MP3 Protea - The Osiris Tree
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11 MP3 Songs in this album (56:21) !
Related styles: AVANT GARDE: Experimental, ROCK: Goth
People who are interested in Diamanda Galás This Mortal Coil Aghast should consider this download.
My name is Serena Toxicat and my project is titled Protea. I call it my thorny, sharp-clawed, 21st century brainchild to be enjoyed in a cozy dungeon with a crystal divinatory pendulum and a cup of catnip tea.
Having acquired some gear from my old band, Apox, and "here and there", I pieced together original songs, a few covers, and what I call paganized Xmas carols, manifesting an epic concept album called The Osiris Tree. It took on a life of its own, as every Winter Solstice it grew longer and better mastered.
Although I observed the turn of the millennium like everyone else, gearwise things were pretty primitive in my abode, which I dubbed Chateau Shit, or simply, The Ugliest House in Berkeley (even though my friend and fellow musician, Jamahl, who worked for the city of Berkeley and stayed at my place because they didn't pay him a living wage, assured me it was only the second ugliest). I used my TV for a monitor and a VCR for audio recording. My other tools were a Zoom effects box, a gorgeous Shure old time radio-style mic, a 4-track, an Alesis HR16 drum machine, and an Alesis QuadraVerb. I always used my Tibetan bowl and incorporated my cat's unique Siamese wails into the mix. I fed VHS porn moans through the effects to create an eerie soundscape. I used my voice in odd ethereal and percussive ways. I reverse engineered. When I used my old desktop I worked exclusively with Acid sample looping software, but only made wav files, and GoldWave edit pro for effects.
I brought in special guests. The first, John Nelson, contributed tracks using a Roland keyboard with a built in 16-track sequencer.
For the Drummer Boy sessions, musician tara ntula brought Protea to the present era with an emu ultra 5000 sampler, motu 2408 audio interface, clavia nord lead IIx, the then-current version of cubase SX 3, apple power mac G5 2.5ghz dual novation xstation, alesis midi verb 4, roland mmp2 mic preamp, presonus mic preamp/channel strip, presonus tube preamp, groove tube AM1/gt55 microphone, motu mtpav mackie surface controller event and jbl monitors. The software effects and instruments were a waldorf d-pole, and the wave arts included reverb, dynamics, and final plug, various cubase built in effects halion 3 sampler, NI absynth, NI stormdrums, ohm boys, steinberg model E, waldorf ppg, etc.
I used a Tascam 4-track Portastudio that came from Goddess knows where and has since disappeared into a wormhole. How I used it was fairly typical in a technical sense, and it was so simple - stick a tape in, plug in, record - but my stars was I a piece of work! So yes, I lived in a converted sorority house that was inhabited by UCB students (The Ugliest House in Berkeley ). I wasn't aware of it at the time, but it was their finals week and I was up at all hours caterwauling into that thing. I must have recorded all the melodic tracks during the day. Those poor kids thought I was blaspheming, on drugs, or having a psychotic episode. I recall wailing about vampires, chodes and Chex Mix. I was inspired! The warm, analog quality was absolutely divine. My building manager was cool; he wanted me to show him how to use it.
I loved my Alesis! I used it for my vox and it was fun and friendly. Well, I did get obsessive with it, but that's a tribute to its flexibility. I'd run my vocals directly through the quadraverb. Sometimes I felt it was a channel to enlightenment!
I had the Roland keyboard in my room for a spell and played around with it, using the guide as a reference or just throwing caution to the wind like so many cacophonic chords. I played piano as a kid but never kept up with it. When I pretended to be Diamanda Galas, amazing sounds would come out. Eventually John, its owner, sold it to Galaxxy Chamber's keyboard player, but if I'd had the cash I'd have bought it. I felt like I was getting somewhere even though I wasn't confident enough to incorporate my playing into Protea. I did play a Chinese Guzheng, which I still have.
The desktop I was using was hodgepodged together from several PC's by a dear friend, Dan Black, who passed away a few years ago. It was my first computer and although it was old, it could run music programs. I was obsessed with Acid at the time. I did a Prince cover for George Earth (Candy Machine, ex-Switchblade Symphony) for a CD that never came out. The fact that my gear was old didn't bother me a bit! John helped, though - and this is what I mean by reverse engineering - he'd manually match my singing to the tempo of the keyboard, which was many times off synch, since it wasn't how Acid was designed. But this was before he became a software pirate. Now he would have had us at least use a low-end version of ProTools to do the multi tracking the proper way.
Experimentation has made me a much more resourceful grrl. There's nothing like trial-and-error and troubleshooting to build new neural pathways.
I just bought a Shure PGX headset mic and receiver, an AKG D5 corded mic, and a Matrix B-52 portable (yeah, right!) PA system, and I'm back at the 'puter with GarageBand.
Jamahl Tulloch and Matt Azevedo are my newest guest artists, and Matt will be mastering the upcoming CD, which will be released in time for this year's Conflux Dark Arts festival.
Protea will live on and I'll have the tattoo to show for it. I am in the process of recording a concept album about the Ancient Egyptian pantheon at home and with tara's very modern setup, and I'd like to get it signed. This DIY stuff is getting old!
Dec. 21, 2006 - final version of Osiris Tree, Protea's debut album
August 12, 2008 - Protea's Little Drummer Boy came out on
machineKUNT's compilation, "Extreme Women in the Dark Future"
Coming out soon on Attrition's label, Two Gods, is "Wrapped in the guise of my friend", an album of Attrition covers. Protea's contribution is "Into the waves".
Coming out this year on a Shinto experimental compilation, Torture Garden, is Protea's song, Mau Bast.
I also just got word that a Protea song is wanted for the new machineKUNT comp in the works, which will benefit victims of the mental health system.
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