Archive for the ‘album notes’ Category

back to real recording

I did a lot of vocals recording Monday – some tracks I intend to keep, some more or less placeholders, scratch tracks for other vocalists – all on the new system, all at the absolutely goofy 0.7ms buffer setting, just to see if the system would actually work, being driven that hard all the time, over hours.

It does.

It hiccoughed a couple of times. Nothing involving data loss – after waking back up from screen lock mode, the audio subsystem had to be restarted by me, rather than coming back up on its own. I need to disable screen locking anyway. Once during some playback, I heard a momentary pause, though no XRUNs showed up in the status monitor, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.

I should probably, I dunno, step back a bit? Give it some margin for error? But so far, I’m not being forced to.

In other news, all 39 episodes of Revolutionary Girl Utena are legally on YouTube now. YOU HAVE NO MORE REASONS TO DELAY AND MAY START WATCHING NOW.

(Because jfc the chemistry between Utena and Anthy is smokin’ right out the goddamn gate. I do not like the series’s ending, because reasons addressed pretty directly by Avatar: The Legend of Korra, but everything up until that is amazing.)

almost ready

Setting up Bandcamp and working on the a lyrics video for Monday’s release while we have a lovely cool, rainy day outside. <3

station II station

Station II Station
(photo Christian C.)

A few weeks ago, I got to go to visit Microsoft’s anechoic chambers. This was super cool, particularly since I got to visit the world record holder, which was neat. A lot of people find them eerie and/or creepy; I just thought it was awesome. I have a big post queued up next week, with lots of pictures.

But I also wanted – since I had a unique opportunity here – to snap a thematic variant of David Bowie’s icon Station to Station album cover, from his Thin White Duke era, wherein he is also walking into an anechoic chamber. Mission accomplished!

(I wanted originally to do a straight-up re-creation, but the setting was too different. Science of sound damping has progressed since 1978! 😀 And inversion and variation is better art anyway!)

I’m really pleased with it. Thanks for the help, Christian – and, for that matter, the tour, Sean! And I’ll post about the whole experience next week.

hugo nominations closing tomorrow; nominate now!

Hey, this is the last-chance reminder for all you Hugo nominators to go out and get your nominations in and help prevent the monstrosity that was last year from happening again. The deadline is tomorrow!

Yes, the Sad Puppies are behaving this year, and have put up a large reading list that does not constitute a ballot because there are far too many entries. But the Rabids do have a slate, and they will be slate-voting it. It’s a smaller group, one desperately hopes, but they’re organised.

(For the record: Bone Walker is eligible as a Related Work, should you feel so inclined. It’s probably the only time I’ll be able to say that I have an eligible work in pro categories, so there it is! 😀 )

I’ve got my nominations in. I hope you’ll get yours in too.

the obligatory awards eligibility post

Never made one of these before, but there is a FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING, so:

Bone Walker was officially released on January 30, 2015, at Conflikt. We had a big release show there with most of the album performers – Alexander James Adams, Leannan Sidhe, Angela Korra’ti (filling in on flute, too), Sarah Kellington, plus bonus SJ Tucker on bass and and Jeri Lynn Cornish on cello and Paul Campbell on hammer dulcimer and Betsy Tinney on bodhran (YES BODHRAN) which means I had all of Tricky Pixie in my backup band.

Having read the rules carefully, I think it’s clear that as an official companion/soundtrack to a fantasy novel series, this album is eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Related Work. They may be thinking mostly about books, but we fit the requirements, just as much as the artbooks they describe.

Here’s our entry on a Hugo Nominees 2015 Wikia, which I’m pretty sure is not official, but is there nonetheless.

And, of course, any award that includes music and has January 30, 2015 in its date range would apply to this album – and to the individual tracks, as our Grammy Award adventures this year reminded me!

I admit to a little nervousness about bringing up Hugo Related Work eligibility, because of the traditional social rules against campaigning, and all the horribleness of last year. But there’s a problem I want to address here, to wit: the usual thought on music is that it shouldn’t be considered for any Hugo; it should instead be covered by the Pegasus filk awards given at OVFF.

Now, I think the Pegasus awards are great and I’d absolutely be honoured if considered. But the people I know in the filk community don’t see Bone Walker as filk, and I think they’re right. It’s not. “Thirteen,” which will be released on January 31st of this year – that’s absolutely me doing filk. (Metal filk is still filk!) “The Diesel-Driven Eight Dimensional Jet Car Blues” (Rock filk is still filk!) and “The S-100 Bus“? Filk is filk is filk.

Bone Walker, though… not filk. But pretty clearly an F&SF Related Work.

So there you are. If you’re the award-nominating sort, and feel like throwing something our way, this is it for 2015. And thanks.

comping an octave mandolin track

I called the photo “comping zouk” but NO it’s comping OCTAVE MANDOLIN! But octave mandolin like few people have heard it before. I’m not going to say nobody, but not many people, because this is not how this instrument is played. I’m driving this thing so downtuned and so hard that it’s a trial keeping it from slipping out of tune by the end of the song.

Part of that problem is that these strings are at the end of their life and I need to change them out, and I would’ve have already done, but I’m afraid I’ll lose the special sound quality I’ve managed to get the last few sessions.

