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An RPM-Challenge Challenge

It’s almost February, and that means that it is time for all musicians to consider the RPM Challenge. The goal is to take the month of February to record an album of 10 songs or 35 minutes of previously unreleased music. (See the full details of the challenge here.)

 

I took the challenge last year and somehow wrote and recorded Thoughts That Move in one month. (With the mixing help of mr mark dollin) If you missed it, I blogged the whole process, which you can read starting at the bottom of the page here and working back through feb.

 

I’ve been asked by many people (including my wife and even myself) whether I’d be doing it again this year. As tempting as it is, I’ve decided to keep my focus on the animations that I’ve been working on and keep that ball rolling. I am challenging myself to make some progress on my clip during February.

 

the challenge
But I’m putting out the challenge for all other musicians to sign-up at rpmchallenge.com, and then leave a comment here. I’d love to see how other people go with it and hear your progress. It might feel like it’s last minute, but I signed up on the 28th of January last year. Just commit to it and see how far you get. If nothing else, you might crank out a couple interesting new tunes or make you rethink how you write to get it done.

 

Starting sunday at midnight.. you can doo eet!

My Album is so close. Stuff and things.

Tonight a sense of accomplishment fills my mind as I compressed the last of the .xrns (renoise) files. The whole entire album will only be 26megs as .xrns and it was no thanks to a little compression program called XRNIRipper and it compresses the samples in the renoise files to .ogg.
 

In the meantime, I heard the hunz.rpmchallenge.com link went dead SO, until the album becomes down loadable I’ll steam it on my hunz.bandcamp.com site instead. Check it out :D
 

Also want to point you to an artist called Matt Limmer . He contacted me out of the blue to do some poster art. So I threw him 22nd of May @ The Globe gig. Really happy with the poster he did up. His design work is so endearing and fresh. Thank you Matt, really appreciate it!
 

Hunz 22may @ The Globe - Poster art by Matt Limmer

#Rpm MixingMastering Day28 Switch Off Song4 v4

This song is the mastered version with the ending that people haven’t heard yet. I kept this song exactly the same as the original sketch added some air movement to the toms as they progressed almost turning into snares. Also some kick undertones later on. I didn’t even redo vocal takes as I thought I didn’t want to loose what I created in that night so I left it all as is and just created some swells and an ending with an ultimatum “Yes or No you’ve got nothing left, you’ve got nothing but these two”. This song does have lyrics but I’m going to leave the rest of it up to you.

 

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Switch Off [Song4 Version4]
Mixing Comments [Mr Mark Dollin] Day26

  • What a lovely song to finish up the mixing on :) Loving the minimal drum and the spense of space in this one. Listening over a few times….
  • First getting the bass tones right.
  • Now the tom and kick. The drum kit verb is a bit static sounding so I’m making a seperate send for it and putting a phaser before it to liquify things. Tweaking EQs on drums. Checking percussion against the bass: some fine adjustments.
  • EQing all the other melodic instruments. Glitched Piano, Synth 01 and Strings: all with less bass and surgury in the mids. Reversing the pans of the echo send. Panning Synth 01 a fair way left.
  • Now all instruments together adjusting balances. Now with drums. Sounding good.
  • Cleaning samples! Now sending all the vocals to a group send. Adding EQ and a Filter. Addressing bass in the backing vocals. Lowering gate thresholds.
  • Now adding in all the other sounds to the vocals. Fine adjusting some volumes to get it all balanced. Turned the chorus echo into a filtered dubby echo. Panning the harmony vocal a little right.
  • Run out of time, so time for an ear break.
  • Last session with fresh ears. A few more tweaks on vocal settings.
  • Heaphone check: More minor tweaks.
  • Big speakers check: All good! Some minor weirdnesses with the low low subs that might be due to room variables, but I’m happy enough with how low it’s sitting. Time to save and send.
  • RPM mixing done! Go Hunz!

#Rpm MixingMastering Day28 You Said Hello Song8 v7

This song is the mastered version. I never posted marks mix for it so I thought I would post both for you enjoyment. There are no mastering notes for this song, I started on the 1st few and then stopped. I nearly fell asleep due to bouncing down till 2am and Matt’s room is so softly lit it makes you sleepy.

