Thursday, September 18, 2014

Album Review: Ben Century - Unwanted

There's one major difference between this album and every other album I've reviewed on Classical Gas Emissions.... I made this one! Well, I sorta made this one too, but "Unwanted" is a more serious attempt at musicianship than that other piece of junk which is a compilation of songs I recorded as a kid.

Speaking of which, it's been a dream of mine to record and release an album since I was about 7 years old. This was my first attempt:

It sold a total of one copy! In those days, I didn't have a dual tape deck so I just played and sang the songs every time I wanted to make a copy. I even spliced the cassette myself to eliminate all the dead space! Each song is about 30 seconds long, and there's even a couple of instrumentals!

So what was the main motivation for finally recording and releasing my own album? It was actually the last band I was in. This band constantly teedered and toddered between the names "Apathy" and "Tone Deaf". We actually recorded an "album", but I was at the mercy of the guitar player who wanted to remain in control. To him, I was just a mere vocalist and occasional lyricist. My attempts to have more input on the songs and mixing of the album were turned down like a blister-covered hooker. Because of my lack of input, we ended up with classic songs such as "Fred The Mouse" and the entire album was mixed in mono.

I had more input in my previous band Proper Motion - who's name came from us making fun of the drummer, and a fictitious story of him sitting in the corner masturbating. I wrote a good half of the songs, most of the lyrics, and had some input from the other members to fine-craft our songs into the excellent compositions they were. I still enjoy those songs today, and I'm quite proud of the accomplishments we had as a band.

Anyway, let's get back to the Apathy/Tone Deaf story. The drummer and myself were frustrated with the guitar player and bass player (who were brothers) because they didn't want to go out and play live. Instead, they preferred to sit in the basement and record more albums in mono. The drummer and I came to a point where we'd had enough of the bullshit and quit the band. I still get negative feelings when I listen to those recordings, and I think I actually hate the majority of the songs.

From the day I quit that band, I decided I'd had enough of dealing with shithead band members, their stupid songs, and their shitty mixing jobs. I decided I wanted to record an album all by myself. I started in 2004 and finished last weekend. Yes, it took ten years, although there was a 4 year break in there to focus on raising my son (because his dumbass mother couldn't be bothered). I wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, and sang all the vocals (with two minor exceptions).

So, do I have songs called "Fred the Mouse" that are recorded in mono? HELL NO. I've seen enough bad examples of what NOT to do which I've posted on this blog over the last 7 years. I was able to figure out how to do things BETTER. So the album sounds good, and the songs aren't stupid. One of the songs was written when I was 18 years old. You can tell which one it is because of the dated lyric "I was sitting alone, waiting by the phone". Nobody waits by their phones anymore because we have this new technology called CELL PHONES!!! Just put it into your pocket and wait for it to vibrate pleasure into your pelvis.

Some of you may be saying, "HEY! That album cover looks familiar!" Yes it does, because I originally posted it here. I stole from my own blog! Not only did I steal the cover from my own blog, the liner notes read like one of my blog entries! I should probably sue myself into the depths of my own rectum!

Just look at that fucking craftsmanship!

You can listen to a generous sampling of it here!

It's supposed to be popping up on Amazon any day, and I'll be putting the links up when it does. Until then, you can order a copy directly from createspace. Besides, if you order from createspace, I get more royalty.

Buy it from createspace! Buy it now! You'll love it!

As for touring, I'm not doing it because I don't have the means to. I have a son to raise, but I get a few days off here and there, so I may go out and play a bit for publicity. Even if I don't sell 500 copies, it's an accomplishment that I've dreamed about for decades, and I finally did it. It's a great sense of accomplishment for me, and I'm glad I followed through on it even though it took so long.

In other news, I'll be once again appearing on Kent Davies' Amateur Hour On September 24th. So all you Winnipeggers be sure to tune in to 95.9 FM at 5:00 PM. And for those who don't live in Winnipeg, you'll just have to wait for the podcast version. Poor you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Album: Polished Turds

When you throw away your computer, you should probably format the hard drive first. If you don't, your contents are likely to end up on Classical Gas Emissions, and that's exactly what's happening in this entry.

First, I must tell you that in the 7 years I've been writing this blog, I've never had more fun putting together an entry than I did with this one. Every bit of putting this content together was fun and enjoyable!

So what did I find?

