muted tones

september 05

the ballad of bobby fitz

Chicago's Nat Kundanis-Grow plays violin, guitar, bass, and etcetra in the Oracles and Things Falling Apart and helps out around the house at Dekalb's Scratch and Sniff Records.

curator log:

head cold

september 30th, 2005

“The Ballad of Bobby Fitz”
The players (apart from yours truly) ~

John Benham: Coin shaker, thunderstormage, piano, trombones and countless hours of tweaking, splicing and soothing the mixess.

Blake Walker: Upright bass

Chadwickian Delights Miner: E-bow and pop tart goodness moral support

10 pm, thursday night and still plenty of song to create. fellow t.f.a. bandmate chad was visiting and with fresh ears, he helped us bring the song to a steady end. it was his idea to keep the drums going, coupled with some cut and paste violins and it was his idea to lay let the ebow and trombone coda be dissonant and hazy. he also helped us clean up and adjust levels, pans and oatmeal on all trax.
john also rose to the occasion, supplying the piano goodness out of the blue after maybe 2 or 3 takes. dig.

john mixed into the night and then crashed. we both headed over to the music building to track our friend blake and his wonderful upright bass. it was fun, but brief.
after that, we were due to visit sirjosh dumas at the el so we did all that computer junk with burning a cd and that was that.
the end of this song calms down a bit but that’s cool because we were starting to go overboard with too many fragments. sometimes i like super medleys but 10 minutes is a long time and we finished up happily knowing that a lot of these ideas were far far from what we normally do. always healthy to go outside of yer comfort zone, right?

it’s been a fun month…hope this kicks volume 4 off nicely,

bad dreamsss

september 29th, 2005

that 5am report i promised never happened because john + I got kicked out of our practice space early on account of noise. we vowed to get some sleep and get down in the trenches today and so we did…
the trouble with the middle 3 minutes so far has been anything from a annoying drum sample to just general haziness about how many times to play a section. basically, we needed some transitions and we needed them fast.
>>>so we started up just before dinner and came up with a strange trombone/violin fueled march that helped introduce the bass power we’d planned on. Somber harmonies that were kind of like “watching your own funeral” and getting real upset…cue a little drum fun that we’ll leave to the finished product.
Suddenly, we were stuck again. The drums had cut out and the guitar riff i was trying to get off the ground wasn’t going anywhere. We split up and john worked on the chatterboxes, the march and most importantly, the drum sound and the troublesome sample we’d chosen (we cut it back so it’s just the last time of each 4 repetitions). I went ahead and busted out the tape 4 track and worked on recreating the guitar idea with violins letting it swell to 5 parts. we tailored the stuff a bit and then put it down in no time flat…after a few plays it was decided to call it a day. we’re not really sure where it will go but for now, the momentum is stronger than ever.

although a lot of the ideas today were pretty far from belle +sebastian, i’m sure tomorrow’s luck will hinge on their goodness. it’s been a slow transformation for me with this group just because i never sought out all the eps/singles they released in batches. the best part is the patchwork pop songs…a little cello here, a little r&b geetar there and always some gorgeous organ swells. i love songs that fool me, especially melodically, so it’s no surprise that i’m turning to belle+sebastian for the last leg of this song.

or maybe i’ll just break out all my john mellencamp and we’ll end with a sing-a-long.
god bless the cougar.


no sleep till brooklyn

september 27th, 2005

last night’s recording fun ended up being pretty brief but not before we got some righteous delay chatter box noise and guitar frenzy down. tonight, the plan is to finish the middle 3 minutes by bringing back the horns and violins. also, we plan on doing some sparse vocals too. then we’ll bring the volume way down before the final outro/coda thing…but that’s wednesday, about a couple light years away at this point.

about the linkage:
my love of deerhoof just keeps on growing. i saw them for the first time at the open end gallery last may just in time for the green cosmos ep…stood in the front row and got destroyed song after song. borrowed milkman from a friend. loved it. listened to tons of Apple O’. loved it. they have a new record out soon & after catching them last sunday at Logan Square, I feel I kind of love that one too. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been down for making a lot of strange guitar noises lately but this band is and will continue to affect a good portion of this project whether i know it or not.

