Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

Here’s something cool to report:
The song from the previous posting has been renamed:
“When One Door Closes, Another Opens.”
In addition, it has been accepted for an online compilation album that was published/released on December 21, 2012; just in time for the end of the world. Here is the link the the song itself:
Or the entire album (the song is track #44 — how fitting, that’s my age at the time of the album): THE ENTIRE ALBUM

Please contribute one whole whoppin’ American greenback (or more) for SEVERAL HOURS of music & sound, whether you like the style of the songs within, or not. You’ll get your money’s worth from just a few songs somewhere in the pell-mell. All of the proceeds from this album go to support (pay for) and keep an online presence of, a collection of musicians that write-perform-compose-broadcast music via electronic instruments (keyboards, synths, computers, homemade controllers, what-have-you). I’ve performed at three of their yearly events to date.

I had a ball recording this tune and had a surprisingly decent outcome for just two takes.

Anyways: This will be my last post on this ditty-a-day 2012 wordpress page. I will be creating a new blog at some point that’s more in line with my stop-n-go attitude and personality regarding music, composition, life, the universe, and the answer to everything. That and just a little less pressure than trying to make a noise every day and tweet about it.

I’ll modify THIS SENTENCE HERE once I get that new site up and running in the near future.

Here’s that song again in case you don’t click the above links for the song, “When One Door Closes, Another Opens.”

Thanks for reading.

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Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

Basically, this is just my simple Yamaha acoustic through *all* my floor pedals, yes, all of them. Because I can, that’s why. Then a stereo feed from those pedals into an audio interface recorded straight into Ableton Live, sans pick. However I did add a little bass synth underneath it all after the fact, à la Pink Floyd; and some subtle reverb via plugins in Ableton as well. Surprisingly very little reverb is added here; the majority of the sustained tone is coming from 3 different flavors of echo/delay pedal. Definitely headphone-worthy as a result.

I’ll add in the list of pedals and such later. Maybe. For now, I’ll just give up that everything that comes after the volume pedal I use runs in stereo. Keeping it real & simple, unwinding at the end of this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday break, before all heck breaks loose. Droney guitars. Ahhhhh.

iPad/iPhone/iPad Touch users:
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Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on this blog here, and the year’s end approaches soon. I’m running out of weeks!

During the Electro-Music 2012 (EM2012) music conference on Sunday, September 8, 2012, I played a 25-30 minute duet with Jeremy dePrisco (a.k.a. Shivasongster) under the moniker “RoDoJede,” which really is all kinds of clever, since it’s just an amalgam of the first two letters of our names. Tricky, huh? Anyways, this EM2012 event held to a pretty strict schedule, out of fairness to the perpetual “next act”; plus it is/was broadcast live over the interwebs.

Right after we finished our half-planned, half-blindfolded set, the sound guys/audience of peers told us we still had a good three or four minutes left in our block of time. So Jeremy and I did what we could with our (or rather my) “last-known state” palette of sounds. Jeremy is playing his Taylor acoustic guitar through various pedal effects, and I’m playing everything else: piano, synth & sfx in a ‘stack’ triggered from an 88-key weighted midi controller keyboard, plus various drum loop/patterns, plus effect levels on the fly from other midi controller surfaces. I’m not saying I did more, mind you; the work was definitely 50-50 as we had to listen to each other to see where it was going. Jeremy is an excellent focused soloist, IMHO, which a skill I’m somewhat lacking as a performer.

However, it can be a little trickier with a synth setup that uses a laptop as the primary sound source/synth engine, while still attempting a modicum of spontaneity. Limited due to time constraints, we just used the setup already dialed in for the previous song(s). In the end, I think this was the best song of the set and therefore those few extra minutes gave us a good ending.

It took us a minute or so, but eventually we found our groove. Here’s the spontaneous resulting ditty.

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Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

I took to the task of designing and Building a Looper in 3 Major DAWs using nothing but Delay Effects, with no third party plugins whatsoever. In the end I got 99% favorable results… sort of.

Jumping ship from Logic Pro over to Ableton Live was a wise decision, in a project like this.

Okay, maybe “jumping ship” is a harsh term since I still use Logic Pro from time to time. In fact, Logic Pro has some redeeming qualities about it that make it shine. Take it’s Delay Designer plugin, for example. That little beauty just has “Looper” written all over it. But Logic Pro makes it difficult to use it the way I want to. Mainstage makes up for this inadequacy in the family. Chances are, if you own Logic Pro 9.x, you already have Mainstage lurking on your hard drive. If not, then Mainstage will only cost you $30 (Mac only).

Ableton Live… wherefore art thou’s long delays, like Logic’s Delay Designer? And thy dB level-appropriate sends and returns, like Logic’s? It’s totally doable in Ableton Live as well, but took 4 times as much audio routing to get ‘er done. That and I’ve noticed an occasional timing drift; but I have read this is relatively common when you start getting complex pathways in Ableton.

In the end, I found it’s awesome having both DAWs on my machine. This was a great project. You get to know the shortcomings and strengths of both tools. Thus use the right tool for the right job.

