Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another year. Almost done.

...and thank God for that!  A few highlights aside, this has been one shitty year.  Okay the highlights: Lots and lots of classic Jerry Goldsmith scores finally saw the light of day.  Ditto for John Williams, from whom we actually received two new masterpieces (WAR HORSE and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN) along with the release of his complete score for 1941 and an additional release of the actual film score for NOT WITH MY WIFE YOU DON'T, which came from the good folks at FSM.  Sadly FSM will no longer be releasing CDs via their label but the signs do look good that FSM mastermind Lukas Kendall will continue to "fight the good fight" and get many more film scores released through other channels.

My album came out earlier this month and has been receiving positive notices and moderate sales which is more than I could hope for considering my tiny little "Dog & Pony Show" setup. Some very pointed observations regarding lyrical content, production sensibilities and tone in general have been made by several listeners and it's good to know that my message hasn't gotten muddled in spite of it coming from my warped mind.

I've already completed the remix for the next single, which will be HAPPY?  I've decided to try something a little different with this single and will only be releasing a new extended remix along with a few non-album tracks.  No single release of the album version since it already exists on the album.  No point in overkill, right?  It shall be released in either late January or mid-February.

I've been making and posting a few videos on my Facebook band page of material new and (mostly) old.  I've found it a perfect venue to get some of the stuff that's been sitting around forever out there.  While my video productions are modest affairs, with mainly still images, they're communicating what I want and who could ask for more than that.  I'm still debating what route I should take with HAPPY? and if I should make a video or not and whether I should appear in it at all. Go and take a look at my vids and hopefully you'll enjoy the music as well.

Well, as this fucked up year closes and another, hopefully full of promise, approaches I can't help but get misty when thinking of everything that has transpired.  Good and bad.  For whatever it was, I'm just bloody thankful that it's almost over.  Here's to 2012 and I hope I can get to Arizona, California, Ireland, New York, Houston (or wherever I'm meant to be) before the world is supposed to end in December of 2012...if those Mayans got it right.  I don't want to be stuck here in Hawaii in 2012 and if you saw what happens to the island in the movie 2012 you know what I'm referring to.  I don't like "normal" heat so I know I won't enjoy being reduced to kindling on VOLCANO LAND.

That's it for now kiddies.  I hope your New Year celebrations go off without a hitch and that all of you have nothing but good coming your way!  Wish me the same please cause boy do I fucking need it!

TTFN,
Love to you!
Har

Monday, December 12, 2011

More album crap.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CD Baby.

The album which is also available at CD Baby who has also distributed the album to Amazon and iTunes and it's also available on my Facebook Band Page. Use whichever method to purchase you prefer.  I am letting the album samples play out in their entirety for this week and then later after Saturday will include short samples so go and have a listen and if you like what you hear, HEP A BRUTHA OUT!  Cheers!

Here's the link to my CD Baby page:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/harrisonshinn

Harry

Monday, December 5, 2011

THE LiNE HAS ARRiVED!


video
The Album is now available on Amazon.com and iTunes.  The past three years that it took to finish this album were long and tiring.  I'm very happy with the final result and that's some kind of first since I'm never happy with anything that I do. I sincerely hope that you like it!


http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/harrison-shinn/id485595823

Had to re-upload this short viddy since I removed all of my personal stuff from my general YouTube channel.  All of the other stuff can be found at my new channel.  HarrisonShinnMusic.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Album is up at Amazon Worldwide!

Although it won't be ready for delivery until the 6th, the album is up at Amazon.com as of now.  You can listen to samples on the album page.  That sure was fast!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Line/dp/B006HP6RTA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1322991822&sr=8-2

This is the link for the US release.  A simple search will bring up the album in your region of the world.  Bang on!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More album news

Just received word that the album was delivered to Amazon MP3 today and that's very encouraging news.  If it doesn't hit iTunes on the 6th at least it may be available by the date I had planned on Amazon.  Suddenly I feel better!  The link to the booklet will go live whenever the album drops! :-)


Although I started backing up the hard disk masters shortly after the album was finalised there are still a number of tracks still on the hard disk so I'm probably going to have to back those up soon and erase them to make room for any new material I may feel inspired to record.  As I have stated before the next project I want to work on is a ballet and I anticipate that taking a while to do since I've only written a few pieces for it and none of them have been committed to disk.  I have time though and I'm in no hurry to jump into another project since THE LINE isn't even out.  I just need to rest and let the batteries recharge!

Peace Out!
Harry

Friday, December 2, 2011

THE LINE Digital Booklet

Because the distributor was unable to include the Digital Booklet that was created for the album it will be made available for download at no extra charge.  It features photos, lyrics and song information.  The link will become active once the album has been released.


I was also informed by the distributor that there could possibly be a delay in the album being available on the 6th.  That, unfortunately is out of my hands as I have delivered the master to them and they have already delivered it to iTunes, whose schedule is either within 2 days or 4 weeks.  Here's hoping it won't be too long.  Fingers and toes crossed! :-)

Harry

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Album Is On Its Way!

