Negative Reinforcement + Bonus!!!!

My love affair with my 4-track forced me to drop out of college.  The year was 1998, I was studying to be something and then all of the sudden I wasn’t.  I remember very clearly sitting at a desk about to take my Geology midterm exam when it occurred to me that I didn’t really belong there.  The first question on the test was “What is an aquifer?”.  I considered it for a moment and then I wrote “I don’t care” in the blank, took my paper to the front of the class and turned it in.  The professor looked at me quizzically and I just smiled and walked out.  I went home and called my girlfriend.

“I think I just dropped out of college,” I said.

“You what?!?!”

“Yeah, I just turned in my unfinished exam and walked out.  I don’t plan on going back.”

She told me that it was a bad decision and that I should reconsider but I was steadfast.  I didn’t know why but I felt in my heart of hearts that college just wasn’t for me and that my true education was going to be somehow tied to that little 4-track machine I just bought a few weeks ago.  I literally couldn’t think of anything else.  I would sit in class and write love letters to the damned thing instead of taking notes.  I had definitely crossed the line from mere preoccupation into deep obsession so I figured hey, if I was going to be obsessed I might as well go all in.

For the next few months I frantically recorded everything I could and gradually I started to get better and better at using all of the 4-track’s limitations and idiosyncrasies to my advantage.  I let some friends hear my songs and they encouraged me to keep going.  I was introduced to  the music of The Residents, Renaldo and the Loaf, Boredoms, Frank Zappa and Ween and they all inspired me to push my limits even further out into the left field.  The Pod, Lumpy Gravy and Songs for Swinging Larvae became my holy books and my primitive bedroom studio became my church.

After amassing hours of tape I culled it down to the best bits and dubbed some copies for my friends.  The first collection was called Elves in Heat and, much like the aforementioned Lumpy Gravy, it consisted of two sidelong tape collages mixing songs with bizarre audio experiments.  Shortly thereafter, I completed another collection called Negative Reinforcement and circulated that one among my friends as well.  Over time, I moved onto other endeavors and the whole Pilesar thing became more of a side project as I tried to work on my more “serious” music.  It wasn’t long before my first two tapes were buried and forgotten under all the newer material I was making.

Fast forward to 2007.  For the last several years I had been putting my music up all over the internet and I finally decided to start my own official website where I could consolidate all of my output in one place.  It was at this point I remembered the Elves… and Negative Reinforcement material and thought it’d be fun to make it all available for release.  As I listened back to the tapes however I realized that much of the music was just too bad or embarrassing for me to let out into the wild so I spent some time compiling my favorite parts and cutting out the icky bits.  I also added a few overdubs here and there and in the end came up with a new collection that contained songs from my first two tapes plus a few other odds and ends that had been previous unreleased in any official capacity.  I got the tunes mastered, made some artwork and then posted the resulting album on my site as a new version of Negative Reinforcement.

This version stayed online for a period of several months before I decided to take it down.  I hated the artwork and still felt a little unsure about whether or not I wanted people to hear it.  So, again, I locked the album away in the vault and tried to forget about it.  No such luck.

So here we are seven years later and after remastering the audio and making new cover art I decided to unleash this collection on the world one more time.  I must admit that in some ways I’m still quite embarrassed by this music.  It’s chaotic and the humor is at times extremely juvenile.  It’s dissonant and atonal and occasionally it can even get quite disturbing.  For example, there’s a song called “Necropedofecalpheliac” that I’ve mercifully hidden somewhere on the album where hopefully no one will hear it.  You can look for it if you wish but I have no idea why you’d want to!  It’s a little in-joke between me and my brother but I could see how someone else might hear the tune and be creeped out by it.