The audio file below is an example looping example I did using the Ableton Live file as provided in the download, played only using my laptop itself (playing all notes via QWERTY keys), a Korg nanoKONTROL2, all the instruments and effects provided within Ableton. No Ableton clips were used.

If you went out and bought Ableton Live 8.3.x and a Korg nanoKONTROL2 right now, the downloadable project file should work with both items out of the box, as long as you change the Korg nanoK2 to MIDI channel 16. The same criteria applies for the Mainstage file.
CAVEAT: If you start adding other MIDI controllers, well… YMMV. You may have to track down the random MIDI issue.

This entire project is from as a Seminar/ presentation I hosted at the EM2012 festival.

Ableton Live, Apple Mainstage, and Logic Pro files, plus a nifty PDF explaining how to do it yourself… all here and yours for the taking.
CLICK HERE to download the whole package (.ZIP file).

The following non-nonsensical verbiage is here just to make this post totally findable by internet search: eloquent kumquat pickle.

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Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

So here I am, scrambling to create new material for my set in the upcoming Electro-Music 2012 gathering of peers. I also signed up to do a duet set with Jeremy dePrisco again this year. All I have to say about that is: after my half of the duet sucked last year (IMHO), I told myself I’d be better prepared this year. So naturally I’ve been putting more into the duet than my solo set. Silly rabbit… So when I’m scrambling to create content, I turn to familiar sound sources first and work outward from there; you might recognize an element…

Such as the lifted a sample from a previous Ditty-A-Day posting, Bass Loop Resurrection. Don’t worry, I have clearance and permission from the artist to use this sample.

Here’s a preview of some of my contribution to our duet. Be sure to “tune in” when the time comes (September 7-9, 2012), and see how to final version turns out. See the schedule back on the event page for when we perform under the stage name, “RoDoJede.”

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Now it's "Ditty-A-Week."

So we all have our lofty plans, and our reasons, excuses, and causations of why those lofty plans fall flat.

There were the external reasons, like pressures of your 9 to 5 office job getting in the way of your dreams; other time-consuming obligations involving third parties; or your former life partner declaring that your “Ditty-A-Day” concept makes you an attention wh*re — as opposed to just being an artist that’s trying to adhere to a self-made promise, an attempt to gain structure. As in, “yeah sure, this is about me developing internally, not me looking for mad props externally…

But let’s not drag on about that situation and move onward and upward, shall we? Hmmm?

Then of course there’s the more intense and personal internal reasons. Reasons such as placing greater import on life’s tasks like being dad & doing the chores (duty before pleasure); (formerly) being a boyfriend; movie watching; %$@& Facebook; purposefully giving your time to others; reading too much; motorcycling; sloth; and finally, joining a gym. Or how about, the fear that I’ll create nothing but garbage? The words of that self-critic that whispers in your ear at the worst possible time, your worst enemy and best friend. Man, I just hate that guy.

And finally, the fear of failure overall. Which has caused me to fail more than once in my life by just doing nothing for all the wrong reasons. The practice of shear avoidance of artistic discipline. I end up feeling like crap inside in the end by not following through on this practice, no matter how fun this discipline– hah! more like an adventure– should be.

I put too much pressure on myself for this until now. As of today, the self-critic is on sabbatical to discover what his new role shall be in the near future.

So I’ve adjusted this blog to be “Ditty-A-Week.” That’s reasonable and realistic. Not to mention, I can feel accomplished by posting stuff that’s more polished. AND it gives me time to take that bike ride to the gym, keep up in social justice community band I’m in & feel great about, go to summertime events on the weekends, and enjoy that occasional Guinness out & about with the old friends I thought I’d lost years ago.

Oh, yeah, and write songs for my gig at Electro-Music 2012, happening a few weeks from this post. You know, the songs that aren’t written yet, because I’ve been more concerned about the seminar I’m presenting on “Building a Software Looper” as well as the visual content of my set. All I’m gonna say about the visuals is: Bambi, Godzilla, a dancing set of pixels, space scenes and jiggly camera shots. Somehow being entertaining & pleasant.

On to the music. No Pressure.

Saturday night, no plans and not much spare dinero. So, home projects it is. Fired up my “rig.” Ended up tweaking a nice arpeggiated patch on the Korg MS2000R. Meanwhile, my dinner is done cooking in the background. So’s I got me to the kitchen to have have’s me some chow. It’s at this point I notice the parakeets (or at least one of them, Azul) chortling along with the synth. I’ve noticed this before; they like short notes with a sharp filter on it. Probably sounds just a little like a tweet to them perhaps? Just from a very, very large bird with impeccable timing.

I put the Tascam DR-03 recorder on top of the cage, more or less right over the birds. The bird song is off to one side not by design; it must have been slightly off center. When the recording was amplified to bring it up to respectable levels, you notice the mics were pointing at the fridge by accident, thus the compressor noise I didn’t really bother to remove, it adds to the authenticity… yeah, that’s it. Authenticity.

So call it a modern twist on a new-agey “nature” recording. Whomever’s gonna listen to the non-stop arp, some chattering birds, and me eating dinner for five minutes is anybody’s guess. I will, though. Simple is good.

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