Vier Lieder

by Von Rohrbach

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about

Hey guys. My original intention was to put this project out without any kind of explanation. I figured I’d let it stand on its own merits and live with the consequences. You don't have to read this if you don't want as I think it's a little lengthy and a bit pretentious in places. But the Von Rohrbach project is such a strange departure from my previous work that I feel some words of explanation are in order for context.

“Simplicity” is the first word of explanation I want to touch on. For many years now I’ve been thinking that I’m part of a generation of players who are often guilty of writing music that is a hell of a lot more fun to play than it is to actually listen to. And I think we sometimes labor under the idea that if a musical idea is difficult to play it must automatically be good. Therefore complex/bizarre musical ideas provide validation as players and further validation as human beings.

But really, there's more to it than that. Sometimes, it's the simple ideas that are often the most difficult to convey in a way that avoids cliché and speaks clearly to the listener. And that’s what I wanted to explore with this batch of tunes. That’s not say that I don’t love technical playing. I do. I’m as guilty of it as the next guy. I just tried like hell to avoid it with this project and speak/write more succinctly.

So in trying to get out of my comfort zone for this project I isolated three more key ideas I think I should touch on: Time, Tone, and Tuning.

Time – Currently in Hard Rock music polyrhythms and odd-time signatures all are the rage as a direct result of the popularity of the Prog and Djent idioms. So for starters I figured I better just ignore that completely. So everything on this project is in 4/4 time with very simple and direct driving grooves. I love Meshuggah. However I am not Meshuggah. Not by a long shot.

Tone – I find that in the brand of music for which I was previously associated, there are two (and only two) guitar tones allowed. The first is a very pretty Roland JC-120 clean tone and the second is a massive, over-the-top crunch tone for rhythm and lead. The problem, of course, is that there is a whole universe of tone in between those two patches. That’s something else I wanted to explore. As such, there are no purely clean or wildly over-driven guitar tones on the recording. Everything fell somewhere in between. That I was at the mercy of some very cheap/shoddy recording software and had very few tonal options dovetailed nicely with this aesthetic principle.

Tuning – Drop D, Drop C, Drop B, 7-string, 8-string, 9-string...I was having NONE of it! This whole project was recorded entirely on six-string guitars in standard tuning (A=400Hz). You know some of the most massive riffs in the world consist of simple ideas played in standard tuning. I was thinking along the lines of Sabbath, Faith No More, Opeth, early Metallica, etc. And again that was also a goal: to speak simply and clearly. It’s been a fun experiment.

Speaking of experiments, the end of each song features a mini "re-mix". This is a little technical but here was my thought process: "1) Any musical idea can be expressed in standard musical notation. 2) Standard notation can also be easily turned in midi information. 3) This means any riff I play on guitar can now easily be turned into a synth line that is ripe for mad-scientist style experimentation. 4) Although I'm twenty years behind the curve on this stuff. Let's see what kind of noise I can make".

The last word I want to touch upon is “commerce”. There is no Kickstarter of GoFundMe associated with this project. That’s mainly because I just don’t feel like passing the cost of my vanity projects off onto my friends and family. I love and respect them a little too much for that. However, I would also love to compensate the guest singers that worked so hard on this project with something other than free labor. It’s only a buck a track but if you want to throw in any extra we’d certainly appreciate it. It’s cool if not though. I hope you dig the tunes and can turn a few of your friends on to them as well. Thanks for reading and please help spread the word.

credits

released June 1, 2016

Special thanks to the guest vocalists: John Lancaster, Terry Smith, Michael Cromer, and Jonathon Hicks. Extra special thanks to Mark Benincosa, Jeff Rinehart, Rob Rinehart, Jackie Brown and Kelley Skinner, without whom this project would not have been possible.

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Von Rohrbach Weston, West Virginia

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Track Name: Dusk For The Middleman
Dusk for the Middleman
Take it down another notch
When it comes to a screeching halt
Open my eyes to darkness
Drowning in familiarity
I don’t know who I am anymore
Caught in the middle of right and wrong
Comfort implied and denied
An ancient belief that’s bound to bleed
Staining the thin disguise
Don’t wait for it, a brand new dawn
Dusk for the middleman all along
Can’t rip this heart from my sleeve
Right or wrong, right or wrong
Just like an ex-lover
dressed to kill
Throw an arm around big brother
it’s all downhill
From here or so they tell me
Or so they tell me
I don’t know who I am anymore
Caught in the middle of right and wrong
Comfort implied and denied
An ancient belief that’s bound to bleed
Staining the thin disguise
Don’t wait for it, a brand new dawn
Dusk for the middleman all along
Can’t rip this heart from my sleeve
Right or wrong, right or wrong
I don’t know who you are anymore
Caught in the middle of right and wrong
Comfort implied and denied
An ancient belief that’s bound to bleed
Staining the thin disguise
Don’t wait for it, a brand new dawn
Dusk for the middleman all along
Track Name: March Of The Proletariat
The thought police have taken over me
They're watching every move I make
Controlling everything about my life
A puppet dangling from a string
The beatings continue until moral improves
This world has consumed me.
My life for all to see
Ive fallen so far from myself
Will i ever be whole again
I fail to see the point of all their lies
Just trusting everything they say
Continue working at a tireless pace
We're on the wrong end of the whip
Doomed to repeat the sins of our past.....proletariat
Track Name: Dependent Interlocking Objects
A process deemed, too unclear
Too much privilege is the fear
Lock it down - the table never learns

Sets of strings - holding keys
All the truth is primary
Finding information is its role

In my logic holds the secret, everything is
So dependent interlocking objects, methods, calls

Too quick to realize
Our lives are synchronized

All procedures need time
Threads to keep out liars
Track Name: Burns And Falls Away
Turn your back to the throne
And walk away through the flames
Splintered bones and forgotten names
On this withered ground
Is where we'll split our veins
And fill our eyes with the light that remains

When the sky burns and falls away
Will the dead give up their names?

Pull back the veil of fear
Look on extinction's face
Familiar eyes reflect your stare
On unbending knees
We walk into this place
Resign ourselves to what brought us here.