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Messages - mgriffin

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2761
Played a little bit of Oblivion this weekend, first time I've played any video games in a while.  I didn't realize it had been 7 months since I'd last played this one, but the game saves had dates on them and the last save was from May 27.

This is an enjoyable game, a free-ranging fantasy role-playing game, but tough to get into unless you invest consistent and significant chunks of time.

2762
Hypnos Label Releases / Re: Viridian Sun
« on: December 30, 2007, 07:24:35 PM »
Another all-day (actually, afternoon-evening) session yesterday, another 2+ hours worth of material recorded.  This material is raw and strange, and quite far from the synth-heavy sound of the first two Viridian Sun albums.  It's more visceral and organic-sounding than our earlier work, even a step beyond last week's recording.

This week Dave played an acoustic guitar (with an internal pick-up, not mic'ed) through the same batch of effects as last week.  I played guitar for only one track, and the rest of the time I was playing bass, and adding metal percussion and voice sounds (I wouldn't call them vocals) into a nearby microphone at the same time.  Again, everything was improvised and recorded live in the studio, no rehearsing and no overdubs (though some parts will be edited down before release).

We will probably do one more recording session, more brief than the first two, just to make absolutely sure we have enough material for an album and maybe a couple of extra tracks for compilations or whatever.  We're both very excited about these recordings and quite anxious to hear what people will say about them.  I may post a few photos of the second sessions soon.

2763
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: How do you record?
« on: December 30, 2007, 07:18:24 PM »
I've been very fond of my MOTU 828 interface since early 2000, when I used it to start work on The Most Distant Point Known with Dave Fulton.  It's been my primary audio interface since that time and I've used it with four different Apple computers, an iBook, a Powerbook, a G4 Powermac, and my new Mac Pro.  It has always worked flawlessly and simply, no problems, no glitches, nothing to complain about. 

In the past year, though, since I've upgraded to Mac OS X 10.4 (hate to think what would happen with 10.5), I've had increasing troubles with the interface getting "lost" and requiring multiple reboots before I can get the Mac Pro to "find" it again.  It still seems to work OK with my older computers, but the Mac Pro is my main recording workstation now, so I'm about to change my primary audio interface for the first time in quite a while.

I just ordered one of these:



It's the Presonus Firestudio.  Link here:

http://www.presonus.com/firestudio.html

I considered several other options, and in fact almost bought a Focusrite Saffire Pro 26, and also considered an RME interface.  Once I receive this item next week and set it up, I'll post a mini-review or evaluation here.  I may also be selling my 828 here (though I wouldn't recommend it to anyone running the very newest Mac OS X version), depending on whether I just move it over to my G4, sitting 8 feet away.  I'll definitely be selling one of my M-Audio Firewire Audiophile interfaces, since I was just using that for midi and supplemental monitoring on the Mac Pro.  The new interface will replace both the 828 and the M-Audio device.

2764
Another great Podcast, Evan.  Keep 'em coming.

I've just discovered Mico Nonet in the past week and think they're fantastic.  Several new discoveries in here for me, too, so I've really enjoyed this one.  I'm a giant Jon Hassell fan but hadn't heard this one before.

Thanks for your work, Evan.

-Mike

2765
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 28, 2007, 02:36:15 PM »
There never would've been a "Cocteau Twins sound" without the e-bow.  And I seem to remember Fripp and Adrian Belew both using them early on, and Bill Nelson.

2766
Everything and Nothing / Re: The Hobbit and Peter Jackson
« on: December 28, 2007, 12:31:44 PM »
Feedback Mike - The yellow text doesn't work against the default forum format background.

Thanks Scott, you're right!  I just switched it to bold so it should be legible no matter what theme people are using.

2767
Everything and Nothing / Re: Now watching
« on: December 28, 2007, 10:35:03 AM »
We just finished the last episode of season 3 of Battlestar Galactica last night, and WOW, what a great show.  It's amazingly heavy, serious and complex, especially for TV sci-fi.  I just can't wait until season 4 starts happening, and now we'll have to try to track down the various "web only" episodes somehow, and watch those in the mean time.

2768
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 05:35:30 PM »
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?   ;)

It's nice to meet someone who isn't afraid to admit his wife is so attractive...seriously, Mike, I applaud you 8). So many men push the "jealousy" button so easily that one doesn't know if one can tell a guy that his wife is good looking without the guy kicking his ass.

Although, I have to say, you two seem way too well-adjusted to be ambient music artists! Where are your insecurities, foibles and idiosyncracies! ;D

Well, I was kidding a bit, and you're kidding a bit, but I'll say I agree with you that it's just crazy for a man who has an attractive wife or girlfriend (or for that matter, a woman who has an attractive husband or boyfriend) to be jealous and suspicious, or to get angry at other people for looking at their partner.  It's just completely irrational, and demonstrates the terrible insecurity of the jealous party.


2769
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Gear: Studio shots by Deb
« on: December 27, 2007, 05:28:45 PM »
I have a question about how some of you (you know who you are) who have lots of music gear, especially lots of synths and samples, cope with patching everything.  Do you:

1. Use multiple patchbays to keep everything plugged-in all the time (into patchbays, I mean) and only selectively patch the stuff into your mixer or audio interface?

2. Leave only the most-used stuff plugged straight into the mixer all the time, and when setting up a less-commonly-used piece, temporarily plug it in, maybe unplugging something else to make room?

3. Utilize LOTS of mixer inputs or audio interface inputs, to leave everything plugged into its own input, all the time?

I've done all of the above at various times, and probably am somewhere between #1 and #2 right now, not really fully committed to either approach.  I have 3 full-size patch bays but I'm using less than 1/3 of the patch inputs, and I have some synths plugged straight into my mixer and others not plugged into anything at all.  It seems like a lame approach, but in my own defense, I'm actually only getting active in the studio again fairly recently.

So, I'd like to get a bit more organized and structured approach but I'm actually not quite sure how I want to do it... leaning toward #1.

2770
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!

2771
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]

2772
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.

2773
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?   ;)

2774
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.

2775
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.

2776
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.

2777
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?

2778
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)














2779
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.

2780
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.

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