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Messages - mgriffin

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 05:24:04 PM »
I think Mike brings up a great point about learning vs timing vs quantity.

My studio and my studio "life" as such are divided into two distinct areas,

On the recording side I have a pretty hard and fast rule that If there is a piece of equipment that I have not used in six months or so, I usually sell it. It makes no sense to have a studio full of stuff that sits there and does nothing while we tend to gravitate toward certain pieces over and over.

Only once have I sold a piece I regretted, I spend much more time wondering..."Do I really need this and could that money be better used elsewhere?"


Anyway, I know that for many gear hounds and synth enthusiasts this is pure heresy...

Paul, I think you're right that many gear hounds and collectors are much better at acquiring new equipment than at selling it or getting rid of it.  But I think your approach is sane and practical, and I'm trying to figure out how to get there myself.  I made some efforts a year or two ago to get rid of maybe 10 pieces of gear that I wasn't using at all.  I still have some redundant or (for me) obsolete gear that I think I'll try to sell soon. Maybe after the new year I'll make a little list and put it up here.

Lately, though, I'm moving the opposite direction, having purchased two pieces of gear in the last few months from people selling it here on the Forum!

Everything and Nothing / Re: The Hobbit and Peter Jackson
« on: December 27, 2007, 04:56:11 PM »
A few more details on the upcoming Hobbit film(s) produced by Peter Jackson, swiped from Wikipedia:

On December 18, 2007, it was announced that Jackson would be executive producer of The Hobbit and its sequel: Jackson is busy with The Lovely Bones and Tintin. Back-to-back shooting on these films will begin in 2009, and each film will be released in December 2010 and December 2011 respectively. NL and MGM will co-finance the film, and the latter studio will distribute the films outside North America NL's first ever such deal with another major studio. Shooting will again take place in New Zealand, and Weta Workshop and Weta Digital are expected to offer their services once more.[72] The set for Bag End and the miniatures for Rivendell were kept after production of the trilogy.[70]

It was MGM who expressed interest in another prequel film, set between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.[73] Jackson concurred, stating "one of the drawbacks of The Hobbit is [that] it's relatively lightweight compared to LOTR... There...[are] a lot of sections in which a character like Gandalf disappears for a while. From memory I mean, I haven't read it for a while now but I think he references going off to meet with the White Council, who are actually characters like Galadriel and Saruman and people that we see in Lord of the Rings. He mysteriously vanishes for a while and then comes back, but we don't really know what goes on."[70]

Sam Raimi had expressed interest in directing The Hobbit under Jackson,[67] while Guillermo del Toro also said "it would be a privilege" to direct, having met Jackson.[74] MGM CEO Harry Sloan said, "Neither us nor New Line would want to hire a director that Peter was not completely comfortable with." He also mentioned Jackson and Fran Walsh would co-operate on the scripts, and that Jackson may direct the second prequel as he would have completed Tintin.[75] The actors Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen and Cate Blanchett had said they would reprise their roles as Legolas, Aragorn and Galadriel respectively with Jackson,[76][77][78] while Ian McKellen said he would like to play Gandalf: Jackson had told him, "You must play Gandalf whether I direct or not."[79] Composer Howard Shore had also said he has thought of some themes for the film.[80]

Hypnos Label Releases / Re: Viridian Sun
« on: December 27, 2007, 04:50:32 PM »
Thanks for your comments -- you might check the "Studio pics" topic in the "Everything and Nothing" area where I have added some notes to the pictures.  Nothing too revealing, but a few remarks about what you're seeing in the pictures.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 10:44:51 AM »
Hey there Mike,

I didn't realize what a great looking guy you were:)....hmmm..when do we get to see shots of Lena now doing her thing???? hmmmm:)...

I will probably post mine soon but considering my studio is very very simple and laid out simple enough....I am one of those that do everything, most everything through the computer, etc....only thing I use is my keyboard....

Lena can't do her thing with anyone watching.  Oh, you mean her music thing!  Well, I think Lena's shy enough about recording music without having me photograph her while she's playing.  Maybe some day.

As for me, I'd have to be a "great looking guy" to win the heart of a red hot sexpot like Lena, wouldn't I?   ;)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 10:40:17 AM »
Yep, its a nice little working system, everything in reach where I need it.
That synth is a korg MS2000 keyboard version -- it came with
those old-school hardwood ends.

