Moved Blog
rabbitearsmotel
If you one of the 2 people who check out this blog, I moved it to:
http://rabbitearsmotel.wordpress.com/

it's a little more flexible. livejournal is awesome though.

I Can't Imagine
rabbitearsmotel
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I love the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

I Can't Imagine
This song is not really about anyone in particular, but more about a "type" of person it seems like I have run into repeatedly over the course of my existence. Could actually be about myself when I was younger. Everyone knows one of those people who are like a tornado ripping through everyone around them; yet everyone loves them because they are smart, funny, good looking or charming. The song itself is a long Pink Floyd kind of thing (i'm partial to that sort of thing); it's the kind of song I would listen too, but was mostly an experiment in playing with Logic. I am still interested in songwriting, but I have become very interested in the art of recording; not to say that I am successful at it (yet).

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I know they kill people, but tornadoes are really cool.

I did this in Logic and tried out a couple of new things. I have been having problems getting a decent bass sound; always seems to be too boomy. So for this one, I EQed the bass kind of more trebl-ey, and then doubled the bass part with a synth EQed really low. I was reading an interview with someone who produces black metal bands, and he mentioned that he does it all the time. Synth provides the bottom end, while the bass gives the rhythm. Seems like it turned out okay.

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This guy is a visionary; he brings the ancient traditions of Sumo to the world of black metal

There aren't any other "synth" sounds in here. Just a little bit of audio that I played with in the EXS24 sampler. I recorded my piano, reversed it and then made an instrument out of it. You can hear that sound pretty much all the way through the song. I ended up being really happy with that instrument, nice to play a chord and hear a reversed piano coming back at you.

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My piano isn't much better.

There is also a flutey (flutish?) kind of sound that I made awhile ago with EXS. It's mostly the reverb send of a synth pad i was playing with, all of the dry sound is pretty much gone. Liked how it sounded at the time, so I loaded it into the sampler for future use. I usually don't throw anything away, even if a song sucks I can always sample cool noises in the song and use later for something else. My new fave reverb is EOS by Audio Damage It has a really great sound to it, a crazy hall algorithm, and it also has an infinite button that can get really ugly. Love it.
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This was a wise purchase.

The piano itself is sampled too, although I didn't make that instrument. It's called the Rain Piano, and I bought it online for real cheap (they were having a sample). It's just a beat up old upright that was sampled. The company that sells it is called Sampletekk . They have a lot of good stuff available for download online.

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Serious business

The guitar part is my Tele run through Podfarm and a leslie simulation in Logic. I was feeling like the middle eight wasn't very strong (still don't), and in an attempt at adding a little interest, I cut the lead guitar line up into bite sized pieces and then reversed some of them. The bridge was weird as I improvised the piano part, and when I got around to doing the vocals it wasn't really working like a song is supposed to. That's also how that little section with the bass petering out came into play. Suppose I could have actually written a part there, but then I would have had to re-record.

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"My son is not a monster"

Drums are EZDrummer; the vintage expansion kit. I bought myself EZDrummer for my birthday last year. Ultrabeat in Logic is really cool, but I have a thing for classic rock and indie, so I needed a different app for that stuff. I think I want to get the EZDrummer jazz kit next; sounds really nice on the songs I've heard.

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Wish I knew these guys in high school.

Lastly, I just wanted to pimp my friend Carlos' new record. Carlos is a freaking maniac. He does sort of a dark ambient thing, all tension, mood and an undercurrent of emotional violence. I have had the pleasure to work with him on more than a few tunes, and I have a bit part on this record. It is available for free, and I highly recommend it. Here is a link:

LIngering Last Drops

Streaming Audio LIngering Last Drops

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Download this now.

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Some of Carlos' artwork

Sorry I got so exited by all of the black metal pictures I found, that I kind of went nuts. Just in case you're feeling all skeezed out, here's a picture of a cute baby elephant playing.

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Remind me to get one of these for my daughter.

close the door while I play with my theremin
rabbitearsmotel
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Godzilla circuit bends. Way cool

Not really much to say in this installment. Haven't recorded much lately as life was getting in the way. This song I am posting was knocked ut pretty quickly and was basically an excuse to try out a fake theremin sound. I do have a real theremin, that my lovely wife gave me for xmas a few years ago, but it's almost impossible to play a melody on the thing.

