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April 29, 2009

Keeping Time Rear

My evaluation CD arrived from Kunaki today. Shrink wrapped, bar-coded. It's even got graphics on the disk! I'm quite impressed with these- my cover originals were pretty high res, but the disk artwork was "up-sampled" to 300 dpi, yet it looks great.

It sounds just like the original stuff to me. A little more impressive for having been shrink-wrapped, maybe. As for the songs on it, I think they're a pretty good slog. If you can make it past track 5 you're a true fan!

Since I've begun posting up samples on the catalogue pages, I've found a few overlooked songs and under-represented players. We'll end the month with a new featured song by Joe Ellis.

(later)

Kunaki also provides a sales hosting service here. Try it if you'd like to order a copy of Keeping Time, and let me know how that works out for you...



 
April 27, 2009

OK, folks, the moment you've all been waiting for- there are (some) samples available on the public catalogue page!

Hang in there while I add more- it is a simple thing to do, but it is very easy to screw it up, and it is time consuming, so this is going to take a while. But you'll see not only samples, but also freebies, featured songs from months and years past, available for downloading. Have fun!



 
April 26, 2009

I've sent off my CD to be burned- the Kunaki folks will send you one, gratis, for checking. Should arrive in 3 to 5. What I've learned so far is that if your CD player runs too fast it will cause trouble. The Kunaki software installs on your computer. It leads you through entering data about the CD, the list of songs, and the artwork. That all went smoothly. Then it requires you to have a disk that it will rip for their burn. It won't let you just pick .wav files or anything, you must have a disk with the final song order made for it.

Well, this was OK, except that on my upstairs computer, the CD player runs pretty fast, mostly, and this led to one of the tracks having a brief section of silence. It wandered around every time I tried it, so it probably wasn't related to the song file itself- more likely, it was related to the fact that the disk was outputting data faster than the software could take it. Whatever- I went to the "downstairs" machine, the CD player ran slower, but it worked.

What you'll end up with is an ".exe" file that actually contains all the song files and the artwork. And when you run that .exe file, it will prompt you to upload to their server- which took several hours on a dsp connection. It could all be worth it, because they will ship finished, shrink-wrapped CDs to retail outlets like CD Baby, or directly to your fans.

Meanwhile- I've completed the code for samples for the sponsor catalogue page! What a tedious task it has been. Now, I will try and save that page over to the generic "no working links" catalogue page, for "the public", so they can hear what they're missing...



 
April 24, 2009

Interesting...

Keeping Time Cover

A while back I threatened to make a CD, because I needed one to submit my songs to WXPN for their consideration. I generally try not to care about CDs, as I think that most people pick and choose the songs they want to listen to from a constellation of millions of songs anyway, but I will admit that CDs provide a convenient way to bunch things. Picasso's "blue period" and all that.

Well, I burned a CD of some of my songs, and my pals Julia and Julian bought a couple of copies, and I thought that was pretty cool. And, to tell the truth, it seemed like that particular bunch of songs did work well together. Sum greater than parts, sort of. But then I got busy doing other things...

Until tonight, when I discovered Kunaki. Kunaki automates the CD creation process, supposedly. You download a bit of software, plug in your stuff, and for a set price of $1.75 each, they generate CDs. One CD or one thousand, $1.75 each.

Well, so I'm trying it out now. I'll let you know how it goes...



 
April 20, 2009

Thanks, Scott, for the contribution! Sponsors, be sure to check out the catalogue page- there are song samples now for the Gadjo Playboys, Robert Bobby and others.



 
April 19, 2009

Samples are uploading now...

If possible, I'll post up a link to a playlist that will let you listen to all of them, randomly shuffled together.



 
April 15, 2009

I can't believe that I forgot about tax day this year- until just yesterday! It's the first time I've ever done my taxes at the last minute while watching Gone With The Wind and drinking Yuengling Porter. Who says my life is boring? (oops! forgot those W-2s...)

Welcome to our latest sponsor, Karen! Now you've done it!

(later)

the Sporting Hill Ramblers

I found this under an old phonograph...



 
April 13, 2009

I've been remixing another old Big Red tape- Come and Get Me, Coppers! is on it, along with other prime material. Bits and pieces of the recording session are coming back to me- Kinzer.

Not only that, I'm about 2/3 through making samples of the songs in the catalogue- little 15 second long excerpts so people can get a rough idea of what's in there... It's really too short, but it's an arbitrary thing. 15 seconds is enough to get the "hook" and a feel for what genre the song is. And some of the samples would make pretty good loops...