I thought I recognized that thing, and was pretty sure it was a modern mini-synth with retro-style wood end caps.  In fact, I almost bought an MS2000 keyboard once, and always thought it was a good-sounding and fun-to-twiddle synth for the money.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Now watching
« on: December 26, 2007, 04:09:29 PM »
This has been the first Christmas I haven't watched a single of the traditional Christmas season movies or shows (It's a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street, Christmas Story, Charlie Brown Christmas, Grinch, any of the Rankin/Bass stuff).

We did watch The Bourne Ultimatum late last week and thought it was really great, every bit as good as the first two Bourne movies if not better.

Also watched Quidam which is a Cirque du Soleil video, one of a series of CDS videos that document their various shows.  Quidam is older, I think, maybe the third or fourth one they came up with.  Some of the bits are definitely recycled, I think, from show to show.  Lena and I saw Mystere live in Las Vegas on our honeymoon, and there was at least one routine that was very similar between the two shows (utilizing a man and a woman in Quidam, and two men in Mystere) but it doesn't really take away from the fun and spectacle of these shows.  Every time I see Cirque du Soleil I enjoy it so much I feel like I want to see all the rest of the shows I haven't seen.

Everything and Nothing / Re: New reviews at Melliflua
« on: December 26, 2007, 04:01:32 PM »
Thanks for the 3 Hypnos reviews, Dene.  Well actually, it's one Hypnos, one Hypnos/Binary, and one Hypnos Secret Sounds.  Anyway, I enjoyed all of them and appreciate the support.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 26, 2007, 03:27:38 PM »

Only shot I have right now. Its a temporary setup in teh basement
while I renovate my studio room.

I like your setup, APK, even though the pic is softer-focused than an episode of Moonlighting!

What's the keyboard in the right foreground?

Hypnos Label Releases / Re: Viridian Sun
« on: December 26, 2007, 12:03:47 PM »
Here are some quick & candid pics of the Viridian Sun sessions from Saturday.  I'll annotate these a little bit later.

(cross-posted from the "studio pics" topic started by Numina, in the "Everything and Nothing" area of the Forum)

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 26, 2007, 12:02:42 PM »
Here are some quick & candid pics of the Viridian Sun sessions from Saturday.  I'll annotate these a little bit later.

First pic (these are posted out of the order they happened)... I'm playing bass front and center, Dave is playing guitar with mallets.  I'm actually sitting in front of the main computer (Mac Pro) in the center of the studio and Dave is over to one side.  None of the pics show the other half of the studio, which is more set up for graphics stuff anyway. You can't see much else in the studio at all, actually, but that's Lena's cello behind Dave, and there's a microphone stand and a mostly-empty gear rack back there too.

Slightly out of focus shot of Dave, taken from the studio doorway.  You can see my Nord Modular (not used in these sessions) in the foreground.  I think we're actually playing and tape is rolling at this point, even though Dave's not touching the guitar.  He has some loops running and he's just tweaking settings.  In the background you can see most of the keyboard & synth part of the studio.  On the left is my Yamaha 01/V mixer mounted almost vertically, then a 3-tier keyboard stand with a Kawai K5000S on top, then a Korg Triton, and a Roland D-50.  The two racks in front of the keyboard stand include a bunch of rack-mount synths in the one on the left (Waldorf Microwave XT, Roland JV2080, Korg O3R/W, Yamaha TG77, and the one on the right is a pre-amp & FX rig for recording guitar and bass, with a Joe Meek pre-amp/compressor/EQ, and effects including a TC Electronics M2000, a Digitech Studio Quad that I just use for weird, noisy modulation effects, a Behringer Ultrafex reverb, and a couple of Electrix filter effects.

This third pic shows more of the computer setup.  The computer (out of frame) is a Mac Pro quad Intel processor with a bunch of RAM and a bunch of hard drives.  The monitor is an Apple 30" HD cinema display.  There are Mackie 824 monitors on the desk, though at present the right monitor is raised up on top of a small rack that holds a patch bay, an Alesis Masterlink, a Lexicon PCM91 reverb, and an Avalon 747 analog compressor/EQ.  There's a black Steinberger electric guitar leaning up against the desk, mostly covered by a white Steinberger bass.

