Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Dasarap" video from 11/9/2015 jam session

  Started shooting more videos of our jam sessions. What a great way to get motivated to share my music. Something about seeing it performed makes it so much more interesting, don't you think? Anyway, this is a jam where Eric and I played as a duo. This was our first jam of the night. It is a great example of what we strive to create.  It's creative, melodic, it flows, has harmony. Anyway, we enjoyed making it.
  I'm now playing with a new KB neck from KB Saxophone Services. It has really opened up my sound. As always, I'm playing a TM Custom and Eric is playing a Novax CH8.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Been a while since I've posted...

I'll post some new music stuff soon. Got some fuzzbucket jams, just audio. I'll try to shoot some video in the near future. Until then, how many biebers can you take in a fight?

How many Justin Biebers could you take in a fight?
Created by Oatmeal

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Face-melting guitar solo!

  So, this should be a quick post... A couple months ago a co-worker who had heard me play guitar at a talent show a few years ago asked me to record a guitar solo for a track he was producing. So, I spent about 4 hours on a hot Saturday afternoon in June and recorded several takes into my computer and emailed them to Sinba.
  The next morning I received an email from him with the subject "DUDE!".  He loved the solos.
  The cool thing about this is that it has been a very long time, almost a year, since I played guitar seriously.  I'm just too busy working on my saxophone playing.  So it was pretty special to get the guitar out and use my new isolation box for the first time with a serious project.  I plugged my Wampler SLOstortion pedal into my Vox Night Train amp and let loose.
  This song is very mellow and silky smooth.  I think it is designed to put you into a trance state but then kick you in the face with a drum fill and then attack your face with a facemelter guitar solo.  Or maybe it'll just get your adrenaline pumping.  It gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it.  Now I'm seriously babbling which means it's time to play some music! Check it out!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fuzz Bucket Video - Thunder Fuzz April 20, 2015, and my Epic Chin

Dan Shimmyo - Saxophone
Eric Maurer - guitar & Novax CH7
Jamie Williams - drums

So, Fuzz Bucket is on a sort of hiatus because Jamie has moved across the country with his family.  Meanwhile Eric and I still occasionally jam but not nearly as often. Most recently Eric booked a gig with his friend of many years, Tony Fasce. I saw them perform at the Les Paul Big Sound Experience in Mawah, NJ, just a few weeks ago. I think it's the best I've ever heard Eric play and Tony is an amazing drummer. If I had thought of it I would have brought the gopros and captured the whole performance. Oh well, missed opportunity...

I have also started practicing on the Soprano Saxophone lately.  For years I've been obsessed with improving at that instrument.  It has been tough though... In my obsession I've switched from a vintage selmer metal mouthpiece to a more modern version and I've also switched reeds to a lighter gauge.  I think the current setup works the best for me at least until my technique improves.  Just for fun I started posting silly videos of my practice sessions on instagram. I'm not sure if there's a way to embed an instagram video but here's one that I liked:

Okay, so let's talk about this jam video. There are a few things that make this jam unique.
1) It starts out with Eric cranking up the feedback causing a sort of droning noise which usually prompts me and Jamie to refill our drinks. Instead Jamie and I started playing along with Eric's knob turning oscillating noise patterns.  Very cool stuff!

2) Eric then picks up the guitar and plays along with us with a pretty heavy sound which I love. The really interesting thing about this jam is the lack of bass guitar. But it still works!

3) Ultimately what made this jam successful was that we didn't sit around discussing what we were going to play. Instead we let the music and atmosphere in the room dictate what the music was going to sound like.

4) This jam just transitions all over the place and even though it leaves you scratching your head for a bit I think it comes together just enough in places reminding you that we are still listening to each other.

5) My epic chin. The most unflattering camera angle and maybe Friday donuts have conspired to give me a chin that reminds me of Jabba The Hutt.  Oh yeah, playing saxophone has a way of messing up my face a lot. Especially those low notes.

