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Turn Up The Volume. New Music Is Here!!

Cruise Elroy EP2 (front)My new project Cruise Elroy has now released TWO EPs!  You can get EP1 on iTunes here and EP2 on iTunes here!

EP2 includes our most epic, symphonic song ever – Sisyphus – as well as a song called Killer which is quickly becoming the fan favorite.  It also includes the piano-smashing Amelia and a song called Ghost from the upcoming full-length album.

Each of the EPs have six tracks, and even though we are calling them EPs they’re stuffed full with epic tracks and surprises worthy of a complete album.  Jake Thro, Brett Ripley and me (formerly calling ourselves Chris Merritt or the Chris Merritt Band) have put huge quantities of effort and love into these EPs.  We’ve been working on this band called Cruise Elroy for three or more years now, writing, playing, recording, mixing, remixing, re recording, writing new songs, throwing songs out, remixing, remixing……and…….. remixing!

If you’re sick of safe music, sick of lame music, sick of marketing-disguised-as-music, sick of the one percent having free reign of the popular music industry, and you like what Cruise Elroy is making here, please, grab your copy of these albums on iTunes or Google Play or Amazon to help us in our musical quest.  Or, just listen on Spotify for free, and consider giving us some “likes” or reviews on iTunes! We would appreciate it like…. a lot!!!

I’ve also uploaded many of these songs to YouTube and Vimeo!  Give ‘em a listen!!  Listen again!  Listen thrice!!  And PLEASE – give us some likes and comments, and let other music fans know about us.  We dedicate endless man-hours to try and make something genuine, new, and hopefully delightful.

Comments!  Likes!  Shares!
It’s the result of three years of non-stop work. And it is certified to grow your brain by 6%. Or was it shrink your brain by 6%?

Either way, you’re in for an existential treat!
Chris

It’s here! New music! Listen RIGHT NOW!!

After three years of working on new projects, I’m finally getting to a good place to start sharing them.

insert_coin001Firstly, I’m way late in mentioning this – but my new project Future Caveman has their premier show this weekend in Queens, NY.  The information can be found here, and you can also buy tickets.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 9:00 PM.

Queens Theatre (ya know, at the Unisphere, from Men In Black and King Of Queens)
14 United Nations Ave S
Queens, NY 11368

If you’re in the area, you should definitely make this show.  We played a warm-up show at a family picnic and we put the crowd into some kind of stunned paralysis.  I THINK in a good way…. :)

I posted some songs from the new album on YouTube!  FINALLY REVEALED!!!  You can literally listen to them RIGHT NOW if you want.

Piano – http://youtu.be/_s-2EKUK64w

White Light – http://youtu.be/KRL6J4rMVXA

The Game – http://youtu.be/fth8mPIlqSg

Geronimo – http://youtu.be/hTyWqRPmME0

Cruise Elroy, my other new project (which is made up of the members of the former Chris Merritt band) is also releasing music.  It’s our best work yet in my opinion.  It may be some kind of masterpiece.  We’re releasing two EPs before the album, and you can get them NOW on iTunes and Spotify.  Just search “Cruise Elroy” “EP1″ and “EP2″.  I’ll be talking more about Cruise in the coming days, but I want to spread out all this new music so I don’t spoil you guys.  Oh, yeah, and the main reason I’m posting is to get bodies to the Future Caveman show, so, totally come.

Groove

Some quick thoughts on groove.

What is groove?  I’ve spent the last two years dealing with drums.  Sometimes it feels like 90% of the recording process involves minimizing damage from these giant obtrusive gunshot machines.  Drums are nothing but transients, atonal spikes of noise in the beautiful song.  They are difficult to control to say the least.  A guitar takes one microphone (zero if you go direct) and sounds fun no matter what you do to it.  A drumset on the other hand can have up to twelve mics (I’d say my bands average around ten).  Luckily, I work with killer musicians.

Anyway, I’ve thought a lot about groove, and what it is.  In our digital-bias culture, the obvious answer seems quantization.  Pop it in the music machine and get those hits on the exact correct beat.    Most of the time people quantize to the beat or attempt to tighten things by putting them right on an exact grid, the tempo of the song.  But the specific mechanism of groove truly eludes me.  There’s something interesting with time and the brain happening, clearly.  The human mind is a genius at calling out bad rhythm.  We’re pattern recognizers.  We love the snare kick, snare kick, snare kick pattern.  We get the beat, we get the concept, and our brain gets near orgasmic as it extrapolates this rhythm outward in musical imagination.  So groove then is pattern recognition…. but the brain is smart.  Copy and paste a snare and bass to a grid in protools…. listen to the horrible sound that comes out on loop.  The brain immediately knows the difference between something naturally imitated and an exact copy.  It turns out that an exact copy is mostly distracting, and not at all groovy.

