April 04, 2008

the final countdown

MP3: Don't Look At Me That Way (1.5 mb)

At the risk of ending up like George Oscar Bluth II (GOB), banned from the Magicians' Alliance for revealing the tricks of the trade, I am going to tell you how easy it is, my dear friends, to become your own personal pop star.

This month's song (sketch, really) was recorded quickly and completely in Mau's Brooklyn apartment using nothing more than my old iBook and a crusty acoustic guitar with ancient strings (indeed, I tuned it as best I could but was later told that its neck was in such a precarious condition that the strings needed to be tuned down...way down).

My intention was to keep myself busy while he was out by laying down a song idea in Garageband (which comes free with every new Mac) and then importing it into Logic for further fleshing when I was back home. Well, as often happens, I promptly forgot about the recording and, since I neglected to write down the chords or any other ideas surrounding the genesis p-orridge of the tune, I was unsure of what to do upon rediscovering it on my hard drive. Ah, I know: I'll put it up on the weblog as an example of how easy it is to do this stuff so maybe everyone else will give it a go as well.

So yes. While it's not a particularly good song (or even a complete one), you can see what possibilities abound. There was no external hardware involved (not even a pick!), meaning that I recorded the guitar and vocals without headphones directly into the iBook using its built-in microphone (that tiny little hole on the right side of the monitor...this is an older iBook, before the built-in iSight cameras), and used only the stock plug-ins etc that come with Garageband. The drums are one of the included GB loops that I dragged into the project without modifying, and the bass is one of GB's software instruments whose notes were played using the computer's keyboard.

As GOB would say: Ta-da! It's really amazing what can be done in less than an hour with this modern technology, even if that lead guitar sounds like some song from Mau's collection of 70s Yacht Rock.

But with all these modern advancements, why can't I get The Final Countdown (GOB's theme song) to play as a ringtone on my cell phone?

Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Music: Sniff by The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group
Film: The Weather Underground

Be sure to Subscribe so you don't miss anything! And while you're at it, check out Dylan Kight's new blog, where he's posting a new song every Tuesday...

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