Archive for the ‘Musicianship’ Category

1100 hours

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

hour meter showing 1100.1 hours

So, I’ve made it to 1100. Still getting better, although there are interesting phenomenons where some aspects get worse and then better as parts of my neural network rebalance. Anyway, looking forward to seeing what I’m like at 2000.

1000 hours

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

So, sometime early in COVID I installed a hour meter.. I’m not sure exactly when, but it hit 200 hours in Oct of 2020. Anyway, I always said I’d do a twitch show when it hit 1000 hours, and so here it is


Being edited out

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

So, I know that it’s fairly common for people to not be able to decode and enjoy the level of music that I can. I can handle many more layers than most people can, and I want my music to *have* many more layers than most people want.

I also know that on Bruce’s album, I’m essentially a studio musician albeit a unpaid one and thusly I shouldn’t complain when I get edited out.

However, it was quite a jolt to have *my favorite part* of the whole album removed. Along with all my keyboards on two different tracks, and about 50% of them overall.

(Anyone who is curious, in Falling Down Hard, during the bridge, there was this lovely descending series of arpeggios that come in with the second of four passes that never failed to delight me)

I know part of the issue here is just that I like things too complex.. apparently too complex for Joe, and definitely too complex for Bruce. I did get permission from Bruce to release the track uncut after the album has come out. My guess is most people will prefer Joe’s mix to mine, but I want to be able to share what I think is one of my most brilliant moments with my friends.

There’s a bunch of things I’d do differently.. maybe I’ll see if I can just release the entire album mixed to my tastes. Probably only ten people will ever listen to it, but I know which version I’d rather hear.

900 Hours

Monday, April 3rd, 2023

So, since I added a hour meter – I don’t actually remember what date that happened but it was somewhat after I started practicing a hour or more a day during COVID – I have done 900 hours.

I’m trying to figure out how to celebrate when I get to 1000.

hour meter showing 900 hours

800 hours

Monday, December 5th, 2022

hour meter showing 800 hours

The challenges of ego in tracking

Sunday, September 11th, 2022

So, I’m in the studio this weekend tracking parts for a friend’s concept album – except I’m actually not. What I’m actually doing is providing scratch tracks to allow him to get the timing right, over which we will track better parts later. Which is fine with me. I was running into a weird ego thing where the AE is keeping my parts faded way down – which makes perfect sense, after all mistakes in them don’t even matter – but there was part of me that kept trying to convince me it was because of how much my vocals suck, which may also be a true criticism but I’m pretty sure is not why he’s doing it.

I think I’m on record before as saying that to be a really great musician you have to be able to not let your ego get in the way of the music. THis is definitely one of those moments – I mean, it’s a honor to be considered as a session musician and this is where I want to go and it has been a lot of fun. I’ll go back and track “real” parts with the guitars – for the drums and vocals we’re tracking at Orbit Audio because they have better mics and a better sounding room than I even want to try to have, then for all the line-in type stuff we’re tracking at Sheer Sound (my basement setup, which is still more advanced than most high end studios were in the 90s)

Anyway, I really hope we can get this album shipped without the band falling apart or the originator losing interest. It’s very prog rock and a nice change from my ordinary fare.

Another step on the way to being a professional musician

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

So, I’ve unlocked another important achievement on the way to being a professional musician – I’ve got my first rejection letter!

This is important – we all know that Pink Floyd, the Beatles, and the Who all received rejection letters, just to name a few of my musical heros. Therefore clearly if I’m getting rejection letters I’m doing something right. (I’m only being somewhat facetious here – immediate acceptance would mean that my music is the same as the current stuff on the radio which I do not think would be very much of a success for where I want to go and what I want to do)

So, I still have to keep working on finding my audience. But.. another step along the way is done.

700 (ish) hours

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

I was all absorbed in working on a cover I’m doing of Kingdom and so I didn’t actually catch 700 even, but here’s 700.4
hour meter showing 700.4 hours

The search for good vocals

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

So, I went to see Journey live last night. Now, of course Journey is known for their series of amazing vocalists, but I did find myself studying the way their latest (Pineda) used his voice. Today when I was practicing I was noticably more conscious of my control of tone – and I also was doing some exercises this morning to try and flip in and out of falsetto more reliably and also to experiment with what tone control is available with falsetto. I definitely have gained (possibly due to the voice lessons, exercises, or just singing every day) some range over the years – I can’t quite do the “Don’t stop believing” high part yet but I no longer have any trouble at all with the “Ma’am I am tonight!” in “Walking in Memphis”, which I used to have a lot of trouble with.

I still am not happy with my pitch control. I need to spend some more time working on it. Journey was amazing, by the way.

I sent in my further-edited content from the album to mastering – I had gotten the first draft of the mastering content back and my already-marginal toms in Believing Is Seeing had become unbelievably muddy, so I did a bunch of cutting, pasting, effects and EQ changing, etc. These toms have been the bane of my existence ever since I started mixing that song – they sound different on every system. Initially, the problem I was having was they would sound great in headphones, good on studio nearfield monitors, and truly crappy in a car or on a laptop. Then I think I might have gone overboard with the reverb. The new convolution reverb plugin I’m using has instead of a dry/wet knob, separate dry and wet gain knobs. This is actually a much more flexible setup for a inline plugin – it lets you emulate the results of using a send to a seperate channel on the board with much less work and I think all reverb and delay plugin developers should consider doing it. Anyway, providing a hotter dry path helped a lot with the muddiness. I also discovered slight timing errors in places where I’d doubled roto tom and rack tom, which I fixed. I cleaned up a ton of little timing errors on high grade ore (originally I just wanted to fix one place where it was obvious I had cranked the gain on “ore” but at the point at which I was having to pay to redo mastering I figured I might as well spend a few hours sanding everything I didn’t like.

It would be really neat if some track on the album were to hit. It doesn’t seem particularly likely – although I do definitely get points for spanning a number of genres. But it woudl be neat. And I am going to try to market it several different ways.. although I also want to get back to tracking.

600 hours

Friday, March 25th, 2022

hour meter showing 600 hours

I continue to chip away. I’ll have to have some kind of celebration at 1000.