Sunday, January 26, 2014

I almost forgot I had a blog...

Hi everyone!  Just thought I'd drop by to give you a few updates, so I can then link this post to Facebook, where most people get their info regarding Gel-Sol. I always say I'm going to be more active on here, but who am I kidding? My next post will be in 2017...

So, what's going on?

I have been busy for the last 3 months or so working on new approaches to live performance, and using these techniques for future releases. It's really just sonic painting, much like a painter using a variety of brush strokes to make something out of nothing. I spend a lot of my time refining my palette, so there is some sort of congruity within a set/performance/album. I have been recording all my live performances, as well as home sessions, and I go over these sessions for usable ideas/recordings. Below are some recent improvs I have uploaded to Soundcloud:

For my last two live shows, my good friend Leo Mayberry from Killing Frenzy Visuals has been contributing video and audio samples, so you can hear the audio from certain movie clips within the set. We haven't had time to rehearse yet, but the feedback at the shows has been nothing but positive, and I'm sure it's making my music look a whole lot better. FYI, Leo is also upper management at Synprov Corp., the mysterious global conglomerate that brings you Monster Planet at the Re-Bar every third Monday of the month. Leo and I both have very similar senses of humor, as well as a love for cinema (though his knowledge is way more vast than mine), so we hope to assemble a live show that combine our interests and dazzle audiences. Ok, maybe not dazzle. Trip out? Mildly amuse? Annoy? Either way, we're looking forward to doing some fun stuff.

Over the next month I'm going to be putting some music together for a cassette release on Further Records. I feel this is a good format/idea to try out my new methods, and I'm kinda into the cassette idea. I want to make more physical releases, but I don't think I want to release another CD again. I haven't used a CD/DVD in years. I know cassettes are even more archaic, but there are collectors still out there, and I think some of these collectors probably appreciate the music more on their cassettes. Maybe because they wear out, degrade and don't last forever?  Who knows?  I never liked cassettes when they were popular, yet I still have a cassette player. Actually, I don't like cassettes because they degrade, but I love cassettes as far as finding crazy shit at the thrift stores for sampling. Though these days, they're getting harder and harder to find. Anyways, I hope to have something done in the next month or two (3-4 pieces) for this cassette release. Then maybe I can figure out a way to finish the other 3 albums that I've been working on.

Ok, I'm out. See you in the future. 

Yer Pal,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monster Planet - Year One


I'm very proud to announce the release of Monster Planet - Year One, highlights of the first year of Monster Planet, an all-improv performance set to B-movies at the Can Can in Seattle, WA.

For years I have dreamed about doing a project like this. Fortunately, the stars aligned. Being the audio archivist I am, I really wanted to multitrack improv sessions in hopes of one day using the recorded material to either make an album or use edits to create a new piece. The end result doesn't really matter to me, I just want all this incredible material to get some use!

I'm really happy with how the album turned out; it's very sonically rich, and really pushing some envelopes in the world of psychedelic music. Of course, none of this would have been so amazing if it weren't for the incredible Seattle talent that has made up the last two years of Monster Planet. I have been improvising with music since my teens, and growing up on the east coast I played with a lot of people who mistook an improv session for a "jam session," playing to solo, not to listen to the music. I was pleasantly surprised (and still am) that EVERYONE GETS IT in Seattle. Improv is all about listening and communicating, where the music, not the ego, is the first priority. I truly believe artists not only playing together, but making up music on the spot together, is the real heart of any scene, and I'm sooper-impressed with the results so far.

So yeah, check the album out. It's over 90 minutes, roughly the same length as a movie. Throw it on over your favorite B-movie and experience the adventure that is Monster Planet! Look at the album as a documentary of sorts. SYNPROV CORP has sent a crew to various locations on Monster Planet to observe new cities, terrain, and creatures, and to report back what they discovered. This is organic music in the truest sense.

