29 January 2015

silly little thing I cooked up

Upon hearing it, a friend of mine said, 'This is the stuff of nightmares.' Best compliment ever.

I wish the church organ at the end could have been louder, but it was crowding the mix too much.

Don't think it's gonna be a keeper. But I do really like some of the synth sounds, so I'll probably use those for something else someday.

19 January 2015

Is Instagram as lame as it seems?

So I started an Instagram. Dunno what I'm gonna do with it. Started it just to figure out how it works, what the hype is, if it has any advantages or usefulness…

And after being on it for one day, I'm finding so many shortcomings that I wonder if I'll even bother posting more than the one test foto that's already there.

1. I find it laughable and embarrassing that Instagram doesn't support 16:9 widescreen fotos. What do they gain by forcing everything into square images? Every foto and video that I take is in big ol' widescreen (or bigger = panorama). It seems that the primary recommendation as a work-around is to use a free app called Squareready, where you can make sure your fotos aren't cropped and post them to Instagram in their original widescreen (or any other) aspect ratio. That's what I did, and it worked fine.

Also, is there a way to view pictures posted to Instagram in their original dimensions? I have just a regular 15" laptop, but if I click on a foto which is originally 4000x2248 (as pretty much all my fotos are, unless it's a frame grab from one of my videos, in which case it's still 1920x1080), I expect it to fill pretty much my entire screen. Can't seem to find a way to do that, which is a significant mark against it. If nothing else, is there a way to download fotos in their original size (as you can in FB)?

2. Why do they make it such a pain in the ass to post fotos taken by some camera other than my phone? Why can't I upload fotos directly from my computer? I have an iphone 4, and if you don't know, the camera on that phone is garbage. (Never mind that I'm wi-fi only, so the vast majority of the time, the phone isn't even connected to the internet anyway.) So I'll never post any fotos that I take with that camera. Anything that I post will have been shot on my Canon handheld and transferred to my computer and processed in DxO Optics. So after that I'll need to transfer the foto to my phone first in order to post it to Instagram? Do they not have a desktop version?

3. Is there anything I can accomplish with Instagram that I can't with FB or Ello? Does Instagram do anything better than FB or Ello? Does Intsagram have foto albums or groupings the way FB and Flickr do?

4. As you can see from some of my blog posts, I don't hesitate to write exhaustive, sometimes overly-long posts (like this one!). Which is kinda weird, because personally, I'm very much an introvert and really barely talk at all. But this is one of the reasons I dumped my Twitter, with their famous 140 character limit. And now I see that Instagram has a slightly more generous 300 character limit. At least FB got a clue some years ago and upped their limit from 256 to the current 63,206 characters per post limit. I grew tired of posting something to Twitter and only being able to write 'go to my blog to get the complete details for this' with the direct link. And I'm not gonna bother posting anything to Instagram if I'm forced to do the same thing. Sometimes my blog posts are very short and to the point. But there are other times when I like to explain stuff and those explanations will undoubtedly exceed 300 characters by a significant number.

Then again, Instagram posts differ from regular Wordpress Tumblr Blogspot posts, yes? Instagram isn't a blog, per se. It's just a repository for fotos. That's fine, but why would I bother with Instagram if FB and Ello (and Wordpress and Tumblr and Blogspot) do the same thing, but better?

So follow me on Instagram or not. Still don't know whether I'll be bothered to post to it or not.

In the meantime, here's a picture of a wasp-

03 November 2014

I rescored a couple 80s horror movies. Help me get them screened.

After posting my first batch of originals in early August, I've been working on a couple other projects, and now those projects are done, so I want to tell you about them.

I added original music, sound design and sound effects to Demons, Lamberto Bava's classic, gore-ific zombie flick from 1985, as well as a lesser known flick Elves from 1989, which is a low-budget and completely bizarre movie about some little, vicious troll-gremlin type monster and something having to do with Nazis and it all revolves around a hot, young blond woman and stars Dan Haggerty (well after his Grizzly Adams days) who plays a down-and-out Santa at a dreary department store at Christmastime. I also remastered the original audio of both films for my versions.

Here's how this all came to be.

I'd done a couple fan edits of Demons in the past, just for personal use. This amounted to cutting out all the scenes of that quartet of punk rockers aimlessly driving around Berlin. Those scenes are totally inconsequential to the film, so I axed them. I trimmed some other very small bits, but nothing as substantial as the punkers. Well, I had it on the flatscreen the other day, and something I hadn't noticed before hit me- a couple of pivotal scenes are largely devoid of music. I don't know how it was possible that I didn't notice this until now, 30 years after the movie had originally been released and after having viewed it dozens of times. In fact, it's the most famous scene from the movie - the transformation scene with the teeth and fingernails - and the climactic finale scene with the rooftop battle which are both are bafflingly light on music. So, I set out to fix that by composing my own and inserting it into the movie alongside those great Claudio Simonetti compositions and the 80s heavy metal songs.

