Coffee Coaster: *
Dust Collector: **
Worth a Spin : ***
Daily Dosage Recommended: ****
Take Every 6 Hours: *****
I blogged about the band “Unbuttoned” 8 months ago and since then they had been busy in the studio recording their debut EP-CD that was just released last week.
The disc contains 7 tracks.
The writing is strong with many great hooks, harmonies and original ideas. The songs are also well produced and arranged.
When I first listened to the disc, I must say I haven’t heard anything new and recent that resembles this bands sound and direction.
Aside from my passion for drumming, I have a passion for making hot sauce and enjoy listening to light jazz or smooth jazz tunes during the process as it puts me in a relaxing good mood.
“Electric Kingdom” totally fits in this category. Its has very “chill” like tunes with catchy lyrics.
I listened to it 4 consecutive times and made much more hot sauce than I planned.
I had a chance to catch up with the drummer Miles Gibbons to share with me the production and percussive ideas that went into making this disc. Here is what he had to say.
The album was recorded by us at Casey’s Level Me Studios, and Casey mixed everything. Having the luxury of our own studio gave us the opportunity to experiment with different tones and parts… We recorded drums three times for several tunes, for example, to try new snare\cymbal sounds, or groove ideas. We didn’t prescribe to a formulaic work process, recording things spontaneously, and in varying order. This was a big factor in giving each track a distinct flavour; by starting with different elements or instruments, and building the songs in a non-linear direction, we could really explore their full potential.
We didn’t create a specific schedule or deadline to complete the project by, so the album was completed in eleven months. We’d write and record the main synth part to a tune, for example, and not return to it for weeks. We also recorded several tunes that didn’t make it onto the EP. We have been performing them, and will continue to, and they may eventually be released in some format.
In terms of percussion, the album is a balanced mix of live drums, programming or a blend of both. We programmed grooves within Logic Pro, using stock sounds. Some tunes feature acoustic sounds that are simply EQ’d, compressed and etc. Other tunes incorporate drum samples from the Steven Slate Collection to bolster the acoustic sound, or for more tonal options. A big part of the drum sound was the Brincasti Reverb Unit we used, which makes the snare in Play on Pain larger than life. The kit was a Yamaha Maple Custom, except Something Wicked, which uses a Yamaha Oak Custom. Both kits were 20″ Kicks, and 10″ and 14″ Toms. We switched between a Yamaha Musashi Oak Snare, a Steel Pearl Piccolo Snare (both 13″ drums) and a Tama Kenny Arronoff Brass 5×14″. The cymbals were all Sabian HHX Legacy, Evolution and Signature models. We used coated heads on all of the drums, for depth and warmth.
The interlude, Song For… gave me a chance to experiment with some fun drum editing. I’m a fan of chopping up and warping live drums to give them an experimental, low-fi or unique sound. I threw a tambourine on the hi-hats (inspired by drummer Chris Dave) and recorded this skittery hip-hop beat in one pass. I used Ableton Live to tweak the recording. Mainly, I applied some pretty extreme compression and EQ to everything. The hats and snare were side-chained so that they would compress and “breathe” with the kick drum hits. In the spoken-word section of the tune, I drop the pitch of the drum track by an octave, which makes the groove mellow, while still thick and trashy. I applied some dropouts and delay for a bit of extra detail, and used a radically effected kick drum stroke for a bass drop to bring in the final section.
The EP is available for free / pay what you can at www.unbuttoned.bandcamp.com
(please be generous and support this band)
Click on this link to check out the video to “This Feeling”
“ELECTRIC KINGDOM” by UNBUTTONED: *****
Jeff Salem (A.K.A.) Noise Organizer