solarbird: (korra-excited)

Amongst the news that got somewhat overlooked during the petition-to-SFWA flap of the last two weeks:

  • The two-CD-long Destiny came out, with my first voice acting role, and,

Along the way, I fixed another guitar – I keep repairing instruments I don’t even know how to play XD – and a cool toy appeared! If you have a new enough browser, go play with it, it’s fun.

Finally, this is legitimately hilarious (h/t to Ben Deschamps):

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (music)

Last week, I posted a work-in-progress roughmix of an instrumental track from the upcoming Free Court of Seattle book series soundtrack album.

I also posted the bass instrument, in excerpt form, as a solo track. It sounds like a a double bass (a.k.a. standup base) but, as I told everyone, it wasn’t that; I made something else into a double-bass, with studio tricks. And I challenged people to figure out what it was originally.

I’m afraid nobody got there. A couple of people got into the right category (“tonal percussion instruments”), then wandered back out again, because they kept being sure it had to be bowed, even after I said it wasn’t.

Because nobody guessed correctly, I’m assigning numbers and doing a random winner drawing from everyone who tried, across all reposts I know about! A d20 will work, which is convenient, so dice roll please…

THE WINNER IS DAVID, FROM THE ORIGINAL POST! Email me, David! Also I’ll send email if you left a valid one associated with your username.

As to the actual answer…


A Hammer Dulcimer

YES, REALLY. I thought I was tipping my hand, talking about the mysterious “bass instrument” at the same time that I was talking about Ellen’s hammer dulcimer, but I guess not!

The discovery was entirely accidental – particularly the bow sounds. That’s not hard work; that’s a processing artefact, I guess. I honestly don’t know.

Basically, I needed something to fill in down there, frequency-wise, to give the track some body. Usefully but separately, I had put four microphones on Ellen’s dulcimer, recording four tracks off it, with one in particular set up to pick up as much low end as her instrument could give me. But it didn’t pick up any more low-end than the bass bar microphone, and it also picked up a really “thunk”-heavy sound – every hammerblow got exaggerated. It didn’t add anything positive, so I was going to leave it out.

So I had a recording I wasn’t going to use anyway, and a need for something bassy. Using the built-in Ardour octave shifter, I dropped it two octaves to see how that sounded. The answer was “still terrible, and if possible, even worse.” I poked around with it, trying various things, and the answer kept being “terrible.” Less so, but still.

Then, on a whim, I dropped it another octave, and a miracle occurred.

I don’t know how, but suddenly I could hear bow noises – probably what happened to the thunk sounds – in a recording of an instrument that just plain sounded like a double-bass. Filter out the subsonics, and it became clearer. Filter out the high-end harmonics and again, clearer. After that, it was just treating it like a standup bass.

And I have no idea why. But damn, I am using this trick forever. :D

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solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

Last week, I posted a couple of clips from a work-in-progress, including a mystery bass instrument.

The mystery bass instrument sounds like a double-bass (a.k.a. orchestral standup bass) but is not that at all. I processed it to sound like that, thanks to an accidental discovery, so I encouraged people to guess what it might’ve been originally. I even made it a contest.

We’ve had a lot of guesses! But nobody’s there yet. This is the final hint post, and I’ll give you two hints:

1. If you’ve listened to my recordings, you have heard this instrument before.
2. It is not bowed. Not even in this recording. It just sounds like it is.

Here’s where you can listen to the tracks. Winner still gets one free download of anything on my bandcamp site, including the current work-in-progress – the Free Court of Seattle soundtrack – once it’s released.

Actual answer goes up Monday, if nobody guesses by then. Reply at the band site with answers, please!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: From moongazeponies on deviantart (pony-pinkie-hax)

Nobody’s figured out what instrument I turned into a fake double-bass with processing tricks in the instrumental recording I posted last week. So here’s a hint – no, wait, two hints:

1. A couple of people have been close, in the sense of being in the right category of instrument. But in each case, they’ve wandered away again by adding on to their initial guess.

2. Directly relevant to clue 1: yes, it sounds bowed. That does not mean the original instrument actually was bowed, and, in fact, it wasn’t. That’s one reason why it’s so amazing. XD

And, of course, from the first post, I repeat:

0. It’s not synthetic, and it’s not a double-bass.

This is a contest, so here’s where you can listen to the tracks, and also the tiny rules list, which is tiny.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

I’m sick of talking about eye surgery and all that other crap. Remember the Bone Walker/Free Court of Seattle soundtrack album? Here, have a sneak preview work track – it’s the Irish tunes set which goes with Chapter 23 of Faerie Blood:

Normally I wouldn’t throw a work track out there, not even as a sneak preview, but yeah. This is missing the percussion, a male voice counting in individual tunes in Gaelic (because plot reasons), some chimes, and final assembly, but it has the right shape. You can see what rough beast caleighs its way towards Newfoundland in this.

That’s Ellen Eades on hammer dulcimer, Sunnie Larsen on fiddle, me on mandolin and Irish bozouki, and…

You may notice also notice a bass instrument in there. I’ve posted it separately:

I am so pleased with myself over this entirely accidental discovery. Everyone I’ve played it for has guessed standup bass or double-bass (including a professional cellist), but give your opinion; then guess what it actually is. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

I’ll tell you this much: it’s not synthetic, and it’s not a double-bass.

Actually, should I make this a contest? I haven’t done a contest in forever. First person to guess right – WHO HASN’T ALREADY BEEN TOLD AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE – gets a download of any album I have on Bandcamp, including this one once it comes out, which it hasn’t yet. Go!

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solarbird: (fox do want)

I meant to turn off free/pay-what-you-like Bandcamp downloads last week, but I didn’t warn people. Accordingly:

Today is the last day you can pull my Bandcamp albums down for free/pay-what-you-like. So grab while the grabbing’s good; I’m putting minimums back on tomorrow.

