Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Song, and how Scenesters Ruin Scenes

Hey there folks. I'm moving up in the world. I just installed NeoOffice and I'm using that to type this week's blog. I highly recommend it. It's a Mac ported variation of Open Office (the option for you *nix and Windows users out there) and an open source (read: free, donations accepted) option to the MS Office suite. Linus Torvalds said it best, “Microsoft isn't evil, they just make really crappy operating systems.” I might add, their regular software doesn't thrill me neither. I know a lot of people with brand new Macs who wonder why it's running so slowly and their programs keep crashing. Stop using MS Word, or any of the other MS Office programs. Use NeoOffice for a while and see how much better your life is.

Recently, Bubbles directed me to this video about the Portland music scene on MTVNews.com. Aside from the initial problem of it being on MTV News, i couldn't tell you how many things incredible wrong with this video. But, i will tell you a few of them. (...and you thought you'd get away with it!)

Give it a look.

First, i love Portland. It's a great place to live. There are a lot of amazing things going on here. But, it's not the best city in the world. Portlanders seem to have this bizarre notion that Portland is the end-all of anything important, and there's no need to look outside this city for anything, because it's all here. It's not all here, it's not the end-all of anything, and that provides you with a very naïve view of the world, especially if your involved in the arts. It reminds me of those people who claim the US is the best country in the world, and have never left the (continental 48) states. There's a wonderful world outside of Portland, and it should be experienced.

A lot of the things that go over huge here in Portland wouldn't survive a day in other cities i've been. People there have heard & seen it already, and are either done with it, or know there's much better to be had elsewhere. If you've got your head in the Portland's sand, you have no idea of the caliber of art going on beyond this city. Rarely do i go to a show with a local Portland act and go, “Wow, really need to step up my game as a musician.” It's only when people come from other places do i feel the challenge to step up.

“Everyone's kinda doing a mixture of everything...” Yeah, so long at it's some variation of indie-rock/art-pop/punk. This kinda goes back to the previous paragraph in that, Portlanders' view of 'everything' is pretty narrow.

They talk about Portland being an open arena for musicians to try new things; that people go out and do things that are super weird and it goes over well. Again, this stems back to Portlanders' narrow viewpoint on the world. There's not too much new things going on here. Replace the word 'new' with 'something that sounds like 1977-1983' and the word 'weird' with 'unrefined, sophomoric stuff that most musicians were doing in high school.'

Last order of business, it's Tuesday and that means you get a new song to listen to.

Sunday's Twilight.

<3 Noise!

Prophetnoise CD Godless Music for a Free Mind
Prophetnoise EP Orange & Silver on CDBaby and iTunes
Prophetnoise on iLike
Prophetnoise on Facebook
Prophetnoise on Myspace

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Song Upload with Some Obstacles.

Installment two of my 12 EPs in 10 Months/Song Upload a Week campaign. So far so good.

I'm going a bit crazy because my MIDI controller is still M.I.A. It was under warrantee when it went on the fritz, so Korg had the repair shop take the unit, and Korg was supposed to send me a replacement in no more than two weeks. It's now been nearly two months and several phone calls later. I'm still waiting. It makes composing and producing music extremely difficult, and my productivity is greatly diminished. Also, my creativity is tried because my workflow is severely impeded. Drawing in every note with the mouse and then step editing until it's perfect SUCKS, and doesn't quite compare to actually being able to play music with my hands. It doesn't help that i've gone cold turkey on my caffeine habit.

Nonetheless, when it comes down to it, if i have to grind out some songs, i have to grind out some songs, and make them sound good too. And that's what i do.

This week's song:

Landing Sequence

I love when the song drops back in and the sub bass goes down an octave. Those of you with subs hooked up (or a really good set of headphones) will know what i'm talking about.

Until next time

<3 Noise!

Prophetnoise CD Godless Music for a Free Mind
Prophetnoise EP Orange & Silver on CDBaby and iTunes
Prophetnoise on iLike
Prophetnoise on Facebook
Prophetnoise on Myspace

Monday, July 14, 2008

'New Song a Week' Campaign Launched by Me, Prophetnoise!

