Of Gods) in the respect that I employed some freshly-outside devices for inspiration towards the texture, mood and lyrical content (all of which is on the release site, if you want to see) of the 4 pieces. Oddball personal tarot spreads and readings from a variety of occult texts were sources of great inspiration for this collection, and I really think they shine darkly and smartly through the sonics that I was able to conjure.
In short, I’m completely happy with it! It’s a quick (20+ minutes), noisy jaunt through a few months of my life. I’m so glad to finally get it out into the cold light of day . . . and I’m equally elated to be able to move on to another recording well on it’s way to being finished. This is part of musical closure for me . . . these four songs being precursors to something even bigger & better that is nearly completed. Both of these writing and recording sessions have allowed me to move my music and my ideas into a new area that I’m excited about. Details on all this stuff are coming very soon.
You can listen to and download Migration Of The Device on my Bandcamp site, as well as all the other releases. Downloads of this new one come with a packet of drawings and photos from the recording session. As always, I truly appreciate your support and I hope you enjoy what I’ve made. More is definitely on the way…
This time around the blog, I wanted to share some things that turned me on when I first saw and heard them. I hope you enjoy ’em as much as I have.
I’ll kick things off with Savages’ great performances on Jimmy Fallon. I was really fired up after seeing them for the first time here. All footage of them live is fantastic. Definitely check out their KEXP performance as well. Their new recording is very good, but I’ve gotta say that actually seeing them play the songs is optimal:
Hubardo, the latest from Kayo Dot, is a really engulfing listen. Vast and thick with great ideas and sound. This track is a fine example:
Episode 1 in a documentary series about the band Ghost (the B.C. is silent). The interview with Papa II cracks me up big-time:
A very well-made short bio-ish piece on Converge’s Jacob Bannon:
Incredible recent footage of one of my favorite guitarists Caspar Brotzmann:
Two versions of a Krallice song that I completely love on all levels. Dimensional Bleedthrough. Studio version:
And finally, Moog Music recently announced that they were discontinuing production of their Little Phatty synthesizer. Here’s a very good short doc about that synth’s origins and ultimate ending:
And now . . . back to working on my own music. More on that soon…
Right before my set with Baghouse a couple of weekends ago, I accidentally plugged my guitar into the LOW input on my amp. What this meant was that, for the rest of the evening, I would be cursed with trying to sort out what was causing my sound to appear (to my ears) anemic–AND to play and adapt the best I could to the improvisation. In short, a brain fart. Classic. Undeniably stupid. Confounding, even . . . at the time. On one hand, I feel as if I NEVER do that sort of thing. On the other . . . I always seem to.
Luckily, everything else worked that night. I recently listened back to a recording of the evening and, despite feeling that my levels on loops fluctuated as I attempted to adjust in the chaos of the moment, it’s pretty excellent, nicely tense and has lots of fantastic playing & dynamics. Things were solid. Whew. Give it a go here, if you wanna get an earful of the proceedings at The World Famous in Athens, GA that evening.
It’s happening again this Saturday night at Head On The Door in Montgomery, AL. We’re going to do a couple of sets, making music, conjuring textures, tones and irregularities, seeing where the sound takes us. This is a call to all the weirdos and wanderers looking and listening for something freakishly pure. Music pulled from the air, shaped and reshaped, then shoved into your earholes. It feels like magic. Automatic writing. Baghouse. Come hear something being tapped into.
Wear a gasmask in case of brain farts.
This weekend I will be improvising. Every day, moment to moment, I improvise, of course . . . but this weekend is my favorite sort: musical improvisation. And I get to do it on a guitar that makes the experience like playing in a dream . . . the Moog guitar.
The Moog guitar allows me to do many things, but primarily, and most simply, it can sustain notes forever. It’s like being in a permanent sweet spot onstage with loud amps. Of course, it can also be the exact opposite, with its electronics sucking all the energy from the strings until it feels and sounds like playing a fretted-out alien banjo. Improvising on the guitar is such a satisfying and mind-emptying experience. I live for the moments where I can do just that, dropping all thought, just listening to the sounds, the other players and trusting myself. I feel taken-over with no-thought, and I just let whatever happens happen.
This weekend’s show is in Athens, GA (one of my favorite places) with my friends in Baghouse, who are a real telepathic joy to play with. We recently started making music together again for the first time in nearly 12 years, and it felt like we had never stopped, the three of us easily jumping into an improvisation and taking things into the stratosphere with very little discussion–and with more skill now than we had before, in my opinion. The evidence of this get-together is documented here.
I think about improvising as if I’m pulling a human-sized panel up out of the floor. This panel, when fully-exposed, is covered with the most beautiful, intricate, sometimes nightmarish designs . . . some of which I immediately recognize–and many others that I can trace no origins of. On a good night, I can keep this panel up for lengthy periods, adding to it, exposing more depth and detail and, if I’m lucky, amplifying it to the point where it completely obscures me and enters/affects watchers and listeners. I always strive for this, but I can’t say that I’m always successful. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve struggled and failed completely . . . only to hear it back at some later date (I try to record as many improvisational performances as I can) and think that I was completely wrong feeling that way.
The weeks leading up to a live improv performance usually find me down in the basement late at night, tweaking knobs and tones and loops and drones until I am delirious with sound. All in anticipation of pulling that panel into existence as fully as I possibly can. This weekend perhaps it will happen.
First off, thanks to all the fine music lovers in Canada, Germany & Norway who have downloaded and ordered from me lately. It’s so exciting to see music reaching people in far away places. But, I have to ask . . . America where are you? It saddens me that my own country shows very little interest, but the stats I see do not lie.
I’ve recently stopped offering much of my music for free for a variety of reasons . . . the primary being that I pour everything into what I do: my energy, my love, my hate, my thoughts, my feelings, my time and, yes, my money. My favorite artists probably feel much the same way, and I always try to support them as directly as possible, whether that be by paying for downloads, physical media, going to shows when they’re out on the road and even just showing direct interest in where they are going with their work.
But, free or not, I see a real lack of interest from here in the states. I can’t help it . . . it makes me feel bad. Where are people here who are looking for fringe & challenging musics? I certainly understand that what I do isn’t the most palatable thing in the world (most of the time), but damn.
Despite this, I will continue. I’m working on so many things that I hope will see the light of day soon, vibrating your earholes within the year, with any luck. I hope that I can reach someone out there the same way that things reach me.
I am here. Where are you?
Three places to begin listening and supporting:
C’mon. Have you forgotten what it’s like to seek out, find and hear something that really turns you on? Maybe you have.