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ES2 is an amazing synth

The theremin sound was made in the ES2 synth that is part of Logic. Speaking of Logic, I am really excited about the new Logic 9. Some really cool features: convert to sample, some really neat audio flex features. It's all been said way better than I could explain it, but very excited. Now to just save up a couple hundred bucks (harder than you think with a kid).

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This young man looks really comfortable with an infant

Anyways, not really sure what the song is about. I will probably try and do a re-mix of this, although I accidentally threw away the MIDI files for the drum track. Have been trying to learn how to think like a drummer, and am not always successful. I think I overdid it with the crash cymbals at the end of the song.

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Before Logic there was the 4 track and some really weird shit

I should probably update this blog more often as the intent was to document my experience trying to learn how to make decent recordings in Logic. At this point I can't remember a whole lot about the process of this song. Played some stuff, made a few software instruments with samples, etc... Nothing enlightening or interesting in the slightest. I will leave you with some of my plastic block art that I do with my daughter. This is an owl. hope you like the song.

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The Owl of Doom

Close The Door

Click that link above to hear the tune
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I Need Gasoline
rabbitearsmotel
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I live in Echo Park, which is just north of downtown LA. It's really nice here: trees, hills, old houses, even a lake. I have been living with my wife in our house since maybe 2000. At the time, the neighborhood was kind of bad in an inner city way (packs of wild dogs, gangs, abandoned furniture on the street), but it was cool and cheap.

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This is where we walk our dog. There isn't much open green space like this here in LA. You can understand why we chose to live here. The neighborhood was actually getting better too, coffee shops opening up, less gang activity, etc... But recently the economy has put an end to gentrification, and now we are left with high rents and people who have been pushed out. Couple of weeks ago, there was a shooting: 3 local gang members were hit, 2 died. That was like a block from our house.

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So now it seems like the White people are afraid of the Hispanics, and the Hispanics are angry with the "white hipsters" who moved in. Lame. I really love the neighborhood, but at this point we just wish that we could move to a better neighborhood and not think about crap like gentrification, racial tension, and where in the hell we're going to send our kid for school.

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"I Need Gasoline"

If you click the link, you can hear a song that I wrote about Echo Park. I don't know why I gave it that title, just kind of fit. I recorded this in Logic, with an MXL USB mic that I used for vocals and the acoustic guitar. Other than that, it's just my voice and some sounds I made with the Automat soft synth (freeware and really nice, go google it). I have no idea why someone made a guitar pedal called Echo Park, but kind of silly.

Got My Eyes On You
rabbitearsmotel
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Drinking a Rolling Rock with my lady on the corduroy sofa. Good times.

I have a bunch of online friends that I record music with, my favorite gathering spot is macjams. It's a horrible name for a really great web site. There are some really talented people there, and it's really given me a kick in the butt to keep playing music. Occasionally there are challenges: write a song that sounds like it came off someone else's record, write an acoustic song with no overdubs, etc... My favorite challenge has been the LIOLI challenge. Basically the idea is: someone is the organizer and they pick a really horrible MIDI loop and you have to write a song around it. The beauty of MIDI is that you can change the sounds, the tempo, the pitch, you can drag the notes to different places. This challenge really inspired me to figure out how to work with MIDI, and was a lot of fun.

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This is the best ice breaker ever

The MIDI loop that this song was based around was really awful. It was really bad dance sounding clavinet. Really horrible. I took the loop and turned it into a bass track and a percussion track. The rest of the song is me playing guitar and I tapped the drums out with my keyboard. It's about my wife, and how thrilled I used to get when I would see her. I decided to go for a real 80's vibe on this one; think Love & Rockets/Tones on Tails meets Gang of Four with a little Can thrown in. I don't usually sing like this, but it fit the song. Take a listen:

Got My Eyes On You

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These are actual prosthetic eyes. Hope I never need a fake eye

I recorded this in Logic, and used the effects that come with it for the reverb and the drum sounds. For the echo-ey guitar part in the middle I used the TAL-Dub delay plug in. It's free, and I put a link for it in one of my earlier posts. I automated the delay plug in to make the pitch bends and other trippy sounds. Logic is great for editing effects and sound files, really intuitive I think. If anyone tells you that Logic is too difficult to use, don't believe them. They probably have troubles with their email too.

