Friday, August 31, 2007

Album Art: "Shield"

This is the cover art to the closest thing we've gotten to an epic in 2006. I don't think the story of Hylas and the Nymphs relates to the song "Shield" in any feasable way...maybe it has to do with the really long guitar solo at the end.

Anyway, the art is a visual remix of a John William Waterhouse painting from 1896. I like how the square cover art totally takes the original painting out of context, that is, if the recolorization job didn't already. We have the presumably young Hierophant drawn to the yellow-green woman, while the greener woman looks green with envy. A happy accident, if I do say so myself.

So here's the original "Hylas and the Nymphs." One would say that Hylas was a quite a lucky man to have stumbled upon a pond full of brunettes, but in the original myth, Hylas was Hercules' pederastic lover, and I guess one (or more!) of the nymphs persuaded Hylas to leave Hercules and run away with her (or them!). Here's to ponds full of nude brunettes...cheers!


And this is the Society's visual remix, where the Hierophant is drawn to a lake full of paint, and the nymphs vaguely resemble Skittles:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Album Art: "Fifty Can't Be Wrong"

This is the virtual "cover" for the second song we recorded in 2006, "Fifty Can't Be Wrong." It's basically a modification of a painting from circa 1530 entitled "St. George and the Dragon," by Paris Bordon.

It more-or-less fits with the subject matter of the song, if you want to stretch meanings. I'm not revealing anything about the song lyrics (if you've heard the song, then the literal meaning is painfully obvious), and you can read about the legend of St. George and the Dragon at Wikipedia, or elsewhere.

This is the original painting from 1530:

And this is the "publicity poster" version of the cover art. There's this pseudo-continuity of the Hierophant character from "White Rhino." Does this happen before or after "White Rhino"? I have no clue, either.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Album Art: "White Rhino"

This is the virtual "cover" for our equally virtual "single" called "White Rhino." It is essentially a modification of the old, public domain Rider-Waite tarot card called "The Hierophant."

I personally thought this imagery to be very appropriate to the song. On the surface, yes, there are two mentions to a "hierophant" in the song, but I think the picture of a seemingly high-and-mighty, holier-than-thou priest sings volumes to a particular meaning to the song.

As a songwriter, I'm hesitant to reveal what I think the song's about. It really doesn't matter what my interpretation is, as the listener should come up with a personal meaning, that is, if the song resonates personally in any way.

This is the original tarot card, colored by a Wikipedia editor named "Bastique." Apparently, while Pamela Colman Smith's drawing is in the pubic domain, the card company US Games Company holds rights to their colorization of the card. Yes, they've copyrighted colors...how about that?


And this is the full "tarot card"/liner notes version of the "White Rhino" album art. The letters that form S. of G. and White Rhino come from other cards from the Rider-Waite deck.


If guess if US Games Company can claim copyright to their particular set of colors, then the Society can claim this art remix as their own. Anyway, we want to give a big thanks to the original artist, Pamela Colman Smith, for the righteously creepy design.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No News Is No News

I don't think there's much to report today. We've figured out the cover art for "Who Are Your Friends?" and when both the finalized mix and the cover art are complete, we'll be satisfied enough to release the song as a free download at DeRamos.org and streaming at our Myspace.

Speaking of Myspace, you can, if you dare to, check out pre-Society stuff at www.myspace.com/thesocietyofgloves.

That's about it for today.

Monday, August 27, 2007

New Music in a Hidden Place

Check out this video produced by Mutiny Universe. It documents a fashion show presented by the Cao Institute of Aesthetics. It's a hair and makeup school affiliated with the Paul Mitchell people.



The editing was started by Katy Savage, and the editing was completed by John Tan. The bulk of the music was created by mixmaster Jason Loya of Negatrude, and the last couple of seconds - the swell and the remix - is essentially new music (in the smallest meaning possible) by yours truly of the Society of Gloves.

So there you have it: New music (shorter than "White Rhino") by the Society of Gloves, before we officially unveil "Who Are Your Friends?" and whatever else we have up our collective sleeve.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hyperspace (2002, 2004)

I originally wrote Hyperspace around 2002, in hopes that it would be a full-fledged song. The riff itself has a very science fiction, spacey feel to it. I grew impatient with the development of the song, so I shelved it.

In 2004, I was working on a project for the cinematography course I was taking at the time. I scored the short film (shot on film) "Cleaning Service," to an adapted version of the original "Hyperpace."



I was so pleased with the outcome of the "Cleaning Service" score that I don't think I can bring myself to ruin 2004's "Hyperspace" by fleshing it out as a pop song or whatever.

