spintunes #9 round 4

Photo Finish - Write a song inspired by the public domain photo below:

(2 minute minimum length) (your submission is due Sunday, August 24th 11:59PM)

I actually quite like my song this round, so logically I expect to be placed dead last.

Here we have a photo of a pretty drab looking beach, which instantly reminded me of some of the drab looking beaches we have here in Northern Ireland. (We have some quite picturesque ones too mind you; that's where they film Game of Thrones). Looking at the picture made me a little nostalgic for times spent with people on said drab beaches in days gone by, which is as good a fuel for a song as any.

It's a mostly sort of factual account of a failed relationship; the nearby town to the beach really is probably my least favourite in the world, and Percy Sledge, more than just being a handy rhyme for 'pledge', was genuinely on my playlists a lot back then (I mean, come on...). I was little younger than 22 during the situation I was thinking of, but it's a nice number to sing.

The chorus entertains the idea that it would be nice to go back there and give things another shot because the sea has no memory or whatever (I couldn't place where I'd heard that, but Google reminded me it was in the Shawshank Redemption) and could grant us a fresh start. The little lyrical slight at the end ('to hell with that' etc.) was kind of my realisation that this stuff isn't even worth getting nostalgic over because, actually, it wasn't much fun.

The arrangement is quite dense. I even threw in an accordion part because somehow it reminded me of the seaside, and it seems to give a little Celtic flare to the whole thing. The film projector parts that bookend the song are some kind of metaphor for reflecting on the past, probably.

So there we have it. This is my first SpinTunes final and it's been a pleasure to compete this time around, as always. This is a pretty open ended challenge, so I hope to see loads of shadows on the album to hear how our minds all work.


spintunes #9 round 3

SCORE! - Finally! Your favorite book is being made into a decent movie! The producers need a title song to promote the film and hopefully win an Academy Award. You're hired. The song must have the same title as the book. (2 minute minimum length) (your submission is due Sunday, August 10th 11:59PM)

Tough one. I had a hard enough time trying to choose a book; I read quite a lot, but I'm not even sure I could name my favourite book, at least not one that could be made into a good movie. I decided to go with the novel I've most enjoyed recently, and that has undoubtedly been Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Here's a summary, if you're not familiar with it. Warner Bros. have actually bought the rights to this one, and the script is going though a rewrite at present. Wonder if they need a song...

Seeing as I'm unsure how the judges are going to approach this one, I thought I'd better make a case here and lay out my own criteria for the challenge.

The main thing I definitely didn't want to do was rewrite the book's synopsis in lyric form. A thing I've noticed with the best movie songs is that, while their content is obviously related to the movie in some way, they can stand as good songs in their own right. You don't need to know a thing about the movie for them to be enjoyable. You don't have to see The Wizard of Oz to get the message of Somewhere Over The Rainbow, for example. And My Heart Will Go On has fuck all to do with boats.

With this in mind, I wrote something that I think is generally vague enough to be enjoyed by anyone, but still captures a lot from the story; the abjection of 'real life', the search for an ultimate goal, relationships falling apart. All stuff people could relate to, as well as being the main themes of the book. Of course there's some overt references to virtual reality, but that's starting to become relatable too I guess.

But then, we also have to sell the movie with this one. I tried to sell it the only way I know how: with a HOOK! I think (modestly hope) I succeeded in furnishing the lyrics "Ready Player One" with a good hook in the chorus. Don't want people forgetting the name of the movie.

While the arrangement is mostly pretty standard pop punk fare, I threw some synth parts into the mix as a nod to the geeky 80s pop culture references that litter the novel. I know, I know, so clever...

Looking forward to hearing what everyone comes up with this time around.

livestream your daw

After a little fiddling, I managed get my recording session to stream live on Ustream tonight.

There were no issues with the video, but my ASIO audio wasn't getting along with OBS. The solution was to download the Voxengo Recorder VST plugin (direct link) and add it to the master fx chain on my DAW. I use Reaper, but it shouldn't matter as long as you have a master fx. Add it last in the chain.

In the plugin, set the MME Device to your regular non ASIO audio source and the Output To setting to MME, then click start.

Then, if you're using OBS, go to Settings/Audio and set Desktop Audio Device to the same source as you set the MME Device to in Voxengo. If you're using other broadcasting software, just find the audio settings and you should be able to select the relevant device just the same.

Now your ASIO audio from your DAW is being pumped out of your regular audio source into OBS and can be streamed to the world. Have fun.


I'm planning on using this blog as a casual dumping ground for stuff

For your music fix, head over to my main page, http://www.makeitathing.co.uk