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From the Vault: Field Recordings 1991-1994

March 10th, 2012 Comments off

Album #: 31

Recording Dates: 1991-1994

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR17

ScratchNotes:

Recording equipment and techniques change dramatically every few years. Sometimes you need to dig out the long forgotten gear and see just what you recorded. The “From the Vault” series gathers these leftover oddities into one place. Much of this collection was recorded on a microcassette player – in a tour van, in my basement, and even a recording of a phone call. Add in a few sample experiments using other artists’ music and you have the stranger side of my early 1990’s compositions.

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Two Track Sampler

Track 01 – AbubicaJoe and I play Zonk. We record it. Early 1990s.  [Scratch on Talking]

Track 02  – Freerange Eruption – A crappy Vesta Fire 4-track recorder and a Van Halen record.  [Scratch on Concept & Execution]

Joerock

August 29th, 2010 Comments off

Album #: 23

Recording Dates: 1987-1997

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR15

ScratchNotes:

My pal Joe G. was the first musician I ever wrote music with. This is a compilation I put together featuring all four configurations in which he and I played as well as most of the solo material Joe recorded over a ten year period.

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Two Track Sampler

Track 10 – Blah (Joe G and MX Skroch)Joe lets the ladies know that he’s serious in his devotion…ridiculously so…  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 13 – Headwound (Joe G and MX Skroch)Music performed and lyrics by Joe, questionable singing by MX Skroch.  [Scratch on Vocals]

Scratchrock Volume VIII

September 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 10

Recording Dates: 1993 – 1994

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR08

ScratchNotes:

Sales of “Stop. I’m bleeding.” proved that the Hidden was truly an underground band.  The band and their art guru, “Saint” Allen Oaks, moved into a house on Chicago’s Northside that leaned excessively.  They set up shop in their cracked foundation style basement – neither mixed crowd reaction, nor poor album sales could deter them.

In-between bouts of drunken perversity, the Hidden prepared 17 new tracks to be recorded with Chuck Uchida under the guise of the “Brave New Failure” sessions.

Personally, I purchased a more professional 4-track and stepped up my experimental projects considerably.  After a successful weekend tour of the Midwest, the Hidden and staff began setting up a half-month trek across the United States.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 02 – Covered With Blood and Twitching (The Hidden) – Starting out as a solo experiment on my 4-track, the Hidden beefed up and spaced out this ode to disillusionment for the “Brave New Failure” sessions. Recorded by Chuck Uchida.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 06 – Bizarre Keyboard Rock (MX Skroch) – A few tracks on Scratchrock Vol. VIII have me playing around with tape speed and Bizarre Keyboard rock is the most frenetic of the bunch. Prepare for takeoff… [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 08 – I Wish I Had a Home (but I’ll Settle For a Quarter) (MX Skroch) – During this period I lived in the dirty city and like everyone else had the pleasure of being accosted by aggressive homeless persons on occasion. They were on my mind, so I named an instrumental after them. [Scratch on All Instruments and Samples]

Track 12 – The Blanket (The Hidden) – Free-range sax blurts and bleeps all over the Hidden’s angular rock stylings. A rare live performance featuring T.S. Henry Webb (formerly of The Flock) on tenor sax. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 23 – Crusade (Instrumental) (MX Skroch) – Prior to the release of this track in its somber, full-blown lyrical version; I recorded this much more whimsical take. Jangling guitars and mellotron inspired keyboards put this version squarely in the ‘Pop’ category.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume VII

September 5th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 08

Recording Dates: 1992 – 1993

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR07

ScratchNotes:

In a brazen attempt to rocket to the top of the charts, the Hidden replaces Paul M. with the more marketable Brian M.  The new lineup releases the “Bone of Contention” EP in late ’92.  They make the first of many appearances at the legendary Czar Bar on January 15th, 1993.  Following a D.I.Y. aesthetic, the Hidden creates Troglodyte Music, Ltd. for promotion and to set up gigs.

Fueled by Lambrusco and playing out constantly (occasionally with the free jazz sax of T.S. Henry Webb), the Hidden worked to conquer the rock world from their freezing rented storefront.  Thanks to financing from Lee P., the Hidden signed to Iguana Trifle Recordings in early ’93, bestowing upon the world a CD entitled “Stop. I’m Bleeding.”  Radio and press exposure ensued.   In my spare time, I continued experimenting with effects and new recording techniques.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 05 – Rat Patrol (The Hidden) – The Hidden play up their punk roots on this Naked Raygun classic. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 10 – 40 Gallons (The Hidden) – Metal… Funk… Noise… – This is the ultimate epic jam by the Hidden’s original lineup. Yea, that’s a six minute guitar solo – what you gonna do about it?  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 17 – Dogma (MX Skroch) – A sensitive instrumental. At least that’s what I hear… [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 24 – Safe and Clean (The Hidden) – The Hidden played this track live quite often, but it never made it onto the agenda at the recording studio. I’ve grown fond of this song over the years, and I’m pleased that this decent sounding live recording exists. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 26 – Nitrus Dichloride (MX Skroch) – It’s like a Lambrusco headache played by an army of guitars. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume VI

