The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Scoring – no, not like that

I had to score a video project this week, and it turned out a little bit harder than I thought. The video in question was a take-off on a soap opera, so I was already at a bit of a loss (the only experience I have are viewing a few episodes of "All My Children," I think, after lunch in my fraternity house - the house mother watched it). I was also separated from my usual MIDI gear. I basically had to toss together some loops and add some effects in Soundtrack Pro with some help from Reason. Most of the music joined one scene to the next, but I inserted some sound effects under the action as well.

It gives me a lot more respect for folks who score television shows week in and out. I realize that some of the jobs have gone to music supervisors that find prerecorded songs to insert into shows (and then find more music to replace the original music on DVD releases), but this is still some hard work. I also couldn't imagine doing this without digital tools like Soundtrack Pro, Sibelius or Reason. I'm sure that if I did this on a more regular basis, it'd be easier to come up with some ideas and plot them out in a better way. Still, I couldn't have gotten by without the sketchpad ability (and the undo function) of these programs.

I REALLY wanted to use some fretless bass on the project - I don't think I heard a cop show or drama in the late 80s and early 90s that didn't have some kind of fretless bass licks underneath the action. A truly inspired era that was.


Bass Porn For Today AND A Software Update

The Ouija Bass, courtesy of Thumbrella.
Ouija Bass Says No.I'm also curious as to the new music offering from Apple, Logic Studio 8. According to the web store entry, it includes the program, Soundtrack Pro 2 (I use the previous version of this for the IMN Podcast), MainStage (a program design to help use Logic live) and a bunch of samples and virtual instruments. The inclusion of a couple new programs doesn't surprise me. What DOES get me is that they cut the price in half from the previous version. $1000 was enough to keep me using the software I already have. $500 is now a stretch, but much more reasonable. It's also more justifiable for me to have this package than the old Final Cut Pro software package I have now. I may have to look into that. I'm most curious about MainStage and how that will work live. Currently, I use Reason live for loops and synth patches, and I've got a light edition of Ableton I can use to trigger loops live and run the bass audio through the computer for recording on the fly.

BTW, that's now $500 on my shopping list for the Logic package and probably about $150 (I'm hoping for a cheap upgrade) for Reason 4 when it comes out later this month. The Playboy Psychonauts better be getting a lot of gigs to justify that expense.

Or I could start doing solo cruise ship gigs. Band-in-a-box, anyone?


How many iPods can there be?

Just because the iPod started with the Model T version doesn't preclude the evolution of the species, I suppose. There are a hell of a lot of options now, though. We now have the Shuffle, the Nano (with video), the iPod Classic (with massive hard drive), the iPod Touch (with spiffy interface), and the iPhone (we've heard about the last one enough). I admit, I clicked a few times on websites for updates on the keynote speech, so I'll cop to at least latent fanboy tendencies. There are some good points and weak spots in today's announcement.

Good Points

  • Huge HD on "classic" iPod
  • At least one touch-screen option without the phone
  • Price breaks on the huge iPod
  • Video on Nano (although how much video are you going to want to fit on a small device like that?

Weak Spots

  • Only 16 GB on the iPod Touch?
  • A hybrid-drive iPod would have been nice
  • Can the Wi-Fi devices network together like the *shudder* Zune?

I do like the Wi-Fi store, though, and I think that could be very important very soon. They just removed the computer from the equation and made it easy for just about anybody to get in on legal downloading. And that's key - legal downloading just became a lot cheaper. It'd be nice to have a computer to back it up to, but that's the techie in me.

Also, a quick note - if TNT starts showing episodes of "Law And Order" at 6pm, runs it for a few hours, but only calls the shows from 8pm the "Law And Order Mini-Marathon," what does that make the two episodes between 6 and 8pm? A mini-marathon preview? An exhibition match? Also, I'm quite surprised they JUST NOW got around to playing the dogfighting episode. They need to rip stuff from the headlines a little more quickly.

EDIT: I forgot about the Starbucks deal.


I don't go to Starbucks 'cause I think the coffee tastes not-so-good, so this feature really means nothing to me as a consumer. It does extend the culture-branding power of Starbucks, which will result in a huge rise in Putamayo and Paul McCartney sales. The tech is interesting (it allows people to see what's playing in the shop, as well as the pat 10 tracks), and when it's eventually implemented, it'll be interesting to watch. Link it to and the funk shows from KCRW, though, and I'm sold.


Downloading Music (and other things) From Just About Everywhere

I'm starting to think that the fate of the CD and the controversy over HD-DVD and Blu-ray just don't matter anymore. The fate of shiny plastic discs pales in comparison to what's available via a network, but it goes further than that. When you take the discs out of the equation, that changes the hardware needs as well. Does it matter that Apple doesn't have a format preference yet, or that Microsoft has committed to HD-DVD while Sony is pushing Blu-ray? As long as the files come down a pipe and not through a disc, the whole thing becomes moot. In this way, the format wars play out differently than Beta vs. VHS. I can't imagine this is a new or groundbreaking sentiment, really. Landmark Theaters are already pushing out movies on hard drives, most digital cable services have movies-on-demand, and iTunes (and probably soon Amazon) are selling via the 'Net. But it does make it easier to skip ahead over the physical model, and therefore a content distrbution network, entirely.

Some Dell laptops I deal with on a regular basis don't have built-in optical media drives. They sport connectable drives if you want to use them, but it's perfectly capable of functioning without one (once the system is loaded, that is, assuming you don't use a USB or Firewire drive to load the system). The signs, paired with downloading services, point the obvious direction. So what tips it over to abandoning physical media?

The iPod succeeded in fetishzing the device instead of the music. The common listener didn't want the disc anymore, they wanted the device, and the listening came along with it. Since there usually aren't liner notes that go along with a DVD, that need is eliminated, too. I'd think a download that included the same features that a DVD now includes (extra scenes, features, etc.) would do well. Since video games are now often based on movies (and the cut scenes in non-movie video games are pretty much movies unto themselves), maybe pairing the movie and the video game (with extra scenes unlocked through gameplay or something) would be a good sell. The Matrix may have pointed the way there - designers will just have to make sure the final product doesn't suck.

And the ay has already been pointed with music as well. Like downloadable multitrack sessions from Trent Reznor, why not write games or small movies around the music? It's not terribly rock and roll, I suppose (unless you're Marillion and writing hobbit rock songs paired with a trip through Middle Earth or something), but these kind of projects carry new content and avoid the disc entirely.

And if you just want to listen to music? Download the music. That part's already been done, although rumor has it Apple wants to take it from the home PC to the kiosk. Disclaimer, though: I've never heard of this site, and that principle seems to violate the premise of comfort and ease Apple enjoys. I'd bet more on touchscreen iPods on OS X for this next announcement.

Nothing groundbreaking, here. Maybe just another brick in the new structure.