Yer Pal,

Copyright ©2012 Synprov Corp

Compiled by Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion and Leave Trace. Mixed and produced by Gel-Sol.

All performances were recorded at The Can Can Cabaret, Seattle WA.

B-movie montages curated and presented by Leo Mayberry of Killing Frenzy Visuals.

Movies provided by Scarecrow Video.

Album art by Sean Williams and Gel-Sol

For more information on Monster Planet, please visit:

Deepest thanks to all contributing artists.

SYNPROV CORP thanks you for your interest in Monster Planet. We hope that you find these audio logs to be informative and entertaining. All donations received will be used towards infrastructure and logistics to further the continued exploration of Monster Planet.


Monster Planet 1.3
Chris Davis, Derek Linaman, Eric Moon, Gel-Sol, Numeric Respsonse
Recorded on 6.14.10

02. A Very Monstrous Planet
Monster Planet 1.2
Scott Sunn, Electrosect, Will Mempa, Numeric Response, Brian Oblivion
Recorded on 5.10.10

03. Sanctuary of Flight
Monster Planet 1.8
Miniature Airlines, The Naturebot, Jon Carr, Numeric Response, Leave Trace
Recorded on 11.8.10

04. Mud Flaps
Monster Planet 1.9
Diagram of Suburban Chaos, Chris Davis, Skoi Sirius, Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion
Recorded on 12.13.10

05. Halcyon Drift
Monster Planet 1.6
Full On, Skoi Sirius, Blake Peterson, Numeric Response, Leave Trace
Recorded on 9.13.10

06. Under the White Star
Monster Planet 1.3
Chris Davis, Derek Linaman, Eric Moon, Gel-Sol, Numeric Respsonse
Recorded on 6.14.10

07. Primordial Booze
Monster Planet 1.11
Cathartech, Dave Ford, Verse, Full On, Will Mempa
Recorded on 3.14.11

08. At Peace Beneath the Waves
Monster Planet 1.5
Tor Nelson, Disconnecteddot, Skoi Sirius, Brian Oblivion
Recorded on 8.9.10

09. Aeon Flux Capacitor
Monster Planet 1.4
Full On, Eric Moon, Blake Peterson, Electrosect, Leave Trace
Recorded on 7.12.10

10. SpazORAC
Monster Planet 1.12
Blake Peterson, Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion, Leave Trace, Will Mempa
Recorded on 4.11.11

11. Indians in Space
Monster Planet 1.12
Blake Peterson, Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion, Leave Trace, Will Mempa
Recorded on 4.11.11

12. Sector 13: Alpha Quadrant 6
Monster Planet 1.7
Verse, Adlib, Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion, Leave Trace
Recorded on 10.25.10

Monster Planet 1.10
NDCV, David Golightly, Chris Hogan, Electrosect, Numeric Response
Recorded on 2.21.11

14. King Nine Will Not Return
Monster Planet 1.12
Blake Peterson, Gel-Sol, Brian Oblivion, Leave Trace, Will Mempa
Recorded on 4.11.11

Monday, October 24, 2011

Status Update: Fall 2011

Hi! I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya (footnote: Jim Anchower), but I've been a combination of lazy and busy, and I never really think about posting to this place because nobody really reads this stuff...

Some of you might be thinking, "What's the deal with Terramecha? You started posting a bunch of shit, then you stopped!" Well, progress had been made over the summer, and I played a few live shows, trying to improve upon some of the material. Overall, I wasn't very happy with my progress, but at least I know what not to do next time. However, progress was made and I have continued to chip away at this project over the last couple of months. I should probably get back to posting drafts of the music, so you have a more complete idea of the album, but like I said, I'm lazy and busy working on some other stuff.

