I made an album. Now what?

So I was listening to this album of mine just then and I was thinking, well soon as the vocals are mixed in, that’s done. It’s all there. About 3 years work off and on. When I started this thing, it was all Fruity Loops. Ditched that back in 2012, went hardware. Re-recorded large sections, threw things out, the usual deal. I think the oldest track has been remixed, what, 8 times? It’s all Cubase and MIDI now.

But it’s just tipping into the don’t overdo it stage. The best tracks are the ones you just get right the first time. Could lose something if I don’t … what? Not sure.

This started around the time we’d done our 2011 shows and it was time to retire gracefully, got up to speed around the Adelaide Festival, got bogged down in Gear Acquisition Syndrome and has been slowly burning along since. Actually the G.A.S. has been a great help in revitalising my sounds. Got some nice sounds these days. (I put 30 up for you in the menus!)koala

But OK. Seeing as my current contact with the ‘market’ is to be a stuffed koala in a glass case, all mould and glass eyes… what? This really isn’t a spare-me-my-blushes moment. On one side I feel like the ugliest old hag that ever went for the role of Baby Jane. On the other side look at all those other old fucks. They’re doing it you coward.

This is a fun record, and righteous glammy. It can’t be all self-deprecating. But then, look, it’s this teaching thing, it distorts your placement when everyone you see all day is 20 something. Meh.

And look where I was in 2008.

Somehow I think this is going to happen but I just don’t know how just yet. Be patient. I might have to get this fucking doctorate out of the way.

It’s currently called RHINE. It’s named after this guy.

Hugo this way I’ll go that way.

I wrote several thousand words on Hugo and the evils of retrospective editing of a real man’s life. No one should be forced to read that but by God it made me feel better to rage it out. I will now give you the essential crib notes:

Fuck you Scorsese for allowing the life of Melies to be drowned in infantile revisionism. You should know better. You took a children’s book, lit it orange on one side and blue on the other and threw some Film 101 into the pot. A lot of what you concealed is the dirty history of film. We have our own trains pulling into our own stations: we don’t need your old magic tricks, we have too many of those. What we need is the grey reality of greed and folly that you want to gloss over. Film is not a family. Film is a pack of hyena.

Show us Melies signing the deal with Pathe that lost him his house. Show us his brother churning out shitty westerns for that brute Edison. Show us how film society dribbled money to him when he was running the toy store. Show us the reality. SHOW THE TRUTH. Then talk to us about ‘your love of film’.

Hugo is just another shiny robot movie. The recreations of the early cinema are wonderful, but then, shiny robot.

That over too many pages.

I have finally released the 25th Anniversary remaster of Come Visit The Big Bigot on BandCamp. I had been holding off for a release on CD – 25 years was 2011, but I think that release may now not happen. If you’ve been following you know why. It’s free to listen and Strange Brew is free to download.

Related – I am nearly all gone from YouTube. You will find me at Vimeo. Just use the ‘Videos’ menu at the top of the page to see what’s there. YouTube is really not the place for me – when 100,000 people watch my video by accident, do you call that a successful communication?

Rebigotting part 2 – Help design a box set package!

Gosh – how time flies when you’re still servicing high interest debt! It was April when I last reported on the Bigot album. Since then I got the hot water replaced. (Hey, you might not care but to me that’s one less source of cold showers I’m going to have to face. Three thousand bucks to place a concrete sarcophagus over the old one, move people out of the infected region and install some special $300 valve that is now lawful.)

"Rheem" is Japanese for expensive.

Now all I have to do is get the kitchen fixed up and … anyway. Bigot. So I met with LTM over in Belgium and the plan is now to box up Bigot with a couple of other LPs – Stretcher, Bigot, Bad Mood Guy and Rotund. In each case I have to revert to the original track listing and none of this modernity stuff. OK.

This is most difficult with Bad Mood Guy because I have the digital masters, but not the analogue tapes that Robert then hand spliced from those masters. Robert transferred some tracks to open reel tape and then used sticky tape to make edididididididits. That open reel tape was then duplicated to have vinyl cut (the Nettwerk LP was a dub of a dub). When I remade the CDs, I thought that the edidididididididits weren’t as important as working from the original sources. Well think again buster. LTM want it just like it was in 1928.

This was a puzzle indeed, because there wasn’t much chance that the tape still existed in which case you have to use a transcription from the vinyl which is more poetry than fidelity. To my surprise there had been a PCM digital copy made back in the 80s, and I still have the PCM recorder that could read it. Score 1 me. Getting good playback is a bit tricky (it’s on videotape) but I now have a decent rough of the whole album.

Next problem is that the analogue tracks have a different sound to the digital ones. They have gone from PCM tape through a mixer to 1/4″ tape then through a mixer to PCM and that through a mixer to my Pro Tools A-D. First, get rid of the 50Hz hum. A tiny bit of exciter rebuilds the treble. The bass is a whole different problem – it undulates very slowly, gaining and losing strength over a period of seconds which I think has to do with the way PCM used to work. There’s not really a way to fix this and so it’s just another factor in the patchwork that of this accursed album. Hell, the mix was made both at my studio and at CBS in 2 days flat. No two tracks are quite the same already. Let it be.

We haven’t decided on how the box set will be packaged. James asked me and I asked Stewart and he said he wanted it to sit nicely with all his other CDs. What do you think? A box? Jewel case? Hat box? Hollow out a goat? I’m a bit over CDs so I don’t feel that concerned.

It could come as many large boxes and a woman that took the CDs out for you when you wanted to play them. Although that would be creepy because she would stare at you while you had the headphones on.

Like this except with Captain Kirk crossed out and Severed Heads written on it in texta. Actually leave Kirk in, so long as he is the bad Kirk from the parallel universe that’s pretty accurate.

