I’m wondering just how frustrating vocal recording will be with thin walls, screaming neighborhood children, and three rambunctious dogs on the roof of the building next to ours. It sounds like they are in the room with you sometimes. There might actually be something to miss about Houston after all, given the relative quiet of the apartment complex I was living in.
The Production Notebook: The First Entry, Power Supply, and Mark Bly
This is the first entry to the Production Notebook, so called with the utmost respect to Mark Bly. Bly is one of a handful of people who have transformed Western dramaturgy in the last 50 years, and I can’t help but to think had I had the opportunity to study with him sooner, I wouldn’t be quite so disillusioned with the theatre and the graduate school experience. The Production Notebooks (Volumes 1 and 2) are essential reading not only for dramaturgs, but anyone making a career in theatre.
My Production Notebook, on the other hand, is essentially a record of the futility of trying to make progress on Hijacking Your Fiction during my month-long vacation.
This first entry is late, and the evidence of said futility is already piling up. I was quite fortunate to have been given a computer (thanks, Kittenita), a massive upgrade to the laptop I had been working on for the previous five years, which is now my Internet computer. In the land of cheap computer parts, I was able to do a couple upgrades (4 gigs of RAM, a new Samsung DVD/CD drive and Firewire ports, installed, for about $100. I spent the next three days setting the computer up to my liking, installing software, organizing, and transferring data from my laptop and various hard drives.
Then everything shut down. And it wouldn’t start up again.
After a loud and curse-filled rampage which certainly disturbed my roommates, I settled down enough to come to the conclusion that, based on the computer’s behavior, the most likely culprit was the power supply. The next day I took the computer in, again, and found that it was indeed the power supply. My bank account a bit lighter, everything seems to be working again. I also found it to be a good excuse to buy another external backup drive, to be used exclusively with the new computer.
I spent a good part of Tuesday finishing my setup, and now that everything is ready to go, the last thing I want to do is look at another computer screen. One might ask why I’m writing this now. Well, if I don’t do it now, it may not get done. And rest assured, when I am finished I will be getting out of my flat for a while, probably to Sukkara, a cafe that makes the best organic soy chai I’ve ever had, and my favorite place to go in Seoul when I’m stressed. My time will not be entirely wasted, as I tend to get a decent amount of lyric writing done there.
In other news, my Korg Prophecy finally arrived from the US last Friday. As stated in the previous post, I had it shipped via FedEx for fast and safe delivery, only to have it caught up in customs for a week. I also made a final decision on studio monitors, and decided on the KRK RP-6 due to budget, size constraints, and the fact that they are the same monitors I was using in the US (John, I hope you’re enjoying them) so they will take the least amount of getting used to. But I’m not done spending money yet: Due to the size of my desk (and the size of my room) I will require speaker stands for proper monitor placement, and I need a mic stand as well. The speaker stands can wait, but the mic stand will be necessary soon if all goes to plan.
A (Brief) Love Song to My Korg Prophecy
When I returned to the States a little over two years ago, I had time to get reacquainted with my Korg Prophecy. Analogue emulation notwithstanding, the pure digital noise this thing is capable of when pushed is incredible!
I have since used the Prophecy on my most popular song “Gate 36” (check the lead synth at the beginning and end of the song), “Hospital Girls,” and it will be heard in at least three other songs on Hijacking Your Fiction. “Voices,” a song in progress, features the Prophecy in several places: the bass, the wail, and the solo synth lead.
I’m quite looking forward to having her back (What? Some guys call refer to their cars in a feminine sense, and I to my keyboards). Now if only I could find someone to repair (or modify) my Juno 106.
Update: She has come! She’s in Seoul! She’s caught up in customs!
Steampunk Cabaret, Mellow Lounge, and Glorified Spoken Word
A couple of months ago, when I didn’t yet have the Internet at my apartment here in Seoul, I went to a PC Room to check my email, and while there, searched for anything related to AllThisIsMeaningless or C/Fe Records as I do on occasion. I was rather surprised to see something new this time: Re:Gen Magazine’s review of the C/Fe Menagerie. I couldn’t help but to be pleased with the review overall, despite the three-star rating, particularly the comments on AllThisIsMeaningless:
The last artist, AllThisIsMeaningless, is the most genre-bending and unusual of the bunch and is most likely to either excite or confuse. Mixing indie rock, electronics, and cabaret-like vocals, AllThisIsMeaningless employs a seemingly intentional rough sound mix giving the impression that at least part of it is coming out of an old phonograph. This gives the work the strange feeling of new and old technologies clashing, like an aural interpretation of steampunk fashion.
Better than I could have imagined. “Cabaret-like vocals?” “New and old technologies clashing?” “An aural interpretation of steampunk fashion?” How could I not be happy with this review?
It is unfortunate to see The Still Lifes work characterized as “glorified spoken word,” but then I’m fairly certain Ikarus and Willem will take that as a compliment, and they’ve publicized their music as spoken word from the beginning, so it’s hard not to feel too badly for them. I’m am a bit surprised by the lack of interest in “Sebastian Says, “Checkmate, I think,” if for no other reason than it is the best mixed track on the sampler, in my opinion. Yes, I mixed it, but that’s beside the point. It’s a cool track. By the way, I’ve heard some of the stuff they’re working on (these guys are taking almost as long on their album as I am). It’s still spoken word, but they seem to be ditching the noise for the most part for something more accessible.
As far as the comments on the MusiM tracks, I maintain that those tracks are far, far from John’s best work, and with everyone getting wet over these three tracks I imagine their heads will explode when they hear his really good shit.
