The Flaming Lips – The Fearless Freaks

The Fearless Freaks feels homely.  A documentary constructed from a wealth of archive footage.  The director had hung out with the band since the early ’90s and this friendship defines this film.  Grainy VHS tapes of early gigs… cine-cam of childhood exploits… in terms of hazy, sun bleached nostalgia this has it all.

I was turned onto the Flaming Lips when I first heard The Soft Bulletin.  One of those life changing albums, The Soft Bulletin made me re-evaluate everything I thought was good.  The opening drum beat of Race for the Prize is perhaps the greatest opening to any song ever.  The whole album was an eye/ear opener and spent months going round and round the CD player in my car.  Then Yoshimi was released and continued the momentum.  Two pretty much perfect albums in a row.  The point being that, although I know of the long history of the Flaming Lips, and I have read up enough to feign supreme life-long-fan-esque knowledge… I’m really coming to this documentary with very little in the tank.

The Flaming Lips kind of remind me of my first band.  Only in that we were friends first, band second.  We created home videos, went clubbing and hung out together every second of every day.  We would spend our time creating ‘stage-clothes’, writing set lists, producing fliers, writing songs, recording silly comedy skits and generally having a good time.  I’ll be honest, we did it without the drugs.  For drugs seem to weave their way throughout the story of the Flaming Lips.  And… when it comes to ‘band stories’… drugs seem to colour the life of the band and become almost ‘mystical’ in a way.  It’s good to see that the issue of drugs is treated so matter of factly in this documentary.  There is one scene in particular that is so ‘direct’, it feels like a punch to the face.  A scene that is almost worth the price of admission alone.  No flowering up here.  This is pretty raw.  A lot of these documentaries tend to gloss over points the band would rather you knew nothing about.  Will the Beatles ever release Let it Be on Blu-ray? Hmmm.

Anyway… I digress.  Those first bands, bands of friends, usually break up.  Or move on.  Fearless Freaks shows what happens when they don’t.  You get the Flaming Lips.  You get artists who feel completely confident to try whatever they want.  In comfort.  I think this may be key to the success of the Flaming Lips.  Although they probably faced similar record company hassles, I think the DIY ethic of the Flaming Lips pulled them through more so than your typical band.

Flights of fancy.  Wayne Coyne making his own movies – in his back garden.  Whether they’re any good or not isn’t the issue.  It’s the fact that he’s doing it.  Pure creative spirit.  I think being in the Flaming Lips must be a great outlet.  An opportunity to express yourself without having to worry about the trivialities of workaday life.  You want to make a movie?  No problem.  You want to record a 24 hour-long song?  No problem.  You want to record a song that lasts forever?  Yeah… give it a shot.  You want to dress as cuddly animals on stage and inflate balloons with the wind of a thousand virgins?  Make my day.  Perhaps being in any successful band allows these liberties… but none seem so straight-ahead outlandish as the Flaming Lips.  I suppose I look upon it all with a touch of jealousy.  Any artistic statement I wish to make must be played out within the confines of normal life.  You know… crammed in around ‘things you have to do’.  The Fearless Freaks stops short of the most recent period of the Flaming Lips‘ existence, but there’s still plenty of strange food for thought.  And so it is that I want to put the Soft Bulletin on again.  That is the album that lifts me.  That is the album that spawned a thousand clones.  Still, you can’t fail to be influenced.

I didn’t really appreciate the Flaming Lips‘ band dynamic.  I assumed Wayne Coyne would ‘be’ the Flaming Lips.  He looks the part –  mad scientist – and he has made long, greying hair cool!  He just looks like a man who has a hundred magical mystery tours in his head.  But, watching the DVD it dawns on you how pivotal Steven Drozd really is.  The man seems to be the human personification of ‘music’.  Music.  I’m now listening to the Soft Bulletin as I type.  This is a band that when at the top of their game really can rule the world.  And yet they’ve made at least one album that I own that I don’t like.  But to achieve perfection you have to make mistakes.  I’ve drifted from the Flaming Lips in recent years.  Rightly or wrongly I feel they became a bit ‘sugary’.  Too much peace and love… and cuddly rabbits.  But maybe I was just plain wrong.  A band that plays I Want You (She’s So Heavy) live is a band that will always win my heart.

