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After doing most of the work on "Dark Psychic Forces", I realized that while it is a Stupid song, it's not very simple . . . :)

THOUGHTS

As explained in the "Project: Dark Psychic Forces" topic, the general idea was that the song could be played and performed by at most four Stupid musicians, which at first was somewhat possible but after adding three additional lead guitars, well not so much . . .

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Actually, I want to add more stuff--including whooshes like in "Magic People"--but so what . . . :roll:

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Stupid is good, but not if it's always complex . . .

Stupid, ideally, should be simple . . .

The more I thought about the simple aspect, the more I realized that I was not thinking with the mindset of teenagers in a garage band--even when the teenagers are curiously skilled musicians . . .

One of the things I recalled from more than a half century ago, is that when "Louie Louie" (The Kingsmen) was released, I had to study it to make sense of the electric bass part . . .

If you were in junior high school in 1963 or thereabout; were in a garage band; and could play "Louie Louie", then girls would form a personal fan club for you, no matter which instrument you played--certainly a strong incentive to devote many hours to making sense of the elusive 1-4-5-4 pattern . . . :P

And this soon led to getting work in nightclubs, since at the time everybody liked "Louie Louie" . . .

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Now, it's nth nature--not 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th nature but so completely and totally intuitive that it requires zero thought to play all the instrument parts . . .

This usually is the case when over time one plays a song thousands or tens of thousands of times . . .

Yet, it's easy to forget that at one time it was a "complex" song, which required studying--including playing the 45 RPM record at half-speed (for lead guitar) and double-speed (to identiry the electric bass lines) . . .

Other than "Louie Louie", the best examples are the early songs of Grand Funk Railroad, which were so simple and Stupid it became their hallmark, and it made them wildly famous . . .

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I would like to say that I discovered Grand Funk Railroad, but that would not be true . . .

A friend of mine told me about them and described the band as being "so stupid it's incredible", and they were stupid, but in a fascinating way . . .

CONCEPT

If I decide actually to do this, then the goal will be to combine Stupid and simple, where there are only three or perhaps four instruments with zero overdubbing . . .

Producing and audio engineering is allowed, where for example the single, monaural audio track for electric bass can be copied and pasted to more audio tracks to which reverb, echoes, and other effects can be adde to make the electric bass sound "big", with this also being the case for the drumkit, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, and perhaps an electric piano or Hammond B-3 organ, but regardless of the actual number of producing and audio engineering tracks, each instrument is played one time, hence it's not layers of different stuff, instead being the same stuff but made to sound "big", "deep and rich", and so forth via producing and audio engineering . . .

The drumkit will be spread over several tracks--since I like to treat each drum and cymbal separately--but regardless of the number of extra producing and audio-engineering tracks, it will be just one drumkit part that a real drummer can play . . .

Effectively, this is the same as having a separate microphone on each drum, cymbal, and Latin percussion instrument (mostly cowbells and tambourines, where the tambourine sits atop the hi-hats) . . .

Explained another way, the pretend musical group needs to be simple and Stupid, but the producing and audio engineering can be a bit elaborate, which is what is required to make stuff sound "big" . . .

Whether I will do this is another matter, but at present I like the idea and the concept . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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by Surf.Whammy on Mon Nov 30, 2020 4:16 pm
I decided to use the "Dark Psychic Forces" Studio One Professional and NOTION data for the "Simple and Stupid" templates . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The instruments for "Dark Psychic Forces" are my "goto" basic rhythm section, so I did a "Save As . . . " for the Studio One Professional ".song" and NOTION score to use them as the "Simple and Stupid" basic rhythm section templates . . .

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One perspective on this is that it's a bit like the way the Beach Boys showed how they create song i the 1960s . . .

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DRUMKIT

I like Addictive Drums (XLN Audio), and this is the drumkit I like, which I call "Surf Classic" . . .

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It has a variety of cymbals, a cowbell (Latin Percussion [LP] Rock Ridge Rider, which I also have in the Really Bigger Drumkit), and a kick drum with a subsonic deep bass "kicker" . . .

My real drumkit has double kick drums, and I like double kick drums . . .

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The Really Bigger Drumkit

For producing and audio engineering purposes, I separate the drumkit into separate staves, with the kick drums and snare drum being on separate pairs of staves, which makes it easier to focus the sounds and to add motion when it's good to have motion . . .

Depending on the song, I have three staves and separate tracks for the kick drums and snare drum, panned {far-left, top-center, and far-right} . . ,

This way, if I want a snare drum at far-left, then I put the note on the respective staff, which also is the way it works for the kick drums; and I do this for hi-hats, as well . . .

Generally, I keep the drums, cymbals, and cowbell dry--no reverberation and no echoes--and adjust the volume levels with compressor-limiters, which I do primarily because I prefer to keep the mixing board volume sliders pegged to 0dB . . .

Using compressor-limiters to control the volume levels is more precise, and it allows the mixing board volume sliders to be used to make tiny changes (a few dB downward or upward), where the strategy is to get the volume levels as near as possible via the compressor-limiters and then later to do a bit of fine-tuning via the mixing board volume controls, although I don't do a lot of fine-tuning with the mixing board volume sliders . . .

For drums, cymbals, and cowbell, I use the T-RackS 5 "White 2A Leveling Amplifier" (IK Multimedia), which is an accurate emulation of the 1176 Peak Limiter designed by Bill Putnam and released by UREI in 1967 . . .

I use it primarily by adjusting the two big knobs--one on the left to increase the input level and the other on the right to set the compressor-limiter action, which makes it an easy and effective way to control drums, cymbals, and cowbell . . .