While we were shooting the short film, I engineered a song written and performed by one of my actors, John Ingles (billed in "Cleaning Service" as J.P. Ingles). John was a former bandmate of mine and a good friend, so it was fun to record his song "A Boy with a Cookie."

It was during that recording session that I decided to get a better microphone.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Divvying Up the World

The same night I had the alien amplifier dream, I also dreamt about a map of the world. I couldn't believe what I was doing, but I was doing this strange and cliched act. I had these unusually shaped Post-It Notes, and I labeled on them these very generalized cultures of the world.

It's been done before, and I believe the way I divided the world, is the way most Americans do...from a very "American" point of view.

I had United States divided...the American South, New England, the Midwest, etc. It was cliche census stuff; I know better than to do that...there's so much variation and cultural flavor in localities, but I behaved like a bureaucrat in my dream.

South America pretty much followed the age-old Treaty of Tordesillas: (1) Portuguese Brazil, and (2) Spanish-speaking everything else. Again, I was a bureaucrat.

Asia became South Asia, Central Asia, East Asia...and I was lumping these nations and diverse cultures within nations into these cliched, almost like the game Risk, kind of geographical, pseudo-cultural divisions.

I don't remember what I did with the continents of Africa, Australia, and Europe, nor the many island nations that dot the seven seas...but I do recall several Post-It Notes everywhere on the map.

When I went over the Middle East, I lumped all the Arabic-speaking regions together and I think I labeled a separate Farsi-speaking region for Iran. I do remember that I didn't know what to do about Israel and Palestine. I think that was the most real part of the dream: Does anyone know?

Anyhow...it would be great to go on a world tour. The world's more than a sheet of paper to paste Post-It Notes on.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Alien Amplifiers

I had this dream the other night. It was set at a strangely designed Guitar Center. I don't quite remember the details, and since it was a dream, more details would create more confusion, but somehow the amplifiers were infected with a disease.

Anyway, this amplifier disease made the amplifiers grow a slimey goo around them, as well as horror film eyeballs and tentacles. The tentacles reached out and grabbed people and absorbed them into the amplifier goo. I guess that was how the amplifiers ate.

So there was pandemonium (obviously) in that Guitar Center, and everyone who wasn't digested by the eyeball-tentacle-slime-amplifier monsters ran as quickly as possible outside.

Oh boy, there was a surprise in store for all of us!

There was a big cube of densely packed Marshall stacks - the kind arena rock bands would have on stage - and that mass was covered in - you guessed it - green goo, eyeballs, and tentacles. It was devouring anyone who approached it.

I had no choice but to kick this dream into lucid mode. I took my (evidently) trusty sickle (I was in fact, a grim reaper/high school teacher in an earlier dream) and began to kick some alien amplifier ass.

I destroyed a couple of great looking amplifiers, amp heads, and cabinets (underneath the goo of course), but I had to save the day.

And so I did. The end.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

No News

There is really no news from the Society. Really. I just have this compulsion to post a new entry every day.

If you missed it from the Blogger widget above, here's our one and only music video. It's called "White Rhino."



It was filmed over the course of three short shooting days...maybe eight hours total. Editing didn't take that long, other than trying to get that photocopy aesthetic. The video was conceptualized and produced by the Society, in partnership with Mutiny Universe.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More Politics, Less Comedy, with Music

I've been fairly outspoken about Net Neutrality. Being one of the many little fish, I am obviously for keeping the Internet an equal playing field. After all, the free peoples of Middle-earth...as well as the not-so-free...should have the right to have their voices heard, or at the very least, the opportunity to do so.

As an American citizen, under the 1st Amendment, Congress (i.e., the government) can't steal our voices...right? So what about large corporations attempting to do so, for political means (i.e., having the power of the government under their control)?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

An Entry without Music

I have to admit to some political undertones and/or overtones for some of our songs. "Fifty Can't Be Wrong" (if you've heard it) is probably the most obvious of the ones we've released so far...and maybe "White Rhino" and "Shield" too.

Anyhow, since I blogged about cheeseburgers at the DeRamos.org page, here's today's non-musical blog entry on a less-than-semi-political rock band's website, slightly political but mostly a comic (whose name I need to find out) who does a great Dubya impression (and Clinton, too):



Bush Impersonator - [FUNNY] - video powered by Metacafe

Monday, August 20, 2007

Another Point of View

This is something that has been said by countless other songwriters before, so please think of this as my concurring opinion. Anyhow, I've been in this quasi-rut, finding all chord progressions to be cliche, and all keys to sound pretty much the same. So I decided to drop the guitar (for the time being), and I picked up a ukulele. That was already a good decision, as it provided a nice change of voice.

