Archive for the ‘Recording music and audio’ Category

Dave Grohl on how to write a hit

February 17, 2011

 

“Most white people dance to the lyrics..” HA! Still, some good tips here from Mr. Grohl.

“Jefferson”

December 19, 2010

Here is a link to a song I just finished up last night. It’s called “Jefferson,” and it’s about the tiny East Texas town that my mother’s family have lived in for several generations. Mom lives there still, in the post-Civil-War house on the hill that I grew up knowing as my Pa-Pa and Boots’ house.  (My grandmother, the legend went, was small enough to fit inside a cowboy boot when she was a baby — thus the nickname).

The song is a piano ballad that contains a series of literal images from visits there in my youth. For you fellow recording nerds out there, I recorded it with Sonar and some software synthesizers by Cakewalk. I used plug-ins by Line 6 and Ik Multimedia, among others.  I used an AT 4047 as my main vocal mic, with a ribbon mic for background vocals, and Line 6 and Hagstrom guitars and my old Epiphone bass (with a “toaster” style pickup in it). Everything went through a gray market “Neve” style preamp.

Hope you enjoy it! You can listen to it as often as you wish at the above link; if you’d rather purchase it, you can do so via iTunes here.

Here are the lyrics:

Jefferson, by Christopher Ave

Hide inside the old clubhouse my Mama’s Daddy made
Fly beside me as I rush to the moss beside the glade
Climb up the narrow stairs that lead to the attic mysteries
Sit down upon the old green rocker and sing your melodies

Oh hear the mournful song
of the lonely midnight train
So near, it won’t be long
till the morning’s sad refrain

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone
In Jefferson

City kid of eight or nine with glasses on my face
The folks had split and I was fine with changing up my place
The town was where I lost my cares in a southern state of grace
and learned the life away from strife in an ancient, languid pace

Oh hear the mournful song
of the lonely midnight train
So near, it won’t be long
till the morning’s sad refrain

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone
In Jefferson

(bridge)
In Jefferson
the only time I saw
my paw paw cry
he’d lost his bride

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone…
In Jefferson

Photo slideshows drive page-views

November 19, 2010

Here is a fascinating article in Columbia Journalism Review about how photo slideshows drive traffic to news websites.

Not mentioned in the article is the key role that appropriate music can play in a successful slideshow. When a slideshow can be “auto-played,” making the changes congruent with the rhythm of the music is an important technique that can enhance story-telling.

And according to the article, the quality of the slideshow will only grow in importance:

But when even bad slideshows succeed economically, where’s the incentive to make them good? That incentive, eventually, will have to come from advertisers, as they tire of the tricks that their editorial friends are playing on them. Earlier, I noted that advertisers don’t care if dozens of page views are coming from the same user, because their ads are still getting shown. But eventually this will reach a point of diminishing returns. Telling the same person about a new movie a dozen times is not as effective of telling a half-dozen people twice.

Advertisers have an easy way to hold sites accountable: rely on unique visitor, rather than page-view, counts. The page-view metric has become diluted by editorial and business tricks like recirculation tools, landing pages, and slideshows. As Gawker Media owner Nick Denton puts it, “Some page views are worth more than others.” That’s why he now judges his staff and sites’ success on a less-manipulated number: how many people come to visit, not how many pages they visit once they’re there. Denton’s reason for the switch is editorial—he wants more exclusives, and he thinks uniques are a good way to incentivize them. Advertisers should follow suit. Their ads will have greater reach if sites know that it’s unique visitors, not page views, that matter most.

And with that change of mentality will come a switch of strategy. No longer will the worst slideshows be as economically viable. Slideshow quality will rise as sites try to create iconic slideshows that bring in new visitors interested in hearing a story told as only the Internet can. Slideshows will no longer have to be a savior in scourge’s clothing.

 

Confirmed: Beatles on iTunes today!

November 16, 2010

It’s true - the Beatles are now on iTunes.

Of course, those of us with the entire catalog on CD – whether it’s the original pressings or the wonderful remastered versions – may never need to purchase them yet again.

But there’s something significant in the Beatles union with iTunes. Nearly 40 years after their breakup, the Beatles still sell more CDs than almost any other band. So fixing iTunes’ biggest gap is a positive move for Apple. And though the Beatles hardly need digital sales to boost their bottom line, the result will be even more Beatles music, all across the universe. And that, my friends, is something to celebrate.

Here’s EMI’s press release:

LONDON and CUPERTINO, California – November 16, 2010 – Apple Corps, EMI and Apple® today announced that the Beatles, the most influential and beloved rock band in music history, are now available for the first time on the iTunes Store® (www.itunes.com). Starting today, the group’s 13 legendary remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, the two-volume “Past Masters” compilation and the classic “Red” and “Blue” collections are available for purchase and download on iTunes® worldwide as either albums or individual songs. Fans can also get a special digital “Beatles Box Set” featuring the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964″ concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert.

“We’re really excited to bring the Beatles’ music to iTunes,” said Sir Paul McCartney. “It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around.”

“I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes,” said Ringo Starr. “At last, if you want it-you can get it now-The Beatles from Liverpool to now! Peace and Love, Ringo.”

“We love the Beatles and are honored and thrilled to welcome them to iTunes,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “It has been a long and winding road to get here. Thanks to the Beatles and EMI, we are now realizing a dream we’ve had since we launched iTunes ten years ago.”

