Categories
General Pop Culture Travels

It’s A Party in The USA – Thailand Part 7

Yesterday we arrived in Ayutthaya and set up camp in a hostel called Tony’s Place. While there are some minor flaws (zero water pressure in the shower) this is hands down the coolest place I have ever stayed at while abroad. The whole front of the building is a giant deck / restaurant which is swarming with a mix of traveling folk and it’s directly across the street from Christine’s favorite bar, Chang House.

There is WiFi and decent food in the terrace as well as a tourist information desk, it very much blurs the line between hotel and hostel. Everyone here is super friendly and I’m typing this while eating a delicious BLT breakfast (I got a little tired of chicken and rice).

Our room has cable tv so we settled in and relaxed for a bit and flipped through stations before settling on MTV Africa (an odd thing to broadcast since Thailand is not in Africa). I haven’t watched MTV in years, in fact I’ve been pretty actively boycotting it since around 1997, so whenever I do catch it for a while I’m always blown away by what I see. 8 videos in a row and 7 of them (including Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus) clearly used and overused auto-tune. I’m sickened, is there any musical talent required anymore? Geez. Anyway this frightened me worse when I realized I was watching MTV Africa, not MTV US, these pop stars and the ads for Jersey Shore are representing America to a lot of people and they look up to it, that is really scary.

After that we went to Chang house and hung out with Christine’s friend Earth. Awesome guy, we split a bottle of “Blend” whiskey (Distilled by Red Bull, cheap and not half bad, considering) and attempted to overcome language barriers and had a good laugh doing so. From there we went to another bar where Earth’s band was playing and found some French guys and Christine’s coworker Dan from the UK. We had a really good time talking about cultural differences and I wound up telling the one gentleman from Paris my trick to getting a Parisian to speak English, he had a really good laugh and admitted he had no doubt it would work.

From there we went to a nightclub where there was a Thai rock band playing. I was exhausted but it was a lot of fun. It seems a lot of Thai rock is set on a reggae beat so it’s very, very similar to the ska punk I grew up with on Long Island which is very strange but very comforting. Eventually the band busted into a Thai Punk cover of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance which turned out to be surprisingly good.

Thai covers of American music are actually really huge over here in the touristy areas but they are quite amusing to those of us who natively speak English because most, not all, of the singers don’t understand the words to what they’re singing. The singers will butcher the lyrics but hit the notes, tones and timing near perfectly. It’s an amazing phenomenon and very entertaining nonetheless. From there it was time for bed, but as a whole the day turned out to be really enlightening and fun.

Today we’re catching a boat tour around the city and checking outcome old ruins, I can’t wait to take pictures and to share them with y’all. Cheers!

Categories
General Technology

Digging up old stuff…

Submitted for your approval (or disapproval) a music video I made for “Magnetic North” a Less Than Jake song in 2002 before YouTube and making your own video was all the rage. This was one of my first experiments with Final Cut Pro and video editing in general. Warning in advanced the whole thing is shot with a handheld camera and is very jerky. I just found this on my harddrive and figured I should post it for posterity’s sake. Unfortunately I appear to have lost the source project.

Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Categories
Technology

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 delighted that people are grateful for the work I did, and I 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 this response that I am writing this. The majority of the messages come with questions as to what I’m working on. As well as 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 very excited by the work I had done. As such, I took a serious stab at cleaning up ‘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 ‘Rules of the Game’ are a bit more challenging than ‘Supernothing’ was. Partially due to the recording quality, partially due to the speed/intensity of the songs, but mostly due to my personal 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’ is not 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 this: I’m a graphic designer, not an audio engineer.

It’s just something I tried out and got lucky. 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.

Categories
Pop Culture Technology

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 cult favorite ska act, Catch 22, best known for their 1998 record ‘Keasbey Nights‘, which many will argue to be the band’s best (or only good) album. Well back before Catch 22, Tomas was in a punk band named Gimp.

After Gimp disbanded, Tomas reworked one of their songs, ‘Supernothing,’ from a slow acoustic track to the faster, more upbeat version that appears on Keasbey Nights. The original, perhaps because it is so different, has become a favorite among fans. Sadly the only copies of this album floating around the internet are of poor quality. Probably due to having been taken directly from tape copies that, it seems, were not high fidelity to start with.

Tonight I had a bit of free time and decided to throw Supernothing into Soundtrack Pro to teach myself the software and to see if I could do anything about the quality. I was surprised by the results. I managed to correct the volume problems and remove almost all the tape hiss with just a few clicks. I’m impressed with Soundtrack and how easy it was to do without noticeably distorting the audio. If someone like myself, who is virtually tone-deaf, could manage to do something with it in a matter of minutes, that says a lot.

The immediate difference is subtle but evident at loud volumes, through a car stereo or headphones. The removal of the hiss, and the boosted volume makes it vastly more listen-able than before in my opinion.

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.

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

You can check out the original here:

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