And partly that slippage, the wearing, that’s also intentional, because the song’s about a coming apart of life, an overdriving of everything when faced with that, a place where all engines are running at 120% rated output and everything’s still firing but at the same time everything is absolutely tearing itself to pieces as a result and there is nothing you can do about it, and it’s necessary, but… you still know.

Because, see, this is a straight-up Doctor Who song, it’s based on a Vixy & Tony song called “Thirteen,” and it’s forthrightly about the Doctor dealing with whelp this is it, this is the last go, after a 12th regeneration, facing mortality right in the face, which was super-current when I wrote it, which meant for about six weeks, THANKS A LOT MOFFAT.

But even if it’s a period piece now, which it is, I still think it’s good, and while I’ve only played it out a couple of times so far, even audiences which know and love Vixy & Tony’s original – and their fans are loyal – have been all, “wow. …that works.” So I’m recording it for Conflikt, and it’ll be on the Conflikt convention CD.

And, pleasantly, it’s proving a good warm-up for getting back into the studio for Din of Thieves. I do often like being in the studio. Sometimes, I forget that.

Use cyber2015 at checkout for 20% off all music, including Bone Walker, the long-list Grammy Award nominated album.

lots of fun while it lasted

Well, the Grammy awards shortlist came out on Monday, and to our… oh, honestly, complete lack of surprise… we did not make the shortlist in either category in which we were nominated. (Bone Walker for folk album; “Kitsune at War” for arrangement, instrumental or a cappella.)

Ah, well, it was tremendous fun while it lasted. But stopping here doesn’t take away that we did get a nod from an Academy member, we did get referred to the jury, we did make it past the jury, and we did become a long-list Grammy nominee.


And while the long list was the end of the road for us this year, I’m still pretty damn chuffed about making that.

So thanks to everyone who had any part of any of the process, and hey – I’m finally starting to lay down my first new tracks in a while. Let’s see what happens next year. Because y’know what? We ain’t done here.

(Is there a Grammy Losers party? There should totally be a Grammy Losers party.)

Use cyber2015 at checkout for 20% off all music, including Bone Walker, the long-list Grammy Award nominated album. If you’re with the academy, thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

For Your Consideration

The jury phase of the Grammy Awards process is over. Reportedly, Long List nomination ballots will be going out to members of the Recording Academy as soon as this weekend.

Everybody who made it past the jury phase – whatever that consists of, I don’t even know, all I know is I needed to make a bunch of CDs for it – is on the Long List.

Bone Walker and/or Kitsune at War are on the Long List.

If you are a member of the Recording Academy, I hope that you will give our music your consideration. If you know a member of the Recording Academy, I hope you will ask them to do so.

Thank you very, very much.


holy crow, you guys

Bone Walker and “Kitsune at War” are in play for Grammy awards.

I don’t mean that in some sort of abstract everything-that-gets-released-is-eligible sense. I mean as in a member of the Recording Academy has nominated both for consideration – Bone Walker for Best Folk Album, and “Kitsune at War” for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella.

These awards are given by The Recording Academy. Like the World Science Fiction Society and the Hugo Award, any voting member of the Academy can nominate any work for consideration for a Grammy. But unlike the Hugo awards, said nominations to go a jury for review, and unlike WSFS, TRA has qualifications for joining – it’s not like the Hugo awards where anyone can pony up their $40, become a WSFS member, and be involved. So there is in fact a higher bar here.

I don’t know what happens after the review jury, because I’m not a member. But six copies of CDs were requested for the jury, have been sent, and are now in the hands of the Academy. I have also seen some very strange play patterns on Bandcamp the last few days. These are probably coincidental. But they might not be.

Insert a million tiny eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee o/ here.

Don’t confuse this with being on the shortlist; it is not that. This is just one person doing a thing, albeit being a person who is a member of the actual Recording Academy tossing these into the actual ring for actual jury consideration for an actual industry award.

It is certainly true that the odds of getting past this stage are low. I mean, who the hell are we with our homebrew recording studio and $90 microphones and everything-is-DIY aesthetic, right? These are industry awards. The odds of making the next around – whatever that round might be – are very long. I know all this.

But it is also true that those odds are a hell of a lot shorter than they were a mere three weeks ago. While still very long, they have shortened dramatically. And even with those odds, it is further still true that, regardless of the probabilities involved…

Bone Walker and “Kitsune at War” are, at this moment, actively in play for Grammy Awards.

Holy shit, you guys. Grammies! O.o

see also

"Heavy rotation"

Oh hey look “The Burke-Gilman Troll” is on “heavy rotation” at Highlander Radio:

If you are a Celtic Radio Network listener – which means Highlander Radio, or Celt Rock Radio, amongst others – please, please, go request a track. Also maybe drop in some 5-star ratings, eh? It will really help.

I used to work in radio and even if it’s different when it’s streaming instead of broadcast – I don’t even know what it means in a streaming context – it’s still pretty cool to hear see words “heavy rotation” applied to my band. Particularly when it’s a paying site. MONEY IS FLOWING TO THE ARTIST. By which I mean fractions of pennies. BUT STILL.

Also, it’s kinda neat to be on the same list as Flogging Molly and Young Dubliners. 😀

So, yeah! Go make a request, would you? Thanks!

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