Friday, April 28, 2006

dark moon Drone, Crediton

Brian - keyboard
Henry - percussion and vocal percussion
Richard - electric bass guitar
John - acoustic guitar, bouzouki, mandola, percusion, vocals
me - saz, balalaika, percussion

view from Rainbow window
view from Rainbow Studio window - John's car (he's now a qualified driving instructor) and the "peace pole" visible

A hugely enjoyable session at The Rainbow last night! Despite the supposedly unfavourable lunar phase, this was an energetic, creative one with more diversity than usual. Richard arrived a bit late, but was soon plugged in and playing his bass. The last piece is based around a West African salsa-type bassline he's been working on lately.

Unfortunately the record levels weren't quite right (again). I've had so much trouble with this since I switched to a new MiniDisc recorder that I decided to leave it on 'auto levels' and hope for the best. This has worked before, but we got a lot louder than usual, and rather than the 'clipping' which can result from manually setting levels too high, the result is a kind of sporadic compression of the dynamic range when Henry's drums kick in at their loudest. It's not quite as bad as the distortion that results from 'clipping', but it definitely mars the recordings. Oh, well. Next time I'll be more careful.

There's also a bit of my balalaika playing that's slightly out of tune. I've always had trouble amplifying it, ended up cranking it right up and putting it through an over-the-top flanger effect, which creates the effect of a balalaika being played down an old-school phone line from Vladivostock. It's hard to keep that thing in tune though (cheap Russian factory model).

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