Thursday, February 28, 2013

The real story of recording 'She, transparent to the sun'

Ok. Truth is this 'little' 1:33min recording took most of the day. I hit Record and said the short poem a few times and nothing was recorded but a blank line. Plugging and unplugging things, resets and upsets, hours went by as I struggled with my system made of old and newer components. Checking and re-checking System Preferences, everything always looks fine, even the Mac's internal microphone worked, but not dear old GarageBand. In increasingly dire frustration I deleted it. Deleted it! And then the Apple App store wanted to charge me $14.99 to re-buy it! Snarl and growl. I went and found iLife '11, hoping it was the latest version, and anyway, if it isn't Apple is usually decent enough to update if you've bought the product in recent history. Being by now thoroughly versed in the checking and re-checking of everything multiple times, I did open the App store again, and finally, under Purchases, there was my Garage Band, uninstalled, ready to install. So I didn't have to re-install iLife.

Did the re-install work? No. GarageBand has become the most finicky mistress, or, in my case, master. It certainly recognized my mic, but allow recording to occur through it? Not on your iLife.

I think in the process of clicking anything and everything I clicked Input over to the internal mic and viola, recording real sound. Then I clicked it back to my mic. And it worked!

No idea if it ever will again, or if I have to jump through X number of hoops before the software responds correctly.

Ok. So we got recording. I recited my little poem. Almost too fatigued to care about the quality emotion wrapped up in the tremor of voice. Perhaps too shrill; perhaps not contained enough. I don't like my voice, but few of us do. It's too high. I try to remember to speak more deeply. And so on and so forth as I recorded the scant minute and a half a few times.

I did choose a recording that wasn't too bad but the weird thing is that the sound was a bit 'tinny.' I had recorded the piece I read on open mic last sunday at Nik Beat's HOWL at Q Space in preparation for my performance and the sound had been crystal clear and very life-like. Try as I might, with moving the mic from desk to lap, tilted up, and down, the 'tinny' sound remained.

So finally I plugged in another mic that, look we're talking low end stuff here, but there are subtleties, is not as good as the mic that had become 'tinny' for no good reason.

It was getting dark. I had to take the dogs out. I hadn't eaten, neither had they. And I kept at it, tenaciously.

Yes, as I said yesterday, while I'm not fully satisfied with the final recording, IT WILL DO (take that, GarageBand!). And yes I spent some time finding tracks on freesound.org and mixing and re-mixing them. By the time I'd saved a version and uploaded and shared to Facebook and posted on my blog, it was 9pm, and when I took the dogs out the slush that had fallen all day was becoming lethal slippery icy under foot and I didn't have my cleats on and so we gingerly walked around the block, not enough of a walk for any of us, but we all came home nearly an hour later soaking wet, and even this morning their leashes and harnesses and dog coats are still damp.

Here's the recording again.

You'll forgive me for posting it twice.


  direct link: She, transparent to the sun (the title is taken from the quote from Legends of the Bible by Louis Ginzberg on Noah's birth, but also describes the painting, which became an integral part of the meaning).

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 brendaclews.com