Actually, broadcast probably has nothing to do with what I’m up to at the moment.. it’s more for myself than anything.
I’ve been hunting around the Innertoobs (be vewy, vewy quiet) in search of progressive-rock-minded radio streams that may wish to take a chance on @Fulcrum music. Silly me, I thought I could just throw my muse up to Tunecore, and it would automagically find its progressive-rock-minded audience. (bzzt) “Tell him what he’s won, Johnny!” “First, a grand total of three or four actual sales off iTunes in the space of a year and nine months! Second, the latest in ladies’ fashion with this Speidel gold-plated wrist band!”
So marketing and self-promotion come into the equation after all, at neither of which I consider myself too terribly adept. And having a listen to the two albums available for your dining and dancing pleasure, I find that one sounds great—this would be the one I did in three weeks, Movement Along A Path. The other, into which I sank three or four years and my marriage, not so much. That would be Luminous City, the current objet d’art under discussion. Mixes collapse into the black hole of phase cancellation; entire instruments drop out at unexpected places; the vocals sound by turns like I am singing from a great distance from the microphone, say atop K2 with the mic (not even an SM-58, but a clone of one) down in a valley, or as if someone were trying to cram marshmallows (or a down pillow) into my mouth as I sang.
While I knew it needed to happen sometime, I hadn’t intended on revisiting Luminous City until after the third (fourth?) @Fulcrum record was completed; I projected a remix for down the road a few years. But on revieing the album with a mind towards actual airplay, it was clear to me that I needed to revise my plans a little, so as not to embarrass myself or sully the good name of @Fulcrum too terribly much.
And so here in the Sanctum, the Mac sits in its road case for the time being, waiting. I have my old home-built Frankincense pee cee running again for the first time in God knows how long, and am reacquainting myself with the joys of Sonar, Cakewalk’s flagship DAW. It’s been, um, enlightening:
- Decisions I made at the time in order to conserve CPU resources, for example printing tracks too hot and with too much effect, are coming back to nip at my bum.
- The tracks weren’t recorded all that well to begin with, a function of what I had to work with at the time.
- My Traveler interface so far refuses to operate above 16 bit/44.1kHz under Windows XP. This is a head-scratcher. (By contrast, I’m recording Describing An Arc at 24/96 on my Mac, roughly 18 times the resolution of Luminous City.) I cannot work in Sonar’s preferred method of dealing with audio hardware, WDM, because then nothing happens: either the transport fails to move me through the audio, or it moves and no audio actually shows up at the Traveler. I have to use the slightly-more industry standard ASIO driver for any communication to take place, which Sonar will do, but it’s clear to me from working that it doesn’t particularly enjoy speaking a foreign language.
- An entire track failed to get backed up to my dual-layer DVDs back in 2009 and needs to be recut entirely. I can’t find the session on any of my other backups yet, and it doesn’t still exist on my hard drives. Naturally, it’s the song I think sounds the worst of the lot. Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise.
To my relief, some of the stations I’ve contacted like what they hear and have consented to add Luminous City to their rotation. Just as soon as I can get them a CD or a halfway decent sounding empty-three.
I’d just rather not give them the thing as it stands. For the reasons I’ve described, I’d rather not take a chance that someone hears a song from it and gets turned off by the shoddy workmanship that went into the first mix—which I will readily admit came from the process of being on the low end of the learning curve of the craft of engineering at the time.
So that’s what’s happening down here at the moment. Work on Describing An Arc is at a standstill for now, as (wonder of wonders) I find myself satisfied enough with the models from the first disc that I can feel comfortable presenting them to other musicians for overdubs.
I’m also still working on moving this blog to my own domain, using the standalone WordPress software, but there are the usual technical hurdles to overcome first. As those stations and streams begin playing @Fulcrum, I will let you know here, or there, without fail.