Just delivered the master to CD Baby so it should be good to go on 6 December!  I'm trying to find a way to include the PDF booklet that I created but if I can't include it I'll find another way to distribute it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Album Just Grew Another Leg!

I wish I could contain that little monkey who goes by the name of "inspiration" but sometimes he just gets a bug up his arse and has to run.  Yes, I've added another track to the album and unlike the "Interlude" that I had intended on also including but later removed this one is a go! It's called "Nostromo" and was inspired by the novel from Joseph Conrad.  It runs 7:17 and is more along the lines of an art song as opposed to pop.  I was very excited to finish this one and surprised that it was done so quickly considering its adventurous nature.  This song is also very special to me since the film version was the last project that my favourite film director, Sir David Lean, worked on before his passing.  I've always been curious as to how the film would've turned out.  It would probably be another of his widescreen epics but alas we'll never get to see it.  Maybe someone else will take up the call?  The logo above was actually created for when the album was going to be called "Nostromo".  But when it wasn't completed back when I was working heavily on the album I simply put it aside and thought I might revisit it later.  It is a bit of an unusual song and may be a difficult listen to some.  However, I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.  No single potential but worth listening to on a good set of headies!

The album now runs a nice and full 47:07.  Anyway, Good Night and Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WHEN i WAS A BOY Preview Clip

video

Here's an excerpt of the first single release from THE LiNE. This song will be available for free download on 29 November.  The album will be released on iTunes on 6 December.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Album Completed and Single Release!

Hurrah!  All is done! Mixes completed and everything is good to go!  As for the short instrumental track that I just added, it may be deleted from the album and included on the single release.  When I listened to the completed album with the new track included, it just didn't flow well so I'm still uncertain about its fate.  As far as the single release is concerned I am still working on a remix of the track and will be including two or three non-album tracks. The single will be WHEN I WAS A BOY.  The album version of the song will be available on NoiseTrade.com for free download and through other outlets as a paid download which will include the album version, extended version and two or three non-album tracks.  December is right around the corner! :-)

Late P.S. (19 November)- I'm not really happy with the extended version of WHEN I WAS A BOY so it may not be released.

Final Final Mixes?

14 November 2011; finally done with the album!  Added another track that is a short instrumental piece.  Pray that this is good to go! :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Final Mixes?

Finally got through a massive mixing session that's taken the better part of 4 days.  Are these mixes the "final-final" mixes?  I don't know.  I'm editing and compiling them right now into a final version of the album and hoping that everything is good to go.  Yes, the CD-R says FINAL MIXES, however I have about 3 others that also say that from 3 to 2 months ago.  With these mixes there were changes done to the songs either vocally, instrumentally or editorially and I've just got to live with them for a few days before they are really "final-final"!  I think I'm pretty much there...especially after taking such a long break since actual recording ended.  Anyway, my ears are pretty much shot!  I tried to include one more song but have been having a hell of a time getting a lead vocal down on it.  It's a short track and was just written and recorded yesterday, but the voice just refuses to cooperate and since the song is fairly sparse in it's instrumentation I wanted to vocal to really stand out.  Who knows, right?  There's still a month or so left so anything can happen!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Album Stuff

Okay, good things have been happening so it looks like I may have to push back the release of "THE LiNE".  Just adjusted the promo banner that was up on Twitter, which read 6 December 2011 and now states COMiNG SOON.  This is what the banner looks like.  Gives me more time to remix and maybe even add a few more songs...haha!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Remixing and Editing

Still working on remixes and doing some digital editing to tighten up a few tracks.  The official release date is 6 December.  An EP will be available for free download and I'm still trying to firm things up with iTunes for the full album release.

The EP will feature one of the tracks off the album and two non-album tracks.  I still haven't decided which track from the album it will be.

Had to change my twitter name from @darthcubby to @therealhashikun since I was getting a few "gay-bears-sex" related tweets my way and I didn't want that crap on my account.  I mean, come on, "cubby" is what I think they were feeding on and anytime I made a mildly or outrageously dirty posting I would get all of these sex related tweets from people and I did what anyone decent would do....BLOCK!  But it was getting tiresome having to block someone at least once or twice a day, but it was all made suddenly clear when I did a Google search on "darthcubby".  Of course my name came up and so did a tumblr account that had pictures of big, burly, naked, gay men.  YIKES!  Not really against this type of stuff (I mean, honestly, how could I be, have you seen me?) but I just didn't want to be a part of it.  I think writing the words "fuck" and "cunt" is about as far as I'm willing to go.

So if you'd like to follow me on twitter, where I have been called "hilarious, touching, wonderfully uplifting and provocative" Wait, I think the last three were about the film SAW", not about me.  Anyway, the first one applies, if your type of humour borders goofiness, mild salaciousness and slightly scatological then I'm your boy! Go ahead and follow me by clicking that tiny tab to the right of these posts that say FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER.

