Phonewave EP Project
The Phonewave EP is an international music project consisting of 20 tracks (38min) made entirely from telephone-recorded voicemails collected via 1-818-649-WAVE. The project was born on my instagram feed (@brainztain) and most of its contributors were part of the Instagram community connected through hashtags such as: #vaporwave #seapunk #webpunk #netpunk #cyber #cyberghetto #sadboys #glitchart #vhsglitch #bitwave #8bit #pixelart #phonewave etc.
1. Leave A Message
This is the original voicemail greeting that was used when collecting voicemails . The only difference between this and the actual greeting is that the original had a tweaked “floral shoppe” sample as background music. The gentleman’s voice is my father’s.
2. Keep It Going
Message from unknown supporter, hence the “keep it going”. The singing comes from a New York female @cloud.based at the time on Instagram (cecilyfeitel.tumblr.com). Her singing was recorded without any prior knowledge of the beat it was used on. The voice sample was cut, re-pitched, and re-sequenced to allow it to ride the track smoothly.
3. Cyborgian Rhapsody
Beat is orginal from an MC-307. Singing by @elisastiltskin on Instagram / @Quimera K. on SoundCloud from Brazil. The lyrics are from Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
4. 1000 Stairs
Unknown sources for voices and beautiful poem about loneliness. Several moans, heavy breathing and someone whispering “don’t die” seemed to be a good fit to mix together along with a robot “kill me” at the end. Again, all submitted through voicemails. Only thing I provided here was the beat from an MC-307, also processed through voicemail.
5. Virtual Reality
Original MC-307 beat processed through voicemail along with two complimenting messages about virtual reality, one from @304angstroms on Instagram, and the other unknown.
6. Moon (Poland)
Original MC-307 beats processed through voicemail. “Moon” Haiku I wrote in 1999 recited by @yo00shi on Instagram from Poland.
7. Suave Beijo Azul (Brazil)
Singing by @elisastiltskin on Instagram / @Quimera K. on SoundCloud from Brazil. The voice sample was cut, re-pitched, and re-sequenced to allow it to ride the track smoothly.
8. Vaporwave (Russia)
This track features @ellmatador's track "Show Me Love" (instagram @ellmatador_ks). The track was emailed, then I called it in to the voicemail and finally processed in Ableton. The processing consists of various time stretch algorithms and settings for each as well as some effects and tons of EQ’ing. It also contains a sample from the documentary “vaporwave”, which was recorded onto the voicemail by an Instagram supporter. The Russian message is from a very amazing chiptune and vaporwave graphic artist @alexogree on Instagram and @alexogre on SoundCloud—he is a master at making music on GAMEBOYS.
9. Cough Syrup
Original MC-307 beats processed through voicemail. Ableton time stretch algorithms and reverbs. Unknown source of voice message.
Original MC-307 beats processed through voicemail along with tweets from @YvungFeast from instagram (can’t verify user name)
Original MC-307 beats processed through voicemail along with shout outs from some talented artists including Golden Tunic Skyscraper, followed by messages from unknown sources including two complimenting loan shark-themed messages.
12.Cyber Punk Talk (Canada)
Cyber Punk’s track from instagram @cyburpunk, and when she says she likes cats I bring in a message someone left meowing… unknown source. Perfect.
13.011 Team (Turin Italy)
011 Team party crew message along with some other bits and chunks ripped right out of voicemails with some reverb, delay, etc. The bass drum is made of one single wave oscillation click.
14.A Big F U (Mexico)
Some guy doesn’t like his ex, but he’s cool AF cause he’s from Mexico.
15.Marijuana VHS Kid (Space)
This guy is the coolest VHS hippie ever. He’s over on Instagram as @dementedtimes. He lives on a spaceship and eats bacon-flavored cotton candy sandwiches. Don’t believe me? Listen to the track and go check out his Instagram. For real.
