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« Music: November 2005 | Main | Music: January 2006 »


Dubbing in extra parts

Listening to the extended outro at the end of Wheels of Confusion by Black Sabbath from Volume 4... It's an awesome bit of music (and it reminds me of some of the music from the second Legend of Zelda game for the NES), but it's also annoying me, for a technical reason. Black Sabbath was a four member band: vocals, bassist, drums, and one guitarist. Incidentally, one of the great things about Black Sabbath is the incredible stuff you can hear the bassist doing during guitar solos. But this part of the song has two guitar parts. Now, it sounds great, so i should probably just shut-up, especially since my own solo music consists of one person and many different parts. I guess from certain groups I expect "studio magic" and from others i expect some level of purity, especially power trios (Black Sabbath is essentially a power trio + vocals). Stupid, i guess, especially when they're making good music regardless. But i wonder how they played it live.

By fnord12 | December 29, 2005, 11:34 AM | Music | Link

Camille Saint-Saens

I recently finished my project of ripping my "100 Greatest Classic CDs" boxset (AKA "Der Klassiks") onto mp3 to listen to on my iPod and i've been enjoying most of it, especially the polyphonic stuff from the Baroque period. But i just wanted to point out one particular piece. The composer is Camille Saint-Saens, who i had never heard of before, and the work is called The Carnival of The Animals. It's Romantic period music, and in my opinion it's up there with The Nutcracker and Pictures at an Exhibition. Not too drify and spacious like a lot of Romantic music. It has a lot of punch and is probably of interest to a modern audience, especially one into progressive or psychedelic music. min was listening to one song and she said (sarastically), "ooh, this song is very... magical." But it is good.

By fnord12 | December 27, 2005, 3:20 PM | Music | Comments (2)| Link

Concerto Disonesto in C minor

Finished up a song last night. (i think. like George Lucas, i reserve the right to endlessly tweak my works.)

It's meant to be something like a baroque string quartet with a trumpet solo, but it doesn't strictly follow baroque quartet rules and it was done on our Yamaha DGX-300 so the sounds aren't as authentic as they would be if i had a Triton (hint, hint, Santa), or, you know, real instruments. Oh and it has drums. So it's called Concerto Disonesto in C minor. Thanks to Rose for help with the italian and the name suggestion.

The mp3 is on our fledgling music section.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2005, 9:57 AM | Music | Link

So You Say You (Do/Don't) Want A Revolution?

The anti-revolution lyrics in the Beatles song Revolution have always seemed odd to me. In this interview, Lennon explains. Sort of.

JL: Ah, sure, 'Revolution' . There were two versions of that song but the underground left only picked up on the one that said 'count me out'. The original version which ends up on the LP said 'count me in' too; I put in both because I wasn't sure. There was a third version that was just abstract, musique concrete, kind of loops and that, people screaming. I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution--but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution.

On the version released as a single I said 'when you talk about destruction you can count me out'. I didn't want to get killed. I didn't really know that much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle, you know. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn't go around shouting about it. That was how I felt--I was really asking a question. As someone from the working class I was always interested in Russia and China and everything that related to the working class, even though I was playing the capitalist game.

By fnord12 | December 8, 2005, 5:19 PM | Liberal Outrage & Music | Link

The Year of The Keyboard

Also in Keyboard magazine, they do a retrospective of the past year and decide that this was the year where a bunch of new artists would emerge to inspire a new generation of keyboardists. Who are these new players? Among a bunch of people i admittedly don't know:

  • Tori Amos
  • Dream Theater
  • Nine Inche Nails
  • Depeche Mode

By fnord12 | December 7, 2005, 9:24 PM | Music | Comments (1)| Link

I don't like this

Not at all. You can do what ever you want in the studio, but when it comes to live music, there should be nothing pre-recorded. Electronic performers playing along with obvious loops are one thing, but you shouldn't be sneaking in any enhancements. Behind a curtain??!!!?? C'mon now! (Oh, but i wouldn't mind being the director of a ten-piece funk band.) This is from the free Keyboard magazine i got sent in the mail, so no link:

Hey Mike, I enjoy reading your articles very much. Among other things, I'm the musical director for a ten-piece funk band. We've experimented with backing tracks with mixed results. I see you're on the EWF Live album from '96, and I was curious if there was programming on that tour. You guys seemed so tight I would be a little disappointed if it was pre-recorded. However, I'd love to know to what extent it was. -David.

I was with Earth, Wind & Fire from 1987 through 1997 or so, at first playing keys behind a curtain and doing keyboard tech duties. Then in 1993 they put me on stage. When I first joined them, I was using a Roland MC500, later an Atari computer (1040ST), then finally a Mac IIci using Performer. There were not a whole lot of extra parts being played from the computer on those shows. What was there was mainly enhancement. If the computer died, the show would definitely still go on.
Typically on a song like "Let's Groove" we'd double the bass part with a synth bass, put the 747 jet sound and other effects in the computer, have some percussion loops from the original recording, and double the background singers. On songs like "Reasons", the computer would drop out after the second chorus, and we'd be off the click from there on. We never used any lead vocal tracks, just backgrounds. So, to answer your question, the show was definitely not pre-recorded. The key to making extra tracks really work is having a great drummer like Sonny Emory that can play well with a click.
Honestly, there are only a few bands out there that don't do this to some extent, but nowadays there are defintely not as many bands just playing back everything like there were a few years ago.
Thanks for the kind words!

By | December 7, 2005, 9:04 PM | Music | Link

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