A couple of singles – Kaiju Meat and The S-100 Bus being notable examples – will stay free/pay-what-you-like permanently, but the rest? Not so much.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (fascist sons o bitches)

Happy almost-new-years everybody! Time for either the big new year’s clean and hatsumode, or lots of vodka science and quality assurance testing, or hey, why not have both? I’m for it. We could call it Vodka Science Day, throw it in with the rest. Only downside is I’m not sure anyone would notice. I’ve, er, “got friends” who just call that Thursday.

If your music collection needs refreshing, the big Mega-Music New Year’s Download that I talked about before is still going, so go grab that while you can. And all my Bandcamp downloads are still set pay-what-you-like, too.

If you had – or still have – trouble with their official download link, here is a backup that I put up myself, so use that instead.

Whup, gotta gear up, kaiju’s about ready to hatch, and you know what a mess that is! Have fun out there, and try not to die.

That’s supervillain for, “Hey – I like you.”

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (asumanga-yay)

Okay, so I mentioned the big project? Well, a bunch of bands, including us, SJ Tucker, Heather Dale, and lots more, got together for a truly massive free mega-music ‪download package. Seriously, there are like 39 artists in this thing:

The Mega-Music Download Page

If the download link there doesn’t work for you for some reason – it’s been a bit swamped! – here’s a direct link to the .zip file with all songs:

Backup Download Link

In addition to the previous, there’s Betsy Tinney, Talis Kimberly, Pandora Celtica, Julia Ecklar, Ginger Doss, Whisky Bards, Tom Smith, us – so many different bands.

GO GET IT. And if you like what you hear, a lot of us are doing specials right now on our own download pages, like us, where everything of ours on Bandcamp is currently pay-what-you-like. That won’t last forever, so GO. NOW.


Click for full-size

And a happy new year to everyone!

eta: Okay, maybe having everybody involved tell all their people at the same time wasn’t the best idea. XD If you’re seeing an XML error, it’s a result of server overload; try again in 15 minutes to an hour. But my Bandcamp downloads are working fine – Bandcamp is more robust. :D

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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solarbird: (Default)
Anybody want my old Nimbie NB-11 CD/DVD burning robot? It'd be for tinkering - it's a marvellous device in theory, but it never worked really right.

To its credit, it never wrote a bad data side. That's the best thing I can say about it. But the input tray holds 100 CDs; despite this, I only broke 20 without the robot flipping out _one time_, iirc. Usually, once it got going - and it would generally take a few tries - it would get 15 or so before needing to be restarted.

Doing Lightscribe runs, on some designs, it would reject every disc as bad after printing correctly. Other label designs didn't do that. I never understood why. I managed to make it work less badly a couple of times, but each time, it eventually ended up being random again, and now just idling it'll start doing flaily-robot-arms, and once last week it managed to eject a disc that was in the process of being lightscribe labelled.

I took the burner unit itself out, because that works and I could use it in my workstation. The robot takes SATA drives, tho', so anything would do. That part is cheap and easy to reinstall, and if you have one already, it'll work with some modifications. (Basically you just have to take the front plate and the tray plate off - they just snap off, no tools required - and possibly will have to make the drive eject further than normal, depending upon your drive. Instructions for this are on the web if you search for them.)

Anyway, anybody wants a project with a potentially decent payoff - it'd be a great box if it just worked - let me know.
solarbird: (cascadia dance dance revolution)

Anna is giving away both ebook and audiobook copies of Valor of the Healer. This isn’t the universe the soundtrack is from, but it is the same writer, and you should go enter!

The soundtrack has been dragging on, and how long it’s been taking has been getting on my nerves in a serious way. There’s not all that much to be done about that; I wasn’t ever intending to play melody on the traditional Irish Tune portions, then had to, which means I had to learn tunes playing well enough to do it in studio, and then when some of the selections weren’t going to work in a traditional set type arrangement, meant I had to learn to write tunes, or portions thereof, in a way that sounded right.

We are moving along, tho’. Slowly. We had Ellen Eades in last week, recording hammer dulcimer for one set, and Sunnie Larsen will be in tomorrow, recording more fiddle. I’m desperately hoping that between having to deal with the remains of Sewer Implosion 2013 and rehearsal tonight with Leannan Sidhe for their six shows over on the dry side that I’ll be able to rebuild the Chapter 1 track project, which corrupted itself after a crash.

Don’t worry, we didn’t lose any data, it’s just… jumbled a bit. So I have to import everything into a new project. It’s not difficult, just incredibly annoying and a bit time-consuming.

But that’ll depend upon letting the CD labeller get finished with the short run of CDs that are being printed up for those aforementioned shows. See how everything stacks up and gets in the way of everything else? So frustrating.

Whup, sounds like a certain wallboarder has had to get out a larger saw. I’d best check what’s up.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: I made this! (nano9win)

…hold on, I have to ask this d8…


Five!

And that would be lj:foxipher, who wins a copy of the Dick Tracy Must Die ARC! I’ll post off your CD later today, and look forward to your review!

Thanks to everybody who entered!

And, due to both the number of entries and! a couple of people who said they couldn’t enter because they couldn’t write a review in January – welcome to:

ARC Giveaway Round II! It’s another Advance Review Copy raffle. Entrants agree to post a review sometime in the month of February 2011. Entrants from Round I who didn’t win are automatically entered in Round II unless you want out for some reason, but I note you can write the review whenever and just not post until February, so I’d hope it’s not a problem. Reviews must be publicly posted, but that’s the only requirement.

If you did not enter Round I at all, comment here by the end of Monday, 17 January 2011, to enter Round II! All comments will be screened, as usual. Good luck!

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