Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Weird Dream & Mix CD Workshop & Embarrasment

Weird Dream

Last night I had a strange dream for two reasons. The first reason for its strangeness is that it did not evaporate as soon as I woke up, and the second is because this dream struck me as being strangely accurate in terms of relationships with real people.

Most of my dreams (what I remember of them) do not involve people I know, and when they do, it is usually simply a face randomly selected and placed into a character in my dream with no correlation to who they are in my waking life. Most of my dreams are rather fanciful, actually, almost never being connected to anything outside of itself.

Last night, though, I had a strange dream in which I saw my life as it might have been had I trravelled down another path - a path I was diverted from by another person, but one that was very real to me at one point in my life. This road was and remains an impossible one, but it was interesting to see where things might have gone.

As I said, my relationships with the people featured in the dream were clearly very much like what they would be had I walked that path (with one major exception, but that was where the divergence from my life was), and how the events of that alternate timeline impacted how they and I dealt with each other rang very true.

All that said, the locations were totally unlike anywhere I'd ever been. There was some really cool architecture, though, in particular a glass obelisk-shaped building that one day may show up in a film I make.

The music, as one might guess from recent journal posts, was by Thomas Newman. No surprises there. I wonder if he could sue me for that?

Dreamy Tunes

Yes, my dreams are scored. I don't know how common this is, but there is usually a dramatic orchestral musical presence in my dreams, usually a mishmash of familiar film scores - although I do keep it consistent to a certain extent. A single composer for a single dream. John Barry shows up a lot more often than I would expect, which is pretty cool because it sometimes slips into his jazzier style (no, I do not usually have sexual dreams, so take that Body Heat joke I just know you were thinking and shove it up your left nostril - although my favorite cue from that score, "Kill for Pussy," will often appear during a suspenseful moment in the dream).

Unless my dreams are doing a serious Dogma '95 thing, I have music to score it. Every once and a while, however, I do have a dream that looks like it was shot cinema verite style in grainy 16 millimeter black-and-white. Those dreams don't have anything but source music (i.e. music with a narrative impetus).

An orchestral score may also not appear if the dream is set somewhere that precludes it, such as a rock concert or a jazz bar.

Mix CD Workshop

My mixes are, obviously, a source of pride for me. In addition to careful selection and ordering, I will also tweak the sound of a particular track to make it more consistent with the other tracks on an album. I also might edit the track to eliminate parts that don't fit the overall flow of the CD. I also attempt, as best as possible, to make the music flow from one track to the next. Often, especially with film music, this involves crossfades.

In order to keep the album a consistent listen, it is neccesary to come up with a play list that will remain engaging for the length of the CD. I try to come up with a theme and find music that relates to it. This can be internal (the lyrics or the nature of the music itself), or external (the tracks, in a particular order, tell a story or offer some sort of musical journey). In compiling a disc, I like to give it a certain symmetry. A track will not only relate to the ones before and after it, but to the record as a whole. Often I will have a song at one point in the CD have a counterpart later on.

I also tend to think of my mixes as having a side one and a side two. Albums produced before the CD explosion often have a very strong middle. This is because they were designed to be split in half. As a result, they would need to close side one with a song that would induce the listener to proceed to side two, and open side two with a song that was worthy of that honor. Even if there is no audible break, I try to have a mini-climax towards the middle of each CD to sustain interest.

I also try to avoid in various artist mixes having two tracks by the same artist together unless I have an artistic reason for doing so. When compiling mixes of a particular artist's work, I try to keep track sources away from each other. The only exception to this is if I am working in a suite format, which usually only applicable to film music mixes.

In order to avoid loss of quality or artifacting, I perform any complex editing in wav format. I try to avoid compression as much as possible*.

I use Nero Burning Rom and perform any neccesary work there. I then take the preliminary mix and burn a CD image, which I then mount onto a virtual drive. This permits me to play the mix as though it were a CD. I decide then if I want to make any changes, and work on what type of transitions would be most appropriate for each track.

I then burn an image of the resulting rough draft, mount it and once again fiddle with it. I repeat this process until I get it just right. Once I am satisfied, I then burn the CD.

As one can easily tell from many of the tracklistings I post here, I often overburn CDs. I do not do this just for the hell of it, but rather the extra time offered by overburning gives me more leeway in compiling my mixes that I will take advantage of if neccesary.

This can be time-consuming, but I believe that it is worthwhile for a good album. CDs produced using this method have a professional sound that I am very proud of. Combine that with attractive and/or appropriate album artwork and the package is complete.

The album artwork must also relate, somehow, to the program material, whether literally (Bond Beauties uses images by Maurice Binder, who designed the title sequences for the James Bond films) or allegorically (the eclectic In My Life was adorned with M.C. Escher prints in order to reflect the central message of the album, that life is what you make of it).

I enjoy making mixes, and people tell me they like listening to them. I even won Led Zeppelin mix CD contest with this disc, so I can actually say that I have award-winning CDs (insert self-satisfied smirk here).

* This is actually a bone of contention between myself and some of my friends. They insist that one can't tell the difference. I disagree, and my reason is simple - I can hear the difference. I am not a total snob; I use VBR mp3s for portable music, but I don't usually download because most of the time mp3s submitted for filesharing are encoded at 128 or 192 kbps. That's not enough for me.


I brought my car in to have the brakes looked at because of how horrible they sounded and felt. I got a call from Saturn informing me that they checked them there was nothing wrong with the brakes. They halved the diagnostic fee for me, which was bloody nice of them, and I paid and picked up the car.

Well, I don't know why they wouldn't admit to having done anything, but the brakes are in much better condition than they were this morning. For one thing, they are a lot quieter, not making that horrid rubbing noise that they were before. For another, they are a lot tighter and smoother than they have been in months. They must have done something, and despite their insistence they did not. Since it worked out in my favor, I've decided not to make too much noise about it.

Dressed Down

A friend of mine sent me an e-mail today berating me for some actions I had taken a bit of time ago. I was angry at first, but couldn't really deny that what they had said was absolutely true. I had behaved abominably, and I am really ashamed of what I had done. I don't really have an excuse for it, and so I had no choice but to send them a reply admitting to how stupid I had acted.

I am only human, and I do make mistakes. Sometimes I make big ones. All I can do now is acknowledge how dumb it was and move on.

The friend in question was quite pointed in their opinion. This is good. I want people to be honest to me, even when I would rather not hear what they have to say.
Tags: mix workshop
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