Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tuesday night I spent 5 hours mixing one song. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm trying to get it to sound like Arcade Fire or Neutral Milk Hotel, but I don't think that's even possible given the state of my recording/mixing equipment. It's all about compression. NMH is obviously highly compressed - the acoustic guitars sound almost ridiculously present and loud. But I went around the net yesterday, looking for help on specific compression settings, and I found tons - literally a ton - of articles decrying the use of compression. I'm starting to feel convinced, although it's clearly partly out of convenience. Essentially, compression destroys dynamics. But it allows you to listen to music over the roar of a car engine without having to adjust the volume for specific loudnesses during the song. Many people, including a prominent record label exec, feel that this contributes to listener fatigue.

So I may have a way out of the compression issue. I'm just going to do what I do, what I can do that is, and mix my songs with an eye on EQ and balance, not presence and loudness. I can live with that if you can.

This is a fantastic page illustrating the relative engorgement of the world's population... well, in America at least (look how fat the US guy is!)

Somehow I managed to miss two things I had been hotly anticipating. Tuesday was the NBA draft lottery (I thought it was next Tuesday). Wow. I have a new appreciation for the Cavs' luck in getting LeBron James. Absolutely unbelieveable. Bill Simmons is correct - the Celtics could very well have missed out on a chance for relevancy in the coming decade, and it's all due to pure cocaine luck. Now their only hope is to either A) get lucky in a near-future draft, B) discover that Danny Ainge is actually a GM genius (in hiding, apparently) who can judiciously deal dead weight and acquire diamonds in the rough on a regular basis. Sorry Celtics. I'm glad I'm from Cleveland (first and only time I will ever say that).

Second, I missed Blizzard's big announcement at a huge South Korean gaming convention: Starcraft 2. My initial reaction is that this is a big mistake. After taking a look at the S2 website I now think "what's the point?" It's very, very similar to Starcraft in both look and makeup. The same races are there, and the same general strategies and storyline. It seems more like a very, very large expansion pack at this point. I mean, Brood War offered new units and a new campaign when it came out; S2 just offers a graphical update in addition to that. I think this is good. There is absolutely no way to surpass the greatness of Starcraft - it is the very definition of a isometric real time strategy game and it has been balanced to perfection. Blizzard, at this point, is not changing the input method or the viewpoint, and they are not adding significant content (like an entirely new race). Sounds like an expansion/upgrade to me. That is the wise choice.

Really, Warcraft 3 was Starcraft 2 (and Starcraft was actually Warcraft 3, making Warcraft 3 actually Warcraft 4). They're essentially the same game. Warcraft 3 attempted to 're-create' the RTS genre by adding RPG elements. In the end even this addition wasn't that significant, but the game as a whole did not meet the bar set by Starcraft in terms of pure gameplay. Good luck Blizzard.

Also, the tiny villa on the far right side of the picture above, about midway up, is where we stayed when we were in Vernazza.

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