I've decided (with the 'guidance' of PR/Marketing Guru Bubbles) to do an 'Upload a New Song per Week' campaign. It's not a completely original task. There are many other marathon composers out there. They've set up their own parameters, be it a 60 second song a day, or a new song every week. Undertaking these tasks gave them a notable amount of press and created a huge buzz. But, they've done this already. I'd like to break new ground, not repeat what other have done. I'd like to raise the bar a few rungs for myself.

For the most part, these artists have put strict time constraints on their music. Essentially, their challenges usually centered around meeting the deadline regardless of the state of the song. It seemed to be more of an exercise in productivity and dedication than it was a means to a set of sellable finished songs, hopefully becoming a better composer and person by the end (or a stressed out psycho.)

This is where i diverge from their paths. I'm not so concerned about the deadline of 'one song per week.' The idea of composing a song from scratch, right down to a finished mixed version each week is not an overwhelming deadline for me. The fact of the matter is, my 'new song a week project' is more like a chronicling of a larger undertaking. I (again, under the auspice of Bubbles) have given myself the goal of 12 new EPs in 10 months. Each EP will consist of 5-7 songs, which will wind up being about 72 songs in about 40 weeks.

Being the perfectionist that i am, each song i upload needs to meet the standards of something i'm willing to release professionally. There will be no half-ass tracks thrown up just to meet the deadline. I have to meet the deadline, and it has to be a 'fully-realized' song.

So, from here on out every Monday night or Tuesday morning, you get to listen to a new song.
This week track is Urgency of Uncertainty. Listen to it on the Prophetnoise Myspace, Prophetnoise iLIke, and Prophetnoise Facebook pages.

Listen, enjoy, critique, spread the word, and pass it along.

See you in a week,

<3 Noise!

Prophetnoise CD Godless Music for a Free Mind
Prophetnoise EP Orange & Silver on CDBaby and iTunes
Prophetnoise on iLike
Prophetnoise on Facebook
Prophetnoise on Myspace

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Prophetnoise CD release, on TV, and your favorite music delivery method.

Today, my first full length release, "Godless Music for a Free Mind" went live on CDBaby.com. (Thanks Deena B for all the help! Check her out on KBOO FM) I'm pretty exited about it. So, tell your friends and family to buy it! Use force if you have to. Blame television or society or god if they try to condemn your violent actions. Those seem to work as legitimate excuses for most people.

I had my first TV performance the other day. I've been behind the scenes, doing sound for Hungry Mob on Ethos Television here in Portland. But, this is the first time i am featured on-screen. It was for the local artistic variety show NOW WHAT? with host Archie Washington. It was pretty fun playing a short set and then getting interviewed. I thought it went smoothly, but we'll see how much of an ass i made of myself when it airs.

Air Dates if you're in the Portland area:
Thursday July 17, channel 21 @ 9:00 pm

Sunday, July 27, channel 21 @ 7:30 pm

Monday, July 28, channel 11 @ 9:30 am

And now, at the risk of starting a flamewar, I'm curious as to your preferred 'music delivery medium.'

-I know here in PDX, this is a very vinyl friendly town. I personally dislike that medium. There's audible degradation after about 30 plays. Storage is a bitch. Portability is an issue, to the point where they're not portable unless you're being paid to lug records to your DJ gig. Fidelity is compromised. Yeah, i know, you're going to give me that "Analog has truer fidelity than digital" argument. Lets face it, it's a moot point.
1)Most of the music pressed to vinyl in the past 10+ years was originally recorded on, or passed through various digital-only stages of production. So the 'analog' record is only an analog representation of a digital representation of music.
2)Beyond that, the physical groove on the record isn't actually true to the original wave-shapes. The louder and deeper the note, the wider the groove needs to be. Heavy bass will literally throw the needle out of the groove. To combat this, the vinyl making process actually entails extreme bass-cutting methods to ensure the groove holds the needle. In turn, when you plug your record player into the phono jack on your stereo, it's actually going through a phono amp that in turn has an extreme bass boost to get the song back to what the original mix is 'supposed' to be. Don't believe me? Plug your cd player into your phono jack. Make sure your volume is all the way down because the bass will blow out your speakers and it will sound like shit.
3)Records are not the most eco-friendly vehicles for music delivery. Aside from the physical disks, and the packaging, the process is kinda wasteful. Plus, the cost of shipping the relatively heavy objects, both money and gas and pollution. (pick up 50 records and 50 CDs. Which is heavier?)
4)Scratching & skipping & dust cackles & various audible artifacts from moving parts and friction based information retrieval. Moving parts = wear. Friction = wear. Circular means inertia pulls the needle to one side, favoring one side of the stereo spectrum. I want to listen to music, not music and the device it's stored on.

