December 28, 2004
At the inspiration of a certain highly-organized someone, and the receipt of several hundred clear vinyl cd sleeves that are too light-duty to be used for cd packaging, I have begun organizing my large library of burnt cds. Now I think that I might actually be able to locate a cd that I know I have without sifting one by one through the endless spindles strewn throughout my house. I will miss this sifting in some ways as it forced me to remember/re-discover lots of cool music that I would invariably pass by on my way to my intended booty. But I will gladly part with the numerous times I spent 15 minutes looking for a cd without being able to find it.
Don't worry, I won't become TOO organized.
December 23, 2004
I like words; I like voices.
Books are made up of words.
And bookmarks are used in books.
Bookmarks are also much more useful and likely to be kept around than business cards.
They are being printed and cut to size at my favorite printer as we speak.
December 22, 2004
With my impending BYOV 'gig' at Bernie Toale's place in January, I have started to think about some promotion. There is no better way to promote than to use visuals, I think, so I needed to get some photographs of the booth itself. The booth is, afterall, the centerpiece of this project and I hope it will become a strong visual icon.
I couldn't take photos in my house because the thing is too damn big to not look totally crunched in even the largest of my rooms. So off to the local Unitarian Universalist church I went. Unfortunately, one of the many things I am not, is a photographer, so the results are somewhere in that netherworld between better than nothing and barely adequate.
I was pretty psyched to discover that the booth really is easy to set up and take down (45 minutes for assembly, half that to break down) and it is sturdy enough to sit atop, should one have the urge.
December 20, 2004
Yesterday I had a recording session with three neighborhood kids. I wanted to change the texture of a vocal melody in one song on the album and kids voices were perfect to lend an aura of sinistral silliness. I'm not sure it will do this (or what the phrase actually means), but the recording session was fun. Kids just know how to have a good time no matter what, it seems. They just couldn't stop giggling and joking and pushing each other around and generally enjoying themselves. In the midst of all that, they did manage to listen to me momentarily and sing a few takes of this melody. The first time was 90% giggles, 10% singing, but by the end we had reversed the ratio. I think I like the giggle take best, but in the name of preserving what I can of the melody, I think I'm going to layer two tracks together to get the best of both worlds.
I gave them candy for their troubles, and sent them on their way and they couldn't have been happier. Ah, the simple life!
December 19, 2004
One of my many design requirements for the BYOV booth was that it could collapse to fit on top of my car, and that I could load and unload it easily by myself. I can now safely say that I met that requirement.
I suppose one might argue that this isn't the perfect car for this project, but hey, it gets good mileage.
December 17, 2004
I like this band Sparklehorse a lot. It seems like it is sort of a one man band with an non-eponymous name like Badly Drawn Boy or, say, aesthetic evidence.
December 15, 2004
fun with freehand
I take pride in the little cool things...
December 14, 2004
don't forget your voice
I have finally gotten bringyourownvoice.com setup in a very elemental, but hopefully functional way. Please go check it out and let me know what you think!
For now, I just need the site to explain what this project is all about, to act as a way of updating people on upcoming events, and to log past events. In the future, I hope to have more photographs and/or technical specs on the booth itself as well as detailed accounts of each event including the instruction sheets, photos of participants, audio samples etc etc. Eventually, of course, the songs that come out of each event will be posted.
December 13, 2004
Josh Ritter is a happy guy. Or perhaps Josh Ritter simply smokes a lot of pot. Like I said, he's a happy guy. As soon as he came out on the stage at Paradise on Saturday night, it was impossible not to feel his excitement, energy and sheer gratitude for having the opportunity to perform for us. I found myself not even caring if it was all an act. He was super-smiley and it seemed 100% genuine and I was happy to give in to it.
Josh Ritter isn't breaking any new ground musically; he isn't blowing anyone away with his technique; he isn't even doing anything that is all that different from many other folk rockers. So perhaps it is some magic combination of song-writing talent and natural exuberance that makes him such a joy to see.
He has written some really beautiful songs and his voice is truly perfect for his brand of folkiness. He performed with a backing band of drums, bass and keys, though perhaps the most powerful song was played with no amplification on voice or guitar. The band was fine, but I wasn't too impressed with anyone other than the bassist, Zack Hickman, who had such a grasp and understanding of the music that his lines and sound felt like they were born at the same time as the songs themselves. He did some very tasteful backup vocals as well.
