Thursday, January 1, 2009

Cheshire Adams - It's Psych

One of my first songs here. It's a somewhat outdated ode to one of my favorite hang-out spots in cyberspace:

It's PSYCH



Download

If you feel you're in a wasteland of trash and ennui,
Let me open your eyes to the fact that this need not be...
Just shed all your thoughts.....hop on your White Bike,
And fly into the ports of It's PSYCH!

The spectral spade digs deep through the annals of time....
Each artifact conquers your senses and channels your mind....
Then sets it aflame.....like a match that you strike,
Sending colors.....through the animate skies of It's PSYCH!

Every tiny aspect of life reverberates so loud....
A tangerine sun shines down through babelfish clouds....
A scenic and breathtaking view....we see on this hike
Look! In the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane!

It's PSYCH!

15 comments:

Drunkenmaster said...

Great track! I really like your guitar playing, too much gain on the guitar recording though. So the 'Bird' is in the sky? no wonder I get vertigo every time I stumble out of that place........

Cheshire Adams said...

Hi there!

I'm not exactly a professional musician.... What is "gain"?

The recording equipment I have is, as I say, relatively primitive. No matter how much of a polished sound I may have in mind, unless I somehow leap into the sort of position that would net me a proper studio, everything will ultimately sound like a "basement tape."

This includes "Sickness of the Year," which I'm almost done writing and hope to record fairly soon. :D

Rock on,
~C.A.~

Drunkenmaster said...

Definition: Gain is a complex issue; gain is usually expressed in decibels, and is the level between the input level of a device (an instrument, microphone, or audio signal) to a mixer, recording input, or amplifier, and the output of that device into a speaker, recording mix, or other output. This difference between input and output powers is generally thought to begin at "0" (unity gain), and can go into negative numbers as well as positive numbers.

Drunkenmaster said...

Hi C.A, Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner dude, time has me in a head lock at the moment and I'm up to my neck, lost in a tune with tooooo many keyboards! I really like your recordings but you could do with a few tips on getting a better sound when recording, er... that's if you want? Your playing is good, your ideas for songs are really great and your use of words and the way you sing has real potential. I can post some software on its psych for recording (try to bring the volume down when recording the guitar as you can make it louder later) but the best place to start is by telling me what you have soundcard wise in your pc? I have worked in some big studios but much prefer a simple pc set up myself, where as others I know are much happier focusing on playing and writing and leaving the recording to an engineer so I guess its also down to how technically minded you are? anyway I should be free some time this week and I am happy to share the little I know and have with another songwriter.
P.S is that DJ Psych Alex from the forum with you in that vid at the record shop?

Cheshire Adams said...

>...you could do with a few tips...

What'cha got? :-)

>...your ideas for songs are really great...

Problem is, they're few and far between....

I had an idea this morning for a parody of Prince's "1999" which would basically be an infomercial set to music. I wonder if Weird Al had the same idea; I remember reading that Prince is the only mainstream artist who's consistently denied Weird Al kind-hearted permission to parody his songs.

Yeah, long before I discovered psych, I was a fan of the likes of Allan Sherman, Spike Jones and the City Slickers, and so on. Of course, having gone through high school at the beginning of this millennium, I've been exposed to a certain amount of modern, mainstream stuff as well......

But you know my heart lies with the offbeat and demented.

Anyway...

It's approaching two o'clock in the morning here, and I'm not quite up to going on about the technical aspects of my recordings just now. I did have a detailed thing about how I recorded "It's PSYCH"; it's somewhere in this blog's archive. Doesn't have everything, but it's a start.

I think the sound card on here is called "SoundMAX." I never really noticed; all I know is it seems to work.

It might be easier if we used e-mail for this discussion. I got two good "mailto" links in the top post.

That is indeed "Psychedelic Alex" with me in the basement at Vintage Vinyl in Evanston. The video was originally posted on the first incarnation of iP. Alex went by the moniker "JasonCrest68" at the time. (And I was "Farshimmelt," of course.)

I can understand the link to that video that appears after the "Welcome" video is done....and I can understand the appearances of two or three videos by Roy Zimmerman, to whom I subscribe on YouTube....but what on Krikkit does "girl puking" have to do with me?! I've never seen or, to my knowledge, expressed a desire to see, such a video.....

I'll catch up with you later.

Peace,
~C.A.~

Drunkenmaster said...

I found the tread 'some as-yet-unrecorded song lyrics' so I'll move over to there or the "mailto" links. I just wanted to say Spike Jones 'COCKTAILS FOR TWO' is an all time fave (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvt4b_qwC_Q)
and as a kid in the 70's I used sing 'Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh' as a party trick (you tell anyone that and I'll.....)

Problem is, they're few and far between....

I record about one tune a month of my own stuff and at the end of the year I cherry pick the best for a ruff album, it keeps me going, and as the stuff is not commercial or in any particular style I feel free to just make music for the sake of making music, no popstar dreams.

Cheshire Adams said...

Ah, yeah, "Cocktails For Two" was the first Spike Jones song I knew. I think we still have our old cassette where I first heard that, alongside "The Man on the Flying Trapeze," "Der Führer's Face," a couple Feitlebaum-the-horse songs, and others.

As for the Allan Sherman thing, well, you're the one who posted that in a World Wide Web comment. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of, though; rumor has it that President Kennedy was overheard singing "Sarah Jackman."

I bring up the whole "few and far between" thing on the grounds that, five years into college with more to come, I am still completely clueless as to what I want to do with my life....... ("jack of all trades, master of none...")

