Digital Ideas Tapes

I’ve got boxes of “ideas tapes” (Cassettes) in the attic. Luckily digital ideas are easier to store and access (see pic)

Back in the 70′s and 80′s my various publishers and production companies were always badgering me for more songs – give is more !! make us money !! – oh the stress. Sometimes the very pressure they exerted staunched the creative flow. Lately new ideas have been dropping from me like … well er… the proverbial dropping off you thing (again see pic). I wonder if my old publishers would be pleased to hear this. The ones I haven’t either sue’d or told to F off that is.

Sadly, I can’t really play you any of this stuff as it is really ruff so just hum along with the picture.


Social Media Optimisation

I’m making this post on the basis that it should go to all my social media outlets using a mixture of plugins + smoke and mirrors. I’ve pretty much cracked it all but for Google+ – Now, Google + does not play nice with very much else at all. It’s a shame where Google have taken this social network as I thought it had great promise. I would like my postings to go to Google+ as there are people there that I like to connect with. However, I do not like Google+. Firstly the content is scrunched up into little boxes in the center of the screen. Then there’s the fact that Google are trying to channel people into using the network the way Google wants rather than how the people want. This probably goes for all the social networks and it’s a trade off between the benefits and fun we can extract from these tools offset against the annoyance they cause us with constant changes.


I think it’s time to overhaul my website. I quite like the WordPress skin I’m using but it has some odd anomalies. Perhaps it’s time to use a more modern and updated template. I think what I’ll do is create a mirror site and copy the content. Once I’m happy I’ll port the skin over. I want to retain some of the retro stuff and many of the quirks are lost in the mists of time.

Unfinished Song 2000

Rediscovered this on my iTunes today. When I was in the Whitaker Band I produced an album “The Tuesday Club” circa 1999. This is one of my many unfinished songs and we slotted it between the tracks as if it got there by accident. Sorry, it’s my naff vocals – maybe I should dust off the rest of the album.

Once I was a loner,
How did I survive?
’till the day you came my way
I was barely alive
Once I was a poor man
with nothing to my name
but a worn overcoat
and a crooked walking cane

Music by the Yard

measuring-tapeI once worked with an Irish audio engineer, I don’t know if the fact he was Irish has a bearing on this but he had an interesting way of determining the length of pieces of music. He worked in a studio run by video production outfit and would be asked to music of a specific duration – quiet often 28 second for commercials. His solution was simple: the music was produced on a machine running at 15 i.p.s. (15 inches per second) therefore he deduced that a 28 seconds long piece of music would be 420 inches long i.e. 35 feet long. So he would take out his tape measure and measure off 35 feet, snip it with a razor blade and deliver it to the video producer.

Old Days vs New Days

1024-cubase7Computer recording vs the old days: spent about 4 hours yesterday trying to recover a lost track. Weird stuff with lots of blind alleys trying to rectify.  I’d done all the right things with incremental saves and backup files but it seems many of the saves were corrupted. So how would this play out in the old days? – If a tape became corrupted? I guess we’d have given up sooner and re-recorded rather than trying to recover or rebuild. I guess the lost time might be similar. There’s always the fear of losing some of the magic of the original take but then: magically, the rebuild nearly always turns out to be better!

Cubase Gets It Right

1024-cubase7With version 7, in my view, Cubase has finally got it right and I’m referring largely to the mixer. I could never really get to grips with the mixer in all previous versions. It was baffling and the window just floated all over. Now the mixer is much more solid visually and is a full window that you can dock in your second monitor. Lots of other stuff that’s equivalent to real world mixers but I’ve not fully gotten into that yet. This has been the reason I’ve preferred … well “Reason” (Propellerheads) – I really do like music software to look and behave like the real world devices they emulating.

Geordies Lament

Finally, procrastination begone ! First track for a project started years ago to produce a collection to be called “Down To The River” based on Tom Kelly‘s epic poem “Geordie”. Now after thumb twiddling, technology traumas and distractions, I’m calling this complete. I could tweak this and adjust that but I’m not letting this boy anywhere near my mixing desk again. Moving on to the next track in the collection and ultimately all the other unfinished projects.

Online Music Collab

SNAG_Program-0049I’ve been watching developments in this field for a while. The process I use most is the sending of a track to a vocalist to add record their part which they then transmit back to me. I then compile the finished mix. Actual online collaboration has been attempted by several software producers but has never really worked properly. However, I’m seeing some developments that look promising.

First there’s Soundation - this looks pretty basic but there area a couple of very interesting points. Firstly you can import and export Midi files and I can see right away that you could collaborate online and then use the Midi files to drive more sophisticated software on your own computer. What looks really promising is that you can launch Soundation in a Google Hangout and collaborate with up to 9 people whilst communicating in sound and vision.

Another hot contender is Ohm Studio which allows collaboration in the cloud but also gives you a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) which you also install on your computer. The next version of the software will allow offline editing of your music.