Saturday, November 27, 2010

tiptoe to the tulip.

Or hop, skip, jump, etc. Jasper and I are doing a little duet this afternoon at De Tulp (Postjeskade 200), it will be loud and abstract but in a friendly way. I think we're actually playing second, contrary to what the flyer implies, maybe our names were just too damn long...


LATER: Here's the recording. Also below is a recording from a session two days earlier, this is the very first time we sat down as a duo. Both sessions are effects-free.

Jasper Stadhouders  + Mark Morse: z100e.

Jasper Stadhouders  + Mark Morse: De Tulp.

Jasper Stadhouders: guitar + objects
Mark Morse: guitar + objects


Thursday, November 25, 2010

solo studies iv: dirt.

Tonight I finally turned up the volume knob on my trusty sidekick Le Blues Junior, and together we laughed, we cried, we used ridiculous doubleneck slides. Here are some results, all using one or two "9" mutes. And a couple of them have reverb, yeah sorry.


Study 19 starts out with pedestrian tinkles, but it's interesting to have 18 strings to use instead of 6; unexpected breathy sounds from rubbing inside of forearm on muted bottom string of top neck; pretty decent clarinet emulation until it's revealed that I'm playing a flute carved from a tree branch, badly.

Solo Study iv-19 (behind bridges twinkles, elbow breathing, pedicure bridge on bottom neck pickup, foil mute on top bridge pickup, ebow).


20a gradually brings the background into the foreground by exaggerating fret noise.

Solo Study iv-20a (top neck, plastic slide, drinking straw bridge).


Kind of just a little Sonic Toothish exercise in keeping material on both necks going simultaneously with mostly non-repeating chords.

Solo Study iv-20e (top neck harmonics, bottom neck rhythm).


Sunday, November 21, 2010

solo studies iii.

So, yes, more studies and documentation thereof (backstory here). Just because, oh, I don't know, it kind of really is working for me, in terms of actually learning techniques vs. just crashing random shit into my strings.

There will be about 10 in total this time around, I'll be uploading them as I sort through the takes. And then deleting them again as I come to realize they suck (see study 16).

As objects/preparations, they're getting weirder but not necessarily better; but on the upside I seem to be getting a little more efficient/resourceful/ooh dare I say smarter in working with objects. And plus it's keeping me out of trouble, unless you count my dabbling with reverb on a few takes.


This first one is a useless freak of a thing, but I've never seen or heard of it before, so I hereby share it with the world, who may already be doing this left and right, WTF, maybe I'm the last to know, who knows. I feel like a useless freak myself for "discovering" it, but you gotta believe me, I didn't spend hours on it, it just happened, you'll see how in 2 seconds.


So there I was, dorkily taking pictures of preparations when I dorkily realized that hey, my camera makes noise. And not in a bad cell-phoney way. Here are the complicated instructions: turn on your digital camera and hold it right next to your pickups. That's it! Try it!

With my shitty camera I found that there were about 6 different constant/rhythmic sounds, one for each side of the rectangular block that is The Camera. So most of the variation you hear in the study is me rotating the camera around and bringing it closer/farther to/from the pickups. I don't know a single thing about science, but is it probable that the LCD screen is probably the source of this sound?

One way to interrupt the constant sounds is to put something like a finger in front of the lens (with autofocus on), and you get a slightly different sound for a few secs. Much cooler than that (but not really useful on a regular basis) is the sound that happens when you depress the Take a Picture Now button (actual name?) so that your infrared laser thingie comes on but you don't actually take a picture. This is the quick synthish melody you hear towards the end of the first version of the study. Taking a picture sounds completely different and sadly, less cool (you hear this at the end of the second version) sounds like maybe the SD card being accessed, you also hear something similar at the beginning, I think this is turning the camera on.

So, nifty. But in terms of a technique you can learn and develop, this isn't it: it's pretty limited sonically if you're not using effects pedals, which we're not. You will notice below that I exploited a loophole in the no-effects-pedals rule and did one take with my amp reverb turned up all the way...yes, I feel guilty about it and would like to say I won't do it again but in fact I know that's not true. I also included a totally dry take for reference.

Solo Study iii-15 (camera with amp reverb).

Solo Study iii-15 (camera dry).


