buried in the mix

lansdowne01-05-2005after stepping away from the sleep-ins project for several weeks’ time, i’ve finally gotten a chance this weekend to get back to mixing. now, it seems like it should be easy, mixing. but it’s not — although i must admit the difficulty is inherently ego-driven. there is some truth to the notion that i might be more perfectionist about my own projects. that isn’t to say i just phone it in when i’m mixing someone else; on the contrary, i suspect that what i need is what others seek when they ask me to mix for them: a different perspective. i might mix a better record for someone else precisely because i won’t get caught up on the minor issues i do when it’s my own music i’m critiquing.

those minor issues become major hang-ups when it’s your baby.

are the vocals too loud/not loud enough/in pitch/lacking proper inflection? is that guitar part interesting enough? why doesn’t the bass have the growl i want? are the drums too sibilant? why isn’t everything perfect?

catnfid12alas, the many distracting sideways journeys that detour the progress of the album’s completion. years have passed while i’ve wracked my brain and tortured my ears with hundreds, even thousands, of repeated listens to music that needs finishing. only recently have i begun to just declare warts and all an acceptable product, because i just don’t have enough time on my hands anymore…and the thought of dying having done a lot with little to show for it is not a very welcome one.

so on that, uh, note – a bit of the awesome happened this weekend. while i didn’t finish the album (that’d be the sleep-ins, songs about girls and outer space), the final track count looks to be 8 songs and here’s how it looks (listen to most of these at ingot rock):

  1. silver state – is finished(?) although i might still have to dial back the ‘shimmer’ on the drums.
  2. chrome skull cap & matching codpiece – also finished(?), not sure about one vocal trick in there
  3. angelina – is finished!
  4. running out here – might be finished as of last night…
  5. tonya, extraplanetary spaceship girl – thought i had the magic but another listen says otherwise; vocals just too rough.
  6. astro-not – could be finished; this one got a cool treatment a la the warriors.
  7. desert song – is done.
  8. bug on my face – stef came up with what he calls a final mix, but man, those vocals…

not exactly a magnum opus, but a nice project nonetheless. there might be exactly zero people waiting for me to finish this, incidentally. ok, that’s not true. there must be at least 3 australians. and a couple of english gits. but no americans. maybe i should rename it ‘death panels’…


Voluntary Segregation

Segregation has been the cause of a lot of civil unrest in this country. So it should be no surprise that it could cause more. What is surprising is that this time it’s basically segregation by choice; this is a group of people convinced that they are being dangerously repressed, though they are not. And a large part of the convincing would have been achieved by a systematic campaign by conservative media outlets to pound the meta message that the plurality of America, the “Real Americans” – the white, Christian, rural, small town and suburban-dwelling caricatures of what America really looks like on TV™ – are under attack by an unholy, America-hating hydra whose heads are, to name a few: illegals, gays, the government, abortionists, Muslims, socialists (or fascists, because apparently there is no need for a distinction in the realm of irrational ad hominimism). And now, though not for the first time of course, another head of the hydra is the President.

“As far as I am concerned, this is not civics education — it gives the appearance of creating a cult of personality,” said Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Steve Russell. “This is something you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

It appears that the far right have officially decided to voluntarily segregate themselves from the rest of the country. This is an ideological manifestation that is causing a segment of our populace to distrust anyone who doesn’t look like them. It can be as benign as a steadfast, damn-the-facts, science-denying, government is bad, give or take a dash of “values voter” indignance. Or it can be a more threatening version: Armed to the teeth, sometimes fundamentalist but definitely militarist, waiting for the day the government comes and tries to take their weapons; convinced that day is soon.

Either way, these are “voters subject to non-rational persuasion.” And they have their own media to do the persuading. And the traditional media aren’t helping, either. This isn’t a problem that will fade away quickly or easily, and the signs that we have crossed a threshold are evident: People showing up to presidential events openly carrying weapons; fistfights and other outright violence regularly breaking out at congressional town hall meetings; a dauntingly steady stream of right wing domestic terrorism; and most importantly, the simultaneously indifferent and sensationalist coverage of it all by almost every facet of the traditional media. Read this AP article. notice the tone – just a regular news story about normal, concerned Americans who think the president is trying to brainwash their children. With one speech. Because now even listening once to someone with whom you don’t agree could cause permanent brain damage. Think of the children! You see how America really is? This is just normal! It’s normal for a state senator to accuse the president of the kind of despotism “you’d expect to see in North Korea or in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” without the news outlet attempting to put that into perspective.

It’s normal for people to hide behind a wall of ignorance and spew falsehoods for the press to blithely repeat to the public as if it’s fact. It appears that the voluntary segregators are an integral part of the grand traditional media created reality show that is America™. Sure, there will be some yelling, maybe a little violence – it’s great for ratings. But this pot probably can’t take too much more stirring until it boils over, and that’s when things truly, and disturbingly, get real.