Monday, December 23, 2013

Imaginary Operation

You may be asking yourself "What is The Imaginary Opera? Isn't that just a song we do?" 
It is. 
But it's also much more. 

There is a "book" (words and lyrics) to a 45-minute/hour-long operetta. Do you want to see it? Of course not, nobody will read it. The story is based on Apocalypse Now, the "world" is Blade Runner, and the characters are multifarious but the lead is from Escape From New York. The book needs a re-write. In fact, it needs a re-write from someone who isn't me. But I haven't found anybody who wants to do that (yet.)

Most of the opera's music has not been written -- that we know of. But the fact is that most of the opera will be the actors talking and over their talking will be some "space rock". So that's pretty easy, right? (Other than the band, which is presumably Diatomaceous Earth, there are two actors and one soprano who plays the "Chorus.")

So what is that piece of music we call The Imaginary Opera? Well, we'll probably do a number of versions just the way we do them now, but there will also be a version which will have a melody (with words) sung by the soprano "Chorus". Do we know what those words are? No. Do we know where it goes in the whole Imaginary Opera piece? No. Do we know what the melody will be? No (although I have some ideas.) 

So. You're thinking to yourself "Drew, this whole Imaginary Opera idea is pretty half-baked." Yes, it's almost exactly half baked. But I'm pretty good at completing things like this. And we're at the halfway point.

But The Imaginary Opera is a separate thing from a regular Diatomaceous Earth concert. At least I think it is under normal circumstances. 

Now we need to find a puppet maker.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Drum Preamps

I watched the Dave Grohl directed documentary Sound City. The movie is primarily a love story about a Neve mixing console that was owned by a Los Angeles recording studio and was subsequently sold to Dave Grohl.
There's a couple things in the movie which might confuse a less sophisticated viewer -- like that Pro Tools is analogous to a tape deck more than a mixing board (although it can do that too). And also I'll be more than happy to be "that guy" who points out that if you're trying to proselytize that 24-track 2" Ampex machines are some kind of holy grail that a 2" 16-track Stephens machine is far closer to the holy land than any Ampex and that's just that.
I can make a ProTools rig sound just as good as a 2" 24-track Ampex by adding a bit of noise to the whole thing when I'm done. 

In any case, yeah, a lot of great albums were recorded on that Neve mixer. The two that blow me away the most are Fleetwood Mac's Rumors and Nirvana's Nevermind. Oddly the documentary talked quite a bit about how nice the room sounded but for much of the life of that studio the preference was for very dead rooms -- and very dead drums.
But truthfully, I'm not that super excited by the drum sounds on Nevermind or even the more modern Foo Fighter's stuff. Sure, I get bummed by the papery drum sounds of early Zeppelin or even Cream, but the constant explosions without dynamics of modern rock drumming just make me depressed.
And, as far as I know, ABACAB was recorded on an old SSL console. SSL's are not known for their preamps. Indeed (and I'm just pulling this out of my ear) I think Nevermind was mixed on an SSL.
And ABACAB may have been recorded on an AMEK.
So wait, where was I going with this?
Doesn't Shock the Monkey seem to be a bit fast tempo-wise? I want it to be slower and funkier.
Oh, I know. I'm not 100% convinced of Neve's inherent superiority in recording drums. I do seem to like them as overhead and room mics. I know I know, everybody is all about API's for drums. They're snappy, I'll give you that. Still I'd rather have a drum kit that I liked the sound of in and of itself. You know. To start with.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hannibal Montana and venues

Talking with Mike from Cavallo yesterday. He said they were going to open for a band called Hannibal Montana.
Instrumental rock. On the prog tip. Check them out. They're pretty awesome.


Here are some music venues in New York City
Spike Hill
The Grand Victory
Lit Lounge

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What I think about Katy Perry

You know, I really dislike much of Katy Perry's most popular songs. In particular I feel that the end of the hook (the "answer" to the beginning of the phrase or the "subject") squanders the build-up from the verses through the bridge and into the chorus. And it does so by leading you up and up... until she finishes off with an "oh aeh oh eh oh" like nobody could figure out what else to put in there. No, man, that's the part of the song that has to deliver -- that's not the place to cop out.
Anyway, so yeah. Drew has issues with the bulk of the Katy Perry oeuvre.

I did, however, enjoy "I Kissed a Girl" The answer to the subject in the chorus is adequate. And, you know, it can be done in different styles which is also amusing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Things 4 Today

The VB3 is considered to be the best modeled Hammond organ. I have to say, it's pretty nice.
This is the kind of thing you get when you look up "guitar mouse".

Arf! Mastering is Alan Silverman's place. He's doing some Russian Chamber stuff I recorded.

The Playroom doesn't seem to do single-day performance rentals.

The Tank is a theater.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


This is Twilight of the Ice Nymphs.
Rehearsal last night. Diatomaceous Earth.
The Hammond organ you hear is actually the Chapman Stick played through an Electro Harmonix HOG2 and a Strymon Leslie emulator.

This recording has Lily using the Jazz fretless through a Fender Twin which is then recorded with a Rode NT1 and a Neve 1272.
This was a "find ourselves" rehearsal -- break stuff down to try to figure out how it's going to work live. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Saturnworks Pedals

Do you know what's cool? Saturnworks Pedals.
ψ is like the perfect logo. Saturnworks. Get it? Brilliant. (Yeah, I know, I just made it "Saturn Wave" but work with me here.)

Hand-made in Davis California, they're very aesthetically awesome.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pleasure for the Empire

If, and this is a big if, one wanted to have a band which regular beer-drinking people wanted to come out and actually see, one could do a big and pompous set of things and just do it in such a way that it would be awesome, and the regular beer-drinking people would come.
Prague Spring in maybe 1999?

  • Also Sprach Zarathustra (like a Deodato version)
  • Hocus Pocus (by Focus)
  • Game of Thrones Theme (hard rock version)
  • Peter Gunn
  • Frankenstein
  • One Of These Days
It's not often that I have an actual commercial idea for something. And yeah, "commercial" in this case doesn't mean "making the hits" but rather doing something which some subset of people would dig. But for me it's a big accomplishment.


Researching venues. There's Gothamist's 8 Best Music Venues (although they're mostly too big for Diatomaceous Earth). But the comments include:

There's also:
The Gutter (bowling alley, has music)

Here's something we figured out last night in the sans-drummer rehearsal of D. Earth.

Wait. Now I've forgotten it. Luckily Ethan and Lily wrote it down.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Your Three Things For Today (with bonus pics)

An interview with Chance Shirley.
Pavlov and the Drooling Dogs c.1985
Ars Nova seems like a pretty cool theater. (Still looking for a venue for the Imaginary Opera.)
Cannon Found Soundstation is Jesse Cannon's recording and mastering house. He used to work for Alan Douches. They'll master an LP there for $200

Quick Audio Notes

Reidel makes high-end intercoms and communications systems. Groove to them.
Peter Erskine is a sound designer and such.

Christoph Stahel is the production manager of the Montreaux Jazz Festival. 21 years ago I met him in Zurich while on tour with the Wooster Group.

Moving the Blags

I'm re-consolodating my blogs.  I know, you wanted them separate. But my little mind just doesn't work that way. All my blogging -- ...