(later)

I heard about this broadway play back in the old days where the theme of the play was all about the seven deadly sins. Well, like a lot of those plays, they had to make a lot of promises to the backers in order to raise the money to get it going, and when it came to the point of auditioning seven actors to play the roles of the sins there was substantial disagreement among them. The railroad tycoon was pulling for his ingenue, the famous chef was promoting his nephew, the Captain of the steamship line wanted his brother, and the castratto from the Italian opera insisted that his cousin get a part. They fought, they argued, and it appeared that there was some danger that the whole enterprise would fall apart any minute, when the director stood up, pounded his fist on the table, and shouted: "Let he who is without stones cast the first sin!"



 
April 10, 2009

They haven't officially launched their site yet, but I think John and Erik have a pretty good idea here, don't you?

Introducing Patronism video. (HT dobie at Mefi)

(later)

You may not share my mania for The Lucy Show, but they were one of the few 80's bands that created music with lasting appeal. I've gone on about them before... well, singer Robert Vandeven has some rough mixes for his next release up on his MySpace site. They sound great!



 
April 08, 2009

Here's some of that Big Red now- a remix/remaster of Grahm Parker's Between You And Me, sung by Redcay. I had lost a lot of top end through the tape transfer, but I used a new way of getting audio files out of my Yamaha and into the computer for baking to mp3, so I made up a little for that loss I think...

Big Red- Between You And Me.mp3


There's a bunch more coming from this session...



 
April 07, 2009

Tonight I was working on some Big Red stuff. Oh how I wish we had had better equipment back then! It's easy to add a little compression on the kick drum, a little eq on the vocal, and solve some of those stubborn recording problems we had! Sadly, it's too late to be very effective now, because all I have is a stereo mix.

Older, wiser, I know now not to put that skanky Shure 58 on the lead vocalist (no matter that it's his favorite mic), or to boost the kick into distortion during the "soul break". I just won't do it!

It's a good thing that the playing was so good- but sad that I didn't know then what I know now...



 
April 05, 2009

Today, it's one of those old nuggets as the featured song. Midnight Moonlight (or is it "Moonlight Midnight"?) was a favorite in the heyday of Newgrass, which is sort of what they called Americana last century.

...meanwhile...

DAT

After I had transferred some Dark 30 songs from this DAT machine (shown here on the bottom), I burned a CD and rushed upstairs to enjoy the delight of hearing this on a disk for the first time. But something was a bit... off... about it, and at first I couldn't put my finger on it. Turns out it was pitched lower and playing slower. It wasn't like quaaaluuude slow, just a little bit. Come to find out I had made a classic digital transfer error!

Digital music comes in flavors of bit depth and sample rate. CDs MUST be 16 bit, 44.1 Khz. DAT and song files can be a lot of different flavors. I had recorded my DAT at 48 Khz, and burned the CD at 44.1 Khz, and that made it play slower. What to do?

Well, back when I bought my Kurzweil synth they threw in a separate unit as part of the deal. I stuck it on a shelf and forgot about it, but it turns out it was, among other things, a sample rate converter. (that's it on top of de DAT). So I could just pass the output of the DAT machine through the sample rate converter, into my hard disk recorder, then on to CD, and there would be no slowing down. Right?

Well, right, but it seems that sample rate conversion does have its effects. I think that the high end of the resulting files is a bit "crunchy" (to use a technical term). It doesn't sound bad, exactly, because the original high end was a bit muddy, and I happen to like crunchy better, as long as it doesn't "grate". But if anyone knows a better way to downconvert, I'd like to hear from you...



 
April 02, 2009

miner

I am a miner- mining recordings from the past. I have a lot of DAT tapes that I know are going to be stranded very soon now- do they still make DAT players? Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

Digital Audio Tape is an old format for recorded music, and I think I had better transfer what I have to newer formats before I can't. So tonight I transfered some Wooden Nickel, some Dark 30, and some Big Red recordings from DAT to the Yamaha hard disk recorder. From there I'll run them off as CDs and as audio files, and maybe they'll stand a chance of surviving the next 10 years or so.

Does this matter? Well it's like this- ten years ago I could not have predicted how much I would value these recordings now (and I do value them more than I did then), so if I were to say "no, they're not worth the effort" I would be pre-empting my future options. And the way I see it, spending time copying these songs beats watching TV.

Eventually these old recordings will show up in the catalogue- there is a recording Wooden Nickel made as a demo tape in Dr. Hansberry's house, and the first Dark 30 recording, and a late period Big Red recording, and as far as I know there's about 5 people that have ever heard this stuff. Maybe 10.

The recordings have their moments. The best are the ones where we are playing just a bit beyond what we thought we were able to, or where the room gets "in tune", or where the limitations and restrictions of the primative equipment actually contribute to the sound... these moments are worth saving.

Well, there's a good rant- welcome spring!



 
Featured Song:

#177
Joe Ellis
Two Micros Equal a Macro


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Features:

Repairing a Kurzweil piano key.



Repairing a Tascam Porta-Two.



rant03:
the End of an Era.



 

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March, 2009

February, 2009

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November, 2008

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August, 2008

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