I'm not sure if we're actually playing here, or just talking about "what next?" in between tracks.  But you can see Dave's setup a bit more clearly (I don't know the names of all the pedals), and you can see my Yamaha S80 weighted piano/synth up against the wall, with a little lamp on top of it.

Here we're playing.  I'm wailing on the bass to such a degree that I'm about to tip over backward in my chair!  You can see Ableton Live on the screen but it's a very simple setup, just two audio tracks, each with a stereo pair from the MOTU 828 interface (on the shelf below the monitor), one pair from my bass & FX and one from Dave and his guitar & FX.

Not much is visible here that's not visible in the other pics... except the back of the sheet music stand I guess.

Here's another on the "scene" from the first picture, except Dave has picked up the guitar, and I'm looking at the screen with a concerned expression.  The small rack with the patchbay, the Lexicon PCM91, the Masterlink and the Avalon is more visible here and on the shelf below that you can see the MOTU 828 and the rarely-used Tascam DAT deck.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 26, 2007, 11:38:27 AM »
There's some truth to what you're saying, Bill.  Most of the people you'll talk to who have a studio full of gadgets like that, tend to be computer programmers, engineers, IT managers, and other tech-savvy types, which might explain why they (we) seem to think it's no big deal to understand how to interface with dozens of different machines.

Having said that, it's not quite as intimidating as it may seem to you, looking at 30 or 40 unfamiliar gadgets, when you're the individual who has bought them, one at a time, months apart, and learned each one individually.  If I had obtained every item in my studio all at once, it might have been overwhelming, but since I've obtained maybe 3-5 new pieces per year, it's been pretty gradual.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 26, 2007, 11:09:59 AM »
I've enjoyed this newest round of studio pics, and will try to post some of my own soon.

Lena snapped some images of me and David Tollefson doing some Viridian Sun studio work this weekend, so maybe I'll post some of those in both this "Studio Shots" topic and in the Viridian Sun discussion in the "Hypnos CDs and Artists" section.

Keep the pictures coming, everybody.

Everything and Nothing / Re: ~Happy Holidays~
« on: December 26, 2007, 09:55:29 AM »
Straining to... restore... regular dietary... intake...

Must... get... back to... normal...

Overcome by... indigestion...

Cannot move... struggling to... breathe...

Seriously, I'm looking forward to a return to normal activities, normal consumption of food and drink, normal exercise.  Am I the only one left feeling "glad it's over" after the holidays?  Not that I don't have some fun along the way, and enjoy spending time with family, but I always feel glad I only have to do this once (twice, if you count Thanksgiving) a year.

Everything and Nothing / Re: ~Happy Holidays~
« on: December 24, 2007, 05:12:03 PM »
Hey everybody,
L and I are about to start off on a buncha family obligations, and I wanted to give everybody one last


and Merry Christmas wish, before we go.

Hypnos Label Releases / Re: Viridian Sun
« on: December 23, 2007, 07:14:47 PM »
Our first sessions went very well.  We recorded 6 improvisations, about 2 hours of total music, of which I'd say a much higher percentage is album-worthy than the success rate from our sessions for earlier albums.  We'll record again next Saturday, and if those sessions are half as productive, then I'm sure we'll have a really great album worth of material, plus some extras.

Dave brought an array of pedal-based effects, two volume pedals and various delays, reverbs and modulation effects, and some new Boss delay/looper unit.  He brought a single, gold-colored electric guitar and lay it on the ground, and sat down behind it and played the guitar with mallets and drumsticks, like a percussion instrument.  Occasionally he'd play more conventionally with his fingers, as well.

I played electric guitar on three tracks and bass guitar on three tracks, mostly in an atmospheric or drone-based style, somewhere along the lines of The Pulse Meditations.

