The time has come once again for me to engage in the extreme narcissism of producing a compilation album. I’ve recorded a crap-ton of music this year (even outpacing 2008, my most prolific year to date). Most of it I’m pretty proud of. Some, not so much. But this CD is just the good stuff. 13 tracks, 10 recorded in 2011 and 3 recorded in 2010. All remixed and remastered, with a kick in the pants in the form of boosted bass. So if you like your music with more low end than I’m accustomed to giving, this CD should suit you fine.
I’m putting the finishing touches on the masters this week, and am hoping to have the CD ready for production next week. In the meantime, here’s the cover art…
Update: So, yeah… this is available now. You can get it on iTunes or Amazon MP3 or, if you prefer physical media, direct from Kunaki. No free downloads yet. TBD on that.
As I’ve been posting frequently on Twitter and occasionally here, on June 1 I started running. I’ve never been athletic or even particularly physically active, but at 37 I was beginning to feel the effects of my sedentary lifestyle. Thanks to the Couch-to-5K running plan and the fantastic C25K iPhone app, I’ve been able to finally get off my lazy ass and do something about it.
I had to take a break at one point due to shin problems and I ended up repeating a couple of weeks, but in the end I stuck with it and this week I finally finished the program. I hate to use the tired cliché “If I can do it, anyone can,” but it seems apropos. Couch-to-5K is really amazing, especially when an app makes it so easy to do. Now I’m regularly running 30-plus minutes every other day, and I’m looking forward to participating in my first 5K race next month.
The biggest challenge for me with the running lately has been finding interesting music to listen to while running. Combine that with the “itch” to record some new music, and the answer was obvious: I wanted to record an extended piece of music suitable for listening to while running. Over the past week I’ve worked on it in every spare moment, and now it’s finished. So, here I present “The Long Run,” clocking in at 40:37. Later in the week I’ll be posting it on my music site, both as an uninterrupted track and divided into 11 separate (but “gapless”) tracks. I’ll also be releasing it on CD in the 11-track form. But in the meantime you can hear (and download) it all right now on Alonetone:
For most of my longer runs I’ve chosen a route around Lake Nokomis, which I’ve commemorated with the album’s cover art, a collage of photos taken at and around the main beach this afternoon. (Yeah, I work fast with this stuff.)
Yes, from now on all of my blog posts will have one-word titles, ending in an exclamation mark.
But seriously… a couple months back I mentioned a new track I had recorded for the first issue of Ramen Music. That track didn’t make the cut, nor did it make it onto my recently released prog rock album Three, mainly because its style didn’t fit the rest of the album (which is the main reason it didn’t make it onto Ramen Music #01 either, apparently).
I still like it though, and I want you to hear it, so here you go.
This is my latest album. It is called Three. I’ve just made it available for free streaming and download over on my music site.
Warning: here there be dragons. Well, not really dragons so much. I would classify the album as progressive rock, but not the wizards and sorcery kind of prog rock. Still, if you’re not in the mood for 20-minute rock suites or free-form improvisation, it may not be your bag, baby. There’s Mellotron. A lot of Mellotron. Never fear, there’s also a long essay describing the album’s creation in copious detail for your insomnia-curing pleasure. Enjoy!
(Note: CDs are on their way in the next week or so…)
Anyone who follows this blog and/or my musical (mis)adventures (and bothers to remember any of it all) may recall that back in January I recorded a 21-minute prog rock suite called 66. If you don’t remember, it’s available in its entirety, both as 10 individual tracks and the complete suite, on my music site.
As usual, I’ve spent a ton of time listening to 66 since I recorded it. If my iTunes play count is to be believed, it’s somewhere in the range of 130 times, but I suspect it’s actually much higher than that, with different versions (the 24-bit version, the 16-bit CD version, the MP3 version), some of which I no longer keep on my computer, plus listening in the car and elsewhere that may not have been logged. The point is, I’ve literally spent days listening to this thing since I recorded it 6 months ago. And, not surprisingly, I eventually started to notice things I was unhappy with.
The most significant issue I had was with the drum sound. I don’t really play drums. (Well, OK, I do play drums, but I don’t really play drums.) The drum tracks are MIDI software instruments, part of GarageBand. I played the drum parts on my keyboard, looped them, tinkered with them endlessly in the track editor, and eventually arrived at an end result. But there were two problems: 1) they were too repetitive, and 2) they sounded plastic. The issues went beyond the drums, but they were my main source of frustration with what I had created.
I’ve been considering putting together a 3-track prog rock album this year called 3, in the format of the Yes albums Close to the Edge and Relayer. That would be one “side-long” track, followed by two “half-side” tracks. In other words, the first track should be around 20 minutes long, and the other two should be about 8-12 minutes each. I already have tracks 1 and 2: track 1 is the 66 suite, of course, retitled for these purposes as “66 (The Mother Road).” Track 2 is the final track of my improvised RPM Challenge album from February, 222, known originally as “All Together Now” but to be retitled “222 (All Together Now).” The final track hasn’t been written yet, and I don’t know what it will be like, other than that it will be about 10 minutes long and its title will be in the form of “Number (Three Parenthetical Words).” A hackneyed concept, I suppose, but that’s how I roll.
Anyway, since I’m repackaging two existing tracks for this album, it also gives me an opportunity to remix them (and, to some extent, to reworking them even more deeply, in that nether region between remixing and re-recording, which I am not doing).
First up was a remix of 66, which I undertook over the past couple of days. I changed the drum sound I was using from “Pop Kit” to “Rock Kit,” did some serious EQ, tinkered a ton with the reverb to make them sound more “live,” and also rearranged some of the notes in the editor to make the parts a bit more varied and interesting. I also reworked the EQ on the electric bass, as it sounded thin and plastic before, too. And while I was at it I made adjustments to the reverb settings on the guitar and Mellotron parts, and I also removed an 8-measure section of the final part, to eliminate some unnecessary repetition.
The end result then went through my new mastering process, which I think does a better job of beefing up the sound without completely squashing the dynamic range. And now, I present it to you. Enjoy!
[audio:http://blog.room34.com/wp-content/uploads/underdog/room34_66_the_mother_road_remix.mp3|titles=Room 34: 66 (The Mother Road) (July 2010 remix)]