Rules of the audio cleanup game.

Since March I’ve received a lot of feedback regarding my cleaned up remix of the Gimp version of ‘Supernothing.’ (In case you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, take a look at this post here.) In fact the .mp3 file generates the majority of the traffic that this site receives. So much so that I needed to up my hosting plan. I don’t mind though. As a Streetlight Manifesto fan I’m just glad to be contributing and helping other people enjoy their music as much as I do. I’m really glad people are grateful for the work I did and I really appreciate the comments and messages regarding it. Most of which come from people from Skachilles (the official unofficial Streetlight Manifesto message board.)

It’s because of those messages that I’m prompted to write this. The majority of them come with curiosity as to what I’m working on and encouragement that I work on more. Most ask me to take a crack at Catch-22‘s ‘Rules of the Game’ EP. I figured I should post something of a follow up to that since I get asked so often. Although I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer, back in March I was excited at the work I’d done and I took a serious stab at remixing ‘I’m Better Than You’. I even went as far as to buy good studio headphones to work on the project. However, once I got into it I found that the recordings of ‘RotG’ are a bit more challenging than ‘Supernothing’ was. Partially due to the recording quality, partially due to the speed / intensity of the songs themselves and mostly due to my own lack of expertise.

With ‘Supernothing’ there is a lot of silence and lows in the song. That gives me more to work with to take out the ambient tape noise. When working with a song like ‘I’m Better Than You’ that’s not so much the case. Thus far I’ve had no luck with any of the other recordings and haven’t produced anything worth releasing or commenting on here. I haven’t given up entirely, but at this time it’s not within my skill level, nor is it high on my list of priorities. (No offense!) While I appreciate all the encouragement and feedback, what it comes down to is… I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer. It’s just something I tried out and got lucky with. I’m going to keep trying and I’ll keep you guys posted should I manage any other future miracles, but I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too much.

Thanks again for the interest and kind words, keep me in your bookmarks if something pops up, here will be where to find it.

‘Peace out bitches!’

Killers singer offended by Green Day

Apparently Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, was a bit annoyed by Green Day‘s 2005 DVD ‘Bullet In a Bible’. In particular the performance of American Idiot and how Billie Joe pumps the audience during it.

“I just thought it was really cheap,” he explained. “To go to a place like England or Germany and sing that song – those kids aren’t taking it the same way that he meant it. And he [Billie Joe Armstrong] knew it.”

After reading the article I tend to agree with him. There are parts of ‘Bullet In A Bible’ that kinda struck me as Green Day deliberately missing their own point and playing up anti-American hatred. That said, to get offended is kinda ridiculous if you ask me. What were they supposed to do, not play the song?

That said the phenomenon he’s referring to does bother me. While I was in Ireland in 2004 there were a ton of kids wearing ‘Not My President’ shirts with swastikas drawn on Bush’s forehead. I wore that shirt with pride as an American just as I sing along to American Idiot. With pride in my nation and what it stands for, in civil disagreement of my government’s policies. Not because I hate my nation, but because I love it. Somehow I don’t think those kids in Europe get that. In that sense I agree with Flowers and it scares me.
It’s just a shame it he’s saying it a year too late and for shamless self promotion:

The Killers frontman said he believed that his band’s new album ‘Sam’s Town’ is a much better representation of America.

“People need to see that, really, there are the nicest people in the world here!” he declared. “I don’t know if our album makes you realise that. But I hope it’s from a more positive place.”

(Via Punknews)

Allegedly this is not a blog…

…unless I update it.

Fair enough I guess I’ll work on that. I’ll try to make this brief. I’ve been busy for the past few months, but things seem to be settling down for the moment which is good.  Work is good, back to school season is just ending so hopefully things might ease up, that’s about all I can say. I’m hoping for new products soon, but have no clue in truth. I plan to pick up a MacBook Pro whenever they put out a new version. My 12″ Powerbook’s AppleCare has just expired, and while it’s still running and treating me well, it’s time to move to something with a little more power, something that can run Aperture or actually interface with a video iPod. (12″ had USB 1.1)

So I’m back playing Halo 2 again, that game will not die for me I still enjoy it every bit as much as I did when I bought it. Oh that reminds me, I officially, after what… 4 months, have decided that my X-Box 360 was a completely worthwhile purchase. 3 reasons:

  1. I finally used it as a DVD player and a messaging center at the same time. I have my old wired Apple Keyboard plugged into it. Being able to voice chat as VoIP or text message while watching a movie is incredible.
  2. X-Box Live Arcade is finally actually worthwhile. I downloaded Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting and have been getting my butt whupped by strangers on the internet, while listening to music streaming from my PowerMac. (Thank you Connect 360)
  3. Dead Rising. Nuff Said.

Other stuff….

So I’ve been keeping busy, not working on any major design projects at the moment, mostly studying new programs and trying to (re?)teach myself how to draw. That said, I have been working at getting MediaRebellion.com back up and running. I’m not sure what we’re going to use it for but I moved all the content over to WordPress and as of yesterday two days ago I installed the Beta of phpBB 3 on the site which actually seems to be running REALLY smoothly, it’s leaps and bounds better than any other free message board system I’ve used.

I’m also now hosting / administrating the official message board for The Epoxies. Incase you havn’t checked them out, they are a new wave / punk band from Portland, Oregon that totally rocks, I highly recommend checking them out.

Canon put out a new version of the Rebel… I want it.

Impressed with myself

So recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Streetlight Manifesto and the earlier projects of their singer Tomas Kalnoky.

Tomas was the original singer / writer for the uber popular ska act, Catch 22, most notably on their ‘Keasbey Nights’ album which many will argue to be Catch’s best (or only good) album. Well back before Catch, in like 1995 Tomas was in a ‘punk’ band entitled: Gimp.

After Gimp disbanded one song by Tomas on their album, ‘Supernothing,’ was reworked from a slow ’emo’ esq acoustic song, to a faster more upbeat version that appears on Keasbey Nights. The original really has it’s own merits as a version for being so different and is actually a favorite among many of their fans. Sadly the only copies of this album out on the internet sound like shit as they’ve been taken from tape recordings that it seems were never really good quality to begin with.

Tonight I had a bit of free time and I was playing around with Soundtrack Pro for the first time and decided to throw Supernothing into the program to play with and to see if I could do anything about the quality. I was surprised with the results. I managed to correct the volume problems and remove almost all the tape hiss / noise that was crapping up the song. I’m impressed with Soundtrack and how easy it actually was to do without distorting the audio in the song, and that someone like myself who is virtually tone deaf could manage to do something with it in a matter of minutes.

Anyway I’ll let you be the judge of my work.

You can checkout the original here:
http://skachilles.com/music/gimp/11-Supernothing.mp3

And my cleaned up version:
http://www.subism.com/audio/gimp/supernothing.mp3

The immediate difference is subtle but really evident at loud volumes, through a car stereo or headphones. The original has a strong annoying hiss from the tape and is recorded at a lower volume. Using soundtrack I managed to clean up all the hiss / noise and boost the volume to that of a normal recording which in my opinion makes it vastly more listen-able than before. I’m debating doing more of this type of thing with some other projects, including ‘Rules of the Game’ Catch 22’s pre Keasbey demo that is also only on tape, but I’d like some feedback on how people think this sounds first.