The two songs I made for those scenes came together quickly. But upon watching the film again with a keen eye (ear) on the soundtrack, I started noticing all sorts of scenes that could be touched up with some added sounds or atmospheres. So, in the end, what I did was analyze the movie from beginning to end with an emphasis on the soundtrack, and filled in the gaps that I felt needed filling.

To give you a much better idea of what I'm talking about, I threw together a couple A/B before-and-after comparisons of those two famous scenes (using low res files; my master copy is 720p)-

Big difference, yes? The music in those scenes may come across as a bit too heavy or relentless or poundingly aggressive, but those are but a few minutes of a movie that is 90 minutes in length (well, actually 80 minutes now that I've excised the scenes of the hoodlums). I added all sorts of sounds to the rest of the film- sounds that are much more subdued and atmospheric, but appropriately spooky and creepy and ominous. So don't expect the entire movie to be wall-to-wall industrial strength pounding drums and distorted synth bass lines.

I am very happy with the results with this first attempt of mine to rescore an old movie. So, I thought I'd do another. I selected Elves not because it had any scenes in it that were egregiously in need of music, but rather I thought that I could make great improvements in this movie by adding just some atmospheres and other minimal synth parts. So I started doing that, and, like Demons, I got a little bit carried away and ended up adding a decent amount of sounds throughout the movie. All told, though, I'd say that I ended up contributing less music to Elves than Demons. But still, the impact of those sounds is significant. I'm not gonna say that I've transformed the movie into a whole new thing. In fact, unlike Demons, I didn't edit out any scenes from Elves at all. But with both of these movies, I like to think that I've improved upon the material that was already there.

And now I say to myself, 'ya know, I'd bet there's a bunch of people out there who might really like to see one or both of these. I wonder if I could find anybody who would be willing to screen them for a public audience.' Having seen Demons a couple times over the years at Grindhouse at The New Beverly in Los Angeles, I know that movie has a sizable fan base. Elves, probably not as much, but it's definitely one that fans of that era of horror flicks would like.

So that's what I'm working on now- finding a venue that's willing to screen these. And this is where I can use your help. I've contacted some people at theatres in my current city, San Diego, but none have expressed too much interest. I have some contacts through some of my LA friends, but I'm still coming up empty. So I'd be super stoked if any of you, my readers, might have any suggestions or know of any people who I could contact in the hopes of getting either of these versions screened.

My original idea was to do a Kickstarter to raise the funds to rent a theatre for a couple hours, and I still might do that, but I thought I'd first try to leverage the power of the internet and ask my network of social media friends. I'm hoping to find some place in San Diego, OC, LA or the Inland Empire, but I'd be happy to trek to anywhere in the region if need be. I don't know if I'd be open to sending off the movie to some remote location where I wouldn't be able to attend the screening. I'll want to be there in person, and would even be hip to doing a Q&A about the work I put into my version.

I might also add that neither of these reworks are commissioned or authorized by the original filmmakers, composers, producers or movie studios or anybody involved. They're simply a couple personal projects of mine in an attempt to challenge myself to find out if I could do it. And now that both final versions have surpassed my expectations, I thought some of you horror fans out there might like to see and hear them as well.

Hit me with any suggestions in the comments of this post, or drop me a note at brianhumorless@gmail.com, or find me on FB.

Super. Thanks for everything.

Brian, Dancu and Humorless Productions

29 September 2014

[audio] Tool live in Kalamazoo, 15 July 1998

OK, so this one is a bit of a departure for me stylistically, but it's another board tape I felt like fixing up. Post-metal alt-metal prog-metal style with a Tool performance from Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1998. Not my original recording, but I did all the post-production.

Am I the only one doing this? Fixing up board tapes, I mean? Does nobody else hear the potential in them? Does nobody else have the know-how or the tools? I guess nobody cares as much about them as I do.

The original recording sounds better than decent, but with a couple obvious areas which required my attention. The best news is that it's in stereo, and that it's not distorted. The bad news is that the kick drum is way too loud and has way too much low end in it, way down in the 10-60Hz subwoofer range. Beyond that, the vocals and drums can be heard clearly, but the bass and guitar aren't nearly loud enough in the mix. I'm sure it sounded fine in the arena, but the board tape needed some help.

