Multitasking And My New Studio

While I was playing the guitar and downloading some stuff I read this article about the problem of multitasking. And… yes, I already know I have a real problem with multitasking. Like most of us, I do it too much instead of concentrating on doing one thing at a time.

It may be something that’s been exacerbated everywhere by mobile phones and other modern distractions, but I spent most of my life having to multitask, because it was absolutely essential in my old career of pathology lab science. I had to spin plates* hour after hour, day after day, year after year. Even before the ever-increasing modern curse and horror of downsizing staff and upsizing workload, I had to be able to do lots of things at once – things that were literally a matter of life and death. And I still have nightmares about it… always about not having enough time to do everything.

So even today, after being out pathology for four years, I still feel like I have to be doing several things at once, and at the same time thinking about half a dozen other things that need done!
 
And I’ll bet it’s the same in most jobs. What about yours?
 
I love it when I do actually let go and focus on something. It happens when I’m recording or playing music… but not all the time. I might still be checking emails and Facebook every five minutes, on a bad day. However, on those days when I really get into it I can focus for hours on end and those are the days when I achieve something.
 
Or reading a book – something I don’t allow myself enough time for any more – but that can absorb me enough to stop thinking about other things. The problem is that I expect the book to absorb me, rather than me absorbing the book – you know what I mean? If the book isn’t riveting enough I’m likely to put it down rather than put the effort into it. It shouldn’t be like that because that reduces the act of reading to mere entertainment.
 
Anyway, it’s interesting that this article came up in my emails today because, on the very day that my new studio here in Tasmania is finally up and running (yeah!) I had already been thinking that I now need to actually get down to making music again. My fingers can hardly even work the guitar! I’d better get them back up to speed before my new Dean Boca electric 12-string guitar arrives from DW Music in Canberra! 🙂

* If you don’t know what plate spinning is, you’re too young to have watched old-fashioned variety shows on TV.  Check out this clip from The Ed Sullivan Show.

New single by Mondo Quinn (produced by me!)

Mondo Quinn: Produced by DC Cardwell

My Tasmanian friend Mondo Quinn has a new double-A side single out. He recorded it at my studio a couple of weekends ago. Both songs have got his usual early-Beatles melodic verve: they’re what I believe the young people are calling “earworms“.

Mondo is on lead vocals and played all of the electric guitars. I think it’s his best vocal performance yet – I told him to sing more aggressively and do his best “John Lennon voice” and he came up with the goods admirably! We double-tracked them and that was it – no need for multiple takes and a lot of “comping”.

As well as producing it, I played everything else and helped a little bit with the arrangements. But Mondo writes such perfect little melodic songs that they don’t need much dressing up. I particularly love the clever, slightly “rushed” transitions into the different parts of “Love Is The Reason“. The whole thing moves along with a great sense of momentum, which is something I love in a song!

It’s up on Bandcamp on a “pay what you want” basis, in other words you can put in zero dollars and get it for free – Radiohead-style! The address is mondoquinn.bandcamp.com – that takes you to his main Bandcamp page.

~ DC

 

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My New Glockenspiel

Here are some photos of me and my new toy “Angel” glockenspiel that I got for Christmas. Well, I’m not sure if it’s a toy – it sounds pretty good to me. But it looks like a toy.

You can hear it on my new song (I Am Still The Same) which I recorded this week.

It’s not exactly good-time party music, but, well, let me know what you make of the lyrics. They refer to a very specific scenario, but I expect they can resonate with a lot of different situations depending on what the listener takes out of them.

I’ve also made available on Reverbnation the original acoustic demo which I did in one take. It’s pretty rough, but I liked the feel and so, instead of starting again from scratch, I used it as the basis for the full version and simply overdubbed some more vocals, bass and electric guitars, as well as the glockenspiel and some toy sleighbells.

It’s only a rough mix and I may go back and do more stuff to it or even re-record the whole thing, but, hey…

DC Cardwell's Angel Glockenspiel 8th Jan 2009
My new Angel glockenspiel
DC Cardwell with Angel Glockenspiel 8th Jan 2009
Laying down some heavy glock.
DC Cardwell - Angel Glockenspiel Spiel 8th Jan 2009
The box. It’s poetry, really, isn’t it?
DC Cardwell and Hofner bass in studio 8th Jan 2009
And this is me at my computer where I recorded I Am Still The Same

Happy New Year! ~ DC

Remixing “Nobody Taught Me”

Current mood:

relieved

My friend Tony The Chameleon  (www.myspace.com/tonythechameleon) pointed out a little oddity on my song “Nobody Taught Me”

It was an electric guitar chord in verse 2 that was even further out of time than is usual for me, sloppy as I am.

So, of course, if a plain, ordinary ex-recording-studio-owner and über-music-fan like Tony noticed it, I clearly had no other option than to go back to the original multitrack on the computer and fix it.

I fixed it by taking that guitar right out of the second verse. Easy!

On the other hand, this was only the second halfway presentable song I ever recorded and I was rather shocked to find a lot of horrific glitches and noises in the tracks! And actual gaps throughout the drum track! About ten spaces where there was just silence – just a fraction of a second each, but very jarring. Tricky to fix, but I managed it.

One electric guitar track was covered with hiss that would make a 1975 Phillips portable dictaphone proud, and another had so many pops and crackles that I thought for a moment that I had lifted it off one of my dad’s 78s.

While I was in there, deep in the bowels of the song, I also fixed a few other things with the benefit of a couple more years of home recording experience.

DC's Epiphone Dot and Peavey Delta Blues

So, the end result… ta-da! Probably, to anyone’s ears but mine,  well, exactly the same as it was before!

But I’m calling it a re-mix and putting it back on my profile to celebrate and make the hours that I put into it seem worthwhile!

(Hey, I just noticed that there are five consonants in a row in the word “worthwhile”!)

I think this song has gone back on my profile more than any other one, which is probably because it’s still my favourite, despite being one of my earliest ones.

~ DC

PS: I know I should be working on a new song or two, but this just had to be done! It’s been torturing me ever since Tony mentioned it!

PPS: This is the electric guitar that I use for almost all my recordings, my Epiphone Dot Deluxe, with my Peavey Delta Blues amp.