Some vocal edits, some tweaks, some mix balances, I don’t think I should call it a remix but a small re-work of my original song “Close Your Eyes” which features Fiona McErlane and Keith Caffrey on vocals.
I personally prefer this version. I intended on making the female vocals and drums clearer. I especially hope the listener is drawn to the delicate subtleties of Fiona’s voice.
It’s that busy time of the semester again! The time where time itself is running out and the assignments are piled high! Recording projects are wrapping up and are in the final mix stages, essays are full speed ahead and how I wish there were more hours in each day!
Tonight I finished tracking my Music Production Project for semester 4. I haven’t blogged about the production process like I did last semester, so apologies for that! This semester FLEW, I think the Erasmus trip to Norway accelerated that, where does time go when you’re having fun, eh?!
I have been working on one of my own songs for this semesters’ production project. It is a song I started working on over Christmas, inspired by Electronic/Dance music I had been listening to a lot (and still am- I’m also currently enjoying various Dubstep tracks while walking, the Sound City album while driving and Evanescence while running!). I have been writing New Age/Chilled Electronic for a few years now as I really have been enjoying creating music “in The Box”. Logic Pro 9 is my little getaway place!
While I was in Norway I continued working on the piece of music, structuring and shaping the sounds and taking deep inspiration from the emotions and experiences of the Erasmus Programme and the natural beauty of the cold, snowy, sunny, fjord and mountain landscape. The programme was very intense emotionally as I struggled with homesickness for my friends, college, home and family, I felt slightly lost at times as workshops made me close my eyes, look inside myself and think about sound, light and creativity in new ways.
When I came home I had a draft mix of synths, beats and ambient nature recordings, which I was very happy with. There were only 2 lines of lyrics, which I tracked at home “Close your eyes/What can you see?”. I listened to my mix on the lovely Genelecs in the college studio just for fun and it was suggested that I make the the music into a song, go write lyrics and melodies and think about bringing the song to a whole new level, record acoustic drums and other instruments! Make it my production project! I was skeptical at first as I was rather attached to this piece of music (music for thinking to- as I saw it as), which I composed entirely by myself.
Enter Keith Caffrey. If you have been following my blog, you’ll already know that Keith is like the other musical half of me! He is my songwriting partner and close friend, the music I’ve written with Keith through the years has always had deep, personal meaning and a creative enjoyment I never experienced before. I sent Keith the draft mix and emotional ideas I would love to communicate through lyrics (closing of the eyes, looking inside myself and being more aware of myself yet still feeling slightly lost).
Very quickly the music turned into the song. Keith came down to my bedroom studio and we tracked the entire vocal idea. The lyrics were so deep, personal and emotional, Keith understood perfectly what I had been feeling (as spiritually close friends, there are few who understand me so well!). It was also as if Keith KNEW we had only been studying the art of vocal expression in college, he felt the song should have lots of aspirate on-sets and releases, creaks and shakes.
With minor structure adjustments and a guide vocal done (and a huge migration into Pro Tools 10!), the song was ready for addition instrumentation. I’m not going into the nitty-gritty details of my sessions but I recorded drums in session 1, harp, piano and electric guitar in session 2 and female vocals in session 3.
During my time in Norway I made lots of new friends and valuable contacts, Fiona McErlane being one of them. We met in the airport and sat next to each other on the plane from Dublin to London and hit it off straight away with giggles over drinks! I heard her singing in the music performance workshops in Norway and was blown away by her pure, crystal clear, angelic voice. I knew back then I wanted to work with her in the future but didn’t know for what project!
I asked her to sing on the project and play a little bit of traditional harp. She was excited about the song and the inspiration of the music and lyrics (she was actually present when I made the recording of the fjord shore in Norway).
So tonight was our final recording session, we tracked lots of vocals and had a very productive session. I was so happy with her performance, she gave it 110% emotionally and technically, she jumped right in with suggestions and gave it her all. I was also happy that I got to finally track using the Distressor compressor (gentle 2:1 ratio) and got to try out the Rode K2 valve mic, it sounded sweet!
Our session was the first official night time recording session in DkIT 6pm-9pm. Yes! Finally! A night time recording session!!! I’m a big fan of working in the evenings/nights (last semesters’ Monday 9am-12pm were not to my liking!). Energies are high, vocals are warm, people tend to be more relaxed in the evenings I find! So please, for next semester, more night time sessions please!
