Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hard Drive Failure(s)

This is getting to be a comedy of errors...

We have been videotaping throughout our recording process so far. At any given point, we've had 2 or 3 cameras running in different places. I posted a video from the studio already, it's up on We're working with this guy RJ Van Deusen who i met at a show at my old high school i was helping out, it's been great. I even went out and bought a semi-decent hard drive camcorder to start really getting into taking video.

Between the two of us, we just lost 60 GB of video files in the last week. Long story short, I was in the process of clearing off my laptop and putting the files i had onto a firewire drive, which would then be backed up on my actual backup drive. In the few days it was taking me to gather all the files that would go on this drive, it just blinked out. Stopped dead in it's tracks mid-transfer. I can't bring the drive back online, and ran a diagnostic when i was able to see the drive finally and that said it was fine. All of the videos from my cameras were on there and are now lost if i can't recover the drive. My laptop was dying from the load, so i already deleted them from there, figuring i already moved them, and they'd be backed up in short order.

So that's bad, right? Only got to edit one video and post it before this happened, and without pulling a youtube hack, i can't even get that file back. RJ is going back to college this week, and i hadn't gotten his files from him yet, so i called him up to do the transfer, especially if i've lost everything...

His drive just died over the weekend and he's scrambled to get it back up and running before he goes, because Apple's Time Machine wiped the drive. Yesterday was a train of phone calls and texts along the lines of "Well, at least your footage is still on miniDV, how long will it take to transfer, you have to do it at school because you leave in a few hours, how do we move that much in files around, either overnight a hard drive or leave me the tapes even though i have no miniDV camera to convert them or know anyone who does.

This is a headache. Can't anything be smooth? I guess i should be remembering i'm lucky. If breaking open the enclosure and taking the drive out to bypass the USB/Firewire controller doesn't work and the drive IS toast, it would be the first data loss i've ever experienced (due to luck as well as backing up since day one of working on a computer). The only thing that sucks is that this is all my video and photos from the project, which you can't re-create like a term paper (that may or may not be due in a matter of hours).


Are we there yet?

How did I ever think that this project would be done on (the original) time? I keep thinking that I'm almost done, just a little bit more to do, and then look at my list and it feels like there's just as much to do as there was 2 weeks ago. Greg's off mixing someone else at Tarquin this week, so I'm determined to have a boatload done before he gets back, big stuff and all the little bits floating around in my vocals.

Worked on arranging Pete's vocals from the other night. He was pretty dead on! If you ever wanted to hear what Cherry Red Heart would sound like with Johnny Cash and Fred Schnider singing backups, we can now tell you. But you'll all find out soon enough.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Going for the gold

So, Greg stopped by at the perfect time last night. He was just coming to grab payment I'd left for him, but he walked in just as Nat and I were going to throw the Protools rack out the window (well, if we had windows, this IS a basement) because it wouldn't boot correctly. Nat had already been there fighting with it for over an hour, and I had just showed up and tried all the things he already did. The voice mail i left him i think ended up sounding like "Hi Greg, call me as soon as you get a chance, bad things are happening with the hardware and I cant ohmygodisthedooropeningNatisthatGregnow?"

Literally, he opened the door with light streaming in behind him, because it's pretty dark in the control room. a total godsend.

A few screwdrivers later showed us the inside of Protools 002, where Greg proceeded to pull our some cables and jumpers to do the old "pull out, blow on it, put it back in" trick NES fans are all too familiar with. Apparantly humidity causes 002 to loose it's brain. I've been wanting to switch to Protools, but I don't know if i have the money to buy a Protools rig, a new MacBookPro and run an additional dehumidifier!

Cellos have been edited. We might do an alternate mix of cello & flute on Chiaroscuro, it sounds so good on its own.

Greg just got a good piece of news: it looks like he is going to be getting his first gold record! It's for his work on Interpol's "Antics". Hopefully his boss' good luck and skill has rubbed off enough on him so that he can get another gold record for his work with Talking to Walls!

Monday, August 18, 2008

the score of my life

We just had a full day of orchestra tracking in my kitchen for Chiaroscuro. Dan Prindle from Rane (one of my favorite bands for a few years after college) came down with his cello, and proceeded to play all 4 parts of the string section, instead of us having to find two violins and a viola on top of cello. All in the right range, and really, how can you have too much cello? It's the most beautiful instrument mankind has ever produced.

Maya, Greg's gf, came over afterwards and played flute for the same song. The trumpet person we were hoping to use didn't work out, so I spent some time finding someone while Nat "conducted" and otherwise oversaw the whole thing. Nat had written out the whole score, which is really really cool. Something you pick up as a music major, I guess. For months though, all we had to work with was a MIDI file he'd created, which sounded more like we were going to be characters in Dragon Warrior than making a rock record. Suffice it to say, Krupa and I have been constantly making cracks about villages and swords and jellies since we can't hear the detail Nat's imagining.

Lead on a trumpet player - called Tony & Rick from Cosmic Jibaros, who seem to know everyone. Tony answered, just as he was crossing the Mexico border on his honeymoon, apparantly. Told me the guy from Pencilgrass is still around, to look him up. Pencilgrass? Awesome. There was a band that could have gone places...

Spent the rest of the day rewriting the lyrics to Chiaroscuro. It started life as "Kelly Song", which I'd played in my solo shows for years. Went from being a jokey song to something really cool and intricate. Between Pete's rearranging of the song, Nat's orchestra and Matt's layered drumming arrangements, it has become a really strong song. My lyrics were starting to sound really lame, even though i already finished vocals. So it's a rewrite, using the one or two key phrases i liked and throwing out the rest. Never did that before. All more more indication that this record is different from every other.

A day with great cello playing filling the house makes life much better.