Archive for November, 2010

website all rebooted (except for the blog)

I woke up sick yesterday. I’m still sick today, too. But one of the advantages, such as there are any, of being ill is that you lie around and don’t do much – which is the perfect time to rebuild a website!

So is rebuilt. It’s several pages now rather than the previous single-page WTFery of yore, and I added some extra stuff. I still have more little things to put on it, and I want to fiddle with the menus a bit, but – whaddya think? Did I miss anything important?

Also, if you missed it: new song! A live track. Enjoy:

14 of 14

Track 14 is finished. I went with a live track, the first I’ve posted, of a song that hasn’t been recorded in the studio yet; “Something’s Coming,” Live from the Lyons’ Den. I have Quen at leafdigital to thank for help in extracting out a mostly-separate vocal track for studio processing – thanks, Quen!

There’ll be a studio version of this song on a forthcoming album, but for now, on Dick Tracy Must Die, and you get a bonus live track as Track 14, and a little idea about how I start my shows these days. Enjoy:

We’re close now. Final mastering, final track order, booklet and graphics production; I want to make a couple of small changes to the tracks I recorded first, but not very much. Mastering, separately, is kind of a mystery to me, but I think I understand the idea. I hope I do, anyway. I have someone I want to ask about doing it, on a consulting basis at least, but I probably can’t afford them. We’ll see.

Also, my website is a mess, by which I mean damn, and I need to fix it, by which I mean now. I’ve been reading books but I’m strongly limited on computer keyboard time. If anybody out there has any suggestions for easier ways to do this stuff, and wants to help, or has ideas where I can get help, yell.

I can’t believe all 14 tracks are in the can. It’s crazy! But true! omg o.O

I know this can be done, just not how exactly.

…I even know how the math works. But that’s a long, long way from code, and besides, I know this already exists.

I have a live recording from last Saturday. On the left track, I have vocals + instruments. On the right track, I have just instruments. I want to subtract the instrument-only right track from the left track to get a clean, or at least reasonably clean, vocal track.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, because I’m going to put it back on top of the same instrumental track, I need to level some stuff and get rid of a couple of weird pumping-like artefacts and that’ll work 100x better with the mostly-clean vocals hanging out over there —>. People do the same audio math all the time, removing vocals for sampling, remixes, karaoke, stuff like that.

My digital audio workstation is Ardour running on Ubuntu Studio 8.04. I’d prefer to do this in Ardour, but if I have to install something else, I can. (And I have the Ubuntu Studio audio suite already installed. I also have an OSX box, and can boot the Ubuntu box into XP, if I must, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass to get things across the systems.) Google has not helped me.

Can I do this in Ardour? That would be optimal. I have Audacity running on the same Ubuntu box, tho’ I’ve never used it. I also have Rosegarden and it seems to run, and a bunch of other things I don’t know anything about yet because I haven’t tried them but none of them seem likely to do this. (Drum sequencer, stuff like that.)

If so, how? If not, what do I need?

Thanks in advance…

Thinking by typing

I’m strongly considering leaving “Getting Away with It” off Dick Tracy Must Die. The album is already almost 44 minutes long, so it’s a decent length now. But much more importantly, I’m starting to think that “Getting Away with It” just isn’t ready. Worse, I’m starting to think it’s not going to be ready very soon. I’m starting to get the outlines of a new, even longer version of the song in my head, one that’s a little less hip-hop and is a little bit slower. I’m not sure. Part of that is… well…

…”Getting Away with It” should be epic. I’m sure of this. In my head, this thing is an opera, a showcase, a sprawling showstopper. It’s technically difficult, it’s already long (about 5m30), it’s got two levels of story going on… frankly, it’s a monster. But right now, it’s not having the impact I think it should, live, and right now, I think people are just plain overwhelmed by the sheer number of words. I’ve been thinking I can fix this when I record the studio version, but now I think it needs more than just the studio treatment.

If the live recording of last Saturday’s show came out decently – I haven’t checked yet – I might include a live cut as a bonus track. Then I’ll do a reworked studio version later. I’m honestly… I was sure for a long time that it was ready. I really was. But the more I work on it, the more I think I was premature. I think that’s why I have such a difficult time with it, still, both live and in studio.

I don’t think I’m cheating the album by doing this. Originally, Dick Tracy Must Die was going to be a 10-track CD, with “Getting Away with It” as the final track. I’ve cut other songs that were originally going to be on this album – most notably, “Life in the Underground” and “The World Falls Down1.” And I brought forward tracks from the untitled third album2. As of now, even without “Getting Away with It,” Dick Tracy is 13 tracks, with one more song than originally planned; with a live version of “Getting Away with It” in its current state as a bonus track, it’d be 14, with the final three tracks being “Stay Away,” “Shout at the Desert,” and “My Boyfriend.” I think that’s a pretty good closing – two hard-driving songs about existential questions, followed by dessert in the form of some comic relief.

…and with all this typing, I think I may have realised that the third album – the second “real” album of vocal/full-band original music – is called Getting Away With It, and that a reworked “Getting Away with It” is the title track. It’s definitely something to give serious consideration.

That kinda works in my head. Anybody out there got any thoughts? Particularly any of you who’ve heard “Getting Away with It”?

1: I put part of “The World Falls Down,” changed a bit, on the ending of “Thought You Knew,” if you want to have an idea about what it sounded like.

