Monthly Archives: June 2004

A Birthday Mash

Yup, Ray Charles is dead. To celebrate let’s note some notable births on this day:

Bernard Purdie who played drums with everybody from the Beatles to Coldcut including the classic Theme from Shaft.

Jr. Walker who’s R&B instrumentals bridged the gap between jazz, soul and rock & roll.

Jackie Wilson sang a stupid pop song “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” with more feeling than most “serious” artists will get close to.

Howlin’ Wolf who broke microphones with his singing, guitar playing and one of the world’s most under-rated harp players.

Finally: token white guy who invented multi-tracking: some dude name Les Paul.

Here’s my birthday mash made just for the occasion.

Note that the Jackie Wilson vocals were stripped using TimG “noise reduction” method described here. This is best result I could get and it’s still pretty noisy.

Jim’s Big Glitchy Cut-up

Perhaps the one sound more irritating to an old hippie boomer than a needle being dragged across a vinyl record is a glitchy skipping CD. Which is just a happy bonus to making glitch mixes.

My final submission the Jim’s Big Ego remix contest is called “Jim’s Big Glitch” (download / stream)

When I started this mix on Sunday afternoon I gave myself two parameters:

  • Use only sounds from the original recordings, no other samples whatsoever
  • Work completely in ACID Pro, no other tool can be used for any reason (not a pun)

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Soundfonts for Garageband

Garageband (the software, not the site) users are starting to warm up to soundfonts thanks to applications like Andy Drabble’s Soundfont Synth which sells for $15 (although it sounds like there may be issues with version 1.0).

The site claims that it works in “any” AU host which presumably covers the upcoming release of Live 4.0 with it’s MIDI support which will open up whole new worlds for Live users. (“Will you be having some Grain Delay with your Steinway?”)

Soundfont support on the Mac is important because it spreads the ubiquity of the popular, yes “open” thanks to E/MU and Creative, widely used SF2 format (2.1 spec (PDF)). Having said that I’m not exactly eager to be first to try any of Andy’s stuff. Good luck!

Ableton Live 4.0

Ableton Live 4.0 has been announced for release in the next month. Here’s the “what’s new” list.

With full blown MIDI sequencing, clip and pattern making support it seems to obviate my need for ReWiring in FL Studio for beat patterns and hosting soundfonts.

Pricing is still outrageous ($400 list, $150 for upgrade, $50 if you bought version 3 yesterday).

It doesn’t look like they host DirectX native. If anyone has a good solution for this — that works — I’m very open to suggestions. (Please don’t say “get a Mac” because that is in the cards someday but not quite this minute.)

What Angels Sing In Boomer Heaven

US Cable Channel Ovation is running the five year old Rhythm of Life series. Normally I would cringe when even thinking about watching this kind of thing but I have to say I just saw the one on melody and I’m in boomer heaven:

Sir George Martin sits at a studio mixing console with Brian Wilson with the orginal masters of “God Only Knows” and tears the song, melody and production apart in insightful analysis. So insightful that, with Martin at the faders, Wilson says “OK, you just mixed that song better than the record!”

In fact, Martin narrates the whole thing explaining the hardest topic in the world (why we like melodies) in shockingly reasonable terms.

Did I mention Stevie Wonder sitting solo at a Rhodes doing “Livin’ in the City”?

If you think you write songs or melodies you should be watching this series. Of course if you’re half as cynical as I am about documentaries on the creative process and your TiVo Now Playing cue isn’t empty (as mine was this afternoon) then you’ll never get to it.

Chronic Dreams Outtakes

Quite a few remixes fell off the truck on the way to making Chronic Dreams. I’ve posted all of them to the fourstones online catalogue (use this link).

Several of these mixes were definitely “good enough” but just didn’t fit. Others are barely fit at all.