Thursday, July 8, 2010

Possibly the geekiest thing I will ever do

I have finally gotten the library of sounds from LHCSound - yes, you read that right - these are sounds created from the Large Hadron Collider at Cern. You know, that giant thing somewhere in Europe that certain foil-hat-wearers were predicting would turn the Earth into a black hole or destroy the universe or something similar.

Well anyway, I grabbed their sound library, and I'm going to play around with these files and the snippet from the Cassini probe and see what weirdness I can create. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Before you ask for design services

The following was posted on Craigslist several years ago. The author is unknown. Not only does this go out to people looking for spec work in the design field, it also applies to people who expect musicians to play at their venues for free. 

Before you ask for free design services...
Every day, there are more and more posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit no-spec.com.

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

The information in this post is a reproduction of a posting on Craigslist. The author is unknown.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pimpin' for my sistah

(and I promise, that's the last time I write in dialect here!). My good friend Robin Renee has a new video up by videographer Tom Curtin. I just wanted to share it with you. Emjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturn Song (take 0)

Here is the Cassini spacecraft "recording" (brought into the audible range by NASA), turned into a 10-beat loop and mixed in with some drum samples from the Steve Tibbets loop library. Photos courtesy of NASA.

I would be interested in getting some feedback about this... see the poll on the blog page.

The Idea of Sharing Ideas

I guess I have to really decide the purpose of this blog. I want make my own creative process vis รก vis music transparent. And to do that, I have to share with you my half-baked, or completely uncooked ideas, and the badly-performed or recorded works-in-progress. The unfinished work. The stuff that you know is just awful. The stuff that nobody but you is supposed to hear.

I have been reluctant to do this out of fear that someone else will "steal" my idea and do something fabulous with it and they'll get all the money and fame and whatever else. Today, I have to laugh about my hubris. Today, I realized that it's a ridiculous attitude to have at this time in my life (and I'm not sure if this attitude ever benefited me in any way in the past, either).  I need to remember that any idea that I may come up with from the various triggers in the world is highly likely to occur to a few thousand other people within a few days of me coming up with it, because they are also exposed to the same set of triggers. The odds that any of them will act on it is small, and the odds that of those who will act on it will do it in the same way as me are negligible.

So.

This is what I'm working on in the stolen moments between work and family and other commitments. I got an email from NASA about the Cassini probe detecting lightning on Saturn. They recorded it in the visual and audio spectrum. The few seconds of noise from Saturn had to be processed by NASA because the frequencies were out of the human audible range (and I suspect out of dog-hearing as well), and they replaced it with some sort of static noise. But it has rhythm to it. And I'm working on turning it into a drum track and build up from there.

Over the next few weeks, I'll treat you to the building blocks as I create them. Expect some interesting noise coming from me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My two loves coming together in unexpected ways!

So I'm at one of my quilt guild meetings last night (Harvest Quilters), and a friend from one of the other guilds I'm in (who came to this guild's show  last weekend - where I had some pieces hanging, and won my first blue ribbon) came to the meeting last night. We haven't really discussed any of our other pursuits, and it turns out that Kristin is also an independent musician!

Go check out Kristin's band The Grip Weeds - their songs are very psychedelic, man!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Only the sound of the rain

There is no new music this week. The nor'easter knocked our power out, briefly, and we had water in the basement, so the weekend was spent rescuing stuff in the basement and cleaning up from the storm.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Purple Dashiki


As I'm just coming off a 4-week slog of tremendous amounts of overtime and working through the weekend at my day job, I'm sorry to say I don't have any new music to share tonight. I do have a story from the road, prompted by my unpacking of a garment from storage this afternoon.

I unpacked my husband's purple dashiki today. When he bought it at the Starwood festival, he really liked it - it was cool in the summer weather, and he felt comfortable pushing the borders of his fashion sense away from the t-shirts and jeans that he basically lives in at home. I think he looks pretty good in it in this picture, at the gig we had at the festival (he's the one standing playing the djembe):
He was perfectly happy about it until he got to the stage, right before our gig, and saw our guitar player.

 


Yes, he is wearing the same shirt. No, this was not planned. Yes, it was like the prom when 2 girls show up in the same gown, and NO, my husband has not worn the purple dashiki since that one time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

OMG! SOLD OUT!!!

I have packaged up the last physical copy of Goddess Mandala that I am going to sell and it's going to the post office tomorrow.

(I actually have one more still in shrink wrap, but I'm keeping that for myself).

