Monthly Archive for February, 2004

would you lock the door?

americananalogset (2k image)Friday after work we took care of some housekeeping and caught up with our phone calls. Then we went over to Eric and Erika’s house for dinner and a movie. I just can’t tell you how amazing it is to have cool friends that are literally 1.5 blocks away. And hell, I had my Bar Mitzvah with Eric. We got Chinese Food from none other than the Golden House. I do actually have them programed in my cell phone. It’s that good. Prior to the movie we watched some spelling bee program on the television. Why Alice Cooper is so facsinating to me is almost humorous. But he is. Actually we watched that program because we were going to start the movie except there were a lot of subtitles and didnt want to eat and read and the same time. The movie we watched was called Rabbit-Proof Fence. Those Australian’s really know how to make a movie. And Peter Gabriel did a wonderous job on the soundtrack.

Saturday was spent primarily setting up sound for 5 bands in Baltimore. Live sound is most definately not my fort�. And I hadnt really done any since college. But it is sound and controlling and capturing sound, so of course it interests me. And I got hired for the show, so I had better show up. So pretty much from 12noon until about 4pm we spent setting up all the speaker cabinets, snakes, mics and monitors. A complete cable mess. It actually was much more simple than i thought, however. We didn’t get to do much of a soundcheck, but I wasnt worried as mixing is pretty easy for me. And definately, by far, the most exciting for me. After we were done setting up I headed back home to relax a bit before the show. I went back at around 8.30pm. I listened to some station at 92.3 on the FM dial. I reckon it’s a Baltimore station as I had never heard it before. But the dynamics were worse than that of a rock station. That drove me nuts. And it suprised me. Anyways. So most of the bands were pretty simple to mix. Even the band with two drummers. I had a 16 channel mixer. There was also an 8 channel mixer on the stage used as a sub-mix. So in the scheme of things it was nothing. No biggie. Oh yeah, and the monitor mixes were sent via aux 1 and 2 to the front and back of stage respectively. Two mixes on stage for the musicians is pretty cool. I’ve never done more than one mix on stage. So things went pretty smoothly. The mixes were easy to make. Especially when there were no vocals. When the vocals came in, it got a bit more complicated. I pretty much had to ride the faders whenever the vocals came in. But it all worked out in the end and I actually got compliments from a handful of fans there and the owner of the club. I was pretty suprised. Oh yeah, and the dB level never reached above 112. I rule.

Today was a lazy Sunday. I walked down the street to drop off my movie and pick up my Clarinex at CVS. Then I helped Emily with some yard work. Then me and Gordon chatted a bit on the phone. After that David came over and we went to Radio Shack to get some parts. Some switches, logorithmic potentiometers, and wire. We started our casio modification sessions. David was working on his SK1 and I was working on my SK5. David didn’t have much luck with his SK1, but in due time it will happen. He has this monsterous Army made 16 position swich. It’s huge. And he has three of them for his SK1. It’s going to be amazing. I just did a simple swtich that adds a bright sounding distortion. The trick is creating a glitch that is actually controlable via the keyboard and not just some short circuit that loops and can’t be controlled on it’s own. I can only tell you that if you have a casio keyboard, you must buy a soldering gun and totally mess with the innards. These pieces of plastic were made to be tweaked! After we started getting tired from the solder fumes we had to call it a day. Then I cleaned up the studio for the band coming in next week. I kinda like that people can book time in my studio. I engineer a little. Tweak some knobs, move some faders. I print them an invoice. And then I get paid. It’s a marvel, this US of A.

That’s it for now.

center city.

coded language.last night i had band practice again. i made it down there a lot more quickly than i did the first time. i cut through chestnut hill…..onto lincoln drive…..and onto 76 at city line. i made it down to 2nd and arch pretty quickly after that. all of the traffic flows out of the city at that time… i didn’t get caught in any traffic jams. and i only had to do one loop around the area until i found a parking spot. i was feeling really good.

i get to bill’s place, and john is walking his girlfriend out the door. i say hello to both of them and walk upstairs. bill and geoff are already plugged in….mock playing helmet’s unsung. i laugh immediately. i knew it was going to be a good night. i set up and john comes back in. we started in on the new song we worked on last week. it was a little rusty at first…..but we got into the groove fairly soon after we started. so we kept rolling through some songs…..playing them a few times each. the thing about this music is all of the subtleties. dynamics…..the slightest change of the beat…..figuring out creative endings and beginnings without completely changing the song…..and without being cliche. i’ve never been involved in a band like this. i’m really enjoying it.

so we finished….and while we were packing up….i pulled out the silver sessions cd from the velvet lounge. everyone wanted to hear what i was doing before… i put it on. and they freaked out. they couldn’t believe that mat and i were doing that live. bill got really excited. he asked why i wasn’t doing it anymore….and i told him the story of why i’m back here. he then said that he’d like to give it a shot. so… looks like we’re going to start a side project already…..with me, bill, and john. rock! i’m so excited.

in other news…..i’m really thinking about moving down to center city. there’s so much going on down there. so many things that i want to get involved with….and i just won’t do it if i’m living in the suburbs. i think it’s time that i get in the game… to speak. i think i could really make something happen. and next week ‘m going to nashville to see my girl!! that news is better than anything else that’s happened this week.

you send me a link, i’ll link it up

civilengineercorps (6k image)Some day my life will slow down to a pace where I can take a breath. I mean there is nothing wrong with being busy, but it’s a little out of control.

So Saturday morning we took Mulligan to the Vet cos she had some allergy sores on her face. She gets them from time to time, cos she’s prolly allergic to me, or something. But it got a little out of hand. The doctor gave us some antibiotics and some topicals… I think Mulligan is depressed now. She’s very sullen and withdrawn now. Well luckily it’s only for a week. After the ‘vet I had to go to pick up the pictures from the Elliott Smith tribute show. I had been meaning to do that forever. But getting approved for a mortage was taking priority. Luckily that’s over with now and we know what we can afford. Which ain’t too shabby. I was pretty suprised. And while I picked up the pictures Emily went to the Post Office to drop off some stuff. Then we headed over to Fredneck (Frederick) to help our friend, Lance, move his girliefriend in with him. I had never seen so many people help someone move. It was a nice thing. I wish our friends were that nice. (hint hint) And then we came home and napped before going to Eric and Erika’s housewarming. They had a clothing exchange there. It was pretty excellent and we made out with some nice clothes. We’re so stealing that idea for our next housewarming.

Sunday I went over to my parents house to dicuss more details with house stuff and learned some more about contracts and mortages. This stuff is facsinating and I want to learn as much as possible before we dive a few hundred thousand dollars in to a house. Oh and before that I talked to my friend Buddy. It’s always good to chat with him. It had been a few weeks. So after that I headed back to Fredneck to check out Eric’s bands. For some reason they practice in a farm in the country. It’s beautiful land out there, but i would go crazy living out there. The bands were pretty cool and it was nice to be back in to the audio again. They hired me to do live sound for their show next week which will be a snap. And their drummer told me about some jobs they have opening up at the Levine School of Music in DC. They have a studio there and he might hook me up with some night and weekend work there. Finally i’ll get to work in a field I truely love.

shmellowpie: Once upon a time, I used to know this guy who I called Mat. But I used to call him Mat, for short. Anyway, this guy and I… well, we had some wild times together… well, I won’t get into any graphic details, but it involved a carosel and a blender. I think there was a handmade knitted scarf in there as well, but things get hazy over the years. Needless to say, I miss talking to him.

And today I brought in my Father’s reel to reel tapes that he recorded there on a small battery powered field recorder from late ’66 to late ’67. My friend Shock, who does all the production for DC101 is good with audio restoration. So he’s totally helping me if not manning this whole project. They were 1/2″ tapes he made during his term in Vietnam where he was stationed in Siagon. He made the tapes to send home to his parents living in Queens, NY. He was a Lt. in the Navy as a Civil Engineer, which was part of the Civil Engineering Corps. The tapes are a fascinating time in history and probably havent seen the light of day in almost 35 years. A total time warp. The main problems incurred were that #1, the machine used to record was battery operated and as the batteries wore out the speed would slow down. So we are having to correct pitch frequently. Even if he used AC power, the cycles are off in other countries. Typically USA cycles are 60hz. But most other countries are 50hz. #2, The tape is close to 40 years old and isn’t the best fidelity therefore we’re having to do a ton of noise reduction. #3, Since he was out there literally in the field, there is a lot of wind noise which sounds very rumbly. So a nice high pass filter corrects that nastiness. Taking out all frequencies below 110hz seems to do the trick. All in all the tapes are pretty meticulously labeled in chonological order. 24 tapes in all. The appearace of the actual tape is wonderful. No flaking. No stretching. No need to bake them. Very amazing for tape this old. But not unexpected from an engineer. Maybe when me and Shock are done working on them, I’ll mp3 them for here.