Blog Archive - Resident Tourist Sound Blog

I've written various blogs in different places over the years. Started a blog, then stopped, then did something blog-like on my own website, then stopped, then found a new blog-site, but stopped, and so on and so forth. Some was written in Danish and some in English. I have managed to collected all I wrote in those various places.

These writings were from trying to document
a musical project that didn't go very far.

Copyright, Lars Kjær Dideriksen

This is a journal that follows the
development of whatever Resident Tourist is about to make. Once it is done it will be made available through SOPA.
If you feel the need to comment,
suggest or whatever you are very welcome.
Write to
Your words can be included in the journal (if want them to).

11-11-29 Must be a record
10-03-22 Ready to record

10-01-29 Inspirational...
10-01-22 Status quo
09-02-21: Neither here nor there
09-01-18: Getting started?
09-01-05: Ego or...
09-01-03: Gear
09-01-02: An explanation
09-01-01: A first step

2011 - November 29

Must be a record
Well, that's just beautiful, innit? This must be the sorriest excuse for a blog I ever did. A year an a half since the last post? Well, had lots of other projects (releases on my label, gig organizing, travelling, documentary work), so my own music output has been taking a backseat for a long time.
Have had a bit of fun with the 8-track along the way, though. It's good for off the cuff recording and for doing so without watching waveforms on a screen. That is, using ones ears only when recording.

Also been doing various shopping too. Finally got my Fender Jazzmaster (Mexican version). Also very recently a Space Echo pedal and that funny little gadget, the Korg Monotribe. Oh, and when walking by the shop Le Le Land in Berlin I simply had to buy a ukulele (that was before Eddie bleedin' Vedder announced his ukelele album - so now it's terribly hip to play it). Did see a live show with Tune-Yards where a bigger version of it was put to very good use. She's quite impressive.
I sold my too-hissy analogue tape 4-track back to the original seller (or swapped it for a nice tremelo pedal actually). But felt I had to have one, so I searched only and found a cheap 8-track tape (yes, cassette tape) Tascam recorder. Still haven't tried it out. Big one.
Also got myself an iMac. Primarily first for video editing, but in 2012 I plan to start using it for music.

Sat down today a did a few one-take / first-takes on the digital 8-track and improvised a few bits on a ukelele riff that popped up yesterday ("High"). Then tried the Jazzmaster with the Space Echo... and drowned it totally in reverb and echo ("Space Electric", duh...).
And I found an older one done earlier this year ("Between These Walls"). This one and "High" actually have (bad) vocals and some lyrics, but I keep them under wraps as I'm way too self-conscious about that part just yet. Can't sing to save my life, so there you go: Only very short and rather shaky (first takes!) instrumental sketches so far...

"High" (Ukelele, floor tom with hands, tambourine and electric guitar with space echo)
"Space Electric" (electric guitar with space echo)
"Between These Walls" (Ukelele, snaredrum with whiskers and shaker)

Funny how when using the digital 8-track and ukulele I get these small sweet tunes. But I guess that figures. All my more elaborate ideas would probably fit more for recording on the iMac. But it might be good to flesh out the basic tunes first on the little 8-track. Don't know if the more electronic bits will work with that, though. And I'll be using field recordings at some point also, I'm sure. That's the long time plan, anyway.



2010 - March 22

Ready to record
Haven't been able to get the PC to work properly in recording mode with my external soundcard (Focusrite Saffire), so I started thinking about getting an iMac (not Macbook - need more power for less money). But then discovered the Tascam DP-008 eight-track digital record. It's much like the old school four-track tape recorders and it's got all the needed features for my use.
Tried it a bit and it works rather well. And I avoid getting bogged down in a lot of software. The files transfer straight to the computer. Nice and easy. And it's portable. Very.
16 bit wave-files, 44.1kHz, mono, and with two big jack-plugs and two XLR plugs. Uses SD-card (32 GB maximum) and has USB for easy transfer. Also build-in mics for on-fly use. Neat.



2010 - January 29

Inspirational Waitsisms
Checked out Tom Waits' website the other day. A whole collection of great quotes. Some of them seem to be good at putting oneself in the right set of mind, I think. Tom Waits on songwriting:

"I learned how to be different musical characters without feeling like I'm eclipsing myself. On the contrary, you discover a whole family living inside you."