You may be asking yourself at this point why I’d even offer to put this out if I have so many issues with it but the answer is quite simple.  This music, as flawed and bizarre as it is, was simply a joy to make.  It represents one of the most exciting and inspired periods of my musical development and I think it offers a keen insight into where I came from and where I may be going in the future.  To this day, I still use a lot of the tricks and techniques that I learned back in 1998 and to me that’s reason enough to share it again.  At times, the music sounds exactly like what it is: some dumb kid mucking around with some equipment that he has no clue how to operate.  But at other times I honestly feel like there’s something there that transcends all that.  There is an honesty and untamed enthusiasm that permeates throughout and it’s an atmosphere that I have been struggling to capture ever since.  I will admit that this music will not be for everyone.  There’s some salty language and if you’re the type to get easily offended you may want to steer clear.  With all that said however, I do think there’s something here to be enjoyed and if you’re feeling adventurous I invite you to give it a listen.

Negative Reinforcement Album Art

Negative Reinforcement FREE Download

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BONUS!!!!

Since I’m already scraping the bottom of the barrel, I decided to release a couple of other archival recordings.  The first one is called The Pressures of Need and was a collaboration between myself and my friend Mike Coleman (Karakul).  I’ve also released this before but this is a brand new version with extra songs and new artwork.  Like Negative Reinforcement above, this album isn’t for the faint of heart.  It’s just as out there and crazy but the songs are longer and slightly more focused if you believe it.

The second one is called Subuniversal (parts 1-3) and it’s a 17+ minute experimental tape collage/drone piece that I made back in 2009.  I had it floating around on my hard drive for a while and I finally decided to put it out for all to hear.  Enjoy!

The Pressures of Need

Subuniversal

Horizons

Happy belated New Year and all that mess!  I still haven’t taken down my Christmas tree so how’s that for lazy?

Anyway, let me give you a brief rundown of some of the things I’ve got planned for 2014.  For starters, the Sugar Flop album has been released and you can download it here for FREE.  If you’re into insufferable noise pop tantrums then this will definitely be your bag!  I have plans to release another one sometime in the future but I figured I’d let this one sink in a little bit first.  Enjoy!

On the Pilesar front, I’m working on a series of three separately themed EPs but they won’t be done for another several months.  To keep my millions of rabid fans satiated in the meantime, I’ve decided to release a few archival albums that I’ve just been sitting on for some reason or another.  The first one is called Negative Reinforcement and it’s a collection of some my very earliest work (we’re talking 1998-2001).  I released it back in 2007 on my site but then pulled it down shortly thereafter because I was so embarrassed by it.  I’m still pretty mortified by this music but I figured that if nothing else it’s an interesting glimpse into my humble origins.  Why not share it?  The tracks are mastered and ready to go but I need to rework the cover art because the original makes me cringe.  If all goes well, I should have it up on Bandcamp sometime later this month.

After that, I’ll be releasing another album called Shenantics that I recorded sometime between 2007-2009.  I tried putting it out several times before but I kept running into technical problems and I even lost all of the files at one point.  Luckily, I found all the mixdowns on an unmarked CD-R in the bottom of my filing cabinet so I decided I better put this thing out before I lose it again!  As for the music, it’s definitely one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.  The concept was to make a recording that sounded like ritual music from another planet.  There’s a lot of percussion and chanting and crazy electronics floating on top of it all.  The cover art is really awesome too so I can’t wait to get this thing out the door and into your earbuds!

In addition to everything listed above, I’m also working on a couple of new duo projects with some friends of mine.  One’s more experimental rock and the other will be mostly percussion based instrumentals.  I’ll post more about all that as things develop.

Finally, I’ve added an Other Projects tab to my navigation bar so you can check out some of my non-Pilesar related exploits (Mosquito Death Squadron, Pulord, Art Nada, etc).  That should definitely keep you busy for a while!

Until we meet again!

Look at what I done dug up!

A little over a year ago a friend of mine asked me to do an interview for his radio show so I went to his house, had a couple of beers and shot the shit with him for about an hour while he recorded the whole thing.  It was a fun experience but honestly I had mostly forgotten about it until just recently when I saw the interview posted on his Soundclick page.  It’s always weird listening back to yourself after a while but I think I may have actually said a couple of decent things and I enjoyed listening to some of his takes on my tunes.  This was recorded a few months after I released Stereo Space so you’ll hear us talking a lot about that album and about my record process in general.  Anyways, here’s to posterity!!!

