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Scratchrock Volume XIV

October 10th, 2015 Comments off

Album #: 50

Recording Dates: 2001-2004

Release Date: 2005

Catalog: SMR22

ScratchNotes:

By 2001 my musical activities had slowed to a pace that only the Sheep Fiends could fill. There are numerous reasons why this volume that covers four full years is comprised of only live performances. The economy fell apart and my career was in serious jeopardy. My attention moved towards putting together the Skroch 200. I returned to school in pursuit of a Finance Degree. There just seemed to be no time for music; until a phone call or email arrived inviting me to the palace of free thought just off of Bryn Mawr in Chicago.

I showed up for 7 jams in 2001 and 7 jams in 2002 and no jams in 2003 and 3 in 2004. A total of 17 jams in 4 years – that’s 1460 days – a jam once every 85.88 days. This volume of Scratchrock is comprised of 14 songs from 9 of these musical groupings.

The Dentists formed in early 2001 as one of the many failed attempts at creating a “real band” out of Sheep Fiends. DDS ((aka The Dentists)(aka Dave, Doug, Scratch)) kind of learned some originals, but more often just crafted odd takes on a diverse collection of cover tunes like those of Boston and the Monkees found on this disc. After two months or so the Dentists stopped showing up altogether.

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Four Track Sampler

Track 01 – Inside a Room Inside a Cave Inside the Moon (Sheep Fiends) – A favorite of mine from this era. I’m your guide for another improvised cosmic journey backed by a somewhat bluesy performance from the band. Can’t you hear we’re docking soon?   [Scratch on Guitar & Vocals]

Track 06 – Russell’s Potion (Sheep Fiends) – Fuzzed out bass and swooping theremin form the soul of this track, with my warbling guitar and a jazzy beat bringing a healthy sense of confusion to the party.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 09 – Don’t Try (The Dentists) – One of the few original tracks the Dentists worked on during their short stay in the chair. If this song had lyrics, I never saw them!  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 12 – Is That All There Is? (Sheep Fiends) – Brian M. lashes out against the forces of dissatisfaction in this stomping aggro number. A cathartic despair expressing the downside of human interaction.  [Scratch on Guitar]

 

Scratchrock Volume XIII

March 11th, 2012 Comments off

Album #: 32

Recording Dates: 1999 – 2000

Release Date: 2001

Catalog: SMR18

ScratchNotes:

Recording with the Sheep Fiends increasingly made up the bulk of my musical output as my free time turned to other endeavours.  A sick fascination with the stock market ensued, and an emotional obsession was fostered by way of the rise and collapse of Wall Street.  I must forever live with the knowledge that at an April 2000 Sheep Fiend jam, I warned through song that “The Nasdaq is gonna crash” – while in real life I kept my tech stocks and took a beating.

My former role as multi-instrumentalist in the Sheep Fiends became mutated, as I slowly transformed into one of the main vocal presences in the band. My unique improvisational take on reality and what should be done about it meshed well with the more folk and hippie elements typical of the Fiends lyrics. A few of the band members began making edited CDs of our rehearsals, and the Sheep Fiends’ archiving ritual was stepped up a level.

I purchased a digital 8-track recorder which saw little use – “Vikings (part 3)” and “The Skyway” being the only recorded output to date.  I also played around with sample manipulation using my PC, and participated in a few left field collaborations.

Anisa and I kept quite busy during this period, our primary activities being the creation of the “Vortex of Skrochocracy” website, and making preparations to buy a house and finally ditch the dirty city…

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Five Track Sampler

Track 02 – The Rising Price of Gasoline (Sheep Fiends) – Behold my autobiographical rage at the concept of having to pay 20 bucks for a tank of gas. Those were the days my friend…  [Scratch on Vocals]

Track 03 – The Wind Cries Howard (MX Skroch and Dave L.) – The Howard Stern show occupies Jimi Hendrix in this indigestion-fraught reinterpretation that I don’t…really…understand. But I was happy to lay down the bass track for this jam and think it’s an amusing one-off track.  [Scratch on Bass]