And this one I just find great. Maybe I can identify with it. :-)

"I'm not a percussionist. I just like to hit things."


2010 - January 22

Status quo
I guess there was a reason for me to start writing here about a year ago. Trying to push myself a bit into doing something. But if that was the plan, it hasn't worked.
Only progress so far, is that I have had my computer wiped entirely and reinstalled. Next step is to get the music software up and running, so I can record. I might get some help one of these days and I really hope we pull through and get it working.
The reason I looked back into this blog thing is that today I started redesigning my website. A more simple approach this time.


2009 - February 21

Neither here nor there
Not much direction in the efforts. Still not. Often trying to break it down to basics. Thinking up new set-ups. They often evolve too much. Yes, I know that it really shouldn't be the focus. But I'm trying to find a comfortable setting in which things can happen on their own.

Stumbled on a track called "Fly Like A Horse" by Sylvain Chauveau online last night. It's on a compilation with the awful title "Pop Ambient 2009". Listening to it, the thought came to me: Just play the guitar.
It's the only instrument that I have any instinctive connection to. The only instrument where I can just let it flow - even though I have a bunch of shortcomings on it compared to those who practise a lot. I guess my "practise" is not so much being good at a playing style as much as moving to places I have not heard myself before. It's rather difficult. And maybe requires mastering of the regular playing style? Or maybe that's a bad thing. A recurring question.
Of course most of what I play is in a recognizably style after all. I guess it lies in the combinations of elements one makes.
I'm pretty sure I'd need an electric guitar to do the sort of thing I have in mind. Recently tried some other ones on for size. Was at a gig with Uzi & Ari and they used some hollowbody Epihones, but when I tried them down at the guitar shop, they didn't feel right for me. Tried the Jazzmaster again and it still felt as "the most right one" so far. But do I have the money for such a nice toy at the moment. No, of course not.
I'm planning to go to Berlin in April. Don't know if I'll go to Vintage Audio Berlin and look for something odd and perhaps cheaper again. The electric guitars I tried there last time were really crappy. In a bad way. Maybe with a bit of luck I might stumble on something. I'm still quite pleased with the old acoustic Framus I bought there.
If I go to a more "mainstream" place like the Kulturbrauerei I'll probably find the Jazzmaster, but won't save that much compared to back in Aarhus, I think. Plus I won't have the adjustment service right at hand.

I have an old Eko Family organ. Worked when I bought it. But dust really influenced a lot of the knobs on it, so I tried to remove it. Clean it up a bit. After that there was no sound from it. Dammit! Now it's just been sitting there for a long time. Unused. Too bad. It has a really cool sound. A friend had a look at it recently, but it was not the kind of "electronics" that he knew too much about, so it still doesn't work. Maybe I can find someone in Aarhus who can fix it now that I have moved back here?

I'm currently reading the book "Understanding Comics". It's actually written as a comic. I've known about it for many years, but only recently bought it. Great one.
In it the author discusses the ying-yang aspect that somehow lives in the art of comics. Light and dark. Black and white. And the space that lies between the frames on the pages. He takes an example from Asian art. An old painting. And also discusses music a bit. How western music is focused on being continuous and connected and eastern emphasizes just as much on there being silence in the music. I remember listening to music from Japanese kabuki theatre and here it's sometimes just musicians banging a few sticks together and a while later singing a short tone. Amazing experience. A bit of the same with koto music.
Actually I think the first time I heard something like that - sticks and voice - was on the soundtrack for the movie "Akira". There's some sort of prayer on it. First I didn't get it. Well, it's strange to western ears, but I distinctly remember the long pauses. And the overall sound - when it was there, that is.
This brings me to when I first heard the band Low. A genre by media and critics called "slowcore" or "sadcore" (they always have to have a label, right?). It must have been the first time I really dug into music that had the "less is more" approach. It was the album "Secret Name", by the way. Still my favourite Low album.
Why write about it here? Well, I guess it makes sense to do this sort of very basic stripped down thing when you're on your own with the music. And I just found it funny that a book about comics was dealing with this. For some reason I hadn't thought of the "pause" or "less is more" thing as being eastern. But I guess it is. Which really puts the whole difference between the eastern and western mindsets into perspective. I can't really put my finger on the mechanisms and thus say much about it - other than it being very obvious.
Think of the most basic music starting out in the USA. The earliest blues. Originated in Africa. And folk and religious choral music (take the amazing "sacred harp" or "shape note" way of singing for instance). And the European traditions of folk music and classical music. There just isn't that kind of empty space for reflection in it that eastern music has. More spiritual? Probably not considering the roots of American music. But a different kind of spirituality, for sure. Which then can bring us into a whole discussion on buddhism and all the other religions. And western music compared to the middle east music - focus on harmony vs. focus on... is it one-note melody? Don't know the terms for that discussion, so I'll just stop here.
Anyways, I recommend the book "Understanding Comics". It's rightly been hailed as groundbreaking.


