Sunday, February 24, 2008

RPM Challenge Update: One Minute Left! [updated]

It's been a long, busy, and challenging few days since I last posted. At that time, I had about 4 tracks near done ("Perfect", "Home is where the hum is", "Magnesium and other metals", and "Ctrl-Q").
In the two weeks since, I've had many rehearsals with one of my other bands culminating in a show at the DeYoung Museum, the usual crazy stuff at work, and a few very bad nights of sleeplessness and twitching in bed.

I also had an old friend visiting from out of town who stayed in my studio.

Regardless, I've managed to get 3 more tracks finished.

Updated: I've added Yahoo's new Goose player to provide in-line playback of tracks and updated all the links. They should all play now.

"Daemons" was the first of the 3. Drum and bass-inflected pop. My lovely wife provided some lyrical criticism which led me to substantially improve the song. And per Brian Eno, there appear to be no problems that more backing vocals can't fix. This will almost certainly be the first track on the record.
Daemons [mix 07]

"Cyborg Love Song" is the inevitable title track. This one was surprisingly easy. From just a tiny bit of lyric and a melodic fragment in my head, the rest sprang out. It's sort of unabashedly pop and (new) romantic, which is appropriate given that I wanted to make a synth-pop record. The project has gone in a little bit of a different direction, but there's something I find beautiful and disturbing about this song.

The worst part of working on it yesterday was that after having gotten close to final, some plug-in had a bad interaction with Cubase and it corrupted the session, preventing me from saving and forcing a crash followed by a reboot. Nice. I've traced it down - apparently the Sonalksis TBK Filter doesn't play nice with Cubase if you draw in automation while the track is playing back.
Cyborg Love Song [mix 04]

"Undo" was today's task. An homage/rip-off of everything on Burial's "Untrue" album. It's going to be the last track on the record. It's also got a few nods to some other songs I have written, including "Decayed, Decayed". I am not 100% happy with this one right now, even though it is probably done. We'll see how it sounds in a day or two, and how much time I have left.
Undo [mix 02]

I also demoed "Download" but this is likely going to undergo substantial changes. The good news is that it only has to be about 2 minutes long - I'm down to the last minute but I plan on mixing the heads and tails of the songs together and this will likely "eat" a minute or so.

One interesting thing is that most of these songs stretch out a bit - they have long intros and outros, something I haven't done in 10 years. Some of that is giving the songs some room to breathe instead of "don't bore us, get to the chorus". Some of it is padding to hit the 35-minute mark.

The only other thing I have to do this week is finish up the book, which I'm waaay behind on. Then again, I guess only the album/audio has to be finished and shipped by 3/1, so no sense in killing myself over it if I don't have to.

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