Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Boring Personal Stuff

I am tired of politics. Just extremely frustrated. So I want to blog about something else so how about the IOpian's big adventure? Or...what I did this weekend.

But first some background..

I am trying to get my inspiration for music fired back up. Have all this equipment I would have killed for when I actually did music and haven't picked my guitar up in many months. Never thought the day would come when I wouldn't have one under my arm 4 hours a day. Then again I am years beyond the mating rituals and this old bird just sits and farts instead of singing.

What holds me back is doing drum tracks. Once I have that track built all the rest is just fun, but for me its the drums that is work. I have numerous ways to build these but none has really proven satisfying.

With digital equipment there are many options. My goal was do use MIDI files. In case you aren't familiar MIDI means Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Basically MIDI assigns a numerical value to the pitch and duration of a note. Then there is voicing which simply means the sound of a drum, tuba, voice, snyth sound, guitar or any sound. SO with a stored MIDI value it can be voiced to anything. I could play a series of notes and record them to MIDI and assign any voice to those notes like drums sounds. So my goal was to take all the drum machines and rhythm makers and record all of their patches so I could just drag and drop into my recording software. Much like you can do in Acid Music.

That proved to be tedious and drove me away to blogging into the void during my boredom and insomnia. So the idea hit me to go looking for a digital set of drums. One thing a life of being around music, garage bands, performing bands and in the affluent times home studios you end up learning so very basics on other instruments. I don't claim I play the drums but it is not like I can't do basics. So I popped the bucks on a mid-level set of digital drums by Roland the TD-6SX/B: I recorded a song in a couple of days and had a great time doing the drums and bass. However, I am just not up to par on drums.

Now, to this weekend. Months have past since I've even touched the drums. Beong as the economy is in the dumps and my contract will come to term later this year there was only one thing for me to do... buy more stuff. I found a product by ToonTracks called EZDrummer. It worked in my old Cubase LE recording software that is commonly shipped with music electronics. The drag and drop feature did not work. I shopped and mulled for many weeks but evently gave in an popped some more bucks for the latest CuBase Studio 5 recording software. The drag and drop feature works. Now the quandary; I want to work in comfort and my more powerfule PC I installed this on is on the wrongside of the room. All kinds of details but in short, I needed to rearrange the studio. In order to do that I need to clear out the little bedroom that is cluttered with old equipment, guitars and stacks of recording tape. Well to do that I need to move this workbench out of that room. Suddenly I saw the vision.

It was Saturday afternoon and I calculated I would have to get after it so my house wouldn't be trashed Monday. Worked until four in the morning but got the major components moved into position. Sunday was moving the little stuff. Amazingly the house looks like it has more room plus that little bedroom is now nearly empty. I bought some shelving I need to assemble for storage of the tapes and old equipment but now I am entertaining the idea of getting this day bed I saw and putting it in there. That little room is the most serene place in the house. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

So here is my studio. It is a work in progress. I have only the necessities wired at the moment, not all of the equipment is in there yet but this is an nice spacious and comfortable layout. Not bad for an overweight geezer with a bad back ( actually, in the long run it helped my back and the pain I felt was the good pain from getting those muscles doing for a change. ) in a weekend.


nanc said...

you HAVE been busy!

drums are one of the two things lacking in my life (grew up with a set in the house as my dad was one of the finest drummers on the planet). nancpop knows we will have a set one day and if i drop enough hints, perhaps sooner than later.

i've been somewhat tired of the political scene myself so have vowed to do only my "singalong wednesday" and one other post at curtains and a weekly "oh boo moment"...and to bug the pants off the torties whenever possible!

when you get it together, please email me a soundbite?

IOpian said...

I find it amusing that the catalyst of totaling rearranging three rooms was a piece of software that occupies a minuscule amount of space.

nanc said...

well no one can call you "easily" amused! looks like you've got it going on there. how do your cats feel about this or are they allowed to share the space?

IOpian said...

Don't care what anyone says, cats are very intelligent animals. If I move anything they notice it. Once I began, all three of them wanted out of the house. They were on the outside looking in and I know they thought I had lost my mind. Once I had the major stuff in place they came back in to eat. By the next morning they had already found new secret spots to nap.

There are two things I have found in life ( other than sex ) that leave me with this certain afterglow. One is a freeform jam with good musicians when everyone grabs onto the main theme and take turns elaborating. It is like a higher level of communication and expression. The other is to hear a song in your head and flesh it out. Then sit back and listen to it realizing the electrical impulses of your brain have been transformed to move a real thing like air and possibly the hearts and thoughts of another human... it just transcends the mundane nature of life.

My favorite part to record is the bass. No pressure and plenty of room to move within the structure of the tune but in the end it is the backbone of the work.

nanc said...

i like to move things sometimes JUST to see our cats' reactions - they don't miss a lick (pardon the pun - all those guitars had me going)!

one of nancson's friends plays the bass and brought it over one weekend - that would be his instrument of choice - he already plays the violin. everything that makes a musical noise comes so easily for him - kind of like cooking for me.