Dusting off an oldie. I keep threatening to re-do this one, but I never get around to it. I lost the original tapes in the great hard drive crash of 2009. What can you do?
Bad, Bad Santa
Rob: acousitc guitars, bass
I know it's only the 2nd of December but I'm ready to start getting ideas together as to what I want to do for RPM 2012. After taking the 2010 and 2011 challenges off due to personal issues I'm ready to make some music.
My primary idea is to record another solo "Alt-Country" album in the manner of my RPM 2007 offering "Plank Road". My home studio is completely torn apart right now so I'm contemplating going back to my trusty Fostex X-55 4-track cassette recorder for the album. I have Cubase software that I could use to record but I prefer to record analog, especially when recording "acoustic" based material. Additionally I like the lo-fi sound and limitations of recording on the 4-track. I don't like having too many options when recording and I like having to commit to tracks and effects as I'm recording them. I find that in the mixing process unlimited options as far as effects and processing goes usually leads to confusion.
Another idea is to record a "Death Metal" album under the alias "Weeping Casket". I've used the Weeping Casket name in the past for Metal recordings (individual songs, an E.P.) but the RPM 2012 album would be the first full-length Weeping Casket release. This album would be recorded using Cubase.
My third idea is an improvised "jam" type album with some friends that I have been playing with lately. This idea is particularly appealing in that it could be recorded "live" in one night if time constraints become an issue in completing the challenge.
My plan as it stands right now is to record either the "Alt-Country" or "Death Metal" album and the jam album. I think it's possible.
I'm just excited to get back in the RPM swing.
We have a server at the office where we load different CD's in MP3/MP4 format to listen at work, basically we turned a PC into a jukebox. Someone brought in The Zombies 'Odyssey and Oracle' from around 1967. For those that don't know the band, the big hit from them is "Time of the Season". I didn't recognize any other songs on the album.
What was notable was that the music was all over the place...like many of us make here at RPM. There are 12 tracks and I can't say there is a theme, and dominant instrument in the band, or anything we know in today CD's. It was mostly Psychodelic. Piano, acoustic guitar, organ, and seemingly whatever sound effect they had laying around. Today commercial releases have become less interesting, but it doesn't mean we have to. There was a time music, even release music, was whatever the artist wanted it to be.
I haven't blooogggged for a bit, so I thought I would jot down a few notes instead of sleep. After all, that's the smart thing to do now, isn't it?
First of all, the Summer 2011 EP crashed and burned, mainly because I had no time to sit down and actually hammer out a full 3-4 songs. I had some snippets that sounded promising, and I played around with them, but it was not meant to be. They really are nothing more than a gtr line here or there, or a vox melody lasting about 20 seconds. Listening to them every so often makes me think I may pick them up again next spring or summer and try again. They don't sound right for RPM 2012. Not that I have anything really in mind yet for my 7th go-round, but this time of year I do listen to any ideas I have gathered throughout the year to see what grabs me. This process is more of a "I know what I don't want to do" event than anything else. Since I frequently spend long hours in the car alone, it's a good time to sort through things that are floating around. Whenever I sit down in front of the idiot box at home (TV) I tend to have a guitar in my hands, and a small recorder device, so as I noodle around half watching, half playing, half reading something (I know, my math is phuctup) I can quickly record any ideas that happen to hit. I do think that by not focusing on anything, and just ambling around the fretboard actually clears the pipes and lets things flow. This leads me to
Second of all, I dropped a note earlier this year about my small recorder dying and replacing it with a more proper Tascam device that was quite nice, but not as pocket friendly. Well, apparently I have a Lazuras device. Turns out the little Sony thing (you can see it in my pictures in my profile) was not dead after all. This of course only happened after I spent the money on the Tascam. So now I have two devices, which has been interesting for my aforementioned car rides. Why? Well, I can play a gtr snippet I had recorded on one and pipe that through my car stereo at excessive volume; (SGs played acoustically sound great, especially when the Sony is literally touching the bottom of the gtr) and hum or blather melody ideas and record them with the other. In a fit of silliness, I then played back one of those once and recorded a harmony idea back on the first. It sounds like total crap, but I can get ideas laid down quickly to hear if they have any merit. This culling process is very good, since, as I stated earlier, it helps me to get my head around what I don't want to do. This leads me to
Third, and lastly, I don't do this much, but on a recent 6 hour road trip for work I listened to every solo record I had made, chronologically. I started with my very first effort (a 5 song EP done in late '93/early '94) then jumped to something I did around '02-'03, another work from '05 and then the RPM releases from '06 until now. It was a good exercise, a very good exercise. I won't go into a boatload of detail here, but I haven't listened to hardly any of my pre '09 stuff in a long time. I could hear some sparks of interesting things in the really old stuff, any also hear how I just didn't have the experience or talent to turn those sparks into really good songs. I don't really want to redo them, since I am usually an "ahead! ahead!" sort of guy, but I did find myself singing (and altering significantly) along. I also can hear some playing ideas and styles that I just naturally dropped along the way. While I don't want to recycle myself, some things that I thought I had exhausted stylistically now sound fresh again. Sometimes that time away is a good thing. In short, and tying this all together, as I listen to things that grab me, and discard things that don't, I do find that my tastes and perspective are a little different than earlier this year. It all may change again by February 1, but I do think my little exercise in retrospectiving (to coin a phrase) myself may have unexpected benefits. We shall see, or hear, or something like that.