“In the joyful spirit of Give Peace A Chance, I think it is so appropriate that we are doing this on John’s 70th birthday year,” said Yoko Ono Lennon.

“The Beatles on iTunes-Bravo!” said Olivia Harrison.

“The Beatles and iTunes have both been true innovators in their fields,” said EMI Group CEO Roger Faxon. “It’s a privilege for everybody at EMI to work with Steve Jobs and with Apple Corps’ Jeff Jones and their teams in marking a great milestone in the development of digital music.”

Each of the Beatles’ 13 legendary remastered studio albums, including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver,” “The Beatles [The White Album]” and “Abbey Road” include iTunes LPs, which create an immersive album experience with a beautiful design and expanded visual features including a unique mini-documentary about the creation of each album. The two-volume “Past Masters” compilation and the classic “Red” and “Blue” collections are also available.

Single albums are available for purchase and download for $12.99 each, double albums for $19.99 each and individual songs for $1.29 each.

The special digital “Beatles Box Set” ($149) contains the 13 remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs and all mini-documentaries, “Past Masters,” and the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964″ concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert in its entirety. In addition, Beatles fans can stream and view the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964″ concert film from iTunes for free for the remainder of this calendar year.

Apple Corps Ltd. was founded by The Beatles in 1968 to look after the group’s own affairs. The London-based company has administered the catalogue of The Beatles releases of the 1960s that have sold to date more than 600 million records, tapes and CDs. Since the 1990s, Apple has piloted new Beatles projects that have become benchmarks for pioneering accomplishment and which have included The Beatles Anthology projects, the 29-million selling album The Beatles 1, The Beatles LOVE show and CD and the 09/09/09 release of The Beatles Remastered catalogue and The Beatles Rock Band game. Further information on The Beatles’ projects can be found at http://www.thebeatles.com.

 

Here’s the text of the Apple press release:

We are proud to announce that The Beatles are now available for the first time on the iTunes Store.

Starting today, the band’s 13 legendary remastered studio albums with iTunes LPs, the two-volume “Past Masters” compilation and the classic “Red” and “Blue” collections are available for purchase and download on iTunes worldwide as either albums or individual songs. Fans can also get a special digital “Beatles Box Set” featuring the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964” concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert.

Beatles fans can stream and view the “Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964” concert film from iTunes for free for the remainder of this calendar year.

Finally, a cool new video plus some quick commercials can be found here.

Beatles on iTunes?

November 15, 2010

Here is a breaking report on the Wall Street Journal website saying Apple — the computer and gadget company, has finally reached an agreement with Apple Corp., the Beatles’ company, that will allow Beatles albums on iTunes.

And to add more excitement, Apple computer has posted a mysterious message on its website, touting a big development regarding iTunes to be announced tomorrow.

Stay tuned…..

Line 6 offers new blog series on home recording

November 5, 2010

Line 6 has started a blog series on home recording. Find part one, about computer recording, here; part two, on microphones, is here.

Line 6 is a well established company best known for its Pod series of guitar amp simulators and recording interfaces. It also produces the Variax line of modeled guitars. I have and use many Line 6 products, which I find offer incredible variety and quality for the money. You can hear Line 6 guitars, modeled amps and effects all over my music.

New version of Sonar coming: Sonar X1

November 1, 2010

My friends at Cakewalk just announced a brand new version of their flagship multitrack recording software product: Sonar X1. Read all about it here.

As a longtime, loyal Cakewalk user (remember Pro Audio anybody?) I am PUMPED about this one!

Johnny Cash’s simple life

November 1, 2010

This to-do list written by Johnny Cash is currently being auctioned, along with many of Cash’s personal items. At the moment, bidding is only at $600. What an item! It speaks volumes about the man.

STUDIO SECRET REVEALED: How to improve your sound

October 25, 2010

Craig Anderton is an institution in the studio music world as an author, blogger, performer, designer and all-around nice guy.

Today I wanted to share a simple insight from Craig that I saw over on a forum he moderates over at Harmony Central, “Craig Anderton’s Sound, Studio and Stage.”

It’s this:

“The cheapest, quickest, and most effective way to improve the sound of your studio is to write a better chorus.” -Craig Anderton

What a marvelous way of saying that in the end — after you’ve updated your software and mortgaged the house to get the latest tube preamp and that pristine 1957 Strat — what counts most is whether you have a good song in the first place.

So thanks, Craig, from one more composer-performer-engineer guy who needed to hear that it’s about the music, and the performance, much more than it is about the tools.

Getting Better, indeed

October 22, 2010

It was never a single, this little slice of Beatles pop circa 1967, and it is never listed as among their greatest achievements. But for me, “Getting Better” sums up the optimism, the unfettered joy that the Beatles represented better than almost anything else they ever did. And, as a bonus, it features the perfect shorthand version of Paul and John’s relationship.

Recorded at Abbey Road in their ground-breaking sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Getting Better” really doesn’t break new ground musically or lyrically. It re-uses the almost mechanical, four-beats-per-measure percussion that Paul pioneered with earlier songs like “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Penny Lane.” But in its metronome beat and soaring vocals, the song perfectly portrays that most elusive of emotions – joy.

And after Paul’s hyper-optimism (“Getting better all the t-i-i-ime”) comes John’s sardonic rejoinder: “Can’t get no worse.” A neater summation of the magic of that partnership can’t be found.

And so, apropos of nothing, I submit “Getting Better,” my personal theme song and the relentlessly perfect portion of joy.


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