@therealhashikun will shock, amaze, disgust and delight but never disappoint you!  Rock on piglets...and I mean "piglets" in the nicest possible way one could refer to people as swine!

Till later,
H

Monday, September 12, 2011

Album cover art

Although the title kind of got leaked a few months back when I posted the pic of the Angry Bird glaring at the rough mix CD, the final title was still up in the air.  I'd tossed around a couple of them but thought that this was a better summation of everything that had happened over the last couple of years.

THE LINE represents a lot of things but it's mostly about the things that have forced their way into my life and over the proverbial "line".  There was actually a song called "The Line" on the album at one time but it evolved and changed into another song on the album which is entitled "Last Goodbye".  Here is the track listing for the album which will be released in December.  No actual date yet, but look for it in that month.

Happy?
Colours of Night
When I Was A Boy
Dream of You
This Time
Never Again Will I
Falling Away
Remember
The Line Across Hope
Last Goodbye

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Final Lineup Complete!

Okay.  Did a final lineup mastering to CD and on my Mac at 1411 kbps and am just living with these mixes for now.  I can already hear a few things that I'm going to have to fix or redo but it's good to have most, if not all, of the recording completed and out of the way.  I did write and record one more song that I'm thinking may end up being a part of the line up as opposed to being relegated to a hidden track or a b-side.  Haven't really decided what the first single is going to be so I'm going to consult a few people to see what they think.

I'm working on getting things set up with CD Baby in order to get the album up on iTunes as well as a physical release but that will be done within the next few months or so then the album should be good to go in December.  I'm thinking of recording a few Christmas songs to throw on board as a bonus too, but only for download and not on the album proper.

The other thing that has me excited about this project is that it's got a "normal" run time, roughly 40 minutes so it's not like RENDER in pushing the 70 minute mark which is just way too long.  That run time works for RENDER because it dealt with so many different energies and went to so many different places but with the new album, the energies are definitely coming from a similar place so it doesn't need to be as long.  Like I had said, I've managed the art of the 3-4 minute pop song and also, yes, these can all be categorized, if you must, as pop.

Right now I'm trying to get things like artwork and the PDF booklet together so that's occupying a lot of my non-studio time.  There have been other things that have been taking precedence lately: My Uncle Gordon just passed away two days ago so I've been in a very dark and sad place these past few days.  However, I didn't let it overwhelm me too long and I  got my act together this morning in order to do some digital editing and fixing so that I could get the CD ready for me and the others I've chosen to let have a listen.

Till later,
Harry

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And now the moral dilemma...

How does one go about updating their sound without appearing as if they've sold out?  That's been on my mind with this new album.  I'm very close to finishing it up so that it can be out for Christmas but I'm just a little concerned that some might see it as me trying to appeal to a demographic that I've never given a second thought about previously.  That's not to say that the songs are bright, poppy confections but the overall tone and sound production is something that most people don't connect with me.  Maybe it's a good thing as this may surprise a few people and show that I'm more than just doom and gloom, although there is a fair share of that this time around as well.  Ultimately, it'll all be clear in a few months.

Harry


Thursday, August 4, 2011

MY NEW LOCATION

Greetings from Jupiter's Moon Io.  It's so lovely up here and I can actually see the edge of the universe from my new home in Targa 16 (that's the housing area I live in).  The air is a bit thin but for the most part it could be worse; at least the allergies are no longer an issue.

The gang from Saturn came by yesterday and we caught a movie together (JAWS vs RAMBO).  It's amazing what can be accomplished today with 3 billion dollars, shitty writing and a 12-year-old boy’s penchant for masturbation. The score by Hans Zimmer's clone 214 was all right, but nothing like his original person used to write.  What's more, the shark still looks fake.

Wearing my standard issue single zipper black jumpsuit with two drink dispensers and moist towelettes.

Okay, enough of this nonsense...

Still writing and recording and hoping for an end to this ordeal soon but I don't want to finish it angrily since that aspect of things will haunt me for a long time so I've got to be certain that I've made the best chicken salad from the chicken shit I've been handed...not a reflection on the song quality or subject matter, just some recent events that have been bugging the fuck out of me!

Oh, better go now, Mongo is here from Elysia 12 (just down the block and to the left of the movie implant house).

Love you and wish you were here!

Harry :-)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Okay, Houston! We no longer have a problem!

The album is up and available for download so go git it!  There is also a PDF with lyrics and photos available to download along with the album.  Thank you to the wonderful folks at Noise Trade who helped me figure out the problem.  What a great support team they have.  I sent an email around 3:30 and they got back to me at 4:14!  That's how to do it baby! :-)

Whose album is this anyway?

