2021 week three

blog, weeknotes

Another week done. I can quickly see how these weeknotes, like these weeks, can disappear and blur together. But I continue to want to try and demark the weeks in some way.

Part of this is inspired by the meme I’ve seen a couple of times recently which describes weekends for WFHers as merely “a longer lunch break” which, well, yeah. It’s a pretty apt description. But to shift that from being a pessimistic take, I just need to remind myself that the weekends currently involve a much better version of my lunch breaks, e.g. longer walks/runs, more elaborate food, and films in place of YouTube videos. Just… more and better. And that’s fine. Not even thisisfine.jpeg, but fine. Actually fine.

Lots of play buttons in this week’s post.


This week I added a couple of bits to /audio – one new musical composition entitled Everything’s Electronic which I built in Garageband, using some snippets of ham radio chatter from a web SDR.

 

That was a really fun session and scratched a good itch. My ageing iPad Mini 2 still runs Garageband surprisingly well. It stops to ‘optimize playback’ occasionally, but I have so far experienced zero crashes or any real slowdown. I had one slight data loss issue towards the end of this session where it had seemingly not autosaved correctly, or not uploaded the right version, so I lost about fifteen minutes of work. Fortunately by that stage I was finished and so that meant just some automation/panning and some mastering, rather than anything creative or new. It didn’t take long to rebuild what I’d lost, but it did scare me a little.

Once I was done it felt like a neat little thing that hadn’t existed a few hours earlier, and that came with the inevitable serotonin boost. Silly stuff, but it’s something I know I’ll be doing again soon.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I have had – at the very least – the urge to mix audio in this way ever since we added a sound card to our PC when I was about 10-11 years old. Around that time, Chris Moyles hosted a late-night weekend show on Capital FM and I distinctly remember he occasionally played mixes where he had cut and pasted audio clips together over a beat – including a Wallace and Grommit composition that riffed on the ‘cracking cheese, Grommit’ line.

Once I had a sound card at my disposal, and this concept of cutting together audio, the next obvious step for me was taping (I mean actually tape recording) some snippets from Wallace and Grommit directly from my TV’s speakers. I don’t even think it was a line feed, but rather straight from the speakers into the tape recorder’s microphone. Likewise, I don’t know if this then went by direct line into the sound card or, again, tape recorder speakers into a PC mic? But somehow I loaded some audio into my PC and ended up cutting together loops of Wallace and Grommit soundbites. I don’t think it had a beat or anything: it was merely the novelty of being able to manipulate the sound in this way, looping it to become a beat of sorts.

Anyway, this desire to create almost percussive, rhythmic loops of audio has clearly stayed with me 25 years later as I still feel compelled to make the same silly compositions.

The other recording I added is more natural: just ten minutes of field recordings taken on a walk to and around Paddington Cemetery yesterday in the snow, at a time when there was still some crunchy snow on the ground, but the trees were beginning to drip and the birds were being extra chatty.

 


This week also saw Joe Biden inaugurated, which was nice. The ceremony felt like quite a normal and generally positive thing to sit on my bum and watch, and for that reason it felt distinctly of another time (despite the wearing of masks and so on – though Barack Obama fist-bumps could fit comfortably into any timeline).

Other things that happened this week which felt otherly and normal include: the snow. I’ve already heard this hailed as being A Good Thing simply because it is A Different Type of Thing. And for that we can rejoice. Usual caveats about me being a soft southerner and our London snow being shortlived and a pleasant distraction from the great ennui; I realise that the recent weather has been absolute dogshit for much of the country.

M and I played some board games yesterday evening. Ticket to Ride Nordic Edition which we got form Christmas and is helping me learn Scandinavian place names, Monopoly Deal (a card game variant which we only just sussed out), and Scrabble, which I haven’t played in years. These were played while some nice music was playing and some chocolates were scoffed. Two or three hours later we realised we had thought only of the games, music or chocolates that whole time, and had not been disturbed by thoughts of all that stuff and so we should probably make a habit of this.

This week also saw the return of the robin (or just, like, a robin) to the outdoor space. The robin loves meal worms and it has been especially cold and harsh lately, so it’s pleasing to think it is enjoying the food I leave out for it. I’ve missed it.


My music recommendation this week is the band SAD HALEN who reeled me in purely by having a great band name, and who turn out to make great 90s-inspired guitar songs that make me think of Dinosaur Jr and The Beths and other people. The songs are nicely produced as well. Here’s an example track in case that sounds like your cup of tea: