I’m back

Back

Yeah, after ten very long weeks, I’m finally back at home. That includes constant access to my instruments as well as the internet, so expect me to update this blog more frequently again. I’ve already started recording again, but did not yet produce anything presentable. Won’t take that long until I post some new previews, though.

New stuff

Sadly, my Pro Tools 8 M-Powered has not yet arrived, so I’m still stuck with the stripped down Essentials version. But I expect the packet to be delivered within the next week.

Moreover, I’ve ordered some headphones, namely the Shure SRH 440. Price point 84 EUR. Quite affordable in my opinion, and at least I won’t have to rely on my crappy 10 EUR headset anymore.

And, last but not least, I’ve spontaneously bought the Concerto Piano Structure Kit from the AIR user blog. Why? Because it’s (relatively) cheap (10 GBP) and I love Pianos. Gotta incorporate some into my next songs I guess.

Other stuff

I’ve set up an apache server and installed Python 2.7 on my home computer recently, which means I can start designing and programming my website now. Anyway, that includes learning html and python again, which isn’t the funniest thing to do, hence it could take some time until I get some results. But a homepage has very low priority at the current state of the project anyways.

Moreover, I started designing a writing of “Wake up Call!” for use in signatures and on potential album covers. Which means I first penciled it on paper, redraw the final layout with a pen, removed all the redundant lines, scanned the image and reworked it with paint.net. Have a look at its current state (took me 1h15 to get there):

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A short status update

Well, I’m still more or less cut off from the internet and my recording equipment. Anyway, I’ve managed to write some lyrics and guitar parts on my acoustic guitar, which I’m going to record as soon as I’ll manage to have some time. Moreover, I’ve ordered Pro Tools 8 M-powered, which means I’ll have access to a lot more effects and features when I start recording again.

About the ongoing hiatus: I will be cut off from the world for three more weeks from now on (worst case: five more weeks). Thereafter, this blog will hopefully come back to life. 🙂

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Drawing the line / unpleasant hiatus

Drawing the line

After re-doing the vocals of “No Other Way” several times, I’ve decided to draw the line and declare the song as “finished for now”, whereas “for now” means, that I’ll probably redo the vocals once I’ve got a little better in terms of singing. But the current version is as good as possible right now. To listen to it, download it as mp3, ogg or flac directly from my homepage, or head to the last.fm page.

Unpleasant hiatus

It’s been a little silent this time. I haven’t abandoned this blog, but for the moment (that is, for the next 9 weeks), I have only occasional access to the internet, as well as to my instruments and recording software. For that reason, there’s little chance this blogs get’s some new entries until february 2011. 😦

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Progress, second leg and web 2.0

Progress

I’ve been a little quit, but I’m still making progress. The current preview of “No other way” can be found on my newly registered Soundcloud account (ogg), vocals are still crappy, but I’m working on it. I share a flat with three other people, and I simply can’t work on those vocals while someone is in listening range (which is a common problem, and is not in any way related to stage fright 🙂 ).

Also, I showcased my song for the first time on a public musicians board, and the reviews were quite supportive and very motivating 🙂

Liedermaching

“Liedermacher” is the german term for singer-songwriter. The last two days, I started writing some acoustic songs, which unlike the songs I write under the name “Wake up call!” I can perform on stage. Just me and a guitar. They’re in german, pretty unpolished and not supposed to be something one’s listening too at home. Anyway, if anyone’s interested, here are some “one-shot” takes of the two songs I wrote.

Emanzipation

Nur mal…

Web 2.0

I’ve began building up a little Web 2.0 network. I’ve registered the doman wakeupcall-band.de (which is still empty) as well as some Facebook page which will get some content as soon as I’ve got my first song in a releaseable state.

Also, I’ve registered a Twitter Account, where I will post on blog updates and any news related to Wake up Call!. So if you’re interested in this blog or in my music, and have a Twitter account, feel free to follow me.

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More on Vocals – Effects

Yeah! Surprise, surprise! You can actually enhance crappy vocals, by digitally adding some effects. But, like any other stuff, you have to know what, and how. I was actually quite productive last week. Recorded quite some vocals, and started a new song which popped into my brain sometimes in the early afternoon, and was ready for recording in the evening.

But back on the effects: on the first song, I tried some chorus effects. Compare

Sample 1 – no chorus and Sample 2 – chorus at 0:22 to 0:35

I think the difference is obvious. Please ignore the end at sample 2, you might give it a listen if you want to, but it’s far away from finnished or in any way polished.

The second effect I gave a try is reverb. Also, take the time to listen to the whole song. I tried to do some kind of fragile singing. And, more or less, I failed. Anyway, I like the melody, and the (not yet entirely flawless) solo at the end. The part featuring the reverb can be found at 2:05, here’s the sample: No other way(?) – Preview 2.

Keep on rockin’ 🙂

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Vocals

Getting a microphone

Writing music and being unable to record your songs completely is rather unsatisfying. So I’ve decided to get a microphone. Not having the faintest Idea about different types and techniques of microphones, I turned to a german music site to get some help what might be the best choice for me. The first answers I got were like: “For a good recording, you need a condenser microphone for at least 100EUR. Anything cheaper isn’t really cheap, but rather expensive crap”. A downside of condenser microphones is, that they need phantom power, which my interface doesn’t support, so I’d had to buy another device for about 20EUR. Together with a cable and one of the recommended microphones that would have already 150EUR to pay. Quite more than I expected.

Luckily, someone jumped in to tell me that considering my experiences, I’d be fine with a dynamic microphone too. And suggested me the EV Blue Raven, which does a quite good job in recording several instruments, ranging from vocals over guitars to drums and horn. E.g. this Song was recorded completely using the EV Blue Raven.

So in the end, I got that one. And my german music store of choice was so nice to sell the microphone bundled with an 6m XLR cable for no additional costs. I could tell you that I’m satisfied with the sound, but that wouldn’t have any value since I’ve nothing to compare…

Actually recording vocals

Maybe I should start wrapping my experience in singing: there is none.

My first try to sing was a little rap part for the previously featured untitled screamo project (which goes by the name “Wake up call” by now). I’ve gotta say, my respect for professional rap and hip hop artists drastically increased. Took me about 50 to 60 takes to actually sing the right words I had in mind. Took me about 30 to 40 more to make them sound at least not completely awful. That said, I’m not even closely satisfied. But on the other hand one’s probably never satisfied with his own voice.

So here’s a little sample, hf and rock on!

wake up call – vocals first try

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Making a difference

Ok, I’ve played a little bit with the drum track, and I’m thrilled how much difference this makes!

Preview? 🙂

(also, I’ve redone the rythm guitar. Still not perfect, but better than before)

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