I better go to bed, it is 12:30am now and tomorrow is a new day of vocal editing! I will of course share the song “Close Your Eyes” when it’s mixed. Special thanks to Keith Caffrey, Fiona McErlane, Craig Sullivan, Gavin Clarke for their creative input and help and to my friends for their support!
I’ll leave you with this fun snap from tonights session!
One of our workshops on the Erasmus Intensive Programme was pinhole photography. I found this extremely interesting!
After a talk about the history of pinhole photography and what it actually is, we were given little tins with a pinhole in them, in the darkroom we slipped our special photography paper inside carefully and covered the top with black paper and tin foil and covered the pinhole with one finger before emerging into the light. It’s important not to let the light through at any point before you decide to take your photograph because it will ruin the paper.
We were invited to step outside and take a photo of something we liked. It could be a building on the campus, a tree, the water, a person, a self portrait…
The photo below is my second attempt (I overexposed the first photo and shook the tin slightly first time around!). I found this lovely spot after crossing a little wooden bridge in the forest, I placed the tin on a rock, sat beside it and enjoyed 2 and a half minutes of stillness, peace and serenity. The only sound was the lapping of the water on the shore. I’m pleased with the photo, it looks kind of spooky which is cool because the earlier workshop that morning was the ghost/sound massage workshop!
We were allowed to dip the photograph in the 3 trays in the darkroom ourselves after been shown how to let the fluid wash over the paper in the first tray etc. This was really cool!!! The photos were hung to dry, put through a machine after that… When they were fully dried, we scanned them, popped them into Photoshop and inverted the colours.
I’ve been home a few days already, I’ve just been exhausted! It’s been mental, the 12 hour journey home from Norway on top of a crazy party the night before (4 hours drunken sleep!!), then straight back to work and college! 🙂
The last few days in Norway we spent preparing for the Final Performance which was a roaring success. We performed music, dancing, drama, painting and sound massages.
Our final day in Norway was an evaluation of the CREAL Erasmus Intensive Programme which was quite insightful. The trip was quite inspirational and it was great to hear the small changes students would make if they were to take part again (next year it’s Belgium’s turn to host students!). I suggested an ice-breaker session for each college group before they travel… personally I didn’t know anyone (bar one or two!) from my college and meeting the entire 65 group was very over-whelming for me anyway! Nonetheless it was an experience to say the least!
This was followed by a nature walk through the forest on the coast… this was gorgeous!
We walked back to Leirvick from the beautiful Hystadmarkjo nature reserve.
Straight back to the hotel, quick Facebook fix, I nipped to the amazing shop next door which sold gorgeous trinkets and pretty things and picked up a few things for my house 🙂 Showered and grabbed the next bus back to Rommetveit to the party in the college!
What a night it was! There was a glass of wine on arrival (me, drink white wine?! yeah it was sweet, therefore drinkable haha!), a delicious meal followed by dessert, a small photo-shoot, a slideshow of fun photos from the trip then speeches, live music, more drink, DJ music and lots of dancing!
The party was organised by a committee of students from the IP and I have to say they did a great job! Taxis picked us up from 1am and by 2.30am I was back in my hotel room, out for the count!
We were up at 6.45am to meet for breakfast, we were getting the speedboat up the fjords to bergen airport at 7.50am. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience!
We got the plane from Bergen to London, a 3 hour stop-over (where I experienced a typical British dish, yum!) and then back to Dublin for 5.40pm. I was home by 7.30pm and in bed asleep by 9.30pm! Most of the Irish had hangovers (not this cat- I remembered to drink 2 bottles of water before hitting the pillow in Norway!).
I am sharing my audio portfolio from the trip also here… Have a listen, I’ve included sound massages, lapping of fjord water on the shore, Irish traditional live music, haunting Norwegian female vocal harmonies, dances and improvised music to paint to! Enjoy!
Apologies for not being online properly over the weekend! I was partying hard! Lol, not really, just had a poor internet connection in the hostel, I just about had enough connectivity to keep in touch with my loved ones back home! We’ve just arrived back in Leirvick, Stord tonight and I’m sharing the hotel room with Amy my classmate which works out perfect for us both! 🙂 So I thought I should write about the highlights of the weekend and share some photos and audio.
