Week 12

All school related projects are finished!

Here is a link to the reinterpretation that Trevor, OB, Joe, and myself put together of The Cleans Anything Could Happen.

Here is a link to the Shit Narnia EP

Side Quests

Feature Film

This week we were unable to much on the movie due to other commitments (school). We were also unable to meet with the writer as our Live Sound assessment clashed with that – so everything has been put on hold until the following week.

Transnational Crash

We have re-scoped due to the bands demands and are focusing on 1 solid track. We managed to record the drums before campus closed for the holidays/move, and will be able to spend some time editing drums early next week.

Week 11

This week we tracked the drums, guitar and bass for the Anything Could Happen reinterpretation. Each required a separate session with the drums and guitar being tracked in the 8busB/Dnv booth, and the bass being recorded through D.I. in the EMP room. All bookings were made because of limitations towards the end of trimester, but in actual fact recording like this has helped us achieve more from less – something quite common in the ever expanding home recording meta.

The track will be linked in next weeks blog post even if the link has to be updated after the publish date, because there will not be a week 13 blog post. I will however attempt to keep this updated over the holidays as I have a few things I want to work on, plus the side projects that I have been talking about up until now. More on this next week..

Shit Narnia is taking a week break before we track the final vocal parts with studios scheduled for:

  • 10am-10pm Wednesday 19th (TLA)
  • 2pm-10pm Friday 21st (TLA)

I may end up using the Friday session to track vocals for the reinterpretation instead, and so more sessions in the final week (Week 13) will be booked as backup for mixing the EP.

Side Quests!

Feature Film
I now know a few of the intricacies behind importing both audio and video from video editing software into Pro Tools, as well as understanding the workflow of video editing. Needless to say I’ve finally managed to get a working session with which to build on and so this project is fully underway.

Transnational Crash
Hopefully tracking drums before campus closes for the holidays.. Have booked sessions but await a reply from the band if they can make the only times available.

Week 10

We have recorded most of the EP for Shit Narnia now, needing only to record a few vocal parts before mixing.

  • 10am-10pm Wednesday 19th (TLA): Finish recording vocals and finalize/bounce our mixes
  • 2pm-10pm Friday 21st (TLA): Extra session for backup and/or running 2 track bounces through the tape machine

    Because of the workflow of this project I will hold from posting anything until the EP is finished.

Have had another jam session which we have recorded for reference once again using the Zoom H6 stereo mic. Next week we have the 8bus/Drum and Vocal Booth (Isolation Booth) booked which contains a Tascam [PLACEHOLDER]. I haven’t had to use this setup in a while as I try to avoid it due to its limitations of having only 4 inputs running from the booth to the desk. To combat this I’ve been doing some research on minimalist drum recordings by reading articles such as:

http://therecordingrevolution.com/2011/01/10/the-glyn-johns-drum-recording-method/

http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/how-to-mic-drums-for-recording-pt-ii-four-microphones/

http://www.recordingmag.com/resources/resourceDetail/214.html

I’ve decided to use the Glyn Johns Technique which as several of those articles state, involves an overhead and side mic which provide the stereo image, and a kick and snare close mic to help and punch and clarity to the two main elements of the kit.

Side Quests!

Feature Film

I had only just begun to import audio by referencing the EDL file when I hit a multitude of problems. Not only was the audio not edited (since it had been edited in Premier Pro, while we had the master copy), but none of the time stamps seemed to line up… Thankfully staff with video editing backgrounds on campus managed to help me out, and I now know of a much easier way (at least in this specific circumstance) to carry the video editing suites audio across to tools. OMF files can act as a container for audio and package the audio directly from an export of the audio open in the session. I have requested an OMF file with various specifications and should receive this soon.

Transnational Crash

I have finally contacted the band for their decision on what they want to do and they seem keen to get in before the end of the trimester if at all possible. I’m aiming to finish everything before the final week in order to facilitate this, but need to make sure campus isn’t closing early for the move (we’re moving campus over the break).

