Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PCS&T CD Update

I promised regular updates... I was planning to do it on Fridays, but I missed last Friday. I've been down with a cold and not getting a whole lot done.

Besides that, I've been having some software trouble. (You may want to skip this paragraph if you're not a home recording geek!) I spent one afternoon on the phone with a support tech at MOTU trying to figure out why my Digital Performer software wouldn't recognize my MBox interface. The guy was very helpful and patient with me but we never really tracked down the problem. It turns out the trouble lies with the Mbox software. If anyone out there has the same trouble, here's what I found out from Digidesign: you can't let your computer go to sleep while the MBox is connected or DM will lose track of it. If DM does loose track of it, shut the computer down, disconnect the MBox, start up and re-connect the MBox (or something like that.)

Anyway, I have made some progress. I've been working on lyrics to "Dog Books" and "A Pet Like That." I finally tracked down the Dr. Seuss book I wanted to reference in "A Pet Like That"! I've been through every Dr. Seuss in the library trying to find it! I KNEW there was a Seuss with weird pets in it. I had specific images and words in my head, but I couldn't find them in any of the Seuss books I looked at. I've been searching for months! Then we were at Paw Paw and Grandma's house the other day culling out books from Evalyn's stash, and out pops One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and I knew immediately. Sure enough that was the one. Turns out the library puts the easy reader Seuss books on a different shelf, so I had been overlooking it.

I also finished a complete draft of "Dog Books." Lisa thinks it's the weakest song on my list so far! I like it though. I'm anxious to sing it for some kids and find out what they think.

On the recording end, I've been working on Villa Villakula Hula. I put together an "island drums" section using the toms from my drum kit. This was just as I was deciding to sell the kit, so I set up one last recording session, and the moment it was done, the drums went out the door and into the car. I used gating, compression, and EQ to try and make the toms sound more like island-type hand drums, and I'm still trying to decide if I'll use them. The kit, meanwhile is at Daddy O's if anyone wants some drums. They were taking up too much space in the living room to justify keeping it given the rarity with which I actually used them. You can see a photo of the kit on the back of the Great Green Squishy Mean Concert CD. I'll miss having it to bang around on but I'll be able to buy an electric guitar with the proceeds.

Do you have a talking bird? If so, let me know! I've been collecting bird recordings for a planned piece tentatively titled "Bird Brains." It will be a sound collage of birds speaking - parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, etc., set to a danceable beat. I won't really know what it'll sound like until I have the bird recordings to work with. I've posted to many bird groups at Yahoo! and I've received clips of five or six birds so far. Some of them are really amazing. Did you know African Grey parrots are considered to be as intelligent as dolphins or chimps? They can be taught to actually communicate with speech. They can ask for what they want and answer questions like "What's different about this?" (the color, size, shape, etc.) The stuff I learn writing songs for kids! That's one of the things I love about this job.

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays!

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