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There are a few effects plug-ins that enhance subsonic deep bass for the kick drums, but mostly I control the bass with the Saturn mastering processor from FabFilter Software Instruments, which is an effects plug-in I use on the Main stereo output track in Studio One Professional, hence it applies to everything; and I also have a T-RackS "Brickwall Limiter" on the Main stereo output track to smooth the overall volume level and keep it within tolerances . . .

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Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. I am going to use most of this information for chapter in my book on digital music production, so it's a preview but also a way to provide information and to do a bit of writing . .

The format and focus in the book is a bit different, since there are no links to YouTube videos, but so what . . .

Sometimes, I write directly in Pages (Apple), but it's more FUN to do posts to this forum . . .

On the digital side, I have been focusing diligently on this for nearly 20 years, the first 10 of which I had zero knowledge of virtual instruments and effects plug-ins; and overall I probably could have done a doctorate in particle physics, but that's a different project . . .

Last week I decided to memorize the Standard Model, including the anti-particles and SUSY stuff, the latter of which so far is not having any experimental verification, where the "anti" aspect is that there are anti-electrons and so forth; and the SUSY aspect is that they have corresponding names that begin with "s", hence "squarks" are the SUSY quarks, and they also have "anti" versions; so from this one diagram, you get three more bunches of stuff, which is easy to remember via "anti" and "s" . . .

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Wandering a bit deeper, particle physicists worked on the SUSY (Supersymmetry) hypothesis for decades, but so far none of the SUSY particles have been detected at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which mostly makes it a bit of a hoot . . .

In turn, this maps to my being able to devise my own hypotheses; and even though I have zero credentials, my hypotheses cannot be goofier than the hypotheses of the particle physicists who actually have credentials . . .

To the point, I now am convinced that Isaac Newton created calculus as a trick to make his theories appear more logical . . .

The problem is that there are tiny spaces between the infinitessimally small "slices", which among other things is the reason the LHC is not detecting any SUSY particles . . .

Instead of being detected, the SUSY particles treat the detectors as if they are LaGrange points and travel between them, hence never are detected (or at least are not detected based on current presumptions) . . .

In other words, one of my hypotheses is that it's all there, but the LHC is not looking in the right places in the right ways . . .

What does this have to do with digital music production? :roll:

The answer is that digital music production is at least as complex as particle physics, and there are a lot of details, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Thu Dec 03, 2020 8:10 am
The local broadband cable ISP was not working for a few days; but it's working now, so let's focus on bass . . . :mrgreen:

THOUGHTS

There are 5 general types of basses:

(1) Bowed, plucked or slapped contrabass (a.k.a., “string bass”)

(2) Höfner Beatle Bass, Gibson EBO short scale electric bass, or Fender Jazz Bass

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(3) Bright tone electric bass like the Fender Jazz Bass in bright mode played through an Ampeg 8x10 bass amplifier rig

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(4) Synthesizer bass

(5) Custom combinations of the above

My favorite VSTI virtual instrument bass is (2), specifically the Höfner Beatle Bass, and I run it through the IK Multimedia T-RackS "EQP-1A Program Equalizer" on a variation of the “FATT-1A” preset, which adds subsonic deep bass tone . . .

[NOTE: The FATT-1A present is excellent, and all I do is adjust the Output volume level upward or downward by a small amount in the range of {5.0 to 7.0 dB} . . . ]

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I augment the subsonic deep bass tone via the FabFilter Software Instruments “Saturn” mastering plug-in, which I apply to the Master stereo output track, which affects everything, including the kick drums and bass . . .

When the kick drum parts and the electric bass guitar parts are more complex and rapid, with tone overlaps, I use the FabFilter Software Instruments “Pro C” compressor-limiter effects plug-in to do “ducking”, where the volume level of one instrument is used to determine how the volume level of another instrument or set of instruments is lowered and then returned to normal . . .

In this strategy, if the instrument being “ducked” is the electric bass and the controlling instrument is a kick drum, then when the kick drum is hit, its volume level determines how much the volume level of the electric bass is lowered temporarily . . .

Since “ducking” is done automagically, it occurs precisely and rapidly based on the activity of the driving instrument, and in the example what happens is that the kick drum temporarily gets more sonic space in the mix by lowering or reducing the sonic space of the electric bass . . .

This happens so quickly and is of such short duration that the lowering of the electric bass volume is not noticed in an immediately conscious way, and the kick drum gets the spotlight for a short time . . .

Another strategy which I use in combination with “ducking” provides “birickwall” equalizers to create unique frequency range spaces for the kick drum and electric bass, so that while there are frequency range overlaps, to the extent it’s practical tonally, the kick drum has its sonic space and the electric bass has its sonic space, such that even without “ducking” there is better separation of kick drum and electric bass, hence increased clarity without sacrificing subsonic deep bass depth and richness, where for reference I include subsonic frequencies (less than 20-Hz), because at least for some musical genres, there are subsonic components, and the subsonic components are felt as vibrations rather than being heard as audible sounds or pitches . . .

There are two sources for a virtual Höfner Beatle Bass, and one is SampleTank *(IK Multimedia), while the other is EW Composer Cloud X and its Höfner Beatle Bas from the “Fab Four” collection, which is processed by the EW Play engine . . .

I use both of these, but lately I have focused on using the EW Composer Cloud X “Fab Four” collection version of the Höfner Beatle Bass. The IK Multimedia and EW flavors are nearly identical, so it’s mostly a matter of preference, although here in the sound isolation studio the primary reason for the EW “Fab Four” flavor is that as best as I can determine, the low-pitch “A” string in the IK Multimedia flavor is flat, although whether it actually is flat is another matter, but I think it’s flat, hence my preference for the EW “Fab Four” flavor, which definitely does not have the aforementioned flat low-pitch open “A” note . . .

