Something I posted to Facebook in 2017. 5 people seemed to have noticed.
Monday, December 27, 2021
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Something from Twitter again:
I also did a version with all the art in squares, but it doesn't show as much, so putting this version here instead.
Kind of a summary of the Visual Art year in 9 images, but there has been much more than that. Also I'm not getting any younger...
I keep a Diary and was updating it yesterday to what our main "achievements" were this year. Without mentioning the significant events in our kids lives, they are:
1) Read more Japanese language manga, in Japanese then ever before this year.
2) Wrote and recorded 5 songs and updated our music making system.
3) Was fully Vaccinated against C19
4) Got a Mobile Phone here in Japan, on a plan that doesn't cost us anything if we don't use the phone.
5) Wrote and produced more of my own comics than before.
And I though to myself, that feels good.
Friday, December 10, 2021
First attempt at animating a 3 minute video using a puppet we made from our comic character of me and our original track, DREAM.
This is the whole one man band, home recording experience. Many of the comics I do are "Slice of Life", and this is too. I actually recorded the Dream track several years ago now.
1 of the 8 pages of the comic on recording my music, for example:
The comics I do are done in CorelDraw and I made the character with extra hands, mouths, eye positions and body components on separate layers. I saved the character as an illustrator fil
In illustrator I output it as a multilayer Photoshop file. That way all the components are on separate layers, but still form a complete character.
What some of those parts look like if you separate them out
That Photoshop file is brought into Moho and a skeleton and switch layers used to select 1 of n options for eyes, browse, mouth and hands. I haven't used the Moho drawing tools yet, and don't know if I will.
Moho Pro 12 is such a huge improvement over Anime Studio Pro 5 I used previously.
I made a few video segments between 74 and 300 frames at 24fps to assemble the video from. The lip synced videos had 11khz 8 bit audio of just the vocal in them to help align with the mastered music track, then muted once in the correct place.
All assembled with lyrics and title added in Movie Studio.
A more typical way to do a music video is to put the 4 different players in each corner of the screen, but that would need 4 times the amount of animated segments to work with, so I used the one shot at a time approach. Cutting on beats between clip variations makes it a bit more interesting, as the studio experience is very static.
Monday, November 8, 2021
Discovering music is such a random thing. There is so much out there, you will only ever come across a small selection.
I first head of FREAK KITCHEN around 2014 on the community TV show in Sydney Australia, GUITAR GODS AND MASTERPIECES. Not the show that would ever be on a commercial network, but I am clad they existed. Since then the Community Channel in Sydney was shut down and is now home shopping or something, You can find this on the extra channels like 7mate on occasion, and now YouTube.
What I first heard was FREAK OF THE WEEK, from their second last album. I then found their videos on YouTube, then bought the COOKING WITH PAGANS CD from Amazon USA, as it wasn't available in backwards Australia.
Loved it, and GGAM would show various Mattias guitar tutorials and videos sometimes.
Now 2 years ago I moved back to Japan, and have watched more YouTube than previously, and learnt about their back catalogue, and what they have been about. And Freak Guitar too. And I have now bought all their old CDs and their book from second hand stores here in Japan in the last 7 months or so. Become quite the fan. Even bought the T-shirt!
Only just finished reading FREAK WHEN SPOKEN TO, and it seems amazing to me that they had released 4 albums, and the drummer and bass player still couldn't make a living from music, and with other issues, quit the band. I love those early albums. JAPAN was one of the places they were popular, so why I could get all their old CDs.
My last 5 songs have been very influenced by Mattias "IA" Eklundh in so many ways. Drop C# on a Strat being one. They say things that are meaningful to me, in a metal type way. Wish I had discovered them way earlier.
Long live FREAK KITCHEN
I know there is so much music out their I would love but will never come across. But also no-one has that much time to search!
And you will note that shirt in various cartoons of me I have done in the last 6 months too....
I'm not always such a huge fan of some of his IAs wiggly harmonic lead stuff though. Technically amazing, but not always melodically musical to me. You are not going to want to hum it which I think is important.
His FREAK GUITAR albums are more that direction, and I tracked down second hand CDs of those too. Eddie Van Halen's leads are far more to my liking, even if that is not what I try and do at all.
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Friday, October 29, 2021
We redid the artwork for our music track, Oh, What a waste, 勿体ない last week and used that in the comic above too.
The photo is constructed from 3 different photos. Single use plastic garbage washed up on a beach in the foreground, used tires in the center and a garbage dump in the background.
Japan does recycling so much better than Australia, and people don't just dump garbage on the street, but it is still a problem.
The release of Windows11, and it currently making even recent computers obsolete is just as disgusting as the trash in the picture above. What a waste! Same with Mobile phones that can't have the OS upgraded, and gradually stop working as apps use "the latest api" and "don't support that version of the OS" anymore.
It is all so reckless and see this as an environmental issue. Bigger than used straws. Unfortunately the management of companies are rewarded using these strategies, even if it screws the customer base...
Not saying I have any answers, but now having my 3rd Android phone purely because of built in obsolescence, doesn't fill me with bliss. And that you can not exist without a Mobile phone number now is bizarre. Without one, you cannot verify who you are!