-Now that i've probably pissed off all the vinyl lovers out there (don't worry, all my friends are vinyl lovers too) lets get to CDs.
I don't like CDs either. They're outdated as far as information storage goes. They're not nearly as archival as they've been purported to be. I've lost a lot of information stored on CDs from scratches, or top-sheets pealing off, or i don't know why, but the files couldn't be retrieved. Over time, even if left completely untouched, CDs actually degrade. CD players use moving parts as well. That means wear and tear. They skip. I hate skipping. 16 bit 44.1kHz is an outdated standard for digital fidelity. If you really want to get into the fidelity of analog v. digital, CDs are a bad example. We can do a lot better than that these days. Just not on CDs. They're expensive to manufacture, and again, aren't very eco-friendly. Plastic disc, plastic case, cellophane (don't get me started on the cellophane and that damn sticker holding the jewel case closed,) and inserts. Again, plus cost of physical shipping and storage.

-Is there anyone out there still listening to the radio or cassette tapes?

-Then there's the digital realm. Obviously, this is the future. To what extent do you incorporate it into your world? I think this is the best option for audio. Right off the bat, most formats have the capability of being at least CD quality. Not that CD quality is all that, but we're already there. Due to various technological limitations and trends, mp3s took over, for better or for worse. Usually not highly encoded as CDs, they transferred quickly online, didn't take up as much space as Lossless formats, and were often 'easily acquired.' We're not infinitely relegated to mp3s . As transfer rates increase (ie: fios) and storage space become cheaper, we can increase the encoding rates of digital audio to phenomenal levels of fidelity. 500 gig hard drives can be found for $100. Servers also offer remote storage for extremely cheap. That makes storage, local backup, and remote backup extremely accessible. Entire multimedia collections can be had without much risk of loss. When was the last time you were able to back up your record collection? When was the last time you were able to back up your record collection several times over, merely by buying the storage space for it? When was the last time you were able to store your record collection in a space only a few cubic inches? When was the last time you were able to store your record collection at someone else's facility, yet had access to every record from your own home, 24/7?

The only thing that i concede about the use of digital media is the fact that hard disks fail. They have moving parts. Things with moving parts fail. (That's why backing up your hard drives is so important.) But, flash drives are getting larger capacities and in time, will be affordable as well. That's one less moving part. In the future, when plastic disks are deemed obsolete, i dream of a computer whose only moving parts are the fans. And with the removal of the other moving parts, that's less heat generated, which means cooler processors and ram, which means faster computers.

I believe in digital, all the way. I have a hard time justifying pressing CDs (as a tangible medium.) I had to for various reasons, and people still like to buy them, hold them, read them, etc. Not everyone has access to broadband or a computer or an iPod; downloading isn't quite an option. You can't download my songs from iTunes at my shows. You can walk up and buy a CD from me. I do have a digital delivery system at shows, but it will be a while before that catches on. If you want to know what it is, come to a show. You'll love what I'm selling.

In the future, i would prefer to stick to digital-only releases. The cost is lower for me. It's virtually negligible. The cost is lower for fans. The profit margin is higher, even though the consumer pays less. And, the cost is lower for the environment.

<3 Noise!

Prophetnoise on myspace

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Prophetnoise Portland Mercury Band Page

Prophetnoise Portland Mercury Band Page

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