Track 08 – The Skyway (MX Skroch) – Sadly, a rare example of my solo work during this period. The Sheep Fiends were fairly active and my projects with Suneel were underway so my personal output was scarce. But I really like the few tracks I did knock out; including this rocking tribute to the tollway lifestyle.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 13 – The Madness (MX Skroch) – Just samples and effects. Despite a slightly rough final production I think this track sounds just as cool today as it did a decade ago.  [Scratch on Sample Collection & Manipulation]

Track 17 – Unhappyman (MX Skroch and Suneel Viktor) – I pour my freshly plucked sample collection all over Suneel’s synthy grooves to satisfying effect. He thought there was no way he could lose… [Scratch on Sample Collection & Manipulation]

Scratchrock: An Abridged Testimonial (2CD set)

December 15th, 2010 Comments off

Album #: 27

Recording Dates: 1986-1999

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR16

ScratchNotes:

What you are holding is a testimony. It is a memory. It is an egocentric creation prepared especially for your indulgence.

Eleven incarnations,

Forty-three manifestations,

Fourteen years of praise.

Twelve compact discs capture the complete tale in words, song, and imagery. You are in possession of a musical Cliffs Notes. Not so much “greatest hits” as “unique sounds” and “interesting experiences”. I don’t sing very well, so do not bother pointing it out – I am aware. Recordings range from defective boombox to 16 track studio (they each have special qualities). Some tracks were rehearsed to death, others are improvisation. Some lyrics are heartfelt expression, and others are just plain goofy. Let’s just call it a collection of frequencies to bounce off your eardrums in your spare time.

This all began in 1986. My first instrument was the $99 guitar/amp combo from Service Merchandise. I moved on to the Flying V. Then there was the anarchic battle of the bands appearance with the No-Name Band, and the Modulated Casio vs. Acoustic Guitar duels with Brian P. Shortly thereafter came the on again/off again power trio called the Raging Bellybuttons. Brain Plug followed. Solo work was recorded and then I joined IMF. We broke up and came back from the grave as the Hidden. More experimental pieces were actualized; and brief encounters with Redneck Exorcist (not featured on this collection), the Unnamed Band, and the future Mrs. Skroch materialized. Finally, the current projects – improvisational sounds with the Sheep Fiends and the beats with Suneel.

What else can we say? Take a listen. Repeat. Don’t give up too soon, a testimony is a subtly multilayered beast. Give in to it.

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No Track Sampler

Please refer to the individual volumes of Scratchrock for audio samples of this material.

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Scratchrock Volume XII

March 29th, 2010 Comments off

Album #: 17

Recording Dates: 1998-1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR13

ScratchNotes:

I graduated from school, got married, landed a decent job and moved back to the dirty city. Our landlord spent every night for two months in our apartment installing a furnace. I ran into Brian C. at former Hidden voiceman Brian M.’s wedding. Soon thereafter I joined the two of them in the fluctuating entity known as the Sheep Fiends. With a revolving lineup of musicians, the band emphasis was on improvisation, and the spontaneity kick-started my lagging musical spirit. Meanwhile, I had met Suneel near the end of my tenure at ITT, and had begun recording industrial music with him.

My primary expression shifted from guitars to sample manipulation with the addition of a powerful home computer. Much of 1999 was spent using that computer to create the first twelve volumes of Scratchrock.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 02  – The Skipper (Sheep Fiends) – Keyboards and guitars pulsate on this low-grade recording from an early Sheep Fiends jam.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 06  – Everything is Kinda Bizarre (MX Skroch) – Clocking in at over six minutes, this tour-de-force of home studio trickery came out well despite my less than compelling vocals. This song illustrates why it’s not too difficult to look outside oneself and see the array of confusion that presents itself. The outro bit is the ending of a very early prototype of the song.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 13  – Ralph’s Reed (MX Skroch) – Speed manipulation and overdriven drums pound away on this foray into sonic religious terror.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 16  – Victory Riot (Sheep Fiends) – Just another otherworldly mindfuck typical of 1999-era Sheep Fiends jams.  [Scratch on Sampling Keyboard]

Track 20  – Catfish With Advil (MX Skroch) – The flipside of Ralph’s Reed, this track slows the tempo to a crawl…letting every eerie note sink in.  [Scratch on All Instruments]