Archive for the ‘Random thoughts’ Category

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)–%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.

(La senda del tiempo – Celtas cortos)″

Yesterday started one of my annual favorite events in my hometown.

Valladolid is a normal city. Not too big, not too small. The kind of city that you could  walk around without get stressed. That’s why when the Seminci takes place, every corner seems different. The whole city is flooded by a bohemian air. Like and hymn to variety.

Seminci means a whole week of international films. It means little and unusual films throwing all the Hollywood blockbusters out the cinemas. The most of theaters and cinemas taken for the occasion. There are long and short films, documentaries from remote places, original languages and subtitles everywhere. Usually the directors  present their own works and everyone is welcome to ask them some questions.

There is a continuous flow of flamboyant and international visitors around. Something never seen during the rest of the year. And even a red carpet in front of the main theater where the directors/actors/writers… talk to the press. All them thinking about winning the Golden Wheatear (the equivalent to Oscar in a cereal area!). It is possible to go to the cinema any time of the day, films start at 9 in the morning and the last ones finish after midnight. Full of choices.

At this time, the weather becomes pretty cold and windy, as old people like to say “9 months of winter and 3 of hell” (sounds awful, but in spanish it rhymes… :p). So, after the cinema a great option is to go to a bar to get warm while trying to decide if you liked the film or not. Most of the audience do that. And the atmosphere in there is something I like almost as much as the films, make me think about the cafe literary circles.

During the years I have seen quite a few films. Some of them I liked very much and some made me almost die of impatience, but even in the worse of the cases all them showed me something completely different and gave me material to think about.

Some personal recommendations:  “La estrategia del caracol”, “14 Km”, “Young@heart”, “El último truco”.

(Ain’t it fun – The dead boys)–%20Aint%20It%20Fun.mp3″

When I woke up this morning, a thought crossed my mind. Well, I guess something else crossed my mind, but I can’t remember it and probably would be even less worthy to read about it. Could you imagine such an insignificance?

What I was saying, the thought: I would like to become a translator machine. A flow of words all around. And not necessarily a very accurate one… google translator would be enough.

I would be famous in the Tower of Babel. I could speak in every language without notice the tons of sacrificed details. I would never find myself telling lies about what I did on sunday morning to avoid my suicide in a spiral of impossible explanations. I could keep my hands in the pocket without having to draw circles in the air. I would write long stories all at once. Life would be a haven of peace. The sun would bright again.

Well, was mainly kidding. But there is something about that when speaking a language that is not your mother tongue. You feel that you are slightly different person. You become completely basic, and your jokes…uff, better no comment.

However, is really rewarding when you  manage to communicate yourself in another language, even when you need several tries. At first you are like an egocentric kid, only speaking about you and your plans. Then you can include somebody else in the stories, then give some details and so on. Patiently, maybe came the day when you could totally recognize yourself in the translator machine you have become. I will wait for this day!