Radiohead remix


I’ve been having a hard time getting myself into the studio to finish up slowburn, so I did a quick remix of Radiohead’s “Reckoner”, my current favorite song from their latest album “In Rainbows”. Give it a listen, and vote for it by clicking on the “+” if you like it. If you want to remix it yourself it’s only 99 cents for the six unmixed tracks in the iTunes store.

Saturday night, Bryan Campbell came over and took some pictures of random gear in the studio to use as a basis for the album artwork. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he does with it, I’ll put up some pictures when he’s had a chance to work on them.

Having successfully gotten myself back in the studio to work on that remix, I’m going to try to finish up the album this week. I have a list of very specific things to work on, and I’m hoping it will go quickly once I get into a groove. Here’s hoping I’ll have the final mix for you soon.

Recap

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Submodern: The Next Generation

Maddox

Congratulations to Vida and Dallas, on the newest addition to the Kashuba family, Maddox!

Recap

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Sick again

I caught yet another head cold this week, and have been too congested to work on anything. I’ve been listening to the latest mix off and on, and have a good idea what I need to do to finish it up, I just need to be able to do it with a clear head. Hopefully I’ll be able to start up again very soon. I’m not sure what’s up with my sinuses, but it’s been a particularly bad year.

Recap

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More Videogames

I’ve been listening to the latest and greatest full album mix while playing some videogames. I’ve heard these songs way too many times, so I need something to distract me enough to listen to the music and get the big picture, rather than obsessing about the individual bits and pieces. Of course, I also just like playing videogames.

The more frantic game I have been playing is “Super Stardust HD”, which is a souped-up version of Asteroids that constantly throws a bunch of stuff at you and keeps you in a perpetual state of panic as you try to blow everything up without running into anything. This game definitely takes my mind off the minutiae of the mix, as well as inspireing me to curse loudly and creatively at the TV. The music actually goes along with it surprisingly well even though it’s comparatively very mellow. It’s kind of like playing Grand Theft Auto with the ambient station on, I guess.

The other game is “Endless Ocean” which is a super chilled out diving game. You swim around petting fish, dolphins, penguins, whales and various other creatures. The game is mostly about exploring the ocean, with a few optional goals you don’t really have to do, and absolutely zero violence or killing. The music goes great with this game too, and the audio output of the Wii goes through the TV rather than the stereo, so I get to listen to the music on yet another set of speakers/headphones.

I did find out that “Endless Ocean” does not like mp3s encoded at 256kbps. When I tried to use that file it sounded like I was underwater with weird bubbly distortions to the sound. At first I thought that was actually an intentional feature, since it is a diving game, but it wasn’t. Encoding the mix at mere “good” quality 128kbps fixed everything.

This past week I worked on five of the songs, and I’m very happy with the latest mix. I fixed up “hummin” to the point where I don’t think I’ll need to add beats, fixed a few sounds in “puppy” that were bugging me when I listened on headphones, and chopped out some extraneous parts on “lemon”, “rollover” and “lurp” to tighten them up and simplify them. Everything is sounding really good, and I’m hoping to finish everything up this week by focusing on adding some fun and cool little bits. The one remaining problem is the last track, which I’m still not 100% happy with, but I’m making progress there too. Again, almost there!

Recap

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More Beck, Less Slowburn

Saw Beck again, this time at the Independent on Sunday night. This was a much smaller show than at the Outside Lands Festival and it was fantastic. The highlight was when everyone in the band put down their instruments and grabbed handheld grooveboxes for “Hell Yes”, as shown in the picture, with Beck using a DJ fake-vinyl scratching program on an iPhone while he rapped through a headset mic. Dan the Automator of Gorillaz and Dr. Octagon production fame opened with a DJ set. Fun night!

Edit: SF Chronicle article about the show.

I basically didn’t work on slowburn at all this week, other than listening to it every day and writing down the remaining things I want to work on. I am contemplating adding beats to the first and last songs, as they currently are the two parts that aren’t working for me. Part of me says I should spend more time getting them to work as they are, but a louder part is telling me to finish this project up by whatever means necessary, and a simple unavoidable truth of electronic music is that adding a beat makes almost anything sound better. One option if I did add beats to them would be to also release a free beatless version of the entire album, which could be cool…

Instead of doing real work, I played around with the Tenori-On and started plotting out a post-slowburn strategy for releasing some more new music. I started by organizing all the little music fragments I’d written since I got the Tenori-On four months ago, and found to my pleasant surprise that I had about one hundred and thirty different little musical bits saved on there. That’s a lot of song ideas! The device is a bit over-priced, and has a number of technical shortcomings, but it is clearly a great match for me as far as inspiring me to write new music. Anyway, I sorted through them all, picked out the best bits, and chose around thirty to work on further and hopefully develop into two to three minute little songs.

My tentative plan is to release digitally through iTunes a series of EPs with 4-5 of these little Tenori-On songs each, as a little side project while we figure out where submodern will go next. Dallas and I have talked about focusing on our Cryptic Funk record label, and trying to move in to the digital age by doing smaller and more frequent releases instead of waiting to have enough songs to fill up a CD. This project would help us dip our toes into that and figure out the technical process of releasing things purely digitally. Our eventual goal is to help other people release their music through the label and in doing so promote the sort of melodic electronic music we like. For now though, being able to release my own songs more quickly and easily would be cool.

Anyway… the bottom line is I spent the week screwing around with the Tenori-On instead of finishing up the album!

So, enough fun stuff, time to buckle down and finish this project. First priority is finding some way to be happy with the first and last songs. Second priority is to work more on some of the builds, and add a little effects weirdness to sections of the percussion, as well as finalize the drum bus processing. Last priority is to add any little touches necessary to make things a little more interesting and cover up any remaining things that are bugging me. Here we go, hopefully…

Recap

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UAD-2 revealed!

