a really good DIY on studio conditioning

So remember the guest post that Jeff Bohnhoff wrote for the Studio Buildout Series of articles I posted while building out my studio?

Jeff has his own blog now for his own studio, and yesterday he put up a really good and extensive build report on his latest round of studio room conditioning, including a lot of details on building really large and pro-style sound baffles. They look spectacular and if you have any interest in home recording or sound control in a room, you should go look at it. It’s great.

Advance Review Copies of Bone Walker went out last night and we already have an awesome surprise that I can’t talk about yet. But I will, later. so exciting

Bone Walker is released to manufacturing

The disc is approved. NEXT!

We just signed off on the master (with one small CD-TEXT modification, but that’s nothing). SHIP PARTY AT CONFLIKT! EVERYBODY SHOW UP OK!

the test master should arrive today

The test master CD for Bone Walker should arrive today from Mark Yoshida, our mastering engineer in Memphis.

The musicianship on this is amazing.

–Mark Yoshida, on the phone, last night

I’ve never worked with Mark before but he works for much bigger fish than us in Memphis, a music capital, so he knows from what, and apparently, this is what. eeeeeee so excited


the bone walker begins to manifest

Heavy weekend of graphic design and editing here at Supervillain Studios. Particularly the editing – Anna got through the last sweep of Bone Walker the novel today.

The CD case we’re using for Bone Walker the album is wraparound-style! It’s also damn near indestructible. It comes from Australia, so that’s undoubtedly why. But it also means we can do new things with the art:

There’ll be a little booklet on the inside again too, with thanks and liner notes and all the usual. This thing is becoming physical, it’s turning into an object. (An object that, I remind you, you can pre-order. You’ll have a good shot at an extra present, too.) The album is starting to manifest.

…and the book is not far behind. Pre order now, because pretty soon, it won’t be a pre-order anymore.

hatsumode 2015

I’m mostly doing graphic design today. But enjoy some nature photos from hatsumode 2015. More at Flickr as usual, but I liked these two particularly.

Happy New Year 2015!

Well, it’s 2015, and I’m writing this as the fireworks are still going off around me and downtown; I didn’t go, I’ve been too busy working on all the tune parts for the live Bone Walker release party/concert at Conflikt at the end of the month.

It’s hard work, too. I have a little secret that isn’t very secret: I am not a natural tunes player, and, this being the trad album, there’re a lot of tunes in it. They were by far the most difficult part of the album, and they’ll be the most difficult thing to perform live, and even though I’ll be kind of miked down a bit on mandolin, I still need to get it right.

Seriously, though; rhythm parts: 10 minutes to learn. Melody on flute: maybe 20. Sung parts: 10-15 minutes, and I’ll make new parts. Tunes: weeks. No idea why. It’s such an outlier that Anna has incorporated it into the Free Court universe, in the background, as part of the way magic works; traditional Irish tunes and the Sidhe magics don’t get along, and that’s on purpose.

But I’ll manage, I always do.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Space Needle is currently fireworking Newfoundland colours. I’m not even making that up. Newfoundland Liberation Army, represent.

I’ve seen people say that 2014 flew by; not for me. For me it felt kind of endless; 2013 seems so long ago. 2014 certainly had some personal lows; two more rounds of eye surgery, including – hopefully – the last one; way too much hanging out at home (recovering) and studio (recording). But it had highs, too – the most successful nwcMUSIC to date, actually finishing the Bone Walker project (preorder OK!) and y’know what, I’m going to say it again:

Korrasami is canon and nothing hurts.

No, seriously, see… here’s yet another level of it. There’s this longstanding trope of having queer couples who end up dead, or in tragedy. I mean, sure, mostly we don’t exist, but if we do: tragedy or death. Not cake or death; tragedy or death. We get one or the other, and sometimes both. Mercedes Lackey did it, for example; big three-book queer love story; one ends up dead, and gets reincarnated (without memories), so he can fall back in love with the survivor… who then dies. Tragedy and death twice in one trilogy! It’s amazing.

Similarly, as much as I love Revolutionary Girl Utena, it did it too, more or less. Maybe Utena still exists; maybe Anthy will find Utena; we don’t know. (In the manga, she doesn’t, but the anime is different in many ways.) At the time, I was really angry about it, because it hit that same trope after teasing us with better; even though she’s not dead (or so it’s implied), they’re still ending apart, as stories say you must, if you’re queer.

Elfquest, too. Dart’s boyfriend Shushen? Introduced and dead in two issues. Boom.

Basically, as a rule, queers don’t get to go off into the sunset together, in fiction. That’s historically not for us. For us: tragedy and/or separation, often through death.