RUSH – Beyond the Lighted Stage

I love watching band documentaries and I’ve really been filling my boots recently.  Here’s one I enjoyed.  ‘Beyond the Lighted Stage‘ brings the career of Canadian band Rush to life.  Let me just (perhaps sadly, perhaps not?!?) admit right now that I have never been a Rush fan.  In fact, it’s a credit to the film that I now just might seek out a few Rush albums.   Well… ’70s albums.  No matter how good this documentary, I’m still to be convinced about the ’80s synth albums!

So… this is a review of a Rush documentary by someone who knows nothing about Rush.  Okay…  I knew they were a prog rock band.  I knew the individual band members’ names.  I knew Geddy Lee had a big nose and could play incredible bass.  I thought Rush were a pretty light, keyboard-centric rock band.  But I honestly hadn’t really heard anything by them.  There were a couple of occasions during the documentary where I had moments of song-recognition.  But on the whole… nothing.  So am I the ideal, or worst person to comment on this film?  Hmmmm.  I think I might just be perfect. 🙂

There’s certainly an unusual amount of ‘home-filmed’ archive footage.  This lends an essence of authenticity to this documentary above and beyond the usual cash-in.  I should Wikipedia why and how some of this footage exists… that would be the right sort of thing to do when writing a review.  But, as a friend of mine said recently after making a truly bizarre sweeping statement.  – “Life’s too short for research”.  Ha ha!  Anyway… you don’t want Wikipedia’d nonsense.  You want my honest, expert opinion.

The first think that hits you in the face is the sheer level of musicianship on display in this band.  The three members are superhuman.  Geddy Lee, on bass, is an animal.  Basslines that make me re-evaluate what breakfast cereal I eat in the morning.  In fact… I actually eat breakfast cereal last thing at night.  So I actually eat supper cereal.  Hmmm.  …and his vocals, while not quite to my taste, are undoubtedly superb.  Alex Lifeson must be one of the most underrated guitarists of all time.  I have been a fan of the guitar, and the guitar hero, all my life and yet I rarely see Mr Lifeson make an appearance in any top-ten lists.  Well… I tell you… Alex Lifeson has some chops.  Oh yes… he has a whole butcher’s shop full!!!

I used to read ‘Rhythm‘ magazine at my old drummer’s house.  It’s not a porn mag… it’s a mag about drumming!  Neil Peart was a regular in the pages of that magazine.  So I have more knowledge of the type of drums Mr Peart uses than the average man on the street… and yet I still hadn’t really heard him play.  Well… let me say now that he certainly lives up to the reputation of ‘consummate drumming professional’ – ‘The Drummer’s Drummer’.  Amazing tom rolls that remind me of Maiden’s Nicko.   And above all, a well-read drummer who writes the band’s lyrics.  Bats away the drumming clichés!  So…. huge Kenny Everett thumbs up to the musicians of Rush.

Elements of the narrative of Beyond the Lighted Stage chime with my own life.  There’s a discussion of how ‘local’ bands were ignored by the locals (essentially Canadian bands in Canada). American bands would play Canada… hear Rush, and think they were the greatest thing since sliced bread.  The locals of course still thought “but they’re just a local band”.  People not seeing the bigger picture.

