Well. It’s been a while.
Quite a while.
So here’s a general update.
I probably should have titled this “music, music, I hear music” in a nod to one of my favorite bands, King’s X. But there’s a little more to relate than music. But while I’m on that topic….
For about 3 years (or maybe a little longer now) I have been slowly converting boxes of cassette recordings and photos and other related stuff I have accumulated from the bands I’ve played in since the early-mid 1970’s. To my knowledge I still have them all. Anyway I’m converting everything to digital and in most cases then posting those digital files to an archive web site I have been developing. What with covid and other seasonal work slow downs I’ve been able to make good progress towards getting this completed. With the exception of the odd item I run across where I didn’t expect it, I have completed the scanning of all photos and other memorabilia and the majority of that has been posted to the archive. Likewise I’ve also nearly completed the conversion of the stereo cassette tapes (except for Carmine Blare which is over 20 something 90 minute tapes) and have many on the archive. I’ve now begun the arduous task of converting the 4 track recordings of which there are many. This will take a little longer to complete because they are not mixed at conversion but converted as 4 separate tracks which then need to be mixed down. My focus is to maintain each tape as it was recorded and before applying any noise canceling or effects. Admittedly the 4 track conversion I am finding to be quite enjoyable not only in rediscovering things I’d long forgotten but also being able to dig into the mix down process once again. I REALLY enjoy that process and had not realized how much I’ve missed it. I’m not posting a link to the archive here but you can ask for it if you’re interested. Be warned…. if I don’t know you, it’s not gonna happen!
So this converting 4 track tapes to 4 track digital files requires a few special items. I’ve been acquiring the various pieces over time along with a great software for the task: Reaper. This software is awesome and well worth the registration fee. It will not only record in all 4 tracks simultaneously but then I can split tracks to make level control or EQ or effects easier. It comes with a few effects plugins but also uses all the standard format plugins which means the sky’s the limit. There is of course a learning curve as with most things like this. The biggest hurdle for me is just getting used to having to use a mouse to do anything as opposed to reaching over and pushing a button, or moving a slider, etc. But having used this now to mix down some 4 track material and also to do some new recording I am definitely a fan. One thing I quickly discovered is how quickly 4+ track recordings eat up hard drive space so I’ve had to order more.
Even More MUSIC
Previously I had mentioned a former band mate (Au and Crucible), co-writer and very dear friend, John Stewart, had suggested we start working together again. We have! We began on February 12th. I made the nearly one hour drive to his house and we played and started writing our first song together in many years. I’ve been there twice now, and we’ve had many phone and online video conversations since. I set John up with one of my old Macs to use a music computer only and running all the same software (Reaper, Audacity, and much more). I have a music Mac as well. I then set up a private server space where we can upload files. This allows us to work on song ideas remotely, share files, add a part and send it back. Technology is awesome for this and really makes it possible where otherwise it might not be. Anyway, our first song is well on it’s way to completion in a multi-track format. Music style is set as : what ever we want it to be from one minute to the next. Acoustic driven in places, to grunge heavy distortion riffs, to what ever. We may eventually land on something akin to a weird Pineapple Tree or Pineapple Thief. Odd time signatures and key changes and instrument pairings will be the norm. It’s already fun and that’s all we care about. Between the two of us we can play about any instrument we’ll want to use but we have discussed putting together a collection of players to do the occasional gig. It’s still early. We have many song ideas and are just at the beginning. It’s something I have desperately missed in my life the last 10 years. I feel as though I can breathe again.
Life is a little more tricky when you pay cash for everything. It requires careful planning on big ticket items. My sweetheart is finally getting some much needed medical care. We’re down to one vehicle and trying to decide what we can afford. Just signed for an additional $7k crawl space repair after the town of Nashville changed the road and the flow of water and flooded us 2 years ago. I’ve got some early crops sprouting in the garden. Now over 60 and officially a senior citizen (I guess). Life goes on. It doesn’t seem to get easier as you get older. The challenges just change.