So the observations I’ve made so far – groove is human.  This obsession with the click and putting things on a grid is not musical.  This idea that music is ever at a constant tempo…. I think kind of absurd and limiting, actually.  But also useful, I mean, I do it all the time, and sometimes I love that daft punk trance thing you get with perfect electronic precision.  So I’m not coming down all anti-tech, but for real.  I think having this grid system integrate into our entire musical culture mostly just doesn’t even make sense.  I KNOW that if some enterprising pop producer did a record with great musicians and no click track, it would really stick out in our current atmosphere of quantized noise.

But the guys that really groove, ya know.  Lennon could groove with his vocals.  It’s bass and drums often, yeah, but it’s everything.  And there’s hit.  There’s groove in every note, it’s not all just contextual to other notes.  A good drummer like plays one note and it grooves somehow.  What is that “somehow”?  Well, part of it, as I see it, is really getting a great attack on the instrument.  Drummers who groove know how to play to drums EXACTLY together.  It also has to do with waiting for that elusive ONE.  If you can hit that one beat, you can kind of get a little loose and comical in the middle.  Groove also seems to intensify when there is a deviation from the perfect grid.  Someone like Bonham or something knew how to do this to almost a godlike level.  He would push or pull on the tempo to compliment the mood and feeling of the song…. sort of push or pull within the measure, but consistently, with perfect ones, and it creates a very groovy loop feel.  The imperfections become cool and make character if they are consistent.  My first piano teacher always said, if you make a mistake, just do it again.

Anyway.  I couldn’t find much online about this, so if anyone has thoughts or resources on pinning down groove scientifically, please keep me informed!  Thanks!

Szukalski

How did a human being make these things?

Stanislav Szukalski (1893 – 1987).  Find out more about him here!

 

Shaw ‘Nuff

Recently, Cruise Elroy had the pleasure of working with Chris Shaw on the mixing side of the new album.  Check out the epic stuff he’s made a reality!  True classics and all around great records (Nada Surf’s The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy one of my favs and super underrated I think…)

Don’t miss Cruise Elroy’s upcoming EP2 and the finished album soon.

Screenplay: A Topiary by Shane Carruth

I thought I’d share an unrealized screenplay written by Shane Carruth, called A Topiary (script link). Carruth has directed two masterpieces, the mind-bending sci-fi film Primer and his brand new, strikingly gorgeous and visceral Upstream Color.

A Topiary was, a few years back, Carruth’s prize script, and he apparently tried really hard to get it made.  In summary, from what I can gather, lots of Hollywood sharkies said “awesome”  ”great”  ”let’s make this happen” but no one had the guts to actually do it, or even to say “no” to the poor guy.  I’m only half way through, and it’s absolutely mind-blowing.   If you’re a fan of Carruth like I am, I highly recommend checking out his script for A Topiary.  (note: I found this public and online, but if there’s any problem with me linking to it lemme know…)

Carruth makes films about reality; he almost seems to approach from a mathematical and scientific perspective, using fascinating intellectual concepts as a jumping-off point to inspire a sense of mystery and wonder.  His movies are enigmatic and charming, expertly crafted, and hit on something so universal and true that it can almost be scary.  He seems to want humanity to stretch beyond it’s current paradigms.  He seems to know that reality is difficult and above all, odd, and that rooting out delusion is an imperfect, messy affair but…. well, you still have to try, right?

I highly recommend Primer and Upstream Color.  Watch ‘em twice.  And then more.

sketch

I love going to Jim Woodring‘s blog and seeing the occasional sketches and inside peek…

Don’t be afraid, this stupid little demo is brain-massage certified!

Cruise Elroy – Hey Bulldog

Cruise El Roy at rehearsal – jammin’ on some Beatles classics!

Cruise Elroy – “Hey Bulldog” by the Beatles from Cruise Elroy on Vimeo.

WOMEN I HAVE A CRUSH ON

Ladies who inspire inscrutable, passionate desire in my man-brain.

 

 

Tapes!