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By The Fool (Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 08:18:03 AM EST) navel full of lint (all tags)
And other fascinating whatchamacallits.

MFC Navel Gazing

Skip this if you don't want to read a long, rambling account of how I recorded a track that isn't very good. The next part is a good bit, and has Marvin in it.

OK, the MFC seems to have gone off without too much of a hitch (just some DNS problems that come and go). Lots of great songs in this one. (Actually, this has been true of every MFC so far.) So, thanks to everybody who participated, or voted, or even just listened.

My particular entry started life as a spoken-word thing in the vein of "Hot Rod Lincoln", and I got my band to play it during our recent brief recording session.

But I couldn't play it. I kept screwing up my part, forgetting the lyrics (which I had only finished the night before, after all), and generally doing unmusical things.

So I rearranged it a bit to be more suitable for unaccompanied guitar, and recorded it. It sounded terrible, so I finally bit the cliche and bought a sort-of decent microphone and mic preamp. Now the sound was not bad, but the song was really boring, just some guy playing cowboy chords on a guitar and whining about getting blowed up.

I searched around for something that could make noise, and found an old harmonica. I tried playing along with my recording, and everything sounded just awful. It turns out, it's a Bb harmonica. So I capoed my guitar up a step and a half, and played the same C-G7-F-C chord progression (just in Eb this time). Sure, this is wrong, but there's just one note different between Bb and Eb, and it was the highest I could go without making fingerpicking too hard.

So, nine more takes on the vocal+guitar track, now in a new key, then just two takes of the harmonica, and DONE.

And then MP3 exporting from Audacity won't work. And various other problems with MP3 encoding occur. All you Mac-heads out there can laugh at me now.

So, track is done. Now I just need to turn it into a rock opera.

The good bit with Marvin in it
Cleanliness is next to studliness

Another fun activity that I've been working on is shampooing the carpets. We bought a carpet "deep cleaner", and I've completed about half the house so far. It works great, picking up all the dirt, coffee stains, and dead fleas in the carpet.

Finally, I've been trying to figure out some reasonable way to store my guitars, and Mrs. F finally explained what she objected to in all of my previous designs. So soon our family room will sprout guitars from the walls.

And now you know...
...the rest of the story. Except for the bit about the mule. (By the way, I just discovered that Douglas Adams was the one who came up with the title "The Division Bell" for Pink Floyd's last album. Yup, I'm always up-to-date with the news.)
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Doing stuff with things | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
SHMRB MFC breakdown by cam (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 08:41:47 AM EST
Small crap-amp run through an iGriffen into Garageband. The crap-amp takes guitar, bass and microphone (drums are software).

Because I build the drums in software I have usually played the rythym guitar line about 8-10 times. So down they go, one panning left, one panning right (first takes as SHMRB stuff is pretty simple).

Then I make up the solos and the single note guitar lines. Usually takes about half an hour.

The bass is next. Usually first take, unless I make a massive error then I do it again (secret to fast takes is leaving the errors in there).

I then write the lyrics (usually very simple) and read them out (oops I mean sing) as recording. Wallah a song in about two to three hours.

Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

But, see by The Fool (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 12:50:56 PM EST
I have to teach myself to play guitar before I hit record.

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(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 08:59:09 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

WIPO: In a basket and grilled cheese sandwich by MissTrish (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 10:03:52 AM EST
I invented this sucker while convalescing from the recent Illness. Variations include bacon for meat-eaters. The most compact, grease laden, and gooey way to eat eggs I have figured out so far. I think I'm finally gaining weight from being unable to eat anything but Grilled Cheese Eggs in a Basket Sandwiches with Bacon.

ypu're a chair
Method to the madness by ana (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 03:36:38 PM EST
I have a $20 microphone which plugs into a Griffin iMic (basically a sound card input) which plugs into my iBook. I also have a keyboard that plugs into the USB port on my ibook (the musical kind of keyboard).

I've been working on recording this piece for a while now, and what I ended up doing for this time (which actually is a marked improvement over previous attempts) was to play the parts, one at a time, a few measures at a time, on the keyboard, recording with garageband. This compensates for the one-track mind I seem to have when it comes to playing music with my hands.

So then I got out the mike, discovered that the iBook didn't have enough resources to do something with 12 or 13 tracks, so moved to the iMac on the desktop. The iMic connection seemed to make no sound come out of the thing (there's always an "um, huh?" moment in these things), but it turns out it has a microphone input jack (unlike my iBook). So I used that, despite the fact that it's rather noisy. Perhaps I should invest in a proper microphone and amp.

I think I spent most of my spare time for a whole weekend doing the vocals. Could have used substantially more time, more takes, more duplicated tracks. What you hear is 2 tracks upped an octave doing the soprano line, and the rest is just me, one track to the part. Cam's trick of doubling up vocals (singing them twice, on two tracks, one in each ear for stereo listeners) really does help thicken things up.

All that said, the vocals are thin, the instrumental bits are almost inaudible (but they helped keep me in tune while I built the harmony), and I'm not at all sure I deserve the one vote I have so far.

Can you introspect out loud? --CRwM

Why don't you mix it up a bit? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Aug 16, 2006 at 05:29:30 PM EST
Try doing things with stuff, for a fresher perspective.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

That would invalidate all the laws of physics by The Fool (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:36:27 AM EST
so I'll have to try it.

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Doing stuff with things | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback