Saturday, February 26, 2011

Track Assignments

So, er, I can't figure out the point of a hi-hat track. I mean, when is it that the hi-hat isn't loud enough? Am I missing something here?

Remember that link to John Vestman's site below? I forgot to mention he offers some very interesting advice:
P.S.  For a bigger drum sound, have the drummer hit the cymbals softer...
I'm trying to figure out how we're going to mix this Tyrannosaurus Mouse album. Because I don't know. I would absolutely love to break the album down to 16 tracks and premix the guitars and mult the basses and such. Yes, we have three bass tracks right now.
So how about this:

1.  Kick
2.  Snare
3.  Toms L
4.  Toms R
5.  OH L
6.  OH R
7.  Room L
8.  Room R
9.  Bass
10. Rhythm Guitars L
11. Rhythm Guitars R
12. Keyboards L
13. Keyboards R
14. Vocals L/ instrumental solo L
15. Vocals R/ instrumental solo R

via

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three More Things

What your favorite classic rock band says about you. My favorite?
Jethro Tull: You have a favorite rune.
I ordered a Tyrannosaurus Mouse T-shirt from Fyves.com. The dark T-shirts are under $12 with shipping. That's a pretty darn good price. The idea is that you can resell the T-shirts with a markup. Unlike Spreadshirt or those sorts of companies you can't set up a "store" that people can click on widgets and automatically buy from your website. That's just not what they do. They do have a relatively limited selection of colors. When I get the shirt I'll tell you what I think of it.

Apparently this imaginary band's mission statement came to the Queen of Mars in a dream.

Your three things from the Mouse today

Motu makes Electric Keys -- a library of virtual electric pianos and such.
I just ordered ten Tyrannosaurus Mouse plates from Amplates.
Samplitude has an interview with John Vestman about mastering with stems. Our mastering engineer, Alan Douches of West Westside Music just hates mastering from stems. I have to say I agree with him. It's better to get the mix to not suck before you go to mastering. Ooh. Wait. That was a really catty thing for me to say.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beep It

Via Chance Shirley, the BeepIt. That's a $35 Theremin-like thingy.
I got some spam mail from BMI about BMI Live (I'm a BMI writer). Presumably you can get paid for performing your songs even in small venues. I can't imagine that the royalties are more than a couple cents per song at a bar in New York but hey, we'll be earning royalties.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Absurdities

You know, every time I send my band an email they basically ignore me. I think they listen to Ethan, because he can encourage people to show up at rehearsals and things. But when I send out an email I can only imagine that the collective response is "WTF is Drew saying?" and then immediately dump the email in trash.
Which doesn't, however, keep me from thinking or saying absurd things.
Lately I've been wondering what sort of cover songs we might do if we ever had to do a really long set.

Lawyers, Guns, and Money (or Werewolves of London, either way)
Conquistador
Heaven on Their Minds from "Jesus Christ Superstar"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Musical Theft

I was playing a bit of the Mouseverture for Ken Coughlin and he played along with the descending chromatic section on guitar and I thought "Hey, I should steal that."
So I did... er... I tried to. I played the new guitar part a couple days later and it's more the idea of the notion of what Ken played. I'm too stupid to actually be able to steal a musical idea. Lord knows I tried.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Notes I'm Not Even Sure That *I* Understand

Guitar line col bass in One Last Drink? (I've done this twice, once with the Blattocaster and once with the Les Paul. I'm not sure what I think of this idea.)
Additional guitar line in Mouseverture? (That's been done. See post above.)
Add rhythm guitar for Jabberwocky (I added one but it needs to be done again. At least one more time).
Breath at top of Jabberwocky (taken care of).
Check flanging in vocal of Jabberwocky (that was probably a result of a poorly understood second vocal track I think this is fixed).

Maybe we should make a whole album like Frampton's "Do You Feel Like I Do?"

via

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lady Gaga

The Grammies. And the Superbowl.

OK, so for Lady Gaga, here are my notes: Have a dancer take your microphone when you're leaving the egg or when you go up and down stairs. Any time you don't need the microphone to sing in or as a prop, make someone else carry it.
Have a safety person walk you up the stairs. Don't worry, you'll look elegant.

Now you're asking yourself: why is the mix for Lady Gaga just fine when the mixes at the Superbowl were so awful? Well that's because experience shows. And they only started doing those halftime shows at Superbowl games a couple weeks ago and...
OK, there's no good reason.
Factoid one:
I can't imagine that the lead vocal you hear on that Lady Gaga performance is entirely Lady Gaga live. Because she's dancing a lot. Her dancers are winded. And you have about zero breath and pitch control when you're that winded.
That being said, we can imagine that a lot of the Superbowl Black Eyed Peas performance was mostly done with live vocal microphones. A little (or, at times, a lot) of autotune goes a long way.
http://tv.gawker.com/#!5759420/lady-gaga-hatches-from-her-egg-to-debut-born-this-way-at-the-grammys
Lady Gaga's performance could be helped with a dancer or two giving her a hand to pick her up. Walk her up and down stairs, open her egg, take her microphone from her when it's holding her back aesthetically. Someone like the girl who gives David Byrne his guitar in Stop Making Sense.