August 26th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 06

Recording Dates: 1991 – 1992

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR06

ScratchNotes:

I bought crappy used 4-track and immediately began exploring sonic oddity.  The dissolution of Brain Plug had left me with a heap of creative energy, but no outlet.  I played with samples and acoustic guitars, and while the results are less than professional, the sense of freedom provided great fulfillment.

I longed to play with other musicians again, and after the two-hour existence of Buffalo Penis Wing, I tried to find a band.  I saw an ad from a band that claimed to be influenced by Black Sabbath, Naked Raygun, and Big Black among others.  It was IMF.  I joined the band and two weeks later played an 18-song set in front of several thousand people at the Riviera Theater.  The band soon broke up for a short time, but reconvened as The Hidden.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 03 – Hateful (MX Skroch) – Metal. I loved it (still do…) and here is my interpretation circa 1991. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 08 – Riding (MX Skroch) – Probably one of the most psychedelic songs I’ve ever put to tape. Taking a quick 180 degree turn from the tension of Hateful, Riding is all quiet guitars and melancholic songcraft. [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 14 – Renegade of Funk (IMF) – Expanding towards chaotic noise and away from straightforward punk, Renegade of Funk was one of our favorites to play live. This version was recorded by Steve Albini in his basement studio. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 18 – I’m Your Bug (The Hidden) – Crunchy flanged out punk recorded by Chuck Uchida in April 1992. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 24 – Validation (remix) (MX Skroch) – Another solo experiment that explores the possibilities of distortion and multitrack recording. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume II

August 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 02

Recording Dates: 1988 – 1989

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR02

ScratchNotes:

The Raging Bellybuttons find their voice (well, Scratch and Joe do while Kenny wears a T-shirt on his head).  Bad fashion and lousy but enthusiastic renditions of songs by the Doors, Blondie, and Slayer.  “Soundgarden Song” wasn’t a cover, just an eleven minute two chord tribute.  “Raging Rap” and “Everything is Kinda Bizarre” also wallowed in improvisational vocal extravagance.

I shaved half my head, graduated from high school with honors and moved up to community college.  On the final night of the dreadful decade known as the 80’s, the Raging Bellybuttons played their only live performance, reading from lyric sheets while performing at Kenfest.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 04 – Rubber Lover (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Just teenagers, the Bellybuttons show impressive insight into the nature of true love. [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]

Track 09 – “Save my Life!” (The Raging Bellybuttons) – The king of pop. [Scratch on Startled Reaction]

Track 13 – Cancer (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – Another outtake by Joe and I that thrives on riffing prowess. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 15 – Funky Dunky (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Dancing shoes are mandatory. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 20 – Everything is Kinda Bizarre (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Taking notice of the 1980’s culture that surrounded us all. And somehow the 80’s seem even more bizarre in retrospect… [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume I

August 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 01

Recording Dates: 1986 – 1987

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR01

ScratchNotes:

Libertyville High School has spawned a number of splendid guitar players. While Tom Morello and Adam Jones were off perfecting their tones, the No-Name Band was rocking the field house with one rehearsal (in a church) under their belt. Feedback and breakdancing. Battle of the Bands was canceled the next year.

The Raging Bellybuttons got together on August 27, 1987 and proceeded to write their first six songs in a basement characterized by wood paneling and overhead fluorescent lighting.

In addition to music, other activities for these years included such adventures as running away to Los Angeles, being caught by the police, and being locked in a foster home for two days. I was later arrested as a transient in Milwaukee after drinking a bit too much at a Slayer concert.

These were the years of figuring out all three chords, living in the basement, and prowling the streets in a ’79 Monte Carlo when not selling pizza.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 01 – Guitarboard #1 (MX Skroch & Brian P.) – Exploring the teenage wasteland in Brian’s parents’ condo with an acoustic guitar, a Casio, and a delay pedal. [Scratch on Casio and Delay Pedal]

Track 03 – Fat Albert (The No-Name Band) – About as polished as this band could get! [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 09 – That Blues Thing (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – Occasionally 2/3 of the Raging Bellybuttons would get together to jam – and sometimes a little jam is what you got. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 22 – Pots and Pans (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – A fully developed track that should have been a Bellybutton standard – but wasn’t. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 42 – Weh-oh Jah Mama (The Raging Bellybuttons) – The smell of the mosh pit unfolds into the glorious Jamaican sun. [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]