The last time I actually recorded an album's worth of material was in 2002 so although I was aching to put RENDER out on Noise Trade I decided to cancel my account there because I started having issues with the uploading process.  I kept getting an error message which told me that I could only upload mp3 files, well, duh, that's what I was doing.  So after the better part of a half hour trying to get one song to upload I decided that if I can't upload the album in it's entirety I'm not uploading any of it.  I hope they get that glitch figured out, so no album release for now.

Forward to now, 2011, recording is still an on-going headache and I feel fucked because it really shouldn't be so I'm just taking my time until I feel more inspired.  There's a lot of shit going on in my "real-life" that recording is the last thing on my mind as of late so...although I'll continue working on it, I'll be doing it only when I feel like it.

Peace out!
Har

Monday, July 4, 2011

Last EP Download

Well, one more single from the RENDER sessions is up for download.  IWALANI was written for my mum, who passed away in 2001.  Originally written in 1996 for a Hawaii radio competition it was re-written at the time of her death and subsequently recorded a few months later.  In going through the hard disk masters I found several alternate versions of this song and was surprised to find each one was different from the other.  One was closer in spirit and arrangement to the original 1996 version but runs a full two minutes longer than the finished version.  In 2001/2002 I was all about editing myself and felt that a six and half minute version was just a bit too much so it was canned.  Another version features a similar backing track but different vocals.

IWALANI: In Hawaiian it means "heavenly bird" and it was my mother's Hawaiian name.  The message of the song is clear.  There are tons of vocals on this track (at one point the backup vocals were doubled and tracked 12 times to create harmonic layers which you can hear clearly towards the end of the song.  The single edit was done for radio and was created on my computer utilising edits and bits from a rough mix that was done early in the game.  I've included both the complete version and a dance remix.  The remix features a saxophone which was part of the original arrangement from 1996 but omitted when the tone of the song changed from a jazz vibe to a tropical setting.  It was also on one of the unused versions but for some reason was deleted from the master.  I remember having to sync the keyboard to move the sax solo to the dance mix.  There are a few vocal parts that were added to the end of the song since it ran a bit longer than the regular version.

SOME WONDERFUL DREAM:  This song was written for the album RENDER but was omitted at the last moment because I didn't want the album to be completely about my mum's death.  I didn't want people to say, "Okay, we get it, you miss her!"  Also, because it really was of an MOR (Middle of the Road) pop vibe it didn't fit in with the alternative flavour of the album.  The backup vocals were tricky and a BITCH to record.  Doubling each voice track helped to thicken things up but it took a while to get them down and it was tricky mixing it all, ensuring that all four harmony parts would be heard.  This song says everything I felt about how my mum affected not only my life, but the lives of my entire family.

THE BOY WHO WILL NOT STOP: Written and recorded towards the end of the project it's the one song that has live vocals and piano.  Both were recorded directly to disk without any edits and the only overdubs are the keyboard overlays which I added later.  In transferring this version I discovered that I had edited out an impromptu vocal jam session tag which ended the song originally.  It just featured me doing a little bit of Bobby McFerrin type scatting and improvising.  Although it still exists on the original master, this version is missing it.  Nothing revelatory but it was fun.  Sorry, it got left off here though.

DANCE ME TO THE END OF THE WORLD:  This is the original full-length version of the track that was available on the previous EP.  It was recorded shortly before 9/11 and in the very early days of the album recording session.  It was originally intended for the album but ultimately did not make it.

That's all for now.  The album will be up for download soon.  Till then, see ya!

Love,
Harry

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mixing things up...

Well, I managed to get four vocal tracks down and have done rough mixes to live with for the next few days.  Spent about seven hours today recording these vocals and I'm just shot!  Although it was hard I did have some fun although having only 1 1/2 ears is a bitch. The voice cooperated for the most part but it took a long time to get things right (hence the seven hours) and I'm hoping that they're good, but there's no way to be certain other than listening to the rough mixes.  I was going to re-record the vocals to one song that was recorded back in 2008 but decided that the original vocal is the best...warts and all.  It's not perfect but it conveys the emotion of the song since everything that I had experienced up to that point went into the vocal for it.  The song is entitled NEVER AGAIN WILL I and it's about being careful with people you trust.  It's also the only song where another musician is playing on it.  My friend Rob contributed rhythm and lead guitar to it and in listening to the original master mix I remembered what a fun session it was: being sprawled out in his office space with two sets of headphones, microphones and an effects box trying to get the right amount of distortion from his guitar.  It took us a couple of tries but we got it pretty good...I think.  Whenever I record with other people the sessions never seem to take that long...it's only when I'm on my own that I can sometimes take days, weeks, months, years on things.  I really need to put a stopper on shit like that for it'll be my undoing.