I used to play in a band that would routinely blow signed, touring bands off the stage.  They would genuinely approach me afterwards and ask what record label we were signed to and where we were playing next.  I would answer “we’re not signed”… and watch their jaws drop.  That’s ‘local band syndrome’.  It’s like a disease.  But the cure for this disease is building up enough of a following that the generals in charge of the ‘power of music’ can no longer ignore you.  This, unfortunately, is trickier now than ever before.  I once watched an interview with someone… I can’t remember who – some old rock star… and he said that if you formed a band in the ’60s and played your instruments relatively well…. you would be signed.  You would be famous.  This is no longer the case.  If watching these band documentaries tells me anything it’s that the game has changed completely.  It will be interesting to watch a documentary in 20 years time about a band making it big today.  The documentary will probably feature more about social networking, public relations, home recording and luck than it will licking Jack Daniels off a hooker’s tits in a LA studio.  Horses for courses I suppose.  It’s just a shame my ‘childhood’ memories of great rock are being struck over the head with a shovel and buried along with all the great albums.

This documentary, ‘rock’umentary if you will… shows Rush veering into Spinal Tap territory on more than one occasion.  They are obviously highly aware of this as I’m sure I spotted a tiny Stonehenge monument perched on one of Geddy Lee’s keyboards.  The usual ‘talking heads’ pop up to offer their ‘expert’ opinion… but it’s nice to see a few more unfamiliar faces (and no Lars Ulrich!).

Beyond the Lighted Stage is an excellently edited and expertly put together film.  I’ve seen some pretty muddled and amateurish efforts in my time and this isn’t one of them.  At times it is a window into the world of the care-free millionaire musician – but there’s enough heartbreak featured to bring the brick of real life careering towards that fragile glass.

Verdict.. I have been won over by the entity that is Rush.  I enjoyed this film.  What more is there to say… it’s nice to see three ‘normal’ blokes who make excellent, technical music.  This is not a film of sex, drugs and rock and roll.  This is a film of oxymorons.  A band with adoring fans and the wealth, fame and ability to do whatever they want in life.  A band that is completely unknown to the population at large.    Alex Lifeson sums it all up beautifully “A million monkeys typing on a million typewriters may eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare.  But who the hell’s going to clean those typewriters?”.  Geddy Lee: “We’re getting into a weird area here… monkey defecation.”


1723 hours 17th  June 2011 – I sit here in my studio to take on the most difficult task of all.  To MASTER the Eleventh Hour Initiative’s debut album “Escapism”.  Mastering a piece of music basically means making sure it is ready for public consumption.  I am excited at the prospect… yet nervous too.  There are so many decisions to make.  Some are complicated, others are emotional.  I shall try and explain as I progress.  At the moment I am making some observations and notes in my little black book.  Perhaps I’ll share them later too!  I warn you that those of you who have no real interest in HOW music is created should look away now.  THIS POST WILL BORE YOU!  For those of you still here… read on.  There is very little written regarding mastering an album.  The recording and mixing always get the plaudits!

1808 – Frustrating already.  Bloody computers! Ha ha!  The modern studio!  I’m just working on Try and Get Some Sleep.  This is a fantastic little song and still well worthy of the “first track on the album” accolade!

Oh… here are those figures which I may discuss later.  These numbers are extremely important and actually tell a very interesting story!

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic – DR 12, RMS -15.7

Chinese Democracy – DR 10, RMS -12.7

Weekend in the City – DR 5, RMS -7.7

At War with the Mystics – DR 4, RMS -7.3

Death Magnetic – DR 3, RMS – 4.2

Them Crooked Vultures – DR 5, RMS -6.4

The Wild Hunt – DR 8, RMS -11.6

Along Came a Spider – DR 6, RMS -8.8

***  I collated these figures myself by running the CDs through my computer using a special audio capture program. ***

DR stands for Dynamic Range – the range of difference between quiet and loud.  A higher DR means more range of volume.  Get it? The RMS is basically the average volume.  The lower the RMS value the louder the song.  Generally speaking, the louder a song is…. the less dynamics it has.  At its most blatant this becomes a barrage of noise.  Quite befitting for some styles of music, but this is the standard that everyone is adapting to.  The accepted norm.  The accepted way to get your songs heard.  But the sheer volume can be tiring on the ears and can ruin certain forms of music.  Anyway…

1820 – I think I’m pretty happy with Try and Get Some Sleep.  The song has a bounce in its step.  I had a lucky strike on the first go and hit my target with my first shot!  Fingers crossed everything will be as easy.  I have certainly done enough work to this point to make this final step as easy as possible.

