Robyn Covers Syd

Robyn Hitchcock plays The Drake this weekend. Last night he covered Syd Barrett’s Terrapin. His Fylde has never sounded better.

Robyn Hitchcock - Terrapin

The Drones of Scarborough Superstore

I’ve mentioned the beautiful drone in the Loblaw Superstore before, but only last night did I actually get around to recording it:

  1. meats, fish – 2009/10/24 19:24:36
  2. chill – 2009/10/24 19:34:38
  3. ice cream – 2009/10/24 19:36:56
  4. organic dairy – 2009/10/24 19:40:52
  5. frozen veg – 2009/10/24 19:45:38
  6. ice cream 2 – 2009/10/24 19:52:04

You should probably listen through headphones or decent speakers – there’s some bass in there. If you can, try to experience it for yourself. The store is at 1775 Brimley Road, just south of the 401.

renaming files to include datestamp

My Marantz PMD-620 has a reliable internal clock, and stamps the files with the time that recording stopped. File times are remarkably fragile, so I wanted to make sure that the times were preserved in the file name. Perl’s rename utility does this rather well, as it allows you to use arbitrary code in a rename operation. So:

rename -n 'use POSIX qw(strftime); my $mtime=(stat($_))[9]; s/.WAV$//; $_ .= strftime("-%Y%m%d%H%M%S",localtime($mtime)); s/$/.WAV/;' *.WAV

which, for files 1007.WAV and 1008.WAV recorded last night, results in:

1007.WAV renamed as 1007-20091024192436.WAV
1008.WAV renamed as 1008-20091024193438.WAV

To actually rename the files, remove the -n from the command line. I left it in so you couldn’t blame me for b0rking up your files if you typed first, thought later.

There are probably smarter ways to handle the file extension. This works for me. Perfection comes later.

i was the sound man (kinda)

I went to hear Chris Coole yesterday at The Local, and got pressed into the not-very-arduous duty of looking after the levels. With only voice and instrument, it’s not that hard, and I only once managed to produce an ear-splitting blast of feedback. There was a slight ring if Chris leaned forward and his guitar started to feed back a couple of times.

I also ran my first soundboard-audience matrix recording rig, with the PMD620 recording off the board, and my old minidisc recording from my table. The Local’s not short of ambient noise, so it’s nice to control it. The board gives a clean but rather dead mono recording, while the audience mics pick up lots of colour (and dropped plates, door chimes, …)

I haven’t put the full matrix together yet, but tried it on one excerpted song. Once you know what you’re doing, aligning tracks in Audacity is pretty simple – just find a clear note or beat in each track, get the tracks roughly aligned with the Time Shift tool, then zoom in as close as you can to refine the match. I suppose I should have delayed the audience track by about 0.01s to mimic the distance from the stage, but that’s a bit nerdy. Limiting the audience to 25% of the final mix, I get a great warm sound, but one that’s unfortunately almost entirely monaural.