This Pentangle Box would be a good CD box if you smoked cigars. You could buy the Bigot Box and tip the CDs out and put cigars in it instead.

Maybe you have a better idea for a CD box set? If you have an idea that we can use we’ll credit you as executive box consultant or something.

Rebigotting

Gosh gee willikers! How time flies when you’re servicing high interest debt! The Big Bigot album was released 24 years ago, and the last time it was remastered is now 11 years ago! Now it’s time for Bigot to leave sevcom and join its friends over in the UK on the LTM ‘more memories than hits’ label.

Bigot has left the shop.

In 1999 I made a pretty good effort at scrubbing it up given the tools I had. Mostly a treble boost and a bit of bass to try get the ass moving. Back then the music style was pumping and I was drawn to make it sound more like the music that was coming out on 12 inch – oh the 90s!¬† That was OK but I think it’s time to rethink the sound given the freedom (abdication of defined taste) that we have today. I dug out the original master tape from 1986 for a new listen.

Let’s look at the problems. Bigot was recorded on a Fostek 16 track open reel with Dolby C. Like most things I have ever owned the machine was second hand and a bit dodgy – the speed wobbled for a start. It probably reached 18KHz on the day it was made, by the time I got it, maybe 16KHz. Dolby C was really for domestic use, in guarding against hiss it rolled a lot of high end off the top. Not that my synthesisers had much high end. Down the bottom there’s the usual 50Hz hum of domestic power outlets, plus the burble of the tape.

When the music was transferred to Betamax PCM the old ADC added some funny business at the very bottom and an effect called ‘distant sirens’ up top, because it sounds a bit like police cars. Can’t do much about the latter, but the first thing we do is remove everything below about 30Hz. Nothing really useful there (the Fostek did not known this realm) and it instantly removes some bilge. That leaves¬† the 50Hz hum but I have never managed to remove this without damaging the kick. Leave it be and gate it.

Bigot was recorded over more than a year and there’s no two songs the same. Last time I took what I thought was the most unique and distinctive mix (Phantasised Persecutory Breast) and matched to it. While PPB does sound great, I now see it’s a very special kind of ‘great’ that I was approaching from a political point. This time I have so far ignored that track, and have taken each song as an isolated event.

Some issues are common. The voice is coming through the shittiest microphone known to man and back in 86 I blasted 1KHz to try cut through the mix. Now, I don’t want to remove that decision, but I have to try detail around it – add some high end without touching that region. The microphone is crackling and that adds bursts of high frequencies. These will have to be, although limiting the very highest does help. Then there are the kick drums made on the SH101. They are cute, but occasionally obese, filling up all the bass space and not allowing any counter rhythm. The usual trick works here, strong compression with slow attack around 80Hz or so to tighten the boom, and then raise the bass level to compensate. On Propeller that has worked a treat – you can actually feel the bass riff now. While the SH101 and MC202 didn’t make frequencies above a certain limit I have enhanced their ‘snap’ with a little high boost above 8-10KHz to make them more effective. Really, it’s just fixing bass and treble… very delicately.

I’m going to try the most radical work on the bonus tracks (where fanatics will be least incensed) that are mostly half demos. Son Of needed a couple of hours to try coax a bit of life out of it, the bass is supposed to be, well, funky. It was instead wimpy and seeing there was nothing there I’ve added some harmonics below. The vocals needed a bit of room, oh just the faintest, teeny bit. It helps.

At this rate it’ll be a few more months before I can get around to the artwork. LTM like this to be as close to the original as we can get – I’ve found the original slides from the 86 Australian cover and will scan those. The other thing is LTM don’t like the CDs to be too long, they apparently get complaints from people with old steam driven CD players (seems that most of their sales are war time sing a longs). That could mean something gets cut. We’ll see.

The past!

Wednesday Night is Garbage Night.

I am an embarrassment to Web 2.0. Comments are disabled by the way, I am not soliciting any responses from anyone, did that for about 16 years and what the hell. Actually I expect that everyone has their own blog that they have no time to keep filled, more democratic. It’s better that I just give the facts and get the hell out of your face. You’re busy. I’m busy. Babies are delivered – busy. Sad sad bloody world where everybody is so frantically busy all the time.

The box of vinyl discs is going to be late. About April we think. When the recordings are so old does a month matter? Did you know that if you are a VOD member you get a Severed Heads pillowcase? Seriously I couldn’t have plotted such a wonderfully… God help me… what’s a word for it… somewhere between appropriate and inane. It’s just got the bone chicken emblem on it. I would use mine as a Santa sack.

I’d like to tell you about the ALBUM, the box with all the formats in it, but I’ve been too busy at KUNST KAMP. (I dare not speak the real name of my employment in case there is a PDF somewhere: Form721/B Blog, Mention of Employer Therein.) Just call it Kunst Kamp… tomorrow a large number of young persons get asked this question: look at this strapping young lass (photo of Leni Riefenstahl looking sexy) – how is it do you think that she ended up directing what came to be known as the most EVIL DOCUMENTARY OF ALL TIME? (photo of Hitler’s armpit). Later we compare Triumph of the Will to An Inconvenient Truth (believe me, have a look).

If you have never lectured, you might not realise how many bloody hours it takes to set up that two hours. I was editing lines of jackboots all day.

So little visible progress on the ALBUM, although the DVD is up and working. Long story that will appear elsewhere – by deciding to have the tempo at 70 beats per minute (because it sounded right) I entered a world of pain, when frames (at 25fps) don’t line up. So the jumps are a little… jazzy. But it works and it changed key every now and then which is cute.

Gotta go… back soon.