muted tones

october 02

today we are cartographers // i needed new units of measure / across / what's left

October is curated by Sarah Renee Bertsch of Chicago: she is atlas, and is currently working with the transaction Ensemble. She collaborated with Chicago's Tiny Hairs for this project.

curator log:

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i can’t believe it…

september 23rd, 2002

it’s finished.
and next week, it will be posted.
everything sounds great. three songs. 9 minutes, 47 seconds (or thereabouts).

the name of the full piece is:

today we are cartographers

and the three songs (movements?) that make it up are:

1. i needed new units of measure
2. across
3. what’s left

many thanks to jonathan, peter, chuck, mark, jim, john, josh, allison, and mike for all their work, help, and support.

when the songs are posted there will be full credits and other nonsense. sometime this week, i’ll tell you a story about recording/producing the second and third songs.

until then,



september 20th, 2002

this weekend josh and i are going to
a. finish recording the vocals
b. finish mixing
c. finish the other song we started for this

i had to come up with something to fill the other six or so minutes left after the tiny hairs colaboration. so a few days ago, josh and i made a super fun secret song. actually, it’s not that much fun, it’s really sort of somber. but it was fun to make it. i’ll explain more about this once we post the finished songs.

the suspense of all this is making me drink lots of coffe and grind my teeth in my sleep. i hope it’s treating you all better. the person who posts in the comments area the worst most agonizing story of suspense over this project will get a prize. and believe me, you want it.

thank god nobody opened the door to my room.

september 16th, 2002

Yesterday started at 7am. I somehow managed to clean the entire house in an hour. Mopping and everything. And then I went to get bagels. And then, it was time to do some recording. Iím not going to tell you how anything sounded, because I want it to be a surprise.

Jonathan came with muffins for us. Blueberry. But Jonathan wasnít eating a muffin, he was eating a weird Vietnamese sandwich from Bale. This place is direct from the Twilight Zone. Some of the food is in shapes I never knew existed. Three-dimensional shapes. It blows my mind. Anyway, we spent an hour talking - probably to get ourselves lucid early on a Sunday, more than anything else. He recorded two keyboard tracks and one electric guitar.

Peter came, and he and Jonathan immediately got into a joking match about the phantom power. I know everyoneís heard the phantom power jokes before, but seriously, Iíve never heard them funnier. I was choking on my orange juice. After everyone calmed down, Jonathan hit the road. Peter did a few takes, and the first ended up being the best. Once we listened to it a few times he said ìHey, do you want me to go home and get drunk and come back with my plastic violin and then play mean?î Thatís my second favorite quote of the day. You probably have to know Peter to know how funny this is…but trust me. It was a riot.

I took Peter home and went to get some lunch for me and josh. We ate sandwiches, I did a little flower arranging, and josh got a nap.

Mark and Chuck filled the entire room with equipment. I still donít know what all of it does, but whatever it is, I like it. I kept thinking I wished I had film since Jaime would never believe our house looked like that. Chuck took one of Jonathanís keyboard tracks, and messed with it a few times, and then did the same with Peterís violin track. While Chuck was working, I got to chat with Mark on my back porch. Then he fired up his guitar and like…12 pedals, and gave us a track of ebow, and a track of picking. My first favorite quote of the day is Mark right before he started playing ìSo Iíll just try some stuff and if itís blowing chunks Iíll try something else.î Iím embroidering that on a pillow this weekend.

Just as Mark and Chuck were finishing, Allison came with her clarinet. She did a quick, smart track, and we called it a day. Well, sort of. Between the three of us, there were still two rehearsals and a show…and some serious gear-hauling to be done.

After all that rehearsing (20min!) and gear-hauling, I finally made it down to Allisonís show with the SILVER measure, and their extension, The Square Root of Five. I got two beers that I didnít pay for (thanks Allison and Davis!) AND a green sweater. I was cold, so Allison lent it to me. Then she said I could have it. Yay sweater.