16.Love Life, Love U
Happy-feeling track with some unknown sources, including @cisko3000,@filerobrown323,@old_uie, etc.
17.Shout And Instawords (Chiraq)
@itsdonperrion shoutout from Chiraq (Chicago) followed by graphic artist @achievmntmedia flow
18.Disregard This Message
I didn’t call you, so don’t give me no call menu. Somehow something or someone decided to leave a voicemail of some sort of menu for credit cards… I’m not even mad. Just perfect.
19.Drive Safely (San Diego, California)
Talented @alcoholistics dramatization of someone talking to her dead boyfriend.
Laughter by @elisastiltskin on Instagram / @Quimera K. on SoundCloud from Brazil. Track alterations with stretch algorithms on Ableton followed by a Microsoft wavetable mash-up using a custom coded Pure Data sequencer patch.
Initially the Phonewave EP was conceptualized as a traditional musical EP which would usually consist of approximately 4 tracks with some of the voicemails layered on top of normal quality beats. I wanted to use as many, if not all, off the voicemails that were sent to me from around the world, and I had received quite a few (see log).
I started to visualize the project as a whole and realized that the musical quality of it would be inferior to its conceptual quality if I used all messages (because of the wide range of quality/style of the messages left). For this reason, I decided to put most of my efforts into the concept behind the album as this would be its main strength anyway. I decided NOT to use ANY material that hadn’t been recorded on the Phonewave phone line 1-818-649-WAVE. This would ensure the homogeneity of the entire album as a low-fi phone-only project. This also equated to more work trying to make things sound at least half-decent, such as calling in my own beats and material through the phone line, sometimes even trying to multi-track (recording bass, drums, etc., one track at a time) to get around the frequency bandwidth degradation when recording all tracks at once. This is also when the idea of Phonewave as a feasible genre also crossed my mind. I believe the concept and the aesthetics behind it make it suitable for a genre. Whether that will happen, probably not.
The audio sources were mostly smooth jazz, but many were original tracks from a Roland MC-307—those are the tracks I was able to multi-track to get slightly better results. Phone-quality audio is very limited in frequency range. There are generally a healthy amount of bass and mid-range frequencies available, but almost no high-frequency sounds, which means everything sounds very dull. On some of the tracks, such as Track 8 – “Vaporwave” I copied the phone audio on several tracks and used different time-stretch algorithms with different settings to granularly re-pitch the track while maintaining timing. I configured the tracks to “trigger” these re-pitched frequencies based on the transients of the track, which allowed it to maintain its original rhythmic characteristics.
Many of the smooth jazz recordings were slowed down AFTER they had been processed by the answering machine. I found that this process yielded extremely favorable results with drums by making them extra crunchy. The sound was reminiscent of EMU Emax and SP-1200 samples taken off vinyl and then down-pitched. In a sense I used the telephonic system and Google Voice as a vintage sampler.
Another unusual workflow that helped me in this project was using one Ableton project for the entire EP. This allowed me to jump from track to track faster and have a continuous flow throughout the entire album.
I dedicate the Phonewave EP to my brother Cisko Bars whose hard work and creativity inspires me. I am extremely proud of his achievements and admire his dedication. Cisko Bars, Rock84, Zaigex.
1/12/16 9:09 AM
Calling from eleanor, son we spoke to sleep with the I got fans in Mexico. I want to give him to f*** you to my girlfriend Anna. We'll be there til the afternoon.
1/11/16 11:41 AM
Brian Stan What it is man, Just call me hilfiger gT Skyscraper man checking in you know let me hit super artist extraordinaire our work is crazy mom and maybe some music producers all that s*** man. I see you I respect you bro and saying all that s*** man keep it up keep the good work going man. We we don't f****** know make this s*** work there today. If you have any smooth everything you doing man. I see you keep it up.
The track was promoted on my instagram feed (@brainztain) using a multi-post banner, which is a continuation of several posts. Each post had a description that adverstised the project with a short description and a list of FAQ's below: