My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


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    31 Aug 2008


    "You need strong emotion, whether it's fiery or depressed, an extreme state of mind. I think in any art form it's the case." -- Daniel Ash

    Maybe it's my lack of experience. Maybe it's my lack of talent. I tried to sit down and write music for the song known as Ravage in the new naming scheme, but I failed miserably. When I try to force it, like I did tonight, nothing comes out right. I have ideas, I can hear them in my head, but without that inspiration, without that emotion, nothing I produce sounds right.

    I've been too happy recently and it's destroyed my creativity. I get the urge, I have the inspiration, to write when I feel negative emotions. I need anger; I need depression. It is in dealing with these emotions that I am able to write.

    I have tried several times to force myself to feel this way. This usually buys me a few minutes in which I can write, but it often fails. Because the emotions are artificial, the results are mediocre at best.

    I find this situation to be quite frustrating. I want to move forward with this album, but without that inspiration I am unable to do anything.

    In the meantime, I'm slowly teaching myself to play guitar and, to a much lesser extent, a keyboard-style synthesizer. I've also been going through materials my music teacher friend gave me to learn some basic music theory. Hopefully once I find that needed inspiration, or find a way to work without being angry or depressed, this new knowledge will make things easier.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    09 Aug 2008

    Revision Control
    One could argue that this should be filed under the Unix category, but this post is more about the album than it is about the Concurrent Versions System.

    Friday night I created a CVS repository on this server to manage album related files. After discussing it with rskutins, we agreed on several key points.

    First, with changes being made a little more frequently than before, it would be best to have some way to track what was going on, and to be able to roll back to a previous version if the changes don't quite work out. Second, we wanted to have a way to organize several files for each song, for instance, lyrics, notes, bass tabs, drum tabs, etc. Last, and maybe the most important reason for the reorganization, we wanted to move away from the numbering scheme that was in place. Each song was numbered from 0 to 17. This was fine until we realized 11 was likely to be the first track on the album.

    Now the album is stored in a CVS repository. This will keep a version history of each file, allow us to simultaneously work on parts of the album, and merge our changes.

    Within this repository we now have a tree structure where each song has its own directory. The directory will hold any and all files related to that song. In an effort to move away from the numbering scheme, an arbitrary naming convention was mutually agreed upon. The songs are now known by names such as Soundwave, Ravage, Frenzy, and Rumble.

    The album is starting to come together. I feel motivated to work on it and recently I've found myself inspired to write. Now if only I had time.

    Omlette listened to the Accidental Mix I posted (of the song now known as Soundwave) and gave me some feedback.

    It sounded ominous. I don't know how else to describe it since I'm not familiar w/ either artist. Oh wait. Were you mixing your own stuff?
    Ominous seems like it could be a good thing given the current direction of the album.

    If anyone else takes the time to listen to it, I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions. If you don't have it, my contact information is on this page.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    08 Aug 2008

    Another Demo Update
    Two weeks! Ha! It's been closer to two months.

    A few days ago I had some time so I sat down with the ProTools set up again. After considering some advice from jlight, I decided to record a second track of the bass line. I decided to use my Yamaha for the second track, as I had used my Fender for the original recording back in June. The two instruments have different characteristics in their sounds and the two playing together seems to add a "fullness" to the sound.

    So all I had to do was record 24 seconds of bass and put together a mix. This should take, what, 15 minutes? It took 45 just to record. Once again ProTools repeatedly crashed. When it wasn't crashing, it would report an error and stop recording. Does anyone know if there are updates for ProTools LE 7.1 that will fix this issue? As it stands now, I can't run ProTools for more than a few seconds without disabling multi-core support on my CPU. I have multiple processors. It is a multi-threaded application. It should run better... But I'll save this for that upcoming ProTools rant I keep promising.

    Anyway, after about an hour and fifteen minutes, I got two mixes complete. One of them was accidental and sounds, "interesting." The other is closer to what I had in mind. While I wait for feedback on the actual mix from certain people, everyone is free to enjoy the accidental mix found here.

    If anyone actually listens to it, I'd be happy to accept any comments and criticism.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    23 Jun 2008

    Demo -- Update
    Rskutins recorded his drum part and sent it to me via the wonders of TCP/IP netowrking. On Friday night I finally had enough time (and motivation) to start recording.

    I spent a lot of time fighting with ProTools. It repeatedly crashed. Often, when it didn't crash, it simply stopped recording and reported that an error had occurred. I'm remembering this for the ProTools rant that will be coming in the future.

    After 45 minutes I had recorded about 6 seconds of vocals and the 24 second bass line. The next block of Copious Free Time(TM) I have, I'll begin the rough mix of the three parts. Hopefully ProTools won't crash as often during that phase.

    With any luck, it'll be mixed in the next week or two.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    03 Jun 2008

    In the next few weeks we are going to attempt to record and roughly mix a demo of a short track which will serve as an introduction to the album.

    Currently known as 11, it is a very short piece in 4/4 time at 80bpm. It is in the key of B minor and the spoken words are taken from a quote attributed to Nietzsche.

    What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you.
    This short demo will hopefully get me motivated enough to put more time into the album.

    More information will be posted when it becomes available.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    29 May 2008

    A Brief History
    Last Summer, my friend, rskutins, and I decided we were going to write an album. He got out his drum machine, being smaller and easier to store and carry than a full kit, and I got out my bass and we started putting together some pieces that were... not good.

    We had little direction, I was afraid to play things outside of my comfort zone, and we had some problems communicating. This project quickly fell apart, but we never completely gave up the idea.

    In March I found the inspiration I needed. I talked to rskutins and we started working on an album again. This time, fueled by strong emotion, both fiery and depressed, I started by writing lyrics.

    Not all are complete, but there are about 15 sets of lyrics for us to use as a starting point. Rskutins has tweaked the lyrics in some places to make them fit a better rhythm while still maintaining the intent of the words. I am quite pleased by what he has done.

    Based on these lyrics we have begun writing short pieces here and there when we feel inspired. Rskutins has laid down some pretty good beats to start with. I've been attempting to learn some basic music theory and trying to apply those ideas to the layers on top of what rskutins has written already.

    And that's where we are now. Still learning, still writing. Our day jobs have slowed down our progress considerably so it could very well take until the Autumn before we're ready to record and mix the album.

    [/album] [permanent link]