This one's an orphan from last week, I don't remember what I was doing. What typically happens is, I press REC, play for 2 minutes and quickly decide if it sounds like anything or not and then jot down what I did technically, but I must not have liked this one when I did it b/c I have no jottings, I imagine b/c it's a bit too close to Bela Fleck Plays Gnawa pastiche. But it turns out that now I do like the oud-dy-ness of it all and the gimbri elements in the bass, though I wish I'd left out the one or two most obvious stock "Middle Eastern" articulations that snuck in there.

Solo Study iii-14 (shortened scale on bottom neck and playing behind the capo on top neck).


The one pictured here and at the top is something I haven't quite figured out yet. It involves using a thundermaker, part of which is essentially a giant guitar string, pressing it up against your pickups, and at least one ebow. The prep as it's currently evolved isn't pictured b/c i've got an ebow in each hand and the camera has to be held innit.

Basically, as notes for myself: there is one ebow that works on the thundermaker, mark it with something: hold that ebow with its front facing upwards at you; optionally put foil on the neck pickup to prevent unplanned loud noises.


Awesome name aside, the thunderstick doesn't quite work yet. Plus you look like an ass when you're doing it. Instead, we move on to a wonderfully rhythmic, abrasive, and unpredictable prep. It involves:

1) a large metal baking spatula at around the 2nd or 3rd fret, going UOUOUO (under-over), and then continuing on to the bottom neck, under your top "E" string and over all the rest. It should wobble.
2) a foam mute underneath the bottom 4 strings on the bottom neck.
3) the ebow.
4) technique: keep the ebow on the neck with your left hand, use either pickup, and ebow your fifth string. You will get an unpredictable pitch with a rhythmic component due to the suspended spatula being vibrated. You modify the pitch and the vibration rate by either a) moving the ebow closer or farther from the spatula (changing the string length); b) pressing down on the sixth string (not the one you're ebowing) to tighten the suspension of the spatula; c) moving the spatula to a position directly over a fret; d) changing the string length at the bridge side with your right hand palm or index finger.

The fact that you've got the ebow in your left hand lets you do useful things like work your volume and tone controls with your right hand, or mute the string.

Solo Study iii-17a (baking spatula, one ebow, foam mute, dry).

Solo Study iii-17b (baking spatula, one ebow, foam mute, reverb).


Like a lot of wobbly things, the baking spatula is a little unpredictable.Say, what if there was a much more subtle and reliable prep that was almost as good? This is a 1/2 cm-thick rectangle of aluminium foil on my bridge pickup and an ebow. OK, it's not really almost as good, but...if you play this take and the two above at the same time it sounds like Machine Gun's first album at quarter-speed. Try it!!!

Solo Study iii-18a (aluminium mute, bottom neck, ebow, dry).


I am liking this next thingie a lot, it's reliable and surprising at the same time. They have these everywhere in Amsterdam, and every guitar player seems to have one:

It's some kind of squishable metal scrubber. Pros: it's loud, and you can use it in either hand with different results, plus it's well-suited to playing non-guitar sounding rhythms, with or without a simultaneous e-bow component, held in either hand. It's textures become more diffuse and mysterious with a touch of reverb (but what doesn't really), so we have quickish examples of: a highly unspectacular ebow thing that I need to replace when I find a better take (dry) and then a kind of interesting thing where I hold the scrubber in my left hand and drum on that hand with my right hand (dry), and a thing yeah where you just desperately fret with the scrubber and play like you're a 1986 Marc Ribot recording, something badly recorded and released on Knitting Factory Works probably.

Solo Study iii-16a (metal scrubber + ebow).

Solo Study iii-16b (metal scrubber + finger rolls, dry).

Solo Study iii-16c (metal scrubber + left hand fretting, less dry).


Speaking of funny-looking things on stage, here's something I'm working on:

It's the movable one-hand ebow/slide combo. Can almost do it good, the hard part is a) keeping the ebow far enough away from the slide for there to be enough string length to vibrate, and b) at the same time keeping your slide parallel to the fingerboard. But when it works it's pretty unusual.


Friday, November 5, 2010

solo studies II.

Continuing with preparation documentation, plus pictures to aid my aging memory. This first quick one is another version of the knitting needle trick from the last post. In the photo above you can kind of see my 3rd and 4th fingers on my right hand grabbing and moving the needle while ebowing. The thing I've added here is using fret-changing as a rhythmic component: since it's an unavoidable and loud artifact of what I was originally messing with, might as well do something useful with it.

Solo Study 2c (knitting needle/ebow).


