Something Is Wrong
Welcome to the Something Is Wrong web page. Hopefully, you can find any information you could possibly want about 404 Not Found's amazing debut release, available only on compact disc.
Table of Contents
Something Is Wrong consists of one CDR, a clear plastic jewel case, a grayscale tray liner, and a 4-page grayscale CD booklet. On the disc are 15 songs totally about 38 minutes. Each disc is individual numbered and signed by me, Todd Bradley.
I wanted to put all the information you see on this web page in a beautiful, full color CD booklet, which would be inserted into the CD jewel cases. However, I found that for the quantities of booklet's I wanted (between 50 and 100), the cost would be something like $7.50 per disc--just for the booklet! So, I took a much more minimalist approach. I decided to keep the CD booklet short and sweet and put the bonus information here, on a separate web page.
© = probably violates
At one of my former jobs, I had an amusing hobby (if you can call something you do while at work a "hobby" in the first place). I dont know if this happens in other fields, but in the software business, we always get free magazines mailed to us. Included in these magazines are surveys you can fill out and send in to apply for a free subscription.
They ask things like "How many PCs do you have in your office?" and "When do you plan to purchase a helpdesk system?" The idea is that if they think youre an important person, theyll give you the subscription because you will buy what their advertisers are selling. And if youre just some low level corporate peon (as I was) they dont want to waste the postage on you.
So, Id make up impressive sounding job descriptions and lie that I was some sort of big-wig, just to see what theyd send me. Well, one time I decided to say that my job function was to "specify and purchase robots" for my international, multimillion-dollar manufacturing firm (keep in mind, this was really just a small software company and didnt actually manufacture any hard goods). Shortly thereafter, I started getting all kinds of junk mail, magazines, and phone calls from people wanting to explain how their robot arms could improve my life.
One such fellow called and left me this voicemail message. At first, I couldnt believe my ears when he said his name, but he even spelled it out! I mean, if you had a name like Harry Beaver, dont you think youd use your middle name or at least call yourself Harold? This guys parents must have been quite the cruel practical jokers.
ICM #4 (Radio Mix)
Over the past 10 years, Ive recorded four songs named ICM. Being hung up on this whole voice re-/de-construction thing, I made the latest Inter-Cranial Misadventure as an informative essay set to music, describing how Bob the Robots cardiopulmonary system works.
No, that's not me talking. The voices come from a series of narrations (on the cardiopulmonary system, refrigeration theory, volcanoes, and rockets) on a famous software vendor's online CD-ROM encyclopedia. I spliced them all up and put them back together to make what you hear here.
High Speed Cranial Download
I was flattered when a friend thought this sounded like Coil. Listen to this one in a quiet house with the lights off at night, for best effect.
Braced for Impact
I dont have too much to say about this tune, except that I originally conceived it with a guitar track (the James Bond theme section). But I never got a guitar sound I liked. And after listening to it about 200 times without a guitar track, I eventually got used to it that way and ended up just leaving it guitar-less.
I had to do something with the Alesis World Ethnic card I bought for my QuadraSynth Plus Piano. This is based on a popular German sing-a-long by Frank Zappa. It's pretty sloppy. No, of course that's not a real didgeridoo!
In an effort to really test the fidelity of my recording setup, I made this orgasmic sound. Later, it got incorporated with a few samples I got from the web and with a little drum pattern Steve Gadd recorded for me.
Something Is Wrong With My Penis
I guess you could say this is the "title track". My funny bone gets tickled by the thought of a robot singing about his unfortunate cycling accident.
This song owes much to Chad Marks, who encouraged me to put it together when he told me one day, "Todd, I think you should make a song called Something Is Wrong With My Penis". I accepted the challenge.
Then, after I finished it, he had the gall to tell me that he originally envisioned it as sounding more like Ministry. So, I made a new version called "Industrial Penis" which will appear on the Eclectronic CD.
Grim World is the first of three songs in what I call "The Warhammer Trilogy". Around the time I got my Alesis QuadraSynth Plus Piano, I was into a game called Warhammer. The game's subtitle is "A grim world of perilous adventure". I thought it'd be fun to make some "movie music" to go with the game. These three songs are what came out. Two others I started really sucked and I trashed them.