So things seem to be taking shape slowly and I am hoping that this sucker will be done by mid-July and then I can hope to have it released by Christmas.  Then I can get back to working on the ballet.  Just a few days ago I found a few sketches from some pieces that I wrote a good 25 to 30 years ago that never saw the light of day.  I'm thinking of working some of them into the ballet so that should prove interesting.  I've got to brush up on my piano playing in a major way.  I won't be recording the ballet until I can do it proper justice and can't really plan on anything concrete since more than 95% of it isn't even written and for this work I am actually writing it all out, orchestrating it properly so that it may have a life beyond me.

Cheers!
Harry
HOPE HE DOESN'T GET TOO ANGRY AT WHAT HE HEARS!

Monday, June 13, 2011

New EP available for download today

Just a few words on the new EP released today via Noisetrade.

HOUSES OF FIRE is the 3rd single release from RENDER, which will be coming to Noisetrade.com soon.

HOUSES ON FIRE: Although the title is never said as it is written in the song (Why can't you see that your house is on fire?) I titled it HOUSES ON FIRE since it had better imagery than just one house on fire. I wrote it about a musician that I used to work with who was extremely talented but an extremely, huge pain in the ass.  High maintenance personality, drug user, etc.This single version was remixed and edited since the original album has the word FUCKING in it and I cleaned it up for this single release just so it wouldn't be offensive to those who can't handle "language".

THE WORD LONELY: This is essentially the same song that was included on the previous EP but in a shorter form.  Slightly remixed but more or less the same.

DANCE ME TO THE END OF THE WORLD: This was written and recorded shortly after the events of 9/11 took place and while it doesn't reference the event it's about being with the one you love until the end of the world.  This is the edited version of the original song which runs over 7 minutes.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA: An instrumental which was inspired by the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

TIME:  A song that was written a few days before Christmas 2001.  Thinking of mum and religion and the meaning of mortality.  It was originally titled ONLY TIME but because Enya had released a song with that title a earlier in the year and it was big hit I didn't want anyone to think I was trying to steal her thunder.  The album version features some ambient effects that open the track which were omitted for this version, which is also slightly remixed.

Enjoy!

Har

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One year and older. One year closer to...fabulous!

NOT GREAT, BUT NOT TOO SHABBY FOR 49!

Well another year has come and gone and as I find myself creeping closer to the big 5-0 I can only look forward with positivity, which is a change for me since I'm usually such a nihilist and only ever see the fuck-ups and shit-storms.  Oh well, new year, new me.

I know that by the end of 2011 I will be in a much better place, spiritually, and physically.  As any other musician will tell you, it's the hard times that feed your soul, otherwise I'd be writing songs about sunshine, daisies and frolicking unicorns that live under a rainbow of skittles; not that I ever wrote that kind of shit, but you know what I mean. I love angst and writing about it in all it's forms is something that is interesting to me since I don't just bitch and whine about things, I find my way out of it.   I wish to truly be back in fighting shape vocally, physically, mentally (so I can write that song cycle about sunshine, daisies and frolicking unicorns living under a rainbow of skittles) but more than anything, what is paramount is happiness.

Having to work so hard on my voice has been heartbreaking and I can't tell you how many times I've cried over not being where I was at just a few years ago but I must persevere and be strong.  Having had brain cancer and suffered the loss of hearing in my left ear is the greatest obstacle I've ever had to face.  I am almost there; some days really good, others just ass-wiping bad and since no one loves a quitter I intend on NEVER giving up on anything.  Some days the ear isn't actually a problem since it goes from bad (nothing) to not so bad (Charlie Brown's teacher).  On the other hand in an attempt to bring levity to social occasions I simply let everyone know this:  Compliments on the right, complaints on the left.  Onward and upward!

Now, off to get ready for my birthday luncheon and no recording today!

Love,
Har
7 June 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A great big smile for the boy next door...

Okay, my pal isn't exactly smiling but I know that he's happier being bald and tick free.  I love cuddling with him and have even on occasion let him up on my bed to watch the boob tube with me.

As for the boy next door, if I was ever anyone's "boy next door" I'd advise them to move away from this weirdo!  Ha!  Anyway, the big smile is for the fact that I managed to save two songs that were going to be chopped!  I finally remembered how to work the old Kawaii Drum Machine and it's working out just great although it is a bit more time consuming when recording since I have to bounce tracks down in order to have room to record vocals and other key instruments.  This bouncing biz was the one thing I absolutely hated about my old process when all I had was an analog 4-track machine.  The rhythm track always ended up being MONO and if you screwed any level up whilst bouncing down you were stuck with it if you didn't notice it at the time.  For the uninitiated, "bouncing" is actually short for "bouncing down" and it is basically taking any number of tracks and "bouncing" them down to either one or two to either free up tracks or make things easier to manage.  Back in 1983 when I was in an actual studio in San Diego and had the luxury of 24 tracks at my disposal and I quickly ended using all of them up on some songs.  

Without my trusty Yamaha SY-99 I have to record everything manually one by one and it just takes a lot longer than I am accustomed to.  SPOILT CHILD!  Anyway, now that the rain and thunder have stopped I can resume recording vocals today.  Didn't want any power outages in the middle of recording yesterday.  I did have to stop a few times but luckily didn't lose any data.

