Thursday, November 19, 2009


I should say right away that this is a dark one, and includes some features that I typically try to avoid or minimalize in Binaural Banjo episodes. But for what it is, I think this week's tune is powerful and I'm glad to be sharing it here. It is a very good representation of what I'm working on in general these days, which is a continuation and refinement of the ideas behind my last full length release, The Last Season.

Without going into what would probably be too much detail, there's not much else to say. The tune is a very simple melody that fades into a drone and then fades back in. The binaural beat is 10Hz, and I've gone back to using SBaGen to generate the beat. I thought a moderate beta frequency would go well with the tune, and possibly make the listening experience a mellow one. There is also a synth drone, which I rarely use but in this case helps add some bottom to the more ambient section of the piece. Like I said, I think the whole thing works well - I hope you will, too.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Prussian Blue

When I originally started this podcast, part of the experiment at the time was to see what could be accomplished using banjo only. For the first year or so, I would have an occasional guest instrument, but by and large every note, drone, sample, etc. was banjo derived. I don't know if anyone listening now has been with me since then, but it's enough to say the results were very hit-or-miss (with probably more misses than hits...).

Recently, someone somewhere has been avidly downloading one of those early episodes - Pthalo - and it got me wanting to try another all-banjo production. So the new episode here is once again almost all-banjo, including the binaural beat. The beat is 4Hz, and was generated using an ebow and a de-tuned banjo. Basically, I recorded two tracks with the ebow droning on the 4th string - between takes I recalibrated the tuner by 4Hz and used that to retune the banjo.

Unfortunately, I was not happy with the outcome using just banjo because there was quite a bit of pick noise. Equalization took care of a lot of that, but in the end I added a track of white noise to try and "absorb" some of the pick noise. The result works pretty well - you won't hear noticeable static - and though some pick noise still comes through, it's a big improvement. I do hope you enjoy it.

Prussian Blue

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Full Length Ambient Release

I mentioned in the notes for Magog that I was working at that time on some ambient material for an acoustic-drone release. That project is now finished and is available for download from the wonderful Earth Mantra netlabel. I really encourage everyone to check out some of the other releases - everything is free to download, and the music is exceptional.

The release is titled The Last Season, and can be downloaded here. There's links to the release site and a few comments at my webpage, as well.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Another 30Hz episode for you this time - a return to the marijuana frequency, and musically a return to a motif based piece. I had actually hoped to do more with the spacey, droning bit at the end; bring it out sooner and keep it going longer, but after repeated listens this way worked better even though it's more repetitive. I believe it's also more relaxing.

The binaural beat is very subdued in this piece, also. I'm still using SBaGen to create the binaural beat drones, and the frequency analyzer that I use did pick up the beat in this tune but it's very faint. This is somewhat at the request of a handful of listeners who have contacted me about bringing the music out more over the drones, which I agree is a good idea and have tried to do with the last several pieces. If it's too faint, however, please feel free to email a comment. Otherwise, enjoy!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


This episode is not aptly named - "Magog" is a place or a demon or some such associated with the apocalypse, and this tune is about as far from apocalyptic as it could be. But the actual title was kind of long and cumbersome to attach to an mp3, so I left the working title intact.

The song is actually called "We Never Spoke of the Plans We Never Made." That's not really cheerful either, I suppose, but it's part of a new ambient project I'm working on which aims to combine songwriting with soundscaping in ways that I haven't done before (or even really heard from others). The aim is to create a lot of contrast and try to have the overall project be coherent.

But that's a work in progress, so doesn't bear much description. What does deserve mention right now is that I got a new mixer, which has been a benefit in many ways. Helps me work faster, get some high quality reverb for a decent room feel, and most importantly really reduces the noise I was getting from using a mic without a decent preamp. So the sound will hopefully be noticeably better than most of the other recordings I've put up.

The binaural beat is really subdued here - the volume is way down, and the frequency is 4Hz. But it is there - you'll be able to pick it out during pauses - and it works pretty well. I was giving it my final listen before posting last night, and it put me to sleep.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Free Full Length Ambient Releases

For those who don't follow my other podcast, I wanted to post here about a new page dedicated to my dark ambient music. Under the name petal, I've put out three full length releases through a couple of netlabels.

Grad school has kept me from doing too much in terms of content, but there are links from the main page to free music, and some tidbits elsewhere for anyone interested in scoping out more information about netlabels and online music resources. For those who like the alpha and beta beat series, as well as tunes like Intermezzo and Tristeza, you might also like the dark and drone oriented stuff available here:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I've listened to Snowlight a couple of times since publishing it, and I'm sorry now to say I just don't think it's that good. Nothing is really wrong with it as a song, but I just tried to do too much and the finished product seems confused and muddled. By itself that's okay - several of the songs I've posted here suffer similar faults. It's all kind of experimental. But my final semester of grad school begins this week and I'd hate to think of going four or five more months without putting up anything new, and having Snowlight be the tune that new subscribers are going to hear, or having anyone who happens on the site download or play what is probably the weakest tune in a long time.

So while hopefully it won't be four or five months before anything new is posted, I'm much more satisfied with this week's song, Victory. It's simple, the drones and reverb are way in the background, and overall it's just a more pleasant listening experience. I will say there was a high end hiss in the acoustic guitar track that I could only get rid of by means of some heavy filtering. I've listened a few times to the mp3 and I think it's okay, but if anyone out there thinks there's too much low end in the final mix or if there's any noticeable static please leave a comment and I will post a remastered version.

Thanks again to everyone who has stuck with it. This one makes for a decent payoff: