Learning to Listen

Class #11 Notes

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Radiohead

Optimistic - song (kid A album)
  • Tom (soprano?) loves dry vocals but brings out reverb in the chorus
  • vocals, drums,  lead guitar & bass guitar; synths
  • great sound on the toms; snare joins the vocals at the chorus
  • warm jazz-like drum tone
  • sounds like a jam session brought into a multi-tracked studio recording session with various sound and accompanying vocal harmonies & aftereffects (like space echo)
  • very sonic & covers a full hearing spectrum
  • repeating phrases; alot of push & pull (cohesive band)
  • “phrygian” sound:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_dominant_scale

 

also…

Band – Helmet

http://www.helmetmusic.com/

track produced by Steve Albini:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Albini_discography

http://www.electricalaudio.com/

singer – Page Hamilton

 

 

 

 

Class #10 notes

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The Brute Chorus – UK Band

Chateau – Original Mix

  • circular (almost jazz-like) structure
  • takes you on a ride – draws the listener in and out
  • mastered relatively quiet (5 on a scale of 1-10)
  • Vocals are atonal (out of key on purpose)
  • bass guitar keeps time
  • keyboard maybe – there was a high pitched ping song
  • kick drum, cimbels felt more on the right
  • wood block or something similar percussion
  • synthesized drum mix
  • electric lead guitar solo
  • feels like a studio recording (multi-tracked/close miking)
  • blues riff
  • Jack White influence?
 

U2 – Achtung Baby

click here to go to YouTube full album

  • re-amped vocals (gritty vs sonic)
  • re-amped guitar
  • 1991 recording (so not a plug-in)
  • “mids” give away reamping; lots of air
  • sound “tinny”
 
 

Sigur Ros – Brennistein & Varuo

sonic sound
 
 
 
 

When critical listening gets the boots

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IMG_4931 (640x478)
 Walked to the mall not quite blindflolded
 listening to music on headphones and thinking about
 a good spot
 to close my eyes and sink into the song
 Made a stop at the ladies’ room and had a seat
 Glancing over the the left i noticed a pair of boots
 through the bottom opening of the partition and realized
 i was not alone
 Silence
 Had a feeling they had been there for sometime
 How long?  What had they heard while they were there? 
 Creeped me out but i waited a while anyways – for the flush
 Silence
 Not a drizzle, not a breath, not even the sound of a boot shuffle
 Creeped me out some more
 Took my time and washed my hands a couple of times to pass the time
 and checked out the power hand dryers
More silence
Left the room and stuck around for a while with an eye on the corridor access to see signs of life, but there were none
 

Class #8 notes

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Monday March 17th

Happy St Patty’s Day!

https://i1.wp.com/www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/stpatrick/Leprechaun_18.png

 

“Happy”

(played at the Oscars)

Artist:  Pharell Williams

  • vocals are driving the song, not the music
  • ABABC song structure…Stevie Wonder inspired but today’s pop sound
  • melodine instead of autotune.  More electronic
  • tonal kick drum
 
Tips when recording Drums…
  • tuning is essential -loosen or tighten to achieve desired tone, to remove a “note”
  • use tape, sand bags, sound deadening cloth etc etc to isolate sounds and remove bleed
  • at the end of a drum recording session be silent for 30 seconds or so to capture the final note
  • get a bit of room sound
  • capture each individual drum/cimbel for one”strike” in case you have to replace a problematic sound
  • capture kick and cimbel struck together (for one “strike”)

 

 

Homework:

Read in WordPress “Setting up a studio” & then write out your own version “1 page”

How would you run your studio?  Don’t screw up the vibe!!

7 recordings of mono drums – same instrument, different placement

 

 

 

Class #7 Notes

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Critical Listening –in Class

Sea Change – Beck

synth/keyboards, drums, bass guitar
vocals -unique voice
psychedelic, airy
radiohead influence
studio recorded
reverb, effects, delay, echo
 "shoe-gaze" gendre

Lyrics:

“somewhere unforgiving i will wait for you”

Published Album Reviews:

The Ithacan

 

 

Class Notes #6

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Band – Darcey’s

recorded live at the Museum – Kitchener

single mic hats no control
you can hear the room – very large room
drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals
close miking on drums (spot miking)
guitar delays/verbs/distortions sounds live not plug ins
very little separation between instruments gives away that it is recorded live
vocals boomy not very bright
new terms:
  1. "concept record"
  2. "jam band"

Blindly folded into the pillow – week 6

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Had a rather unexpected event occur this week to add to the mixed bag of chronic pain challenges (and trophies) accumulated over the years. Usually a new one springs up every decade.

A chiropractor once warned me that working in heels, carrying children on one hip, favoring one shoulder to carry handbags and other nasty female habits would lead to painful surprises down the road. Thanks tips

You forgot to mention poor posture at the computer workstation

pain showed up out of nowhere to bite me in the arm 
tossing task items and "to do" lists 
into the abyss of the demoted

gotta get to the root of the pain
and study its path 
can i hear it now that i am learning to listen?
longer and deeper 
over and over and over for three days 
and three nights

it wasn't that hard to listen, 
especially to the screaming
to hear the sizzle of current flow along a broken pathway 
restricting circulation, crippling connectivity 

a new dialect of the language of body mechanics 
not movement?  interesting
Thoughts rise up
mingled with emotion
and i listen 
to the sound of throbbing 
under the load of blood flowing faster, faster
till the sound is so much louder
than pain

Was gonna write about listening to the sounds of silence in the house after the furnace gas regulator valve crapped out on family day,

but figured that was rather low key by comparison. 

Crazy!

When Polar Vortex meets Thundersleet

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You know it’s time to go indoors and crawl inside yourself

i spent 45 minutes in the sauna this evening, listening to the sounds of people coming and going in the gym change room, opening and closing lockers and partition doors for about 15 minutes until i could fade into the heated space and hear only the sounds of the sauna oven expanding and contracting under demand.  Listening deeper to hear the sounds inside my body was a challenge as the heat brought on perspiring thoughts that needed wicking at least as much as my skin did 🙂

 

 

Class #5 notes

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Monday, Feb 10th Class Listening

Jon Brion - was the original producer 
Capital Records

Marjorie Fair - band
Don't believe - song
Don’t Believe
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only there to take you away
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only tryIng to take you away It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself

Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only there to scare you away
Don’t believe a word they say
they’re only trying to scare you away

It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself

It only feels this way
It only feels this way
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself
thats what I tell myself

drums, guitar (beatles-like sound on guitar riff)  bass guitar 
airy mid-range sounds (wah wah) fill-in made by guitar!!
lead vocal & accompanying vocals (harmonizing x2 different back up vocal sounds but same singer so mixed in later)
feedback loop -  fill allowed to grow and damper out (whitenoise)

on my way home - old school hymn like song played faintly in the intro and at the end 
made to sound like radio playing
influences:
beatles
pink floyd
radiohead - see Sigaros? from Iceland who are taking sonic sound recording to the next level

'shoegaze'? - new gendre 
recorded in 2001-2003

meloncholy vibe psychotic lead singer/song writer
no radio friendly songs
pick up note on the drum kick - pushes the ballad forward, energetic
sonic properties:  starts with very little distortion and builds up & down 
ends with lots of distortion
mp3

DI – DIRECT INPUT (removes the microphone from the audio chain) MONO

Why Mono?

mono recording - depth/room vs vocal or instrument 
(singer is tight on the mike and move the instrument around the room for depth of field)
mono recording back in vogue/ one take recordings popular
mono can be mastered at high levels
bonus - don't have to worry about phase
think about the mix as you go - mix on the floor with instruments etc rather than in post
carbon mike frequencies from 500 hz to 2500 hz=  crisp midrange

retro sound – unpredictable and cannot control levels on carbon mike

coming up next:

