Eclectic Blah: A Day Off

Today was the first day in quite some time where I didn’t spend a single minute on the Eclectic Blah mixes. Yes, a lot of it has been accomplished, and mixing has progressed really far, but I also wanted to use a literal day off to get a little distance from this part of the work.

That didn’t keep me from looking at a few other tasks. A first sketch for the cover art (which will be an 18-page booklet) has been done and refined somewhat, and I’m already happy with the concept. I also worked on the track transitions in the master montage, which gave some funny auditory impressions: the mixdowns at this stage are only 16-bit files, and what’s more, the source files are 16 bit, too. What that means is that if you turn up the trail of a, say Wavestation sound real loud to get the taper fade at the end right, you’ll listen to a combination of Wavestation D/As, ADA8000 A/Ds and 1201 noise. Ideas for possible noise passages in Erlanger Programm

I also got into conversation with my Twitterpal Tom Emmons a.k.a napadude, who replied to some of my AI list/status update tweets and got interested in the concept. I decided to give him access to the google drive file containing the info, and later on, to my roughmixes contained on dropbox.

From Tom’s blog, I knew that he had been getting into Ableton Live recently. Now wouldn’t that platform make a nice tool for a remix for some of the Eclectic Blah album tracks? Tom picked Solid State, and I provided the unedited stems to him…now I’m really looking forward to his magic.

About Track Status…

First of all, there had been some erroneous indications of track status in my new system. I mislabeled several tracks as “status 5” (meaning mix/edit signoff). This was not correct, at least formally, as that singoff requires that the mastering engineer approves that there’s nothing that needs the proverbial “fix in the mix”. Now we’re very much in borderline territory here, because the mastering enginer, mixing engineer, producer and whatnot is one and the same person, i.e. me.

Now for this reason, I don’t expect any major holdups, and looking at the AIs again: there’s one non-optional required for status 4 (the electronic deep drum in the intro to The Porcupine), the 18 remaining AIs are optional (and often low priority): six further one deal with levels, two with dynamically EQing the OHs to bring tom fill out better, there’s an issue with trapset bleed in the percussion mics during a short section of In Deep Water, and two minor fixes (having to do with the fadein and noise apparent in the ending) for Driving Home Slowly. Most of those are a job of less than five minutes each, however.

Two remaining ones are a little more effort, and those are overdub topics: one, the comping in the head out for Tiny Bugs may be a bigger effort if I can’t find the patch for the D2 quickly, and the other one would be rerecording the dreaded plastic-sounding latin percussion samples for Dreams of Hesse, which destroy the feel of the song a little.

Path Forward…

All in all, that’s stuff that will be done during the next week, and assume a lot comes up during the mastering assessment, I should be aiming for completion around 25th of January.

There’ll be increased work on the mastering. I’m aiming for a rather constant setup for the entire run, adjusting only in small detail, but I’m confident that by the time we reach mix/edit signoff, mastering has already progressed deeply into the next phase…

With that, I leave you with a shot selected for the booklet sketch – from the Fractal Dimension concert, and taken by merge bar’s staff, this shows not only the band but also the huge Eclectic Blah posters they had hung in their venue. Nice!

Fractal Dimension - the last official Eclectic Blah concert
Fractal Dimension – the last official Eclectic Blah concert

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