This is the 2nd song from the trilogy.
This is the third song from the trilogy. What else can I say?
Every City (Instrumental Mix)
I used to work with a fella named Josh. He write poetry and short stories and such. Before I started really working on a CD, I thought it would be fun to write some music to accompany a recitation of one of his works. He offered up a paragraph that starts "Every city is many cities..." I liked the words and wrote this music to go with it.
Unfortunately, Josh never came to the studio to record the voice, but I decided THE SHOW MUST GO ON. And so I'm including the music on this CD. Josh has moved south, but there is still a chance that we can finish the song as it was originally intended--with voice recorded over the telephone. We'll see...
Head, Beaver, Testicles
One Friday afternoon in 1995, I was bored at work after an all company meeting. And I had this nifty Silicon Graphics workstation on my desk, so I fired it up, pulled a few samples off some music CDs, the Internet, and some voicemail recordings. This is what it sounded like when I put them back together. My sophomoric sense of humor is somewhat evident.
The XVT Space Song
Shortly after I started working for XVT Software Inc., I was asked to provide some music for the Engineering Christmas Video. The video started with a fairly cool 3D animation of a logo spinning in space. Thats what inspired this.
My favorite part of the song (should you care) is at the very end when the electronic drums and xylophone sounds morph into acoustic drums and a marimba. That was inspired by a section of a song by the amazing Mike Keneally.
Ennio the Robot
Basically, this was an experiment to see if I could make some synthesizer music that sounded like Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western sound effects. As you might expect, the result wasn't as good as I had hoped. That's what usually happens, it seems like.
Then, when I started seeing the robot/space/sci-fi theme appear in several songs I was putting together for Something Is Wrong, I figured it would be funny to do something with more voice synthesizer.
Unfortunately, I lost my old SoundBlaster voice synthesizer software, so I had to get a Macintosh and use the built-in software on that. If you listen closely, you can tell that the robot voice on this song is different than the one on "Something Is Wrong With My Penis". This one sounds more like Stephen Hawking.
We Must Dream
Somewhere around 1984, I recorded "All About Potatoes", an inspiring spud speech by Mike Roadifer set to improvised synthesizer music. That was said to be (something like) "the most important new musical form of the decade".
I've done about a half dozen "songs" in this style since then: "Indian With Sink", "What To Do If You're Bored", "The High Tech Song", "What I Hate The Most", "Frosty the Snowman" [not to be confused with "My Friend Frosty", a vile Christmas creation], "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer", and probably a couple tunes that only Tim Rupp has.
"We Must Dream" can trace its musical roots back to that early industrial experiment. I know it sounds scary, but I've thought of putting together a CD compilation of all those creations. I'd have to see if Tim kept his special one-of-a-kind tapes that have some of those improvs.
But talk about improved sound quality! Man, I love the way this song sounds just because it's so incredibly noise-free. And Dirk Mewes put so much effort into speaking in that narrator voice, he about passed out after we finished the final take. Listen for the "spessel messages".
Click here for an online version of the CD booklet and tray card.
To make a long story short, most of the songs were put together as a mixture of MIDI and audio clips, using Cakewalk Pro Audio 5.0 software on a Pentium PC. For final mixdown, the audio output of the MIDI devices was mixed through a Soundcraft Spirit Folio Lite mixer, converted to digital in a Tascam DA-20 DAT machine, and sent to Cakewalk via an AdB Multi!WAV Pro digital soundcard.
Then, the digital audio tracks (imported samples or recorded electronic and acoustic instruments) were mixed down to CD quality (stereo, 16 bit, 44.1 kHz) WAV files. These files were then read into GoldWave and their relative volumes adjusted there--the songs that are supposed to be soft were made quieter than those that are supposed to be loud.
At that point, the new WAV files were read into Easy CD Pro 95 and assembled into a CD-Audio project. The resulting project was recorded one-by-one onto blank CDRs.
Meanwhile, the CD booklet, label, and tray card were designed in Corel Draw 7. They were then printed one-by-one onto Neato labels, booklets, and tray cards using a Panasonic KX-P4400 laser printer. The labels were applied using the Neato CD Labeler. Each booklet was individually numbered and signed.
