Updates and Requests

January 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Posted in Melolune, Music Album, Plants vs. Zombies piano version series | 22 Comments
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Hi everyone, I just have a few quick music updates for you today!

First of all, Davixus and Q Flat Major (rad nickname!) realized that a lot of folks were asking for the “Zombies on Your Lawn” sheet music, so they kindly put together an arrangement that’s available for download here. Thanks guys! Also, several people have asked me to update the lyrics section of my website to include “Traces” and “The best it can be,” so I’ve added those in case anyone still wants them ^_^

Last but not least, one of my New Year’s goals is to come up with a good and consistent way to record piano and singing. Sadly, my webcam can’t handle either of these, so the audio is always incredibly distorted. A lot of folks have recommended recording the audio and video separately, which would be great except for the fact that my audio setup (which I use for work) is placed in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to record video (the Korg is right up against a wall and moving it would be difficult since it’s connected rather tightly to the Behringer and computer by a bunch of wires). I was about to rearrange my whole setup when I happened to read that most camcorders (even older ones) actually have pretty good audio (good enough to record piano supposedly)… so now I’m onto plan B: Find my old camcorder, charge it, and put it to the test!

Provided that it works, does anyone have any requests?

The best it can be: Innovative and Ghetto

September 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Music Album | 73 Comments
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After doing some research and getting advice from Alec, I decided to try setting up a music store using bandcamp. I’m so happy that I finally have a functional store! So far I like it… the interface is really user-friendly, and it takes very little time to get everything up and running. The only thing I don’t like about it is that you don’t have the option to upload mp3s. Bandcamp’s deal is that you upload .wav or .aif files, and then bandcamp gives customers the option of downloading music in virtually any format (including FLAC).

While the flexibility is great, the problem is that I no longer have the original .wav files of some of my really old songs. Of course I could convert the mp3s to .wav… but given that most people will be downloading the mp3s, the .wav would get converted back to mp3 again anyway, and lose even more quality (and since these really old songs are already very low-fi, the extra step is pretty devastating… I’ve already tested it and I can tell the difference pretty easily).

I guess on the upside, I’m not going to have this issue in the future since I’ll always have the original .wav files… it just sucks because I wanted to give away all of my earliest songs as a bonus for buying the old “My Blue Dream” album (even going back to my very first embarassingly cheesy and lo-fi song “Find Me” which I can’t listen to without cringing, hehe). Thankfully I was able to find the .wav files of a handful of older songs… which brings me to the topic of this entry:

The is one of the very first songs I ever wrote. As a sound engineer, going back and listening to the recording is painful for me… but at the same time, the song has a special place in my heart because I remember all the hopes and dreams I had when I wrote it. I had so much fun experimenting with music software, recording and mixing vocal harmonies, making homeade samples, trying to emulate the sound techniques I heard in songs on the radio (lol @ younger-me thinking the telephone effect was hella cool), etc. To give you an idea how innovative I was about my ghettoness as a novice sound engineer:

  • I recorded these vocals with a computer mic that I got from a college career faire… I attached it to a water bottle using tape so that the microphone would be at my mouth-level, and I purposely sang very softly so that I wouldn’t clip.
  • All of the melodic instruments are actually from Cakewalk’s original 128-instrument MIDI soundbank :P
  • To make the beats, I recorded all the samples in Soundforge and then uploaded them to Fruityloops in order to build the percussion (I never used loops, everything was always manual with me). However, I preferred sequencing using digital sheet music (Cakewalk) so I mixed the beats and melodic parts together using AcidPro. Yup, I used 4 separate free programs in order to do what could have been done using one piece of full-featured producer software like Pro-Tools… but I didn’t have the money for that, so I did what I could with what I had.

This song is about making the best of every interaction, whether it’s with a person, a place, a situation, etc. It’s based off of a Japanese tea ceremony term 一期一会 (Ichi-go Ichi-e) which literally means “one time, one meeting.” The deeper meaning, is that this could be both the first and the last time you ever have this chance to interact with someone or experience something, so you should make it the very best it can be. I think it’s how I felt about life at the time, and I strive to view life like that now (even though I often fall short of this).

Anyways… I hope you enjoy listening to one of my old songs, and if you get a chance, please check out my new store! A lot of people were asking where they could purchase the older album, so I made sure to make that one available. I’m also putting the Melolune soundtrack there (it’s a work-in-progress, but I thought it would be nice to check out the music as it gets made), as well as the Plants vs. Zombies soundtrack as soon as the legal stuff gets squared away.

And if you’re having one of those bum days, just remember…

一期一会 (Ichi-go Ichi-e)
Today is the first and last chance you’ll ever have today.

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