Yet another strategy that is useful for certain songs is to combine bowed contrabass with electric bass and synthesizer bass to create a more complex textural tone, and I augment this with deep bass tone produced by Cyclop (Sugar Bytes) which is an unique, wobble-bass synthesizer, among other things . . .

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Cyclop (Sugar Bytes)

The T-RackS 5 “EQP 1A Program Equalizer” also is a compressor-limiter of sorts, and it definitely adds deep bass textures and tone . . .

Why this particular strategy for bass?

After years of experimenting, it sounds good and delivers deep bass . . . :+1

As a song progresses and more instruments are added, I make adjustments to kick drums, floor tom-toms, and the bass instrument(s) so there is clarity in the low-pitch frequency ranges and a bit of what I call “vacuum tube blur” for the bass instrument, with this being part of what I described in an earlier chapter as sounding like a “rubber band”, which technically makes zero sense but accurately describes and names the concept . . .

The “rubber band” concept is very important for certain genres, as is a deep and rich bass sound; and the fact of the matter is that everything in a song rides on the bass, hence in this conceptualization the bass is like a magic carpet upon which everything else rides, where this is understood historically most easily by the vast importance of Paul McCartney’s electric bass guitar noes, textures, and tones in the Beatles’ sound . . .

In this respect, there is no single most important Beatle, because each Beatle is important in one way or another in the Gestalt . . .

I think most folks tend to have a favorite Beatle, but here in the sound isolation studio, each Beatle is equally important . . .

From this perspective, as a song develops it’s always important when in producing and audio engineering mode to ensure that everything is heard with equal importance, clarity, distinctiveness, and purpose, hence the constant tinkering and fine-tuning of the overall mix . . .

As shown in the following photograph, I like the Steinberger “Spirit” bass, which has a tone that is a combination of (2) and (3)—Hofner Beatle Bass deep tone but with the Ampeg 8x10 brightness. In particular, I like the scale length, fretboard, and textural aspects of this electric bass . . .

[NOTE: Before discovering virtual effects plug-ins, I used real effects pedals; and there are more of them on the floor, in particular a pair of DigiTech Whammy pedals and some wah-wah pedals. The pedals and echo units on the shelf are focused more on tone, echoes, and reverberation, hence are "set and forget", since it's too complex to mess with adjusting controls on everything and then pushing buttons. The reality here in the sound isolation studio is that playing guitar and working two pairs of variable motion foot pedals on the floor (DigiTech Whammy and wah-wan pedals), plus the whammy bar on the Fabulous Fifty Million Dollar Trinaural Stratocaster is a full plate, and I don't need billions of different tone settings. The guitar has two separate and independent output signals and a virtual festival of Rothstein onboard analog tone and texture controls, a Rothstein Platinum Lab Varitone control (switched by the Really Big Knob), a passive distortion control, as well as carefully selected Seymour Duncan analog electromagnetic pickups . . . ]

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The Fabulous Fifty Million Dollar Trinaural Stratocaster®

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:33 pm
Now let's focus on electric guitars . . . :)

RHYTHM GUITAR

For rhythm guitar I like John Lennon style (Rickenbacker) and a VOX AC30 amplifier, since it's a clean combination and excellent for chords . . .

Studio One Professional has a superb AC30 amplifier emulation, and it's a personal favorite . . .

[NOTE: I think the AC30 emulation disappeared in Studio One Professional 5, but here in the sound isolation studio I am running Studio One Professional 4 and cannot run version 5, hence for me it's not a problem, although it's consistent with Murphy's Law, considering I just discovered the PreSonus AC30 amplifier and loudspeaker emulation a few months ago and totally love it . . . ]

For the guitar, at present I am using one of John Lennon's rhythm guitars from the "Fab Four" collection in EW ComposerCloud X, and generally this works nicely with the Studio One Professional AC30 amplifier and loudspeaker rig . . .

It's the rhythm guitar in "Dark Psychic Forces", which is the set of instruments and effects plug-ins I am using for the "Simple and Stupid" templates (Studio One Professional ".song" and NOITON score) . . .

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I use the T-RackS "White 2A Leveling Amplifier" to adjust the volume level . . .

LEAD GUITAR

For lead guitar, it's a bit different . . .

There's a vibrato Stratocaster in SampleTank (IK Multimedia) that I like, and there also is one in Twin 2 (FabFilter Software Instruments) that I like . . .

i like cascading echo units, and I do this with a combination of Timeless 2 (FabFilter Software Instruments) and the T-RackS 5 I(Ik Multimedia) tape echo units--Space Delay and Tape Echo . . .

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Another lead guitar solution is to use the native NOTION electric guitar with a dry sound and then to feed it to AmpliTube (IK Multimedia) for effects pedals, amplifiers, and loudspeaker cabinets, which then makes it possible to do string bends, whammy actions, and other guitar tab features that NOTION provides . . .

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The advantage of using the native NOTION electric guitar is that you can specify useful fretboard and whammy actions via various symbols and marks . . .

Several years ago, I did an experiment to determine how extreme, if not totally absurd, this can be done, and it's mind-boggling . . .

[NOTE: As I recall, this was done with NOTION 3 about seven years ago. As a general rule, I avoid using articulation marks, playing styles, dynamics, and all that music notation stuff, but in this instance I was curious to discover how crazy the native NOTION electric guitar could get, and it gets super crazy. In some respects, I was doing things I thought would make it crash, but it took a licking and kept on ticking . . . :+1 ]

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With SampleTank, EW ComposerCloud X, MachFive 3 (MOTU), Twin 2, and the native NOTION electric guitar and its tab and various music notation marks, along with T-RackS and its tape echo units, AmpliTube, Timeless 2, and PreSonus AC30 emulator, plus a lot of other stuff, it;s possible to do just about everything with lead guitar; and if it's not possible with virtual electric guitar and effects plug-ins, then there's always real electric guitar and real effects pedals . . .