I threw on some plug-ins- eq (the new Fab Filter Pro-EQ 2 is hardcore), multiband compressor and maybe some other stuff, I forget. Killing all that massive low end in the kick drum rectified many of the problems, and from that point on, it was just a matter of fine-tuning.

Then there was the issue of the crowd sounds. I've been recording shows for so long that I have quite a library of my own crowd/audience cheering sounds. But most or all of those sounds I recorded are from smaller clubs or theatres or warehouses; not anything as big as anywhere Tool would play. So what did I do? I downloaded a pretty good sounding bootleg of Tool from San Francisco in 2007, then isolated those crowd sounds and used them for this show. Turned out nicely.

It's a real shame about the intro, with the first half of Flood being cut off. Oh well. I also rearranged the last couple songs. They played Ænema second to last, and then the final song, Jerk-off, as the encore. But in the intro to Ænema, Maynard delivers the good ol' 'OK, this will be the last song for tonight' spiel. But then they go on to play two songs. It would have been obvious that Jerk-off is an encore song if all the dead space between the ending of Ænema and the beginning of the encore had been left intact. But with an audio recording, that's totally unnecessary to leave in, so whomever edited the board tape wisely cut that part out. So I switched it around so that the song he said would be the final song actually is the final song. Actually, Jerk-off is a much better choice for a set closer with that ferocious, frenzied ending, but I prefer the continuity of my order.

28 August 2014

[audio] Autechre live in Toronto, 9 May 2001

Autechre live at Steam Whistle Brewing Company, Toronto, 9 May 2001.

This is another Autechre board tape that I post-produced into a concert recording- gave it a lot of crowd sounds, some room ambience, and remastered the actual music as well.

There are a handful of Ae board tapes from the 2001 tour out there, and this Toronto performance is one of my favorites, so I wanted to give it some special treatment and really fix it up.

Most importantly, there was a nasty bit of digital clipping immediately after the 6 minute mark which I fixed up manually, which required about a half a day of tedious pencilling out flattened waveforms in Soundtrack Pro, but it's worth it.

I've seen the venue listed for this show as being the Steam Whistle Brewing Company and also The Opera House. I don't know which is correct, or if both are correct, or if one is more accurate than the other.

Presonus Studio One for arranging, DSPing and mixing. All mastering done in Soundtrack Pro.

10 August 2014

Rodent516 live in San Diego, 6 August 2014

Rodent516 live at Fully Patched at Kava Lounge, San Diego, 6 August 2014.

The music in the first half of this video reminds me very much of EP7, so I guess I'll recommend this video if you like that era of Autechre.

04 August 2014

Dancu on Myspace

Don't ask me why, but I created a Myspace page for Dancu yesterday. Must have been really bored. But at the same time, I don't think there's any harm in it.

Nothing exclusive there- the same couple songs that I have up on my Soundcloud/official.fm, and the same video that I have up on YouTube. Lots more fotos than I have anywhere else, not that they have anything to do with my Dancu music at all. Of course, all six songs of my debut release are posted nowhere other than my Bandcamp.

By the way, Myspace still has a bunch of kinks to work out. Setting up my page and uploading my content was fairly painless, but the process has some weird little quirks that you won't know about until you upload your media, and once you do that you'll realize how stuff needs to be labelled for it to display the way you want it to on Myspace, and it's not all that logical.

Also, I don't remember what the original Myspace was like, but the new one is set up in a blog format where you can post pictures or songs or videos or simple text updates, and it all becomes part of your 'stream' or whatever they call it. Fine. I doubt I'll post too much there, but it's just another blog to update (along with my Blogspot, my Tumblr, my Wordpress, my LinkedIn, my personal FB, my artist FB, my company FB…).

01 August 2014

My first batch of original tunes is finally up on Bandcamp

Seriously, I've been working on and off on these songs for a couple years, and I could go on remixing and remixing and remixing and remixing them until the end of time, but I finally just said to myself 'ok, enough' and threw them up on Bandcamp. Six tracks of gloomy, pounding, orchestral, soundtracky, martial industrial with a healthy dose of glitchy synths. Pay what you want.

Hear/buy them here.

Video for one of the tracks-

27 July 2014

25 July 2014

[video] Wolves in the Throne Room live in San Diego, 19 July 2014

Couple videos of Wolves in the Throne Room from last weekend. The audio is a bit rough- the board feed was almost completely unusable. Too much level, too much clipping. I doctored it up as much as I could, but my room mics ended up being probably 90% of this final mix. Still a decent sound, and perfectly acceptable for these YouTubers.

