Jim Aikin's Oblong Blob

Random Rambling & Questionable Commentary

Something Old, Something New

Posted by midiguru on November 8, 2012

I’m not sure what crevice in my subconscious this idea popped out of. By the end of the last century I had long since stopped writing and recording songs with lyrics. My voice, never inspiring to begin with, had become hard to manage, and I had no illusions that I was destined to be any sort of pop star.

But somewhere around 1999, I wrote and recorded a song called “Have You Seen My Website?” It was inspired, at least in its approach to narrative, by Laurie Anderson. I liked the song, but I never cared for the recording. There was too much reverb on the vocal, and by the time I figured that out, the original files were long gone. All I had was the mp3 of the final mix.

I had it on my website for a while. The mp3 is still on the server, but I don’t think there’s a link to it on the current site. Strangely enough, though, somebody had a link to the old page that it was on. A few weeks ago I got an email from a musician in Germany asking if he could remix the tune. I said, “Sure, be my guest — but I don’t have the original tracks. Can you work with the mp3?”

Well, no, he couldn’t. That’s not how remixing works. A few months back, though, I had tried re-recording another piece (an instrumental) from scratch, and found it an amusing challenge. So just for fun, I sat down and re-recorded “Have You Seen My Website?” Made a few modest improvements, including a new verse. And thanks to modern computer-based recording, you can hardly tell how awful my singing is.

Here’s the new version, in all its alleged splendor:

If anybody else wants to remix it, just let me know. The a cappella is now available, as are MIDI files and assorted stems.

If you just want to listen, have fun trying to spot the obscure references in the lyrics. To get you started,there are three poets, three quotes from song lyrics, two movie stars (at the same time), a novel by Philip K. Dick, a couple of pop stars, and an episode of Red Dwarf.

Credit where due: The technology used (unless I’m forgetting something, which I probably am) started with Steinberg Cubase 6.5. The synth rack includes u-he Zebra 2, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, AAS Lounge Lizard 3, Rob Papen Predator, Native Instruments Battery 3 and B-IV, and Madrona Labs Aalto. The vocoder was supplied by Propellerhead Reason.

Want to compare it to the original version? Okay:

And by the way, it’s not true that my fans all carry switchblades. Rhyming a spondaic foot across three choruses (eyeshades, mermaids, switchblades) — well, try it sometime if you think it’s easy.

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