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These guys make me happy

I got these pictures by typing in the name of the song and just grabbed a few random images. Google images is (sadly) probably the website that I visit the most.

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I've Never Seen A U.F.O.
rabbitearsmotel
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When I was a kid I was really into UFOs. Apparently everyone else was too, judging by the popularity of books and documentaries on the subject at the time.

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I really wanted to believe that there was some sort of intelligent, benevolent beings out there. Maybe if things ever got really bad, they would come save us.

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Anytime I was outside at night, I kept a watchful eye out for them. Unfortunately I never saw one (or even thought I did). Now it's too late for me: I'm older and now that I am aware of the enormous distance between Earth and the nearest galaxy, I just don't feel like it's possible. Just another one of the buzzkills that go along with being an adult.

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I wrote this song about having never seen one. I recorded this in Logic. I used EZDrummer to do the drum track and the rest is just guitar and bass that I played using the PodFarm amp modelling software.

"I've Never Seen a U.F.O."

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Here's the blueprints for a flying saucer if you're inclined to try and make one. I wish you would.





Fund this on Youtube, some guys in France took some footage of a UFO over their house.

Gods Robots
rabbitearsmotel
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I like to kill time in many different ways. One of my favorites is scouring the internet for pictures of robots. For some reason, I just found that very embarrassing to type.

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Not sure why they are so appealing to me. My daughter loves monkeys. Both robots and monkeys are kind of like people, but different. Cooler.

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I was chatting with some friends, and one was irritated that he couldn't write code. I took his quote and turned it into a song. It's all done on synths that are in Logic. I had to write and record this in about a half an hour, otherwise it wouldn't have been funny anymore.
"Sapience(No Code, Can't Send Notes)"

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The song is about a robot named Sapience who is stuck in space. His human companion has died and Sapience wrote the song on software that was loaded in him for his masters amusement. Sapience is confused by the emotions that he feels.

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I like these robots as they are soft and plushy.

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These are just appealing in that molded plastic sort of way. Kind of like toy soldiers, only cooler.

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Eno, Bowie and Fripp
rabbitearsmotel
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This is like the holy trinity for me, Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, and David Bowie. I could never underestimate their impact on me.


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My favorite Bowie records are probably Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold THe World, Low & Heroes. I have a real fascination with the whole Berlin period. All of that cocaine and krautrock really served him well (as did the influence of Eno)

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Eno was what made Roxy Music great, and his first 2 solo albums are essential. If I could only have one record, it would definitely be "Here Come the Warm Jets." Pop, glam, and great experimental songwriting. Perfect.

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I wrote this song (the Berlin Years)with my friend "Kevin" . He sent me a drum track that he had constructed and I improvised all of the synth parts over what he had sent me. In my mind I kept picturing Bowie in the Berlin years, hung over and late for a show. The promoter is freaking out, so the band starts without him and jams on this until he gets there. Since there is no guitar on this, I guess Fripp has been up all night with him as well:

"The Berlin Years"

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I just love this picture of Eno.

I'll Be Sad (When You're Dead)
rabbitearsmotel
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I wrote this song when I was really angry with someone, it's kind of a "screw you, go to hell" type of song. I didn't want it to be angry sounding though (too punk rock and predictable for my tastes); so instead I used Pink Floyd, Spiritualized and random Disney soundtracks as my inspiration. I was going for a lullaby mixed with some dissonance. The best part is that I can't even remember who I was angry at.
http://www.imeem.com/people/Js3nomQ/music/yxWukL-t/mount_st_helen_ill_be_sad/

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All of the string arrangements are from instruments that are found in Logic, with the exception of the Fitch Cello. I feel like it has a nicer sound to it for a solo cello sound. I really love Logic, but the symphonic instruments are all ensemble for the most part. Here's a link to the Fitch Cello (it's free); he also has a bunch of instruments like toy pianos, drum kits, horns, etc... You'll have to Google those as his page seems to move around. Anyways here's the cello:
http://mac.softpedia.com/progDownload/Fitch-Cello-Download-25411.html

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The beginning of the song (and the end) is a drum loop that I ran through CamelCrusher to add some grit to it. The drums in the verses are midi orchestral drums from the Apple Jampack 4. The synth I used is the FM synth that comes with Logic. There isn't a lot of it in there, just a few sweeps towards the end.

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I found all of these pictures in Google images when I typed in "I'll Be Sad." They were just pictures that I liked, except for this last one which just baffles me. I guess if that was the amp that I had to use I'd be sad too.

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I inherited my cat from a super model
rabbitearsmotel
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About 10 years ago I had a friend whp had started dating a supermodel (Helena Christensen). They got pregnant and had to go to Denmark to have the baby; I guess that's where she comes from. Somehow I ended up taking care of their cat. They told me to pick him up in some house in Beachwood Canyon. I go up there, and the house is completely empty, except for the cat, a litter box and a pile of bad art leaning up against the wall. Craziest thing I've ever seen. This was a nice house, bigger than the one I share with my family. Apparently, the house was rented for the cat and Helena's manager would come up occasionally and feed him. I took the cat home, and after about a year when I didn't hear from his owners, I changed his name to Pablo. It used to be #5, guess that was a reference to Chanel. He is totally a member of the family now, my little girl loves him. We haven't heard from my friend or the supermodel in years; last I heard they had broken up and went their separate ways.

A few years ago we bought a new couch for our house. It was a big, forest green sort of thing and was not bad looking. Pablo doesn't go outside at all (supposedly cats live longer if they stay inside); anyways, Pablo doesn't get to work out his frustrations on field mice or whatever is lying around outside, so his primary outlet is the couch. Within a few months the couch looked like hell, so my wife got these nice slip covers for it. It looks much better now. Really clean and adult looking.

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Every once in awhile you need to wash the slip covers, and they won't fit in our washer and dryer at home. Our little girl had dumped milk all over the couch, so I took them to the laundromat in Los Feliz (the one across the street from Trader Joes), and I ran into my friend. This friend is always looking for love. He's a really great guy, smart, funny as hell, talented, not bad looking. He has been through a few different relationships in the time that I've known him, but they never turned out the way that he had hoped. If you want to know why he is still looking, you'll have to ask him. So anyways, we're standing around the laundromat and started chatting and he told me that he was about to break up with his girlfriend. He said that it was over, and it had been over for awhile; that they were just propping it up like weekend at Bernies. I loved that analogy.

After my laundry was done, i went home and ended up writing a song that was inspired by our conversation. I used a little artistic license in the lyrics, I really doubt my friend dreams of suicide, puppy dogs and pretty girls. But I think I was in the ballpark. I recorded the song in about an hour, and emailed it to him. He ended up not breaking up with the girl after all. Whatever, his life; and I got a song out of it.

I did most of the song on a couple of Casio's that I have laying around my house. Since then I haven't really used my Casios as I found some good sound fonts that basically do the same thing. I usually get sound fonts at
http://www.sf2midi.com/
They are free, and all you have to do is sign up. They won't send you any Spam. To play sound fonts in Garageband, you need to get a player. Go to the sound font site I mentioned, get some sound fonts you like, and put them in a folder somewhere on your computer. Then open up your sound font player, and it will look for the sound fonts and play them. Try this one, it's free:
http://www.bismark.jp/bs-0/index.html
If you have Logic, the EXS24 will play any sound font you might have. If you have a different recording set-up, I have no idea. Try here:
http://www.google.com

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So in the end, my friend wound up breaking up with that girl. Awhile later he started dating another girl but once he figured out that she was his girlfriend, they broke up. He said that he was doing a breakup playlist, but he didn't have the song I wrote for him anymore. Lost it when he got a new computer. I told him I would upload the song for him so here it is:

It Feels Wrong - Mount St. Helen

http://www.imeem.com/people/Js3nomQ/music/Mgfg7TGA/mount_st_helen_it_feels_wrong/

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