Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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fear of a hipster planet, redux

Today I spent the morning playing with my music studio program. I figured out how to multi-track effectively through a good bit of the process. The microphone output match-up problems got solved, with both a piece of cheap equipment and with an alternative mild use of my long-dormant physics degree to figure out an effective substitute approach with existing materials.

Although I can mix fairly well, I have not yet figured out how to save the remixed song into .wav, being able thus far only to save the multi-tracked song sans mix. I left a message on the software maker's forum with my newbie question, and then decided to use simple overdubbing with tape to make a "voice and instruments" song. I opened up a text screen and began to compose doggerel lyrics for a comic song about a somewhat pompous yet pathetic dentist who loses his lover to a goateed hipster barista. The kazoo and percussion accompaniment, coupled with some of the flattest vocals I've ever sung, on suitably odd Ron Mael-ish lyrics, annoy yet perhaps redeem, which is saying something. I am not sure the result will amuse anyone but me. I had more fun with the noise song I recorded, although the "kazoo synthesizer" tends to overwhelm even the electric football field in full glory' hence, remixing technology will be essential.

I read a lot of internet material lately to try to understand more about virtual synthesizers than I do.
It's like riding a bicycle after a layoff of decades. I probably have more technical knowledge than I am willing to admit--but the focus to use what little I have is largely lacking. I think that it's a good exercise for me to try to ride that bike, though I am not going to win the Tour de France.

I realized that I had given up on my creative idea of using the MIDI music creation program Musedit and the MIDI recorder MID 4.1. My first song using that approach, "Trinity Trail", did fairly well on the soundclick charts, and pleases me aesthetically. The next two songs, though, did not succeed. "Beech Ridge" is a mess of unintended distortion and over-simplistic chording (I have a weakness for repeated diatonic chords in organ settings), while "Bethany Lakes Park" repeats itself too often and distorts at the end. Yet as we took our lhasas for a walk, I noted to myself that sound levels can be fixed, and that my musical knowledge, while limited, can surely create more interesting notations than merely use of a goblin MIDI organ to play "three chord rock" slowed to ambient pace through a pipe organ on crack.

the_outsider did me a kindness which proves the point. He took "Beech Ridge", renamed it
"Leech Bridge", and remixed it with a softsynth to get a truly amazingly good sound from it. It's a real kindness to have done it, but it also shows what some imagination and some sound manipulation can do for/to a song.

My own efforts to download softsynths continue to flounder. I downloaded and saved this wonderful bit of "open source" freeware called "Granulator", which is supposed to take one's .wav file, chop it into tiny grains, and give it a pointillistic beauty through the miracle of granular technology. But so far my version only says "can't hook up to the MIDI files", and does nothing. Meanwhile, I find that a product called "Metasynth" actually performs my mildly synesthesiac notion of allowing one to shape designs and thus cause music to be made, but it is written only for Apple products, and I work in a PC environment. The quest continues.

We went to the store so that I could buy huge plastic containers as the logical continuation of my slowly-building project to reclaim my spare room from my own disorganization. All my various "musical" gizmos, save the huge PVC didge, fit nicely in a huge box, which may be some indication of the bit of jolly green giant size see-through tupperware-looking box of which I now own fiddlers three. I see things to be disposed of, things to be boxed and stored, and things to be returned to bookshelves and files all around me. I am already looking with fondness at chairs for the long tables I hope to buy to make my art room into a chess room. I love The Container Store, which we browsed after I already had my boxes. I also browsed music software at compusa, but all I saw was loops and snips, which do not interest me, as I want to mainline my music with direct creation.

The mollie and the Australian rainbow fish I am pet-sitting seem to be thriving, which relieves me, as
trying to find substitute fish for Oreo and Corvette would have been difficult indeed. Oreo is a huge black and white spotted mollie male, with fancy fins--the kind of fish a failed fish-sitter could look all over town for and not duplicate.

During our walk around Glendover Pond with our lhasa Ted, we met a newly-acquired mongrel-but-with-heavy-black-lab-leanings one month old puppy named Silver. Silver had a jaunty way about him, having seen the pond for the first time, apparently, and jumped right in. Apparently lhasa apso instincts differ from retriever instincts, because Teddie never dreams of going into the water. Silver's owners had caught and released nine fish, which reminds me that for all the fishing I do, I have never fished the local park pond.

I forgot to put on the heavy hiking shoes in which I always weigh in at Weight Watchers this time, as the shoes were out of plain sight, recovering in the garage from a rather muddy hike we took last Wednesday. The scales at the "weigh-in" reflected eight pounds lost, which is too much, too soon in the New York Dolls reality of sensible weight loss. Even with an adjustment for the weight of the boots,
I still lost six pounds, bringing me just shy of thirty pounds. I had only figured I could lose twelve pounds in one year, so I am pleased. I will monitor my eating, though, to ensure that I am getting enough calories as well as not too many.

We went afterward and had a late lunch of pho and spring rolls to celebrate. I now weigh less than I did when we returned to Texas, but I will not be content until I lose another twenty pounds or so. The Weight Watchers folks theoretically will not be content until I am slimmer than Gumby, if their materials' target weight is correct, but I use their program as a useful tool but not a religion unto itself. I think I do so well on their system because it is very much goal-oriented. I find that I have determination when I understand the goal ahead. I keep waiting for the moderator at my group to ask me, as she does everyone who loses x amount of weight, what my secret is to this loss. My secret is simple--I reduce food intake by using their rough but utilitarian point count approach, and otherwise I
don't think much about it.

They've built a nice little park gazebo out by Glendover Pond. Maybe this Fall I'll play chess with
the new folks I am meeting these days with whom to play. My yahoo message group is only up to 5, but I am hopeful that the good few people I am meeting will attend my August 6 tournament and the seedlings will germinate. I joined the yahoo message group for people who record natural sounds, and now get barraged with dozens of e mails a day. I will switch it to digest form, and long for similar chess interest.

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