Well, here it is! The video of my chin. Hope you like it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Fuzz Bucket Video - Burped Up! April 27, 2015

Dan Shimmyo - drums
Jamie Williams - Novax CH7

In this jam session, Eric stopped to take a break.  I put down the sax to play drums and Jamie and I just started playing. It began as a bit of a Charlie Hunter rip-off which is pretty tough for me to play but I managed better than usual.  Then I changed the beat because my arms couldn't handle playing at that speed without derailing very soon. I know it doesn't sound that fast but something about that tempo is hard to keep up, especially since I don't practice drums very often. This video picks up right before the tempo change.

So I transitioned to a moderate rock beat which Jamie followed seamlessly with a pretty cool indy groove (indy? My musical lexicon is pretty limited). I suppose it's difficult to hear the bass behind the kit which is one excuse I make for looking so serious and making strange faces.
One thing I've learned from making videos of our jams is how funny we look.  I hope we are conveying the amount of concentration it takes to improvise musical sounding jams without any preparation.

Anyway, here's our latest "fuzz duo" jam warts-and-all which is how we like it!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fuzz Bucket Video - Descension April 20, 2015

(This photo is from a previous jam session that I haven't posted yet. I was having fun pulling frames out of the video. Apologies to Jamie for the grimace photo but it was too funny!)

Dan Shimmyo - Tenor Sax
Jamie Williams - drums
Eric Maurer - Novax CH7

Last Monday night after generating CG fur on animated characters all day I drove over to Eric's house with my Tenor Sax and 4 GoPro cameras. Eric's basement is already set up with microphones and recording gear. He handles the audio recording and I handle the video recording.

GoPro cameras setup:
3 X Hero 3+ Black Edition cameras:
I'm pretty sure this is the first time I tried recording 24fps instead of the standard 29.97fps. I'm doing this because I believe it shoots a sharper image and still gets the same low light sensitivity and same battery life, although strangely it uses up more disc space. They're all set to shoot in SuperView (ultra wide) mode.

1 X HD Hero Original
I set this camera up to record in PAL. I'm hoping by recording at 25fps I'm decreasing the shutter speed and allowing more light sensitivity. But the footage doesn't look too hot so maybe the resolution is still too high (720). I mounted this camera on Eric's guitar but fortunately in this video he's not playing it.

Out of the 90 minutes or so jam session I chose this clip for the video after Eric and I both independently chose this clip to post on soundcloud. I think we liked it because it was a reasonable length, feels like it has a beginning, middle, and end. Usually we like to end on single note concisely but instead we kind of let it trail off. Well, we make this stuff up on the fly so we don't always communicate our intentions clearly...
One of the things I like about this video is that you can tell that we're having fun. Yeah, there are some rough parts where we're all stumbling a little but overall we found a few cool grooves and transitioned into other cool parts.
I chose not to use split screen effects because it seemed like too much work. Actually, I think it's a lot cleaner without splitting the screen. I also like to be able to split time from one musician to the other to hilight what they are playing. When I thought my sax playing was a little too sloppy I even switched to one of the other cameras to take your mind off the sax.

Well, if I haven't scared you off, please check out this video of 3 CG Animation nerds playing improvised music in the basement.

And here's a teaser from our next jam from this Monday the 4/27. I was looking for funny faces and I found a bunch in the drumcam footage. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Fuzz Bucket Video - Headache In My Eye

Can't believe a month has gone by since my last post. Well, it was worth the wait. I taught myself how to edit video and I have something to show for it. Here's the first video I ever produced (not counting the "outtake" video below. This jam from 3/12/2015 was so good and the video footage looked pretty cool that I had to make this fancy edit and post it as soon as possible. I'm kind of blown away by seeing us play in this form instead of just in an audio file. You can almost see us reacting to each other and wondering where the next note will lead us. My favorite thing is seeing spit shoot out of the valves on the saxophone except I don't think it's visible in this edit. I might have to make an alternate "spit take" haha! I'll talk more about the making-of the video in the next post.

