Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

  • Music:

Chihuahua Drone Mix

Last night my father and my sister drove into town, and we all dined on grilled salmon. The corn on the cob had been soaked in saltwater, in the husk, prior to being grilled, which gave it an incredible golden-tasty-ambience. I love seeing the folks from my family, as we all have the same conversational style. We also got a quick visit from my brother, his wife, and young Arnold Chihuahua Mix, who arrived fresh and refreshed from their vacation. We ate blueberries for dessert, with a trace of lo-fat ice cream. I wished a nephew happy birthday by phone, although the call was cut short by the need to act as a facilitative mediator between Teddy and Arnold.

This morning, I drove the seventy five minutes or so to Park Hill Prairie, to fish and hike. I stopped at the Minnow Bucket in Farmersville, my regular bait shop. I tried to help the woman running the place with putting in a fluorescent light bulb,
and managed, despite my family's trait of saying whatever is one our minds, usually in the form of an anecdote, I managed to keep to myself (but not from this journal) my story about how I hold a bachelor's degree in physics, but the most concrete thing I learned in college was "if a fluorescent light bulb breaks, you leave". Fortunately, I did not break the bulb, though even after putting it up, it did not light up, either.

When I arrived at the park, a great blue heron the size of a 12 year old child was at the side of one of the twin ponds. He flew away when I stopped to look at him.
I began to fish, on a hot day when only one other brave soul fished the ponds.
I caught 12 sunfish, but only 2 would be "keepers", if I did not catch and release.
Some were small enough that they could have been bait.

I took a walk on the trail in the prairie. The trail had not been mowed, so that I soon lost myself in a thicket of cedars and dried prairie grasses. I note that ticks must have a thing for hopping up onto prairie grasses. I enjoyed the walk, from the monarch butterfly loping by at the beginning through the weaving among the cedars to the sight of the woods and gentle rolling hills when I stood at the little stone circle lookout.

I returned home to work on a remixing project on my home computer. Now that I have Slicer, I felt up to the task of making an entry in the Lisa DeBenedictis remixing contest. is the cool place in which artists put up available samples with open source "attribution only" licensure, so that other artists can remix the work. I had posted a couple of samples there, but never remixed anything I was willing to share until now.

When I saw that, an indie label I admire, was holding a contest with, I was intrigued. When it turned out that Lisa DeBenedictis' song "The Cuckoo", a great alternative pop remake of the old folk song (from her album "Tigers", which is just grand) was the "featured vocal" for the contest,
I was hooked. I thought at first I could not come up with anything, as my skills are so limited. My play with the Slicer software convinced me to give it a try. I took one of Claire Fitch's ambient cello pieces as my source music. Claire's work is simply wonderful, and I knew I could have fun with it. I ran a sample of it through Slicer, and set the settings to make it very discordant, noisy and eerie. Then I ran Lisa's voice through Slicer, to create echo, drone, distortion and amazingly pretty vocals.I used my Magix Audio Studio 5 to mix the enterprise, reaching a bit of oddmusic (featuring a battery-powered toothbrush solo) in my favorite "weirdbient" vein. My favorite recording revelation? "Why no, the computer mike won't send any sound to the recording software if you've inexplicably turned the volume for recordings down to zero", along with "yes, it will sound as distorted as creation if you turn the volume settings for playback way too high".

I am so grateful to the IX Software folks, who helped me get going on Slicer (and made it open source and free to download). I downloaded Music Crystals, another
synthesizer, from their site. It's great fun--a kind of virtual video game of music synthesizing crystals one can direct in patterns. I need to get a Quick Time maker, though, as it requires samples in that format.

Tonight we went out for sushi, which is very low points on the Weight Watchers scale. I used to always order teriyaki, which is not that high, but now I can eat a fair bit of sushi without going off the reservation on the healthy eating. I expect, though, that I will not lose weight when I "weigh in" tomorrow, due to two dinners with family and also due to my taking to heart the WW folks' advice last week that I was losing too much, too soon. I did not want my loss to have a New York Dolls sound to it.

After dinner, we drove to Trinity Trail, where we walked to Hiker's Point, a bit under a 3 mile round trip. I love walking in the early evening--such a charming time to talk, with the weather cooled down a bit. We saw three horse riders walking their paints into the water's edge.

We came back home, where I did my Mp3 conversion, uploaded the song and wrote a long-winded liner note for it, and then listened to it again from the site. At first, I thought I had made the same error I made on my song "Feeder Guppy Rescue League", because the sound was frighteningly faint, no matter how loud I turned up the volume.
Then I realized that I had the headphones plugged in but not on my ears--giving rise to a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" moment. The song sounds as odd on the site as it does in the original recording, so my job is done. The result is at my site on the website, if anyone wishes to hear it. I had deferred listening to the dozens upon dozens of other entries, but I'm eager to hear what the really good people do with Lisa's (as opposed to what I did "to" it).

Tomorrow I want to hike some more, and perhaps work on recording bug noises.
I also want to finish the Civil War novel I'm on, eat some pho, perhaps, and get some quality rest.
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