A New Hobbyhorse: The Clarinet

Blog-ites, welcome.

Hi there.

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For many years past, I have had an attraction towards wind instruments. As if by some psychomancy and gramarye, I have felt the music sprites calling to me, beckoning me into picking one of them up and giving them a try. However, I had never gotten around to it; it is as if I needed a catalyst to spark the reaction—and luckily for me, this happened last month.

I went to a friend’s house who had started playing the clarinet a few weeks prior. I was excited to get to hear a song, up-close and personal, to really see what it sounded like. I hadn’t heard one played on it’s own since high school. When I got to her house, I was able to sit down, and listen, without any distractions: love at first sound.

After the first song, I asked to have a go at it. I couldn’t even sit back and listen to more songs at that instant: I just wanted to take the clarinet and try it. I got to play—more like producing raucous squeaks—for a few minutes, and then I handed the clarinet back to my friend. I told her ”I wouldn’t be surprised if I bought a clarinet tomorrow”.

And can you guess what I did the next day?

Well, from the title of the post and your utmost enthusiasm, the answer seems quite obvious.

I wanted to give you a chance of guessing!

Why, thank you.

And so yes, the next day I posted on Facebook, saying I was looking for a wind instrument (clarinet, saxophone, etc.). My brother’s friend messaged me the same day, telling me he had a clarinet to sell. I responded an ecstatic yes, and he brought me the clarinet two days later.

He showed me some of the basics when he swung by to drop off the clarinet. Not long after, I dedicated a few 1-2 hour sessions to my new baby, practicing note fingering and learning to blow without squeaking to the best of my capabilities.

I wonder how your neighbors feel about your new baby.

So far, no complaints. Fingers crossed.

You’d better cross them good with all those squeaks you are talking about.

Moving on.

Since then, I have been playing 2-3 times a week, which I know is a pennyworth in the grand scheme of things, but every time I get it in my hands and start playing, time perception seems to warp and shift, as if those occult spirits and kobolds—whom I mentioned in the first paragraph—were thanking me for finally taking note of their plea.

I am happy to have bought a clarinet, and I’d like to learn to play properly before reaching senectitude. I already went to take one class two weeks ago to assure my embouchure and tonguing was alright.

And so to aid in that endeavor presently, I’m off to play a little bit after this post!

What is your favorite instrument? Have you ever tried it before?

Music-note: tuh-tuh-tuhhhh—squeeeak (what I will have a tendency to do for some time to come).

Have You Ever Recorded Sound Effects?

Greetings, Naylor blog-ites.

Greetings.

I spent the past weekend at a cottage, making the teaser trailer for Abyss Crew.

The goal for the weekend was the following:

  • Film the videos for the trailer—I was lending my awesome acting skills for this;
  • Sync up the video and audio recordings;
  • Do the montage for the trailer;
  • Record and edit the sounds for the trailer;
  • Put the created audio in sync with the different sections of the trailer.

Prior to going to the cottage—we went from Friday afternoon to Monday morning—, we planned two long hikes: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Turns out we only hiked on Saturday. It was a 4-5 hour hike, up Mont-Orford. We decided to skip on the Sunday hike; we had much more work to do than initially planned.

Cottage_2.jpgDamien, Pol, Fanny, and myself, in our ‘office’ – The Famous Abyss Crew Team

With regards to the trailer, here is what we did:

  • Friday late afternoon and evening: discussion about the script, the plans for the weekend, and the video recordings to be done.
  • Saturday: setup of the recording area, and recording of the video and audio for the trailer.
  • Sunday: recording of all the audio in the cottage to be used as sound effects—my favorite discovery of the weekend, hence the title of this post—, montage of the video, editing of the audio recordings, and adding the initial audio effects to the trailer.
  • Monday morning: syncing up the sound effects with the trailer, tweaking of final details and bugs, and final export of the video.

It was a weekend packed with learning, physical activity, laughs, long discussions, debates, early rises and late crashes, board games, and cooking. I’d do it again anytime!

What about the recording of the sound effects? This is a long prelude to your main topic.

Impatient, as always. I’m getting there.

Good.

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We recorded sounds in several areas of the house. Damien (black shirted stud in the picture) and Fanny (in the picture above) experimented for an hour or two, with pots, woks, water, knives, glasses, and anything you can think of.

Once they had finished, we all gathered in the bathroom for the recording session. We recorded water splashing in pots and pans, water falling gently and constantly into a pan filled with water, screeching of pan covers on the bath tub surface, hits and bangs on surfaces dulled with towels, and more.

After, we recorded the fridge hum, glasses hitting glasses, knuckle-flicks on the old-school television screen, knife hits, and more and more, and some more.

