Archive for June, 2014

packing out for the east

Packing up to head east to the Dry Side! See you in Richland, excuse me, Greenwood, maybe?

I know I haven’t been posting much, it’s because of all the rental cleanup/repair/restoration insanity I’ve been dealing with over the last week and a half. It’s not done, either; as soon as I get back, it’ll be time to sand cabinets. Yay.

This floor, we were going to have abated but we’re going to cover it with a new subfloor instead. It’s lower than the other floors in the apartment anyway. Why? Who even knows.

When we put down the new subfloor I’m going to leave a note saying DO NOT PULL THIS UP WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO IT IS NOT WORTH IT and then underneath the subfloor I will leave a note saying YOU PULLED IT UP! YOU PULLED IT UP, YOU GOD DAMNED MANIACS, YOU PULLED IT UP! possibly with an asbestos warning and possibly just with a photo of Charlton Heston.

Next week I can get back to the album. Sometime. I’m not exactly sure when. But next week. We may have slipped to end of July, but goddammit, this thing is coming out this summer!

eta: I did the thing.

really exciting news but no room in the margins

I have some really exciting news about Bone Walker, the Free Court of Seattle soundtrack album, but I can’t say what yet because… I lack room in the margins? No! Because I want to tease you about it a bit? No! Well, okay, partly. But mostly because I have to nail down a few other things first and because the other life things are killing me and because I have a whole bunch of shows in a row to deal with first.

But, yeah. We’ll be being joined by somebody on some songs. Somebody we haven’t mentioned yet. It’s cool.

Good rehearsal today with Leannan Sidhe, between rounds of working on apartment renovation. Also had time to dip the hair back in the lava. Look, the lava pit has a doggie! She sits in my lap during the Process.

Maggie is a Good Dog. I have no idea what she sees in me.

Oh right, lots of petting, that’s what. 😀

added shows


I’m also swamped to the gills with Day Jobbe work. I worked all weekend, I’ll be working all week, it’s going to be insane. THAT SAID: I HAVE SHOWS.

  • June 28-29, 2014: Guest appearance with Leannan Sidhe, Greenwood Renfaire, Richland, Washington.
  • July 5, 2014: GAMCON 2014, The Kitsap Convention Centre, Bremerton, Washington.
  • July 13-14, 2014: Clallam Bay Comicon, Clallam Bay, Washington. Double-bill with Leannan Sidhe.

The difference between Greenwood and Clallam Bay is that in Greenwood, I’m playing as part of the Leannan Sidhe touring band; at Comicon, Shanti will be part of my band. And also then I’ll be part of her band for her set. lol transforming bands. XD

music in the post-scarcity environment part 9: google makes its move

Marian Call got my attention yesterday with this tweet:

So I went looking around, and yep, it’s absolutely true. The Guardian also has commentary, as does ars technica, but the Bloomberg article is a bit more in depth.

YouTube wants to solve its “being a radio station” problem with a new streaming service, apparently, and if you as an artist don’t like it, they’re going to exile you. One imagines they won’t outright throw non-new-service-licensing videos offline (tho’ that might actually happen), but they can do a whole hell of a lot by whittling them out of search results. (And, apparently, getting all letter-of-the-law on accessibility.) Several smaller/indie labels in Europe are suing for regulatory intervention to prevent this; I’ve no idea how that will go.

It’s a huge loss, if it plays out as reported. Last I checked – a couple of years ago – YouTube amounted for nearly 70% of music plays on the Internet. Google are the new gatekeepers, and wow, does that suck, because “Don’t Be Evil, Inc.” has been busily showing what a lie that was this entire decade.

Now me, I don’t have a big YouTube presence; I’m barely there at all. Really, I’m only there so if someone actively looks for me, they find something. I’m not on even an “indie” label. I haven’t been asked boo about this initiative and I’m sure I won’t be – which means I sure as hell won’t be on their new service. I’ll be locked out.

On the other hand, I’m likewise sure they won’t be throwing off my tiny-viewership live videos. But damn, folks. A lot of people (Hi Molly!) have gained a lot of traction (Hi Doubleclicks!) on YouTube, and … will this hit them? I don’t know yet.

But it does almost certainly say that this particular onramp – a big onramp – is henceforth closed. Sure, you can still upload your videos. Shame if nobody was to find them.

And that’s certainly one problem. With this action, Google/YouTube have taken the gatekeeper position so many people (hi) have been worrying they’d take. Right now, it’s music. What next?

A further specific music problem gets discussed over here at the generically-named Music Industry Blog. Basically, Apple loss-leads content to sell hardware, with their music service, this claims. Amazon does the reverse – loss-leads hardware to sell music/content.

Google/YouTube’s plan is to loss-lead on both, in order to own you. Which is Google’s business model in general, of course. But the downside is that it means they’re placing no value on either music or music technologies – they’re both just lures. Which has the psychological effect of further devaluing the idea of music having value – bringing zero-value thinking to streaming services as well.

That’s possibly already a lost battle – see also how the music industry made “music ownership” have negative value – but if there’s more damage to do, I’m wondering if these clowns won’t find it. I’ve previously discussed how streaming/banking services keep alienating customers with constant appearance and disappearance of shows, due to licensing games. This takes “licensing game” up another whole new level.

