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Saturday February 11 2006
Watching Classic Albums
for the nth time. Dark Side of the Moon again this time, which is always worth the time it takes to watch. The album, of course, is really quite good. I needed to run it off onto DVD, since I only had this program on tape before and I am rather keen on having things I regard as vital cultural artifacts preserved in as many media as possible. I am, and I make no apology, certainly going to watch these Classic Albums programmes many times again. I love the part in the one on Dark Side where Alan Parsons muses that in the days pre-automation the mix was every bit as much a performance as a gig. And as a result, today's technology has lost us that pleasure and feel.
Fortunately there is no automation on the desk I fly (which at the moment is in stasis pending fund-raising for the furtherance of the current project), but this is a double-edged sword. I love the mixing being manual when we're putting down the final mix to a master. But having an automated setup would be great when doing the original takes and sub-mixes. It would save a hell of a lot of time. I suppose, in any case, that in the art of the DJ and of the remixer the real-time riding of the faders is in large measure still at the forefront of what is going on. Only the context has changed. Actually, I think there's a lot of fascinating stuff to study in the way that music and technology combine, and more specifically in the development of the recording studio as an instrument in itself. But then of course I do some production. The one thing I can state with any certainty is that there is a hell of a lot to learn. But then it is pretty much the best fun to be had with one's trousers on, and in fact even with them down about half way.
I wonder what it would sound like if I did a mix where the faders were set at levels which mirrored the agreed level of trouser implied by the individual track concerned. Drums and lead guitar high in the mix, I suppose, with keys and strings and ambient samples relatively quiet perhaps. Good grief, it'd all turn into prog. I don't know that this is as exciting an idea as all that upon reflection. All that happens is that loud is deemed exciting, which we all know; of course in my scheme the loud comes before the exciting since it's the trouser of the track that gets it turned up. But the timbre dictates the volume, and in imagining that the fader level is voted upwards. It's a male closed-feedback loop. Trousers, of course, are unisex.
Posted at 7:04 pm by Jim Woods
Thursday February 9 2006
There are limits to how many films I can watch,
esoteric coffees I can track down, and most worryingly walks I can take. All of which means two things: It's time I got cracking on the spring maintenance of house and garden, and time I was back in the studio. Still bloody cold, mind you...
Posted at 3:45 pm by Jim Woods
Monday February 6 2006
It's a good job that, having spent my pocket money for some time on a big TV,
I do at least feel like hiding at home from the cold and watching it. Forays to town for cheap-deal DVDs and coffees, but that's about it until I plunge back into the garden and sort it, and do likewise at the studio. Actually, it'll be good to plunge into the garden of the studio again, since the pleasure is unalloyed because I don't have to think about keeping that one up. My mother is threatening to give me an old pair of loppers so long that they will not fit in any vehicle I know of or have access to. You could trespass-garden both neighbours with these. I think they must be designed for the sort of gardening you go too in a four ton flatbed truck. Really, you'd never get them there otherwise.
It's exciting here, I can tell you.
I wish I wasn't waiting for various things. It'd be a good time for a break abroad, but that fund went on the TV. Short of blowing the contingency fund, which is sort of earmarked for heating-sorting, I am grounded just now. Listening to John Sinclair is very tranquil. Listening to Alan Watts is very illuminating. My wireless optical mouse is what might be termed a battery tiger in China. Google Earth remains a joy, and high resolution has crept to within a mile or so of my house...
Posted at 10:17 pm by Jim Woods