Week 9

Next week we have multiple sessions for the Shit Narnia EP project. To prepare for this we have researched various recording techniques for tracking bands live, and have decided that the best way to approach the situation with the space that we’re using (1 iso booth, 1 main room, control room; visual connection via windows), is as follows:

  • Track the band live with…

    – Guitar in the Vocal Booth

    – Drums in the main space

    – Vocals in the control room

    – Bass in the main space

  • D.I the bass and Re-Amp at a later point in time.
  • Overdub the vocals for clarity, after a microphone test session with Hugh to determine which mic to use, and whether or not to use a blend.
  • Record the guitar in the vocal booth to allow for separation and to be able to capture their desired tone.

The microphone test session was carried out this week and yielded the following results…please keep in mind that the opinion of each microphone is from the perspective of the vocalist – to ensure that he gets the sound that he likes.

AKG C414

Liked for both parts but brings out the sibilance a lot. Can be processed out and pop filters will be a must.

EV RE20

Liked for the poetic spoken parts. Not for the sung vocals.

SHURE SM58

Although very comfortable with this microphone, it is a no go. Being dynamic it requires close proximity when used and therefore accentuates the nasal sound and the lows. It sounded flat.

SE Z5600A

Liked the smooth/ clear & warm tone on the sung parts. We needed to gain this a little harder in the test run but I think this will be a great choice.

RODE NT2A

The spoken vocals sounded really nice through the Rode.

For the reinterpretation assignment we have met again and recorded our practice session on a zoom recorder through the on-board stereo mics. I’m not comfortable sharing our recordings yet, as they are fairly washy but the important thing to take from this is that we will have each session available for reference/recall.

Side Quests!

Feature Film

We have now met the producer of the film and have agreed upon delivering a weekly progress report on Wednesdays to keep them in the loop. Transcoding the video has taken longer than expected and this is what we are currently waiting on before we can start.

Transnational Crash

L O A D I N G . . .

Week 8

This week we had our first critical feedback session which we will be having collaboratively with another class from here on in. The idea is to not only receive constructive criticism and feedback on projects that we are working on but to encourage discussion around our work.

For this week we covered our Cake – The Distance mixes (both analog and in the box mixes). Of course, now I realise the value of writing down feedback…

Analog mix

– Bass too high in the mix

– Lack of high end due to various things such as summing all guitars and keeping them clean/dry/pocketed

– Distortion on double track vocals bites through too hard in certain points creating phasing and disillusion

– Summed chorus vocals has a similar problem although there is no distortion

ITB mix

– Tried to fix high end problem that we ran into with drum kit (didn’t work).

– Needs a shelf on the overheads

I will be back mixing in the TLA soon with Shit Narnia and so it will become important to avoid the things that led to these problems, such as more referencing and time spent before cutting/summing tracks in the session. The method that we used was also highly risky as we were essentially bouncing multiple tracks through an output (summing) and then reimporting the new version back into the session. If we’d have used sub mixes more efficiently and had our session layout/workflow down we would have been able to adjust the submix properties in the box while still only taking a single track on the desk.

Due to reasons beyond my control the session for this week was cancelled for The Clean – Anything Could Happen. As a result of this I’ve taken a number of precautions including two sessions next week, speaking with my lecturer about the leniency of genre direction of the track, ensuring that it would be possible to record a more relaxed psychedelic version (which the direction of our jam showed signs of leaning towards). Trevor and I also met on the aforementioned session day anyway, and notated the drum parts of the song as well as adapted the deconstruction that I wrote earlier in my blog – noting each section, possible bpm changes, the style that it was recorded in etc.

I’ve started doing some research on leading bands/rehearsals as I’ve come to realise there’s much that I must not know..

http://www.musicianwages.com/a-musicians-guide-to-middle-management-or-leading-a-band/

http://vocals.songstuff.com/article/golden_rules_to_lead_a_band/

http://www.wikihow.com/Lead-a-Band-Rehearsal

https://www.musicclout.com/contents/article-135-band-leading-101-rehearsal.aspx

http://www.artistshousemusic.org/articles/how+to+rehearse+your+band

There seems to be heavy on the difference between jamming and creating a version of a song (obviously). I think after this week Trevor and I will have to structure sessions more rigidly, with specific parts of the song in focus each time. The chorus seems to be a good start point and so in the following two sessions I will aim to direct our group to covering and deciding on/being more familiar with the chorus.

Side Quests!

Feature Film

We now have to build the audio session up in Pro Tools using the raw sound files we have been provided with. From there we can begin balancing the dialog mix which we can then augment (mix) with on set ambiance to create an even balance/mix that compliments the film and what’s happening on screen. From there we will augment foley and replace any dialog that absolutely cannot stay.