STEREO MIKING – WIDTH OF FIELD

XY  AB  M-S  AMBT  ORTF  BLUMLEIN

Mikes:  251, 447, 487, 467, C12 c24 AKG 414, 57,58 7B, 421,441, 44 & 77 ribbons, 121, 122 + $ 60,000.00

Mike Pre-Amps:  1064, 1073, 1081, API 50a, SSL 4000

Compressors:  LA 2A, 1176, DBX160, FATSO

Dave’s fav chain:   RCA 44 – UA610 with built in compressor – AMPEX reel tape –

BOOKS TO READ:  BEHIND THE GLASS 1 & 2

DRUM MIKING TECHNIQUES COMING UP IN TWO WEEKS

IMAGINE WHERE THE SOUND IS COMING FROM IN STEREO (IS THE SNARE LOUDER?  IS IT AT 10 OR 20)

MORE DETAILED BLIND FOLD HEARING INWARD - CONNECT WITH SOUND INSIDE 
35 MIN OUTSIDE BIG OPEN SPACE AND 35 INSIDE
30 QUESTIONS RE DRUMS RECORDING
20 QUESTIONS ON APPLICATIONS OF OF ALL OF THE STEREO TECHNIQUES:
XY, AB, M-S, AMBT, ORTF, BLUMLEIN

bababa big 9 blog – week 4

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Learning to Listen for the nine essential elements

with a focus on depth of field

Artist:  JANIS JOPLIN  (Janis_Joplin)

COLUMBIA RECORDS “JANIS JOPLIN GREATEST HITS”  1973 compilation vinyl  (Greatest_Hits)

other links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Brother_and_The_Holding_Company  (Janis lead vocals 1966-1968)

Here is is but…it’s MUCH better on vinyl 🙂

Song:  at 27:30….BYE, BYE BABY  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpA7vy0y9UE  

Listening_ headphones & pink hair

Ok, so what are the Big Nine Again?

1. CONCEPT OR THEME – motivation/vibe

R&B

2. MELODY – LaLa-LaLA-LaLA….and so on

bye bye bye baby bye bye

can’t help but sing along every time i hear this song…makes it more difficult to hear the instrumental nuances

3. RHTHYM – Drums/Bass & Rhythm Guitar hold time

4. HARMONY – complimentary melody with different notes (diad/triad)

lead guitar (no vocal accompaniment)

5LYRICS – the story:

“Bye, Bye Baby”

Bye, bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.
I maybe seeing you around
When I change my living standard and I move uptown,
Bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.

So long, my honey, so long.
Too bad you had to drift away
‘Cause I could use some company
Right here on this road, on this road I’m on today.

I get the feeling I could chase you clean on in the ball
And wind up staying pull off, put down strung out and stalled.
Honey, I ain’t got time to wait on you or to fetch your super ball,
I got lots of things I’ve got to do.

I know that you got things to do and places to be.
I guess I’ll have to find the thing you placed on me.
I may wind up in the street or sleep beneath a tree,
Still I guess you know honey I’ve gotta go.

Bye, bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.
I guess you know you’re on your own,
It seems you just got lost somewhere out in the world
And you left me here to face it all alone,
You left me here to face it all alone,
You left me here to face it all alone,
Bye, bye-bye baby, baby bye-bye!

6.  DENSITY – the amount of stuff in the sound space (# of tracks/instruments, etc)

i am thinking that lead guitar/drums/bass guitar were recorded in a studio on separate tracks.

and vocals recorded live – remastered for the “Greatest Hits” album

Drums sound Centerstage right along with mono vocals Downstage Right Centre, lead guitar Upstage left

https://i1.wp.com/0.tqn.com/d/plays/1/0/A/-/-/-/stageright01.jpg

7.  INSTRUMENTATION

lead vocals, drums, lead & bass guitar

8. SONG STRUCTURE  (intro/verse/chorus/bridge)

AABB bridge A

9. PERFORMANCE – plat de résistance

Great vocals, lots of energy (why i am thinking vocals were recorded live)

also:

QUALITY OF THE GEAR & THE RECORDING

THE MIX

MASTERING