Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Two Things Unexpected and Wonderful

I'm in London for a week or so for work: missing Small Person and family.

Yesterday evening (UK time) I glanced at the desk in the hotel room and noticed that my white-faced watch was sitting there. This watch is not expensive at all, Olympic brand (which they don't make anymore) with day-of-the-week and day-of-the-month windows. It does have sentimental value: my brother Deacon Richard has exactly the same model (although he found his while walking one day on Mt Vic).

This is remarkable (unexpected and wonderful) because I have no idea whatsoever about how the watch got there. I thought I'd lost it months ago; had gone around the shops trying to replace it (that's why I know they don't sell them anymore); had resigned myself to the loss; given up; and bough the Lexon Zen watch as an alternative.

So all I can assume is that it must have been in the laptop bag for months, or in the pockets of a pair of winter clothes, and that I'd grabbed it in my jetlagged state and unconsciously put it on the desk.

The other unexpected and wonderful thing is Robert Henke's Layering Buddha. Robert of course makes Ableton Live; this is rather more ambient but perhaps it would be fun for Selective Yellow to clone it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Crooked Mile

Count the lucky stars you've got
'cos you've got quite a lot
and I think you forgot

I'd just got back from Newtown with some unwelcome news about Small Person, and Minisnap's Bounce Around was sitting on the car stereo at Track 7 --- Crooked Mile. It's a truism about pop music that a song can capture a mood for days or weeks, and then last for far longer than is rational. Still, there are songs where hearing it the first time seems to sum up everything that's going on in life, and hearing it again weeks or months or years later can take you right back to the first time you heard it.

So this is isn't the first time I've listened to Crooked Mile but perhpas this was the first time I'd heard it. And it's only been half a day since then but this one will be with me for quite a while.

You walk the crooked mile but you fall down
There's nothing anyone can say or do
There must be someone watching over you

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Family Last

So it's tuesday evening, and thanks to some encouragement I made it downstairs to record something else again. Putting the Family Last as it were. The result is a nice - surprisingly dubby - first attempt at using Ableton LIve to record. Called (Beat your) Children let's just say its a tribute to Family First and their campaign to legalise hitting Small People.

This was also my first attempt at Live which is perhaps why I'm still awake at 3am. Yes its good for loops and drums; and re-arranging and dubbing things up is really really easy. But the actual recording and getting that in time with what's playing turned out to be a nightmare. So the next technical thing to do may be to run Live as a slave to Protools, so protools can record the audio and Live the - other stuff, notably drums, perhaps bass patterns if I don't want to play them all in. So the vocal track isn't really synchronised properly, but most of the rest is OK.

The song, by the way, is I think the most depressing thing I've written. Ever. And the whole sinner project is going to be depressing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Whitecliff Poets

Went out for dinner to celebrate Fi's Birthday, and there were two bottles of wine: Whitecliffs and Poet's Corner

Hmm, thought I, The Whitecliff Poets...
sounds like the name of a band to me. Perhpas the acoustic scratch band playing junky cover versions of Jordan Luck tunes?

the other cool band name I came across this weekend was Selective Yellow which has to be a synth jam-band. And I suppose (sad bastard that I am) I've even got most of the gear.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Forever Tuesday Evening

Today I started the new regime of heading downstairs on tuesday evenings starting at 7pm. I don't have to worry about Small Person, I'm not supposed to go to work, just play with music stuff.

Or in today's case, I spent most of the time fighting protools - loading new versions of Multimedia demo plugins: the US based site seemed to have rate-limiting so I couldn't access the site when downloading something, couldn't download in parallel, so that plus OS upgrades plus trying to get Reason Adapted to run all took hours. Turns out I still have a bunch of Protools plug-ins to upgrade by calling customer support, and Reason 2.5 simply won't work with Protools 7, I either have to upgrade Reason - or settle for using Live, which was my original plan. Or - record tracks in Reason standalone, then bring them into Protools, which would be another option.

Finally, after going for about three hours, decided to cut to the chase with the second song on the four-track, The Fire. Again, crap guitars recorded years ago, bleak lyrics. Couldn't be arsed trying to redo it from scratch, as I like the generally noisy feel of the track, so ran a stereo mix of the tape deck, then added in noise with the extra famous Mastererizer, sprinkling of reverb and compression and that's another take.

The big problem is what comes next: I though I had five or six things on the four-track, but really there was only Lazarus and The Fire. So its either back to the notebooks for more songs for Sinner; mixing or re-recording existing Hey Babies tracks (not sure I can face that yet) or something new. Most likely something for Sinner from a notebook, I think.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Little Black Songbook

We did music at St Muggles this morning. Given I was very grumpy for the whole practice, the service went OK. Capo on 7th fret: intonation? - who cares!

Then later in the evening, while Small Person was nominally sleeping (or at least being quiet), we started dipping in to the Little Black Kiwi Songbook --- manufactured nostalgia for 20-40 somethings, made in Sydney. Wailed through a selection of rull kay-way clussucks, including Funn Bruthurs, Grug Juhnsun, Th' Duuds, 'n' Th' Fullurs. Reinforced plans to buy several more copies, perhaps photocopy one up to large print A4 so I can actually read it, then invite Gullible Friends round for pizza, wine, & drunken music.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Slob Out

Had Brunch with a couple of friends, and then Small Person said: "Lets go to Slob Out"

So we did. I mean, rather than record music, why not just buy it?

Current purchases:
Pop Art Toasters: Sixties Goodness redone in the Dunedin Nienties. I quite like this one really
Bachelorette - The End of Things: According to Grant Smithies' book, Roger Shepperd's favourite record on returing to Welli from London. I can see the appeal, but at least he didn't end up living in Darkest Karori.
XTC - Oranges and Lemons I have a folk memory of listening to "The Mayor of Simpleton" once when I was much much younger. Except I though it was by TMGB. But no, XTC. Unfortuantely the only listenable thing on the album, it is quite lovely. Perhaps the rest will grow better on repeated listening: perhaps they won't get the chance.
Exponents - Sex and Agriculture Because Small Person can already sing Why does Love do this to me from memory, after having heard it twice.

New Blog

So I now have a new blog. Great.

more time on the computer. less time in the rest of my life.

In other news, I successfully (re)recorded a song from a few years ago, currently called Lazarus. Wavestation drone, two guitars, one voice track. Kind of like a minor blues in C, but I can't really play the guitar in C so the guitar part is crappy (or endearingly lo-fi). Also I started from an old 4-track demo so the timing is a bit random. Perhaps I should do it all over again, but, then again, perhpas not. More fun to do something else I think.