Until now.

I can’t overstate how much that changes the world. It may not seem like much to people who are used to having it. But in a desert, even a teacup’s worth becomes an ocean of water. And for that, I can forgive a lot about 2014.

We face 2015 with a whole new world. Gear up, everybody – let’s see what it brings.

bone walker is more than an accessory

I’ve been talking a lot about Bone Walker as a soundtrack album for the Free Court of Seattle fantasy novel series, because, well, it is.

But I think that creates a misleading impression. People have been after me for a long time to do an instrumental and/or a trad album. This is also that album.

Leaving out the readings, and the tie-in factor, and this is a 10-track album of mostly traditional music. The arrangements aren’t real traditional, maybe – or, as one might say, “that’s all well and good, but it’s not very Irish, is it?” – but it’s still pretty heavily trad.

And that’s mostly just a long way of saying, “You don’t have to read the novels to like the album.” It’ll all make sense without that – well, okay, maybe the readings will be a little bit context-free. But the rest?

This was envisioned as a quick project, something that would take about six months and be a fun Kickstarter reward. But it grew way beyond that. Sure, part of the reason it took so long is because of unpleasant surprises like eye surgeries. But it also took longer because we put so much into it. We pushed ourselves hard. We brought in guests like Alexander James Adams and Sunnie Larsen and Sarah Kellington and Ellen Eades and Leannan Sidhe and Klopfenpop. We invented new process technologies and went way the hell over budget, something I’m not in the least sorry about.

So what I’m saying is: don’t hear “soundtrack album” and think “accessory to something else.” It’s not. It stands on its own. Give the samples a listen, and if you like what you hear, pre-order. Even with the Kickstarter money, we won’t be ahead of this curve on shipment. But I think when people hear it, they’ll know – it was worth it.

oh good, the horrible people have arrived

A science-fiction writer of some notice has taken rather severe exception to the Legend of Korra finale. It’s the sort of vicious vitroil that I would expect out of Concerned Women for America – it’s too crude for the relatively-erudite such as Focus on the Family, and a bit too literate for the cretins at the American Family Association. You don’t have to read it; it’s the usual eliminationist rant.

I found out about it via Jim Hines’s post to his blog, and mostly, I spent time talking about how Korra affected a lot of us. But then Mr. Writer’s minions started showing up with their all-queers-are-child-molesters savagery, and, well, I may have started to have some fun with them last night.

A week ago, I made a now rather popular commentary on poison. These are people who would do and are doing everything they can to keep that poison inside of us – any method, rhetorical or otherwise, apparently will suffice. One of them is currently actively attempting to conflate abuse victims with child molesters. It’s quite repulsive.

I can’t imagine how it must feel, to be that brutal a sadist. Even I’m not that sort of terrible person, and I’m a goddamn supervillain.

Ah, well. I’m just glad the Avatar is on our side. \o/

eta: Hooo, I hadn’t noticed the comment section on the original post had grown so much – I’m not sure whether my favourite comment is the one about how the rules of drama require that a strong female character have a stronger male love interest, the complaint about how Katara never learned proper submission to Aang, or the assertion that all anime exists to train child molesters.

It is a very strange universe over there.

eta2: Anna has a post up about the last beehive of 2014, and the idea of exterminating ideas, in the way Mr. Writer demands.

running some numbers on 2014

It’s been a problematic year, in a lot of ways; started out with the third round of eye surgery and recovery from all three initial rounds, and ended on a fourth round which will hopefully be the last. In between, despite everything, we managed to produce a new album (which I certainly hope you will preorder) and even tour a little.

But in terms of public exposure, it’s mostly been… about the blog. And that’s really not how to do things as a musician. I haven’t even started booking much for 2015 yet, because I’ve been waiting for this last go-round with the eye, afraid it’d explode again making me cancel anything I set up.

Hopefully we can move past that now.

Still, most of the visible action has been at the blog! So here’re the 2014 Top Ten Posts. Four of them are actually posts from 2013, so I’ll also add on the four that would’ve made it without those holdovers.