Transnational Crash

L O A D I N G . . .

Week 7

This week was a “break” week with no classes or pracs. While I was able to have one or two days to myself, it was still quite a busy week with due dates for both the previous projects (Post Production & Studio Production) in the middle of the week. My group for the Aussie/NZ Reinterpretation assignment (The Clean – Anything Can Happen), has met once already this week to practice and intends to meet again in the next few days. Right now we are just hashing out the song and trying to add some different direction to it in terms of arrangement and melody.

I have been doing some research and experimentation on how to achieve vocals similar to our reference tracks in the presentation

(Thee Oh Sees – Rogue Planet, The Oh Sees – I Come From The Mountain) on forums such as

http://www.madbeanpedals.com/forum/index.php?topic=12613.0
http://www.garagepunk.com/forums/topic/142/vocal-mics-i-want-cool-dirty-sound
http://chicagoist.com/2010/09/16/down_and_dirty_with_thee_oh_sees.php
which have also offered a little bit of insight on how to change the track stylistically.

Most offer similar effects chain combinations such as distortion, delay, reverb, with extra mentions of slapback delay, boosting before any kind of distortion, and use of guitar pedals over digital processing.
I have however, been able to obtain a similar tone/effect using protools stock plugins – to be used as a backup.

I have also been doing some research on live recordings for the Shit Narnia EP

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb00/articles/livefaq.htm

Good advice on isolation and spill however the article is more tailored to a DIY recording environment.

http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/producing/tracking-live-vs-one-musician-at-a-time/

There wasn’t much advice in here that I havn’t already read, although it mentioned that while recording guitar amps in iso is often the way to go, killing the guitarists control over feedback can kill the performance. It also so alludes to the more obvious pitfall that if something turns out wrong in our takes, we haven’t lost one part that we can overdub – we’ve probably lost the whole recording.

https://www.supremetracks.com/live-band-song-recording/

I really don’t like using gates on bleed for anything that has important dynamic, and so after reading the bleed section of this article I’ve booked 4 hours before the band members arrive to spend setting up.
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul07/articles/loudbands.htm

This article stressed the negative aspects of using a large cab such as a 4×12 for studio recording. The guitarists amp has 1 speaker cone so this won’t be a problem, however the bassists cab is a 4×12 so the bass will be D.I.’d and re-amped to avoid any bass problems.

Another solution this article had to problems associated with bass amps in a live recording setting e.g. drum rattle, was to D.I the bass at the same time while rolling off the low end of the amps output. This gives you record low end that you can add back to the bass later on in the mixing stage.

Side Quests!

Feature Film

I can’t really release information on this yet, however we have watched it multiple times now and have taken extensive notes with timestamps. I have also managed to get the person running the project interested in a band I am recording soon, so hopefully that all goes well.

Transnational Crash

At this stage we wont have access to studios over our trimester break like we usually do, due to SAE moving campus. We are still in early talks but rather than using a rehearsal studio we may decide to wait until we can use the new live room.. or both..

Song Analysis

For this task I’ve chosen two songs which are relevant to my upcoming projects in the second half of the trimester.

The Clean – Anything Could Happen

The Clean, hailing from New Zealand put out their first EP Boodle Boodle Boodle in 1981. Anything Could Happen, the third and final track on the A side of the record went on to become one of the bands most popular songs and at a glance one of the more recognisable tracks of the newly coined Dunedin Sound.

Rhythm

The tempo is roughly 129bpm in a 4/4 tempo.

Drum1                  Drum2

3      3                    3     3
HH |xx -xxx-x|       HH | xx-xxx-x|
SN | –  X –  X |       SN | –  X –  X |
KD | X –  X –  |       KD |xx – xx – |

These are the main two drum parts.

  • Verse 1 – Drum1
  • Chorus 1 – Drum2
  • Verse 2  – Drum1 > Drum2

Chorus 2 – Drum1> Drum2

Melody

The vocal melody uses few notes and a spoken tone, relying on slurs and changes pitch sparingly to accentuate particular words or phrases. If i were to break it down, this is how the melody appears.