2009 - January 18

Getting started?
First off, let me say that I'm still trying to find the right electric guitar. Late last year I went on a tour of the shops trying as many different ones as I could. Difficult to go from acoustic to electric. I listen too much to the sound. Of course it's important, but the amplifier has much to say on the matter and the settings on the guitar - and it can be changed by various effects and such also. So I gotta force myself to focus on the "feel" of the guitar. I had liked the Fender Jazzmaster for a long time, but liked the idea of the Fender Telecaster for the simple reason of it having close to no settings. Totally basic. But it just felt too clumsy for me. Tried those too and lots of others. To my surprise the Jazzmaster felt like the most natural one for me to play.
The other day I went to a few more shops. Tried a few different Telecasters again. And then the Jazzmaster once more. And again the latter seemed the best. And I TRY not to be influenced by the fact that I also thinks it looks cool, ha-ha!
Obviously I can't afford the American models of these. A Mexican will have to do, but they seem to be able to do the trick alright for me. Still need to save a bit of money for one of those.
Anyways, today I sat down with the old beat-up Framus acoustic and came up with some riffs and lyrics. Sounded pretty good. But they'll have to be stored away for at least some weeks until I listen to them and can judge if they're any good. Felt good playing, but that ain't the same as feels good to listen to. :-)
Wondering if the song should be as stripped down as just voice and acoustic guitar. And which guitar? The beat-up Framus or the nicer sounding Yamaha? Hmmmm... some second opinions might be a good idea.


2009 - January 5

Ego or selfserviced asswhuppin'?
I'm already having doubts about this whole blog thing. :-) But maybe I should suck it up and get cracking.
In 2004 I did a rather big book, cd and web-project called 'århus:nu'. I think it partly got done - and done fairly quickly - by the fact that I told more and more people about the project. That way I painted myself into a corner and had another reason (other that just wanting to do it) to get it done: People were expecting it. And even asking about it.
Also, I don't think I'm the only one out there wanting to do this kind of project I've started now. There are others with as little experience with it as I have, I'm sure. So maybe others will find some interesting things in it. And maybe I can get some good input from more experienced people in this field.
To the left of this text there's an e-mail-address. If anyone writes to me with good advice - and wouldn't mind it becoming part of this journal - I will put it in here.
And along the way this text will surely display the thoughts of an eternal doubter, he-he. That's just who I am.
So I hope it doesn't feel totally like an "ego project" doing this journal. But I guess all "bloggers" can't escape that totally?

I've got a few things I'm pondering here from Square One:

Recording method
The four-track hisses like crazy, but it's nice and analoque, fairly easy to use (rewind, click new channel and GO!) and forces one to limit the layering to four. I'm think that using it for parts of songs (the rhythmic elements) might be an idea. Could bring some warmth into that.
The computer... is just too fucked up. Yeah, I know... "get a mac!" (but it's very simple: I can't afford one. If I could - I would get one). But I've asked some nice people about fixing the PC so it could work (maybe). Hope to get it done soon. Then the next question is: which software should I use for recording? I need something simple.

Thinking of live performance
Should I try and do the set-up in the recording proces as if I was to play it live? To keep it simple and to make it possible to play live... and also have a sense of "the moment" on the recording.

Maybe I'm rusty. I play a lot of my own halfbaked ideas all the time. Maybe I should sit down with all the sheets of chords for other people's songs and challenge myself with some cover songs. Not recording them. Just getting better at playing AND get a sense of full and finished songs in my hands.