1833 – hmmm.  Here we go with Pitfall…  gulps. 1843 – still gulping ha ha! I’m just running off a mix now.  We’ll see if I hit the spot first time?!?!  1854 – Missed… but I think I nailed it second time.  So… onto Escape Plan.  This song has the potential to be a pretty big song for the band so I’ve got to get it right!

1907 – So, making a start on Escape Plan.

1933 – Not a lot of progress.  This song is a studio breaker!  A lot of different (temperamental) reverbs going on.  This song is a computer destroyer!  Ha ha!

2008 – I think I’ve got Escape Plan right.  I will obviously need to listen to the finished album through and make any final tweaks… but for now I think I’ve got it kicking.

2018 – Tinkering with the Calm and the Storm now.  This one is a bit of a classic.  And an epic.  Need to get it right.  It’s all about that bit Beatles-esque ending!  🙂  Yep… puts a smile on my face when I get it right.  I’m on my third run through now.  It’s a delicate balancing act.  If I can get the overall feel of the album right then I may have just been the ‘producer’ on the best album of 2011.  😉  2024 – yep… I think that run through has got it!  This is one of the tricky ones in the set.  It has so many very quiet parts.  This is the one that might throw the feel of the album.  When I am wearing my “mastering” hat I have to make sure that the level of this particular song sits right in the context of the album.  This is the song that I may well have to fine tune in the cold light of day upon repeat listens to the album as a whole.

2040 – Working on Life Will Be the Death of Me at the moment.  This is such a great song.  Perhaps my favourite on the album.  It’s got everything I like in a song.  Just got to make sure it sits in the ‘frame’ of the album as beautifully as it does in my head.  I know I’m talking a mixture of poetic bollocks and technical jargon… but, hey… this is a site about music for people who are interested in music!  2043 – Just running through the song for the third time.  Tweaks here and there. I’m only really messing with the overall volume levels here.  The majority of the work was in the mix. And I’ve lived with the mixes long enough to know that they’re right.  This has been the advantage of building the album up song by song over a year.  It has enabled me and Bill to really get to know the album.  In detail.  Now I’m just rounding it off.

2209 – Having a (careful) Jack Daniels and listening to the 5 songs so far.  Sounding good.  I shall call it a day for the moment!

2241 – Typed a message to Bill.  Hey… I haven’t had anything to eat since this morning!  Hmmm… cheese on toast beckons!  Night people.

1600 hours 18th June 2011 – Here I go again.  Just having a listen with fresh ears to the work I did last night.  I can immediately hear that I need to tweak a couple of things in Pitfall.  I also need to bring the volume of Escape Plan down slightly.  Although ‘theoretically’ it’s right (at about -11.6 RMS)… my ears tell me it’s slightly off.  At the end of the day I have to trust my (partially deaf) ears. They got me to where I am today!

Although I noted last night that I thought I’d have to increase the punch of Calm a little… today it sounds just fine.  So I think I’ll leave it be.  Hmmmm.  I seem to have a fair bit of work to do before I can even begin on the next section of the album.  😦  I do a downturned face… but really, this is quite exciting.  The last part of a process which has taken a year already!  So I’ve got to get it right!  Yes… the Calm and the Storm sounds fantastic.  It gives a smack in the mouth while quietly caressing you at the same time!  Ha ha!

1643 Noted that Life will be the Death of Me has a few noises in the chorus which I need to check out.  Were they intentional sounds? Just gotta check that out.  My notebook is full of workings, notes and figures!  Ha ha!  Like a scientist or something!

1707 – so  I’ve made a couple of adjustments to Pitfall.  They may not be enough… but I’ll allow them to settle and see how they sit within the context of the album later.

