A Last Look Back: Pre-fourstones

I’m in the middle of yet another move. (Five cities, eight major moves in 20 years.) My desktop DAW is packed away in storage until we sell this house and buy a new one which could be months. I don’t feel too put out by that considering that leaves with me a laptop, M-Audio FW interface, two external disks and a pair of studio headphones. Yea, times are tough ;)

At every move I get very cruel about throwing away personal junk that’s accumulated over the years. The last time I did a preening of 100s of cassette tapes. Some of these tapes were random records I recorded to play in my car 25 years ago, some were ‘rare’ recordings taped of the radio and TV (John Lennon presenting at the Grammies, Allman Bros. bootlegs). A huge amount of them were recordings made in my garage with friends and solo. They were pretty crappy, really, so cutting back to a few dozen “essential” four-track cassettes and my orchestral projects from school seemed like a reasonable place to draw the line.

That was the last move.

This time I got seriously vicious. All cassettes are gone. They’re at the Berkeley Muni Dump for anybody that cares. No? That’s my point exactly.

What that leaves me with is my digital catalog which starts sometime in the early 90’s. The earliest are Cakewalk projects of original guitar instrumentals. While I doubt I well ever open an instance of Cakewalk/Sonar ever again (and it would be a biblical size miracle if my Cakewalk 2 projects open in a version of the software since revised 18 times!) I do have the projects and audio versions backed up and packed away in a few hundred CDs.

One of the first of these was a compilation (“album” if you will) that I dubbed “Trouble With Friends.” The title is a reference to the Berenstein Bears children’s books that were permeating my life at the time. I took a break from packing last night when I ran across that disc and couldn’t resist popping it into the PC. It’s not genius but it does represent the best “touch” I’ve had for the guitar before or since.

At once I noticed that these were done long before I had the WAVES mastering tools and I figured one last project before I pack the DAW would be to ‘remaster’ the final WAVs and post a few. Here they are with one of the new snazzy Y! players:

9 thoughts on “A Last Look Back: Pre-fourstones

  1. Lucas

    I love the tone and earthy style of these.

    I have some similar stuff, tapes of early recordings that were my best playing before or since. After a while you stop shooting for that kind of achievement, so that stays the high water mark.

    Mind if I ask how come you use the flash player instead of the javascript one? It’s okay to be brutal about the answer.

  2. fourstones Post author

    Is the JS the one that takes over the whole page? If so it’s because I wanted to contain what gets played where. Does that make sense? It doesn’t hurt that this one fits into the look/feel of my current skin. It makes my page look better.

    Otherwise, it’s because I’m ignorant of the choices.

  3. John Pazdan

    Victor, we should do a new version of The Stumble..’cause:

    A few years ago I found some old Pezband live shows on cassette. Though having the sonic depth of ..a cassette from 1982…the band was playing at its (almost?) peak..and that was pretty good. I ran the cassettes through various and myriad wave/sony etc plugins, and came up with some innerestin’ results. One of them turned the group into The Foo Fighters..(?) and was saved as the “Live at Reading” chain.

    I played the “remixes” for a lot of people, including a lot of youngsters who had never heard Pez(having been born after the band split up). They wanted to know who the “cool new band” was..Even the other two members of the group were mystified as to how this “recording” had escaped their attention. I put the mixes it on the intranetz..and the response was cool enough to garner a small reunion tour etc.

    I have no point for this story, sorry. Other than ..email me the guitar part for The Stumble…I also made a “Chess Studio A, 1963″ mastering chain, complete with Leonard yelling at Sonny Boy Williamson..”Little Village? What’s a little village?” That would be a good match, no?

  4. ztutz

    I’ve got a pristine original “Trouble with Friends” that was long ago ripped and put into the rotation. Screw the debate about js vs flash… Nice music!

  5. fourstones Post author

    @john – the daw, the archived projects and my 15yo version of Cakewalk (needed to extract the guitar tracks) is all in storage now.

  6. John Pazdan

    victor..maybe the next 4stones project (when you get resettled..or maybe an experiment from your laptop) will be a new version of The Stumble ..Stumble ’08.’09?? ’10??? if it’s me,it’s probably like ’16

  7. MC Jack in the Box

    well you have more strength than I do Victor. i’ve got buttloads of unmastered cassettes from recording with my old tascam 8-track, all kinds of stuff from live band recordings, sketches of original song ideas, early multitracking, etc. I keep saying i’m going to go through it all, digitize the best of it, and get rid of the tapes but I also keep finding reasonable excuses to avoid it (hey, new pella posted…). and i still can’t get rid of the 8-track either.

  8. John Pazdan

    @JITB: thar’s gold in them thar tapes..mof: another ccM ipod show..”from the vault”..old stuff posted in a podcast.

    Seriously(?) though, I bet you’ll find some good live things. It’s also a good thing to do as you’ll see what progress you’ve made as a writer/muso/producer, etc. One Big Theory of Art maintains (and I go along with it) that the only way to understand if you are getting better as an Artist is to look at the progress (or lack of) that happens from one piece to the next, rather than getting hung up on judging a piece itself in isolation.

  9. MC Jack in the Box

    hey john, i completely agree about the gold. it’s funny because like VS pointed out, it’s probably the high point of my music playing since i was practicing and playing so much at the time. and as a former deadhead, i can certainly appreciate the “from the vault” aspect. plus, it’s easy enough to bounce down a stereo track from the tascam through my mBox into ProTools, and it’s kind of fun to actually play with real knobs and sliders to optimize things!

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