2: YES I HAVE THREE ALBUMS PLANNED OUT. The second, Distractions, is a collection of instrumentals and was originally going to have some traditional songs but I may do that as a separate EP. The third one has no title yet but starts with “Something’s Coming” and may have a tracklist of “Sad Muppet,” “Get Out,” “Hate Your Day Job,” “(Sick of) America,” “Roughrider,” “Taking Away,” “Elementals,” “December Storms” (that album’s instrumental, if I can come up with an ending), “What the Hell?” (which really needs a new title), and, if it works out, “Coyote.” It’s actually quite a bit lighter in tone than Dick Tracy Must Die. The fourth one is going to be called Rule the World but I don’t have any tracks written for it yet. Um. Except “Death Fat.” That’ll be on Rule the World. Have I mentioned I write a lot of songs?

And then there was one

Stay Away,” the 13th of 14 tracks of Dick Tracy Must Die, is a song for the desperate – a song of the kind of person so burned, so abused, so bereft of trust that they are unable any longer to ask for help, but can only tell people to stay back, to stay away, not to touch her – with the tiny, dying ember of desperate hope that someone will understand and prove her wrong. But don’t count on it.

It’s paired, in concert, with “Shout at the Desert,” which is, in turn, a song for the lost. “Stay Away” also features the return of the Fake Drumkit, but this time, not for lulz. Enjoy:

And, of course, don’t forget the show: Saturday, 8pm, Bothell, Dara, alone in the Lyons’ Den. Come – if you have a taste for blood.

open mics and missing pieces

Doing a bunch of open mics to promote the Saturday show; had fun rocking the Q Cafe tonight, will probably go to the Blue Moon tomorrow (Wednesday – I guess that’s today now, lol). Not sure where Thursday yet.

“Stay Away” is frustrating the hell out of me suddenly because I love everything I have recorded (including REVENGE OF THE FAKE DRUMKIT XD ) but I don’t have an extra thing for the bridge. It might not need anything in the bridge. But it feels like there’s an empty shape there. Or something. nnngh nnngh nnngh frustrating.

time for the big show

Well, okay, not until Saturday is it time for the big show, the last of the year as nobody will book anything but Christmas music in December and I gotta say: criminal elves don’t play that. And I won’t be playing any of that this weekend at The Lyons’ Den in Bothell, either, but I will be playing a big ol’ fleet of original music, a few covers I have permission to do – you can’t do most covers at the Den, they aren’t allowed, but I’m in the clear on these – and a few traditionals thrown in for good measure. The important bits:

I’ve also made a new Trad O’ th’ Fortnight recording. If you sign up for the mailing list, you can download a high-bitrate mp3 just for signing up. It’s Great Big Sea, the trad song the band presumably got their name from. The arrangement on their self-titled album is Bob’s, but the song itself is trad, and my arrangement is all my own, so there. Besides, it’s fun to play, and I have no idea what the lyrics mean, and that makes it cool.

Like fezzes.

Work proceeds apace on “Stay Away,” the 13th of 14 tracks on Dick Tracy Must Die. Stay tuned for further announcements. so close

not getting the point lulz

While getting paper posters printed at the copy centre, I was talking to a couple of people about the band, and this older woman came up to me, and exclaimed:

CRIME and the forces of EVIL? Where’s the positivity in THAT?!

Yeah, lady, I got news. XD


Not much of an update today – I got posters duplicated for the November 20th show at The Lyons’ Den in Bothell (8pm! No cover, c’mon out!) and put a bunch up various places not far from the venue. They look like this:

Click to enlarge

Where else should I try to hang these in real life? For the Wayward show, physical posters brought more people in than anything else. Want to help? Lots more sizes here. Tell your friends! Or your enemies. Whatever works. XD

Also: behind schedule on “Stay Away.” I have a zouk track down but not much else. 🙁 I’m not stuck, just overwhelmed with Other Crap. If you haven’t listened to any of the other tracks from Dick Tracy, tho’, click through and give a listen. Or there’s the video here – just skip ahead to the 40m mark with the slider. Neither of those songs are on this album, so to most of you, they’re new.

Oh look, video!

I played the open mic at Soul Food Books last night! They [used to] archive their streamed video [but no longer do; I’ve removed the links]. I went mostly so I could promote my show at The Lyon’s Den in Bothell on November 20th at 8pm, and I played a couple of songs you’ve probably never heard me play before – a cover, SJ Tucker’s “Come to the Labyrinth,” and one of my own, a newer song called “Something’s Coming.” “Something’s Coming” isn’t going to be on Dick Tracy Must Die – it’s the lead track for the as-yet-unnamed third album which almost certainly won’t be called Rule the World. (That’s the fourth album! XD )

I’m on a little more than 40 minutes in to this archived feed. You can’t hear the crowd at all, which is too bad, ’cause they were into it – Clint said what I did with “Come to the Labyrinth,” was, and I quote, “awesome” – and even with the… filtered? not sure what they did there… vocal mix it’ll give you an idea of what to expect out of a solo show. Just with, you know, much less pixelation. I’m higher resolution in real life. Mostly. XD

Also, don’t forget to join the mailing list if you want to participate in the Trad o’ th’ Week Occasional Giveaways. There’ll be a new track next week (not Monday, but before Friday) and then the old one goes away! So if you want it, now’s the time.

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