Guess Who's a Mess on iTunes

Hey, the new album's on iTunes finally. That took longer than I thought it would. It's also on Spotify and most other digital services now and you can of course still get it on this here website. I posted track #5 to Youtube because did you know that's where kids listen to music now?

Me? Oh, I've been busy filling orders and I turned 36 yesterday. Trying to do what I can to promote the album but I'm excited to get back to work on music. It's a big relief no longer being creatively jammed up with this thing. My plan is to never do that again. It's gonna be great.

GeneralBrad Turcottemusic, news
Thanks

Thanks to everyone who came out to the CD release party on Friday. Nice to see you all, let's do that again sometime. Here's the fourth (and title) track off the new album, which, if you did not know, you can get here.

GeneralBrad Turcottemusic, news
And it's out

Guess who's got a new album out? That's right, it's this guy. And probably other people. Click the cover art to check it out and possibly buy it:

It's called Guess Who's a Mess. Ten songs of kinda loud uptempo stuff. I think it's about dealing with people's expectations. It should be on iTunes soon.

The CD release party is tonight at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa. I'll be on CBC radio today at 3 to say some things with my mouth.

Thanks to everybody for their patience and help and support while I struggled through the production of this record and my other records and my whole life. Here's the latest song I posted to Youtube:

Creep me on Twitter if you require further updates.

Out the door

Would you look at that, the CDs actually exist. I'm shipping off the first batch of pre-orders today, thanks everybody.

newsBrad Turcottemusic
Back from the brain dead

Welp, the album's off to mastering. What a needlessly awful process that was (spoiler: all my fault). Maybe one day I'll write up all the things I learned but for now my priority is to move on and keep some guilt-free momentum going. I'm excited to not take four years to make my next thing. So there are some shows booked. I'll have an official release date (spoiler: November 2nd) and all that jazz sometime soon. I'm working on new songs and I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet. Slow and steady wins the race.

Also: my buddy JB who runs Songfight! had a 40th birthday recently. A bunch of us did covers of his songs as a birthday surprise. I covered What We Need More of is Science (original is here.)

Album update

Hi everyone. I figured I'd jinx myself by saying the album's coming along nicely. A total of eight tracks will be ready for mixing by the end of next week. Right now I'm focusing on how great it will be when I don't have to think about it anymore. Mmmm, that'll be sooo excellent.

I don't know when it'll be out though. I've gotta start thinking about promotion. At this point I'm tempted to just throw the record online, call it a day and move on but everyone says that's unwise. We'll see.

What are you guys working on?

Internet radio streaming

Here's a question. Someone emailed me and asked me:

Also this is off topic, but if you have any suggestions on where to host an internet radio station please send those as well, as right now we are using a host that will not allow us to do anything live.

But I don't know anything about internet radio stations. Anyone know the answer?

Album design contest

I'm trying out a contest on 99designs.com for Guess Who's a Mess's album art. If you're a designer, feel free to have at it. If you're not, you can still enjoy these goofy photos of me as a kid I included in the design brief: photo6.jpg

That was a Michael Jackson Thriller FM transmitter microphone. So you could sing through your stereo. Also an all-black Thriller jacket. The cabbage patch doll was not mine. I had sparkly socks too but I'm not wearing them here.

photo3.jpg Atari 2600 and a Texas Instruments 99/4a, my first (borrowed) computer. All I did was type Basic programs into it. I had no cartridges so I'd lose whatever I had typed in when I turned it off.

photo1.jpg

Math tells me I'm eight years old here. Update: ken and my mom disagree. I was seven and the eighth candle was "one to grow on". Embarrassing.

photo5.jpg

Sulking at my sister's birthday party (reason: too much attention for her, not enough attention for me.)

photo4.jpg

A few years later. Lanpar IBM PC, my first official computer. It had a 20 meg hard drive and ran at 4mhz. Later I found out it had a "turbo" mode which doubled the speed to 8mhz.

Also visible: terrible, boxy first mouse, Gravis Joystick, collection of Sierra games and my entire California Raisins collection.

Update: Contest's over. Unfortunately it was not a success. There were lots of entries but nothing I could actually see using so I'm still on the hunt. Thanks to everyone who entered, sorry I'm so picky.

 

The state of collaborative recording software

There wasn't a lot of exciting software at the NAMM music trade show this year and it made me wonder: why are recording software manufacturers being so slow to add Internet collaboration features? Anyone will tell you that we're in an Internet indie music golden age but popular recording tools barely recognize the Internet exists for anything more than patch updates. Cloud services have come to the most mainstream services (email, calendar, music, photos, contacts) but recording software has barely made a move in that direction.

