Monday, June 13, 2016

Diatomaceous Earth The Porcupine's Dream Part I



Yes, this is a new version of The Porcupine's Dream. A slightly better video. A slightly better mix.



Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Porcupine's Dream (Part I)

Tyrannosaurus Mouse and our recording of The Porcupine's Dream.
This is actually the last take we did. The slate stopped working and the cameras ended up being... er... not in sync. But this slower version of the song is my favorite.
I'm very happy with my guitar sound. Ethan's bass sound is the best bass sound I've ever personally recorded. I especially dig Greg's slide guitar. Lou is playing an electronic kit with Native Instruments Studio Drummer sounds. The Studio Drummer kit mixes so easily. The hi hats are so smooth and the kick just sounds great without any work.
I've been cheating in a variety of ways. The compressors are mostly (emulated) LA2A's but I'm also putting many or most channels through (emulated) Pultec EQ's using that trick of boosting and attenuating the same frequencies. To me it makes the low end more... well more, but without being muddy.
Most of the channels are hitting multiple compressors before they even get to the master buss. At the master buss I have three limiters: a Samplitude "Ammunition" M/S compressor/limiter, and two Fairchild (emulation) stereo limiters set very very lightly -- one being stereo and the other being in M/S mode.
Oh, and another limiter on the master buss is the Samplitude "advanced dynamics" mostly lifting up the bottom part of the dynamics which is function that's almost impossible to explain but which I've discovered recently and sounds freaking noice.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Rut

I've been trying to practice regularly. But I've been practicing bass. And not for any particular reason, either. Just that I got it into my head I wanted to play the Jethro Tull Bouree for some reason. It's remarkably tricky to play.
I'm in that rut one gets into where it's like dangit, I'm just not getting any better. I'm sort of frozen in this place. Maybe bass is just really really hard? Playing notes evenly on the dang thing seems so much harder than guitar. Of course I've played guitar for 35 years so maybe I'm just used to it. I don't know.

But the things I am good at on guitar I'm so not good at on bass. Dynamics are out the window. The control of tone is, in many ways literally, heavy-handed as my right hand just goes places not entirely with my consent.
It seems that many Tool songs are played in a dropped-D tuning. I've never felt comfortable in alternate tunings. But intellectually I don't think I'm that comfortable in regular tunings so what difference does it make?
Well no, changing the tuning on a guitar kinda means you really need to do a new setup on the neck. And you may need to re-think your string gauge. I had thought that the heavy strings Ethan makes me get might do better for very low-tuned guitars but actually I think I'd have to go for much heavier strings to tune the guitar lower (I'm experimenting on the Blattocaster).
I'm getting a special Tyrannosaurus Mouse headstock decal for that guitar. Ethan spent a goodly many hour cutting that custom bone nut but at this point in my life I'd like a compensated nut. That's what I tell all the girls at least.
Furthermore:
The Timebender and the TC Electronic D-Two are the only guitar effects that let you tap in a pattern for delays.
I have become frustrated with the Abbey Road 60's kick drum. So I'm trying the regular session drummer kit and I find it so much easier to mix.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Hedonic Treadmill

Diatomaceous Earth. This is a mix from our last recording (March 4th, 2016). Lou Clark on drums, Ethan Rosenblatt on bass guitar, Greg Bartus and me (Andrew Bellware) on guitars.
Hedonic Treadmill was just an end-of-the-night jam. Could it be shorter? Probably. Will it be? I... I don't know.

I could make a guess about what we're all playing through. Greg through his preamp rack and then into... hmm... Maybe the ART tube preamp? Probably. Ethan is certainly going direct into the ART tube preamp (the other channel). I'm going through a Kemper profiler amp and then into a Lindell mic preamp. Lou is playing sounds from the Abbey Road late 60's kit.
The bass is going through a GK amp simulator. And everybody's getting hit with noise reduction and a wide variety of compression.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Blind Testing

I kind of dig the Chapman YouTube channel. They do quite a bit of blind testing of guitars and amps and they get to some interesting conclusions. Here we learn that the sound of different gauge strings is not so much as the feel of them.



Other things we've learned is that the Squire Classic Vibe Telecaster is arguably better than its Fender equivalent.

And Ringo Starr is left-handed, but plays a right-handed kit. This. This explains so much about the incredible style of The Beatles. I can't even begin to say. And the 23 best cats in kick drums.