The Alton Sessions is now available! Many thanks to all my friends and family for their support. Purchase of the EP comes with a special digital booklet I created to accompany the new release!
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Alton, Illinois is a small city with a long, dark past. Rich with history, Alton is known for the abolitionist printer Reverend Elijah P. Loverjoy, housing stations of the Underground Railroad, the final Lincoln-Douglas debate, home of the "Alton Giant" Robert Pershing Wadlow, birthplace of the legendary jazz musician Miles Davis, and the confluence of three significant rivers: the Illinois, the Mississippi, and the Missouri.
Alton is also known as the most haunted city in America.
Aside for it's epithet, Alton's amazing 19th century architecture, brick-paved roads, and overall "ghost town" feel would all be endearing factors to chose this location to explore the initial musical experimentation for Stalk The Owls.
The Alton Sessions is an original Stalk The Owls collaboration with musician and engineer Greg Weible. Greg has lived in Alton, IL for the last several years.
Greg began playing guitar at the age of 6 and by 12 he was playing in punk rock bands. As his musical taste expanded, Greg took an interest in piano and keyboards, which eventually led to the purchase of his first synthesizer: the famous Roland Juno 60.
Greg would briefly study piano at the St. Louis Symphony Music School (formerely known as CASA) before going on to play synths for various bands during the 80s. The bands varied in style from Dark Wave and New Wave to Gothic and Post-Punk.
Greg got hooked on playing synthesizers and started collecting various kinds. Greg would later acquire an Otari MX80 and an Amek Einstein console, along with various other vintage outboard gear, which all led to the humble beginning of his analog home studio: Multidimensional Studio.
Jairo and Greg met through a common friend in 2007. They would hang out from time to time when Greg would come visit Nashville. However, it was not until 2010, when Jairo's former band, The Worsties, performed at Blue Agave in Belleville, IL, that Jairo would visit Greg and discover the wonders of Alton.
Like many bands that are on tour, The Worsties needed a place to rest for the night after their show. Otherwise, they faced a minimum drive of five hours through the night to return to Nashville. Greg graciously offered his place to stay.
During their return from the Belleville gig, Greg provided Jairo a short tour of Alton. Jairo immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and architecture. Once back at Greg's house, Greg provided a tour of his home studio. Everything about the studio, and the house itself, greatly appealed to Jairo.
Since then, Jairo would visit Greg a few times to wander Alton, and jam in Greg's studio. At the time, neither of them knew these visits would eventually lead to the beginning of The Alton Sessions.
The concept for The Alton Sessions is simple: to create entirely improvised music using the vintage, analog gear available at Greg's studio. The sessions would be Jairo's first exploration into the world of synthesizers, and the beginning of Stalk The Owls.
Much of Greg's gear consists of synthesizers that were popular during the 70s and 80s, and could be heard on numerous albums recorded during this period. These synthesizers were also used to create soundtracks for many of the movies at this time. Including the horror movie genre. This would be the main inspiration for Stalk The Owls.
The inaugural sessions took place from October 29 through November 3, 2014. The idea was to draw inspiration from not only the movie soundtracks of the 80s, but from the atmopshere of Alton and the spirit of Halloween.
During this period, Jairo and Greg would play and record four original, improvised songs using Roland Juno 60, Roland XP-10, Alesis QS 8.1 and Ensoniq ESQ-1. All songs were recorded through the Amek Einstein console onto 2" tape on the Otari MX80.
You can see photos from The Alton Sessions by following Stalk The Owls on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.