LinguisticFX Part IV: Get off my Weird Groove

Part I Part II Part III Part V  Finding Fidel 

Language, Learning, Technology, and diversionary tactics  by Jonathan Chambers, Shanghai, CHINA. 

This edition is the strange tale of my musical 'compositions.' 

If you'd like to listen to or steal the songs, go ahead... right click on them and 'save as,' silly. 

Absolutely not compatible with Windows Media Player. 

I shifted from using Digidesign's ProTools a few years ago and started piecing songs together with Garageband & Soundtrack. Occasionally I sample sounds with a Minidisc recorder and make combined music/soundscapes.


 The majority of these tunes have absolutely no lyrics, so I use some tracks as musical beds for video & audio.

 Some of the songs took me many, many hours, but occasionally I bash one out in a couple of hours.

 This is the first time I've shared any of this music, aside from punishing a select few (longsuffering) friends and accosting unsuspecting viewers of video productions.  

My partner, Leigh-Anne generally doesn't like any of my tunes: she says they're too 'busy,' and lack subtle intros and vocals.  Everyone should live with their harshest critic.

WARNING:  sometimes long periods of editing can lead to insomnia, as the brain just keeps on editing. 


Micromusic (2003)

Organix Perplex

My first foray into Garageband. Created on an iMac. I took the cover photo in the Grand Hyatt, Shanghai, then manipulated it in Photoshop.

A.I.R. (2004)

Alternative Fuel [Remix] Escapist MkII Hookie Roughjam Putuoshan Night Voices

The G5 kicked in. "Putuoshan Night Voices" includes soundscapes I recorded on the island of Putuoshan. Artwork made with a Wacom tablet & Photoshop.

Toasted Cockroaches: Resilience E.P. (2005)

Irresistible Resilient Pressure Tank [tablet edition]

Please register this product Ubiquitous TheTorrent

The first 'Toasted Cockroaches' project. The cover photo was taken by Frank in Singapore airport.

Get Off My Weird Groove E.P. (2005)


One of my worst projects...'Oogi' is about the only thing on it I can listen to! The overlay on that stupid photo of me is a tile-on-board piece of art I made.

Toasted Cockroaches: The Rock [Double A-side] (2005)

The Rock Jiuzhaigou Ski It! (Link to YouTube video)

We used 'The Rock' on the 'Ski It!' video that Matt & Alex made in Austria. Leigh-Anne & I recorded the 'Jiuzhaigou' soundscape in Sichuan. The cover photo was also shot in Jiuzhaigou.

Toasted Cockroaches: Splint (2006)

Splint [Pantone Mix]

Kerry Driver took the cover photo of me in Putuoshan. I massacred it with Photoshop and an Ituos 3 graphics tablet.

Toasted Cockroaches: Crouch (2006)


I took the cover photo in Vang Vien in Laos.

Toasted Cockroaches: Arterial (2006)

I made the video with stock footage that Frank gave me years ago.

Toasted Cockroaches: The Circuit (2006)

The Circuit

Leigh-Anne took the cover photo in Macau during the 53rd Grand Prix 

 Toasted Cockroaches: Numbers & Money (2007)

Numbers & Money 

Photo taken by Keith Chambers in Hong Kong  

IFAQ  (Infrequently Asked Questions)

Who are the Toasted Cockroaches?

I got bored of making tunes under my own name and joined forces with Frank Hossack [Scottish, living in Nanjing] and Mattias Pichler [Austrian, flies through Shanghai & Nanjing regularly].  I make the majority of the music, but we've actually made a video together called "Ski It," that used the track, "The Rock," and combined it with footage that Matt & his girlfriend shot in Austria.

How many tunes have I made?

About 50, but you seriously don't want to hear them all.

What equipment is used to create the tunes?

An dual 1.8G G5 with 2 gigs of RAM... and sometimes that's not enough.  I also use a Sony Minidisc recorder with an ECM-MS907 electret condensor mic.  Occasionally I sample with an AKG C1000S mic hooked up to a Digidesign M-Box.

I have 4 Apple Jampacks full of thousands of samples and instruments, plus I scour the web for additional free noise. 

Photography is usually taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-P93.  I then hack it up in Photoshop.  A Wacom Intuos 3 graphics tablet is employed at times when I don't feel like using my Mightymouse. 

Fascinating stuff, I know, but I had to fill up this column with some trivia ;-)