Song #08 - Week of Feb. 21-28, 2011

"Gaffer's Tape"

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"Gaffer's Tape" Song 08 - MP3 File

"Gaffer's Tape" - Length: 2:35

Track count: 9 Tracks

Instrumentation: Kaoss Pad 2, MicroKorg, Vocoder, Ableton Live & iPod apps NLog Synth & BeBot.

Original concept: I found the beat and bass when setting up the Kaoss 2 (KP2) and MicroKorg for a rehearsal. (For those still owning one, the KP2 sound is beat #63.) Even though this is a crazy, crazy week, I decided to record at least 1 or 2 raw tracks every day this week with an eye toward this basic parameter (103BPM, key of E, sticky sounds) next Monday when I have a day off. Calling it Gaffer's Tape because I will be seeing a LOT of that this week during set up and the first two shows at the Keller

(The show I'm talking about is the Oregon Ballet Theater's "Stravinsky Project" - opening this week at the Keller.)

About the show:

OBT Review - the Oregonian

Oregon Ballet Theater

Monday, Feb 21st: Recorded the basic beat, arpegiatted bassline and some synth and vocoder hits using the K2 and MKorg.
Tuesday, Feb. 22nd: Had a good rehearsal at OBT. Most of the rest of the day was spent troubleshooting, breaking down, loading, unloading, setting up, playing, breaking down, loading, and unloading. (I need a roadie!) Tomorrow is load-in at the Keller! No time for anything else today - it's go time. And I'm gone.
Wednesday, Feb. 23rd: Today is my birthday. I'm also loading in at the Keller. I'm also having one of the worst days ever, creatively and technically. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, including one of my Kaoss pads becoming unusable. The KP2, the older of the two, and my favorite, has developed a crackling sound every time I move my finger on the touch-screen. Which is unfortunate, because I have built a LOT of the material for this show around it. I've also found a bad channel on my board, and the worst part is, it's one of my 4 effects returns - again, something I badly need to realize this piece. I haven't gotten the time I need to sound check, must less finesse and solidify what I'm doing live to process the piano, add transitions and support the dancers - in front of 2,000 - 3,000 people a night - starting Saturday.

I must adapt. But for now, I have to go home. I'm tired and frustrated. I've been working so hard, and holding it together, and now this. Today has thoroughly kicked my ass.

Thursday, Feb. 24th: After a great pep-talk from Robyn and a fitful sleep, I came into the Keller bright and early, ready to calmly tame my creative demons - and instantly found a horrible buzz on every channel of my board. I initially thought that my AirFX (which I've based the other large portion of the material for this show around) was bad, and I was seriously about to go hurl it against a wall. Then I realized that the hum was on EVERY channel - and after a bad moment when I thought my whole system was slowly experiencing some sort of horrible electrical meltdown, be there's a bad circuit in the Keller, oh god my new mixer hasn't come in yet...... AND THEN! I figured out that the hum was coming from the FOH board, which is now off - and the piano mics that are feeding it are also wired into my board - hence the hum. Glad I held off on destroying the AirFX, since you can't find them any more. Not even on eBay. Damn.

Phew. I breathed a sigh of relief and got back to work, and finally things started flowing again. I finally feel really good about what I'm doing to work around my setbacks, and maybe what I've had to come up with for the show as a result is even better. I've also started to gather more material for this week's song, using my field recorder. Recorded some MKorg stuff and some other stage sounds.

Friday, Feb. 25th: Dress rehearsal. The rehearsal BEFORE dress rehearsal was even better, though - I finally feel ready for the show, and fluid on my instruments. I basically have to build a mobile studio every time I do a show, and this time I am also adding the wild card of processing the live piano. It's new for me, and today is the first day I really feel I am going to pull it off.

During the rehearsal for Rite Of Spring, I jammed along with the amazing pianists (Susan Smith and Carol Rich) by feeding their pianos through my Mac, into Live, and going nuts with the effects. I got some crazy sounds - next week's piece?

Saturday, Feb. 26th: First show! It went really well. I was also able to record a jam on the KP3 pad, hopefully for this week's piece.
Sunday, Feb. 27th: Forgot to record the crowd sounds, as I'd planned to do before the matinee show today. I also forgot the field recorder, with all the sounds I gathered this week on it - I left it at the Keller when I took off after the matinee. Oops! I can't get back in there until Wednesday. Oh, well. I am learning to improvise.
Monday, Feb. 28th: My first day off in a while. I cut the drum parts into loops for Live, and processed some synth sounds. I am going to assemble the rhythm tracks, and totally free-style something over them - in the spirit of the project, gonna put this puppy to bed and move on. But what will I do? I have no idea. I will play with it tonight, and post it, and then we will both know.

Got the drum part laid in, and some of the bass-synth bubbles. Had to do some work with the warp markers in Live to get the synth in line, and one drum loop came in off for some reason. even though I was careful to cut the drum part into reasonable measures, and everything's at 103BPM - so I used the wark markers to make it an odd syncopated break. Threw some heavy compression and room reverb on it, and the KP2 sound really beefed up.

Tuesday, March 1st: Now, at a coffee shop, going to add some sounds to the song with some of the synths on my iPod touch. Even though Stevie Wonder is playing on the stereo. Hard to beat that! I booted up NLog, a free synthesizer app, and played the bassline in one take. And it instantly turned into kind of a dirge-feel thing. Huh! I like it! Will be chopping it up and stuttering it, I'm sure. Gonna add some more touches, using only the iPod, and ship this puppy!

(Ironically? There is actually no gaffer's tape whatsoever anywhere in the orchestra pit at the Keller, which is where my mobile studio is set up. Huh. That's a first! And so, there is no gaffer's tape in this song, apart from the title. But it is kind of dark and sticky, like gaffer's tape, so......)

Here is a picture of part of the Live session, showing the Warp marker window.

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