No Electrical Fun Today

Jen was going to rewire the light switch in the dining room today because she’s absolutely amazing. She was doing a little research last night and found that our switch contains some stuff that we weren’t prepared to deal with, so we gave it a miss and are looking to have an electrician come in. That means one of the two main projects on the agenda for today didn’t happen. The other main project is my super hero wife making spaghetti sauce from scratch. It’s on the stove right now and it smells so good.

You would think that I would have used this extra time to record guitars. Nope. Not yet. Maybe after dinner. That seems like a decent plan. If not, tomorrow. Instead of guitars I worked on drums. Not literally, more like I worked on GarageBand functions that simulate drums.

GarageBand has a tool called Session Drummers. There are a bunch of different “drummers” to choose from, all with different styles and different quirks. I tend to bounce back and forth between two. One that is pretty straight ahead rock and another that is more R&B. For the last two (I think) Quarantine projects I only used the rock drummer. I was planning on sticking with the R&B drummer for RPM but, with eight songs underway, I changed my mind. I went through a bunch of the options available today and picked a different Rock thing. I then changed the drummer on all eight songs.

Will the listener be able to tell the difference? Nope. Not likely.

Does it matter to anyone on the planet Earth other than me? Nope. Not at all.

Damn if that sauce doesn’t smell gooooood.

I Guess I Screwed That Up

Does that title count as click bait? I think it might when I actually describe my screw up and share that it’s nothing anyone on Earth would ever give the slightest care about. Whatevs.

I just royally screwed up a music track. I started a GarageBand file for a song that someday might be on Quarantine Tunes Volume 6, which is odd given that I haven’t finished volume 5 yet. Whatevs.

It’s a song that pre-dates using GarageBand and it’s full of riffs that start an 8th note ahead of the downbeat. That means my usual method of breaking down parts into sections doesn’t work cleanly. So I was putting together the bass part and I was working on two tracks. I’d record a few bars, including the off beat thing, play it back and make sure it lined up correctly, and then join the new section to the old section, which left me with one giant MIDI track instead of the usual segmented track, which means absolutely nothing to anyone who hasn’t actually looked at one of my GarageBand files before, which means it means absolutely nothing to everyone on the planet except for me. Whatevs.

I was all the way to the end of the song and I could only see the last 20 bars or so on the screen and I some how accidentally deleted everything I had done that at that moment was off the screen. Meaning I essentially have to do the whole stupid bass track over again. I tried Command-Z but there was nothing to bring back. Whatevs.

Ugh… I feel like an amateur. I feel like a tool.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Air Pods Max Weirdness

I worked on some lyrics for three of the November songs tonight. I won’t do car music tomorrow, but whenever I do it I’ll have November stuff to work on.

I had my step son’s Air Pods Max that he loaned to me on when I started and there was weirdness. I had two guitar tracks. One was panned hard left so it only plays out of the left speaker. The other is panned hard right so it only comes out of the right speaker. When I had the Air Pods Max on I was getting stereo output, meaning I had music in both ears, but the right guitar wasn’t there. I switched to wired headphones without changing any of the tracks and the right guitar was there.

Most peculiar.

Thursday Morning Hype

Game one of the Red Sox/Rays Division Series is tonight at 8:00ish. Are we psyched? Are we hyped? You know it. The Rays were the best team in the American League this year and the chances of us taking them out are slim to none. No negativity from me though, if any team can take those Floridians out it’s us. The whole team has already had Covid, so we don’t even have to worry about them waging biological warfare or anything crazy like that. I mean, we know how much Florida loves spreading the Covid, right*?

I did a little music today before work. Are you proud of me? I didn’t actually play guitar, I just redid some midi tracks on a GarageBand file for the re-recording thing. I redid all of the drums and bass tracks for one song from the summer. I now have three of those songs patiently waiting for new guitar tracks, and one new song patiently waiting as well. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe this weekend. Someday. Soon.

Okay, folks. Back to work with all of you. Stop surfing around the internet reading boring old people’s brain droolings.