Though I am extremely jealous that this mid-to-late twenty-year-old (conflicting internet information) has three albums under his belt and is rising fast, I will gladly admit that he deserves every bit of fame. And it is great to see that a semi-major label (V2) would support this kind of music.
I'd be happy too...
December 10, 2004
I used to have a clip from Pantera's 'Walk' that would play every time I received an email. It had Philip Anselmo screaming something like 'Are you talking to me, punk?' with Dimebag Darrell's power guitar riffs underneath. It drove my co-workers crazy, which was part of the fun, but the other part was the raw energy of this music. It's exciting.
Pantera broke up a few years ago and apparently it upset one person in particular more than anyone might be able to imagine. I always think of music as some sort of sanctuary which, though sometimes violent in itself, was really more of a non-harmful way of releasing this prevalent and vital emotion. It hits me hard when something like what happened in Ohio two nights ago happens.
Pantera has never been a favorite band of mine (though 'Vulgar Display of Power' is an album everyone should listen to at least once), but there was no disputing the sheer talent of Dimebag and his brother, Vinnie Paul, on drums. Almost unfathomable speed and precision. Yes, it is heavy music - very heavy music, in fact - and is understandably only appealing to a small set of listeners, but these guys did something for those listeners (including me) that was deeply meaningful in its own way.
Vinnie, please don't let your brother's spirit die too.
December 07, 2004
it has begun
Yesterday was my first day of mixing the 'words and voices' album. I rearranged my entire house to create an acoustically more appropriate and physically more comfortable situation for this mixing to occur. And it paid off. My favorite mixing engineer and I spent much of yesterday jumping into these songs and, well, making them better.
We only actually got to two songs, which was somewhat disappointing from a volume perspective, but we were able to make some really significant improvements on these two which more than made up for that. Voices are very difficult to fit into mixes no matter what, but when you have a dozen untrained voices recorded in varying degrees of fidelity on 20 simultaneous tracks, things become slightly confusing for a non-engineer like myself.
I probably have another three days of mixing and then one day of mastering and then, maybe, it will be off to the presses for cd number two.
December 06, 2004
Of Human Ingenuity (or Frankie B. and Jimmy L. do what they do best)
For those of you not in the know, I am talking about Frank Black and James Levine. I had the pleasure of seeing both of these fine musicians practically one right after the other last week. The Pixies did not open for the BSO, but somehow I found myself as a lucky audience member at these two very different yet somehow oddly related performances. I couldn't help but marvel at how wonderful and various and long lasting and powerful music of all sorts can be. And how lucky I am to be able to see and hear all this practically in my back yard.
I don't think that I can come up with many direct comparisons between these two shows other than both were led by individuals with long and impressive careers who had a bit more heft and a bit less hair than the early days of their fame. But don't let this indicate anything about their music. They know what they are doing, and they know how to perform in front of hundreds of people.
Seeing these in quick succession made me realize how amazing we human beings are. Well, at least some of us are, and we, as a race, are certainly capable of creating amazing things. I'm not sure if this sort of race self-assessment is fair, but I am continually blown away by this world we live in and the moments of beauty, both natural and anthropogenic, that exist all around us every day. Berlioz could not be more different from the Pixies in so many ways, but in the end both are music, both are well thought out, both are creative and ingenious, both are pushing certain limits and playing firmly within others, and really the most important thing: both are fun to listen to. Don't let these sorts of opportunities pass you by, my friends! Go, listen, enjoy and support it so it doesn't stop.
At the end of the day, despite the unfortunate wheezing of the heavy breather seated next to me (no, not my companion), I enjoyed the BSO show more. Yeah, I know this is stodgy, but there was something so beautiful and unadulterated about the sounds that filled Symphony Hall on Saturday that left me feeling fulfilled and blissfully exhausted at the same time.
December 02, 2004
"Machines (if properly constructed and properly written for) are capable of niceties of emotional expression impossible to a human performer."
Whoa!! What's he talking about? I'm not exactly sure what an emotion is, but I'm pretty sure it takes a human to express one.