1720 – a little tweak needed to Escape Plan and it’s STILL crashing my whole studio.  I don’t know what it is about this song?!?  I know it’s a classic, but does it have to be so temperamental??? 🙂

1736 – Hmmm. The ‘noise’ in Life will be the Death was a little glitchy beat.  There on purpose to screw with your ears.  Therefore I have left it alone.  I should have had more faith in myself!  Ha ha! 1737 – Now I can move on to the next set of songs!

1753 – Ready Set… Explode! sounds superb.  Great little song.  Explosive ending!  Haha!

1757 – Here we go with Mean Machines.  I anticipate this being one of the trickiest songs to get right.  It is such a heavy, loud dance orientated song.  It is naturally loud.  It has natural power.  I have to tame it gently!!!

1927 – I’ve reached Chasing Chaos now.  Another explosive song. I think I’m nailing everything so far.  I will still have to have another listen to everything I’ve done later and make sure I’m on track.  Any changes I make during this session will be part of the album FOR EVER!  See… it’s important stuff.  I’m on my 7th coffee!  I feel quite alone here.  Trapped in the studio.  Am I a scientist or a prisoner?  1937 – Never have I been so precise.  I suppose the eyes (or rather ears) of the world will be on this album more than anything I’ve done previously.  Therefore it probably warrants the time and effort!  In fact I feel this album is the culmination of 20 years work. The pinnacle of my musical effort. The music on this album is, if I say so myself, pretty superb.  Listening to it through in this much detail really highlights the intelligence and the catchiness of these songs.  They are more than a collection – this is an album in the true sense of the word.

2120 – PULLING MY HAIR OUT!!!  See, now I remember something which I had forgotten!  Where We Go Next crashed my studio.  I remember I managed to get one version off the computer before it died.  That was last year.  And that is the version that has been streamable ever since.  But now I want to produce a new version for the Download/CD whatever.  … (for the album would be more accurate).  This new version needs to fit in with the feel of the other songs.  But I can’t access the song because it is corrupted!  Arrrrgggghhh!!!  So.. I’ve spent the last couple of hours rebuilding the song.  I’ve even re-recorded the drums.  Hmmm.  I’m pretty pissed off right now.  I can only hope that I manage to produce a better version than before.  That is usually what happens when these things are sent to test me! 2131 – I’m trying my best.  If I get this right I think I’ve managed to not only salvage the situation… but I may just have produced a better version than the original!  Woohooo!

2138 – I think I’ve done it.  I will need to listen to it again in the morning….  But I think I’ve nailed the song.  If anything the song now breathes more and yet still packs a gutteral punch towards the end.  Cool.

2152 – I think I’ll call it a day for now.  I’ve had a skim listen and I can still hear a few things that ain’t right.  But on the whole I think I’m nearing a perfect album.

0958 hours 19th June 2011 – Okay… I sit here with a coffee.  Ready to run through what I have so far and take MORE notes! Haha!

1017 – As first run throughs go it wasn’t bad.  But I have to change the levels of most of the songs.  It’s just that new day, morning, fresh ear thing.  Anyone who produces music to any extent will know what I mean!

1130 – Another listen through the album-so-far commencing.  Hmmm… A flick through the songs suggests that I need to put the levels of Pitfall and Mean Machines up even more.  But other than that I think I’m nearing the finishing line!  (Thank God!).

1440 – Yep… Still tweaking this set of songs.  (I’ve painted a wall too – just to give myself a break! Ha ha!).  Can’t wait to move onto the final batch.  Until then though – I’m still trying to get a trio of songs correct.  Pitfall, Mean Machines and Thousand Steps.  If I can get these right then I’ve cracked it!

