Friday, December 21, 2007

In the New Old-Fashioned Way

Artwork by The Skimmer. He's caught my wardrobe perfectly.

In what I hope is a long and fruitful annual collaboration, Blue Girl and I have cooked up a little X-Muss treat for you.

The new version of GarageBand is pretty amazing. In past years, I'd have tracked all this stuff in GB, and then dumped the project up to Apple Logic Express for mixing; the new GB, which operates at 24-bit (!!!), has enough mixing gumption that I may just leave Logic alone. And it's User Interface Heaven. I just love it.

Last year, Blue Girl and I did a rather nice, sort-of woody and meditative version of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here." This year, we decided the Joint Must Rock.

And can that girl belt it, or what?

In the spirit of the X-Muss Season, then, please enjoy our holiday offering to the Jingo Nation:

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (pops).


EmployeeoftheMonth said...

Thanks for the Christmas hug.

War is over if you want it.

Larry Jones said...

Merry Christmas, Neddie. I really enjoyed the great backing vocals! Sounded like you were channeling Harry Nilsson.

Matt said...

Yay! Happy holidays, one and all.

Dr Dave said...

love that country twaaaang, but even tho your voice came thru, I can't say it carried the tune any better than mine could.
Next: video!!!!!!

Gary Oxford said...

Tres tasty, and just the thing I needed to hear as I gird my loins to join the War on Christmas. I love the smell of holly in the morning.

kathleenmaher said...

So great!

giggles said...

Nicely done!!!!

Merry, merry, happy happy!!

Linkmeister said...

Super. Are you sure you two weren't in the same room?

HomefrontRadio (Simon) said...

So, as someone who's loaded up with new fancy sound recording software and instruments, (including the most amazing mellotron emulator i've ever heard), and about to start a personal project of 52 (!) songs, I've noticed I've got the option of recording in 24 bits instead of 16.

Considering they'll end up as wave files to mp3s in the long run, what's the advantage of 24 bit as opposed to 16 bit other than space saving on the smaller setting?

Can you offer me advice here since i a) will never understand technical audio stuff on my own and b) don't want to get 20 songs in and need to restart the entire process.

Neddie said...


Try this experiment. Record your Mellotron emulator (congratulations on the acquisition, btw!) at both resolutions. Record a vocal, do a guitar, whatever you've got around. Apply effects, particularly reverb, which is particularly good at showing the effect of high-resolution recording. Then try an A/B test -- switch between the two recordings. Do you notice a difference?

Is that difference worth the extra disk space?

I've tried this myself, and did notice a difference. But since my second hard drive has been acting very unreliably, and I have only 4 GB free on my primary, and I can't be arsed to buy another, more reliable hard drive, for now I'm going with the 16-bit mode.

Larry Jones said...

Simon - If I may butt in here (on someone else's blog, please pardon me, Neddie), there is most definitely a difference, and 24 bit is better, although most people wouldn't notice unless you were able to A-B the playback and some wouldn't notice even then. Assuming you have new hardware, you've probably got enough drive space to record at the higher bit depth, so even if it's only a teensy bit better, why not?

On the other hand, let's remember what music is all about: It's not about bit depth, resolution, signal-to-noise ratio or harmonic distortion. It's about words, notes, beauty and emotion. You can do this on a cheap cassette recorder if those elements are there.

Good luck with your project!

Homefront Radio (Simon) said...

Thanks for the advice, guys. I'll weigh up the space difference, since i already need to record at 96 khz to halve my latency as it is.

Reverb isn't a problem for me, Neddie, as I loathe it with a passion. All my new wave singles were close and immediate, by the end of the eighties everything relied so heavily on reverb they all sounded like it was recorded in a toilet and sucked all the fun out things. I need to learn how to add *just enough* to give presence and realism, but it's going to take some experimentation.

Actually, the mellotron is officially A Bad Thing. It sounds so beautiful I want to use it on every track now, so it's going to take all my discipline to only use it on 3 or 4 songs, especially as it's a very 'greedy' instrument that seems to take up a huge chunk of aural space within a song.

Check out this quick 'n' dirty loop idea, (ignore the latency timing errors, since my drive has suddenly jumped from 5ms latency to an unbearable, unplayable 22ms - i'm going to reformat).

Mellotron Loop

Mellotron flute, mellotron piano and mellotron double bass. I'm Officially In Love. I've also added vinyl distortion and crackling to the drum machine and the live tom drums to further distress the sound, since the subject of the song spins so heavily on archaic metaphor that the track needs to sound like it was recorded on silver nitrate, forgotten on a shelf for 70 years, and is now destroying itself as we listen.

Bobby Lightfoot said...

How I Make The Reverb Now:

1. Throw all boxes 'n' plugins in trash.

2. Take speaker and put in decent sounding room.

3. Pump that to which you wish to apply reverb through speaker at decent level.

4. Point microphone at farthest corner of room.

5. Return what this mic picks up to mix.

6. For stereo, guess what? Point two mics at two corners of room.

This message brought to you by MSNBC.

Homefront Radio (Simon) said...

Yeah, well that's damn logical Bobby, but Australia houses seem to be very different to American houses from what i've seen. Our rooms are a LOT smaller. The biggest room in my house is 6.5 x 8 m. If i had the luxury of recording somewhere notable i would try and take advantage of natural acoustics.

When i was ripping up the carpet during renovations, i was amazed at the bare-board acoustics in there, and spend a lot of time on the guitar. It made everything instant Brill Building. Once i put the new carpet down, it was gone forever.

The other rooms are too small to have notable acoustics, and given the weakness of my voice, the need to record piecemeal and the requirement of being within arms length of the computer keyboard to hit the space bar, i'm going to have to rely on plugins, which all unfortunately are seemingly aimed at the 'concert hall / toilet bowl' end of the spectrum.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

I think this year (2008) screams for "Thanks For Christmas!"