Overall, I think it's more difficult to get a paper thin rhythm guitar sound than it is to get superb lead guitar rigs (virtual and real), mostly because electric guitar is perfect for recording, which maps to requiring a lot of constraining to avoid the electric guitar overwhelming everything else . . .

This is the type of rhythm guitar I like, and it's unique to John Lennon . . .

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EC-300 DELAY PLUG-IN

While I have some excellent echo units, including the ADT unit from Waves, I need a delay unit that I can use for simple delays, primarily in the range of the Haas Effect; and as if in a dream, I did a search on "digital delays" and eventually discovered EC-300 (McDSP) at Sweetwater, which I purchased, installed, and activated with my iLOK USB dongle after Sweetwater sent me the installation instructions and activation code to use with the iLOK USB dongle . . .

[NOTE: The Beatles double-tracked their vocals and George Harrison's lead guitar solos, but after a while thought it took too much time, so the audio engineers at Abbey Road Studios designed and built a machine to do it, which they called "Automatic Double Tracking (ADT)", and the Waves effects plug-in is an emulation of the real ADT device . . . ]

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There are three flavors (magnetic, digital, and analog), and the analog flavor does what I need to do, since I can set it in milliseconds as low as 20 milliseconds, which is within the time range of the Haas Effect . . .

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[NOTE: When I was producing and audio engineering "Sweet Hour of Prayer", I thought it would be interesting to devise a way to enhance my singing by blending a bit of cat purring; and the information I found suggests that cat purring is in the range of 25-Hz to 150-Hz. So the cat purring range is in cycles per second (Hertz [Hz]), but the other ranges are in milliseconds. It was a bit confusing, although the result is interesting; and in the grand scheme of everything, it's a bit wacky, but so what . . . ]

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[NOTE: The synthesized cat purring occurs in the fast part of the song at the start of the verses after the lead-in bits (the two repeats of "Sweet Hour of Prayer"); and it's subtle but nice. At the time I was confusing cycles per second with milliseconds, so at the moment I'm not certain what it is, but I call it 'synthesized cat purring" . . . :P ]

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Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. Finding a delay unit that makes it possible to do delays in the range of the Haas Effect is stellar, and it's on par with being able to moonwalk without taking dance lessons or doing a lot of practicing. . .

The only thing that would be even more stellar is being able to do the Mashed Potato dance, which is fabulous . . .

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Fabulous! :punk:

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:09 am
This is the first "Simple and Stupid" song, which took a few hours to compose . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I already had the lyrics from a while ago, so most of the work was composing the various sections (Intro, Verse, Chorus) . . .

Initially, I was thinking about doing one of the "Not Holiday" songs for which I have lyrics from several years ago, with the idea of doing a Surf Christmas genre song about Surfin' Santa who has a woody instead of a sleigh and reindeer, but I decided to do something different and not Christmas related . . .

[NOTE: Eventually, everybody has a Christmas album, but not wanting to be like everyone else, I am planning to do a "Not Holiday" album, and already have the artwork . . . ]

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sat Dec 12, 2020 7:07 am
I'm in a holiday mood, so I decided to do a Christmas song . . . :P

THOUGHTS

This is the "Simple and Stupid" version of one of my Christmas songs, which in one flavor or another will be on my "Not Holiday" album . . .

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[NOTE: I might add more stuff to the song, but perhaps not. It's simple and definitely stupid, so that's something . . . ]

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I have had the lyrics for several years, so doing the song mostly was a matter composing the instruments . . .

The lyrics have a line about jingle bells and tambourine, and SampleTank 3 (IK Multimedia) has a nice collection of tambourines, but I didn't have sleigh bells . . .

After a quick search, I found a nice collection of sleigh bells from Sonokinetic and purchased it . . .

Installing the sleigh bells for Kontakt 5 (Native Instruments) took a while, mostly because the files and samples need to be installed but then it needs to be added to Kontakt as a third-party product . . .

There was a video and information at the Sonokinetic support page, and it made sense, hence the install was completed properly, with the key being the product needs to be activated via the Native Access application so Kontakt knows about it . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:57 am
The ending for the previous version of "Santa's Got A Woody" was a bit too risqué, so I added more lyrics to the last verse . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I think it's accurate to suggest that nearly every popular song has lyrics with some type of double entendre or not so obvious alternative interpretations, where two of the more surprising songs in this respect are "Love Letters In The Sand" (Ted Black and His Orchestra) and "In Dreams" (Roy Orbison) . . .

[NOTE: Sometime in the history of the song, which was written in the 19th century, a "love letter" gained a new meaning, which specifically is that it's a bullet. This new meaning probably emerged during wartime, and it's not so widely known, but so what. In this version, the singing starts later in the song, so at first it's an instrumental song . . . ]

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[NOTE: In the 1950s and following decades, "candy" had a double meaning, which curiously was used in "The Wizard of OZ" during the sequence where Dorothy and friends fell asleep and then were awaked by "snow", plus the Intro lyrics are a bit creepy, but so what. It's a great song, and Roy Orbison had a wonderful vocal range, which makes it a personal favorite song . . . ]

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[NOTE: in the 1960s, surfers liked cars and trucks that had wood sides, hence the nickname "woodie", which is one flavor of the word. I am Surf.Whammy, so I'm allowed to use "woodie" however I desire to use it, and when it's spelled a different way the definition changes . . . ]

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Lots of FUN! :)
Last edited by Surf.Whammy on Tue Dec 15, 2020 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:26 am
This is the prototype for "It's The Night Before Christmas", with emphasis on "prototype" . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I think this is going to be an excellent song, but the lyrics require a more sophisticated melody; hence this first version is focused on fitting the lyrics to a chord pattern rather than on a coherent melody, although since it's going to be a Stupid song one might suggest that it doesn't need any more melody than there already is in the prototype . . .