Now if I could only get some decent light on the band. Jeez, what I would give for a well lit stage. Someday? Please?

20 July 2014

[video] Kid 606 live in Los Angeles, 27 June 2014

Track from Kid 606 live in Los Angeles where I recorded and edited all audio and video.

14 July 2014

[videos] Corrections House live in San Diego, 6 January 2014

Here are a couple videos from Corrections House (members of Neurosis, Eyehategod, Nachtmystium, Yakuza) that I neglected to post at the time I recorded them in early 2014.

02 July 2014

Master list of every artist that I've recorded

Not that anybody asked for it, but here's the complete list of every artist that I've recorded over the years. Actually, I most likely have recorded more than those listed here, but in the super early days when I first started recording concerts in the 90s (proper recordings; the cassette bootlegs I did before that don't count), there were probably a few where I didn't keep a copy of the master audio files or the finished mixdown or anything. Artists that I've recorded multiple times are listed only once.

No doubt I still missed some, so if I forgot your band, drop me a note.

Just wanted to compile a list. I'll keep adding to it as new names come along.

(303) 909-1604




Ars Dada

The Audacity

Author & Punisher


Christoph de Babalon


Bad Timing

Todd Barton


Bestial Mouths

Black Jeans




William Braintree


Broken Note

Tom Brosseau

Tom Burbank

Buzz Campbell and Hot Rod Lincoln


CNN 666


Company Fuck


Corrections House

Corvx de Timor


Cyrus Rex



Death Is Not a Color



Richard Devine





DJ Hidden



Mike Dobler

Oliver Dodd


Duran Duran Duran

Brian E


Electric Company




Eyeless Sight


Felt Drawings


The Flashbulb

Flourescent Grey

Former Ghosts


Christoph Fringeli


Gross Prophet



Steev Hise

Mark Hosler




The Incredible Hexadecibels

Indian Jewelry



Joy Through Noise

cEvin Key

Kid 606

KK Null

Koonda Holaa

Kush Arora

LA Vamps




M. Geddas Gengras

The Mattson 2



Derek Michael

Ming & Ping




Monster X

Ted Nava


Next Life


No Age

Lee Noble / Grant Capes / Derek Rogers


Noize Creator

Nommo Ogo

Not Breathing

David Oliphant


Genesis P-Orridge

Gregory Page

Parenthetical Girls



The Pizarro Brothers

The Punk Group

Quartet Nouveau


The Red Elvises


John C. Reilly

Curtis Roads




Otto von Schirach

The Screamin' Primas



Sleep Clinic

Somatic Responses

Split Horizon



Stab City


The Striggles


Damo Suzuki's Network



Terminal 11

Thee Source ov Fawnation

This Song Is a Mess But So Am I

The Tleilaxu Music Machine

Tomoroh Hidari

Twin Braids


Venetian Snares


Wet Mango



Wolves in the Throne Room


Yellow Then Blue

Youth Code

Zola Jesus




3raum at Arena, Vienna

5 Star Bar, Los Angeles

A38, Budapest

American Comedy Club, San Diego

ArgeKultur, Salzburg

Basswerks, Los Angeles

Beauty Is Pain, Los Angeles

Berghain, Berlin

Blue Moon Nights, Los Angeles

Bronson Bar, Los Angeles

Café du Nord, San Francisco

The Canyon, Agoura Hills (Los Angeles)

The Casbah, San Diego

Che Café, San Diego

Christ Lutheran Church, San Diego

Circus Disco, Los Angeles

Crush Bar, Portland

El Corazon, Seattle

Das Bunker, Los Angeles

Distillery, Leipzig

Dizzy's, San Diego

DNA Lounge, San Francisco

Echoplex, Los Angeles

EKH, Vienna

Feuerwerk, Munich

The Fillmore, San Francisco

FLUK, Vienna

Gilman Street, Berkeley

The Good Hurt, Venice (Los Angeles)

The Griffin, San Diego

Hangar11, Kloten (Zurich)