The Universal Audio plugins have been my favorite and most used plugins during this project. I’ve used their Neve EQs on every song, the Plate 140 reverb plugin on many of them, and the Roland chorus and delay plugins all over the place. The biggest problem I’ve had is that the plugins don’t run natively on your computer, you have to buy a separate card and use its DSP to run them, and those UAD-1 cards just weren’t powerful enough to run enough plugins at the same time. Well, today they finally announced their new UAD-2 cards with a lot more power, definitely check them out if you’re interested in these plugins!

http://www.uaudio.com/

One catch for me is the cards seem to be PCI-E only, so I would need to buy a new Intel Mac to put them in, and looking at the Apple store, MacPros are quite expensive. It also looks like all the old plugins I bought (and I bought a lot of them) are only free to upgrade to UAD-2 through the end of this year, so I’d have to buy both a new Mac and a new UAD-2 within the next few months if I wanted to get all my old plugins for free. Pretty lame, actually. I’ll have to think about this one.

Random

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Outside Lands Festival

Back in San Francisco, and spent the weekend in Golden Gate Park at the Outside Lands Festival.


Beck playing at the smaller Sutro Stage. He should have been at the main stage, it was way too crowded and the sound system was weak. His new album is excellent.


Radiohead on the main stage closing out the first night. Completely fantastic performance in the fog of SF.


Wilco on the Twin Peaks stage, almost exactly the same spot where I saw Jeff Tweedy play last fall at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. They should have been on the main stage too, and should have been scheduled more time. They sounded great, they were just getting into a nice groove for the last few songs and then had to stop.

Also saw Tom Petty, Primus, Broken Social Scene and some others. A fun way to spend the weekend, and the last day in particular was sunny and perfect. Pictures are courtesy of Joleen’s fancy schmancy new iPhone, which unfortunately has no zoom.

Edit: Nice photos with zoom at Pitchfork.

I managed to write a number of new songs on the Tenori-On while we were in Glacier, I’m thinking I will do a quick little album of Tenori-On songs after I’m done with slowburn. For now, it’s back to finishing it up. Burning Man is happening this week, so maybe this would be an appropriate time to end the project, three years after we performed it there.

Random

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Headed out to Glacier National Park

I’m headed out of town to Glacier National Park in Montana for a week of hiking, relaxing and unplugging from the internet. I’m bringing my Tenori-On to hopefully write some new music, or at least have some fun playing around with it.

Here’s the preview mix of slowburn. This is the whole album and it is really almost done now! Once I get back, I just need to tweak a few little last bits and then figure out what we are going to do as far as releasing it. I also need to convert a couple of the songs into a format that people can use to remix them, and maybe make a youtube video for one of them. Anyway, if you get a chance to listen to it, let me know what you think. At this point I’ve lost most of my perspective on whether or not it’s actually any good… which is a sure sign that it is in fact nearly finished.

See you in a week!

Recap

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Mixing Tea&Toast

I am still alive and (soon to be again) mixing. Last weekend I was out of town on a trip, and by the time I got back I had caught some sort of cold/flu bug. Needless to say, a head full of congestion and feeling cruddy in general is no way to finish up a mix, so I’ve spent this week sitting on the couch scarfing down Dayquil, drinking fluids, and feeling sorry for myself rather than being inside the studio working on the songs. The congestion has now mostly moved from my head down to my chest, so I’m hoping to get back in the studio tomorrow, and cough my way to the finish line.

While starting to mix “tea&t” I was listening to Aphex Twin “Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2″, Brian Eno “Ambient 1: Music For Airports”, and Biosphere “Substrata”. I’ve tentatively decided to take the drums out of this one, so that the first and last songs are both beatless. So far it is sounding okay but it just hasn’t quite gelled yet, although it is starting to get there. Before I left last weekend, I also put together a new full album mix which is currently clocking in at fifty nine minutes exactly. I have a feeling this is probably where it’s going to end up length-wise.

After I get the “tea&t” mix done, I need to go back and do some touch-up bits to all the other mixes based on how they sound in the context of the whole album, and work on getting the interludes between the songs right. I will be leaving town again in a week for another trip, and the goal is to have a nearly-final mix to put up here before I leave.

“tea&t” to-do list:
-SIMPLIFY
-timing seems a bit off at certain points, nudge pads a little
-parts need to be more subtle, less upfront
-more of the lead part at the end?
-more bass parts
-acidy part sticks out too much, send it to the back
-some delays need to be longer, too much activity
-need automation on delays
-volume automate noises and blips
-fade parts in and out slowly
-need to do builds without drums
-more effects on the big pad
-more careful use of reverb
-figure out how how wide the song should feel
-use gain plugin to swap l/r for liquid stereo-izing

Planning

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Mixing Hummin

Mixing the first song on the album, “hummin”, and listening to Bola “Soup”, Air “Moon Safari”, and Cocteau Twins “Heaven or Las Vegas”. This is the only track without any drums, which has made mixing it a bit of a challenge for me. I may also take the drums off the last track, “tea&t”, so there is some symmetry to the flow of the album. Or maybe not.

“hummin” to-do list:
-SIMPLIFY
-fix delay on bass
-bass is too hazy and distant, take off some effects
-little verb on bass
-eq big pad
-new reverb on pad chorus bus?
-effects/eq/volume on noises
-long verb on noise wash
-make clicky intro noises more interesting
-slowly fade percussion sounds in and out
-crash for big builds?
-automate volume
-automate width
-quiet/loud dynamics

Planning

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