I just want happiness. I don't need a house the size of a Japanese city; I don't need a television set that covers an entire wall; I have no further intention of dining at a place like Harry Caray's steakhouse (we get twice as much salmon for at most half the price at the local restaurants here in the cornfields....but that's another blog entry); I like music, cats, humor and perhaps a bit of dessert. And I could probably do with a bit of traveling...learn what "hills" are. (Have I mentioned that the ground here is totally flat for miles and miles?)

Yeah, right at this moment, I'm not sure what I want to do in any respect at all, and it's driving me nuts. I'm bored with just about everything. It's about 1 AM on a Wednesday morning in an immensely boring town with my folks sleeping beyond a pair of doors. I wanted to take a summer course, but nobody was offering anything that I could use.

Suppose I could work at cleaning up this desk. There's papers, magazines, and what I think are burnt CDs gone wrong scattered all around here.

Catch you on the B-side,
~C.A.~

Hazy Dave said...

Getting back to the crux of the biscuit belatedly, I think the point of the "gain" critique is that there's obvious clipping on the guitar part, where a cleaner phased sound seems more desirable. Put the guitar through a fuzztone before the phaser, and it's not an issue, but watch the headroom when applying regenerative effects to a clean signal like an acoustic guitar.

(I need to steal the code for putting one of those players on a blog...)

Cheshire Adams said...

Hey, Hazy. I'm still not sure if I follow the whole "gain" thing.... I didn't think there was audible, let alone obvious, clipping on there, but I guess I'm not as much of an audiophile as my good friends on the fora. There might be some obvious imperfections in my vocal work, seeing as my voice ain't great, and ditto the microphone.

I get to thinking that one of the main reasons I don't record more often is that, quite simply, overdubbing is a bitch. That's why the other two songs I have here are wholly acoustic (with a few Audacity tweaks). If I can get rid of everyday life and the other creatures who share this 3D space, I can surely put more work into my music.

Of course, I jam on my acoustic guitar most every day.

But I digress......just to make sure, you think I should lay down the LEAD guitar first, and then the phased "base"? (I don't have a bass guitar, so, again, I use Audacity — a thing they have called "BassBoost".

I'm trying to think now how I could do all this. Maybe I could record something individually, put it on my portable player, slip the headphones on, and listen to my foundation on the portable while I record the lead guitar onto the computer. You know I grew up on the Grateful Dead and similar acts, so I have kind of pseudo-improv lead guitar jams.

Things are a little odd where I am for the moment......

Oh, and as for having a player on a blog, I just got an account (free) on DivShare. I upload the mp3 to them, and they give me the player and the embed code. There are probably a few such sites.

Back later,
~C.A.~

Hazy Dave said...

If you open the mp3 in Audacity, and zoom in the area between 3.8 seconds and 4.1 seconds or 6.7 to 6.8 seconds, you can clearly see the square edges on the guitar waveform. Even though it's mixed lower, and your final mix is not clipped, clearly the guitar signal was in the red somewhere in the recording / effects processing chain.

It doesn't matter what you record first, just keep that digital meter from hitting 0 dB every step of the way.

I thought Audacity would let you play back what's already been recorded through headphones or speakers while recording a new track - isn't that how you made these?

Cheshire Adams said...

Ah, yeah, I think I see what you're talking about. I held on to the mp3s I used during the process, and, on the first step to feature the vox phaser, the wave form does seem to exceed ±1. I guess the guitar/amplifier was a bit too loud in the first place. It's been too long since I recorded this, so I don't recall if I recorded and saved directly, or (de)amplified it, added bass, or anything before saving. But I seem to have immediately saved something that got leveled off.

So how do I avoid that? Do I record at low volume and adjust?

Audacity might have a thing that lets me hear what I've already recorded while recording new stuff. Maybe if I change the input source to "line (or mic) in" while I do that.....'cause I've traditionally recorded using "wave out mix", I guess out of habit from recording vinyl records to digital that way. Maybe "line in" is better.....I assume I can still hear it while it's recording.

Again, if I ever get rid of the endless circus around me, I can actually spend some time looking at (and listening to) this.

Cheers,
~C.A.~

Hazy Dave said...

"So how do I avoid [clipping]? Do I record at low volume and adjust?"

That's the long and short of it. -3dB to -6dB peaks (70% to 50%) will give you a little headroom for applying effects like echo, phase shifter, equalization, etc. within Audacity, too.

There's a raft of additional freeware effects that work within Audacity in addition to the twenty-plus that come with the release package, but I'm not sure if they're all Mac compatible. And the User Interface (and Operator Manual) leaves something to be desired, but the effectiveness and price are hard to beat.

http://www.bluecataudio.com/Download/Home/

Hazy Dave said...

BTW, I put a couple divShare mp3 players up on my weblog today, in case you wanna navigate over there and give a listen...

Cheshire Adams said...

Cheers for everything. Though I actually run the guitar through the RP300 (which provides the "vox phaser" effect) before it reaches the computer.

I'm not on a Mac, so don't worry about that. I've never had success digging Macs for some reason. ('Course, I may not be the only one reading this.....)

Gave a listen to your blog posts. (Groovy-looking blog, by the way.) Lovely little things, these DivShare players, aren't they? :-)

I'm not very familiar with Eno; the vocals seem rather buried in that mix. Were they originally?

Cheers.......

Momo said...

verrrry cool sound on this one! I really like it...