Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.

Archives: January 2008

January 31, 2008


by Chris Randall

I just got this in my email in-box:

We are happy for informing you free of charge that our scope has been
activated the presence online of the FreeWav plan to the address is that one to promote the MuSiCA, offering of
the samplings audio formed wav. For ulterior information:
[email protected]

I don't have the faintest fucking idea, but I think that perhaps all my base are belong to them or something. This is the sort of email you get when Eric Barbour is mad at you for something he thinks you might have said about him. But I'm fairly certain that there's nothing about Metasonix in that letter.

January 31, 2008

Sorry. Yeah. Whatever...

by Chris Randall

We've been having a bit of a snow... what? Event? here for a few days now. I'm sure everyone that lives in the upper Midwest of America is like "oh, cry me a river, nancy-boy" but I spent 25 years in Boston, NYC, and Chicago, and the main reason I moved here was to get away from that bullshit and in to a nice rainy mono-season, one of which I'm quite fond.

Anyways, we've gotten a couple feet of snow or whatever, and our power keeps going out. I suppose it could be worse. The town of Detroit (Oregon, not Michigan), which is 19 miles up the road from us, has gotten 150". That's a lot no matter how you look at it.

Long story short, until this weather event cools down (pun intended), I can't even keep my computers on for more than a few minutes at a time, let alone devote the surfing necessary to bring something incredibly prosaic yet somehow touching to this page like I normally do each and every god damned day of my life, in my ultimate quest to make your day better, as if that was important to me.

I don't even own a fucking snow shovel. I live in the Willamette Valley, for christsake.

So, until this is sorted out by the KOIN News 6 Weather Alert Team, you're on your own. This is an open thread. Don't break anything.

January 29, 2008

Things A Producer Never Wants To Hear From A Band...

by Chris Randall

I was busy sifting through some old material today, to put up on The Tubes, and something caught my ear on a track that Martin Atkins remixed for me, and it got me giggling, and thinking of all the bullshit things I've had to put up with while producing other bands. Some of these comments would be not-out-of-place in a Society Of Creative Recording Anachronism meeting, as I'm a bit ol' skool, but keeping that in mind, just off the top of my head:

1. "Hey, could we get that reverse reverb effect on the vocals in this one part?" Bands that were used to recording on ADAT, when suddenly presented with a 2" machine, magically recalled everything they ever read about Rodger Bain, and had to have at least one Stupid Tape Trick. This is usually the first that came to mind. No problem, except you have most of a mix up by the time this idea comes out, and you need spool the whole roll twice (because, naturally, it was on the first song of the three that would fit on a roll of 2" at 30 ips.) Then SMPTE comes blaring out the foot channel, and, well, whee....

2. "Hey, let's do a reverse guitar solo on this." Okay, forget Rodger Bain. Now we're getting in to Chas Chandler country. (Or was that Eddie Kramer? I forget.) Anyways, Stupid Tape Trick #2, see above. Nowadays it's easier, if you can get it through the dumb-ass guitarist's head that they have to start big, end small.

3. "Hey, can I double this vocal track?" It's far easier to get a thick vocal sound from a bad singer with an H3000 than it is to get an Eminem double from 'em that is anything approaching usable. This is the sort of thing that makes the studio manager's eyes light up. (And the engineer, if he's hourly.) I think John Lennon should be heartily thanked by every studio owner in the world, since his ability to double his own vocals is singlehandedly responsible for more wasted studio time than probably any other factor.

4. "Hey, I think this track needs some percussion." Sigh. Nobody but percussionists can actually play percussion worth a shit. See #3. If you own a studio, and you want to increase your hourly billing, just leave some maracas and a tambo lying about the control room.

5. The various "I know everything about my instrument" comments, which we'll lump in to one category, else I'll go on all fuckin' day. "I replaced the heads less than 10 shows ago!" "These strings are broken in now!" "Can someone hit an E?" "Does anyone have a pick/pair of sticks/tuner?" Etc. ad nauseum.

6. I'm not sure how to word this one in a simple catch-all phrase, but my personal biggest pet peeve is The Part That Can't Change. This is invariably the foot, but it could be just about anything. I'm a fairly heavy-handed producer, and I could give a shit about any part at the expense of the song; very few musicians feel that way about individual parts, so this is usually the biggest struggle I'll have. Back when I was producing shit industrial bands, after we spent three days turning their Master Tracks Pro Atari ST files driving their Zoom Samplemaster or whatever in to something that everyone else in the world could deal with, the arguments about the kick drum parts would start. "You know, you don't really need to put a foot on every 16th note, dude...." And away we go.

January 27, 2008

New at NAMM...

by Chris Randall

Down in the basement, with the Chinese USB-Powered Melodica makers and the singing toilet seat, we find this wonderful new iteration of the analog low-pass filter. Completely passive in operation, it also doubles as a speaker cozy. The company's motto: "Im on ur Adamz, mufflin' ur high-end."

January 26, 2008

Uh oh, here we go again...

by Chris Randall

I know I swore off modulars like two years ago, as a big fat waste of time and money, but there's some really interesting stuff coming out for Eurorack format lately, and I have to admit that it has piqued my interest.

In particular, I've been eyeballing the Livewire shit. The Chaos Computer (yeah, I realize it isn't released yet, you literal fucks...) obviously has my attention, because it's just the sort of thing I like, but most of the Livewire line seems to live somewhere between cool and sexy. I've been pondering getting a 6U Doepfer rack and making a system expressly for play-by-itself type shit. Does any of my fair readers (excluding, you know, all the people I banned for posting retarded comments in the last thread) own some Livewire shit, and can you speak to its general build quality and robustness?


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