B3ND3R: starting over again

I’ve gone on about being addicted to Reverb, my drug of choice. My previous recordings and collaborations were drenched with the stuff but with B3ND3R it was finally time to go cold turkey. After years of dosing my sound, I realized I couldn’t play my instrument if it wasn’t drowned in effects. It was time to start over…

But that didn’t mean it was the end of psychelic sonics: Stephen Bender had been developing a concept called ‘Dry House.’ The theory states that with the right interaction between tones, playing style, and ensemble improvisation, one can get a more profound sense of space than by jacking up the effects. Nimmo, Stephen, and I drew the line in the sand, rejected reverb, and signed on to the new manifesto.

But with any theory there’s practice and sometimes they don’t align. Armed with only a borrowed Tascam 8-track tape recorder (only 6 tracks of which were actually working), we started using massive amounts of tape saturation in lieu of compression to color the sound. Nimmo switched up his drum sticks with reeds and brushes taped together to resemble a beaver’s tail flopping against the drum heads. Bender frobbed the knobs on his vintage ampeg flip-top bass amp and began turning all our dials in micro rotations. Meanwhile a wah pedal snuck into my minimal setup to give breadth and breath.

Maybe amplified music is just that: an addiction to something beyond the everyday. And maybe sonic bliss is not just the sound in and of itself, but the act of chasing after that sound with whatever means necessary!


Gabriel’s Horns

2 eyes to eyes see me
2 ears to ears to hear me
arrive by phone, 2 children
your hand, my hand, we’re willing…
what have we done?

try and figure, nothing could be smart
wake up early, start a new tomorrow
‘there goes my baby’
i can’t close my eyes…

2 eyes to eyes see me
2 ears to ears to hear me
to seek to hear makes us said
your heart just in time, be careful…
what have you done?


written by: bender x nimmo x jh0st
stephen bender: bass, backup vocals
andrew nimmo: drums
jh0st: voice, electric guitar

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