 

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You Said Hello [Song8 Version7]
Mixing Comments [Mr Mark Dollin] Day25

  • Ah! Now we get nasty Hunz. The lofi gore has arrived ;) Listening through a few times.
  • Starting out with all the drum elements and getting the tone right. Also changing some dynamics settings so things aren’t as snappy. Sending everthing to a group channel to lift and control the tone even more. Ok supper happy with the results.
  • Now to the instruments. Starting with the bass. Tone is now better. Onto the higher synths, making the lofi sound smoother. Ok, all the melodic elements together to check for balance. Tweaking little things to jostle it togther.
  • Now adding the drums. Squeezing the lead guitar compressor harder. Minor tweaks. Happy enough for now.
  • Onto the vocals. Cleaning first! Editing the vocal acapella and sent to a group. Wow some wickid distortion here! Global tone shaped. Now for channel edits: knocking out bass that isn’t needed.
  • Now adding all the other sounds. Food time, so time for an ear break.
  • Back into it with fresh ears. Slight adjustment on the bass. Fine tuning the lofi synth.
  • Onto headphones. Little out of the bass mids. Adding some clean dry sound to the lofi synth.
  • Checking on the big speakers. Perfect! Ok time to save and send!
  •  

The song list order, final names and album title #rpm

So I’ve tagged all the songs now with the official names. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I feel like we have some solid names going on.

 

Hunz – Thoughts that Move

 

01 – It’s so Light [Rpm Song02]

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02 – Soon, Soon [Rpm Song03]

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03 – Car in the Meadow [Rpm Song07]

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04 – The Messenger [Rpm Song09]

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05 – Enough to Make You Smile [Rpm Song10]

 

06 – Long Road [Rpm Song01]

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07 – You Said Hello [Rpm Song08]

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08 – In Tomorrow [Rpm Song06]

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09 – Switch Off [Rpm Song04]

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10 – The Commotion [Rpm Song05]

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Mastering this thing all day tomorrow. Will express my thoughts about that through the day.

#Rpm is complete!!! (Artwork + Mastering is left)

So I put the final stamp on song4 tonight and left it as is. I fell in love with the way it was and didn’t want to change it. I’ll wait till tomorrow to post it as Mark will be working on the mix. This isn’t a time yet to reflect, as I’m going over the artwork tomorrow with Phil (the bass player) and using photos that my wife took when we visited Albany in Western Australia. I’ll announce what the album is going to be called with song names and an order, which my mate Brendan is going to help me out with. I love my friends, and I am learning to let go, and I am excited about what that might mean for me (hunz) this year.

 

On Saturday I will be mastering the album at Mathew Gray Mastering, and then it’ll be sent off to #Rpm and then posted on the internet (.mp3) shortly after with the original Renoise files to follow in the next weeks. Each .xrns file is around 20-30megs on average. Anyone feel like doing mirror to help with server load? Drop me an email.

 

I’ve kept 1 song secret from everyone, so there is a surprise on the album too. Take a look around the site to see what madness spewed forth from February. Thank you dearly esp to my wife, Danielle, who sacrificed so much. I love you.

#Rpm Mixing Day24 Song7 v4

 

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Song7 Version4
Mixing Comments [Mr Mark Dollin]

  • Wow this is a dramatic one :) Nice change without the drums. Listening a few time through. Same mix method with all the other tracks, minus the drums.
  • Got the two bass parts to mesh and sit right… some evil fuzz here.
  • Shaping the tone of all the higher instruments.
  • Now all the instruments together to adjust balances. Bringing up the guitars a bit.
  • Cleaning all the samples!
  • Now for the vox, acapella and sent to a group. EQ to get the tone right. Making the chorus delay a bit longer. Mmmm some low Hunz voice is nice in the chorus.
  • Adding in the other sounds to join the vocals. Making sure the epic chorus retains punch and intensity.
  • Real emotional intensity in this song, quite enjoying it. Taking me to a similar place as Kate Bush’s ‘Under Ice’ does.
  • Everything is feeling right, so time for a headphone check. Micro adjustment on the low voice in the chorus. Adding another reverse pan delay to the chorus distortion to get it bigger.
  • Now onto the big speakers: All good. Time for an ear break.
  • Fresh ears! Just a tiny edit on the vocal top end. Checking over. OK, all done!