Friday morning was slightly manic! We woke up late! We rushed to pack our suitcases and eat a small breakfast, saying goodbyes and thank you’s to our wonderful hosts who took such excellent care of us last week in their home. We were supposed to meet the IP students at 8.45am but we managed 9am, lucky for us, they hadn’t left for Bergen yet! 😉
The sun was shining and the sky was clear, the sights really were amazing on the bus journey to the ferry. “OOOOH”s and “oh my god”s were exclaimed as we passed the many lakes and the sea with their beautiful reflections.
We made it to the ferry in good time and we all excited boarded, armed with cameras! I was delighted that it was such a beautiful day to go on the ferry, I couldn’t wait for the views.
After the ferry we got the bus to Bergen. The 2 hour journey didn’t seem to be half as long as when we first arrived arrived last week!
Straight away we went to the Grieg Academy where there was a presentation by masters students and lecturers, it was really interesting. We also performed for them- a sound massage and visual performances. I recorded the sound massage on my Zoom, listen to it below (don’t forget your headphones!):
After this our activities for the afternoon were cancelled because of the beautiful weather! The lecturers agreed that the sunshine was rare and felt it was important that we explored Bergen for ourselves a day early! Myself, Amy and Alex headed off for lunch and a walk around Bergen. Lunch was a warm salmon sandwich from a cafe on the harbour, very tasty!
We all met up in the evening for a delicious dinner in the Pasta Sentral restaurant. The atmosphere was great. I went for a walk afterwards and enjoyed the beautiful sights, listening to music and exploring the shops which were opened late.
I had another restless night, I fell asleep around 7am, but I watched the snow fall from 4am. Very beautiful…
At 9am I was awake and headed out on my own, feeling the need to be with my thoughts, I was actually feeling really homesick! I did some souvenir shopping and found the Floibanen- the train which goes straight up the mountain! I hopped on and was amazed…
I thoroughly enjoyed my long walk in the forest which I mentioned in yesterday’s brief blog…
I managed a good sleep last night, not just because of the long mountain walk down (no map… lol) but I realised sleeping with earphones in is a great idea! I fell asleep after 5 minutes of dubstep 😉 I never woke once which was amazing considering 5 other girls came into the room at 4am after partying!
Up and checked out 10.30am this morning, the snow was coming down heavy. Myself and Amy headed out for a quick walk, we came upon an orienteering event in the centre, runners were sprinting around the city with maps in their hands as fast as they could… I never heard of this sport before!
We met the rest of the group at 1.30pm and we attended the open rehearsal of an Italian opera.. it wasn’t what I expected at all and I was very pleasantly surprised! There were 6 musicians on stage yet the sound was huge, I was confused for most of it, what sound was “real” and what sound was tape?! I loved it! Even though it was in Italian and there was no translations of the text, the emotion was easy to follow and I hit the nail on the head with my confusion as to what was real and what was not because it was supposed to be like this!!! I would say the finial production will be superb!!!!
Legged it to the bus and we caught the ferry back to Stord and arrived at the Grand Hotel Lervick in the evening. We’re all resting and preparing for the final week of workshops and performances.
Just a quickie to say that we’re spending the weekend in Bergen, the weather has been brilliant- sunshine yesterday and then snow which started at 4am! (yes I was awake… insomnia and all that!)
All IP students are sharing a hostel in the city centre, we’ve been asked by the lecturers to please leave the building standing at least! There has been a lot of partying going on but I personally haven’t been a part of this, I prefer to spend my money on things I can bring home 😉 Drink isn’t exactly cheap here!
I’ve been taking loads of photos and I can’t wait to share them online. The internet connection is very slow and it took me 30 minutes to attach one to an email this afternoon! So expect photos perhaps tomorrow night or the next day when we are back in Leirvick!
Today was a “Steffy” day where I spent the day in deep thought at the Fløibanen Funicular – a Bergen attraction….I took the train up the mountain (40kr one way) and up the top I took loads of photos, walked through the forest, slipped and fell on my arse unexpectedly, narrowly avoiding the little waterfall I was too busy looking at, haha! It snowed heavily up there, it was so beautiful. My inner child demanded an ice-cream back at the shop at the top of the mountain… so eating an ice cream in a snow storm was actually really cool!! I decided to trek down the mountain and listen to music. It was fantastic. All without a map! I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I have to go back next year!
