Time has come to just put out what I have for May 8th. While not satisfied at this point, my intention remains to treat this day’s recording with great care because it is one of the first where a new behavior emerged. This new behavior, having someone in the community actually singing and playing guitar, really challenged the processing approach I had been using. I wanted to share some of the reality of the day – the raindrops in the very beginning of the take, my friend and neighbor Daniel Levy‘s impromptu performance of The Beatles Here Comes the Sun. At the same time a technical glitch caused the gain on the microphone to be set too low for the first couple of minutes – and then with the correction the volume really jumps. Also, the community at large was really raucous that day. You can hear them all jump in at 7pm – Daniel had started a bit earlier.
Juggling all these issues, I lost sight of the process I had originally intended which was to move quickly with a first pass through all the recordings and then go back to ones that were particularly interesting and refine them. Instead, I got sucked into a loop of trial and error with no specific goal. Furthermore, I fell into the trap of downloading a whole crop of new plugins, searching for a silver bullet to both my dynamics problem as well as the over all tone of the piece. Rather than keeping it simple and forging ahead, I wasted about 12 days in this vortex – lesson learned.
But on the positive side – this was an exceptional day. Daniel’s performance in the drizzle – coupled with his spot on song selection – along with the raucous and enthusiastic participation of the crowd. It was a day that really had an emotional impact. I hope this early version is done well enough for some of that to come through.
Expect that this day will eventually be revisited when my skills and insights have been sharpened. Below is the unprocessed waveform of the file 2020_05_08-2020_05_08-AT825-T-2-_+5-RX 7 Spectral De-noise. The change in dynamics is pretty evident.
How the raw files are initially processed:
This makes me think I should give a bit more insight into the recording and processing process. The recordings were done live (um… that’s obvious, yeah?) using the microphone in the filename – in this case it is the AT825 which, incidentally, I had borrowed from Daniel Levy a few years ago. Then during the month of July I began reviewing the raw files. This is just after my remote recording rig failed – more on that later. One thing that was clear, all the raw recordings had a lot of wind noise. To clean up the recordings, I was fortunate enough to have a demo version of iZotope’s RX7 (now RX8). In the filename you will find “RX 7 Spectral De-noise” because that was the processing I used. Each recording was individually analyzed and the results were outstanding. It took a couple of days to do, but it was worth it. The resulting files were now ready for action.
May 8 processing – Process E
As mentioned ad nauseum, this was a tricky one. The initial work was done to try and boost the gain on the beginning and bring it down when it was very hi. In the end, I put a limiter in there and managed the gain level from there live when recording the track. At this point I was still using Process D which I had used on the 7th, but it seemed all wrong. I stripped everything back and went silver bullet shopping. A few very frustrating days ensued. Finally I decided to step back to what I had felt was my initial success – using Output‘s Movement plugin. Why not see what else they had to offer. So, I decided to try out Thermal and Portal and there was plenty to work with there. I had 5 effects loops total, the other two were using the stock Reason 11 effects. During the recording of the track, I was managing the 5 Effect Sends and the Limiters Input gain. So, this is the first track where I am doing some sort of “performing” during the recording of the processed track.
Weather from Weather Underground – https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/ny/new-york-city/KLGA/date/2020-5-8
All NYC Data on this day from WolframAlpha:
It was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles Let It Be album – see below.
From the NY Times that day: https://www.nytimes.com/search?dropmab=false&endDate=20200508&query=05%2F08%2F2020§ions=Health%7Cnyt%3A%2F%2Fsection%2F9f943015-a899-5505-8730-6d30ed861520&sort=best&startDate=20200508
Context Capture Sketching
As mentioned in the project introduction, this project is related to another one – currently called Context Capture. As I move through the 7pm project specifically, though I have had a feeling/frustration/pain for my whole life, the unbelievable difficulty in making statements or expressing ideas in a manner that effectively captures the universe of experiences and influences that shaped that idea or statement. That, if someone doesn’t understand all (or at least a good chunk) of what underlies and informs what I say/play/draw/write/share, they can’t really understand it – that they are only getting a superficial understanding.
As I write this, it is clear that communication amongst humans, in the age of global information with free distribution, is making it harder and harder to be understood at a time when being able to understand, or at least get a sense of, someone’s life experience has become more and more important – imperative really. For me there are those who have blazed this trail – many years ago – and they are largely forgotten by the current digital elites and the people deciding what ideas have “value” and are worth “investment”. I look back, always, to Vanevar Bush and his Memex, “Ted” Nelson and his Xanadu, Claude Shannon and Information Theory to Alan Kay and his DynaBook as the ones who have plotted the course, we need a new generation to heed the call and work for a new mode or medium of communication that is much richer and simply conveys ones context along with the immediate message. This is also critical for the true formulation of knowledge on an individual and collaborative nature. More on this later. But here is a sketch of part of the knowledge graph that makes up this post — I only spend 2 minutes on it – its missing a lot.
Wow! What a treasure trove of luminous insight and thoughtful work. Love going through these pages!
Thanks so much Margaret, mean a lot coming from you. Presently, I am a little stuck with so much happening – as NYC considers another lockdown and the winter holidays approach. Should I continue to meditate on the past? Do I respond to a commercial by one of our hospitals (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrm7r-W1JkI)? Or do I start focusing on the present? I do know that I will have some new posts in the coming weeks..