  1. Gatekeeping and Recourse: something only men can do about sexism in geek culture. (A perennial favourite, from 2013)
  2. Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, part 8: The Intrinsic Fraud of the Prestigious Internship. See above. Also 2013.
  3. An Embarrassing Stumble Towards Irrelevancy – comments on the SFWA petition flap and sexism.
  4. Mozilla and Firefox Careen Into a Ditch – comments on The Open Standard’s endorsement of Gamergate. This got me mentioned in The Daily Dot, so that was pretty cool.
  5. A Horrible Group of People – more on the SFWA petitioners, and specifically, on petition author Dave Truesdale’s “five furry pussies on the ballot” comment.
  6. What is Being Lost – the SFWA petitioners and failure to envision the present, much less the future. I sense a theme here; lots on sexism.
  7. Pushback and Misandry – sexism in geek culture and two case studies of sexist pushback against science. Another 2013 post in this year’s top 10.
  8. A Friday of Followups – Sarah Kellington of Pinniped comes in for recording, and more on the SFWA flap. Yay, something about music!
  9. Ribbon Mic Buildout – I built a ribbon microphone, and took pictures. The last of the 2013 posts in the top 10.
  10. Way Too Much to Dislike: my highly critical review of Doctor Who: The Caretaker. This was before “Kill the Moon” and my breakup of Moffat’s Who.

It reflects the controversies of 2014 geek culture pretty solidly, I’m afraid. But that’s not the whole story.

The difficult thing about this blog is that it’s echoed a lot of places. Some places, in entirety. Some comments come back here, and others are linked, but I’m not making any attempt to include views on those other sites in my numbers. I still have three-digits worth of views per post on Livejournal, and this year, Tumblr started mattering. In some cases, mattering a lot.

And by “a lot,” well – the biggest post in this list got over 17,000 views at the home site this year. That is a lot for me, and it’s totally awesome. Most of them aren’t nearly that popular, at least, not here.

Let’s take a look 2014’s 7, 8, 9, and 10th most popular posts, because one of them is a Tumblr example:

  1. Insects of the Writing World – on the contempt for the new shown by the SFWA old guard. Essentially tied are:
  1. A Quiet Night at the Lair: Korrasami is Canon and Nothing Hurts, and,
  1. GamerGate True Believes are the Anti-Vaxxers of the Online World, and finally:
  1. If One of the Bottles Should Happen to Fall – more SFWA sexism, specifically, Sean Fodera’s arguably questionable apology to Mary Robinette Kowal

Number eight there? A Quiet Night at the Lair: Korrasami is Canon and Nothing Hurts? Here, it has a couple of hundred views. Plus another couple of hundred at Livejournal, and a few other places. All combined, over 400 views, which actually isn’t all that far above average.

On Tumblr, though? It rocketshot. I can only get an estimate of the views, but the data I have puts it at around 35,000-45,000, mostly for the addendum commentary at the end. It nearly triples the number one post’s total count actually on crimeandtheforcesofevil.com.

That’s not the only post I’ve had do that. Rock candy geode did that too. And a post I made of some of the Kitsune at War sheet music (a bass-clef transposition actually left labelled “flute”) is nearing six digits.

In the past, I’ve questioned my “echo everything everywhere” strategy, of letting people read whatever they want wherever they want. It didn’t seem to have been getting me much, and certainly, things like Facebook are a total bust. (And given how Facebook Destroys Everything, I’m kind of okay with that.)

But having had a year which has, by necessity, been mostly about being online… it may have started to catch. This strategy may vindicate itself after all. That would be nice.

An addendum: None of these lists include compilation posts, which are nexus posts for specific topics, like, the sexism and racism in geek culture collection, the studio buildout series on how to build your own recording space, and Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment. Those would all be in the top ten, but obviously shouldn’t count.

You can still pre-order Bone Walker and maybe get a bonus

The soundtrack album is still at the mastering engineer – these things take a while, particularly since we’re having the same people do the replication. We’re using the same people that SJ Tucker uses for her CDs (thanks for the rec, Sooj) and I know their work, it’s quality. We’ll be getting it back in time for the release show at Conflikt, and there’s still time to pre-order it and help us pay for all these things.

Here’s the disc label graphic, as sent to the printer. It’s Kiri Moth’s art. Pretty, no?

All these pre-orders will be signed, and one of them will get a small special present included. Remember that test CD I was carrying around for a while? I posted about it back in October, and talked about carrying it around to places here.

One pre-orderer will also get that test actual CD. There are differences, too – we made mix changes on three tracks. I’ll sign that, too, and include a little note certifying that yep: it’s the one in the picture. It’s unique, a one-off, and if you find those sorts of things interesting, well, this is how you can get a legit shot at one. It’s not super-fancy or anything – it’s a CD-R with sharpie writing on it, I mean, go look at the picture. But it’s the only copy of that exists, and there won’t be another.

You can pre-order here. The pre-order ends when the CDs get here, and I don’t know exactly when that’ll be. So if you want a shot at the bonus stuff, now is the time. Clickie!

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