Remember the night I host called Monster Planet that I talked about a few posts back? Well I finally got the ball rolling on the album project that features some best parts of Monster Planet from the first year. Basically, I have gone through the stereo recordings of the first year, and picked out the best, most cohesive parts. I then made a mix of these parts to give the album a nice flow. I have to say I am very pleased how this came out, and am ready to start mixing down the multi-tracks this week. So far the mix is about an hour and a half, about the same time as a movie. My cohorts and I at Monster Planet haven't decided yet how we're going to present this album, but we have talked about doing the Bandcamp thing. I personally would love to see a physical copy of this album made, but at 90 minutes, this would have to be a double-CD, and that's only half of the project!

That's right, there's a second half of the album/project that will consist of remixes, produced by various Monster Planet co-conspirators. The idea behind this half/side will be to provide the various remixers with all the stems to one particular Monster Planet, preferably one that they did not perform. Keep in mind, one Monster Planet set is about 15 hours of music (5 performers x 3 hours), so the remixer has a massive amount of material to mess with. We have imposed no restrictions on the length and style of the remix, so this half of the project could also be fairly long. I feel the 90 minute length of the first half makes complete sense though, given that this music is usually performed during a shitty 90 minute horror/sci-fi movie, but the length of the remixes are pretty irrelevant. So, we will most likely provide a digital download/bandcamp sort of thing for this project, but if there are any cost-effective options for a physical release, I will definitely consider them. I would like to get this music into as many ears as possible. I feel we have something unique and interesting going on here (especially in the Pacific Northwest), and a growing community of artists and musicians that have an avenue to explore music beyond the more standard (and arguably stagnant) scenes that dominate the Seattle music culture.

As always, Monster Planet is on the second Monday of every month, with a special Halloween edition on Halloween this year at the ReBar in downtown Seattle (see picture above)!

So, that's what I'm up to. I'm still working on Terramecha, and I'm still recording samples for future plunderphonics, so don't get the idea that I'm slacking. I mean, I am slacking, but no more than I have in the past. Stay tuned for some new music soon!

Yer Pal,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oriface Rx

When I perform live, I generally have an Ableton file for every song I'm going to play. My sets are also usually seamless, so to keep the music rolling while I open a new Ableton file, I mix in segue music (using an iPod) to fill the gaps. My seques mainly consist of ambient material, so I don't have to manually sync Ableton to a rhythm, and sometimes I add vocal samples on top of these scapes to make them more interesting. I got in the habit of making these scapes fade in and out, because sometimes I would leave them on accidentally, and they would shut off abruptly during the song. This should be a huge clue that I have no idea what I'm doing.

Back in 2005, I was creating several handfuls of ideas using a lot of Reaktor's "grain modules" such as Grainstates and It's Gonna Grain, as well as other sample manglers that I downloaded from Reaktor's official user library. The user library is a pretty awesome place if you're a registered user of Reaktor. Some of these guys that submit ensembles (synths, sample manglers, sequencers, etc.) are making some really crazy shit, and sometimes these ensembles take some getting used to in order to make some cool sounds, but I find it totally worth it. My music isn't all that, but at least I can say it doesn't sound like a bunch of presets from a Roland keyboard! Due to Reaktor's intimidation factor, a lot of producers don't use it, but there's some interesting stuff being done with it, and I believe it's capabilities are pretty much limitless.

Oriface Rx is one those tracks from 2005. I believe I was writing this material for a new 302 Acid album, but sadly that never materialized. It's pretty experimental sounding, and I guess at the time I didn't see it fit as a segue for my live shows. Now it makes a little more sense to me. I am really thinking about implementing this in Terramecha somehow, as well as some other segues from those sessions. The posted mix is kinda lo-fi and cruddy, most likely a result of the Reaktor ensembles they were running though, but I'm going to see if I can clean it up a bit and modernize the mix. One thing that is not very prevalent on Terramecha is sample manipulation, so this piece might add some more diversity.

Enjoy! And don't give me feedback. I hate feedback.
Orifce Rx by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Terramecha Part XI - Expo

Robots have appeared on the surface of the planet Terramecha to retrieve the wreckage of the fallen spaceship. On the outside, Terramecha is a rocky wasteland, with no evidence of life. Inside Terramecha is a totally different matter. In today's song analysis, I am going over Expo, which explores the vast world inside Terramecha, a sort of audible "fly-through" of the robot world.