1515 – Just completed those tweaks.  Just checking some other albums to see what they have by way of dynamic range.  I’ll add them to the list at the start rather than here.  Them Crooked Vultures packs a punch at -6.4 RMS!  Just running Tallest Man on Earth through now.  A very “home recording” sounding album… I expect a lot from it!  Hmmm… -11.6 RMS.  As I expected really.  A Dynamic Range of 8.  I can understand how most rock bands want to have a crushing, in your face sound… and Them Crooked Vultures certainly achieve that. The thing with the Eleventh Hour Initiative album is that there is a lot of darkness and light.  It needs to be treated a little more gently. It’s not about numbers… it’s about ears.  But still… it will be interesting to see if I can pull off a Dynamic Range figure of around 8.  This is pretty much the magic number.  The balance between sounding bouncy and interesting, but still having enough sheer volume to attract the crunch crowd!  Ha ha!

1627 – Just running off a version of Twelve. The twelfth track on the album.  And it’s called Twelve. (see what we did there!). 😉 I need to listen to the last couple of songs in the context of the album.  But I now have a complete set of songs to evaluate.

2045 – HUUUGEEE Chinese for Father’s Day!  Completely bloated. Now back here I sit.  In my cell.  Three more ‘tweaks’ to do before I can have a “headphone listen-through”.

2319 – It has been a LONG few days.  I’m still in my cell.  But I’m listening through the entire album on my high quality headphones and it sounds amazing.  I think I’ve finished.  I SAID I THINK I’VE FINISHED!!!!  Bloody hell.  That was an ordeal.  I’m not saying that the final outcome isn’t fantastic… but that was a long slog. And it’s probably not over yet.  But at least I now have a set of songs to burn to a CD and subject to a week or so in the car.  That is the final test!  Ha ha!

So, how does Escapism compare to those albums I measured myself against along the way.  Well… it weighs in with a Dynamic Range of 9 and an RMS of -11.4 which is not bad at all.  In fact, I was aiming to hit a DR of roughly 8… so I am well chuffed.

Chinese Democracy – DR 10, RMS -12.7

Escapism – DR 9, RMS -11.4

The Wild Hunt – DR 8, RMS -11.6

It slots in between Chinese Democracy and The Wild Hunt in the scheme of things.  And this is bloody marvellous.  An album that cost $10,000,000 and an album that I rate as the best of recent years.  The DR number is the magical number.  I seem to have managed to get more Dynamic Range than the Tallest Man on Earth whilst at the same time being (marginally) louder.  That is not bad at all.  In fact I’d go so far as to say I have done well.  You done good pig.  🙂

This is of course all a load of bollocks if you have no interest in studio related music production.  But for those of you have stuck with me through the 25 cups of coffee you’ll understand that music is a game.  A game where the loudest music wins.  It has been this way for the last 20 years. You see, when the CD was first invented it opened people’s eyes/ears to the possibilities of increased dynamics in recorded music.  Dynamics meaning the extent of the difference between a quiet sound and a loud sound.  Now… to cut to the chase (a book could be written about this!) over the years it was realised that the general public seem to flock towards loud music. Therefore artists would make sure their music was the loudest – so it would win the loudness war on the radio.  Bear in mind that this battle has been raging since the beginning of musical time with similar wars being played out over vinyl jukeboxes.  But the CD changed the terms of engagement.  And producers realised that you could make a CD VERY loud!  So over the course of the 1990s CDs became louder and louder.  The upside to the loudness is obvious.  Volume pricks the consumer’s ears and therefore leads to increased record sales.  The downside is that the dynamic range which I have been bleating on about is squeezed.  It is reduced.  The difference between the lows and the highs becomes non-existent.  Everything is just LOUD!!!

With music the excitement is often from the quiet LOUD quiet LOUD aspect.  Think Nirvana, Pixies, Jeff Buckley you name it.  When you squeeze every drop of ‘loudness’ from a CD you lose this thrill.  It can become a chore to listen to.  And yet everyone does of course want their music to be loud.  In a way you can’t win.  It’s about compromise.