TTFN,
Har

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One song down...HIT OMIT!

Well, one song has already gone bye-bye and I'm not that sad to see it go.  I know it'll show up at another time so it's bye-bye with a kiss.  I spent two and 1/2 hours last night trying to fix the song and it just wasn't working out so I stopped.  The older version has a drum track that just bugs the shit out of me so it's not being used...I am saving the mix for posterity but it's gone from the lineup.

Powering through today and working on a song that's been waiting in the wings for a few (ahem) years.  The bulk of the songs on this collection are culled from the past so it's not that big of a deal that I'm putting yet another old song on here.  There are three new songs that are very close to being done, just a few fills left and maybe some adjustments to the vocals.  Taking my 5 hour energy and getting busy.

Harry

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recording Continues

Another day another long ass haul!  Just finished checking the masters of the recordings I did today and yesterday and I'm quite happy with the way they all turned out.  No vocals just yet.  Those will probably take another week or two to be done but I have to say that it's quite nice to have songs that all sit in a pretty comfortable place in my new voice.  What was it that voice told me a few months ago?  Write to your strengths and then the rest will fall into place.

Recorded (in 20 takes) an aggressive piano ballad that I wrote and never got around to recording in 1993.  It was part of a gargantuan project that i had envisioned being two discs worth of songs and while one of them was (kinda) recorded back in 2001 this is the first time this particular song has seen the light of day.  The meter is complicated in it although it's only piano and voice but it alternates between 1/2 time to 3/4 time back and forth during a few sections and I was terrified while recording it.  I set the room simulator to HALL, shut my eyes (partially) and imagined I was playing in a concert hall.  It took me close to 2 hours to get it done, which is saying something because the song scarcely runs 2 and a half minutes in length.  I did add strings to it but then ended up deleting them since it muddied up the song.

Also re-worked a song that I wrote two weeks ago that wasn't working out in it's original format.  I was going to save that original version and re-wrote the vocal line for cello.  That ended up not working out either because I felt that the lyrics, while a bit vague, were saying something I really wanted to sing about.  So the cello never got it's chance and I re-wrote, re-titled, re-arranged and re-recorded that song this afternoon and I'm very pleased with the end result.

In my youth I had the hardest time condensing ideas into neat little 3 1/2 minute songs.  Ask any of my old friends and they'll tell you, my idea of a pop song was a 5 minute song.  It just seemed as if I couldn't find a way to edit my thoughts back then...much in the same way I can't seem to edit this rambling blog.  Well, I've finally MASTERED the art of the 3 1/2 minute pop song and most of the songs all fall well within the 4 minute range.  That's progress for me.

Right now I'm shutting things down for the night and crawling into bed with thoughts of halfway decent vocals on my mind. La bonne chance pour demain!

Fais des beaux reves!

Harry

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Download Drops Today

The second EP is now up at Noise Trade for free download.  The second single off of RENDER, NOTHING has been remixed for this single release.  The single also features 4 non-album tracks.  CALYX which was written from the perspective of a plant, SCARED OF IT ALL about overcoming fear, NIGHTWALKHOME about what happened to me one night on the way home and THE WORD LONELY which is available in it's full length version with more violin work and distorted vocals.

The single mix of  NOTHING was edited together using several alternative mixes of the original tracks.  CALYX utilises samples acquired throughout the years including some scratching and DJ call-outs.  SCARED OF IT ALL also utilises some scratching as well as the sound of vinyl scratches to give it a vintage sound.  The bass frequency on this track is quite pronounced as well.  NIGHTWALKHOME (one word, folks) features a keyboard patch that was synthesised using a drum pattern and placed in the song during random moments.  The middle-eastern melody line is a combination of keyboards and processed vocals.  THE WORD LONELY was originally a three and a half minute song that I extended about a year after I recorded it.  Didn't want to add more verses just more music and effects which is why the result is a bit like an extended dub version.

Enjoy.  Back to mellow for the next release in 3 weeks.

Harry

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Download Drops Next Week

The next single with more exclusive non-album tracks will drop next week and will be available for three weeks only. Download while you can!

Harry

Monday, May 16, 2011

MUSIC DOWNLOADS ON NOISE TRADE

I suppose I should address the availability of my music on NOISE TRADE. I came across this site through a friend on Twitter who also has her music online with them. It seemed like a interesting premise so I thought, "Why not?" To download the tracks you only need to submit your information. There is no charge, it's basically a tipping system where you pay what you feel like, if you feel like. Obviously I'm not going to get rich this way, but that's not the objective; I just want to get my stuff heard.

SO SORRY, MY BAD: The first single off of the mother album RENDER was written as an apology for my fuck-ups in the past. This single version is actually an extended version whereas the album version is just under 3 minutes. I used to perform this live a lot with my former band and whenever we did we performed this extended version and never the shorter.