The live version below is a very early version, most likely the second or third time it was played. I'm not even sure where this was played, but I'm assuming it was at the Collins Pub, where Kevin Hoole and myself kept a residency for about a year. I like digging up these old recordings because I don't remember half the things I played, since the songs usually evolve over the years. For the most part Expo is intact, but parts like the seemingly-random bassline and those techno stabs I have no memory of playing. I don't even think those parts exist in the more current Ableton files I work with, so I would have to dig for older versions to retrieve those parts. I have actually done some recent work to Expo, so the piece is now a bit more refined, and has considerably more percussion parts. I would also argue that it's more "tribal" too, which is the overall vibe of side C/Rust.

I initially saw Expo as opening up the Rust half of the album, an exposition of a planet inhabited by robots of of all shapes and sizes, but eventually felt that Retrieval was a better option for opening Rust, with the salvage mission taking place on the surface. Following the robots back underground (with spaceship in tow), Expo is basically a fly-through observation of Terramecha, a sort of futuristic, underground cityscape, with robots hard at work building, computing and doing whatever it is that robots do (It's really not that important, since I couldn't possibly convey that musically). If there's one thing I'd like to convey, it's that Terramecha is huge and over-populated. As far as the "plot" goes, the robot inhabitants are working on a plan to colonize another planet, for Terramecha has become too crowded and resources are dwindling. Perhaps by examining the spaceship, they can find new ways to safely and efficiently colonize another world?

Expo is another song from the early batch of Terramecha creations. Reaktor was used extensively to create most of the parts, but which ensembles, I have no idea. Limelite was definitely used for some of the beats, and generally remains my drum machine of choice when beginning songs. As I mentioned before, I have been working on Expo recently, and have been implementing Native Instruments Kontakt in conjunction with midi generators and Ableton midi effects to create new beats and percussion parts. There's also some use of a great old VST plug-in called Supatrigga, which mangles loops by randomly chopping up sections, and messing with things such as pitch and direction. I mainly apply it to a sort of gnarly bass pad, but the results are quite cool.

Ok, I'm out! Enjoy Expo, and feel free to leave me some feedback!

Terramecha: Expo - live 042906 by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Terramecha Part X - Paths to Frenzy

Hey, I'm back! Apologies for the delay in posts, but I was finishing up some "work" work, and needed to get that out of the way. As I mentioned a few times before, song titles and their positioning on the album are subject to change at any time. This is one of those times. In my last Terramecha-related post I presented the potential song ordering of the album, with some hints as to what the song would represent in relation to the story. In today's song analysis, I will be examining Paths To Frenzy, another one of my older tunes that showed up on many a live recording over the last 5 years. At the time of writing the last Terramecha post, I thought this track might be best suited for depicting a war between the various robots of Terramecha, but now I feel it has a better use describing an event earlier in the album, where our spaceman logs into a futuristic internet, and information is transmitted into his brain instantaneously, allowing him to stay up-to-date with news and "entertainment" throughout the galaxy.

Paths To Frenzy will now cap off side A of Blood, as the spaceman needs a little wind-down time after a potentially dangerous situation was avoided during Aurora. Below is an early live recording of Paths To Frenzy, recorded in the early morning of August 20th, 2006 at a house party in celebration of the annual Hempfest gathering in downtown Seattle. I believe I had played earlier that night a residency I held with my good friend Kevin Hoole, so I was dressed somewhat nice. I had also recently got a haircut in an attempt to gain employment. Not just a trim, but really short hair. So upon arriving at this hippy house party, I realized that I must look like I'm lost or a Narc. Also, since this was an after party for Hempfest, EVERYONE was already way fucked up, which probably made my appearance even more awkward. After finding my contact, I go up three flights of stairs to a tiny-ass room, with minimal playing area on the floor, and one passed out guy on a couch. He was my only audience member for the entire duration of my set. Classic Gel-Sol live set.