Almost every prep I do ends up shortening the string length and thus the scale (could that be b/c it's way more difficult to lengthen the string?), but this one is specifically aimed at trying to emulate violin-like glissandos with an ebow and slide.. Here's what this prep looks like as recorded, but you could use anything as your third bridge, I just happen to like the sound of this wooden spatula at the 17th fret. And then you ebow on the nut side of your wooden spatula equivalent. The capo is there to bring the strings closer to the neck so that they always touch the spatula.

Solo Study 8 (short scale, ebow, slide, wooden spatula).


This one is using a large flat metal baking spatula over the bridge pickups and, yeah, something I can't quite remember is fucking up the 12-string neck (EDIT: I've remembered it's this little cheese knife). I'm also holding a slide in my left hand and picking in front of the slide also with my left hand with some random finger. I might also have an ebow in my right hand. Again, not totally sure. I like this one because the loud weirdness of the spatula hitting the pickup magnets creates a range of attacks that are almost digital-sounding or like a badly-edited cassette.

Solo Study 10 (baking spatula).


This one isn't much of a performance, but there's something very interesting going on in terms of timbre. I'm pretty sure I'm using two precariously balanced metal spatulas that begin wobbling asynchronously, and at some points there's an odd static-y distortion that pops up. Typically this happens when a mute comes in contact with one of the pickup magnets but I don't think that's the case here. Anyway, the point of these three clips is: take notes.  

Solo Study 11 (baking spatulas).


Tying up loose ends: here's a picture of the two superball mallet technique from last post, as well as the "hard foam slide":

Thursday, November 4, 2010


These mixes are out of date, but I just noticed that any other info about this project has fallen off the web, so I'm going to rebuild this little post eventually.


Big thanks to Mark at Disquiet for including this mix as one of his 10 Best Downloads of 2005.

Since the music previously posted here has been thoroughly remixed and edited, and was never really as full-fidelity as I wanted it to be...I now present the full-blown arrangements as a unmanageably crossfaded 256kb MP3 (136MB).

Confusingly and unfortunately, the individual tracks in the post below are still older, undermixed versions, and there's one beta section below that's been replaced in the final mix. Point being, the final, not-touched-since-2005 product is only contained in the 136MB file. Regardless, here's Little Jumbo:

(dj) morsanek: arrangements. 136mb.

The credits below refer to naked, untreated, excerpted tracks. There are plenty more inputs used as source material that have been altered to the point where their provenance just don't got relevance.


btls breaks.
john oswald / maggi payne / greg kelley / jason lescalleet.

black sirens.
michael moore / ab baars / voice of eye / angus maclise / godflesh / senking / jon rose / mark morse / the user / gene moore / badawi / mary oliver / rafael toral / han bennink.

lucifer on lucifer.
john zorn / olivier messaien / anthony braxton / gerry hemingway / pete namlook.

marcel duchamp / francisco lopez / larry stabbins / christian marclay / john zorn / the remote viewers / chris jonas / chib soo.

metteng excuske v1.2.

jack dejohnette / phill niblock / ned rothenberg / einsturzende neubauten / oval / mark morse / elliott sharp / the user.

love B3.
curd duca.

frank denyer / xerophonics / luigi nono / steve reich / microstoria / sarah peebles / boris / pauline oliveros.

double country music.
lou harrison / steve roach / vidna obmana / taylor deupree / kim cascone / tangerine dream / town and country.

the ex / gregory whitehead / mark morse / cor fuhler / electrelane / han bennink.

guidance is in ternal.
criterion & doily.

the shirt i slept in.
beth custer / fernando grillo / john wolf brennan / mark applebaum / keith fullerton whitman / arcane device.

minty william.
william parker / low res / mass / s-core / paul motian / lee konitz.

il ritorno.
ab baars / mark morse / fred van duynhoven / francis dhomont / jeff gerinke / bohren & der club of gore / matt heckert / paul de marinis / charlotte hug / CCCC.

peg dpartures.
wilbert de joode / hilary jeffery / einsturzende neubauten / stephan mathieu.

hills not skyscrapers / günter müller & lê quan ninh / oorbeek / ryoji ikeda / lary 7 / klaas hekman / chris watson.

giant swing.
curd duca.

volcano the bear / ellery eskelin / town and country / william hooker & lee ranaldo & christian marclay / einsturzende neubauten / signal / michael linnen & david wingo.

the seed.
jel / bohren + der club of gore / hoahio / pierre henry / rajesh mehta / daisuke terauchi / yannis kyriakides.

gentle superhead.
gonzales / merzbow.