Ok, to bed with me, it's now 2am, and I am looking out over the WTC Memorial here in Manhattan. And that sight puts everything in perspective, at least for me. I am thankful I can sit here and write this note, not everyone is so blessed.
Great job to all who put in the effort and made a song for the Holiday Challenge. Mick made me realize I still have a long way to go on the gtr, and that's a good thing.
I can never get the player to upload any of my songs recorded to my Micro Br unless I monkey about with them in Audacity. Oh well. At least I've got my latest Xmas tune on tumblr ..
I know, I know. It happens every year at right around this time. I listen to some of my old albums and decide that I really don't like them all that much (I'm just way too familiar with them to actually hear them sometimes, and I'm starting to feel like a caricature of myself)... But this year it seems that I really don't like ANY music all that much (maybe that's a good sign?)
I might need to go into a Girl-Named-Sam-style voluntary self-exile from music altogether... Seems to work for her every year.
It's, perhaps, far too early to start talking about RPM this year. I am here none the less, my curiosity got the best of me.
At this point I think I'm addicted to a month long bout of complete insanity. A brief history of carrier signal -
2008 - <self titled> - album composed entirely of found sound recorded off my H2 Zoom.
2009 - Holy Cow! - album composed entirely via synthesis from my Virus and MDmk2.
2010 - Valley of the Slum - Live set mostly containing glitch hop and ambience. Ended up as a single 40 min piece of music containing 9 songs.
2011 - Mean Muggin - Ecclectic mix of moods and styles. Everything from soothing ambience and complete aural mushroom clouds of chaos.
2012 - ?
One area i've been notably neglecting is vocals. I'd like to work with more vocalists this year. Usually, if I'm lucky, I can con Girl Named Sam into giving me something. I might start making a wishlist of vocalists to work with this year, send out some emails to see if they are interested.
Speaking of which, if anyone comes across this blog post, and isn't scared to do some singing/vocals ontop of some experimental electronic, please let me know :) You would be more then welcome to include the songs on your own rpm albums, I do this for the fun of it.
PS - I think the easiest thing to do would be to give vocalists incomplete songs early in the month, let them record whatever they want over it, and send it back.
Today is the day that the whole house will smell wonderful! Food, family, and, of course, football. Can't think of a better day to spend at home.
I have my next RPM album planned. It's called The Signal. I would go into detail about it here, but, instead, I'll let my Kickstarter video do that instead.
Help spread the word about The Signal or become a backer. The album will happen regardless, but it will be so much more awesome with these cubes. Be sure and check the Kickstarter page for project updates and more AudioCubes information.
I've been thinking about what I'll be doing differently this year, and since the only idea so far is to strip things down and just go guitar/vocal tracks (which basically is accepting general suckiness) I was thinking that I might try really letting the vocals fly this year and really unload.
My biggest fear is blowing out the mic. All I've been using is a simple Samson mic USB'd into the MacBook for Garageband... Actually, one of the biggest reasons for keeping things so under control vocally has been my efforts to keep from blasting out the thing's recording capacity.
Since I don't plan on buying any new recording equipment, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to how to really let fly with the vocals and not have it sound either too loud or too distant (if I need to stand farther from the mic).
Y'all are a hell of a lot smarter than I am with this stuff, so fire away if you have any ideas.