Sunday, February 22, 2015

33 1/3 RPM - the 3 week album

Well today I just finished my new album "33 1/3 RPM" as part of the RPM challenge to record an album from scratch over the month of February.
Nothing like a 40 degree day to keep you locked inside at the mixing desk (I should I say mixing DAW?). 
I had to primarily create a new album from scratch. Not only was the timing a challenge (as I lost a week due to having to mail the cd to the USA a week before the due date), but having to come up with new musical ideas as well as learning how to use new guitar pedals and effects.
Early on I decided to record all the music to a hard drive recorder. This was about being able to plug in and play and experiment,  and not be bogged down by dealing with software.  It also meant my effects were coming from my pedal and guitar, to minimise having to worry about adding effects later. 
Most tracks came together pretty quickly.  The process was to get all the recordings down and then do the mixing as a separate process, instead of record a track, mix it, record the next track etc.
The last week or so has been about putting down the last 2 tracks, cleaning up the tracks (ie getting rid of guitar buzz, humming etc.) and working on the final mixes.  It's been pretty intense.
Nothing like a deadline to get things done. 
One of the problems was cleaning up the tracks, there's only so much you can do with EQ (but you can do a considerable amount).  Having trialled some noise reduction software I found that none of it really worked the way I expected it to (and I'm talking about some reasonably priced gear).  I started to work with some old software I purchased ages ago,  and by using that I was able to get the task done.  It's that thing about learning to use what you've got... and use it more efficiently.
Mind you, not all the software was plain sailing.  The mastering software worked fine, but the files exported as AIFs, which could not be opened in Itunes or some of my other software. Some file converting software I have been using for years let me know today that my "free trial" had  expired. Bad timing, given that I only had a few hours to spare.
So after an attempt to convert the files online (only to find out that they wouldn't open once completed), it was back to my DAW (digital audio workstation) to reload the files and export them as AIFFs.
So finally I was able to burn the disc, print off the cover and post it off. 
It's been a good challenge. Would I do it again?  Sure
The finished album will be released on my bandcamp site by the end of the week.