be back for the 5am report,

It will change you in the middle of the day.

september 26th, 2005

so yes, i thought i post some 5am goodness because john& I are on to some new sinister piano grooves. that and tons of madness distortion.
this being the home stretch and all, we figure it’s going to get ugly and that’s ok. i think i’ll try and post everyday this week since we both hellbent on searching out the most chaotic blasts known to our fair dorm.

monday nat

ps if anyone’s been curious about the scratch+sniff records links not working, it’s ok cause they’ll be back soon. songs can be found here in the meantime ~


The first day of autumn was grand…

september 23rd, 2005

Massive bout of recording today with trombone master, pop wizard and roommate extraordinaire J. Bennum. Together, we sorted out the country soul of the introduction and injected some stranger sounds to take its place. Case in point would be a ditched lap steel part in exchange for more ambient guitar bends and warbles. That and we got a nice thunderstorm in sync with the first guitar strums. Ma Nature is our buddy.
A rough mix may be posted either tomorrow or sometime this weekend or sometime in february but hopefully tomorrow.
(Update: Here ya go! [2.1MB] [MP3]. Enjoy! — josh)

the link this time is for those who enjoy the idea of a bunch of goobers taking over their school bus, painting it tropical and then watching it burn. explosive super medleys from bloomington, IN that fuck shit up.

yeah yeah

Demo love

september 16th, 2005

Two weeks later…

Since relocating to Evanston for school earlier this week, I’ve been gathering all the weird song fragments I made back in DeKalb into a cohesive medley skeleton. right now the foundation is a 5 chord harp sounding section with a pair of slide guitars …(if anyone reads this and has a pedal steel guitar they would let me come visit and admire, please email me…these fragments need country heart). so this fragment is old, dating back to last january, but since then, they’ve never really saw the light of day…until now.
next up tomorrow or saturday, i’m going to throw some beats down courtesy of my delay pedal and the heater next to the bed. this may or may not work unless the heater is making cool noises. more on this later.
most importantly, i’m finally settled in one place and will be posting more often even if the recordings are going slow. tense form log in motion >>>

lastly, the link and picture have to do with a very talented citizen of nearby Bloomington, IN named Erin Tobey that I was fortunate enough to meet a couple years back. I choose to mention Erin because her efforts as a concert promoter, mad bass player and comix specialist are always inspiring to read about. just this summer she helped put together a massive tour in a school bus across the eastern half o’ the US with 10 different bloomington related bands, festival style. & she’s still alive.
basically erin’s a force of nature and her energy and bond with mass chaos has stuck with me ever since. enjoy her neat website.


Day 1, back at the homestead in beautiful DeKalb, IL

september 01st, 2005

okok this muted tones posting business isn’t as tricky as it looks…

…for starters, I just arrived home last night from some summer tour bliss with Things Falling Apart so i spent today getting in touch with my laundry mojo. Luckily, I hadn’t decided yet on what to do for this here muted tones project, so it doubled as my day 1 brainstorming session. Load after load went by but no luck; all i could think of was josh shaking his head —- “i knew i shouldn’t have given this kid a whole month to screw up” —- well, josh, I may not have A game with me today but tomorrow, no more nonesense.

It’s just me and the 4 track, man vs. machine, godzilla vs. mothra. let’s get serious.

~ the link is the same as the one in my bio but i thought i’d do some more explaining >>> scratch + sniff records is a small group of DeKalb 4 trackers that I stumbled upon 3 summers ago (thusly, the group photo)…immediately, i was amazed by the diversity of projects going on at any given time —- honky tonk laments of 3 legged cats, scrambled noise codes and puzzles, and elbows+knees pop songs came pouring out of the cornfield ocean and I did everything I could to help and join in on the fireworks.

3 years later, I’m still the gun for hire, choosing to help out everywhere instead of settling on a steady project of my own…I have made some recordings in the past but they’re not online or anything. I’ll get the stuff up there soon though for better or worse. yah.

looking forward to a month’s worth of pratfalls and yer company in tense forms land.

over and out,


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