Anyway enough for now! I’m starting to get a little bit tired now… 🙂
Today was class! I’m exhausted! Sleeping pattern is still messed up (I can never sleep properly during college holidays- I know this isn’t a holiday but I’m not in my regular college routine, if you know what I mean!), I got about 4 hours sleep again last night and I’m still not ready to hit the hay yet! I can’t switch off! (I need to sit in lectures or the studio to actually get tired haha!).
Anyway I’m in my cosy room in Norway, chilling out on my super-soft bed, in my pj’s, nibbling some dark chocolate, thinking about today’s adventures! Homesickness has passed and I’m starting to feel settled in!
This morning we started the workshops, first up was drama! Whenever I hear the word “drama” or “acting”, I have a tendency to become extra rigid! But this morning was different, the atmosphere was warm, friendly and for once in my life, I didn’t feel silly! I don’t think I should blog about the group activities in case I spoil it for the students who will have this workshop on Thursday! It was great fun and it felt good!
After lunch we had the next workshop which was a freestyle painting and improvisation musical collaboration. Basically we put on sexy boiler suits (lol) and prepared to get messy with buckets of paints, using our hands, feet, bodies, sticks and brushes to express ourselves on a canvas on the wall.
I was horrified at the thought of getting filthy with smelly paint and felt a bit claustrophobic in the small room. It was a bit much for me actually! We were joined by our fellow students who performed an improvised piece of music on various instruments (congas, wood blocks, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitars, ceramic jug, shakers and an upright piano with the back taken off to expose the strings).
It was decided by the group that the colours we would paint would reflect the music, each student would listen to a particular instrument and paint however they felt. The purpose was to build communication between the two disciplines, the art on the wall and floor being a direct emotional response to the music.
I recorded the audio from the second set, where I was playing a woodblock. I found this more enjoyable than actually painting because it was chaotic! I got a chance to take pictures too… It was an interesting experience.
Following this we had a massive clean-up operation and a group reflection with discussions about this exercise. We suggested ways it could be improved and what was inspiring about it.
Pizza time! We had the best pizza ever delivered, thanks to the organisation of lovely Oded! Everyone was mixing really well, all tables in the Kantine were actually a mix of international students, everyone was laughing, joking and sharing pizzas.
And after this we had a concert. The Norwegian students performed a half an hour set of rehearsed ensembles which included traditional tunes, rock, folk, guitar and duets. The stage was then open to everyone for an jam session, songs were sung, more traditional tunes were played, there was dancing, laughing and chatting. I recorded some of this on my Zoom Handy recorder!
And so here I am! It’s almost midnight already and I should at least try to get to sleep! 🙂 Looking forward to tomorrow’s field trip and free time to explore Leirvick! (I haven’t gotten any snaps of Norway’s incredible scenery yet!).
Miss my friends, family and lecturers back home but not enough to want to leave just yet! 😀
Yesterday 18 excited students from Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland travelled to the beautiful island of Stord, Norway. The trip is a 2 week intensive programme (CREAL- Creative and Aesthetic Learning Processes) in which international relationships are formed through creative collaborations, workshops, group work, activities, cultural experiences and performances. Part 1 of the programme took place last year when the students from Stord Haugesund University College, Norway and Artesis, Belgium came to DkIT.
Our journey was 14 hours long, starting from the bus that brought us from the college to Dublin airport. We got the plane from Dublin to London and transferred there to catch the 5.00pm flight to Bergen (the 2nd biggest city in Norway). I actually slept through most of that flight after a reading a few chapters of Hitchhikers Guide…, though I had some strange, half awake dreams!!! 😀
We arrived in Bergen “The Gateway to the Fjords” (some snow still there and crazy huge icicles clinging to the sides of the rocky hill walls that lined the roads) and caught 2 buses (one of which was called a flybussen! I like that word!!!). The 2nd bus journey was 2 hours long but it didn’t feel so long because we got the ferry to the island of Stord in that journey. We were allowed to leave the bus and walk around the ferry as we pleased! I haven’t been on a ferry in YEARS and I loved it! I loved the fresh, cold air, the wind would take your breath away… I loved the sound of the waves crashing against us, I only wished it wasn’t 11pm at night! It was so dark, all I could see was the dark water around us and an even darker island in the near distance 🙂 Onboard it was warm and spacious! The ferry did sway a lot near the end of the journey and some students were looking rather green, I actually felt sleepy! I would have sat there for longer but we actually arrived at Stord after 35 minutes! (hopefully we’ll get the ferry again in daylight!).
