Archive for May, 2008
This one really IS boring, but it’s almost supposed to be. *LAUGH* It’s actually not as boring as I thought, listening to it now. Again I was gladder about the mix on this one than previous ones. I guess the process was improving. This is another one without words or samples. It’s sort of long too. I guess in this section of this record is when things die down.
Records do that a lot. I remember feeling like Moby’s “Play” got mellow and boring at the end. I didn’t do it that way on purpose. It’s almost like this universal tug toward making it like a party so that 40 minutes in, everybody’s drunk and high and mellow and wanting to die down, fall asleep, enter into the ether.
That reminds me of being at this one get together in Dallas with a bunch of wiccan friends who were also quite into the drug action, and being locked away in one of those bedrooms with the windows so dark and covered that no light ever enters, so you never know what time it might be (which is a great way to break out of boxes and enter into the primal pre-creation, nothing is real state). We were in there all night, of course, and everyone was getting higher and higher. I drank a beer or something, maybe one hard liquor drink, not enough to even buzz, really, and I didn’t do any drugs. I somehow didn’t feel comfortable doing it. There were a lot of people I didn’t know there. At some point they put on Third Option “Still”, which is a five track maxi-single - it’s the same song over and over. I mean it’s remixes, but it’s still the same song. And they had that on the stereo or boombox in this bedroom on repeat. It was piles of young, high bodies all over beds and floors, and we were all falling asleep with Still going over and over and over, guiding us into that ether. It was hyper surreal. It was especially hyper surreal to be carried into the spirit realm of sleep and dream and maliability by your own music.
I really always loved the melody on this one. I think I was proud of the drum mix being tight and balanced too. I must have been getting better at that. But yeah I always thought this was pretty. It reminds me of nightmare before Christmas but I think that’s mostly because I was making this tune when we were playing that playstation game with the guy with the jack-o-lantern head, and THAT reminds me of nightmare before christmas.
There’s something very Albuquerque about that time. i get the feeling alot that Albuquerque definitely has a subset who are really really not seeking anything, especially any kind of glory or fame, but they’d rather find a niche working in IT someplace or repairing computers or something, and hunkering down with their girl/boyfriend playing playstation or WOW and really just be content. Be interested in D&D type stuff, swords, games, magick, and lay low. It’s a thing that I sometimes will long for, but doesn’t necessarily always satisfy me. But I think there’s really something valuable in it.
At any rate, that’s what this tune makes me think of. The lyrics, which are purposefully disguised just a little, are “alladin rubs his lamp and genie grants a wish, but now alladin has a greedy price to pay” and now that I type them, they seem pretty racist in a way, because the lyric is referring to Sadaam Hussein (back during the FIRST US/Iraq conflict - Daddy Bush vs. Sadaam). I thought I was referring to Sadaam being greedy and then having the U.S. come down on him, ’cause I was simple like that then. But now I read the lyric and think of Sadaam having dealings with the Bush family (something I didn’t know about back then - i really thought they were cut and dried enemies) and getting bitten by trying to be in bed with the evil superpower. Or some shit. But it sounds racist because I called Sadaam “Alladin” and that seems racist. To lump together all remotely middle eastern cultures and people from all areas of space and time, implying that Sadaam Hussein is the same as Alladin.
Then again, you don’t really get the lamp/genie analogy going by saying “Sadaam rubs his lamp”. You just sound like you’re talking about him masturbating.
Well this one I called Buzzsaw just because I was using this buzz patch for the main “theme”. Obviously this one just doesn’t pick up from the previous song’s theme at ALL - it’s just a new thing. I remember liking how the drum mix came out on this one. Seemed balanced and tight and translatable system to system.
This one doesn’t have any sample or vocals or anything and I always thought of it as sort of boring, to tell the truth. Then again it’s dancy. Dancy music can be nice to dance to in a club but not as interesting to sit and listen to as if you were watching a show or something. I felt inventive, though, toward the end, when I set up the weird organ/sine wave thing to slowly change pitch and go down down down. I was just playing with things I guess.
I’m not sure the music has anything to do with title on this one. The title is interesting though. It’s a reference to being diagnosed with CF in Denver when I was 8 years old. It was Halloween and I lived in Taos, which is 3 hours or so away. It was nighttime, I remember - well I remember we were there a long time doing sweat tests and blood tests and bullshit. Then somebody gave me a plastic jackolantern bucket and I was going around trick or treating in the various rooms. I don’t remember where we stayed.
They were creating a monster. *laugh*
It’s a bit anticlimatic, I think, that this track is the title track. But still (at first I capitalized that, that’s funny) this one’s kinda fun and bouncy to me and I laugh because of the serious sounding essay text I’m reading where I’m talking about the Frosted Mini Wheats analogy to life. It’s silly but also totally truthful. *laugh*
I always used to like to telephone vocals. That’s where I take out a lot of the low end and a lot of the high end frequencies so it sounds like a telephone. This can make it sound purposeful when the full range recording wasn’t necessarily good. This is when I didn’t have the tools to record vocals very well. By tools I mean equipment but also skills, I think. Now I don’t telephone stuff as much anymore because I actually sometimes get recordings that I like the sound of.
I actually can’t wait to start posting newer stuff. You’ll be able to see (hear) the improvement I think. Still I’m enjoying posting these Frosted Mini Wheats tracks because they’re really creative in a lot of ways. I think I actually did stuff musically on this record that I might not have the balls to do now that I think people might be listening.
Oh man the end of this track has a huge mixing mistake. The next track overlaps with it so they can fade into eachother (all the tracks do that) but I forgot to manage the levels and all of a sudden it just gets WAY louder. Bad Aaron. Bad.