Back to the story. In Aurora, our spaceman in his trusty spaceship nearly avoid mechanical failure by high-tailing it out of Aurora's cosmic grip. Needing a break, and some time to catch up on communications, the spaceman enters a room with what seems to be a futuristic dentist's chair, with all sorts of arms and attachments that are necessary to "log in." The inspiration for this contraption comes mainly from two sources. In The Matrix, the hero Neo is jacked into The Matrix by connecting some sort of cable into the back of his neck, where programs can be uploaded almost instantaneously, allowing him to acquire new skills with relative ease. Regarding my machine (I haven't come up with a name for it yet), I imagine the logging in process as non-invasive, perhaps something as easy as putting on some sort of fancy helmet. My second source of inspiration for this device is the Orgasmatron, from Woody Allen's 1973 movie Sleeper. The idea behind the Orgasmatron is that you step into the futuristic telephone booth, and using some form electromagnetics/magic, you are rewarded with a massive orgasm without the aid of physical stimulation. I could also see some value in this device if you wanted to make your hair stand on end for a fancy party. Think of my machine as a futuristic internet; you can check your email, news, and even view porn!

So in regards to the storyline, the spaceman logs in to the machine, checks his email, and watches video communications of his family. I don't know how big his family is, but for right now let's say he has a wife and a young daughter. After the initial piece builds, which sort of signifies that the spaceman has logged in, a break occurs where samples are introduced to convey the information the spaceman is receiving. Perhaps his daughter saying hi, and his wife is telling him she loves him and wishes he would return home soon. I want to show that the spaceman has a life outside his profession, and is alone and very far away from that life. After family stuff is out of the way, the spaceman then checks out the news of the galaxy. Much like news on Earth, it's mostly bad news. War atrocities, natural disasters and general violence. Being the sample hoarder that I am, I have tons of fake newscasts that would work great in this piece. I might even sample some real-life news to enhance this experience. Now the spaceman is thoroughly depressed, so like any sex-starved vagabond, he begins watching (or more appropriately, absorbing) pornography. Again, I collect a shit-ton of samples, and I have some rather rude stuff that would fit nicely over the top of the music. This is also a great piece to integrate some of my plunderphonic work, and hopefully add to the experience of sitting in my "Orgasmatron."

To add a little plot to this cosmic jerk-fest, the "female" computer that runs the ship hacks into the spaceman's transmissions and determines that this is what love is, and these feelings are similar to what she's experiencing with the mysterious beacon that is calling her from the depths of space. Immediately after this deduction, the beacon once again sends out it's signals, and the computer, now with a new sense of urgency, shuts down the Orgasmatron, pulling the spaceman back into reality and cutting short his pleasure before he can "blow his load." Do I really want to depict a guy blowing his load anyways? I think it's better to leave that part up to the listener's imagination. Plus, that's just gross!

In the example below, Paths of Frenzy has a classic Gel-Sol structure; song builds up to main idea, takes a break, then builds back up to a stronger, more layered version of the first part. There will obviously be some sort of break in the final version to showcase vocal samples, but where it goes from there, I'm not sure yet. The beacon/alarm sound in the version below enters during the break, but I think I will reserve this for the end of the album version to signify that the beacon has been more precisely located, and that the Orgasmatron is about to shut down. Since this was one of the earlier tracks created when I began the Terramecha project, I was using some of the same software as pieces like Aurora and Mecha Ritual. I definitely used Reaktor ensembles like Metaphysical Function for atmospherics and Limelite for percussion elements. A bulk of the synth lines were also created with Reaktor, but I dont remember the ensemble names. Perhaps in future posts I can clarify this.

Stay tuned for more Terramecha! And give me some feedback, damnit! Even if you don't like it, I'd like to know what you think!