Here's a video of us recording a saxophone loop to get a jam started. We end up arguing a little and there are a couple funny moments: It's on facebook via this link

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fuzz Cast 25 - Recursion

  This episode is a major upgrade from previous shows in regards to it being recorded almost entirely live instead of requiring production after-the-fact. This is because I hooked up a mixer so I could play stuff off my laptop, play my guitar, bass, or drums, and of course, I've got my trusty blue snowball usb mic. So I'm really only recording 2 tracks, the voiceover in one, and the instruments/computer/sound effects in the other.
  I've been setting up a Squier Hello Kitty guitar. It sounds great and the setup is pretty slick but it goes
 out of tune easily and it has limited tone capabilities because it only has a volume knob and one pickup.  B
ut if you like the classic single humbucker sound you'll like this.
  I've also been introduced to the most amazing thing I've ever heard which is an amateur commercial turned i
nto a brilliant jazz guitar piece:
Jones Big Ass truck rentals & storage - Harmonizator
  This week's featured track is a jam session from this past Thursday called recursion. Normally I try to mix and post our recordings but this week Eric beat me to the post. For this jam we experimented with a new idea
. Due to a computer mixing glitch during our previous jam session we got a track that had me playing saxophon
e and drums simultaneously.  We thought it sounded amazing so Jamie had the idea of bringing his looper pedal
 and sampling my sax playing and then sprinkling it into the jam while I played the drums.
  So, the jam consists of me playing a saxophone solo where Jamie sampled a portion of it and then Jamie (bass) and Eric (guitar) come in and I start playing the drums. We definitely had a good time with it and it ende
d up being an 18 minute jam. It was more like 3 or 4 jams in one but with the saxophone loop being the thread
 that binds them all together.
  Here's the track on soundcloud:
Fuzz Bucket - recursion
  This was also the first jam session featuring my brand new Squire bass which was my brother's birthday pres
ent to me.
You can download Fuzz Cast on iTunes here:
or on my blog:
or directly from libsyn:

more links:

Check out this episode!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Fuzz Cast 24 - Nonsensical Ramblings

I'm slap-happy with the bass today because it's my new toy. My brother bought me a Squier Vintage Modfied Jazz Bass as a belated birthday present. I'm also more comfortable in the studio today because I've got a boom arm stand for the microphone which allows me to position it especially while playing bass. The bass tones today are complements of a device called a Vox Amplug for Bass. I'm pretty happy with the tones that I get, plus I don't have to deal with latency issues that I get from using the amp emulators available in Garage Band.
  Nonsensical Ramblings is a Fuzz Bucket jam session from 9/24/2014 where Jamie played Novax, Eric dialed knobs on the synth and played drums, and I played Trumpet and Saxophone. It's a good fun drony moody thing. It came highly recommended by my brother, Roy, who was visiting over the weekend to deliver the new bass.
  Nonsensical Ramblings is on soundcloud here:

You can download Fuzz Cast on iTunes here:
or on my blog:
or directly from libsyn:
and also on Stitcher app:

more links:

Check out this episode!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Soundproofing an apartment room, sort of...

