Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm Just Slipping On Camel Meat

In all the excitement I forgot to mention the events of last weekend and the big trip to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with most of the folks from the juniors and youth theatre from Biggar. The performance took place in Edinburgh; RSC and everything – everything in this case being the City Of London Sinfonia playing Mendelssohn’s incidental music. The music was something of a sticking point actually: I’d bought a CD of it earlier that week for pointers towards ideas for the interval music so I knew roughly what to expect but for a bunch of young people seeing what may well be their first Shakespeare in a theatre, an opening overture of ten minutes or more was a bit much. For all that some of the pieces are very well known (the Wedding March especially) the score to me seems overly flowery. Perhaps if it was covering scene changes or something I could see the point, but the presentation was that of a Victorian group performing the play for their own amusement – costume and scene changes were highly inventive, but minimal. This became an issue because I suspect one of the people sitting in front of the young people from the theatre (and there were 3 rows of us) were apparently the sort of people who listen to Radio 3 for genuine enjoyment. We are talking the type of person who finds Classic FM too noisy here. The kids were getting a bit restless and were whispering amongst themselves (this is a positive thing – they normally talk with increasingly volume when we rehearse back at the theatre in Biggar) and were duly and repeatedly shushed.

But apart from that everything went well – it was a very good show, although I was slightly surprised to see one of the same actors I’d seen in “The History Boys” back in November. I don’t go to see that much theatre, so to see the same actor twice in a 4 month period was quite a feat.

And onward to that latter part of last week: “The Best Snow For Skiing” seemed to go well, and I didn’t make any serious mistakes (at one point we nearly had a pre-recorded sound effect start again when it was supposed to be finished). I had spent a happy morning collecting sticks in the forest and then taking them to my bedroom to snap them slowly in front of a microphone. This was to produce the sound of a fire because actually recording a fire didn’t make the noise that most people expect. The original plan had been to do the twig-snapping outside, but our next-door neighbours were doing something that involved grinding metal and my Dad was building a small door with proper frame, handle and latch. So, with the door closed and plastic bags over much of the floor to collect the spillage, I recorded three layers of about four minutes each of twigs breaking. Then I slowly crushed and opened a plastic bag twice and slowed that down, and the sub-bass channel taken from the recording of Leeds Met University foyer. This later sound effect was little more than a rumble and when it was all layered up together I had quite a good fire sound effect, which I suspect may now be used again any time we have a scene with a fire. In the same way that the slowed-down sound of a dripping towel in our bathroom is used in every pantomime dungeon scene.

Another successful project from last week was the recording of the chorus parts from Dream On. After working on that stuff during today (which is Saturday in my head, but is technically Sunday) I’ve not got all the recordings edited and the theory of what I have to do next (stick the vocals back into my original song files so that I can mix everything) is simple. In practice it may take longer though. Plus I’m still hoping for a return of the deposit from the last landlord in Leeds (whom I used, but where is the alliteration in that?) to fund the purchase of a better reverb.

Next week: to Glasgow to purchase tickets to see Imogen Heap in early April, mooch around town, and a few other things. Also, more recording and editing as I try to get this Dream On vocal CD together – and start on the final mixes for the show itself.

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