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  • Documenting The Process

    i'm working on a new record. an LP. It's called (Re) Routed. It's a play on "Detour" (detour spelled backwards is "routed.") 

    This record is like a sequal of sorts to "Detour." It's not that i have a thing for making concept records, but i had plans for something entirely different as a follow up to Similis, but my plans fell apart and I had to scrap those and start over. 

    I figured as I started this project i'd write about it. One of my passions is music production, recording, mixing. I love the gear, i love the process, i love learning about it, love the history, so this will get a bit nerdy rather quickly. 

    To get things going first, I think a quick run down of what I'm using in my own personal studio (aka my living room. I live in a loft-style apartment on Boston's inner harbor, and a third of the space is packed with my gear. 

    My studio is based around a mac pro with 8 cores, 32 gigs of RAM, and a UAD Quad card (for DSP) running Pro Tools 12.4. I have a ton of plugins, too many, but i stick with a few common plugins that include:

    • UA 1176 blue stripe (for everything)
    • Valhalla vintage reverb
    • Valhalla Shimmer reverb
    • Waves IR reverb (the default hall IR is just about the best thing in the world)
    • UA LA 2A (love this for piano)
    • Waves DBX 160 compressor (drums)
    • UA SSL Bus compressor (for the 2-bus)
    • UA Trident A-Range EQ (love this for the 2-bus as well)
    • UA Pultec EQP-1A (drums, and 2-bus)
    • Waves Center (for the MS processing stuff)
    • Waves R-Compressor (general purpose really)
    • Waves API 550A and 550B EQ (my general purpose go-to EQ for everything)
    • DMG Audio Track Limit (the best limiter i've ever heard, kills the Waves L2)
    • Avid Sansamp (best distortion in the world)
    • Sound Toys Echoboy 
    • Sound Toys Miscroshift
    • Sound Toys Crystalizer 

    There are other things i'll use plugin wise, like a couple good guitar amp sims, and I use Superior Drummer 3 when I'm not live tracking percussion. Superior Drummer 3 makes that a lot easier though, you just have to be mindful of MIDI programming to optimize the sounds

    In terms of  hardware, i have a bunch of pedals, most notably:

    • Electro Harmonix Freeze (for drones - use a baritone guitar or a bass for amazing effect)
    • EBS Valve Drive bass DI (sounds good on literally everything)
    • Red Panda Context reverb pedal (reverb for days)
    • Electro Harmonix Cathedral reverb (more reverb)
    • Retro Mechanical distortion box (sounds amazing for re-amping things and drums)
    • Volume pedal
    • Red Panda Particle (granular synth in a guitar pedal)
    • Electro Harmonix Big Muff distortion pedal

    Along with pedals I have a few odds and ends:

    • Kurzweil K2000 Rack synth (for all your 1990's Dead Can Dance sounds you could ever want)
    • 1980's vintage Tascam 38 half-inch 8-track tape machine (to really screw up the sound)
    • Yamaha SPX 90 multi effects (the rack unit that defined the late 1980's reverbs)
    • Lynx Aurora 8-channel AD/DA converter
    • TC Electronic M300 reverb (serious character, not always good character!)
    • Vintech 573 mic pre and DI 500-series. 

    For monitoring, i use:

    • Yamaha NS10M
    • Avantone mixcubes (powered clone of the classic Auratone 5c's, the brutally honest monitor)

    For instruments i use:

    • Fender P-Bass
    • Fender telecaster baritone
    • Gibson SG Standard
    • Gibson Les Paul Standard (used for bowing)
    • Gretsch hollow body
    • Takamine 6-string acoustic

    I also have a bunch of different MIDI controllers, like an Alesis drum pad, the new Roland foot pad so I can write percussion parts naturally (not using a keyboard) and an Akai keyboard controller. I also have a Cajon, and a bunch of other percussion items. 

    For other sources of sound I use a bunch of different software tools like PaulStretch, a bunch of the Spitfire Audio Kontakt libraries, along with Soniccouture libraries as well. 