I changed some of the chord voicings around...suspended notes and such...and I was on to something. Basically, it sounded like the riff from Boston's "More Than a Feeling" but with a ukulele and suspended chords. Cool.

So I gently put away the ukulele, and I picked up the guitar I had dropped. Added a capo, played the similar voicings on the guitar, and BOOM! I'm playing a re-energized song. It still hints of "More Than a Feeling," but what I-IV-vi-V progression doesn't?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elan Vital

Quick updates:

1. We still have to get around to "finalize" a MySpace-able mix of "Who Are Your Friends?"
2. I (Ryan) am going to work on the Elan Vital original soundtrack soon. I initially demo'd several tracks for the film in preproduction, but I'll have to finalize all the instruments, as well as create a nifty score, in the next few weeks. Check out www.mutinyuniverse.com/elanvital for updates.
3. We're moving forward with more Society music.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Between Songs

As an update, we are still finalizing the mix of "Who Are Your Friends?" before we put it up on this site for download, and on MySpace for streaming.

Anyway, after recording the song, we decided to listen to music on the radio. It might sound like a cliche, but a lot of modern commercial music, even modern rock, is laughable. That's how I feel...but I feel lot of gratitude when a classic is played on a modern format station, or when an especially good song is played on a classic rock-type station.

So here's Queen's "We Will Rock You":

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sneak Peek

"Who Are Your Friends?" is on the latest episode of Radio@MU. It's not the final mix, as it isn't as thunderous as we want it to be, but it should be an okay preview of things to come...so check out the podcast!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nearing the Finish Line

We are nearing the finish line (or is it nearing the Finnish line for Swedish fugitives?). It'll be there...at least a decent "rough" mix...for possibly all of cyberspace to hear.

"Who Are Your Friends?"
...lyrically has this Hades-and-Persephone, tragic-and-cryptically-ironic vibe to it...and musicially, we wanted it to sound like being in the presence of Zeus, at least in the drums. Thunderous. Whether that is possible remains to be heard.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

VST to RTAS Wrapper

To continue from yesterday, the possible workaround didn't work, so we had to formulate and execute Plan B. In other words, FXpansion's VST wrapper works well, and several VST plugins now work in RTAS Pro Tools land, but certain plugins do not work and cannot be fully wrapped by the FXpansion program. So, obviously we scrapped the effects (plugin effects, that is) that don't work 100%, and we replaced them with VST plugins that do work 100%.

It goes to show you that while there are a lot of free VST plugins out there, there are only a few worthwhile free ones...you get what you "pay" for. The few VST plugins that we actually bought for the studio work well, so again, you get what you pay for.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still Bringing It All Together

We're almost, almost, almost there. We've experienced some problems with FXpansion's VST-RTAS wrapper program...well, not the wrapper itself, but certain free VST plugins we wanted to use in Pro Tools (which uses RTAS plugins). A number of tracks with certain VST plugins refuse to bounce to disk. There could be a workaround, otherwise we'll have to go to (and devise a) Plan B, in terms of auxiliary sounds for the song. Anyway, these things happen.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bringing It All Together

Gandalf said it best: "The board is set. The pieces are moving." The guitar tracks, which we've simplified to about six at maximum, have been set. The bass is set. The lead vocal and backing vocals have been mixed. The drums might need some additional mixing because I want the toms to shine. We're almost there.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vocal Overdubs

So we tracked more vocals, only to not really use them...because there were either (1) pretty decent vocals in the rough mix in the first place or (2) pretty decent vocals that are in discarded alternate takes, only to be unearthed when the newer takes weren't that great.

I have a feeling we'll go through the same sort of process when it comes to guitars, as there are probably better takes from earlier this week than from yesterday's session.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More Guitars

We finished tracking several takes of lead guitar fills 'n stuff. Now we have to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly...and sometimes ugly can be good.

I'm still talking about "Who Are Your Friends?" We're slowly building it together, and hopefully the outcome will be great.

Maybe we should put in more guitars. More, more, more! I feel that a change of guitar might provide some inspiration...

Friday, August 10, 2007

More Overdubs

More guitars...more, more, more! I think it's a good thing we're taking our time with "Who Are Your Friends?" because there are a million new ideas every time we work on the song. It just takes filtering out the ideas that don't work, and working on the ideas that sort of work.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Still Mixing...

Okay, so the big chorus of backing vocals and the lead vocals have pretty much been mixed (of course, they'll still need tweaking). All that's left are guitars (several guitars), bass, and drums. So, yeah...pretty much the band part of the song.