12/17/98: I've uploaded several tracks from this CD available online at MP3.com. Eventually, when enough of them are uploaded, I plan to make a DAM CD available there. It will be a scaled down version, though, without the songs which may be considered to violate copyright violations.
7/22/98: I haven't updated this page in a long time. I suppose the biggest news is that my CD is now available for listening and purchase online at broadcast.com!
8/28/97: The artwork is finished and first set of CDs has been assembled. I finished all the web pages related to the project.
8/25/97: Mission accomplished! The CD is done.
8/6/97: Ok, I finally decided on the final list of which songs are going to be on the CD. I'm just going to use the ones that are totally finished as of right now. The remaining three or four will be on the next CD, hopefully. Also, I've figured out how I'm going to make the CD booklets, tray liners, and...ta dah!...labels. I bought a thing called a Neato CD labeler kit. It includes a mechanical device to center and apply CD labels and peel-off label stickers (and accompanying file templates for Corel Draw). So, that means the booklets will be 4 pages and that I'll have labels and tray liners (AKA J cards). I've (re)started work on the layout of the booklet in Corel Draw 7. Plus, I'm "mastering" the songs for the CD in the sense that I'm normalizing their gain and giving them correct relative volume levels. Also, once the CD is DONE done, I'll put new audio samples on the web page, encoded in a better format called .mp3 (or something like that).
7/28/97: I have just received confirmation that Mixmaster Kroz-Lee has agreed to remix one or more of the Something Is Wrong songs. I'll release these special remixes on the next 404 Not Found CD. Believe it or not, I'm already thinking about that next disc. For now, the plan is to call it Eleclectic. It'll have lots of guest musicians playing real instruments and actually singing, on songs I didn't write. On another topic, I spent lots of time yesterday preparing the Something Is Wrong webpage. It's looking pretty nice.
7/24/97: Two days ago, I checked out some of Scott Bocim's artwork to get an idea of what I might like for the official CD booklet art. He has a couple of promising ideas, including a 404 Not Found logo. I encouraged him to accelerate his artistic output.
7/20/97: I'm now in the process of mixing down all the songs that don't need any more tracks. I think there's only one left. I've added a couple tracks to the "definitely on the CD" list. By rough calculation, the CD's up to about 57 minutes or so. I think I'm going to keep the CD booklet shorter and add a web page with detailed information on the tracks on the CD, such as my thoughts about the songs and where they came from. I still haven't seen any of the artwork that Scott's working on. I did buy 50 blank CDRs for use on this project and my Nine Inch Nails industrial compilation 2 CD set.
6/28/97: I've spent much of the past couple weeks trying to figure out who is going to duplicate my CD and CD booklet. What I've decided is that I'll just make one-off CDRs myself. The alternatives were to have someone else make CDRs at between $17 and $22 each or to have the CD done in a big-scale process with a minimum run of 500 discs. Since I didn't think any of my friends would want to shell out $20 (or more) per disc and I have absolutely no need for 500 discs, I just decided to do it myself. Also, I've had to estimates for the CD booklet printing costs and they're both at around $7.00 a pop. Given that my costs for the CDRs will be about that much, we're now looking at around $15 each for these CDs. I think that's too steep, too, so I may just cut down on the booklet some and do it with black-and-white covers instead of full-color (or 4-color) covers. In the meantime, I've made no more progress finishing my unfinished songs.
6/16/97: I pulled a few sound bites out of some of the songs that are finished and I put them on this web page. See below.
6/13/97: Today I was able to copy a "song" I assembled 2 years ago to my PC, along with a sample of a robot salesman with a particularly unfortunate name--Harry Beaver. I'm now planning to put both of those on the CD.
6/12/97: I found a guy on the web who has an electronic music program on some local radio station in the East. By coincidence, his web page is entitled "404 Not Found". I started laying out the CD booklet last night.
6/9/97: I wrote this web page, devoted to the 404 Not Found project. Last night, I added 2 final touches on "We Must Dream" and painstakingly mixed it down. I'm quite happy with the way it sounds. I'm starting to look around for a company to do the CD duplication, booklet printing, and assembly. Depending on how many people express an interest, I may make anywhere from 20 to 100 copies of the CD.