Monday, July 26, 2010

San Diego



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Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Pictures

When I updated my OS to Snow Leopard this weekend, my iPhoto suddenly started functioning again, revealing many pictures that I had totally forgot existed. Here are some favorites.



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Thursday, July 8, 2010

A New Event Horizon

Here is the newest version of "Event Horizon."

I had quite a few issues with the previous version that always bugged me, and many of these new changes come from your ideas, suggestions, and recommendations. Thank you.

Here's a rundown of the big changes:

While I like the moody introduction of the previous version, it takes a whole minute before the vocals kick in, which is more than enough time to lose many listeners. The new version cuts right to the chase, as it did when I originally wrote the song. But I really wouldn't count it out altogether; it's something that could easily reappear on an album (as a tag on the preceding track) or as a live performance transition.

The repetition in the previous version also bugged me. There were three verse before much changed, and then it felt like the chorus cycled too many times. The new version goes into an altered bridge after the second verse at about 1:50, giving more variety sooner but still keeping the parts that I liked by spreading them out.

At 2:39, the bridge is extended for a keyboard solo. This solo was actually in the song for many different versions before I ended up taking it out. Usually when I'm adding solos, they are over the loudest part of the song, so I tried going the other way on this one. By dropping out most of the instrumentation around it (leaving some pads and drums) in this new version, I thought the solo finally fit. The dip in dynamics for the solo also adds to the final choruses.

Most of all, I'm happy with the end. The way that the vocals explode, I feel like the focus of the song is a lot clearer to the listener, making the song title make more sense. At 3:52, the missing third verse comes back to close the song (replacing a recycled first verse in the previous version). I knew that changing the vocal part was the right move as soon as I heard it in my head, though getting the right sound was difficult. I ended up layering around five voices with various effects and distortions to get a grungy sound that wasn't too dirty.

When I get into a song, it gets difficult to walk away from the workstation, and most of this was actually finished last night at about two. After listening to it again, the only additional idea I had was the add a reverse sound at about the one minute mark. I also bypassed the drum reverb for one beat to emphasize the stop. Since I dropped out the word "again" from the chorus, this filled in the space nicely while also sounding damn cool.

And that's pretty much it, folks.

Next, I'm working on a version of "Dotted Lines and Whispers" with live drums; while rehersing last time, the way Kurt played the track made me totally rethink whether or not I wanted to keep the digital drum sound in the recorded track. At the very least, the live drums are going to make it a great performance song.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Headlight >Take a Picture

I've had "Take a Picture" close to complete since late last year . Today I finally finished up the demo lyrics and made some small adjustments.

The opening is the only variable at this point; the original is much longer, but faster and more dynamic, while this newer one is slower and quieter, making the first verse appear a bit larger than it actually is.

Since I added a few more instruments for the final chorus, the vocals get a bit buried, but you get the idea.

Also, the original "Headlight" simply stopped, while this new version has an actual end.

Take a listen to the original here to compare. Let me know which opening you prefer.