In a real way, it’s another prevention-of-plenty action. Like the cable companies and the so-called “internet fast lane,” which means slow lane for you and me, Google is gaming the system to benefit themselves and the other large companies with which they are making these deals, at the expense of everyone else.

Let’s limit supply of music on YouTube to that from other large corporations. Let’s try to implement some artificial scarcity.

Is that the plan? Maybe. Where there’s a way, there’s a will, and this part of the supply-constraint game is the opposite of new.

But will it work? Good question. Looks like we’re about to find out.

This is Part Nine of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

why distance recording matters

One of the songs Anna wanted on the soundtrack album is a traditional piece called John Barbour. It’s the slow song on the album, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about distance recording.

I’ve spent lots and lots and lots of time talking about room conditioning in building home/personal studios. But I’ve also talked about the many benefits of gathering as much signal (what you’re trying to record) vs. noise (airplanes, busses, motors in the distance) as possible, which is usually achieved by close-miking. Close-miking still needs room conditioning, but honestly, not as much – you simply hear less room when the instrument is up in your metaphorical face like that.

(Hey, look, see, I can learn – I spelled it “miking” even tho’ there is no K in microphone. It’s MICrophone, not MIKrophone. See also: why “No.” is a stupid abbreviation for “number.” Perhaps I should compromise and use the cyrillic letter к instead. No? No.)

But this song is one of those times when I needed distance mics. Some instruments need space for their sound to develop. That sounds like woo, but it’s not; it’s certainly not subtle in the recordings, particularly with percussion.

I’m playing Quebec-style spoons on this song, along with zouk, and… nothing else, actually. Yeah, it’s that kind of song. Slow, simple.

And full of spoons.

Mic spoons close and to prevent clipping you have to damp the input down so far that all you get is a tic noise, with no secondary tones and no character at all. But mic these from a distance, say a metre or so – with in this case, an Oкtava mк-319, lol cyrillic see what I did there – and you end up with something that sounds like what you hear in real life.

Same goes for violins, and cellos too, to a lesser degree, and others. All of which is why you need the ability to distance mic if you’re recording live instruments.

And I have it! So what in Dick Tracy was a nightmare of equalisation, compensation, suboptimal microphones, weird compromises, and labour, turned into a simple setup, with a single take, and done.

Hannibal from A-Team: I love it when a plan comes together.

So do I, Hannibal. So do I.

john barbour is his name

It sounds crazy to think that only now have I pulled the last orange sheet out of The Big Book, but I have. It’s for John Barbour. Two instruments, plus voices. It’s the joker in the album – spare, sparse, slow.

Not words you typically expect out of me, but that’s what it wants. I suppose “sparse” is by my standards, but still. Untimed / free tempo, but again, slow – it’s about six minutes long. And I want it to sound as unprocessed as possible – tho’ of course I’ll use all sorts of plug-ins and massaging to make that happen, like one always does. XD

I didn’t have time to post anything yesterday, so here, have the flower I would’ve posted had I made time. These lillies are right by our front stairs, tho’ originally they were from a neighbour house being torn down, and I saved them. They bloomed late this year, but almost overnight went from nothing to some of the largest and prettiest they’ve ever been. Enjoy.


soundwaves the size of spaceships

I said I wasn’t going to be around, but about the time I realised I was setting up special filters to remove subsonics – bass below 20hz – from Kitsune at War, I realised I had to post, because c’mon. What the hell are these waveforms made of, duplo blocks?

We are from Planet Duplo and we are here to destroy you

This is actually pushing my software past some of its test limits. Not the core DAW, but some of the waveform manipulators. They’re doing things like lengthening sounds because they can’t handle notes with supercycles shorter than the note’s duration.

If that makes no sense to you, that’s okay. There’ll be a special remix specifically for the whale population who will want to hear that 4-8hz ultra bass.

Remember, last year, I warned you?

Extreme Crush Hazard

I was not fucking around.

up to my neck in mixing

I’m getting loads done on the album, but it’s eating all my time. Well, that, and I may have eaten something I shouldn’t’ve and now my stomach is not impressed. But mostly the album thing. So I’m going to be a bit quiet the next couple of weeks.

But the album? It’s sounding great. I’m doing Big Ending music right now, and the Big Board is getting more and more colours on it, which means more and more things are done.

Stay on target.

in honour of three hours of sanding dubious paint and rust

In honour of sanding and painting the only one that actually needed either – the better two cleaned up just fine, to my surprise – have this homemade storify of tweets from last weekend.

…ist used to own this, anyway? (Twitter cut it off.)

yell at the FCC about network neutrality

We’re in the comment period for the new FCC regulations which destroy Internet network neutrality. This may seem like an esoteric issue to you, but it’s not. It’s a core infrastructure question: whether you have to pay more to actually get your network traffic delivered. If you’re completely unfamiliar, here’s John Oliver talking about it in a funny but accurate way.

Gizmodo has step-by-step instructions on how to use the FCC’s comment form. I’ve filed my comment/complate; go file yours, even if it’s really short. There’s enough money on both sides of this that we have that little window of opportunity where public commentary can just maybe matter.

Is that cynical? No, it’s realistic. Take advantage of these opportunities when they appear. And go file that comment.

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