This computer belonged to a guy named Kellen Guilbault, who I may add is a fantastic guitar player. Kellen recorded a whole bunch of songs, many of them being classic rock covers. These were all multitrack recordings that were made with a piece of software called Cubase.

I initially found a handful of poorly mixed songs that were in various stages of completeness. After the excitement of finding these, I dug around in the .wav files sitting in the software's default recording folder and found more hidden gems, totalling over 80 minutes of "music".

Now although Kellen is a damn good guitar player, that's pretty much all that's enjoyable about these recordings with a few exceptions. The timing is off, many of the tracks were recorded with a cheap microphone, and Kellen isn't a very good singer. For a couple of songs, he sought out the aid of a female singer (name unknown) who does a better job. I also believe that Kellen's brother Marc is the one playing the drums.

After gathering up the songs, I transferred them to my own PC and put them into my preferred choice of multitrack software: Multitrack Studio. I remixed them and put some much-needed effects on the tracks. I could have fixed many of them with extensive editing, but editing is tedious and I would have to send Kellen a bill for my time (I found his address on his resume). Plus, the songs are extremely entertaining in their original sloppy, out-of-sync form.

We've got a bunch of Led Zeppelin covers, a couple of Stones and Beatles songs, and a handfull of other well-known classic rockers. There's also a few of Kellen's originals in this collection. The quality of the songs is all over the place, ranging from excellent to down-right-fucking-awful.

The best ones here are Kellen's "Song Zero", Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done" and The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" which lacked vocal tracks, so I sang them all and mixed them in. This is the only song I did editing on, since there was a bar missing which rendered the song useless for recording the second verse of vocals.

The worst ones are "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "House of the Rising Sun". They're absolutely atrocious renditions.

Since I did such a fantastic job remixing these songs, I Christened the collection with the name "Polished Turds" and made a nice album cover using a couple of photos I found on the hard drive.

Here's some options for your enjoyment:

Download the entire collection! (You WON'T be sorry)
Listen to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Listen to "The Wind Cries Mary"

If you're wanting to know how much I improved the sound, feel free to hear the original mix of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

And that's pretty much it!

On September 24th, I'll be making another appearance on Amateur Hour. In the next couple of weeks, I'm also planning on releasing the album I recorded, so there's lots of exciting things coming up! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Artists: August 2014

I have a new feature on this site... New Artists! I've signed up with a website who distributes new artists to websites and blogs for review. In other words, all the audio digitizing, MP3 tagging and artwork scanning is all done by the artist. All I have to do is listen to it and figure out if I want to review it. Easy!

These poor guys don't know what hit them. This isn't Rolling Stone magazine, it's Classical Gas Emissions. All my loyal readers know what's coming, so I should probably quit typing all this intro crap and get to the artists who are desperately waiting for me to feature their content...

Phil Beatty - The Day of the Lord's Return

We all knew this was coming. It was inevitable that I would be featuring a Christian artist with my new-found source of blogging badness.

The band plays perfectly fine. Phil sounds perfectly fine. The backup singers sound extremely sexy. But the lyrics and the production are EXTREMELY CORNY.

I'm bringing you the song "America Needs To Pray". Why does America need to pray? Because fuck all those other countries. They don't need God's help. America does! We don't worship Buddha, Allah, Zeus, or any of those other bullshit Gods. We worship Christ, because he's the only one that matters, right? RIGHT! So America rules, and everybody else drools.

Listen to American Needs To Pray


Vangueety apparently has degrees in music performance and music production. Perhaps I'm fucking retarded and deaf, but I'm just not hearing any professionalism in the recording. Vangueety is also visually impared which proves my point for the umpteenth time... Just because you have a disability, it doesn't mean you're a talented musician.

The album cover (if that actually is an album cover) shows Vangueety holding an electric guitar. The only thing I heard that even REMOTELY resembles a guitar in his music is a Sitar. Now, I may not have a professional degree in music like Vangueety does, but the last time I played my electric guitar, it didn't sound like it came from India. But you need to remember, this opinion is coming from an UNEDUCATED musician. My guitar might actually sound like a Sitar, but I may be just too stupid to realize it.

So please feel free to enjoy the music of a REAL musician!

Listen to How

Ahmed El-Motassem - This Song May Be Monitored For Your Protection

Well, I monitored the song, and I've decided to ignore protection. You guys are gonna suffer along with me on this one.