    That's pretty much the what and some of the how from a big picture perspective. What I plan to do as I go through working on this record is go into more detail how each of these things are used for each song. I also post photos, screenshots, things like that, possibly a video or two. It all depends on how much time I will have (which is in such short supply these days). 

    Feel free to ask questions as well. 

  • An Update on Things

    I haven't been paying enough attention lately. I know I posted months ago about new material and a 10" vinyl version of Similis. 

    It may be a good time to provide an update to those who care to have one. 

    New Material

    In all passion projects, like this, one makes plans, things come up that complicate those plans, or renders said plans completely meaningless. 

    That's pretty much what is happening here. I thought certain things would unfold in one way, they didn't, i underestimated other more pressing matters, and overestimated my ability to produce new material. 

    It is happening. I try to work on things in the evenings. Now the question is what is being worked on any good? It's different, that's all I can say. 

    When will something come out? This year i think. 

    Similis Vinyl

    There was a post on Facebook/Twitter alluding to a vinyl version of Similis. When that was first posted it was my intention to have it out by now (mid-July 2017) but I've fallen short on funds. I thought I would have been able to pay for this, but things didn't turn out that way. 

    I do not believe in pre-orders, I'd hate to accept people's money only to fail and then go through the process of refunding those who did take the blind leap of faith. That seems unfair to you. 

    And real talk, it's not like there's this huge audience for Sky Flying By. That makes this even riskier. 

    Which brings me to the next thing, I would never do a crowd funding effort for this either, for the same reasons. When a vinyl version does come out, and it will (I'll get to that in a minute), if i can sell 20 or 30 of these, i'll consider it a success. 

    A vinyl version will come out, simply for the fact that it's something I want to do. Like everything with this project, the only thing that drives me is that it's something I just want to do. If someone else happens to like what comes out, then that's just (extra rich awesome) icing on the cake. 

    I looked at lathe cutting, but I'm not completely sold on the final product, and the packaging is something I want to do right. Lathe cutting means much lower runs and is therefore much cheaper, but I really don't want to take that short cut. I do like the things folks like Audio Geography are doing, and perhaps something special may be done, but I do have my mind set on a full pressing (of 300 or so records)

    I'm not going to give an estimate of when this will come out, it mosly depends on money. I hate that that is the case, but it is what it is. I figure I'll just be honest. 

  • Similis: Emendation

    Just a quick update, last week a new updated version of Similis, entitled "Similis: Emendation" was released. 

    This marks the last of of the "revisiting" of releases. from here on out only new stuff. i just thought Detour and Similis could do with some polishing, abilities i didn't have when they first came out. 

    i'm still working on the whole production/mixing part of this craft, and while i'm not what anyone would consider "pro" i'm getting better. 

  • Detour: One Year Later

    On Friday, 14 October, Detour: One Year Later will be released on Bandcamp for, "name your own price" and to Spotify. 

    Never was completely satisfied how I originally mixed this record, and in a year's time I've learned a lot and have been practicing how to get better, and have been working on this record to try to get better at this mixing business, and now I've gotten it to a point where I'd like to get it out there, share it. 

  • New Thing Before That Other New Thing

    In that last post about the next thing, there's going to be a thing before that next thing. i'll be providing details later, but this next next thing is pretty interesting and it's something i've wanted to do for a while and it wasn't till just very recently that the opportunity seemed to be lined up. 

    and lastly this thing will be much sooner than later. so there's that too. 

  • The Next Thing

    Similis came out last month, saw around 50 downloads so naturally on the heels of that resounding success, i figured it was time for something new. 

    This new thing doens't have a name right now, but i have a set of parameters. Essentailly i am only using my 30+ year old tascam 8-track tape machine to record this project. i can't honestly say what it'll sound like, the music i've been writing lately has been more minimialist and ambient so probably something along those lines, but i can't resist perucssion either. 

    i've not set a time for when this will be done, i wish i could but things are too impossible for that now. i just wanted to put this notice out there to let who ever happens across this and may be a listener know that new material is being worked on.