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Vaalo started out one day around the winter of 2001 when Charles Humes from Venus Euphoric was bored and the band was taking one of their small-but-many musical hiatuses. The computer at his residence, an older model Packard-Bell, had just been loaded with some musical editing and sampling software so kindly provided by his gracious brother-in-law, Scott. Charles, at the time, was also experimenting in certain activities that he had heard increase creativity and musical boundaries (along with confounding some more logical and critical thought processes). Soon boredom was slain as Humes began slowly learning the art of digital music performance and manipulation.

After a few months, something resembling an album began to take place within the realm of one's and zero's known as the Humes' Residence Computer. The album, later called Music From an Alternate Dimension began to materialize as the guitarist/vocalist-turned-"producer" worked and experimented. Charles, being fairly new to the world of digital musical engineering and mixing, produced the sounds using sampled beats and pre-recorded musical phrases intended for all genres from classical to hip-hop. These samples were layered on top and underneath his simple synthesizer programming, his line-in electric and poorly-intoned-acoustic guitars. Live tracks that weren't recorded line-in, including vocals and acoustic guitars, had to be captured using the computer monitor microphone because it was the only mic available to Humes at the time. Charles's virgin solo-musical effort showcases all the weaknesses and strengths that make up Vaalo. Low-fi qualities mix with stoney dance beats, one-off soundscapes and experimental song progressions to form a very hard-to-find and eclectic album, Music From an Alternate Dimension. In fact, when asked, Humes has for the most part denied its very existence but it can be attained for the most dedicated and persistent Vaalo fans.

After Humes wrapped up 'Alternate Dimension' Venus Euphoric went back to work for a while, writing and perfecting the songs that would become 2004's The Other Nine Planets Are Next. In the spring of 2002, V.E.'s bass player, Brad Evans, left for a spiritual journey to South America. Vaalo was once again called into action to fill the void that was left in Brad's absence. In between becoming the keyboard player for Kody Yardley and Anthony LaGuardia's rock-pop band Brodie and honing his guitar skills in Peter Evans' darker guitar-driven Sons of Samus, Charles wrote some new material and called upon a back-log of older riffs and chord sequences that would become the meat and bones of Vaalo's 2006 album, The Charka Montage. The album reflected Humes' thoughts and feelings for his girlfriend at the time. Charles has referred to The Charka Montage as a "...thematic album inspired and dedicated to my best friend at the time. Each song tells a small story or episode in our lives while we were together. Some bitter, some beautiful."

Charkaone
The songs were recorded at Charles's brother's burgeoning Blue Boots Studio, located in Matt Humes' (Charles's brother and drummer for V.E.) basement. Initially, the songs were laid down drums-first. Guitars were played mostly for visual queues while Matt engineered and recorded the drums. Vaalo worked off and on through the two years of Brad's absence, learning engineering and production techniques and tricks from his savant-like brother, who was well into developing a stunning catalog of tunes under the name Surrounded by commaS.

During this same time period, Charles wrote more and more material that would become the elusive never-quite-finished ghost-album, Songs From Diakon. To Humes, the 'Montage' was lacking something that he couldn't quite put his finger on and so he put it on the back burner to simmer while he experimented further with 'Diakon.' The Montage was meant to be a rock/acoustic sounding album while Songs From Diakon was to be a further push on the boundary of his musical tastes and comforts. What work had been finished on The Charka Montage was erased in 2003 in a freak computer-related accident which disheartened and discouraged Charles. Fortunately, he was kept busy with Brodie, Sons of Samus and Diakon. Soon work on the Montage was restarted and Humes was much happier with the sounds captured the second time around.

In 2004, Brad Evans returned from his South American journey and the members of Venus Euphoric were happily rejoined. The three lads worked hard and recorded and finished The Other Nine Planets are Next with Matt at the engineering helm. But the creative minds of V.E. were not to flow unimpeded. Seemingly, just as Brad arrived back in the States, Matt left on his own spiritual journey. His destination would be a land of bad food, bad weather and fantastic music: England.

Again, Charles found himself without a band (Matt's departure signaled the hiatus of not only Venus Euphoric, but Brodie and for a short time, Sons of Samus as well, Matt being the drummer for both bands). Humes plunged back into the role of Vaalo and worked to try and finish The Charka Montage in 2005. It wouldn't be until 2006, upon Matt's return to the U.S. when the album would, in Charles's mind, officially be done after some mastering hints given by Matt at the insistence of his brother. The resulting album, nearly four years in the making, is a rock-based story consisting of seven songs with several thematic melodies placed throughout. Charles has been known to express his enjoyment and pride at the musical and lyrical side of the album while remaining unsatisfied with his own vocal performances. The Charka Montage is still currently available for free download at www.thecollectiveintelligence.com.

After finishing the Montage, Charles decided to tentatively finish Songs From Diakon, though he didn't really distribute it to many people. Never satisfied with the sound of the album and thinking it lacked focus, he decided to set down the mixer and pick the guitar back up. Living in Salt Lake by the spring of 2007, Humes spent a lot of time writing his share of Venus Euphoric's 2008 album, The Problem with Re-Entry and working on his own four-track project he pet-named Fecal Reel. Expressing displeasure with the name, Matt offered up the title A Blue's Development and it stuck. Charles gained some of the focus he was looking for in making use of the limited technology available to him in his apartment, away from Blue Boots studio. An acoustic guitar, an electric, a few stomp boxes, an old Casio keyboard, and a single Sure mic all recorded with a Tascam four-track machine were the tools used for what would be another never-released ghost-album. The recording of A Blue's Development was finished in mid 2008, but a mixed down master was never heard, even by Vaalo. Before the final mix could be bounced, technical problems again plagued Vaalo's musical output. The Tascam was broken.

At this point Humes invested in some major technology, fully immersing himself in the digital instruments and music creating and editing platforms recommended to him by his brother, Matt and quasi-band-mates Jonathan and Alana of Degu. Charles had been playing live guitar for the electro-rock band in a practice setting for a few months before Degu took an extended hiatus in 2009 after finishing their second album, 7 1/2. Vaalo quickly became more and more influenced by the electronic and dance elements derived from these newly available influences and tools. During this time, Charles' friend and talented writer Clayton Norlen was working on a film project at the University of Utah. He asked Humes to contribute some material for a mini-documentary he was working on entitled Changing Identity, then later renamed I Am the Magical Bunny. The film's focus was on internet games, mainly Second Life and the freedom gained by not being tied to a specific identity while in this digital-fantasy realm. Charles jumped at the chance and within a few months' time handed over five instrumental songs inspired by the technological world and wonders freshly available at his fingertips.

Following this, Humes began tearing apart the two ghost-albums in an attempt to kill three birds with one stone: come up with a new full-length album and finally put Songs from Diakon and A Blue's Development to rest. The result is Diakon, Echo, projected to be finished in late summer of 2010. It will be a ten-song album years in the making and featuring some of Charles' friends and band-mates lending their voices to the effort. Humes has said he plans to make it available for free when it is finished. More to come, as it happens.

And thus is the story of Vaalo, so far...

DiscographyEdit

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