Thatís about it. Iím still not sure if weíre going to be able to include John the bass player. I donít know if you were paying attention, but we have way more than 8 tracks recorded, and I still have to do vocal overdubs. But, mixing begins tonight (?) ñ and weíre going to sort it all out.

More soon!





september 13th, 2002

this is from an email i wrote to the Tiny Hairs about a dream i had after I saw them play last week.

“the show on sunday was spectacular. i had a dream that night that you guys all had a barbecue, but you wouldn’t let me come because my sunhat wasn’t big enough. chuck was on a lake in a rowboat with a bullhorn having a conversation with jonathan, who was doing the grilling. but he was grilling shoes. and chuck couldn’t hear him yelling back so he just kept saying “what? what’s that jonathan?” …but through the bullhorn. Peter and John and Jim were all standing next to the keg with those “yard of beer” glasses…but the keg was only giving up apple juice and they were all blaming Mark. But Mark was busy trying to get the rattlesnake off his leg with a butter knife and he wasn’t listening.”

*please note that the above picture is a BULLHORN action figure. I’m sorry that the quality is so poor that you cannot tell whom it is.*

What phase are we on, anyway?

september 13th, 2002

dear readers,

Last night Jim came to Uncle Arnieís and we recorded the drums, main guitar and vocals. It went great! Josh miced all the drums, and then gave my guitar a pick-up and ran that through an eq pedal. Then hung a mic from the ceiling to catch vocals, etc. It sounds spectacular. Very warm. Perfect for my sound.

We recorded onto a Tascam 8-track cassette recorder, and josh is going to mix it all down into two tracks on his computer. This way we have 6 tracks left for the rest of the Tiny Hairs and Allison. Woo-hoo!

Now we just have to get them all scheduled and in and outÖyikes! I feel like Iím planning a…well, like a…something really complicated. The one whoís got the real tough job to do is Josh. Not to mention Jim last night. Iím a tough one to play with.

So if you want to know the model of the Tascam, and what mics Josh used, and uh…anything else of that ilk…leave a comment and Iíll find out and post it. Iím kind of oblivious to that sort of thing.


from the Inside Out

september 10th, 2002

Thursday night, Jim (drummer; Tiny Hairs) will be recording the preliminary tracks with me at the autumn-waking’s practice space (which will heretofore be referred to by itís proper name: Uncle Arnie’s). Josh will be engineering. This will allow him to mix down the drums and guitar track so that the rest of the Hairs can come by Uncle Arnie’s on Sunday to record their tracks. Thereís a possibility that Jim may not be able to make it. In that case, Allison (drummer; the autumn-waking) will be doing the drums. But, if Jim can make it Thursday, then Iíve invited Allison to contribute some clarinet to the mix on Sunday.

Confused yet? I am.

I am also a little frustrated since I kind of dropped the ball on scheduling (surprise!). The only day we can do this is Sunday. As in, the ONLY day. The deadline is like, uh… Sunday. So, if there are only a few Hairs available to record on Sunday, then I will add some extra tracks myself to fill in the spaces. Including super extra special vocal harmonies.

Also, I’m not sure if my friend was pulling my chain, or if the post office is… but no package of vocoded music from the West Coast yet. Maybe you can help me. Send him some vibes. If that doesn’t work, I’ll post his home address here and you can send him some hate mail. Just kidding, Justin. I wouldn’t have a bunch of people send you hate mail. I’d like that pleasure to be mine and mine alone.

Have no fear, scheduling and chain-pullers won’t keep me from delivering. I’ll pull it together. Julie Morgenstern says I’m a Conquistador of Chaos. And nobody expects the…

oh nevermind.

No there isn’t.

september 06th, 2002

So we’re renaming this the Bertsch Family Web Hub. I don’t think anyone will mind, since the only people reading this are the Bertsch Family, and Mike and Josh and Andy.

(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, i.e. you’re not my family, or mike, josh, or andy… then read all the comments from previous posts, and then post some of your own comments already!)

if i haven’t already told you….

september 05th, 2002

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