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[NOTE: I composed these lyrics several years ago; and once the rhythm pattern became obvious, I "sang" the lyrics pretty much one or two times. Excluding writing the lyrics, this is about five hours of work. All things considered, it's not too bad; and it definitely is Stupid . . . :P ]

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What would an adolescent garage band do? :roll:

One strategy is to compose a melody on clavioline or electric guitar to act as a guide for the vocalist(s), but another strategy is to make the existing tracks even more Stupid . . .

After getting some sleep and thinking about it, I like the clavioline idea, since it adds a bit of outer space style science fiction, and it's definitely Stupid . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. There is a clavioline in the Intro to "The Ballad of Dare L. Dupree" and in a few other places, but it's easiest to hear in the Intro, which is fabulous . . .

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Fabulous! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sun Dec 20, 2020 4:44 pm
Given the two options from my previous post, I started with the idea of doing something "normal" but then got bored and went total garage band . . . :P

THOUGHTS

I tried for about half an hour to determine the melody I was singing in the first version, but it wasn't happening; so I somewhat frantically grabbed the mouse and started putting notes on the staves for the clavioline and lead guitars, which was fascinating . . .

[NOTE: I could have run the Audio Tracks for the singing through the Melodyne Editor (Ceremony), and the Melodyne Editor would have analyzed, detected, and identified the notes of the vocal melody; but at the time it was not the ideal way to solve the primary problem, which was to compose instrumental accompaniment for the singing. For reference, it might appear that the singing is monotone or perhaps no-tone, but it's not so simple. There is a melody, and it's more complex than one might imagine when first listening to it, hence the realization after about 30 minutes that transcribing the vocal melody was going to require a lot of work, which for a teenage garage band is vastly more work than allowed or desired. In this respect, my recollection is crystal clear on the matter; and the strategy over 50 years ago was to select a Beatles song and then for each person to learn their respective part over perhaps 24 hours, usually by playing the vinyl record at half-speed or double-speed, depending on the range of the instrument, and learning the part note-by-note or chord-and strum, if it was rhythm guitar. Once everyone learned their parts, it took perhaps five times to put the song together as a group. At first, this took more than a day or two, but after doing this for 20 or 30 songs, it didn't take long, which was the case because no matter how skilled the Beatles were, they played song patterns just like everyone else, with the exception that their song patterns were better, but so what. Did we actually learn the instrumental and vocal parts to Beatles songs perfectly? No, we learned caricatures of everything, but it was sufficiently close to capture the gist of the songs, which was helped considerably by the Beatles themselves playing well-defined parts in consistent patterns; and they did this in the early years, so they could play their songs in live performances. The general rule is that when a musical group is able to perform their songs without miming or resorting to prerecorded audio clips, then a reasonably proficient teenage garage band can do the same thing, albeit with a bit of natural talent and "by ear" abilities. Another fascinating bit of information is that what the typically older musicians and singers hear is not what teenagers hear, with the reason being that the older musicians and singers--in this example, the Beatles--have more trained and sophisticated hearing and composing skills than their younger fans, who at the time might be 5 to 10 years younger . . . ]

I was somewhat conscious with respect to "knowing" what I was doing, but everything happened very quickly; hence it was more a matter of tossing some notes onto the staves; doing a quick listen; and then working with what I heard "by ear" and adjusting it as needed . . .

I'm not so certain I have captured Simple, but there's no doubt about capturing Stupid . . . :+1

Image

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Three things come to mind:

(1) cacophony

(2) Korn

(3) Beastie Boys

[NOTE: One might suggest with a bit of accuracy that the clavioline and lead guitars are emulating snow falling and a blizzard, which is something I explored several years ago in a more Classical composition called "Swirly" . . . ]

After I listen to it a few times, I might do some fine-tuning; but the other side of the coin is that the original singing--which for the most part I composed and "sang" in real-time on the fly on the first take--was better than I initially thought . . .

All it needed was more instrumental stuff and a bit of lunacy . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

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Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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by Surf.Whammy on Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:16 am
I did a YouTube video on the Simple and Stupid drumkit and percussion template for a popular television show theme song . . . :)

THOUGHTS

It's not the final version of the Intro drumkit and percussion parts, but it's coming along nicely . . .

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Wed Jan 13, 2021 4:07 am
For the past week or so, a regional roofing company has been repairing and upgrading my roof, which is coming along nicely . . . :)

THOUGHTS

There were major leaks, and every time it rained at least a few gallons of rain water would leak into the house, but mostly in two hallways and one corner of the kitchen, where somewhat unknown to me raccoons had clawed holes in the fascia, soffits, and other places, with some of the holes in the roof itself being perhaps three-feet in diameter . . .

In part, this was due to having significant overgrowth of small trees, vines, and shrubbery, as well as several hurricanes, but all that has been cleared, so I think everything will be good for a while, and I might be able to start cooking food, again without being terrorized by raccoons . . .

I have some apparently interesting things in the backyard, including a 24' Wells Cargo trailer and a 1976 Ford pickup truck, and the carpenters are going to frame some smaller rooms inside the house in trade, so I can for example isolate the kitchen and the area where I sleep in a recliner, which in turn maps to being able to use the Consolidated Dutch West cast iron wood stove in the kitchen and a small ceramic element heater in the sleeping area, which is what I use in the sound isolation studio, along with an air-conditioner I ordered from Walmart and stuck in an opening in the wall between two rooms, which (a) is a bit stupid, but (b) works wonderfully and does not use a lot of electricity . . .