There are so many ways the Internet could improve software like Pro Tools, Reaper, Reason, Logic and Ableton Live -- easy collaboration, cloud backups, portability (easily access your audio data on your iPad & iPhone), revision tracking, quick in-software purchasing of samples/plugins/devices, preset sharing and hands-on lessons to name a few off the top of my head.

And it makes business sense for the companies. By making the Internet an integrated part of the recording software companies could get their customers into a subscription model instead of this weird yearly upgrade cycle and they’d be free to roll out & market new features any time, distribution and copy protection would be easier, companies could gather metrics on performance to improve the software & stamp out bugs, you could demo and sell features, samples, presets, plugins and lessons to your customers, sell iPad/iPhone/Android apps to work with your cloud data, etc, etc.

I feel Ableton Live and Reason are uniquely positioned for success in this area. They’re largely MIDI, sample and loop based so they’d use less bandwidth to sync. Plus their interfaces are already very modular -- selling new devices and features and packs wouldn’t require much redesign.

My suspicion right now is that Ableton (who haven’t released a major new version of Live since January 2009) is working on a full rewrite and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t include a lot more Internet. But whoever it is, someone’s going to make a move and then all the other players will have to play catch up.

Rhythm Delays

One of the issues with finishing this record (that I have figured out in retrospect) has been that my understanding of rhythm and "tightness" changed when I was nearly done. Tracks were in the bag and then I suddenly started noticing some songs didn't "groove" or "bang" the way I perhaps wanted them to. Before this I've mostly thought about my contributions in music as chords & riffs, melody and words. The groove was just something that happened -- or sometimes mysteriously didn't happen and I'd have no idea why.

But what to do? I can't re-record the album every time I learn something new or get better at something. I know that doesn't end well for me (or anyone who wants to hear my record in the next ten years).

So I took some time and I've gone back and re-addressed things, trying to avoid re-recording everything or changing them too much (people already like a lot of these demos! some have already been licensed!). Here's an example of one I'm working on right now:

Excerpt of the original "Feel Free Plastic Surgery!" instrumental

Excerpt of the new version

It's been confusing to diagnose and treat this without starting over. In this one I ditched the South American drum loop that I wrote the song on top of and replaced it with a more straight ahead rock pattern I tapped in. Then re-recorded the bass to fit better.

I'm still working on it (I'm concerned the snare on the 4 is late sometimes), but the new one is more fun to me, dancier and rockier. It's such a small change and I feel dumb that it's taken me forever to understand and figure out. But... maybe it's a good thing? I don't know, we'll see.

Time for a new year

2011 was kinda bananas. I think the original plan was to kick ass and make a lot of progress on this dusty old music career of mine but that hasn't really happened so much. People have been asking me about my record and I really appreciate that you guys are looking forward to it despite all the radio silence from me. Honestly I'm still struggling with it, getting the songs how I want them while not going all Chinese Democracy. It's a tough balance.

But it's moving forward now and I'm optimistic I'll be able to wrap it up soon. Thanks for your patience and support. Have a sweet 2012.

newsBrad Turcottealbum, news
Computers and music

George emailed me to say:

I wanted to ask your opinion on what you think computers could do to make it easier for musicians to create and perform music.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wanted to blog two of my replies:

Collaboration: There's a lot of opportunity right now for better creative tools. The biggest feature missing from all the major Digital Audio Workstations is semi-realtime collaboration (realtime is probably asking too much until the net gets better). I was just bugging Justin at Reaper about that the other day. Maybe ohmstudio (http://www.ohmstudio.com/) will fill the collaboration role but I think it's a feature every DAW should have within a few years.

Songwriting: For a long time I've been fantasizing about rapid songwriting software. Something analogous to a lot of the more creative, less technical software for screenwriters. The software could prompt the songwriter for sections, melodies and riffs and keep them cataloged. It'd let you easily rearrange the structure and experiment, organize your notes & ideas and help you generate new ideas. Throw a good rhyming dictionary in there, a markov chain generator for lyrics, etc. So a musician can quickly hammer out a bunch of song ideas and flesh them out without spending much time dicking around in software. I should be able to write and record an entire song with a guitar, microphone and foot pedal to control the software.

And that's the tooth.

Three five

I turned 35 yesterday. Luckily I had a flu also so it's all uphill from here. I've decided to get my mid-life crisis over with before 40, so I'm off the antidepressants, in two types of therapy and I hired a personal trainer. While it wasn't a disaster, I'm not interested in doing the next 35 the same way I did the first. So I'm trying to put some work in on that.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, I really appreciate it.