Terramecha: Path to Frenzy - live 082006 by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Monster Planet!

I co-host two nights in Seattle, both of which are unique to the Seattle scene, and are a great alternative to the usual goings-on. First, I co-host a bi-weekly in the Capitol Hill neighborhood called PROG!, dedicated solely to Progressive Rock, which saw it's glory days in the early 1970s. I'm sure a majority of people think we just play Yes and Rush albums, but we go WAY deeper than that. From Amon Düül II to Zappa, we play Krautrock, Canterbury scene, Hungarian funk-rock, Italian Symphonic, Zeuhl, you name it! It's truly a fantastic night where DJs share their newest finds, while projections play cosmic edits from obscure movies and live performance footage from classic prog bands. Feel free to check out our Facebook page at Prog! Seattle.

The other night I co-host is a monthly called Monster Planet, right in the Pike Place Market. You know, where the guys throw fish? If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this vid:

We host Monster Planet at a great little place called the Can Can, which is known for it's outlandish cabaret shows. The great thing about the Can Can is that it looks like the Cantina from Star Wars, and some of it's clientele might be stranger than the monsters/aliens from the movie. The premise of Monster Planet is five musicians, generally electronic musicians, improvising with their gadgets to really shitty B-movies. The night usually starts around 9PM, and we go to close, so we generally play three movies a night. The nights are also themed, and in the past we have had nights that center around giant robots, werewolves, zombies, mutations and even the apocalypse. We've also done some great holiday themed nights for Thanksgiving and Christmas that involved a video artist who improvised with clips to the music! The only requirement for the movies played is that they are not too mainstream...the shittier the better. I'm a big fan of late 70s/early 80s Italian films, as they were into making low-budget versions of already existing blockbusters, like Star Wars and The Road Warrior, as well as making some fantastic zombie and cannibal movies.

Monster Planet was started by myself and my good friend and musical cohort, William Mempa, and now there's a small group of us that handle certain duties to keep the night going. Aside from being a really fun and original night, our main goal with Monster Planet is to form a sense of community amongst musicians in the city, giving them a platform (most likely a tabletop) to work on their improvisation skills with other people in the same boat. I have maintained since my early 20s that improv is a crucial skill in becoming a well-rounded musician, and these skills can be applied to studio and live work, as well as non-musical applications. For one, it teaches you to listen. Improvising isn't showing off your chops or "jamming." It's listening and reacting for the better good of the music, not a competition to make yourself look better with your fancy moves. One thing that has pleasantly surprised me since moving to Seattle six years ago is that most of the musicians I have played with here "get it," and as a result, we've recorded some stellar music that wouldn't have existed otherwise.

Since the first Monster Planet in April of 2010, we have recorded every show, and we have even multitrack recorded most of the shows. I'm mainly in charge of the recordings, so I have a hard drive that's gradually filling up with all this great audio material. Seth Branum (Manos) of Innerflight Records has been editing some of the stereo recordings and putting them on Soundcloud if you'd like to check out some of the music made at past Monster Planets:

Latest tracks by Monster Planet

Ultimately, I would love to see an album emerge from these multitracks. I don't care if the tracks are remixed and mashed up, or just cleaned up versions of the original live performance, I just hope they get put to use someday, more than the little parts I pick out for my various projects. I have informed all of the musicians involved that they are welcome to any of the recordings, so hopefully someone other than myself will find use for them.

So yeah, that's about it. Monster Planet is every second Monday of the month at the Can Can in Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. It's also free, and there's Absinthe specials, so if you're ever in Seattle on a second Monday, come stop by for a drink and check out a truly unique evening with music nobody's ever heard before and movies that are at the very least, hilariously bad. And if you live in or near Seattle, there's no excuse for not showing up!

The next Monster Planet is on Monday, June 13th, and the theme of the night is CULTS!

Feel free to visit the official Monster Planet blog at

Yer Pal,