PRELUDE (NON-ALBUM TRACK): This was written for my friend Shannon's wedding. It was played just before they came down the aisle. I'd also written another piece entitled LOVE SONG that will hopefully turn up on here soon. It was just by a stoke of luck that this piece anticipates the next track because it wasn't planned.

MANCHESTER SKIES (NON-ALBUM TRACK): Written as a comment on sudden and fleeting fame.

WATCHING & WAITING (NON-ALBUM TRACK): A short piece written for someone who gives a care. Recorded live in one take with the backup vocals and additional keys added as an afterthought.

Hope you like it.
Harry

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hello 1987 and 1989

Just finished mixing and mastering one more song that was recorded today. Originally written and recorded initially in 1987 and again in 1989 "This Time" has been completely re-imagined for now and I'm very happy with the new direction. Having only one ear sometimes poses a problem when I'm mixing and bouncing tracks and I often have to stop, take the cans off, and have a little mental margarita in order to make sure what I'm hearing is correct. I'm burning a CD to listen to so I can decide whether or not to keep or dump the vocals. After a while listening fatigue can set in so I can't always be 100% certain that what's been put down isn't turd-like.

Recording in this old-fashioned way is very taxing and I finally remember why I loved recording the other way...TIME, everything would go much faster with being able to put everything down on hard disk whereas doing things live really takes time making sure everything is played correctly and if it's not you have to stop the entire take and start all over. I can always punch in but sometimes there's no clean in or out so it doesn't always work. When it's down on hard disk I can go to the exact spot in the song and delete and correct whatever's wrong. I could probably have done at least four songs today, but who's to complain? I'm just happy I got these two (actually three, but the third doesn't have a vocal on it yet so it's not finished) down. Hopefully this creative spark will continue tomorrow as I have to shut everything down now and get ready to do my exercising. Back to skinny!

Laters!
Har

Hello 1983!

Just finishing up a successful recording session! Got the vocal on the first take, which is truly something for me and the only problem I had was with the bass being too low but it turned out good since I wanted it to be felt rather than heard. This session came about quite spontaneously and I was greeted with a bit of bad news as my Yamaha SY-99 Workstation Keyboard has gone kaput! Undaunted I soldiered on and pulled out my other Yamaha and began recording the "old" way. With my SY-99 I could lay down drums, bass and keys on the hard disk and build from there either on the keyboard or on the master, which was the way I had come to record for the past 20 some odd years, well...with that keyboard awaiting repairs (I need a new internal battery for the wave card and it's uncertain whether the repair shop I called can do it or not) I'm going to have to resort to doing things the old way by actually recording everything directly onto tape (or rather, disc) and then build from there. It's going to be interesting doing things this OLD FASHIONED way and I'm anxious to re-visit my old Kawai Drum Machine to see if I can remember how the sucker works! I re-recorded a song from 1983 (Colours of Night) and it was so much fun reinterpreting it. I started at 10:30 AM and right now it's 1:24 PM and it's done. Finished. Mixed and Mastered. Ahhh, just like the old days. Maybe recording this way isn't so bad after all. I'm just grateful that I don't have to mic an acoustic piano. I actually started this project three years ago when I recorded the old Elvis Presley song "Always On My Mind" and wanted to record or re-record songs from my youth. "Colours of Night" is the first of the originals of mine that have been finished and "Dream of You" which was actually recorded with an over-produced orchestral track back in 1983 has been stripped down to just piano and voice. All told, I'm going to re-construct about 10 or so of my old songs and record some cover songs that I've loved for a long time. So glad that the voice is cooperating and I can't wait to let people hear my new (old) stuff!

Harry

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Enter Spring...exit mental anguish!

So what is an "artiste" without a little anxiety? Did that sound pretentious? "Artiste"? Really? Only another songwriter/musician or writer could possible identify with having a mental block. With painters or clothes designers you're often dealing with something tangible and while I'm almost certain that it can be just as difficult to suss out inspiration, the idea of actually being able to mold and shape something physically seems much easier and attractive to me than having to "hear" something and then try to convey that in whatever form it chooses to manifest itself as. I do not mean to say that painters, designers, sculptors have it easier, not by any means! It just "seems" like it to me that their result is much more immediate than that of a songwriter or singer. We often have to wait for things to be recorded, perfected and then mixed and then released. When I was young I was incredibly prolific and wrote and recorded basically every day, now it's a bit harder and I'm uncertain as to whether it's age or just my being too difficult to please that's gotten in the way as of late. I'm actually looking into the prospect of recycling songs from my past, which wouldn't be such a bad thing considering that no one, other than good friends, have heard these old songs.