I have a new Samsung electric stove, and a Bayou Classics 32-quart pot with basket that I will use to parboil a young goose in water loaded primarily with huge quantities of star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic, as well as some tamarind paste, which is the way it works if you want the roasted goose to have a pleasing flavor . . .

Image
Roast Goose ~ Surf.Whammy Style

Things are getting better, and I expect everything to get even better in the next few weeks, hence with this in mind and the facts (a) that it's 41-degtrees Fahrenheit in the house, (b) I'm wearing underpants and three insulated shirts, and (c) there is zero evidence of raccoons inside the house, I am in an especially happy mood, which often maps the Aliens From Outer Space beaming me a few lyrics for a new song, which about two hours ago mapped to the following:

"I'm in the mood for a woman who looks like a man
She doesn't have a c--k, but she has a friendly hand"

By any standard, it's lyric gold; and as I interpret it, this is a bit like the opposite of Johnny Cash's hit song, "A Boy Named Sue"; and the more I think about the lyrics, something involving a spirit lizard named "Bob" appeared; and that's got to be interesting in a particularly Stupid way, which is one the great qualities of the Stupid musical genre, where stupidity is encouraged rather than denied . . .

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Rather than doing something entirely original in every respect, I like to select a few songs and then "borrow" various concepts, which in this instance maps to "borrowing" a few ideas from System of a Down, one of my favorite wacky musical groups . . .

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Keeping the lyrics on the not too extreme side, I plan to replace any naughty bits with whistles, lead guitar screams, or something, since Stupid doesn't need to be obnoxious . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:29 am
This is the prototype for the verses . . . :)

THOUGHTS

This being a Stupid song, it shouldn't take a long time to do the primary instruments, (a) because I have templates and (b) the primary instruments are simple . . .

phpBB [video]


Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:22 pm
After pondering it for a while, I decided on the full structure for the song . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The apparent "lyric gold" in retrospect is just an odd variation of the theme of "Get Back" (Beatles); so at present it's boring and serves no useful purpose other than being something odd to rationalize for no apparent reason, which in the grand scheme of everything makes it an excellent distraction that allows actually useful thoughts to bounce around . . .

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I like the chord pattern from the first version and added a logical chord change, basically a whole-step upward, and then added a new rhythmic pattern, which overall repeats two times followed by a rhythmic pattern from another recent song; and then everything globally repeats one more time . . .

There's enough stuff to make it interesting; and it's definitely frantic; so the current idea is to have very rapid, probably illogical lyrics, which will require a lot of work but should be fascinating . . .

My perspective on the melodies and lyrics for current "popular" songs is that the lyrics are sparse and the melodies are extended to stretch the sparse lyrics, which is fine with me, except that I think it's contrived and not so interesting--where by "popular" I am referring to the primarily Metal songs on iHeart FM, most of which are incredibly depressing, if not disturbing . . .

I like the instruments and some of the singing; but I think it's time to do something different, which at present maps to making everything frantic with very rapid and probably illogical lyrics, perhaps with actual melodies . . .

There are three songs from which I intend to "borrow" a few ideas . . .

[NOTE: This is a personal favorite song, because it kicks a-- . . . ]

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[NOTE: This one is so old, the official video is monaural . . . :P ]

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[NOTE: This is not entirely disturbing, but it deserves to be spoofed . . . :mrgreen: ]

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Overall, this makes the "Simple and Stupid Song #4" a bit beyond complex, but I think it will be FUN . . .

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If there is a key to making sense of this, it's that the instruments are prototyped and will change as the song evolves, which from an arranging and producing perspective maps to simplifying everything by making caricatures. It's a lot of work, but so what . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Tue Feb 02, 2021 1:08 am
I added a Clavioline and a Vibrato Stratocaster in a few key places . . . :)

THOUGHTS

Earlier I did a video tutorial showing a few things one can do in a ReWire session, and the primary example was adding a Clavioline from the Fab Four Collection of EW Composer Cloud X; so I added it in all the relevant measures and then augmented the rhythm guitar and lead guitar patterns with a Vibrato Stratocaster from SampleTank (IK Multimedia), which also appears in the measures where I added the Clavioline . . .

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Coming up, I'm still considering doing some of the singing very rapidly, but I'm intrigued by the idea of doing other sections with slow, syrupy singing in a style similar to Breaking Benjamin, mostly because I think it will be equally absurd . . .

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Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:44 am
Early this morning, as if in a dream, the first set of lyrics appeared . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I feel certain that I am not the only person who at one time or another was juggling oranges; looked in a mirror; and saw an Indian in full war paint dancing in a magic teepee . . .

Reliving this moment, these lyrics appeared:

Look in the mirror
And tell me what you see
Indian dancing in a magic teepee

I don't know but I've been told
Magic teepee dancing
Is a thing to behold

©2021 RAE Multimedia. All rights reserved.


[NOTE: The lyrics appeared; I added the Twin 2 "Plastic Whurly" synthesizer; I "practiced" the singing one time to determine when to start singing; and then recorded it. The singing starts when the "Plastic Whurly" phrase starts, so that's an easy cue. The singing might be a prototype, but perhaps not . . . ]

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There need to be three times as many lyrics, and since the theme is defined, they will appear; and between juggling oranges and seeing an Indian dancing in a magic teepee, I think the lyrics pretty much are self-evident . . . :P

The way I record singing in Studio One Professional preserves the raw singing, so I can make it sound a lot of different ways depending on which effects plug-ins I decide to use; and the Analog flavor of EC-300 effects plug-in has simple, short delay, which maps to using it for the Haas Effect, and this is a possibility for a copy Audio Track with a different set of effects plug-ins, with this being a producing activity . . .

