Archive for the ‘album notes’ Category

comp sheet

Imma just leave this here.

last day of Faerie Blood eBook edition sale

Anna has had Faerie Blood, the first book in the Free Court of Seattle series for which this soundtrack album will eventually be for, on sale for 99¢ this month, and today is the last day. So go! NOW! if you want it at that special price.

As for the soundtrack delays – I’m frustrated too. And a little embarrassed.

It’s been a bunch of different reasons; my inexperience with arranging so many players caused some of the early delays. That’s on me – but it was, at least, a valuable learning experience. But everything was ready to go last autumn for a winter of work followed by a spring release date.

And – and my eye exploded. Not quite literally, but close. That’s totally not my fault. Three rounds of eye surgery kept me mostly immobile for four months, and there’s going to be a fourth round – but not until after this album comes out.

Then spring! And lots of serious progress! And I’m thinking end of June or end of July for sure! And now it’s the end of of July… and I’ve just spent six weeks on day job stuff, working on restoring a 1924 apartment (with the 1958 kitchen I posted about earlier) 10 hours a day seven days a week that entire time. But … you gotta pay bills, you know?

Sorry if that shatters any illusions.

Believe it or not, we’ve made album progress over the last six weeks. Some of it is really important. John Barbour is the slow, quiet, calm moment in the centre of what is a high-energy upbeat storm of an album. It’s stripped down, it’s really bare, it has subtext of amusingly inappropriate behaviour, it’s six minutes long(!), and it needs to be there. Musically, it gives the album a chance to breathe. Thematically, it’s the lead-in to Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now.

It’s the opposite of what I usually do, and despite that, it’s gonna be really good. I’m just waiting for the third vocalist to get his material in. (He’s not late – I got him the tracks to record into late last week.)

But it’s not coming out today.

The intent is to dive in now, throughout August, and Get Done. I’ve got Day Jobbe Fun coming up in September, so wow, do I not want to slip into that. Fortunately, there’s no reason we can’t finish this project, and finish it right, this month.

But that’s been true before. Multiple times – each one of those eye surgeries was supposedly the “last one” and I was ready to dive in when the next one happened. So I’m not announcing a new release date, as much as I want to.

I swear to you, this is not Chinese Democracy. It’s not going to take 13 more years. I just need a month with decent working conditions and no explosions. I realise, as a supervillain, that this is a lot to ask. But I’m asking.

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. 😀

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.

bone walker is going to be amazing

In every project I’ve done so far there’s this huge chunk of drudgery and slogging and it goes on forever and ever and ever and ever and makes up most of the project.

And that’s not terrible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s part of the process.

But also in every project you get to this point where you’re doing One More Tedious Thing like, oh, positioning drums in a mix, and all at once you hear it, you hear the thing, it’s a rush of OH MY GOD IT’S ALIVE and you still have acres of work to do but you feel it take its first breath, and it’s electric and crazy and awesome and…

…today is that day. Now is that time.

Bone Walker is going to be amazing, you guys.

Get your headsets. Good ones, preferably, but earbuds are better than laptop speakers, so use what you got.

bunches and bunches

Today’s flower picture is a semi-wild bit of shrubbery that’s on a property line between a house and a commercial property. No idea what it is, but it’s pretty now that it’s flowering. I’m kind of pleased with myself for getting a picture, given my terror of the bees which were all over the flowers.

Bunches and Bunches

Worked out a second, higher bassline for “Song for a Free Court/Anarchy Now” last night. Didn’t record it, tho’ – I’ll need another day or two of practicing it. It’s entirely up the neck, which isn’t something I’ve done a lot of on bass. DOUBLE BASSLINES: absolutely critical to commercial success! Or, more likely, something completely unlike that.

Is my art degree showing? I bet my art degree is showing.

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