armchair explorers

Career CDS-8089
Release: TBA

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Ron Sanchez - guitar, keyboards, programming
Jeff Arntsen - bass, keyboards
Ron Craighead - drums
Deniz Tek - guitar
Jonathan Drews- drums, keyboards
Richard Treece - guitar
Seth Lyon - drums

Produced by Ron Sanchez
Mixed by Ron Sanchez
Recorded at GLEA


More Info




Also Appearing On

eclipse and debris

tiny crustacean light show


Painting With Sound

The Armchair Explorers are a continuing effort. Some of the results have appeared on various Donovan's Brain albums. A dedicated session with Jeff Arntsen, Jonathan Drews, and Ron Sanchez has also taken place. More recently, music for the "Where The DJ's Roam" film soundtrack and Bridger Bowl Film Of The Day has been carried out in the spirit of the Armchair Explorers. 

You can watch the short ski films on the new video pages. The first one features the sounds of the Armchair Explorers. One the second one, you'll hear music by Donovan's Brain, Deniz Tek and friends. Please be patient, these pages are slow to load. More films will be added as they appear on the site.

The Songs

Snow Horns - (Sanchez)

This track is an example how the slimmest of ideas can be fleshed out. I could visualize the drum intro and a tremolo guitar with wah. It didn't take long to get the rhythm track happening. I cut up the bass loop to change the feel, and to open a little space in the groove. When I picked up the guitar, I found that two note figure which is doubled with a French Horn and Trombone. After that, it all just fell into place. The real benefit of this song was learning how to transpose the pitch of the bass loop to create the simple chord progression. Eureka!

Snow In Miami - (Kehoe)

Yet another Donovan's Brain out take from the 1998/99 Tiny Crust sessions. We recorded two takes of this. It's Seth on drums, and maybe Kels on bass, but it could be Jim or myself. There were several guitar overdubs done. Jim did a sort of lead line, and Richard Treece did two mad solo parts. I added two backwards guitars. The first note of backwards guitar is the only bit of those 1999 overdubs that remains on this new version. I had considered trying to finish this up in the original form and I knew I could at least use it for the ski films. When I put the tracks up, it was apparent it needed some work. Half of the bridge has been removed. Once that was done, I recorded two new rhythm guitar tracks, one clean and one dirty. Then I had to think about it. Two weeks later I worked out the main lick, and decided slide would work on the bridge. It was finished very quickly. It only slightly resembles Jim's original idea.

Tomorrow Never Snows - (Sanchez-Tek)

Deniz and I put this together quickly. Organizing the drum loops took a full week. My original idea was abandon when I couldn't work out a bass part. In a bit of frustration I just used a stand up bass loop, which I cut up to create the chord changes. Deniz simply added three guitar parts to the track. Once that was done, I overdubbed some keyboard textures. It was mixed in about 20 minutes. The drums were played by Mike Musburger. I pulled the tracks from Bobby Sutliff's song, You Gotta Go Now. At one point while working on the album, Bob had sent me a mix with Ringo's drums from TNK looped over the track. Hence the title.

In Search Of Connie Companion (Sanchez)

The drums and a bit of the bass were lifted from a rehearsal tape from 2000, when Richard Treece was here. This is the most complex of the ski tracks. I play all the instruments, including a rare appearence of lap steel. That might be a tribute to the Help Yourself song, All Electric Fur Trapper. Expect to see this return as a fully developed song on the next Donovan's Brain album.

Hurry Curry (Sanchez)

At the end of 2009 Jason Lytle joined us when we went the MSU Indian Students Club Diwali Fesitval event. There were a couple of Bollywood type production numbers performed. Afterwards, I told Jason I was going to try to work up a Bollywood piece for the ski films. It took a bit of work to find some good drum loops. After that it pretty much wrote it self.

Snow Central (Sanchez)

This is clearly based on Central Services, originally heard of Eclipse And Debris. Paul Rose played some interesting bass lick through out what began as an eleven minute jam. I picked out a few of the best ones, and created this new arrangement. It runs a bit faster than the original, and is transposed to the key of C. I like this arrangement and may use it in the event we ever play Central Services live again.

Snow Blood (Sanchez)

This was the first piece composed for the Bridger Snow Film project. It was a exercise to try out the recording software. It started out as an attempt to remix a hip hop song I'd recorded with a client. The big drum fill is the only bit that survived that effort.  This one probably uses the most library loops.

Song For Dave (Deniz Tek)

I asked Deniz if he could come up with something we could use. I just told him it had to be a good lick and guitar solo. He might have thought about it a little before arriving at the studio. All  his parts were done in an hour. I added the drums, bass and organ a couple of days later. this one may reappear on the next Deniz Tek album.

Secret Life (Armchair Remix)

When My Life In The Bust Of Ghosts was reissued a few years ago, Eno and Byrne made the original raw tracks available for remix. This was my attempt.

SNJ-UFO (Sanchez)

This is a very old piece, dating back to 1988 or so. I wish I knew how I did this. Its just a sequence played on a Roland JX3P. Each pass was played through a different patch. The synth wasn't synced to MIDI so they drift out of time... I must find the orignal 8 track recording.

Squishy (Sanchez)

Don't really know when this was recorded. It's on 16 track, so it might have been recorded while we were doing Defeat Of Echoes. An experiment in delay. I don't really remember doing this, but it sounds like the Juno-60.

Winter Schedule (Sanchez)

One of the early Logic experiements. It is all based around the drum pattern. It sort of reminded me of one of the recent Jeff Beck albums. I know I used the software Arp and a couple of other soft synths. There are some nice instruments available free from the developers. I believe I used Crystal and others, maybe  some of the Logic instruments.