Helter Skelter, Los Angeles

Hollywood Park, Los Angeles

Humphreys, San Diego

Kadan, San Diego

Kapu, Linz

Kava Lounge, San Diego

KXLU, Los Angeles

Lafayette Hotel, San Diego

Lawton Plaza, Los Angeles

Malcolm X Library, San Diego

Medusa Lounge, Los Angeles

Mime School, Los Angeles

MOCA, Los Angeles

Mountain Winery, Saratoga

Nimbus Brewing, Tucson

Normal Heights Methodist Church, San Diego

The Observatory, Santa Ana

Parukarka Bunkr, Prague

Perihelion Arts, Phoenix

Plush, Tucson

Prescott Promenade, San Diego

Raum18, Berlin

El Rey, Los Angeles

Ruby Room, San Diego

Scoundrel's, Las Vegas

The Smell, Los Angeles

Soda Bar, San Diego

Solar Culture, Tucson

Spreckels Organ Pavilion, San Diego

Substance, Torrance

Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Venice

Til-Two, San Diego

Tin Can Ale House, San Diego

Uhrturnkasematte, Graz

The Uptown Theatre, Napa

The Vanguard, Los Angeles

Vaudeville, Tucson

Vertigo's, Los Angeles

The Void, San Diego

Die Werft, Korneuburg (Vienna)

Zool, Oakland

plus many nondescript unnamed warehouses throughout Southern California

18 June 2014

The Cure's Plainsong (The Humorless Productions Restoration)

It's fair to say that Disintegration is The Cure's magnum opus. I can't say I was too much a fan of it when it came out; I was much more a metal head back in those days. But over the years, as my tastes expanded, I've definitely gained an appreciation for both the album and the band.

One thing that always bothered me about Disintegration, though, was the mix. Having remastered hundreds of albums, in listening to this, I knew remastering this one wasn't going to be easy. In fact, many albums from this era are plagued with the same with the same sonic imprint, made most difficult with the ground work of a dull, unsparkly band sound combined with an extremely sibilant vocal track. Disintegration is the worst offender. All the early Van Halen albums come in a close second and were a total pain in the ass when I remastered them for myself.

My first attempt at remastering Disintegration was many years ago, but I was never happy with it. Every time I heard it I always wondered if they just simply mixed the album wrong. Which is why I was hopeful when the remastered deluxe reissue came out in 2010. I had my fingers crossed that they would deal with some of the mix issues, as they were clearly evident to me. But to no avail, as the reissue didn't sound too much different than the original. So obviously they meant it to sound like that, which is beyond me. So now I've taken matters into my own hands.

If you listen to the first track, Plainsong, and listen very closely, you'll hear that there is a hi hat playing straight 16ths through the entire song, but it's so buried in the mix that it may as well not be there. So how would I bring out that hi hat but not blow the high end in the keyboards and vocals through the roof? Well, I cheated, and added my own. Then I thought, why stop there? Why not fix some of the other problems in the drum part? I didn't want to do anything too elaborate or involved, but I knew that adding a couple drum parts would make a world of difference. Here's how it went down-

1. Well, it's not the first thing I did, but the first thing you'll hear is the intro. I kept the wind chime / bells as is, but boosted their level a good bit. I always thought their level was way too low. I also layered in two different ambient sounds, which I grabbed from some sample pack from Techdiff. It makes that intro sound a little bit less detached from the rest of the song. I briefly considered putting in some string parts or a synth melody, maybe to do some musical foreshadowing to the main body of the song. But I nixed that idea pretty quickly, and just went with the atmospheres.

2. Then onto the drums. First the added hi hat, straight 16ths just like the original. I didn't want it to sound so narrow, though, so I threw on a chorus to give it some breadth, and also a slight auto-panner to give it a little left-right action. Not too much, very subtle. Sounded too mechanical at first, so I gave it a bit of a human feel by adding in some accents and some slight volume-up/volume-down variations.

3. Then I added a snare sound, again doubling the original. But the original is more of a thud, whereas I wanted more of a crack. I pulled one out of my magical bag of snares, and put it as well as the hi hat through an appropriate reverb.

4. I also wanted to address the kick sound, and that was a bit tricky. I applied an eq to the original track where I killed as much of the original kick as possible without losing any of the nice low end in the song. Then I inserted a new kick sound, which has more body to it, and a little bit more of a click. For that I used an instrument called Nicky Romero's Kick. To be honest, I have no idea who Nicky Romero is, but it's a versatile kick drum VST, directed more towards techno production and other electronic sub-genres I think. But like I say, it's very versatile, and I fixed up a kick that works just fine.

5. One last thing- for the song itself, I used the original version, not the 2010 remaster. Not that it would have mattered, because either way, it was gonna require a little work. The most pressing issue was all that harsh sibilance on the vocals, so minimized most of that with a DeEsser.

And that's pretty much it. I considered putting in a second hi hat track, something a little bit more elaborate. Maybe something along the lines of Autechre's BassCadet, with all the ping-pong-y scraping percussive sounds. But, I thought that would have been overkill, and I just wanted to keep it fairly simple and straight forward.