When I was young I hadn't really "lived" so books and films were the tools I used as a basis for inspiration. As I've grown older I've sort of abandoned this process and used my own life as inspiration; the current problem is that nothing really interesting is happening in my life other than a few passing moments so there isn't much in the well to be tapped. I am, however, powering through, pulling out old score sketches and re-working past works into a few things; I am working on writing a ballet in 12 movements and also writing new material for the next album which has taken forever to take shape but the main source of inspiration so far has been Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo". I am excited to have "some" direction at this point and am proceeding accordingly and with caution.

Mental anguish take a hike, this puppy is digging a new hole in the backyard!

Woof!
Harry

Saturday, March 26, 2011

RENDER...re-rendered

Well, things are looking up for a change and I hope to have some really awesome news soon! I've been remixing and remastering my 2003 effort RENDER and have been enjoying the process of finally getting to remix some of the songs. Having been able to live with them for all these years has given me a lot of mixed feelings about the final mixes I did back in 03 so this opportunity to come back at the mixes that have always bothered me has been invigorating!

Heretofore vocals that were sometimes buried in the mix have been brought forward and the bass frequency on one track has been corrected. Other elements like backup vocals, keyboard fills and string samples that were either missing or buried on the original mixes have been brought forward and I can say that I'm quite pleased with the results. The majority of the songs haven't been remixed though...only three actually and one was re-transferred from the hard disk master that had some crosstalk interference on the original transfer. Remixed tracks include: SO SORRY, MY BAD, HOUSES ON FIRE, AND THE SKY FALLS and the one that was re-transferred is A HISTORY OF ME. The crosstalk and interference in the last track was very apparent due to the nature of the recording.

Everything has been archived digitally in 24 bit 1411 kbps and other transfers have been made in Apple Lossless Audio with a bit average of 700 kbps. Although compressed, the new transfers sound leagues better than the old 256 and 320 transfers, though most will only get to hear the 256 transfers. I will, however, be creating new 256 versions from the full bit rate master just to ensure that everything sounds as good as an mp3 can sound.

A few posts ago I had made comment about trying to fix things that are eight years old, and while I didn't have the time or energy back then to do it I'm so glad that I have found both.

Cheers!
Harry

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recording...

Going to make a serious effort to record tonight. Pulling the keyboards out and working on arrangements to put down at least three songs tonight, all of which are experimental in nature. I'm very interested in seeing where this will go and if they're keepers or dumpers. Who knows?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Work Continues

Vocal exercises and that lot. Trying to get back into fighting shape and regain control of my voice. Only someone who has sung and has lost it will ever understand what I'm going through, so for anyone else who kind of thinks I'm making a big deal out of nothing, FUCK YOU!

Happy March 1!

P.S. - The Cubs still loves my struggling voice anyway so there!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Unwritten Future Rolls on...

Okay, I'm trying to prepare for my move back home to California but there are so many other things that seem to be getting in the way.
1: I need to still get rid of a lot of shit;
2: I need to work on my voice....BIG TIME!;
3: I'm fucking bored!;
4: I need to work on my voice...BIG TIME.

Did I repeat myself? Well, duh! The old vocal chords are seriously in need of help and no matter what I seem to try only serves to illuminate just how bad my voice has become since TTT (that stands for THE TUMA TIME). Yeah, I know it's spelt TUMOR but it's my attempt at levity. It's a long road back to where I was two years ago when I was still in a band and singing all the time.

I guess I just have to take heed to that old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Digital Transfers of Analog Music





I just finished transferring about 2 1/2 hours worth of old material to digital. There really isn't too much that I can do to make it sound better (other than completely re-recording it) but I did it so that I have it on disc as opposed to analog tape which will either break or deteriorate over time. None of it is really for public consumption and I only did this for myself. It feels good to hear this stuff in clean digital sound. I did boost and clean up the sound as best as I could but you can't really polish a turd (not the songs or vocals themselves, the recording quality).

Since the masters of these exist only as analog four-track recordings and my four track machine died a long, long time ago, these archived music files are all that basically exists of my pre-2000 material, much of which goes back to 1987. Perhaps one day I'll get my paws on another old school analog 4 track recorder and save some of my other stuff. Some of it was very good and some of it was very bad, but I still want to have a record of the things that I've written and recorded so that maybe some time in the future my family and friends can listen to them and discover something about me that they didn't really know.

Har

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sick as a puppy!

Not a full grown dog sick, but still bad! I've officially lost my voice so there will be no recording this week or next. There's so much left for me to do and arranging the basic tracks just about knocked the fuck out of me. I'm taking this slow on purpose since I want it to be as different from RENDER as it was from all previous efforts were from another. That's hard to do, especially with so little to inspire me these days. I need to take some kind of vacation soon in order to break the monotony although some might argue that this brief bout with unemployment qualifies as a vacay of sorts. Methinks not! Packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking my shit kinda sucked a bit of the life I had in me and while I'm still motivated to complete the current album at hand it's taking every last bit of strength (mentally and physically) out of me. It's not supposed to be this way, right?