The Superbowl? You didn't have a professional mixing the Superbowl. Wherever they were it was TOO LOUD IN THE CONTROL ROOM. Those levels have to be way down. And don't let anyone talk to you on the IC either. When you mix too loud you just can never "seat" the vocal into the music minus tracks.

Drew.
Out.

Less is Better

You know that when the guitar player finds his attention wandering during a guitar solo, that the solo in question probably needs some help.
In our case, it probably needs to be excised altogether.
And that's just what I've done to one of the many, many solos in the Mouseverture. I chopped another minute out of the middle of the song. Don't worry, it was during the part that dragged. If you don't know what that part is, you'll not notice that it's gone, yet you'll feel the song is just better somehow.
I promise.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm feeling Boared.

Ha! I slay me.

Royalty-free is a royalty-free music house. I don't know why I have that link open on my computer but now it's in this blog.
Composer John Mackey on self-publishing music.
Here's an article about indy music labels in NYC in 2007.
Lansing-Dreiden is, or was, on one of those labels. Kemado.
There's also Nublu.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Keeping You Up-to-Date

Rather than wasting Bandcamp's drive space with slightly newer and different versions of mixes, I'm just going to keep updating the mixes here. Remember that you can't see the widgets in an RSS reader.
Mouseverture

Mercury

One Last Drink

Ice Maiden

Arabesque


Jabberwocky

Narwal Song

Friday, February 11, 2011

Aesthetics

At one point Ethan had mentioned that he wished that steampunk weren't quite so popular because that would tend to be the aesthetic direction he would naturally go in.

To me, a lot of steampunk is just "too much". The aesthetic is overwhelmed by the "stuff". Steampunk becomes kind of a Mannerist parody of itself.

What I'm thinking is that we want to do more of a Victorian/Edwardian psychedelia vibe. Although I do have a penchant for old microphones.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Notes on Loudness and Mouses

You know, as much as I complain about people trying to regulate the "loudness wars", I do think that we're going to tend to want to keep the brick-wall limiting on the Tyrannosaurus Mouse record to a minimum.
The drums will be louder and bigger than the majority of records made in the early '70's. But we're certainly not going for that new-rock monster wall of sound wall sound.

And really, I'd love to look at how compressed the Beatles were. Because on my iPod the "loudness" of late Beatles records is pretty freakin' loud.

Notes only I will understand:

Mouseverture
3:00 gtr flub
9:20 go ahead and clean the guitar up here
11:50 gtr noise before entrance

Mercury
Has the noisiest vocal tracks. Especially that first line.
"Lash me to the mast" is also noisy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soleil

A neat thing about Bandcamp is that you can use it like you used to use MySpace. You'd see that friends of yours, or friends of friends, were fans of some band and then you'd immediately go and listen to the band yourself.
With Bandcamp you don't have "friends". It's simply a brilliant back-end to your band's website and such. But you can surf around on Bandcamp.
That's how I found this Portishead-ish German outfit called Soleil. I expect to hear them on SomaFM soon.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things Three

1. Don't think I'm not adding tape and tube amp hiss under the entire album. Because I am.
2. Bandcamp is awesome.
3. I made some changes to make One Last Drink better. Unfortunately I played the Hammond solo in it. That must be cured by Arie playing the Hammond solo.
4. (Yeah, I added this later) I'm not that happy with the first guitar solo (the one after the first verse). And yeah, those guitars are noisy. It's a tad annoying to hear the noise come in before the first note of a section.
The first guitar is too loud and compressed in this mix. By "first guitar" I mean the first one I recorded with the rhythm tracks. Don't worry, I know which one I'm talking about. I did fix one bit of overplayed sloppiness in the guitar solo before the keyboard solo and I feel much better about that.*
5. Samplitude has simply amazing effects in it. Built-in there are the nicest tape-like compressors, 1176-type compressors, and big ol' fat Fairchild-esque compressors as well as tube channel strips. I'll admit a liking for those Waves SSL buss compressors, but the effects in Samplitude are nice.
6. In the Mouseverture in the top 16 bars there's a bit where Ethan and Lou do fills at the same time and then the next phrase neither of them fills. I say move Ethan's fill to the hole in Lou's fill and everything will sound deliberate and nobody will even know unless they read this blog.**
7. Also, I'm still under the impression that the 2nd Em-G guitar solo should simply be excised as a section. I certainly don't play anything interesting in it, that's for sure.***


*This has been fixed.
**This has been fixed in version 2.01
***This was fixed violently in version 2.02. I actually chopped out a Em-G part and the first chromatic thing (the chromatic part before the keyboard triplets). It's kind of a big change but I think it makes the song betterized.