A side note:
Watched Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" on dvd for the first time the other night. It was "so-so". I wasn't too impressed by the movie itself. Seems when he tries in his own movieloving nerdy way to emulate the Roger Cormanesque b-movies of the past. He doesn't really have to do good dialogue or decent plots anymore. "Clever". But doesn't make a good movie.
Anyways... the soundtrack was great as usual. Gotta find it on vinyl somewhere. The April March track during the end credits was cool. And of course he knows that, he-he.
I also realised that I actually haven't seen the extended cut yet of "The Blues Brothers" that I have on dvd. Thought I had, but it doesn't look like it from the peek I had yesterday. Great flick. Such understated humour - set opposit the lovely overstated celebration of blues music.

Currently I'm listening to Lucky Dragons' latest album "Dream Island Laughing Language". Some really good stuff on this one. And as always sounds unmistakenly like... Lucky Dragons.

Oh, and about Panda Bear using the Roland samplers. Here's a video of him using two. Doesn't make much of a live show to look at, though, right?


2009 - January 3

I've been playing guitar for years. I wish I could play the piano, but unfortunately no. Still, over the last couple of years I've gotten hold of different electronic instruments - some of which have classic style keys.
I sometimes fiddle around with these little toys, but I still haven't done actual songs using them. Maybe the sonics in them are more kinds of "mood setters" when it comes to what I'm about to do.
Okay, today I'm going to write a bit about the electronic devices I've got. I guess I somehow would like to avoid doing the actual music on the computer. Record with it, yes, but would prefer not doing music with my hands on the mouse. Doesn't feel all that intuitive. But yeah, some work with beats and samples will no doubt be put together on the computer. Still, I'd like to keep it OUT of the computer as long as I can. That also means not using software that emulates hardware instruments - like Reason and such. But then again, I don't know much about using these things and they take forever to figure out... when I just want to get going. I guess that partly explains my interest in the hardware instruments of the simpler kind. :-)

Roland SP-404 Sampler
This one is a pretty practical piece of equipment. If you're playing live, anyway. It's easy to trigger the samples.
It's got a sequencer and I've tried building up beats in it. Some were okay. Before getting the sampler I put some beats together on my computer using samples - or simply using drum machines.
What the SP-404 lacks the most is touch sensitive pads. And obviously its different effect filters might be semi-cool, but obviously they will have a 'preset' ring to them after a while. So I better avoid using them.
A while after buying this one I found out that Panda Bear (of Animal Collective) was using two of the previous model of this one. Makes sense now when one listens to his "Person Pitch" album, I guess. One of my favourites from 2007.
I guess I'm a bit old school. I still like speech samples in music. And this will definitely be used for that. And if I am to perform live I'd probably put more loops in it from the other drum machines and such. Easier that way. In the compositional proces I doubt it will be much help, though. Might be okay to try out a few things "live" with it in the recording proces to get a less "controlled" feel of the recorded material.

Korg ER-1
Had this drum machine for a while now. Old one. Only 8 drum sounds, but they can be tweaked with the different filters, pitch knobs and delay functions. It's possible to do some pretty nifty shit on it, actually. And with midi I can connect it to it's cousin, the EA-1, and sync them up.

Korg EA-1
Same concept as the ER-1 except this is not a drum machine. It creates synth sounds and sequences them. A lot of fun. Often I just play it by hand without sequencing. It's possible to do both some cool bass grooves and odd space sounds with it. And well, what lies between the two. Some really beautiful and ethereal tones can be emitted from this little thing.
It has two possible sound channels. A standard tone on each that can be twisted and turned through various parameters.

Zoom MRT-3B
The Zoom drum machine has something like 50 drum kits on it. Only 2 actually sound cool. The rest try to emulate real drum kits, which - if you ask me - is the first mistake that's done when you're dealing with an electronic device like this. But I guess it was mainly build for home guitarists having some beats to practise their playing to? Not much in the way of tweaking the sounds either, so you have to add an effect pedal or something. This can result in some good beats where even the worst drum sounds get better when being fucked up by a distortion pedal or similar.
The best thing about this machine is that it's touch sensitive. It's also quite small and light. The pads also respond pretty well. So for ease of use it's good. And if putting together your own drum kits with it from the various sounds available in all the different kits you can do some pretty decent beats after all. And if you're lucky: some crappy ones that are so crappy they're good. ;-)
I got to know it - and try it out - through a good friend in Berlin who performs as Marzipan Marzipan (who I have released a cd with on my SOPA label). She really has done some funny and cool things with it so far.