The mp3 digital download hasn’t changed anything.  I chose to put streamable versions of the Eleventh Hour songs on the internet over the course of the year.  This was primarily to enable Bill and I to get a feel for what songs worked, and ideas for a track listing.  I chose to join the loudness war to a certain extent.  There are far better purveyors of the battle out there though.  You only have to listen to Soundcloud to hear songs that are amazingly LOUD.  To the point where I don’t quite know how they did it. (well, that’s not entirely true.  It is far easier to make electronic music frighteningly loud and most of Soundcloud is electronic).  But I didn’t want our songs to be unfairly dismissed so I made sure they were able to at least stick their heads above the parapet.

I like the story about the mastering of Chinese Democracy.  Now, bear with me, you don’t have to like Chinese Democracy to read this story.  Axl Rose worked on his Guns N’ Roses album, “Chinese Democracy”, for a decade.  He spent a ton of money on it.  Went through musicians and producers like a knife through chocolate mousse. So when it came time to mastering the album you can imagine that he was probably pretty intense about it!  Ha ha! Mastering an album means getting the levels right and giving the songs the syrup that glues them together into an ‘album’ rather than a ‘collection of songs’.  So Axl must have been excited but scared too.

The producer gave Axl three versions of the final album to choose from.  A squashed, loud, commercial version, a middle ground version, and an album with the dynamics intact.  Now… bearing in mind the pressure Axl would have been under to recoup the money invested in the album you could be forgiven for thinking he went for the obvious choice.  The producer certainly thought he would.  He gave the three albums to Axl and told him that the dynamic album was his own personal choice.  Ha was surprised when Axl picked the dynamic version over the LOUD version.  This decision went against all “common sense” of the time.  It was brave.  And I think that even if you don’t like him or his music it does at least paint one aspect of his character in a positive light!

Okay… I have rambled here.  And this will probably be the longest post I ever write.  But I am describing choices.  Choices musicians have to make.  I am part of the loudness war as is every musician on the planet and I have learned from it.  I have picked up on certain production techniques.  Certain processes which are often used to make a track louder can also be used in an artistic manner.  These flourishes can be heard all over Escapism.  But Escapism is no longer a LOUD album. It is still a loud album.  But it is not a LOUD album. Do you get my drift?  I want this album to kick like Pump by Aerosmith, or Back in Black by AC/DC.  It is my choice.  I want the music to bounce.  And as I sit here listening to it, it certainly does bounce.  It all sounds bloody brilliant.  But it is still a loud album.  This is alternative rock not jazz.  An RMS of -14 (which is considered by audiophiles to be a good ball park figure) would not be right for this album at this time.  You have seen the numbers which I set out at the beginning.  Those albums were picked pretty much at random (they happened to be next to the computer… well… okay … I may have run downstairs to fetch Death Magnetic!) and yet they are the kind of albums that Escapism will have to stand along side.  And as I listen I can hear that this album will stand proud.

I think I shall stop typing now.  It is late and I have rambled.  But I’ve been able to set my thoughts out along the way.  I’ve documented the journey.  That was what I created this site for in the first place.  I thank you.  Good night!

Writing a Song PART I

Okay… here’s a new one.  I thought it would be interesting to any aspiring songwriters out there to show how I create a song.  I intend to show how I produce a song from an initial idea right through to the final product.  This could work… or it could be a complete disaster!!!  Ha ha!

Anyway… I picked up the acoustic guitar this morning and tried to come up with the foundations for a new song.  The difference this time was that I recorded the process every step of the way.  I will try and do this every time I work on this particular song.  Then… it will be interesting at the end to watch them one after the other – especially if you have heard the final piece.

Until then… here’s part 1.  The recording of the first idea.  The bedrock of any song!

The Studio – Boss Delay Machine

Just tinkering around today and I noticed my Boss DM-100 sitting on top of my amplifier.  I’ve always known it to be an old and fairly rare bit of kit so I decided to google it.  Turns out it’s pretty sought after!  It has long been a staple of my live set-up, and I often use it when recording guitar for the new albums.  Just thought I’d big it up a little. (Question: Can you big something up a little?!?)   So… let’s hear a warm round of applause for the Boss Delay Machine!