Enter the instrumental.Brilliant Shower is a 13-track trip through the conscious and subconscious minds of Nik Furious. The music is dipped in electronic funk and lightly dusted with rock, surf, jazz, and experimental sounds.
This album was recorded in Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, and Paoli, PA over the course of 5 years from 2004-2009. I intended for most of the songs to become hip hop beats, but they ended up being too complicated or unorthodox to comfortably sit in the back.
The album cover was patiently designed by Shawn Atkins. And this music was made better by the support of Justique Woolridge, Ed Marino, Josh Kobylarz, Neal Shyam, Scott Niekum, and everybody else who generously gave me feedback throughout the entire creation process.
The creation of Wallcrawler was a lot more straight forward than most of the other cuts on Brilliant Shower. In fact, if you've been following this blog for more than four months, then you may already know most of the story.
In 2005, I made a stupid video called Spider-Man vs. Xandu. It was the early days of video sharing sites, and I wanted to make a parody that people could get excited about. But I didn't even know a good place to share the video at the time because YouTube wasn't even officially public!
Here's me working some of my mysterious magic as Xandu.
However, MySpace was at the height of its hype and I thought it'd be fun to write a track and share it on one of my music profiles. I teamed up with my roommate Scott to craft the theme song. You can listen to the Spider-Man vs. Xandu song here.
Wallcrawler is just the instrumental version of that theme, albeit with a slightly different mix. That, and it's got me saying "my Spidey sense is tingling!" in the middle of it, as inspired by some of my favorite surf rock songs of the 60s.
I'm a bit hazy on the details now, but to the best of my memory I wrote the music for the song, Scott and I wrote the lyrics, and then I did everything on the recording save for one of the rhythm guitars and the lead vocals. Honestly, I'm not sure if Scott played guitar on the track. But I think he did!!
Composing this song was fast and easy. I've been writing rock music longer than any other genre, and it tends to go quickly for me. The only obstacle I encountered was the solo section. I'm not too good at guitar solos. But this song sounds like it would really benefit from a nasty one! After experimenting with guitar riffs, I gave up and decided to try a synth solo instead. I'm pretty happy with the result.
NEXT: The collected edition of Brilliant Shower, including a ZIP file download of the entire album. And then my next album, 7 Star Sky Flash Kick, in 2013!
The idea for Uncanny came from a song I sampled for one of my beats called Click Clack. The sample featured Hawaiian percussion that sounded like a combination of wood sticks and stomping.
I loved the chaotic beauty of that Hawaiian rhythm and I wanted to emulate the sound with my drum machine. After playing around for a couple of hours, I cobbled together a loop that I liked. This was the first time I used electronic drums to capture the sound of a different artist's recording.
After that, I created a few simple drum loops with some deep knock to act as foundation for the track. But when it came time to lay down the bass, I was stumped. I had no idea what to do. Playing along with the beat sounded like crap.
I decided to work against the beat and use the bass as a syrupy accent, droning through the main riff until the very end of the loop when it sped up and matched the rhythm of the digital sticks for a few brief moments.
Then shit got real weird. I plugged my acoustic guitar into the compressor mic input on my microKORG synthesizer and ran it through a vocoder setting. I loved the haunting, robotic moan it produced. Mixed with another mic to pick up the natural tone of the guitar, I knew I had the sound I wanted for my song.
Buuuuuttt... I had no clue what to play. Without any distinct ideas for a melody, I looped the drums and bass for about 10 minutes, hit record, and improvised some bluesy licks.
At the time of the recording, I didn't care for any of the melodies that I caught on tape. But when I went back to the song a few days later with a fresh set of ears, I easily selected my favorite moments to become the funky loops of Uncanny.
Proud of my experiment, I put Uncanny up on my MySpace page (it was 2005 -- that's how we did things back then). A few months later, I moved from Brooklyn back to Pittsburgh and began to aggressively hunt MCs to buy my beats.
I never ended up selling any because I didn't know what the hell I was doing when it came to business, but I sheepishly gave a free master copy of Uncanny to a Pittsburgh rapper named Ron Noodles. We were buds at the time but had a falling out not long after, and -- as far as I know -- Ron never rhymed over the track.
Fast-forward two years later and I launched my podcast website, the AudioShocker. I decided to use Uncanny as the theme song to our flagship podcast series and it stuck. Even when I changed the theme for a few months, I had to go back to Uncanny because by then it'd become the sound of our show.
NEXT: The final song on Brilliant Shower is... electronic punk?!?