  I live in an apartment on the 5th floor of an old building in Astoria, NY. The floors are hardwood and noise can be heard between the floors pretty easily.  Because of this I've been hesitant to rehearse or record music at home.  Even though I own the place, I've been hesitant to do major renovations but I recently decided that I either needed to move out or find a way to transform my spare bedroom into a music room.
  Luckily I'm on the top floor and the room I'm renovating is in the corner, so the main problem is isolating the floor as much as possible so that my downstairs neighbor doesn't hear too much noise.  To prepare for the project I had to patch the walls and ceiling that I've been neglecting all year. That's a whole other story...
  So with the walls and ceiling patched and painted it was time to tackle the flooring.  The original floor was an old hardwood floor. What I decided to do for the soundproofing was to purchase a product called Peacekeeper Barrier from a company called Audimute.  I chose that product because of the low price compared to other options, and also the fact that it's made from recycled tire rubber. I also wanted a hard surface on top of the peacemaker pad so I made an unusual but very cheap choice. I decided to install 1/8 inch hardboard, a.k.a. Eucaboard, and put carpet tiles over that.  The carpet tiles cost about $100 and the Eucaboard cost about $22. The peacemaker barrier cost $160. So, it was approximately a $300 floor treatment.  Finally I chose to hang sound absorption sheets from the walls to quiet the room down a bit more. The absorption sheets cost $244.
  I rolled the peacemaker barrier out onto the floor and cut pieces to fill in small gaps.
The black material is the peacekeeper barrier. The joints were covered using sound isolation seam tape (it looks like electrical tape). Over the peacekeeper barrier I placed the 1/8 inch eucaboard. I bought 4X8 sheets cut into thirds so they would fit in my car.  For the installation I cut up a few pieces by scoring them with a utility knife and bending the pieces apart. This made for some sloppy cuts but I thought it was adequate since I would be covering it up with carpeting.
I joined the eucaboard panels with duct tape and then started installing the carpet tiles.
Finally I put the bed back together and brought in a desk, some rugs, my laptop, office chair, guitars, amp, keyboard, couple saxophones, and an electronic drum kit. The electronic kit has an isolation platform that I built out of mdf and tennis balls.

  Now that I'm basically done I'm pretty happy with the results. The room is so quiet I can hear my ears ringing and the ceiling fan spinning at night.  Moving from the hallway into this room is similar to the feeling of walking into a quiet movie theater.
  If I could do it again, I might consider 3/16 or 1/4 inch hardboard, possibly 6.4mm peacemaker barrier, and maybe a thicker carpet. But the reason I kept things so thin was because I didn't want to have to modify the baseboard and shoe mouldings.
  If I wanted a much more professional installation I would consider a laminate flooring over the peacemaker barrier.  But that would have required power tools, possibly leveling the floor and installing a new moulding. And finally, to take things even further I would consider covering the walls with peacemaker and another layer of sheetrock.
  As far as how well the soundproofing works, I can't say that i know for sure. But I have been practicing tenor saxophone in the daytime. That is the loudest instrument I play. I tend to play my electric guitar turned a little lower, and all of my bass playing has been direct into the board. The ultimate way to annoy your neighbors though is by playing the drums. Even electronic drums can be annoying for your neighbors. That is why I built an isolation platform just for the drums.
  I still have to cut 1/4 inch from the bottom of the door so that it will open all the way to get past the new floor thickness.  And I might consider some soundproofing to the door as well later on.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fuzz Cast 23 - HamHocks And Beans

  After a long hiatus, maybe 6 weeks, I'm in my new home rehearsal room / recording studio. It's the most cozy room in the whole place so I might have to update the rest of the place. It took a lot of work and planning but my music space is done and I can't wait to start producing music in that space. In this episode I played some trumpet to demonstrate how I'm able to hit a much larger range of notes, particularly the high notes. My tone is still too breathy but what really sucks is that the mics were too hot and the trumpet was too loud so the sound quality blows. Sorry about that. Next time I'll back off from the mic.
  I spoke a little about going to an Extreme concert and how awesome of a guitarist Nuno Bettencourt is.  And I bitched about work again.
  This week's musical track is called Hamhocks and Beans. It features me on drums and saxophone and Eric Maurer on the Novax CH8 (guitar/bass) and a mini moog keyboard.  It's an epic 17 minute jam so make sure you're comfortable.
  I hope to have more home-studio recordings to share with the podcast.
  Hamhocks and Beans is available on soundcloud here:
You can download Fuzz Cast on iTunes here:
or on my blog:
or directly from libsyn:

more links:

Check out this episode!