after several desktop crashes, partial loads, reboots, frustration, an ingenious apt-get install that i didn’t expect to work and then finally finding the driver on sourceforge but not actually installing and going to the creative labs website looking for a linux driver that, of course, doesn’t exist, i somehow, mysteriously got my transplanted soundblaster live! card working. (see, boo-frakking-yah)

now i should be able to continue with phase two of the linux music-making which involves the ability to play a sound in one program and record the sound simultaneously in another (which is pretty much essential for what i need to do).

starting thoughts

so after a few hours twiddling, it becomes increasingly evident that i should pull my sound blaster live card out of my other <.< computer and put it in here. primarily because there's a couple programs (thinking specifically of freebirth, but also the live effects thingies) that don't have any way of saving what you've done or outputting the sound at all. and the sound card that's in there now won't let me record and play on the fly at the same time, so it’s either that or pipe my music to the other box anyway (which i’ll need to do if the live card doesn’t work, but it should).

i’ve gotten part way through the first track for this though, but it’s mostly a background at the moment. it needs bass and…something else. i also was able to uncover some essential cables (one of which being my midi cable) so when i do get the new card in there, i can start recording live instruments.


so it’s been a long time since i posted here. i could say that i’ve been busy, but really, that’s a lie; i haven’t been any busier than usual. the trip to seattle and post-christmas stuff was stressful and, yes, it did take a while for the gavinator to get back on track, especially since he came back with a cold (or at least got one shortly thereafter) and either got another one a week later or never quite got over it. he’s done with it now, though…i think. just in time for a trip to SF in a couple weeks.

so, the subject of this post is rpmchallenge. wtf is that? you say. it’s very similar to national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo) which is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month (November). writers all over the ‘net/blogosphere cram their diddy little hearts out in an attempt to pound out 50k words. i wanted to try to do that this year with Feedback but november is hard with thanksgiving, my birthday, etc, so it never went any further.

rpmchallenge is the same thing for music. cut an album — complete with art — in one month (they conveniently chose the shortest month of the year, february). 10 songs or 35 minutes. i can poop this out. my added challenge that i’m imposing on this project is to do everything entirely in linux. (the side effect of this is my good sound card is in the other computer.) so i’m gonna do it. if i have to, i’ll scavenge from old projects and remix them, but only if i need to make time/tracks at the last minute.

so this is the first post. i’m gonna do this thing.

so far, i’ve gone thru all the linux apps available thru the ubuntu package list and downloaded just about everything i could, then i went through and pared down mostly by which ones crashed on startup, and which were actually useful. the current list of applications looks like this:

Audacity – Record and edit audio files
BEAST – MIDI Tracker, Music Composition and Modular Synthesis Application
Creox – Real-time guitar effects (live pedal effects)
Freebirth – Bass synthesizer/sample player/sequencer
GNUsound – Sound editor
Hydrogen – Advanced drum machine
Jokosher – Multi-track non-linear audio editing
SpiralSynthModular – Create and edit audio tracks for live use
Sweep – Sweep Sound Editor
ZynAddSubFX Software Synthesizer – another analog synthesizer tool thingie

i’ve peeked in each, used zynaddsubfx and hydrogen and expect jokosher to get a lot of work. there are several sound editors (gnusound, sweep, audacity) and that will mostly come down to what effects they have, processing resources used, and what interface i like, eventually that will come down to one. the track i’m working on now was twiddling with the knobs in zynaddsubfx and then getting some crazy effect going and then recording it. i’m gonna use one of the sound editors to clean it up a bit and then lay a drum track and bass track on it and see what comes up. the project’s title, by the way (if you didn’t click the rpmchallenge link above) is c.s.reynolds experimental music project. long enough? i’m considering naming each song the date that it is finished (for extra experimental randomness). not sure if i will do that or not. my other thought was that the title of the track would be (or include) all of the tools used to create it. not sure if i’m actually going to do that either, but i will put all that stuff in the liner notes (which will likely be done in GIMP).

in other news: everyone needs to see an inconvenient truth — al gore’s environmental manifesto. he’s not just a dopey potatoe head, and this is done really well. the underlying theme is that it’s never been a secret that we’re screwing up the environment, but in case you thought it was, here’s a movie to un-secret it more. it’s done really well and he shows some very revealing graphs of just how much we’re screwing our planet.

fantastically brilliant business idea #29

so i had another business idea epiphany last night. many of my amazingly good business ideas have to do with running a music store and how i would do it. i guess it’s sort of a dream i have to be able to share music i like with people and make money off it. if i ever get a venture capitalist or inherit a ton of money to open my own record store, i’ll already be set with how to run it.

so, erin and i were talking about coffee shops and how starbucks will move into a neighborhood, sometimes across the street, from an existing coffee shop to steal their business and shut the independent down. they tried to do this at 9th and 9th in salt lake, a small, sort of hip indie neighborhood, but the local coffee shop was too grounded in the community and never went under. something that *did* go under, however, was the indie record store that had been there for years. originally there were two, then one moved, then that one closed and another opened in its’ stead only to close itself later on. so i was thinking wouldn’t it be cool to open up a music store there. so then i started thinking about ways i could make it cool and/or different.

So now that I’ve got this ampache thing going, I was thinking about that and had brilliant business idea number 29 – record store listening station innovation. Record stores often like to have listening stations, but the listening stations are generally limited to a couple releases that are picked by the staff. They don’t generally like doing a listening station for any release in the store because that means a lot of opened product and opened product often means lost sales. I was thinking about independent record stores I’ve enjoyed going to and part of it is atmosphere, part of it is employees and how welcome I feel, and part of it is access to listening to music I wouldn’t otherwise have heard via staff picks and listening stations. So, my innovation is to have a server onto which each new album is ripped to mp3 and added to the ampache catalog. Then, you have several (severely locked-down) client stations that have ampache up and you can listen to any cd in the store. As far as I know, there shouldn’t be any legal issues either since the mp3s are being ripped for the purpose of actually selling the album and you’re not giving out the mp3s, you’re just sharing the music. Tadaa, give me my money.

current ampache playlist:
outkast – speakerboxx, the love below
queen adreena – the butcher and the butterfly
low – things we lost in the fire
lydia lunch – shotgun wedding
dali’s car – the waking hour
the birthday party – hee haw