Used this in my first Instagram video too. The frame size is wrong in this earlier thing I put on Youtube, but it doesn't matter on Youtube. This has the lyrics in English and Japanese. Putting those in took all the time. Each is a separate text title, so their starting and ending times is set on the time line.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Monday, September 13, 2021
Free download at: https://megacurve.bandcamp.com/track/time
also have a YouTube video
This was something I did months ago, but abandoned. Came back and it is okay, added some lyrics, keeping it mostly an instrumental.
Social Media sites are mostly terrible. Facebook and Twitter are filled with the most terrible people and things, and encourage that "for engagement". But I stay away from that and don't play that game. So I have so few "friends" or "followers" and follow so few, that being on social media is mostly a waste of time. I have an Instagram account, posted a few things when I opened it, but use it to follow a friends art project progress.
This is a reminder to myself to not waste time with social media. Much better ways to spend your time. Like making music, cartooning or studying something new.
So in the last few months we wrote and recorded 5 new songs and we put them on our Bandcamp, and we made simple videos for YouTube too.
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Been involved with music production systems and Home Recording for a long time, but only recently tried my hand at being a Singer Song Writer. This briefly covers how and why. Free 8 pages comic on Recording Our Songs.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
The Gatekeeper Narcissist
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Fun On Social Media, the food pics, the love from your closest 1000 friends, the fascist bots, the misinformation, the utter ratbags, the trivia...
Monday, August 2, 2021
August 1st 2021 was the 20th Anniversary of us moving back to Australia after 15 years living in Japan. Just a couple of days ago as I write this. Moved back to Japan to live 19 months ago now though.
There was shortly to be 9/11 which caused almost as much trouble as the Corona Virus has recently.
Living in Japan for 15 years meant that there was a lot of non-Japanese TV I had not seen, such as Seinfeld and . Really big at the time, but non existent in Japan for us.
On getting settled back in Sydney and looking for work, I did manage to watch Home Improvement as it was on 10AM every week day. 9/11 pretty much made the work world for me stop for 6 months at least. No one was doing anything and took a wait and see attitude to any new projects.
One of the things I did start to watch soon after getting back to Sydney was Farscape. It had been running for a few years and was being made there in Sydney Australia!
Must say I don't remember much about it now. I didn't see it from the start. Maybe from Season 2 or 3.Did the cartoon above about it. Remember there was a LOT of running about the ships corridors, as he is depicted above and a lot of interesting characters and puppets. But it was just a TV show I bothered to watch.
I bring this up as a few months ago I think Farscape became available on a streaming service and people like Joseph Mallozzi saying how great it was. The guy with gun did end up in Stargate, so there was a connection there.
So I think about what I remember feeling about it 20 years ago and wonder if it is worth the trouble of tracking down and watching the first 3 seasons. Probably on DVD, as that is most convenient for me here.
So far it isn't a hard YES. Don't remember being that interested in it, other than someone was actually doing something in Sydney that wasn't just a cheap soap opera.
A bit later Battlestar Galactica started and I started watching that, but I was finding getting consistently work hard at the time, and I didn't need the downer that was that show.
So I'm not sure if that confused memory has rubbed off on Farscape a bit. There are many shows I have never watched. Haven't seen any of the shows raved about, briefly, on streaming like THE MANDALORIAN, BREAKING BAD, STRANGER THINGS or GAME OF THRONES.
Seem to doubt Farscape is worth the trouble. But I will want to watch something before I re-watch Babylon 5 again in a couple of years. I watch TV to relax before going to bed but don't want a show to send me to sleep, and I think some of Farscape did do that.
Free to Download if you put in $0
A METAL-POP-PROTEST-SONG 135BPM with Guitars in DROP C#
This swaps the J-POP K-POP song thing around where the verse is in English and the chorus is a standard Japanese expression Mottai Nai. Means "Wasteful", "isn't that a waste" a few variations on that in the chorus. A lot of wasteful things around and Japanese say "Mottai Nai" a lot...
Pop-ish verses, Heavy Riff Chorus, but vocals still pop-ish.
This is again our down tuned Squire Strat and J-Bass. Wanted a really heavy chorus riff then a dramatic change in the verses, even if the vocals remain pop-ish double tracked through out . Been studying old Freak Kitchen and some recent Metal on those heavy riffs.
My inspiration for song structure and complexity are DEEP PURPLE "Smoke On The Water", "Black Night" , BLACK SABBATH "Paranoid" and JUDAS PRIEST "Living After Midnight" . These are all very simple songs that don't have massive guitar solos in them. They also became really popular, so simplicity is more likely to be easier to listen too. But, the riffs in these songs are very different than modern lower register, low string pedal note riffs.
|The Guitar Pedals and Ashton microphone.|
My song writing , production and recording all happen at the same time in Reaper.
I record much more than gets put into a song off after the end of the song. The song is made of 8 and 16 bar sections, and I select those from much longer takes. Editing, cut, copy and pasting bars and sections, the way you use a word processor. Takes are all improvised on the spot. The verses are using the D# Aeolian (Natural Minor) & Pentatonic scales. The chorus uses C# Aeolian (Natural Minor) with 3 tracks of guitars.