Latest versions of things

If you've got 14 minutes and 46 seconds of your life you never want back*, here's the latest version of the Mouseverture.
I think that the thing we need to do to really make this song pop out is to change the size of the apparent room -- tighten up to a very small room in some sections and then go to an enormous stage at other times. That's what I think.
Ice Maiden is only seven minutes and twenty-nine seconds. I think I have to make the vocal line "your pale blue eyes" better. I'm sure I've done it a bunch of times. I'll just keep doing it... er... different. Somehow.**

Note that you can't see the Bandcamp widgets in an RSS reader. So click through and listen to some music.
If you want to spend a whole bunch of money on a smoking cap, Antique Arts has a beautiful one. We're talking almost five bills, though.

*Lookit that, we're down to 13:07
**As I go through things I discover what sort of things I've already changed. And apparently I took that note already. I think. Anyway, that line doesn't bother me as much anymore.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tyrannosaurus To Do

So we have three, independent, yet somehow related, avenues of activity for the Mouse:

A. Make a record
1. finish recording little things which need to be recorded
2. find some money somewhere and go back to Trax East for two or three days and mix the album
2a. note the term "find some money somewhere". The "somewhere" is at present an unknown
3. release the album on Bandcamp. Maybe even CDBaby and iTunes. Win accolades and adoration of our fans
4. actually make a CD. That is, find money from "somewhere" and have CD's made.

B. Take pictures of ourselves
1. Rent and borrow groovy 19th-Century jackets
2. Take pictures of us looking very, very groovy

C. Play live
Here, shockingly, is going to be the most contentious part of the whole Tyrannosaurus Mouse Experience. I think that's because nobody believes me. But what I want to do is a big "show". I want:
1. A dancer who does the dance of the Seven Veils, or perhaps a fan dance like at the end of The Right Stuff, performed to our Arabesque
2. Groovy front projections on the band during all songs
3. Spotlights on soloists
4. An enormous Jabberwock puppet with glowing red eyes who appears and attacks the bass player during the keyboard solo. Bass player slays the Jabberwock with his vorpal sword.
4a. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen when Ethan drops out to slay the Jabberwock. The song might suffer musically then. So perhaps the Jabberwock is slain by the bass itself. Or possibly a video of the bass player slaying the Jabberwock with his vorpal sword will do. Otherwise, we may need to find another way to actually slay the Jabberwock
5. A staff for Drew. Drew needs at least one person to hand him tuned guitars and make changes in the settings on amplifiers. That person might double as a puppeteer for the Jabberwock.
6. Really groovy clothes for the musicians in Tyrannosaurus Mouse. That means you, you, you, and you. See section B above.

OK, so I suspect you're saying to yourself:
  • That's not even going to happen once
  • Drew clearly knows nothing about theater. We're going to be in tech for three 12-hour days on that Jabberwock alone
  • Can't we just play in a bar?
  • Remember how we don't even have money to mix the album? How are we getting money for a Jabberwock?
These are wise thoughts you have. But remember that we can actually do this. Or, remember that Drew is tenacious enough to do this. Either way. And yes, some questions I can't answer -- like who is going to build and operate our Jabberwock.
Can we play in a few bars first? Yes! Absolutely! We have to have the appropriate clothes, of course (see point B), but we could just play in some bars.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Skybucket Records

Here's an independent record label with a number of cool acts on it. Specifically it has the upcoming record by the Delicate Cutters, my buddy Chance Shirley's band.
Back in the day it was possible to make you some money with an indy label. That day was 1979. June 22nd, as I recall.
Actually, there have been some working labels up through the 2000's. Mostly niche-stuff like deathmetal et al. And the insider information I have from what we might call a "significant" indy ("indy" meaning it's not associated with any of the major labels at all -- it's not a "brand" of, say, CBS) is that they won't even bother with a band that can't sell 150K units. That's one hundred fifty thousand CD's nowadays. You know, what with iTunes and the Interwebs and whatever.
Tyrannosaurus Mouse, of course, can sell scads of records because we'll have a complete burlesque show at all our concerts. I wonder if I've adequately explained this to the band yet? I think I did, but they thought I was joking.

Robot Christmas video concepts

So I came up with a little ditty called Robot Christmas . And it amuses me. The first verse is about evil robots. They are waiting for t...