Image

There is a lot of instrumental space where there is no shouting, and some of it is reserved for Realivox Blue (RealiTone), my favorite virtual soprano . . .

Other currently "empty" spaces probably will be devoted to nonsensical, slow and syrupy singing, but only after I determine the scale or mode used for melodies by a few singers I like . . .

One example is "Mother" (Danzig), where the singing style is modeled after Jim Morrison (Doors), with the obvious downward phrase of the last parts of words . . .

I hear it--and it's obvious--but I need to map it to a scale, so I can practice it while hearing it played on piano . . .

This is one instance where "by ear" is difficult, but seeing it as music notation makes it easy--once I map it "by ear" to music notation, which probably only makes sense to me, but so what . . .

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That's one of the singing styles, but there are a few more . . .

The singing style of "Breaking Benjamin" is one of them, but I think I have a persona for it, hence in theory it should not be so difficult, at least if I do it sarcastically or as a spoof . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:26 pm
The lyrics for the verses appeared, and I did an experiment with a megaphone . . . :)

THOUGHTS

"Look in the mirror
and tell me what you see
Indian dancing in a magic teepee

I don't know but I've been told
Magic teepee dancing
Is a thing to behold

Eat me, beat me
In my underpants
Do the magic teepee dance

I'm in a trance
Doing the magic teepee dance
Give love a chance

I'm juggling oranges
Spraying whipped cream
It's like a surreal dream

Speak to me inside my mind
Do the magic teepee dance
In double time

Look in the mirror
and tell me what you see
Indian dancing in a magic teepee

I don't know but I've been told
Magic teepee dancing
Is a thing to behold"

©2021 RAE Multimedia. All rights reserved.

I ordered a megaphone a few days ago, and it arrived yesterday . . .

Image

It's an experiment where the idea is to "sing" into the megaphone which is a few inches from the microphone . . .

There are other ways to get the sound of singing into a megaphone, but this one looks to be truly absurd . . . :P

The first and last pair of verses are done the original way--singing directly into the microphone--but the middle verses are done the megaphone way . . .

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Currently, it's not so easy to hear the megaphone verses; but this is because (a) the Instrument Tracks have not been recorded to Audio Tracks, (b) I have not done a submix of the soon to be recorded Audio Tracks, and (c) until this is done, I cannot "duck" the instruments when there is singing (original or megaphone) . . .

I need to do the Audio Track recording, submixing, and so forth; and this is a natural time to do it . . .

If the megaphone style works, then great; but otherwise I can record the singing again for the megaphone tracks and do the same for the original tracks but doing it megaphone style, which overall will map to six "singing" tracks . . .

Next, I will focus on singing the slow and syrupy parts and composing something for my favorite virtual soprano, Realivox Blue (RealiTone), to sing, which should be interesting . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

P. S. For reference, there are two reasons I am documenting all this stuff:

(1) I will use some of it for the "Putting It All Together" chapter of my book on digital music production.

AND

(2) I think it can be helpful for folks to see at least one strategy for composing, recording, and producing songs, where the overall message is that it's not necessary to have everything defined at any particular step, with the general idea being that you start with a high-level concept and then paint the song in small steps as ideas appear in your mind.

Sometimes, a complete song appears, and there you are; but most of the time songs appear in bits and pieces, where you have no idea how the finished song will sound because neither you nor anyone else has heard it before you started composing it . . .

I also like to emphasize the fact that in at least one composing style, nobody has any factual idea whether it's good, bad, or indifferent . . .

When you consider the history of music and art, in retrospect it's natural to think Pablo Picasso and the Beatles were brilliant, but at the time it was not viewed that way by most people--certainly a few, but not most . . .

When I was 18 months old, I plugged a bobby-pin into an electrical outlet, during which instant I literally and physically became the light; and as it was explained by an electrical engineer, depending on which side of the bobby-pin made contact first, I would be dead or alive, which fortunately mapped to the "good" side making first contact . . .

One consequence of becoming the light for an instant is that I tend to remember everything, which is a blessing and in some respects a curse, although overall it's a blessing . . .

Specifically, as it applies in this context, I remember the first time I listened to a Beatles song, and it made absolutely no sense, whatsoever . . .

I could not discern the chords, the instrument parts, the singing, or anything else . . .

It truly was a surreal experience; but after listening over and over, it started to make sense . . .

In other words, I think there is significant and valuable merit to being able to suspend judgment when doing art and music, if only because nobody knows at the time whether something is good, bad, or indifferent in the grand scheme of everything . . .

This current batch of simple and Stupid songs might be total garbage, but if so, then I think it's pretty good garbage, which is fabulous . . .

Fabulous! :+1

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Fri Feb 12, 2021 3:27 am
I recorded the audio generated by the Instrument Tracks and did submixes and ducking . . . :)

THOUGHTS

The first thing I did was to record the audio generated by the Instrument Tracks to a matching set of Audio Tracks . . .

Then I muted the Instrument Tracks and created Audio Track submix buses for the various types of instruments (Drumkit, Rhythm Guitars, Lead Guitars, and Synthesizers) . . .

I kept the Electric Bass track separate; and I used Pro-C (FabFilter Software Instruments) on the Drumkit and Rhythm Guitars buses to "duck" them based on the singing, where the volume level of the singing determines how much the volume levels of the Drumkit and Rhythm Guitars are lowered temporarily to create space for the singing, which is what "ducking" does . . .

The singing is easier to hear, and the middle verses which I shouted through a megaphone are clearer . . .

