Archive for December, 2010

It is only a day since I wrote that I did not want to start reviewing anything, but this is a must…

I am about to speak about the first part of the major recording project belonging to the module Digital Studio Production. This was a collaborative project with my classmate Juan and consisted on recording two songs from the band Future Trad Collective (or more exactly two of their components and other featured guests).

During the preparations for the actual recordings I had the opportunity to revise the concepts learned along the semester within the studio. I had also the chance to research about microphone techniques of a wide range of instruments that otherwise I would hardly thought about, as for example the uilleann pipes.

The line up was different for each song and also the style of the music, having in common the celtic roots. The musicians were overdubbing every instrument, playing over programmed beats they brought as a guide and replacing them progresively with the recorded tracks.  They were all fantastic and experienced musicians and also they were playing with different instruments and doing variations on the fly.

After three recording sessions we ended with a huge variety of instrument recorded: nylon string guitar, electric guitar, bass, mandolin, low whistles of different sizes, flute, vocals, kick drum, triangle, snare, shaker…

By the way, do you know what an ebow is? Well, I have to confess that I did not have a clue until this surprising device appears during the second recording session. The guitarrist take from his bag an small stapler-like electronic artifact that he used to get a really different sound from the electric guitar. A sound that I would describe as an hybrid between a synthetiser and a cosmic violin.

I had to say that the recording was a very interesting experience and that now I “only “ have a stereo mix and a 5.1 surround one left to do.

(All along the watchtower – Jimi Hendrix) http://www.fileden.com/files/2010/11/9/3011696/My%20Documents/08.%20Jimi%20Hendrix%20–%20All%20Along%20The%20Watchtower.mp3″ As the final of the year gets closer and closer, people tends to start reviewing their achievements and promising to do in the future what they haven’t done. Instead, I prefer to go off at a tangent and let the things finish at its pace.

What do you (not) like about write in the blog?: I like to see the posts finished and the blog growing but the weekly topic usually becomes a nightmare.

Something that you would prefer to be doing right now instead: Sit on a bench and eat “pipas” (= sunflower seeds) under the sun, no matter the cold.

In my opinion the post should end in here. BIG full-stop.

However, I will continue with my nihilist writing.

It is incredible how easy is to fool any living being and how absurd seem to be some programmed mechanisms when out of their normal working. As an example of this I remember the ants, that usually bury any dead ant they find since they can detect the oleic acid secreted by the carcass. Clever mechanism. However spreading the same acid on an alive ant the other ants would try to bury it repeatedly despite it offers resistance. Not so clever…

In my opinion the post should end in here. BIG full-stop.

Suppose that you live in a second floor, your windows are filthy and you will require the service of a professional window cleaner. Here arises a huge dilemma: whom to hire? A cleaner with the massive telescopic handle? (like the one who reaches the top of Maxwell Hall from the floor) or a fearless one who hangs with an harness?.

Maybe with the telescopic device some spots got away from the cleaner in spite of having a wonderfull eyesight but at the same time probably a climber window cleaner is a bit excessive for a second floor. A ladder? Scaffolding? To change the windows?

(Saved by the bell – Backyard Babies)

After several weeks of social media, today’s post is about the art of deception. More specifically about tricks and camouflage.

Along the history have been developed lots of visual tricks and illusions. Nowadays is common to watch documentaries about film tricks (like for example the one about Emilio Ruiz del Rio I recommend at the end of here) and there are making of almost every movie or series. However special effects are not exclusively for fiction but also for ordinary life.

Wars, apart from many other things, are a great example of creativity in the field of deception. In addition to the well known use of camouflage patterns in militar clothes and vehicles skilled specialists have managed to mislead the enemy army. A good example are magicians as the british Jasper Maskelyne who concealed the Alexandria port and through a lure avoided the german bombs, which were dropped a few miles away over the mockup.

Also in the second war there were a whole US unit whose sole dedication was to fool the enemy. These unit called The Ghost Army, was formed by creative thinkers from many proffesions like painters, designers, engineers, photographers or actors who accompanied by a range of inflatable tanks and other fake armoury and signals achieve to feigned a big army and save some lives.

Which I find very interesting about this unit was the use of sonic deception helping to get the trick become credible. At first they were recording tipical battle sounds in the open air by means of a microphone and a wire recording installed in a truck. The sounds of bridges construction, tanks passing by, trucks, troops etc. were recorded separately. Having all this library of army sounds the sound engineers were able to playback different mixes to accommodate to the real scenarios where the Ghost Army were accross europe. The unit carried huge speakers and amplifiers over trucks, and played the sound effect mixes (that could be heard 15 miles away) accompaning the faking troops and rubber tanks.

I hope I will keep on discovering surprising and creative uses of sound once in a while.