By Dave on Saturday, April 12th 2008 9:30 am
Just finished re-skinning the website. Still many things to tweak but all should be functional now. More later...
[Update] A bit about the new design. First of all the color pallet for this design, like the previous version, is from the painting "smoke and lipstick" at kolur.com. Kolur is a terrific site and has a dozen or two pallets to choose from each one based on a piece of artwork. Personally I find picking a simple pallet and sticking to it (no matter the temptation to add yet another accent color) keeps my designs reasonably cohesive. I'm the same way about fonts as well. One or two is all I usually use.
The banner image at the top of the site was created taking 'Violin and Guitar' by Pablo Picasso and running it through a texture/background technique I read about years ago. I used the same technique to do the banner at Progressive Soundscapes, but in that case it was with a photo of fallen leaves. With the Progressive Soundscapes image the original image was much harder to recognize than it is here.
And as a launching point for this design I used the EvoCamp skin. In most ways it doesn't really bear any resemblance to the original but a lot of the code came from there.
Well that wasn't very much fun
By Dave on Monday, April 7th 2008 3:13 am
Spent the entire afternoon, evening, and well this morning now upgrading to the latest version of b2Evolution. b2Evolution is the open source content management system that "powers" this site.
I miss the old days where we hand coded everything.
Mind you there is no shortage of coding involved in a system like this - it is just that you have to hunt down where it is you want your code to go. In my case here there were a lot of modifications I made to the system to get it to work the way I wanted. Once I upgraded the new system there were about 15 fatal errors to resolve and a number of nasty things to clean up. And after all that - the site looks pretty much identical to what it looked like when I started. Well, I do have some new smiles I suppose.
Actually the administrative end of the site did get a nice upgrade... its just you can't see that part.
By Dave on Saturday, April 5th 2008 1:42 am
If I can leave well enough alone the new piece of music is now complete. I was hung up on the introduction for at least a couple of weeks. After several rewrites I finally came to my senses and shortened and simplified the opening to a solo piano that introduces a couple of reoccurring themes.
I've settled on the working title "Counting Stars". The piece is about 26 minutes in length, includes vocals, and as I've written before I'd like to release it as an EP in late spring/early summer. The song is a lot more piano oriented than Abstract Expression - In fact most of the first 6 minutes or so has very little guitar.
The one snag is that I discovered the poems that the lyrics are adapted from are not, as I originally thought, in the public domain. So I'm going to need to get permission from the publisher. What I've read on the subject makes it sound like it is a fairly straight forward procedure but who knows when it comes to intellectual property issues.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll get that process rolling and get drum tracking underway.
Check back soon for some samples of the new piece.
By Dave on Sunday, March 9th 2008 9:15 am
I spent last weekend working on some upgrades to the studio. The final pieces shipped late this week.
In the audio department:
- Replaced Paradigm speakers with Dynaudio BM 5A studio monitors
- Replaced cheap mixer with a Presonus Central Station
- A new Echo Layla 3g to replace the aging Midi-man Delta 66 audio card
- M-Audio Oxygen 61 replaced my broken Alesis QS-6 keyboard
- Put up bass traps in the corners of the room
- Misc Computer upgrades: more ram, more drive space
And in the cosmetic department:
- Swanky new area rug
- Replaced tarnished brass "eyeball style" recessed lighting with cool (and more energy efficient) brushed aluminum halogen models
- Rearranged some furniture, artwork, etc.
- Dusting, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, etc...
Several pictures of the new and improved Electrum Studios North can be found here.
You're in my light
By Dave on Thursday, February 21st 2008 1:25 am
The Lunar Eclipse tonight was the last one we will see till 2010. I tried to take some long exposure shots of it but only this one came out at all well. The clouds rolled in not long after I got out there, which made for a nice effect in this photo but soon eclipsed the eclipse.
Made some progress over the long weekend on the new piece of music. Guess I'd better start thinking about a title for the thing and some sort of concept for the artwork.
Stephanie Sollow: AE is "a fabulous CD"
By Dave on Wednesday, February 6th 2008 9:49 pm
Abstract Expression earns a 5 star review a ProgressiveWorld.net
This is a fabulous CD that features guitar but doesn't overstate its presence. These are fully-fleshed compositions that demonstrate a breadth of styles that flow quite naturally.
Read the whole review here.
In other news I did a little upgrade surgery on my Recording PC which should buy me another year or so before it has to be replaced. A good deal for less than 100 dollars. The really strange part is that it all went very smoothly. I'm also pondering a few other studio upgrades, I think a pair of decent studio monitors are in my future.
Composition goes well on my new piece of music. Right now I'm smoothing out the arrangement on the first 4 major chunks and I have to finish writing a final section. Should get into the tracking process on this by the end of the month. My plan is to again work with Frank Basile to track the drums and I may have found a singer to take care of the brief but important vocal sections as well. With any luck I'll have an EP ready to ship out in May or June.