Casiotone MT-400V
A lot of people (nerds, he-he?) "circuit bend" small keyboards like this to create new often low-quality sounding sounds (from a hi-fi perspective). That's cool. This one is a virgin, though. I was lucky. Got it real cheap through an online auction (not eBay). The keys are small size, but that's okay. Some of the sounds in it are superb, you see. And the parameters with which they can be altered are surprisingly usable considering it's a small "toy" keyboard.

Bugbrand Weevil08
The Weevil is the little machine from hell. Made by Tom Bugs out of Bristol, UK. It makes the most basic electronically produced noise which can be tweaked with the various knobs. Can't really go into the technicalities of it. Don't know enough about it. Other than it sounds bloody cool! Tom makes very few of his various "bugmachines" so they sell almost immediately. For more info visit

Bugbrand BugCrusherMicro
Another one of Tom's creations. Very simple: Sound in... reduce it to a Gameboy-ish sound or worse... sound out. I met Tom while in Berlin in the summer of 2008. He's really got a cool thing going with these things - and is the nicest guy also.

M-audio Keystation 49e
My computer has been causing me grief ever since I got it - when it came to doing sound. Never really got this midi keyboard working. But I guess it could come in handy if I get the computer working properly. I'll need some help for that, though. I think I need to just wipe the whole machine (again) and start over with a clean slate.
Actually I bought it partly with the intention of learning to play a bit of piano. Just to have an inexpensive way to practise to begin with.

Fostex X-26 Multitracker
I bought this some years ago. Maybe it was a bit too used already then, I dunno. It's quite "hissy". Even though I usually like the analogue sound the tape hiss might be a bit too much on this. But maybe if I started using it more and learned more about using it the right way I would improve the sound? Anyways... I'm thinking of recording rhythmic elements on it (claps, stomps, sticks and maybe drums) on all four tracks and then sample the best bits - if not the whole recording - and use it as the bedrock of some tracks with guitar and electronics.


2009 - January 2

An explanation
I didn't start out with explaining exactly what this little blog-ish thing is about - or why exactly it has been made. But basically it's a documentation of the process of a "non-musician's" quest to make some sense of the odd ambition to do some sound that is not just for one's own use within the confines of the four walls of his home.
Some bands have made blogs online about the creative process of doing an album (Radiohead), broadcast it live (Einstürzende Neubauten) and such. But this is different, I suppose. I'm taking it from the very beginning. From... Square One. I have some things to sort out even before getting into the actual productive process.
Do I have the right tools at my disposal? Do I have too many? Do I need them? In what way should I go about getting started? Do I need more than just... me? Some "playmates"? (No "Hefnerish" pun intended here)
I guess, it will initially be about all the doubts a wannabe musician or let's say "aspiring artist" has from the start of a project. If one can say that there even IS a project yet?
Maybe I should just think out loud about bits and pieces here and see what comes of it. I expect very little of this actually being used at all in the end. But "it's the journey", as they say, right? :-)


2009 - January 1

A first step
Will this be the year when I finally get around to doing that cd (or whatever medium it might be) I've been thinking about for so long? I've been chasing the possible form of the content around like a hound forever, it seems.
What thoughts, what influences and what other input might get me to the final result? I'll try and reflect on that proces on this page as things happen - or don't happen. See, lots of optimism from the get-go. :-)

Today, January 1st, was spent with a bit of a hangover due to last nights intake of redwine and smaller (measured) amounts of liqueur. I hit the dvd with a few discs. First the documentary "Outfoxed" about the Fox News network's horrible take on socalled journalism (and the danger to democracy that presents). Second I finally got around to watching to nice DIY music documentary called "Wise Old Little Boy" about Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie & The Microphones) and Kyle Field (Little Wings) which I bought quite a while ago. What they do seems so simple, but then again when one tries to sit down and do one's own take on it, it obviously doesn't measure up. Still, I sat with the guitar while watching and came up with some stuff of my own. Taped a few riffs with the Edirol recorder so I don't forget them. I must have hundreds of these little files on my computer by now. Once in a while I listen through a lot of them and see if any hold up. It's often nice to play a riff. Doing it. But then listening back to it might seem less exciting. And if I am to bother another person with that tune it better be of a certain quality.

Just gotten Phil's latest two LP's "Lost Wisdom" and "Dawn" which I'm sure I'll be digging quite a bit in the near future. Sounds great from the first listens.