There is more producing and audio engineering to do, but I think it's coming along nicely . . .

phpBB [video]


Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:12 pm
I redid the singing for the verses and "ducked" all the instruments except the Höfner electric bass . . . :)

THOUGHTS

Usually I do not redo vocals, but in this instance the megaphone concept was not working, so instead of only redoing the megaphone screaming, I redid it all and changed the meter of the singing (or "screaming", if you prefer) . . .

I "ducked" all the instruments--except the Höfner electric bass--so now the Drumkit, Rhythm Guitars, Lead Guitars, and Synthesizer bus submixes are "ducked" . . .

And I adjusted the various parameters of the Pro-C2 (FabFilter Software Instruments) sidechained compressor plug-ins to make the "ducking" more subtle, although it's not so subtle as lit needs to be, but I'm working on it . . .

I lowered the release time to 10 milliseconds--which is an improvement--but that's about as fast as the release time can be; so the other strategy is to add some lead guitar during the measures or so when the volume levels of the "ducked" instruments are returning to normal . . .

It's a producing and audio engineering thing, and there will be a way to smooth it . . .

I am assured of this . . . :+1

Lastly but not leastly, I changed a few of the lyrics . . .

"Look in the mirror
and tell me what you see
Indian dancing in a Magic Teepee

I don't know but I've been told
Magic Teepee dancing
Is a thing to behold

Eat me, beat me
Spank my underpants
Do the Magic Teepee Dance

I'm in a trance
Doing the Magic Teepee Dance
Give love a chance

I'm juggling oranges
Covered in whipped cream
It's like a surreal dream

Speak to me inside my mind
Do the Magic Teepee Dance
In double time

Look in the mirror
and tell me what you see
Indian dancing in a Magic Teepee

I don't know but I've been told
Magic Teepee dancing
Is a thing to behold

Yeah . . .

Do the Magic Teepee Dance"

©2021 RAE Multimedia. All rights reserved.


phpBB [video]


I like the Höfner electric bass being louder and more prominent, since it's doing some interesting things rhythmically and melodically . . .

There is a lot of space for adding more singing--including singing by my favorite virtual soprano, Realivox Blue (RealiTone)--and more instruments, a bit of lead guitar during the verses in a few spots and more melodic instruments during the tempo change sections, as well as some Latin percussing instruments like guiros and maracas . . .

I might add some whooshes (Whoosh FX [UVI]) and a custom user-defined stutter via Stutter Edit 1 (iZotope), probably the "Elvis Stutter" I created a few months ago for another simple and Stupid song . . .

[NOTE: This is the song with the "Elvis Stutter" . . . ]

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This is an interesting song, and it might be the first song about Native American Indians and Magic Teepee Dancing, as well as juggling oranges while covered in whipped cream . . .

It's not my fault . . . :P

The Aliens From Outer Space make the rules, and that's the way it works here in the sound isolation studio . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:34 pm
In this version, I recorded the bus submixes to Audio Tracks, added a Metal Guitar, and adjusted the "ducking" and overall mix . . . :)

THOUGHTS

Recording bus submixes is done by exporting stems, where you select the bus submixes and use the option to create and add Audio Tracks to the mixing board, which for this song takes about two minutes, since exporting stems is fast . . .

I added a Metal Guitar doing fills to smooth the transition from "ducking" to normal after each verse, and I copied and pasted the "Yeah, do the Magic Teepee Dance" bits so it's done after each verse . . .

This mostly is producing and audio engineering, and it takes a while, but the results get better the more it's fine-tuned . . .

I composed the Metal Guitar phrases by ear, and the three measures of high-to-low notes is a nice addition to the overall mood of the song . . .

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This took about an hour, including 15 minutes to remember that recording bus submixes is done with exporting stems . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
User avatar
by Surf.Whammy on Mon Feb 15, 2021 6:24 pm
I added Realivox Blue and more Metal Guitar . . . :)

THOUGHTS

I added my favorite virtual female soprano, Realivox Blue (RealiTone), singing "Do the Magic Teepee Dance" and added more Metal Guitar phrases . . .

As is typical, the lyrics Realivox Blue is singing are not so clear, crisp, and distinct; but this is something I correct once I record the singing and run it through the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), where I can adjust the lyrical phrasing and add strong consonants to the starts and ends of words, which I do by adding the consonants to the Realivox Blue singing several measures before the actual singing . . .

It's not possible to add new enhancements and to copy and paste this into the Melodyne Editor's DNA "blobs"; so the strategy is to load and record the special phonemes you will need later so that it's all in the recorded singing in the Melodyne Editor's DNA "blobs" . . .

Done this way, it's possible to make Realivox Blue sound very human . . .

Phonetics, diction, enunciation, and all that language stuff is very complex when humans do it; so enhancing Realivox Blue this way makes her singing more human . . .

[NOTE: If you listen carefully with studio quality headphones like SONY 7506 headphone to hit records, you will hear the singers overdubbing starts and ends of words to increase the clarity, crispness, and intelligibility of their singing. This can be done with Realivox Blue, but since the Melodyne Editor has its own private Clipboard, the starts and ends need to be recorded in the singing, which I do several measures in advance, before the actual singing starts. This way there is a palette of starting and ending consonants, sibilants, and so forth available in the Melodyne Editor's private Clipboard. Trained singers do this naturally--once they learn how to do it--and you can hear it when you know about it and focus on it, where in "Runaround Sue" (Dion & The Belmonts), listen for the "ah", "tah, "zah", "dah", "sah", "suha", "nah", and "ooo" bits added to the tails of words . . . :+1 ]

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Am I thinking about adding some backup singing by the Pretend Belmonts?

Perhaps . . .

Lots of FUN! :)

The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!

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