#Rpm Mixing Day24 Song3 v4

 

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Song3 Version4
Mixing Comments [Mr Mark Dollin]

  • I think I found my new favourite RPM song! What bliss and pain all rolled together! Listening through a few times to get a sense of all the bits. I’ll be approaching the mix using the same method as all the previous mixes. Low, to high, to vocals, to the whole mix. Oddies follow:
  • Fixing some buggy clicks in the kick drum – still gritty but not so clicky.
  • Lifiting the tone of all the drums, time for some punch!
  • Now to the synths, fixing spatialities and tones to make sure there’s nothing left but detailed high magic.
  • Bass is dissappearing into the kick in places so I’m adding a wide chorus to let it speak it more above the kick.
  • Now to sample cleaning! Clean clean clean…
  • Sending all the vocals to a group to get a nice shape to the sound. Adjusting the tone of each vocal sound to get it all interlock.
  • Now adding everything back with the vocals. Making more tweaks to vocal placements to emphasise the drama of the parts.
  • Putting a lengthend fade at the end.
  • Checking on headphones. Fine adjustments here and there.
  • It’s getting late so it would be wise to have a final check with fresh ears early tomorrow.
  • Earling morning session. Fixing some more vocal settings, getting everything flowing and balanced.
  • Time to check on the big speakers loud! More fine adjusting on vocals.
  • Back to the main speakers for one last check. Ok done!

#Rpm Mixing Day21 Song9 v2

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Song9 Version2
Mixing Comments [Mr Mark Dollin]

  • Go the 80s toms!! Taking the very same approach with the other songs to mix this. Addressing the EQ/tone/mix of the parts in order: low end- kick, bass; then the drums; then the melodic instruments; then the vocal; then all together. Perculiarites as follows:
  • Smoothing out the micro-harshnesses in the drum parts, making sure they present nice and birghtly without being to intense.
  • Making sure all the keyboard sounds don’t sit too low in tone, lifting things up with EQ. Adding subtle echo here and there to fill things out. Fine tuning the counter balance of all the musical elements with volume changes here and there.
  • Cleaning up the vocal and keyboard samples for little clicks etc…
  • Now for Hunz’s angelic vocals acapella. Doing as before sending all vocals into a group to get the overall tone right.
  • Adding all the other elements to join the vocals. Really enjoying the second verse! There’s some nice attitude there… Fine tuning volumes to get everything to gel.
  • Checking the mix on other playback systems. Headphones. Then on the big speakers in the other room. Things are sitting well so it may be time to rest the mix and check it again later.
  • A new session with fresh ears. Bringing the bass subs a touch. Tiny adjustment on the chorus synth delay. Bringing down the bridge synth a touch.
  • All done! Time to upload for Hunz.

#Rpm Day24 Song8 v6

Completed Song 7 this morning and then completed 8 this afternoon and about to–trumpet sound please–finish up the last song. Really enjoyed working on this song, AND I just noticed the guitar parts I had done by a friend in Nashville are too loud in the mix which I’ll fix later. Big thanks go to everyone leaving constructive comments. I get so caught up in everything that I forget to get a new perspective on the songs. Both Roma Loom and Nicheno have suggested and said things that have really rung true with me and changed the flow of this song and the the other 2 I was working on. So thank you! If you have ideas you wish to add, it’s getting too tight to change things up, hope you enjoy it, I certainly have even though I’m whiny to my wife a lot .. :P

 

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Hunz Song8 Version6

 

[Verse]
I’m holding up this stop
This bus will come undone
All eyes are looking forward
it’s time to end this run

 

[Chorus]
And I know, what you do to me
you said hello and I followed you
my friends they just cautioned me
and I just followed

 

[Verse]
I want to go right there
but if we can’t lets fight
I’ll offer up my arms high
I’ll even say your right

 

[Chorus]
And I know, what you do to me
you said hello and I followed you
my friends they just cautioned me
and I just followed

 

  • Listening through. Song has all the parts, I just have to vocal it all now.
  • My cat just walked over to me, haha. I think he thinks I’m hurting, but I’m singing the chorus.
  • Hearing little background vocals in the chorus that are snappy and will lead into this bridge I have setup.
  • Putting strange distortion on verse vocals that is making it sound neat and placing building-up delays behind it to turn on and off with the beat.
  • Been having major Asio driver issues with my fireface400. It just starts stuttering within renoise and then stops working. Right now I didn’t save before reinitialize. Think I lost a chunk of work, just hoping vocals aren’t gone.
  • Ugh, resetting renoise T_T
  • Just lost all my 1st verse vocal automations. I save a lot when I make changes to songs so .. phew
  • Will continue to arrange this tune.
  • Lunch.
  • Completing out the arrangement going to keep this simple and clean. Created severe cut-off effect to accentuate the awesome mindblowing – ed. my wife is rewriting this :( groove.
  • Added Jesse Palmer’s Guitar parts. He’s a mate of mine in Nashville who I asked to write some parts for it .. THANK YOU!
  • created happy ending, why? Dunno, just felt like it could do it .. hehe
  • Wow, I think I mixed Jesse’s parts way too loud; I’ll fix that later .. eeep.

 

Wish me luck on the last tune people.