The vocals were sung with a hand held Aston "SM58 look alike" cheap dynamic microphone. It is so hot here, my AT2020 condenser microphone picks up the air conditioner in the next room. The studio is also only a 2 mat room, so the dynamic mic doesn't pick up the room tone either. So a Lo-Fi vocal without the unwanted room tone and environment noise.
Guitar Distortion was the METAL CORE, and we used the GE-7 EQ as a Cabinet Simulator on a chorus track. J-bass used the Behringer GDI21. On other sounds we used Cabinet IRs in Reaper. Particularly the "Gods_Cab_1.2" using a SM57. The Cabinet Sims take away the Buzz and Fizz of the DIed distortion pedal and also allow you to position the cabinet microphone.
My ORANGE Micro Amp is only for practice . I never record it's sound.
This is only the 3rd Vocal based Song I've written and sung so I don't have much experience. As long as I can equal or better Bob Dylan's singing voice I am happy at the moment.
Not sure what I will do next. Needs to use the 7 String though, even though down tuning a 6 string gives just as good results, I have now discovered.
We can be contacted at Art & Technology.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
I did a similar thing about 10 years ago when I changed a lot of what I was doing. That is when I bought my Reaper DAW license and did serious computer based recording. I also discovered back then I was using the wrong type of guitar pick, getting much better feel with a DUNLOP 500 1.5 , the purple one.
BUT I'm not interested in sounding like a commercial pop or rock group and will do things with non standard song structures. THE SHILLS isn't your standard structure either, but close if your not listening very carefully.
Has a loud "drunk" pop verse-chorus vocal over a very metal riff. There is then the very different almost spoken verse over a Scottish Jig style backing. I just didn't add bagpipes to make it obvious. I used a cheap Ashton SM58 looking cardioid microphone hand held to record the vocals. It doesn't have the sensitivity of my AT2020 so it doesn't pick up the air-conditioner or fan noise on these hot summer days. Probably more lo-fi sound. It also doesn't take up much space and is easy to put out of the way. Haven't done a lot of singing, so if you think the vocals are a bit off, then your right. I call this "character". I need more practice. Do warm up exercises and the like before just doing it, next time.
Following Mattias's "do whatever you want". Having fun. All the instrumentation is very METAL, but I don't think that is what you hear at all. No one makes any money to cover costs of recorded music, so it is what it is. I will listen to it far more an anyone else will.
Sunday, May 2, 2021
Been very much enjoying Rick Beato and Ola Englund YouTube channels. They have been at it for years now and have a lot of content.
I came across Ricks work because of his WHAT MAKES THIS SONG GREAT? series. I think YouTube just recommended it to me and I had never heard of him before then. His analysis of how the songs have been put together and key parts is fascinating. His enthusiasm is infectious.
The Record Business has always been some kind of broken. Seeing a few of Ricks videos get taken down by a stupid record label, and his reasoned approach to the problem, and getting the videos back shows how completely unthinking most in the business are. How pop music has been reduced to the same progression with auto tune, just continues the SameThink in the record business. Rick is truly a breath of talented and considered fresh air.
I came across Ola looking at current metal distortion pedals and he show cased some with is CAN IT CHUG? series. It is his other stuff that I found more interesting. He also has a tour of BOSS Japan and the Hamamatsu R&D Centre (where I worked for 12 years up until about 20 years ago!). I used to give the tour of the R&D Centre Anechoic Chamber to specific types of visitors.
Ola should make clearer what is "paid promotion" in his videos. What gear he has been given in the reviewing process, and not loaned or he bought himself. This is normal in the Media world.
Ola has so many different types of things on his channel. Riff Challenges, equipment promotion / reviews and how he has made his latest solo record and started his SOLAR guitar brand. Live streams of playing and practice. Even eating stuff.
They are both way better guitarists than I am!
And like the cartoon says, when you watch enough of their content your start to feel they are a friendly face. They aren't your friends though. Something Social Media is distorting in relationships maybe, more than TV and movies ever did.
Anyway, 2 channels I recommend. Two guys I respect, but they aren't my friends 😀
I have bought Ola Englund's Starzinger Guitar CD pack too. Awesome.
I can be contacted at: Art & Technology
Sunday, March 14, 2021
A short 4 page comic on Music On Loudspeakers. Easiest to read by clicking an image, then use Bloggers image selector at bottom of screen.
Specifically Stereo isn't something most people hear over loudspeakers anymore.
UPDATE: AUG 18 2021. For my own mix checking on a typical users system, I bought a JBL FLIP5, a mono 20W Bluetooth only speaker.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
How I started with HiFi. A Comic that is actually sketching illustrations and narration.
Looking at High End HiFi is a bit like looking at Supercars Lamborghini, Ferrari, etc. Fun without actually spending your money on it.
Things have changed a lot since the late 1970s. The Sony Walkman started the trend, and Home Cinema completed it. People now more likely to be listening to music on their phone with earbuds.
My own Home Project Studio is what my interest in HiFi lead too.