I have always wanted to live the experience of recording sound effects, and this was my first experience of this. I lavished in it, and hearing the final teaser trailer was thrilling, sending goose-flesh down my arms. I also managed to learn a good deal about Adobe Premiere, seeing as I was put in charge of doing the montage.

When the trailer is ready, I will write a short post sharing it.

Have you ever done sound effect recording? If so, what was the most innovative sound you recorded? If not, what would be the most innovative sound you would want to record?

Audio-note: hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Have You Ever Been To A Video Game Music Concert?

Yesterday, after having recorded my weekly podcast, my friend Francis and I were sitting down, chatting, and browsing the interweb—yes, that word exists!

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On my Facebook feed, Francis noticed an upcoming Ghibli show in Montreal. He screamed in excitement. I stared in confusion. I, for one, had no idea what Ghibli was. So I asked him. And he explained. Simple, right?

Now explain it to us.

My pleasure.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio. The performers in Montreal will be playing scores from Studio Ghibli, heard in movies such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke—movies which I have yet to see but have heard of on numerous occasions.

While scrolling through the OVMF website, I saw a concert titled “NES Concert”. This drew my attention right away. I clicked on the link, read the description, and my heart-race increased: there is an NES Concert this October, in Montreal. Scores will be performed from games such as Kirby, Final Fantasy, Super Mario, Metroid, and more.

I asked Francis if he wanted to go, and he said yes. We will be buying our tickets in the coming days hopefully.

I have heard of many people who went to video game concerts in the past, but I have never gone to one. I am very excited for this NES Concert. Being able to hear an orchestra perform hits from classic video games is sure to send shivers down my spine—all the way to my coccyx.

Have you ever been to a video game music concert?

Chant-note: DO not REply; it is MIne, this FAcetious SOng that LAnguishes the TIp of the human DOgma.

What Music Makes You Productive?

For as long as I can remember, music has been a ubiquitous part my studying—and life. I remember how at first I needed to swap CDs in and out of my Walkman [(knowledge insert: the first CD Walkman, or Discman, came out in 1984], essentially alternating between the handful of CDs I loved—oh the times spent listening to that Meteora CD by Linkin Park.

87584838.jpgBack then—I’m making myself sound slightly prehistoric, albeit this “era” of mine I’m referring to was roughly 10-15 years ago—no one had the luxury of choosing between millions of songs at any given place, at any given time.

Today, with the copious amounts of music applications, people have the possibility to virtually[insert reaction: Is that pun intended?] [Ominous response: yes, yes, yes!]— listen to anything they want. I find this amazing! It allows me to discover music easier and quicker than when I had to go to HMV, put on a set of headphones available on the second floor in the CD section, and sift through the different CDs that were on “audio display”. But to be honest, I enjoyed doing this quite a bit.

Moving on to the topic of this post: what type of music makes me productive.

I listen to a wide array of musical genres. My choice is often contingent on the task at hand. Over and above that, I tend to go through phases that last a few months at a time. However, I have a pith set of genres that I outrightly prefer—these are ranked in the order that they are coming to mind as I write this and not in order of preference:

Heavy Metal: I have loved heavy metal ever since I hit the double digits. My first concert was Linkin Park in 2003. Not really considered heavy metal, but they did have some relatively heavy songs on some of their first albums. Whenever I need to get into a mindset of “s**t needs to be done, right now”, I put on some In Flames and the ball gets rolling—and banging and screaming.

Classical: another genre that has withstood the test of time is classical music; my grand-father was a pianist, and as a result I heard him playing the piano quite often in my childhood. I listen to classical—my favorite is solo piano classical music—when I want to relax at night when I’m on my laptop or for the same reason I mentioned for heavy metal—although I choose classical when my ears request softer sound sources.

EDM—drum and bass; slow deep house: I started listening to electronic dance music (EDM) around 8-10 years ago. It is a genre for me that comes and goes with time, and thus my listening habits of EDM are paroxysmal. To name a few artists I appreciate: Camo & Krooked, Metrik, David August and all the latest Anjunadeep albums.

Pop-rock: my selection of artist in this genre are the ones who ressemble Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, or Drew Holcomb and The Neighboors. I went through a phase this past summer of about 6 months listening only to this genre, and it has slowly started to fade to give way to some drum and bass [loud sound insert: wanh wanh wanhhhh].

There are several other styles of music that I listen to, but these four represent the majority of the fodder for my ears.

What are your favourite genres for getting productive? Are they different from when you want to relax? Do you need non-vocal music if you need to be productive?

Side note: music with vocals are not detrimental to my productivity. Feeding music that elate my ears is all I need to put my instant gratification monkey back where he belongs—reference to this TED talk.