Thursday, November 03, 2005

There are a lot of boxes in our new digs down here in Santa Clara. The vocals for the Bye Bye Blackbirds have just about been completed, just prior to my move south. I think some things may need to be re-done, but not much in my estimation. It's interesting, because I've been kind of a hard-ass on the pitch of the three part harmonies they've been doing, and I get really bogged down when in the thick of it. In older days, I would have reacted against some of the things I am doing and saying now. Then, a day or two later, when I roll tape again to go over the session, I'm pretty fucking amazed at how often those guys pull off the harmonies together at once around one mike. And these are not always the basic 1-3-5 harmonies. They'll do tri-tones, all sorts of different combinations. Billy Duke's got the best intuitive sense of vocal harmony that I've ever worked with, better than my own. Ian also has this great voice that adds an interesting timbre and quality to the group stuff. And Bradley's solid. All three, as well as their drummer, Lenny, are multi-instrumentalists. So it's interesting to work with others who share my sensibilities.

I'm also enjoying this process because it's helping me to regain my confidence at tape-op and behind the board. I don't have a lot of gear knowledge (well, because I don't have a lot of gear) . Nevertheless, I DO have access to better rooms than the early days of Beulah when that was my primary responsibility. It would have been nice to have the option to set up a mike in the shower stall and have some reverberation from the bathroom tiles on "Heartstrings," for example. Back in those days, I was a little feisty and feeling claustrophobic in that sweaty old practice space.

Chris Palmatier has been invaluable so far, especially in the room/mike/pre setup to capture the live takes. I've learned two things. 1. I will never record drums by themselves and layer everything else later, one by one, again. 2. I will track these live takes to analog first, before moving to a digital program. I wait to stand corrected that Protools sounds better than even 1/2" analog, 16 track tape. As far as headroom issues or hiss, here's what you do: crank up the levels as high as you can without them distorting on playback, and print with the built-in DBX or Dolby S.

My place of employment is now less than a 10 minute drive away. I have to say, even though the company's going nowhere and I expect to be laid off or for the company to go under any day now, in the time I have left, I am going to enjoy the short commute and my "maytag repair man" role. For once I don't have to work Satan hours or have Satan's commute.

Finally, on a political note, the Special Election is a joke, of course, but this one's easy: NO on everything except Prop. 79. If anyone reading this thinks that the best form of protest is to abstain, may I remind you that the best form of protest is to show up and vote no on everything, even 79 if you want to take a stand against the idiocy of having this special election in the first place. But I am voting yes on 79. The proposition system itself in California is obviously getting out of hand, and should be abolished. There is no such thing as "direct democracy." Never will be. Until this state repeals these stupid propositions, like 13, for example, it will always be in credit card debt.

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