Some years ago, this video was made by Chen Lie in Seoul. She requested the use of a tune I made around that time, inspired by the man-eating music box in a video game called Trapt. Indeed, the first few notes are the same.
I recently found the video again and decided to share.
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/9145691″>Foolish Fire</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/chenbabie”>chen lie</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Three Months, April, and Other News from Seoul
Three months (three and a half) have passed more quickly than I would have imagined, and have managed to do so without much to tell. It appears that my January projection for continuing work on Hijacking Your Fiction was far too ambitious. My work schedule has been rather unfortunate, and while it is not difficult, I’ve had enough to do and my hours scattered enough to sap most, if not all, of my energy. As a result, I’ve made the rather financially ill-advised decision to take April off when the opportunity to do so was presented to me.
If I am able to keep distractions minimal, I should be able to get the songs mostly, if not fully written, composed and recorded, and ready for mixing. It will, of course, take an amount of dedication I’m not used to having. I have also already begun selecting songs and working on the follow-up album, which might be more musically cohesive than Hijacking Your Fiction will be, where Hijacking Your Fiction is turning out to be thematically cohesive but musically diverse.
Other plans for the coming months include finding a teacher to continue my gayageum (가야금) studies and beginning haidong gumdo (해동검도) training.
Coming up: More April goals, Foolish Fire, and the Re:Gen review of the C/Fe Menagerie!
Goodbye, America (part II)
Farewell, America, I’m returning to a life of the expatriate. I seem to be searching this time, rather than listless. Maybe a bit of both. Perhaps the transition is finally coming to an end.
Tiltcast Tunes and the Death of MySpace
I was recently asked to write a short chip-tune theme for Tiltcast, a podcast dedicated to video games (if you’re curious, I also appear as a guest on episode 1.2). You can hear “Pixel Dungeon (Boss Fight)” at the beginning of episodes as of episode 2. I will also eventually post the slightly longer version of “Pixel Dungeon” on MySpace, just in case anyone still logs onto MySpace.
Speaking of MySpace, I will soon begin posting on Soundcloud and Bandcamp as well as updating this site to host new music. As a result, I am considering ditching the once popular networking site altogether. Furthermore, the “improvements” made to rebrand MySpace as a promotional site for bands, artists, and entertainers include more obtrusive advertising and the option to auto-accept friend requests. And while the new profiles are admittedly rather nice, this option is checked automatically – particularly annoying considering how many of those friend requests are now bogus or hacked accounts (I deleted a few from my friends just yesterday). It is easy enough to uncheck this option if you are aware of it, but as far as I can tell they do little to inform you of the change. Of course, this may be my own fault, rarely reading about their updates, instead poking around and finding out for myself. But that’s enough of that.
Instruments used for “Pixel Dungeon” include:
Many instances of YMCK’s fabulous Magical 8bit Plug
Micromoon from the much acclaimed Elektrostudio Analog Pack
Hijacking Your Fiction
The first album from AllThisIsMeaningless is a long time coming – five years, and arguably as many as eight or nine, the approximate age of the oldest song on the album, “Gate 36.”
The album will be made available in multiple formats. CDs will be available in extremely limited quantities, and only after I am certain I have the money for them. These will most likely be duplicated (CDR) rather than replicated in order to save costs. I am doing this with a heavy heart, for though I love having a physical product, I hear the death knell for the CD. I hear the beloved format I grew up with gasping its last breaths.
I will be pushing downloads, some of which I will make available for free. However, I am encouraging everyone to purchase custom USB drives, which will contain the complete album as well as numerous extras: album artwork, extensive liner notes, remixes, tracks that didn’t make the cut, acoustic versions of tracks, and hopefully video. I further hope that those of you who love me enough to buy it will also love me enough to share it with friends who are broke or have something against supporting poor musicians. My goal here is publicity over financial gain.
In addition, as an advocate of paying for access rather than product, purchases of the USB drive will come first access to all songs and remixes for the following year (I may make it two years), as well as bonus content and preview mixes for the album after Hijacking Your Fiction, which I’ve already begun (I haven’t quite worked out the logistics of any of this yet). The USBs will be more expensive than the CDs, but will be sold at minimal profit (likely no more than one or two dollars over cost, depending on the cost – I deserve something for my work and if you share it with friends maybe you can have them make donations toward your purchase).
Finally, I’m considering working out something with cassettes – perhaps if you send me a cassette (any cassette, really, though I’d prefer not to use one that is a copyrighted recording from an existing label) and return postage, I’ll simply record the entire album onto your cassette. This will be time consuming, and nearly free, so I will not guarantee quality, fidelity, or even that a song won’t be cut off mid-way as the first side of the tape ends (If this happens, I’ll do my best to continue on the second side as close to that point in the song as possible).
In Google news, I’ve noticed that AllThisIsMeaningless can be difficult to find. A year ago, as long as one entered the name as one word it would show up. But now Google is too smart for you and it separates the words unless you tell it you specifically want to search for AllThisIsMeaningless as one word.
AllThisIsMeaningless is a deeply personal project, and I want this blog to reflect that. I also intend to make greater efforts toward updating my other sites and to personally reply to everyone that takes the time to comment (something that has been incredibly easy thus far). This site will also receive an overhaul.
Ultimately, it is about the music. I only hope the music is worthy of your ears.
More updates should follow soon.
I Lied, Apparently…
“More complete album news is coming next, as well as future plans for all things AllThisIsMeaningless.”
This would imply, well, news and plans for AllThisIsMeaningless and Hijacking Your Fiction, rather than a rant about how much I love Depeche Mode’s last two albums.
Next post, then.