Archive for January, 2011

Kickstarter? I never even

Solarbird, the Lightbringer, here; I spent most of the weekend at Conflikt, playing way too late and discovering a scotch I actually like way too much XD. If you weren’t there, you missed the first public playings of “Coyote” and the West Coast Style version of “Old Black Rum,” as well as me doing one of my rare slow songs, “Where Are You (My Love)?” which I wrote in part just to prove I could. Ha! You also missed a bunch of other peoples’ firsts, not the least of which was Leannan Sidhe‘s first stage show, and the only performance by the scrambleband Invader Tak and the Perfectly Normal Humans. Make it next time! XD

I took a picture of the scotch so I’d remember it, lol:

drunk – focus later

We have 18 days to go on the Kickstarter project for duplicating Dick Tracy Must Die – almost halfway through – and we’re at almost 56% of funding. Thanks to the people who have gotten us this far, and to everybody who has gone up and looked over the project and the site and are still thinking about it. I hope you’ll back this release! Click here to see the video and sign up to be a backer!1 It doesn’t have to be a lot of money – any level is welcome! And you can look at it as a CD pre-order, too, since there are rewards for backers, most of which include copies of the CD. ^_^

In other news, I forgot to include a player the other day when I was talking about the Cracksman Betty project. These are the single-day takes on traditional songs. Here’s one; enjoy:

I am sooo sleeeepy there are not words. How was your weekend?

1: If you haven’t yet, here’s how it works: Kickstarter is an arena for microfunding of creative projects. It’s a crowdsourcing venue, essentially. People pledge money, and if the target is reached, the money is accepted and paid through! If not, all the pledges are voided and no money changes hands. Kickstarter makes their money by taking a small cut. The amount I’m hoping to raise accounts for that cut, of course.

been a long long time

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down in front of six-figures worth of audio equipment – I’m pretty sure the D/A converter alone cost more than all of my equipment combined. Fortunately, I had Mark from Seattle Disc Mastering to run it, so I’m back from the studio with a test master! I’ll be playing it on a lot of things over the next few days as I wait for an ISRC number assignment early next week.

We didn’t make any huge changes. It’s a collection of subtleties – some things are clearer, overall song equalisation is consistent across songs (like you expect on an album), there’s a bit more presence here and there, and a bit of the harshness of the kind of digital hardware I can afford is softened enough to prevent aural fatigue, the live track now sounds… more better, really. It’s all compressed a bit more. No, I’m not taking up arms in the Loudness Wars, it’s just enough to play better/more consistently across a wider array of equipment. Things like that.

Also, I can level up in hipster cred, as vacuum tubes have now been used to a significant degree in my CD process.

I rebuilt my EICO ST-40, I have a right!

I asked Mark, my mastering engineer, who he thought I sounded like. He was at a bit of a loss – other than Led Zeppelin. AGH! XD

I shoulda taken pictures. Oops. Oh well, I’m tired! That was a lot of work. G’night!

I could not make up a review this good O.O

The first review I’ve found of Dick Tracy Must Die appeared on the web today, over at Diamond Island. It’s based on the downloadable album on Bandcamp, the files that went off to the mastering engineer. And…

…my gods, it’s full of raves. I’m… boggling. No bullshit here, I am stunned:

“[Dick Tracy Must Die is] outstanding… these birds are grown up and fly on their own… different, interesting, and independent at its core… biting insight and subtle wit… sincere and reasoned tenderness… Nothing’s wasted here…. I can’t find a single [song] I dislike. … The territory covered is impressive. I have yet to tire of it. The group characterizes itself as acoustic elf-metal. I would venture to say their sound is better described as acoustic elf-chrome—lustrous, hard, and pure.


…I’m not gonna lie. I didn’t think I’d ever get a review like this. From anybody. Ever. Particularly not from somebody who kinda hated Sketchy Characters.

People, f’srs, I gotta get this duplicator. Clickie for the Kickstarter project page. Srsly.

And here, have a player, they’ve made the whole-album player available. Yay!

I’m still boggling. OMG.

cracksman betty

The trad album has a name.

Cracksman Betty

…and cover art, as you can see.

This is a web-only project; it’s the Trad o’ th’ Month singles, compiled into a web-album. They’re one-take, one-day wonders, traditional songs about riot, revolution, and piracy, with lyrics which may and may not be updated as the whim strikes. Muah ha ha! As I do more songs, I’ll upload them to the fan mailing list as a fan bonus (click here to join), and, shortly thereafter, up to the Cracksman Betty album page, where you can listen for free or download for a small fee.

A Cracksman, as you might guess, is a stealth thief; a Betty, as you might not guess, is both a woman’s name and a lockpicking kit. If you haven’t heard of the series of stories featuring Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman, he was a contemporary counterpart to Sherlock Holmes, and even obliquely referenced in one Holmes short story. You can download the Raffles stories in ebook from from Project Gutenberg, if you’re interested; I did. ^_^

And, as always, don’t forget the Dick Tracy Must Duplicate kickstarter project. Clicky!

A new mastering engineer

I haven’t posted about this yet, but our previous mastering engineer has had to bow out – his studio is suddenly a construction zone, and he’s going to have to relocate. It will be weeks – at best – of delay, so he’s referring his pending clients around to other engineers. Thanks, John, and good luck finding a new place to house panicStudios!