And then we'll mix all the bounces together...and hopefully the song will sound good.

Who are YOUR friends?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Final Overdubs and Mixing

Yeah, the title pretty much says it all. So far we have about 30 tracks (probably more as I've lost count) of stuff...most of it will hit the cutting room floor, I'm sure. I doubt the system can take that many tracks at once (we'll need more RAM for that kind of operation), so we are going to bounce together logical sections, and then do a final mix from all the bounces.

And this is for one song.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Vox

I didn't mention any specifics before, but the Society of Gloves is working on a song called "Who Are Your Friends?" I wrote the song back in 2004, and after three years, we're recording it. I just spent two hours tracking the lead vocal and the backing vocals. As it is now, there is layer-upon-layer of Ryan (that's me) singing "Ah-ah, ah-ah / Ah-ah, ahhh" for the chorus of the song. It sounds great, but who knows if it'll make it to the final mix.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pro Tools 7.3.1

Access violation this, access violation that. Digidesign said that Pro Tools 7.3.1 fixed bugs found in 7.3, but there are several left over. Hopefully they'll hurry up and release 7.3.2...the Access Violation involving the Tempo Map is utterly frustrating (but thank goodness for automatic backup files...nearly gave myself an ulcer).

Where art thou, Metal Gear Supercomputer?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Rockism

According to Wikipedia, "Rockism is an ideology of popular music criticism, coined by Pete Wylie and used extensively in the British music press from the early 1980s[1]. The fundamental tenet of rockism is that some forms of popular music, and some musical artists, are more authentic than others. More specifically, authentic popular music fits the rock and roll paradigm; it is made using the basic rock instrumentation of guitars, bass guitars and drums, and fits the structures of a rock and roll song."

Basically, it goes on to say (or maybe just imply) that multitrack recording was perfected in the 1970s, with great microphones, reel-to-reel tape, and engineers (and producers and musicians) who knew what they were doing. A lot of newer technologies, like synthesizers and Pro Tools (both the program and the generic-use term, like "photoshopping") are under suspicion as to not produce music in the most genuine form. Also according to Wikipedia (in the same article): "Design critic and indie pop musician Nick Currie compared Rockism to the art movement of Stuckism,[2] which holds that artists who do not paint are not artists."

In an ideal world, the Society of Gloves would love to go into a nice studio, with a great sounding drum room and isolation booths ad nauseam, and record with extremely expensive microphones (several, with optimal placement to record vocals, amplifiers, and individual drums, as well as room ambience) to a gigantic mixing board, which records to dollars-per-foot reel-to-reel tape. Throw in some pricey guitars, basses, and drums for good measure. Nice, warm...rock and roll.

Unfortunately, all that stuff takes money, and while a decent publishing/record deal might provide the budget, you'll more often than not lose your rights (and much of the royalties) to that record company. What once was art (in theory) is somehow intertwined with a money-making machine. That's the music industry for you...

However, it is quite fortunate that we can use something like Pro Tools (without protooling) to record good-sounding music. There's some degree of rock ethos in what we - writing on acoustic guitars for good melody and progression, jotting down ideas on paper notebooks and tape recorders, etc.

And when it comes down to it, it is possible to use Pro Tools without excessive protooling, as it is possible to use Photoshop with excessive photoshopping. It's about creating these moments of real musicianship on a (slightly colder) digital medium, without fabricating those moments. And if we can do record some good rock and roll at a rock bottom budget...maybe one day, we'll get to use what the legends used when they recorded their classics.

(Besides, rearranging songs - at the demo stage - is beyond fast using Pro Tools or Garage Band or ACID or Cakewalk, etc.)

Here's to rock and roll! Do the code!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Rhythm Section

We have a bunch of cool guitar riffs and vocal melodies (lyrics later), but the real heart and soul of the song is the rhythm section. The bass and drums need to provide that added umph to the heavy guitars.

Anyway, that's what we're currently working on. The groove. The funk (sometimes).

Friday, August 03, 2007

Society News!

Expect some new Society of Gloves music soon! We've been jamming, and there's some heavy rock 'n roll afoot in the Society!

Cheers...alright,
Ryan

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Walking the Cow" (Live)

Daniel Johnston with Beaten Awake, 2007:


Eddie Vedder, 2006:


We were at the 2006 Pearl Jam show, and that was Ed's pre-set number (before he introduced Sonic Youth).

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Piano, Drums, and Editing


If you go to the Google Video page where the video is hosted, read the comments. The haters are particularly hilarious.