PERIOD 1
PHRASE 1
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Went to a doctor,       said I look so hard

PHRASE 2
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
And with a smile        on his face pointed to a junkyard

PERIOD 2
PHRASE 1
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Look for an answer    in empty doorways

PHRASE 2
MOTIVE 1                 MOTIVE 2
Talk to a dancer,         said it’s out on the highways

Harmony

The chord progression is EBAE, and the lead plays a jangly arpeggiated melody over the top following the rhythm guitars changes & progression.

Timbre

Drums: The timbre of the drums is very brittle and I have a sneaking suspicion that there were no overheads and 57s were used into a tape machine to enrich the sound. Another thing I noticed was that there appears to be a gated reverb on the snare which fits nicely with the era.

Lead Guitar: Jangly 60s/surf sound

Rhythm Guitar: Nice big bodied warm sounding acoustic

Vox: Limited tone; speaker or bandpass like quality, with a slapback type reverb effect panned left to offset the guitar – could have been recorded a few paces back from sm57 (muffled/distant sounding)

Form

Length: 2m 39s

Intro (16 Bars; Rhythm from start of song; Bass&Lead start Bar 7)
Verse 1 (16 Bars)
Chorus 1 (12 Bars; Vocal line 4 bars, repeated over 2nd 4 bars; guitar “bridge” last 4 Bars)
Verse 2 (16 Bars)
Chorus 2 (12 Bars; Vocal line 4 bars, repeated over 2nd 4 bars; guitar “bridge” last 4 Bars)
Outro
(8 Bars)

Shit Narnia – Claremont Boys

Shit Narnia are a Perth band whom I am set to record with Lee and Sam.
They classify themselves as poetic gutter-punk and have recently recorded an EP at the Flytrap (linked above).

Rhythm

The tempo is roughly 164bpm with a small breakdown dropping to around 127bpm before returning to 164bpm and finally finishing in another small breakdown seemingly slower around 120bpm (this may not be exact and could be the result of them trying to bring the song to a standstill/abrupt ending).

Melody

The melody consists of lead guitar riff calling and responding to itself in a jagged rock fashion

Harmony

No harmony?

Timbre

Drums: Quite a dark sounding kit with the movement of the toms giving a primal feel. Snare + Hi-Hat played together give the snare hit a sizzle that’s quite unique.

Bass: Rich and distorted sitting behind the guitar for most of the song creating almost a single instrument which the lead the leaps out from in the second motive of each phrase.

Guitar: Distorted/Electric

Vocals: Raw, small amounts of distortion

Form

Length: 1m 54s

Intro (2 Bars; Scream)
Verse 1 (16 Bars)
Bridge 1 (4 Bars)
Verse 2 (16 Bars)
Breakdown 1 (4 bars)
Bridge 2 (8 Bars)
Verse 3 (16 Bars)
Breakdown 2 / Outro (8 Bars)

COMPARISON

Rhythm

Both share a 4/4 rhythm shared typically with many rock songs. The tempo change for breakdown 1 & 2/Outro is typical of post hardcore, a genre Shit Narnia claim to be influenced by. It is also typical of the Perth scene currently, where many “rock” (I use the term extremely loosely for ease of classification) bands incorporate breakdowns into their music. This could be from an influence of the high presence of post hardcore bands in Perth a la the last 5-10 years of HQ one of the few underage venues around the city.

Melody

I have concentrated on the vocal melody in the first and the instrumental melody in the second, as that as how I interpret the songs, however if I was to look at the vocal delivery both songs share similar characteristics, however Claremont Boys melody is arranged differently to accommodate the style of writing.

Harmony

Anything Could Happen’s chord progression follows an ABCA ABCA format the whole way through whereas Claremont Boys follows a ABC ABC format (Including breakdowns).

Timbre

Anything Could Happen is a much brighter happier sounding song. It may have the drive or a garage song but it has the jangly guitars of 60s pop. Claremont boys overdriven and big sounding guitar/bass is something more modern than the 80s, and something i associate more with bands like death from above 1979 and other “2 man bands” that have surfaced/resurfaced recently.

Form

The most obvious difference between the two songs apart from the addition of the breakdowns in Claremont Boys, is the lack of any chorus. There is already enough repetition in the song and slowing it down for a chorus would cause it to lose drive and momentum that make it punk, as well as take away from the focus of the song.