Sunday, February 28, 2010

RPM 2010: Victory! [Updated]

I am pleased to tell you I have successfully completed the 2010 RPM Challenge.

Despite losing nearly 10 days to a hard drive failure (and nearly losing incredibly valuable data), despite having several weekend days lost to home renovation, and despite my usual creative and musical challenges, I have completed a 9-track, 35-minute album.

It's called "Reflection".

This weekend I created 3 tracks from scratch and finished all the mixes, mastering, and CD assembly. Two of the tracks are instrumental/interludes. I've considered these "cop-outs" in the past, but desperate times...

Due to the grueling schedule and other conflicts, the album has no cover art and no book. Yet. I am hoping to produce something over the next month. Neither of those things are required for successful RPM completion, so they can be done later.

This is a strange record. Stark and minimal. All of the sounds are acoustic or physical in origin - there are no synthesizers or electric guitars, drum machines, or drum kits. The closest thing to that is electric piano.

There wasn't really a concept this time, just an idea for a sound - "Bryan Ferry in Blade Runner". There are more ideas woven in as well, including the desire to make this record more mysterious than previous releases. It's not all moans and dirge - there's at least one track that's practically danceable.

My friends previewed some of the tracks and said "this is not what I expected you to do". That may be a polite way of saying "this is terrible", but I would rather have a surprised reaction than no reaction at all.

I hope you enjoy it. I can't say making it has been as pleasant as my last few albums, but it feels great to say "I finished".

Some sample tracks:
Another New Me
Write Protect Failure

Update: Full ZIP file of complete album now available.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

RPM 2010 Status Update

RPM 2010 ends 11:59 pm tomorrow night. As of right now, I have 5 songs nearly done:
  • Another New Me - Needs mix tweaks, maybe vocal fixes
  • Something Like Love - Minor mix tweaks
  • Blue The Light - Minor mix tweaks
  • The Broken Rain - Needs vocal take
  • Write Protect Failure - Minor mix tweaks
Total running time of the above tracks is about 23-24 minutes. So I need either 5 short bits or 12 minutes of music generated in the next 36 hours or so. It's not impossible, but it will be challenging. Renovation work on the house went late last night and will continue today, making it difficult to be musical.

Having lost about a week to my drive crash, I feel somewhat less bad about possibly not finishing. Not giving up yet, though.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Data Recovery, RPM, Life

Good news: I'm not dead! Nothing's wrong. I've just been busy and distracted. I started a new job over at MOG, once again in the digital music business. Dealing with that and related items occupied the bulk of the last few months. The new job is great. Really enjoying it.

Warning news: My data hard drive crashed on February 5th. This drive contained the entire 2nd Sid Luscious album (I'm, uh, "producing" it for Sid), photos, my MP3 collection that I spent all of September 2009 re-ripping, and several other tracks I was working on for other people.

I did not have a recent back-up, and in the case of the 2nd Sid Luscious album and other tracks, had no back-up at all.

Fortunately, the good folk at TechCollective were able to fully recover my data in about a week.

The main takeaway here: Back up your data. Go order a backup drive today. Then back your stuff up. Then maybe sign up for Mozy or Backblaze. And burn some DVD-ROM copies, too. Once that stuff is gone, it's gone for good.

Bad news: The drive situation has crippled my attempt at RPM 2010. I'm still going for it, but it is far from certain that I will complete the challenge this year.

As for my RPM "theme" this year, this video is a clue: