Music

These days I have moved on to creating electronic music.  I hesitate to pigeonhole myself into a specific genre, so hopefully my music will speak for itself.  Events of the past 8 years or so have led me to write much less music than I did back in university, but hopefully inspiration will strike now that I have built up a decent set of equipment in my studio.

GEAR (PORTABLE):

  • Mackie 1202-VLZ mixer
  • MIDIbox SID
  • Korg 707 (used as a controller)
  • Yamaha RM1X
  • Line6 Verbzilla and Echo Park pedals
  • Waldorf Microwave II
  • Digitech ValveFX
  • E-Mu ESI-2000
  • Roland Juno 6 with Mungo MIDI retrofit

GEAR (STUDIO):

  • Shure Unisphere I mic (I’m pretty sure it’s older than I am)
  • Red Sound Dark Star
  • MOTU MicroLite
  • MOTU 828

GEAR (SIDELINED):

  • Alesis HR-16
  • Alesis MMT-8
  • Alesis DataDisk
  • Casio CT-670
  • Boss DR-202
  • DIY Craig Anderton “tube sound fuzz”

Music – 2009 to now:

In July 2009, I was fortunate enough to be able to play as the opening act at Sequential Circus 5, a live electronic music concert put on by Drew Smith.  I learned a lot, had some great fun, and only made one or two terrible mistakes.  Coming out of the show, I had a lot of ideas on how to refine my set and improve my performance in the future.  The show was recorded, and when I get a chance to grab the audio from Drew I will be sure to upload it here.  Thanks again to Drew, and to everyone who came out to support me!

Music – 2001 to 2008:

An online community that I was part of had one of their infrequent “Music Fun Contests” sometime around 2007, with the theme being “drugs”.  Finally I had a chance to use the Wesley Crusher / Tasha Yarr conversation from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Symbiosis.  The track turned out reasonably well.

Andrew Martens – Junkie Style

This next track is really just a short groove I threw together. It started out as a remix of Junkie  XL’s “Heat”, but I didn’t get anything that I was happy with. So I pulled out the samples, restructured it slightly and made an MP3 of it. Nothing special. The name was inspired during a short stint working for Electronic Arts doing QA in summer 2002, though I finally decided to call this song quits two years later in June 2004.

Andrew Martens – QA burnout (Quik Mix)

There was a fan remix competition for a Junkie XL tune in May 2001, though the only record of the winners is on the Wayback Machine. Look for “B Y Whop to the Y (Andrew Martens breakaway remix)”. See it there? It’s the winning entry!

The track lacks cohesion in a few spots and lacks good production values, but definitely has its moments. You may also note that I stopped using the moniker “Benzene” – this was because I had heard a rumor that there was some Korean punk band using that name, and I decided to just not bother trying to come up with clever names anymore. I actually found out that I was the winner sometime in early 2002, when I got an email from Tom’s manager. He offered to have Tom call me, but I replied that I had no idea what to say – I mean, what would I say other than “OMG I think ur music rox and ur so cool, can u send me some synths?” Since then I’ve met a few other artists (Hybrid, Moby) and managed to not make an ass of myself, but at the time I just didn’t know what to say.

Junkie XL – B Y Whop To The Y (Andrew Martens Breakaway Remix)

Music – 1999 to 2001:

In 1998, I started buying some music gear with the plan to record my own music.  Most of that music was absolutely dreadful. For those of you who own my album “Benzene”, good for you! There’s only one good track, one mediocre track, and a lot of crap. Since that time I have made a number of other songs, most of which were released on the defunct MP3.com. Two tracks that I wrote in 2000 (Inspiration and Disarray) actually were played at a couple of club nights by DJ Michael Meacham out in Boston, if I remember correctly. They were solid-ish songs at the time, but now they sound rather dated. That year I also wrote some backing music for the tradeshow Flash presentation when I worked for Stormix.

I’m calling this the Stormix Era, but it started a year earlier. I had discovered Jeskola Buzz, and it was a useful tool. My AVM Apex soundcard just wasn’t living up to its promised hype (should’ve bought a SB AWE64 Gold instead), and Buzz allowed me access to synth sounds that were otherwise out of my reach. This was a definite change in my sound, and while the songs are busy, cluttered, and poorly produced (notice the theme here?), I enjoyed making them. Not enough to keep using Buzz longer than this, however, as I decided the tracker style of composition just wasn’t for me.

(October 2000) Andrew Martens – Chinook (Stormix Edit)

(August 2000) Andrew Martens – Storm Warning (Stormix Edit)

(Spring 2000) Andrew Martens – Inspiration

(Spring 2000) Andrew Martens – Disarray

(December 1999) Andrew Martens – Bring It Back (Skippy’s Edit)

(October 1999) Andrew Martens – Nowhere

1997 – 1999:

My musical training was in contemporary and jazz piano, taught earlier by John Unger and later by Lloyd Bates. In highschool I joined the jazz band in grade 9 (thanks John and Larry Nickel) and actually became reasonably proficient by the time I graduated from highschool. Unfortunately, lack of access to a real piano since then, and no real reason to play regularly means that my skills have sadly atrophied – the same goes for french horn (just don’t have the chops for it anymore). Fortunately, I’m just as mediocre on drums and guitar as ever!

Then there’s a number of songs for acoustic guitar and/or piano that I’ve written in that period (including 1998’s “Flawed”, a tape of mostly piano tracks), but have never been recorded. The two tracks presented below were the least-crappy songs from my 1999 album “Benzene”.  One-Take-Song was recorded, unsurprisingly, in one take [per track]. If you combine that with my crappy guitar skills, you end up with the world’s most boring acoustic guitar solo. I also flubbed some of the background vocals, but who cares? It’s poorly mixed, but fun.

Andrew Martens – One-Take-Song

Confidence In A Bottle isn’t really about drinking, but it is a song about a lost love… or rather, someone who wasn’t interested in me at all, and I wanted to whine about it through music. The lyrics are crap, but it has a killer kazoo solo – two, actually.

Andrew Martens – Confidence In A Bottle

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  1. June 13th, 2007 at 23:03 | #1

    one take song, nice. very post modern and self referential. that fact you did the tracks in one take is highly appropriate and, imo, necessary.

    actually inspired me to get my accoustic out of the case and step away from the electronics for a few. thanks.

    p.s., can’t handle the kazoo solo, had to turn that off ;)

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