It's been a long haul selling those CDs, but from what I understand, most unsigned bands only sell about 200 or so copies of their physical CD (basically to family and friends). True, that statistic is at least 10 years old (as is Goddess Mandala), but it makes my selling 1000 units all the more impressive. Sales weren't steady or even - I sold most of the run in the first 5 years, and the last 50 took a while to move.

so I guess the question then becomes, What's next?

The future of Goddess Mandala is going to be all-digital. I had researched a non-iTunes micropayment music website where I can upload albums of MP3s and sell tracks individually or as entire albums. Since I was planning on marketing my new music that way, it makes sense to start up that account and service. So keep watching this space and the Music for the Goddess website for more information about how to get the new music that's on the way!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

An unsolicited review!

I was at a loss as to what to talk about this week, as work has been keeping me from the keyboards and the DAW (digital audio workstation - the industry term for audio editing software these days), and then I saw this email from Facing North, a neoPagan review site. They have posted a review of Dancing With Hecate, and I couldn't be happier.

I'd like to tell the reviewer that, yes, I will be doing more music, and it probably won't be in CD form. I plan to release individual digital downloads as I complete each song.

Will they all be neoPagan? I can't say at the moment. I have ideas for things, many ideas. But time seems to be eluding me right now.

Anyway, thanks KatSai for the terrific review!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Here's an oldie for you

We've been working really hard to finish our new bedroom, and I haven't had 2 seconds to work on anything musical or artistic this week, so I don't have any new music for you.

However, I will post a link to a live performance of this cover band I was in a couple of years ago. I'm singing a Bessie Smith song, Lost Your Head Blues. Of course, the camcorder decided to cut out right at the start of the last verse, which has the best singing in it.  I have not had any luck with live recordings. Either someone in the band really screws up so badly the entire song is unusable, or, if we ARE playing it well, there is a problem with the recording and we don't get the entire thing.

So, without further ado, here is Lost Your Head Blues

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sexlexia

I was fooling around with some nice, funky groove loops, and decided to have a bit of fun by adding a few sound clips from 2 of my favorite animated cartoons: The Simpsons and Futurama. This song is a bit more suggestive than my typical outing. And since I was in a "playful" mood, shall we say, the MP3 file has the following tags embedded (if your player won't show them):

Song: Sexlexia
Artist: Johnson & Vagoo
Album: Unknown

Anyway, here's the link to Sexlexia. Enjoy. (By the way, you probably want to right-click and download)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Composing While You're Angry

Composing while you are angry leads to some "interesting finds" later, say after a year or so when you've imported a large folder full of MP3 files into your iTunes library.

You may still see the Acid Loop file named "Dateless" but it's a big surprise when you are scrolling down through your song list and you see a song called Everyone Else Goes Out and I Get To Do Laundry, from the artist Put On Your Burqa And Shut Up, from their album What Are You Doing Out of The House?

I may just be too old to front such a band, but you never know. Since I can't seem to automagically post an MP3 file here, but I can post a video, here is the first minute of Everyone Else Goes Out and I Get To Do Laundry.

EDIT: In case the video is unavailable (it's not showing up on my youtube account, but I can play it from here apparently, but not earlier this morning so I don't know what's going on) here is a link to an MP3 from a website I control: Everyone Else Goes Out and I Get To Do Laundry

video

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gearing Up

I've been going through all my unreleased recordings that are sitting on my hard drive. There are some gems in there, and some good ideas that can be expanded upon. And some things that made me go "eh" and others that are all What was I thinking?! I sent a couple of the gems to my friend and co-writer, Bob, but he hasn't got back to me yet. I'm hoping it's because he's busy and not because he hates them. This self-doubt and paranoia won't do anyone any good.

In the meantime, someone posted a link to a quasi-acapella group Van Canto (I say "quasi" because they employ a drummer), but I like the way they get around not having a guitar player. I played their Nightwish cover that's on YouTube to my daughter, and her mouth just hung open. I'm guessing that she may attempt this with her friends, and I'll encourage the hell out of that.

And lastly, my dear friend and sister-of-the-heart Robin Renee is playing a benefit for Haiti on Sunday. Go and see her.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My first post

Hi. My name is Wendy, and I'm a musician. I created Music for the Goddess in 1998 with my husband and two of our friends and in the intervening dozen years have toured the US and Canada, and produced 2 CDs. That's pretty good for people who also have full time day jobs and families. At least, I think so.

Anyway, things have been pretty quiet on the music front for me for the past couple of years, because Life Happens. But all of that is about to change. And I thought you might be interested in coming along with me as I write lyrics, compose music, collaborate with other musicians and produce finished songs.

If you came here from my band's website, or our facebook page, then you probably know about me and my music. If not, go check us out.