The resulting tracks ended up less electronic or synthetic sounding, and definitely had more of a "guitar ambient" sound than our previous work, though the whole "abstract improvisation" approach remains the same.  I look forward to more studio work next week, and definitely look forward to sharing this work with those who are interested.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: How do you record?
« on: December 23, 2007, 07:05:53 PM »
Last night, for our Viridian Sun sessions here in my studio, I used Live in a way I hadn't used it before.  I routed the inputs from my MOTU 828 into Live and basically used Live to set up effects paths, and passed the output through another interface and into my Masterlink, where we just recorded a live, stereo mix.  We were going to record 4 or 6 tracks live in Live, but some glitches were happening with that setup, so rather than troubleshoot it, we just passed the audio through Live as a multi-track effects processor, and out the other side.

Hypnos Label Releases / Re: Viridian Sun
« on: December 21, 2007, 05:54:21 PM »
Just a little update.... the first new Viridian Sun recording sessions in several years will happen tomorrow, and I'm definitely looking forward to them.  I hope to get a few things recorded, maybe the beginnings of a new album, before the holiday.

Everything and Nothing / Re: Now watching
« on: December 21, 2007, 05:41:03 PM »
Just finished season 3 of The Sopranos (my 2nd viewing, Lena's 1st).  Absolutely great show, certainly one of my all-time top 10 TV series.

Nearing the end of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica, likewise great, maybe the best sci-fi TV show of all time (I don't count X-Files or The Prisoner as sci-fi, though some do), though certainly the best one currently on the air

Earlier this week, watched Stardust and enjoyed it very much.  It's sort of a mash-up of classic fables, with fallen stars personified, witches, pirates, parents looking for their long-lost children, people turned into animals, animals turned into people, etc.  But despite being a jigsaw of these familiar fairy tale and fable elements, it's well-told, visually rich, humorous and involving.  So I'd recommend it if this sort of thing seems at all like something you might like.  Cynics and grumps, stay away.

Tonight, it will be Ma Vie En Rose, not the Edith Piaf thing (which is "La Vie" rather than "Ma Vie"), but the "little boy who wants to be a little girl" thing.

Hypnos Label Releases / CD release: Nverxion - A Look Within
« on: December 21, 2007, 03:22:53 PM »
Artist: Nverxion
Title: A Look Within

Label: Hypnos Secret Sounds
hss14, limited cdr edition of 300

2007.   Nverxion (pronounced like "Inversion")  is the name under which David Brancato records his
ambient & experimental electronic works.  Brancato, based in Orlando, Florida, is also an artist and
photographer, and is relatively new to electronic music.  Reference points for Nverxion's sound
would be Numina, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Jonn Serrie and Jeff Pearce (all of whom the artist
acknowledges as influences).
Of his debut CD, Nverxion says, "A Look Within   began about two years ago as a series of experimental
improvisations. In the beginning I was just  concerned with learning my way through the process of
creating and recording the sound... As I progressed, the foundations of more advanced compositions
began to form, and soon I noticed a common feeling running through each of the pieces. Building on
this concept, I developed what is now a complete body of work."
We at Hypnos particularly enjoy discovering young, emerging artists who need help getting exposed.
If the endorsement of Hypnos isn't enough on its own, these audio clips below should help convince
even skeptical ambient music listeners that Nverxion is doing something distinctive and fresh. So
many new ambient artists rely too much on slow, flat drones, and it's great to hear material that
evolves, with sharp sound design, and an engaging progression to the album as a whole.  It's true,
we said the same thing just a few months ago when we introduced Hypnos listeners to Justin
Vanderberg, but we'll say it again: this is a composer and recording artist many people will be talking
about after he has a few albums to his credit, and he has started out strong.
TRACK LISTING(with mp3 sample clips):
Emergence (05:17)
In This Place I Wander (18:59)
From Where I Stand (06:49)
Fortune of the Sky (18:32)
In This Place I Rest (24:20)
This limited CDR release, on the Hypnos Secret Sounds imprint, is available for purchase for $11.99:

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Max/MSP
« on: December 21, 2007, 03:10:56 PM »
I'm still considering jumping into Reaktor someday, which is a completely different animal and so many others have created synths that I could just use it and only configure things when I really wanted to - although I opted to buy my analog modular instead of an upgraded pc and Reaktor a few years back.    Knobs and hardware just excite me too much.

I'd say Reaktor's sort of the opposite of Max/MSP, at least in terms of the shape of the learning curve.  You can do cool things with Reaktor within 5 minutes of installing it.

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