Since we said goodbye at the crematorium to Jon Freddy I have had clear time in my studio. Maybe part of my coping process is to pour myself into this lifelong project? I love having a clear space of time to get on and to have a routine of focusing and being in the gym. Pain in the gym as my body gets back in shape, feels good to be getting there.

But, I do question the sureality of being in this place against where we were with Jon Freddy. We are learning as we go as Christiane and I are talking about this. The tears still come and I think in part I react to the intensity we had with Jon Freddy to apply that inspiration into what I am doing. He did not live in vain…

I haven’t finished the video I wish to post of the crematorium time yet. Tech issues of linking footage have bedeviled me. I need to get on it today, it should have been quick and simple and has been almost completed twice… Difficult to do emotionally and perhaps, after trying twice I ran away from investing more time. The footage is not of great quality, reasons not to do, etc. etc… Come on Slater.

So I’ve had my head down in other areas and what follows notes progress. It is a diary entry for me, as much of this blog is I suppose? It is also a celebration of understanding that techies out there who are involved in sound engineering will recognise and I hope acknowledge that Slater is becoming one of us.

Now this might all ‘sound’ like Double Dutch to you? If I heard this some years ago, or even last year, I would have thought it sounded like a foreign language. However on my musical journey to be Producer/Artist some ‘Sound Engineering’ is needed and I’ve been studying how to do this and be Music Producer. Yesterday and earlier this week I accomplished breakthroughs (for me) as a Sound Engineer/Producer so I want to mark them…

  • GUITARS: I played my guitar so as to deliver four separate tracks at concurrently into the computer – two from condenser mics (one over the sound hole one over the twelfth fret) and two via the DI Input (one as a through feed and one treated). On each track I put a different guitar treatment. I then set up two auxiliaries with treatments on each that I bussed the recorded tracks to. I applied effects on each auxiliary and mixed the overall output through a mastering plugin. Each of the two sets of tracks I panned left and right and I automated some of the plug ins. All the tracks are in a folder named ‘Guitars’!!! All routed through my Fireface Mixer on a preset – I seem to have grasped how the routing on the Fireface works now. – Rock and Roll… Getting there.
  • VOICE: I recorded four voice inputs concurrently into my Oasys from my singing into one mic on Wednesday. The input was chanelled through my TC Helicon Voicelive box with a treated and a through feed. I doubled the feeds and put different treatments on each in the Oasys. I played all the inputs back live through the monitor speakers. I’m using a Shure Beta 58 so there’s very little input from those speakers. The result is I can alter the input of treated vocals – chorus, quintet, cartoon voices, deeper and split voices, etc. in real time as I sing the input. This is great fun moreso however it helps me sing differently because I sing into the sound and play with modulating the sound as I sing intuitively. This is awesome.
  • NOTES OUT OF THIN AIR: I had always planned to use my Melodyne Software to take the notes I sing, as I make up a melody, and have Melodyne then analyse these and create the notes for them. I could then output them to midi and have a piano or instrument played this way. That way it wouldn’t matter if I could play an instrument! However, time has seen me learning to play piano and guitar and to learn about music more than I envisaged when I started. However, on Tuesday a song came and I sang the chorus onto a track, applied Melodyne and it analysed the song and came up with the notes! I started on B flat? I think I am singing in the key of A flat but I’m not completely sure yet. What was brilliant was that I saw the notes and the shape of the tune, it lead me to see where I could build the through line of the song. So, after a few years of having the software I have used it! Rock n Roll.
  • Oh yes and everything is now set up to 96KHz although my ADAT will only input at 48KHZ?

So quite a week for me in terms of Sound Engineering breakthroughs.

Now I am tempted to add a quip “So show me the music then?” or “So when is music to be produced then?” That comes as a trained reaction to this type of ‘in order to’ achievement. But I will refrain from doing so. Why? Well because for me to have achieved these technical tasks and to fully understand them is achievement in itself. A course in Sound Engineering would tell you so. And, I am excited about the possibilities they open up for me and the sounds that are coming. I know, because I have been learning from top engineers and producers, that what I am doing here is what they do. How brilliant is that?

Not everything went swimmingly. The saying ‘To make an omelette you have to break some eggs,’ comes to mind.

I did loose the use of one of my hardware controllers as I discovered that its’ software is no longer supported. Really, and you are not ever going to update it and…. Caveat Emptor then…. So that was £450 down the drain then? Or it is until someone somewhere writes some software for it to work on OSX. A big thing for me was to not be ‘too’ upset by this, to not beat myself up and say ‘You idjit Slater’ or worse and have a downer somehow I was just able get on. I removed it and it made a space for a Wacom pad and my work area actually works better for me – something always opens up. I stand in the place that one day someone will write the software to let me use that kit again, which will be great. Commander C4 chaps, a commercial opportunity awaits… C4

As my friend Chris says at the end of every call or email – Keep the Dream Alive… Indeed, it grows as I hear what can be. I hear me playing the guitar, me singing, I see the meter levels on the mixer desk move and all the integrated controllers working perfectly.

And as Dr Norman Vincent Peale would say, whose book ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ led me to Christian Faith so many years ago and I am now re-reading – I can do all thinks through Christ which strengtheneth me: Philippians 4:13 Indeed.

I hope you are journeying towards your dream today in some way, or just enjoying the journey.

Love Nicky


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