SUGAR FLOP!!!

Hey gang,

A few days ago I got a wild hair and decided to start a brand new project (because apparently I don’t have enough already!) and the result was this obnoxious noise pop monstrosity called Sugar Flop.  I don’t what to say about it other than it’s an outlet for me to vent some of my most hyperactive, instantly disposable work.  I crank everything to eleven, blast out some super distorted drum beats and sing silly songs on top of it through a toy megaphone and delay pedal.  Occasionally, I’ll tweak the formula a bit and add some synths and other overdubs but for the most part I don’t spend more than 30 minutes to an hour on any one piece.

This all isn’t to say that it’s necessarily bad, thoughtless music but in light of all the more “serious” projects I’m working on I needed something that was more immediately gratifying and not too labor intensive.  You know, a simple way to blow off some steam.  I also wanted to try making music outside of the confines of Pilesar, just to see what would happen.  I’m sure some of you will think it sounds just like some of my other work but I guess for me it’s all about jazzing up the process and my mindset.  Anyways, it’s a fun little experiment and I hope you enjoy it too.  Here are a few of my favorite tracks so far:

I got a whole bunch of other projects in the works too but I’ll write more about that later.  Chances are I won’t update this site again before the new year so I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday!

New news!

Hey gang,

I’ve been slowly piecing together a new album (or two… maybe three?) over the last several months so I apologize for the lack of updates recently.  To make it up to you, I’ve decided to post a couple of the songs I’ve been working on.  They’re both short compositions and neither one of them is 100% done but I think they’re good enough to share.  Anywhosit, hope you dig them!

In other news, I’ve decided to start a podcast that focuses on experimental lo-fi home recording.  Of course I’ll play a bunch of my own stuff (it’s my podcast after all!) but I plan on playing the music of others as well.  I’ll have some special guests, lively conversations, studio performances and more.  It should be fun and I’ll let you know as soon as it goes live!

Fishing for compliments

Hey all,

Just wanted to post the vids from my two most recent shows.  The first one is an all electronics drone/ambient/etc piece from back in August at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park, MD.  The second one is an all percussion performance at the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in Silver Spring, MD.

These will probably be the last live performances I do for a while because I want to spend the rest of the year developing a creativity workshop for percussionists and I have a few studio projects to finish as well.  I’ll be posting some new music in the not-so-distant future so come back soon for more updates.

In other news, I’m planning on taking on some students so if you live in the DC area and are interested in taking drum lessons from me don’t be a stranger and drop me a line:).

Best Wishes!

Underscores now on zeromoon

I’m happy to announce that Underscores is now available for free download on the zeromoon netlabel.  Unlike the original I released back in May that contained six additional tracks, this zeromoon version has nine completely different exclusive bonus tracks.  You know, a little sumthin’ sumthin’ for the kids!  Anyways, go snatch your copy today:).

Help Support DC Sonic Circuits

Hello, friends!

The 2013 Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music is right around the corner (October 1st-6th) and they need your help to make it a success.  Taken directly from their Indiegogo campaign site:

“Sonic Circuits is operated by overly enthusiastic and unpaid volunteers. Your help makes the annual Sonic Circuits Festival a reality and keeps us from turning into unholy, angry noise zombies doomed to aimlessly wander a barren sonic wilderness. And who would want that on their conscience? Hmmm?”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.  So, please click this link, watch the sexy video that I cobbled together for the cause, and then show your support by donating any amount you can.  There are some interesting gifts to be had in exchange for your contribution so don’t delay.  We’ve only got a week left.

You can also show your support by downloading the new District of Noise Vol 6 compilation which showcases a wide swath of talent from the underbelly of DC’s experimental music scene.  Includes a track from yours truly which you can sample here:

All funds from the sale of this collection will go towards the funding of this year’s festival.

Thanks for your time and consideration!