11 hours to game time! Go Red Sox!


*This is sarcasm. The Red Sox’s Covid outbreak recently was awful and dangerous and nothing to laugh at. Also, the Florida state government’s insulting response to Covid is nothing to laugh about. The governor of Florida seems to think the best way to drum up support for a run for president in 2024 is to let as many of his constituents die of an easily preventable disease as possible.

Car Music Fail

I knew this was going to happen eventually, and today kinda became the day.

If you go back to all the car music posts from the last year or so, at some point I start talking about having signal flow problems. There are signal drop outs and extraneous noises and things that make takes unusable. Eventually the system I use for my personal Rolling Truck Stones Thing was going to fail. Today I only had two songs to work on and I spent a full hour on one of them, just trying to get the signal to hold together for eight or nine bars. It was so painful.

The frustration comes from not knowing where the breakdown is happening. What could it be?

  1. The microphone
  2. The connection between the mic and the mic cable
  3. The mic cable
  4. The connection between the mic cable and the USB interface
  5. The USB interface
  6. The connection between the USB interface and the USB cable
  7. The USB cable
  8. The connection between the USB cable and the USB to USB C adapter
  9. The USB to USB C adapter
  10. The connection between the USB to USB C adapter and the USB C port on the computer

Today’s issues happened in more than one USB C port, so I know it wasn’t the port. I also know it isn’t the sound card or GarageBand itself because both of those work perfectly when I’m at home and using a different USB interface. That rules out the tail end of the chain, but every other device or connection could be the culprit.

The next time I do this I am going to take a different mic, a different mic cable, a different USB cable, and a different USB adapter. If it still happens then I know the interface itself is the problem.

The upside is that I actually did get that one song finished. It probably sounds like dung, but it’s finished. So the trip was a success as far as the goal to record one song per month is concerned. It was a frustrating, painful fail as far as everything else was concerned.

The Music Day is Complete

Vocals this morning, lead guitars this evening, and a mix down tonight. Cool!

The RPM Challenge folks are running a secondary challenge to record at least one song each month for the year. It started in March. I now officially have a submission for March and April. Bring on May!

As a challenge within the challenge within the challenge, I made myself write the vocal melody first. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before. I’m not too upset with the results. It doesn’t suck as bad as most of the garbage I write.

I used the Rat clone I bought last month for most of the leads. I’m liking it. I also used the Ryra Klon Klone pedal after the main dirt source. That’s the opposite of how I normally set things up, but Mick from That Pedal Show keeps suggesting we try the Klon as a boost at the end of the chain and now that I’ve done it… I might have to rethink everything. I like it.

GarageBand to the Rescue

Harry needed to record a piano piece for school. He was going to put his headphones up against his iPhone’s mic.

Oh no, my good sir. No.

I hooked him up to a two channel USB interface and got him up and running in GarageBand on his Mac.

He’s recording tracks like a pro* now.


*Okay, maybe not a pro. More like an avid amateur, like his step father.

Groovy.

Musical Day – So Far

364/365

Let’s summarize today’s musical milestones.

First, I mixed a song. It was the 26th song for 50/90 overall, but it was also the 10th song written and recorded entirely within the month of August. That means for the seventh month in a row I have completed an RPM Challenge rules, album in a month in 29 days. That is insane.

After that I arranged two sets of ideas, just bass and drums, into something that passes for a song form.

After that, I recorded lead guitars on two songs, then took a break to help my step son with a project, then recorded lead guitars on three more. When I ran out of songs that were ready for leads I added rhythm guitars to three songs.

I am now, temporarily, out of songs that are ready for guitar parts of any kind. I have five songs that are ready to mix, and I expect to pick off one or two tonight, and six songs that are ready for lyrics.

Wow.

I still want to kick off at least three more ideas before August ends. I want to be at least at 40 songs by the end of the month and I’m at 37 now.

Next up is dinner, and then probably a memorial viewing of Black Panther. Then I’ll try to mix another song.

Yikes.