I just wanted to wish all my fellow RPMers a happy and safe holiday and I hope Santa brings you all the musical instruments and recording gear I'm sure you asked for. I look forward to the RPM chaos starting in a little over a month.
Yep. Another new toy. This one was my wife's idea. Here's a video of the eBay seller demoing my new cigar box guitar. Three strings of goodness that I still won't be able to play. It should arrive some time next week.
After the disaster that was my 2011 effort (musical frustration + computer failure + mental exaustion + an earthquake that destroyed my studio and most of Christchurch, NZ), I've finally got things rebuilt to the point where I can begin to record again.
My new room has no power (as does most of the central city), but I've got battery powered digital recorders and acoustic instruments, and it'll be a fun way to get back into the art of mic placement, as well as explore getting a good room sound. For 2012 I'm thinking a 50's style rock and roll themed album - listen to any Little Richard song, thats kind of where I'm aiming. High energy gibberish :-)
Creating new music for this February's Challenge. Have also announced the challenge on the CHMR 93.5 FM airwaves, for those who have a vested interest in the crafting of a spring 10-track, or 35 minute long play. It's been quite a year with In The Works... from Clash Contrast. I've explored many other areas of production and marketing. I look forward to a possible live accopmaniment to this year's album, i.e. collaborative effort. I am still pushing toward an electronically arranged album, trip-hop and nu-jazz stylings. www.myspace.com/clashcontrast
I am bummed. I think my dream of 5-straight RPM challenges is coming to a halt. With grad school, and internship searches and applications, and having to pick up extra shifts at work to cover classes, I think I have to be mature and bow out.
I am pretty upset, and will miss taking part. The music, the camaraderie, and the feelings I get from creating the music and sharing it with you all.
Hopefully this will push me to create music all year-round now, because I won't simply be able to fall back on my RPM stuff if I play out. Gotta see a positive, right?
First, the good news: I finally bought a MIDI->USB cable for my drums that actually works. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the hi-hat pedal actually affect the instrument mapping, and more generally working out how to make use of it...but it's a start.
But I really have no inspiration or motivation. I got out my old classical guitar book and tried to start working through it again, but that lasted about one night. Most evenings I don't even feel like picking up one of the guitars or the bass, whether to actually practice or just make sloppy noise for a while. And I obviously didn't get my holiday challenge song recorded... I played around two nights and couldn't come up with anything I was happy with, and then basically had no free time the second half of the month to do anything anyway.
So. Must figure out a way to get inspired/out of the creative rut before February.
As far as I know, it was originally created so that artists who started music during the year, had a chance to finish it and more specifically record it, during the month of February, which results in the final product of an album.
For the past 4 years I have participated, I've repetitively wrote all my music AND recorded it during February. Basically transforming "Record Production Month" to "Album Composition and Recording Month."
"But Mr. Carrier Signal man, why do you insist on composing instead of recording? Do you think you are Mr. Hot Shot?"
Not at all. The answer is that question is that I don't play an instrument or sing. Everything I do is composed on a computer using synthesizers, drum machines, or found sound.
"But Mr. Carrier Signal man, I do not understand. Why don't you just practice on your machines, and then record it during February?"
Mostly because I don't know how to write or play music either. I haven't been trained formally or informally. Everything I know is self taught and non-traditional. I can't read sheet music or identify chords/notes I hear.
When I "write" music, I start off by making my own sounds, and then sequencing them via midi or audio in the order I hear it in my head. Its a labour intensive guessing game that can result in dozens of hours of potentially wasted work before I even know if a song is worth finishing.
As a result, my albums, thankfully all success stories, tend to have a rushed element to them. I find I really enjoy a few songs and end up with some fillers. Also I end up with a directory of 20-30 songs I started and didn't finish.
So not being able to play an instrument and not knowing how to compose music makes RPM a meta-meta challenge, but this is also why I couldn't start composing for RPM ahead of time...
...unless I said "screw the rules" and just started some songs before RPM.
It's coming up on that time of year again. The time of year when you get to be a kid again. When you can slip back into your safe and trusted traditions and habits, and can wallow in the familiar and pleasant seasonal activities among the best of friends...
I'm of course referring to the RPM Challenge 2012! Only a handful of weeks to go now, and I'm really looking forward to it.
I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do, but I'm not letting that fact bother me a whole lot. Something will come to me, I'm sure. I have some new equipment in the studio that I'm very keen to test. In fact some more on the way in as well, and I will also be doing some major refurbishing before I'm ready for RPM, so that's all pretty exciting.
The past years I've been able to dedicate almost the entire month to RPM related activities. This year I have a different position at work which will I guess keep me from pulling all too many all nighters, I'm afraid. Also, having a superstar artist celebrity in the houshold is a pretty fresh situation which might disrupt the best laid plans.
But anyhow, these are exciting times, and I'm sure you all share my anticipation for the coming February!
And, hey! It's gonna be Christmas again this year! Wohoo!
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