We arrived in Leirvick just after midnight in the pouring rain and brought to the home were will we send the first week! I’m lucky to have my own room and share the house with Amy, my music production classmate! The couple we are staying with are soooooo lovely, they made us tea and light sandwiches and chatted with us until at least 1.30am! Their house is simply beautiful, I love Norwegian decor, so much timber and lovely angles and windows and little, soft lights! I want a house like this! 🙂
After a good nights sleep, we met the entire IP group (Belgian students and Norwegian students) in the auditorium. Following the welcome talks and introductions we had a tour around the beautiful campus in small groups. The music rooms look super! (Personally delighted that the studio runs Logic Pro!) It was great to see the arts rooms (woodwork, ceramics, textiles to mention a few) and the students brand new gym!
We had lunch in the Kantine and then we had ice breakers. These were lots of little games so everyone could meet each other, there were many laughs as we lost our inhibitions while acting as cowboys and geisha girls! It was a different way to meet people, something I had never done before! Any worries or awkwardness that there may have been were washed away after all the little games!
After that we had interesting presentations about our home countries and an energetic Zumba class!
My favourite moment was the icebreaker game when we made a little pretend film and performed it for the entire group! It was completely improvised! Everyone was laughing and smiling and there was a lovely, warm atmosphere. It was great to take part in a group and do something I wouldn’t normally do! (Let myself go!)
I also enjoyed learning the childrens nursery rhyme “Lille Petter Edderkopp”! Really cool to sing in Norwegian, hehe!
Tired now, can’t wait for the workshops tomorrow! I’ve made lots of new friends already and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in!
Thank goodness the assignments are DONE (apart from the write-ups, DOH! but they are to be done over Christmas anyway, phew!) !!! I have to say the last 2 weeks in particular were an absolute killer! I love the busyness of college life but when life duties get in the way that’s when I get super stressed! But no matter, I seem to have made it out alive, once again!
I have learned an absolute wealth of information this semester, especially about Pro Tools and microphones. I was always very fraidy of microphones until really the last few weeks! I was unconfident as to selection and positioning but now I have a much clearer head and feel like I’ve learned something! I’m also not as afraid of the big, bad mixer console! I really got to grips with it in the last couple of weeks and finally it makes sense. Of course I understood it before but now I really do feel better about it! I was told I need to be more confident and get a little bit of attitude but I think it’s coming 🙂 I’m only just starting to feel like I can trust myself. I’m ever doubting myself. I need to throw that away and not be afraid to make a mistake.
The last week or so you wouldn’t have seen me without my head stuck in Pro Tools on my laptop (unless I was in the studio playing violin on recording projects for fellow students!). I was busy mixing, doing small touch ups for my own music production project “December” by Shock Sorrow (the mix is now complete and will be shared soon). I was also creating a sample library of 4 instruments recorded separately in various acoustic environments with 3-4 microphones (close, near and far). I have put together a library of fiddle (recorded in a long corridor) traditional flute (in a big room), bass trombone (in the Winter Garden) and snare (in a small room). I shall blog in detail about that during the weekend!
I’m delighted to mention that after the Christmas exams in January, I’m heading off to Norway with the Erasmus programme! I can’t wait!
Can’t believe I’m halfway through this degree! I absolutely love student life at Dundalk Institute of Technology, I’ll be a sad bunny when I have to graduate in 2014!
Christmas shopping has to be completed on Friday, lol, I haven’t had the headspace for it this year! Only of course when it came to Christmas divil-ment in college earlier on this week! 😉 teehee…nom!!!
Now all I want to do is dance and have a drink, or two… Here’s some tunes I’ve discovered this week and they make me want to dance so much! (not that I can actually dance, but it would be awesome to hear these loud, in a club and be merry!)
Nice and dirty track with those great trancey vibes I love R3HAB for. I think Skrillex is the master of that robot synth and slick editing sound but this latest offering from R3HAB is well sweet! Approval! Play it loud!
I feckin DIG this! It’s so catchy! I heard it on the radio in work when I was in the stockroom, I literally stopped what I was doing and hid so I could enjoy it and hear who they hell it was. I was shocked when I realised it was Britney bitch! Rockin! Catchy vocals, awesome synths, simple beat, great hooks! Love this kind of pop production (but you knew that anyway!). Sexy stuff!