According to the press release,

"Fans of Lou Reed, Kate Bush, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen ... are likely to find something to love about this record."

I enjoy all those artists just fine, but this record sucks. Perhaps if you play the songs "Lisa Says", "Wuthering Heights", "Hang On St. Christopher", "Because The Night", and "Everybody Knows" all at the same time, you might get something that sounds almost as bad as this Ahmed record.

I could have plucked any of Ahmed's songs because they all sit on the same level of sub-par, but I got his permission to re-upload one of his music videos! Yay! The video is just as fucked up as the music, so I guess it works. The video stars Mickey Mouse. The video was also produced by Mickey Mouse.

Enjoy wasting the next 3 1/2 minutes of your life:

Well that was fun and easy! Be sure to watch for some more kick ass new releases coming your way soon from Classical Gas Emissions! Also, I'm currently working on plans for another appearance on Amateur Hour, so stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Goodbye Earl, You Bastard!

I met this really wonderful woman named Sheila while hanging out at a karaoke bar. She is seriously one of the nicest people I've ever met.... except for when she's singing "Goodbye Earl" by The Dixie Chicks.

She gladly gave me permission to post it here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jerry's Sleger's One Man Band

I cannot believe I found THREE albums by this guy in the course of one month. It's like he exploded out of nowhere and took the thrift stores by storm! I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing for one's music career, but they certainly caught my attention.

The music is the typical run-of-the-mill old-guy cover songs that I've seen on countless other self-made albums. And the music? Well... The tunes are certainly identifiable, but it all just sounds so bloody disjointed. Anyway, let's get to the albums...

Polka & Waltz Across The USA

Judging from the album cover, it appears that Jerry is not only talented at playing a ton of instruments at once, but his head is amazingly able to detach from his body and float into orbit! With his super magnification glasses, he is able to peer into sexy women's bedroom windows. Google Earth has NOTHING on Jerry!

For this album, Jerry travels the US and plays anthems belonging to many of the states. Well not literally, he probably avoided traveling and recorded them in some guy's basement. Since my background is Ukrainian, I'm cocainely addicted to a good polka or waltz. The sad thing is Ukraine does not belong to the USA, so there's pretty much nothing here that I recognize. I chose to feature the Pennsylvania Polka. It may be the cocaine talking, but I swear I hear SOMETHING in the background of this recording. I don't know if it's a baby in a blender or the usual demons found in polka recordings, but I'm pretty sure something odd made its way into the background.

Listen to Pennsylvania Polka

Variety Pack No. 1

The album cover shows us that Jerry owns way too many fucking keyboards. It's that, or he's got five hands to play them all. Given the fact that his head detaches and floats, the probablility of him having five or more hands doesn't seem to surprise me all that much.

Jerry covers the classics here, from "Green Green Grass of Home" to "Please Release Me". I was personally looking forward to his version of Welcome To The Jungle, but I guess there's only so much good stuff you can pack into the first volume.

Because I love Disney so damn much (LIE) I figured I'd include the amazing happy version of It's a Small World. If Disney could do one thing right in their lifetime, they could start using Jerry's version of the song on their amusement park ride.

Listen to It's a Small World

Plays 28 Songs

YES! 28 FUCKING SONGS! You don't even get that on a Green Day album anymore! Here, Jerry seems to void the name of his band and feature his wife on the cover. Well, maybe not. I mean, she's not a man so it's still a "one man band", but there's one woman too.

There's lots of polkas and waltzes on this one, but Jerry throws in some classics like "Been Working On The Railroad" and "When The Saints Come Marching In". I decided to go with a favorite Elvis song of mine for this one. The drum fills don't really work, and it's disjointed as hell, but it's an Elvis song... Well, I doubt Elvis actually wrote it, but he recorded a nice version.

Listen to Blue Moon to Gold

I ended up doing a Google search to see if Jerry has any more albums floating around out there (he does), and I found him on Youtube. There's a bit of an interview here and you get to see him play his pile of junk live! The fact that he hacked the shit out of an old accordian and made it do weird stuff totally earns my respect. Check it out:

There will probably be more Jerry albums featured here in the future, given the fact that it didn't take me long to find three of them. I can totally see him joining the ranks of Arnie, Teo Mance, and Kevin Harcourt, all who love to have their wonderful music featured on Classical Gas Emissions! Well, maybe except for Arnie. Arnie kicked the bucket a while back.