In the studio at Ubik Sound here in Albuquerque, way back when I first started, we used to talk about leaving mistakes in on purpose and having a contest for fans - “find the three mistakes in this CD, and you get a free one!” or free concert tickets or whatever.
Later I realized that maybe that could go awry because people would come back saying this is a mistake and that’s a mistake on stuff we didn’t notice or didn’t think was a mistake. So much room for debate there. Could be bad!
Obviously this one’s called Orson’s Groove because of the Orson Wells sample. I think I got that sample from online somewhere. I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but used to be you could find almost anything in a .wav file archived on various websites. I used to just search and search. Had president Reagan saying “we’ve signed legislation to ban Russia forever, we begin bombing in five minutes” and I have Mayor Daly saying “gentlemen get the thing straight, the policeman isn’t there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder”.
I went further with playing with the audio on this one than I had on previous stuff. I had stuff moving back and forth in the stereo field, and filtered and stuff. Manny Rettinger had always told me to do more to the audio. Dustin likes Orson’s Groove a lot - it’s very trancy. Sometimes trancy equates to boring to me, but Dustin likes this one a lot. I like the mix and the audio trickery.
I go away now!
Man I’m listening to this one on my new little studio monitors, which reveal a lot, and godDANG the bass is too much and too muddy. Well, to me anyway. You’ll still love it
I like this one because I have these samples from that same cassette tape of The Crucible and I always thought those women sounded so incredibly sexy. I imagine them as these svelt hotty dancer/actress types. Especially the evil chick. What a naughty hotty, to do a little rhyming. “SHUT IT!”
There’s a remix of this one where I replace once of the tracks with a fake saxophone, and it’s a line that’s probably impossible to play on a saxophone, so it sounds neat. I called that the Saxomophone 2000 Mix or something like that. 2000 is for the year.
The thing about this whole album is I recorded and mixed it all at home, and it’s the first thing I ever “released” where I did that. I only had one 8 track recorder so I did a lot of bouncing tracks back and forth (a LOT - in fact I had to be pretty inventive). The unfortunate thing about all this stuff is I have no way to recreate it - no multitracks, no MIDI sequences, I don’t have most of the synths I was using, nothing. So if ever there’s a big movie soundtrack that wants some remixed version, tough luck.
Imagine painstakingly trying to recreate the timbres and tones and lines of this stuff using different instruments and recording techniques. Wow what a job that would be.
Man the hardest part about a production is the drums. Well, that is, if you want real drums. It really is HELL. Because you have to find a drummer that can do the job, find a kit (hopefully that drummer can do it), find the studio time at the right studio, book it, get it right. With money it’s easier, but really if you’re not in a normal “band”, the drum part of a production is simultaneously the most crucial-make-or-break part, and the hardest part to get right.
But with the net and digital audio and stuff, I’ve been experimenting with collaborating with people by sending them a rough mix and asking for a guitar part or whatnot, and recently I realized “there must be professional drummers with well equipped drum recording studios out there who will remotely collaborate!” and sure enough, I’ve found at least one that I’m trying out.
I don’t know if this remote collaboration trend is ENTIRELY healthy though. Not having to relate face to face and be together is yet another example of the computer “age” ruining our connectedness. But I’m doing it, partly because I fear people on occassion, and partly because fuck it let’s try. At least I’m not text messaging anymore. And I am going to do some collaborating with REAL people here in town.
Nevertheless it’s exciting to be able to collaborate this way. I have several tracks out there pending possible work from several friends who are spread out all over. I’ve gotten one back so far, a couple of tracks in the very newest Third Option project. My girlfriend is napping in my bed right now, perhaps I’ll set up a mic and wake her up and say “hey sing for me”.
If only she would learn screamin lead rock guitar…
I’ve been in lots of studios, compared to the average person, and I have to tell you, when I listen to the latest Madonna stuff, I cannot for the life of me understand it. These mixes sound SO incredible on EVERY damn speaker. I hear the stuff and I say “how the hell do they DO this?”. I cannot understand how it gets so present. And I have a master’s degree in “computer research in music and acoustics” aka “music, science and technology” from Stanford University.
I mean is it just the effort/time put in? I mean for sure you can’t go from something, say, I’ve done and make it turn into this stuff just in the final mastering stage. That much is obvious. But even the mixes, it’s like they’ve got better sources to begin with. I - I - I. Erg man.
Listening to Madonna’s “Confessions On A Dance Floor” right now on some new little studio monitors I got. Goddang.
That’s the thing that making recordings has always been for me. This relentless need to make it sound “real”, to make it sound as good as the records I hear. Unfortunately I feel like I’m just perpetually behind. Granted I work with comparatively NO resources. But that’s something that always grated on me, was that in order to do recordings that well, you have to try and access this money and power thing.
I guess that’s true about most things. That sort of brings up the question of where money, power and intent cross over.
I’ll come back and edit this and put some sort of link to a track from this record when I’m not so tired.
I remember being proud of something about the drum mix on this one. Something about the way it was compressed or tight or something.
The woman talking is an old old lady and she’s introducing Rage Against The Machine at this concert - I took if off the VCR, off a VHS tape of live Rage footage. It was pretty cool, I think I got the tape for free from Dustin who got it from some label person or promoter - I THINK. I also sampled the crowd noise but then I augmented it in the beginning with about a million tracks of me using different voices chanting “Murph! Murph! Murph! Murph!” Tee hee. Slick eh? It’s very subtle, but listen for it! Listen!