I’m meeting up with Mark Guenther of Seattle Disc Mastering on Thursday. He’s done some projects of which I’m aware (including working with Smoosh! <3) so hopefully that will go well. This of course means that the CD is delayed – but how much, exactly, I don’t know. I’ll show up at Conflikt with something, regardless – even tho’ of course I’m just attending as an attendee, not a guest, and I don’t have a show there.

At least this time, I won’t have to be chasing a dozen people down for Norwescon paperwork, unlike last year. XD

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter project, and it’d be really nice if you told other people about it. After a great start on Friday, things have basically gone quiet, so – clickie! Thanks. ^_^


Hey, everybody – how was your weekend?

I spent mine working on chords for a guest appearance I’m doing with Leannan Sidhe in February – sadly, it’s a private event, so you guys can’t attend, but I wish you could! Also Anna and I hosted Glenn as he came over for some practice for next Wednesday’s Session at A Terrible Beauty, in Renton. Liz Jackson does good photo, I gotta say:

Surprisingly, we’re already halfway there on the Dick Tracy Must Duplicate Kickstarter project! If you haven’t, yet, go check it out, and tell your friends!

So – how was your weekend?

So what is a Kickstarter project? is a website that helps people fund creative projects. You come up with a project, you pitch it to them via a form; they approve it, or not! Then you go shoot a little video (strongly recommended but not technically required), come up with rewards for backers, and post it! If you reach your project target, the money gets awarded; if you don’t, then the money is never charged to the backers, without fees. So projects either get funded completely, or not at all, so you have no half-funded attempts.

I tried to make the video entertaining. I’m told I succeeded! Give it a clickie.

My project is for a CD Duplicator, for duplicating Dick Tracy Must Die and other projects. I’m also planning on making it available on a limited basis for other people so they can get sample runs out, but that’s not specifically part of the project. It looks like this:

LightScribe-supporting disc duplicator

Here are the rewards:

  • PLEDGE $10 OR MORE – A custom two-song CD single of your choice! Name your tracks. ^_^
  • PLEDGE $15 OR MORE – A signed two-song custom CD single of your choice! Name your tracks. ^_^
  • PLEDGE $30 OR MORE – A signed copy of the finished album! FEEL THE RAEG!
  • PLEDGE $50 OR MORE – Bring in 40 blank discs and your own (legal!) recording; we’ll print it for you!
  • PLEDGE $75 OR MORE – A signed copy of the finished album, and if you bring in 50 blank discs and your own (legal!) recording, we’ll print ’em for you.
  • PLEDGE $100 OR MORE – Two signed copies of the finished album, and Solarbird will play your event, anywhere up and down the Cascadian rail corridor!
  • PLEDGE $200 OR MORE – Two signed copies of the finished album, and if you bring in 250 blank discs and your own recording, I’ll print your first 250 CDs!
  • PLEDGE $350 OR MORE – Two signed copies of the finished album, and Solarbird will produce your single in her ministudio. PLEASE BE AWARE that this is a very small studio, suitable for one musician at a time, without even room for a proper drumkit. But this is where she recorded and produced Dick Tracy Must Die, Twelve Good Measures’s vocal recording, “Nothin’ But a Song,” and a couple of other projects. Listen to those at our website!

So that’s what it’s about. Please tell people about this, so that I have a shot of raising the money for this tool. I have a lot of ideas about little runs of different kinds of music, and this would make that a lot easier. And consider backing the project!

now we really have gone and done it

I’ve launched that threatened Kickstarter project! This is the one to buy a CD duplicator. It has a video and I wonder whether you can embed iframes in WordPress blogs! Let’s find out!

This doesn’t actually cost much more than getting 300 or so discs printed up by a professional, so buying in this case is, disturbingly enough, the frugal solution! There are rewards for backers and all kinds of stuff. My current sponsors (who were credited on Sketchy Characters and will again be credited in Dick Tracy Must Die) are what got my studio equipment bought, so this is a new way of an old trick, but with added publicity! I hope. Check it. ^_^

ARC raffle winners!

Oh right, there’s an ARC winner to announce today! Yay! Let’s see what this d12 has to say:


lj:windbourne, that’s you! Please contact me with a physical mailing address! I’ll also send mail to your LJ inbox.

But wait! There are enough entrants I want to draw a second winner. Oh, Magic Dodecahedron, what do you have to say this second time?

Snakes Point to Twelve

Blog of Evil registered user Wildcard, that’s you! Please contact me with your physical address! I will of course also send you email.

I’ll probably do another drawing next week, for March. Today, though, I’m working on that Kickstarter project video to get a CD duplicator. It’s mostly just documentary – here’s what we do, here’s how we do it, here’s what we want and why – all in two minutes, but it has a couple of hopefully-funny bits as well. I’ve already shot the video and am editing it down this afternoon; I’m hoping to get the voiceovers done later today too. I’ll post about that as soon as it’s up.

Thanks everybody for entering, and I look forward to both reviews! Rawk on, everybody – I’m out! n/

Last call for entries!

This the last call for entries for the ARC raffle! You can listen to songs here to see whether you like this kind of thing. And it’s also a test of a new cross-posting plug-in I found this morning. Let’s see whether it works! XD

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