Digitizing Records

I purchased a Tascam handheld recorder about a month ago so I can record my live sets, environmental recordings, and for digitizing records for listening to in the car.  The model is DR-40e.  The E is the “enhanced” processor feature according to the Guitar Center rep I talked to on the phone; although there is no real documentation of what this really benefits me anywhere on the net that I can find, and the rep was clueless.  It was a good deal, and it is a stellar recorder so far from my limited usage of it.  Good battery life so far, although I bought the power supply for it to save on batteries!

The Tascam DR-40e is my new recorder. So far I really like it; I've recorded records, a couple of live sets, and some environmental sounds with the built in microphones. Sound great!

The Tascam DR-40e is my new recorder. So far I really like it; I’ve recorded 25 records, a couple of live sets, and some environmental sounds with the built in microphones. Sounds great!

I pulled a random assortment of new and old records and have been listening to them in their entirety while recording them.  This has been a really fun process.  My card had accumulated 25 records so I figured it was time to dump the WAV files onto my computer and process them for digital listening.

Collage of the records I digitized this round.

Collage of the records I digitized this September and October.

Here is my workflow that so far is working pretty well…

  1. Record the vinyl onto the Tascam DR-40E recorder
  2. Pull the WAV files over to my computer
  3. In Sony’s Sound Forge software, load the file and normalize it once (to peak value, so no compression occurs) to get good levels.  I go in and mark the beginning and end of each track; delete the unwanted sections
  4. In Sound Forge, once the tracks’ beginning and ending points are marked, I simply double click inside of that region and it is selected.  I then <CTRL><V> (cut) and <CTRL><E> (paste to new).
  5. Now that I have the track isolated, a scan it for any pops or clicks and take care of those if necessary.
  6. I then normalize to peak values again.  This will give me the hottest possible sound.
  7. I save in a folder with a standard filename.  The folder name is Artist – Title – Catalog Number – Year.  The filename is Track Number – Song Title.  These go in a wavs subfolder.  I get the proper filenames and catalog numbers and images from Discogs.com.
  8. I delete the original sound file and go to the next one.
  9. Once I have all the albums edited, I can go in and create MP3s for lossy listening; I typically use MP3s for portable devices to save space and given there is a significant amount of ambient noise in “portal environments”, so lossy isn’t that big of deal.
  10. I drag the WAV files into CD-EX, a great ripping and encoding software using the LAME encoder.  Old school but it works great.
  11. I then drag the MP3s into MP3Tag, I like this program for consistently tagging MP3s.  I select the entire album, use the auto-convert feature to snag the track number and song title, I add the Artist, Album and Year manually (using copy/paste form Discogs if there are special characters).  I then drag the cover art into the program and save the files.
  12. I end up with lossless WAV files (someday I may convert to FLAC, but right now I don’t care about space for lossless) and MP3 files with consistent tagging.

All of this does take a while, of course the recording of the records is real-time; and then I processed 25 records (mostly EPs) in about 3 hours.  Not too bad.  Now that I have the Tascam DR-40e figured out and a process refined, I’m going to pick some of my favorite records that I have never seen digitized files and continue the process!

Here is the first round of 25 records using this new workflow…

Here is the list of records that I digitized. Gonna start listening to them in the car tomorrow!

2014 Favorite Records & Tunes

A the year comes to a close, there is a group of likeminded music enthusiasts that puts together their favs for the year.  This year is no different–although like always I tend to stretch the rules and this year is no different! 🙂  Some of these releases are vinyl re-releases that came out long ago; and some of these releases are not from 2014 but I learned about them and picked them up in 2014.  Finally, some of these releases are not albums but rather singles–likely found on Soundcloud.

Would love to hear your opinions and comment on your favorites of the year; or perhaps give me some tips on releases I should have heard but didn’t!

First, some local artists…

Munly & The Lee Lewis Harlots (Pesanta Urfolk 032-1)

Bummed that I didn’t get the colored vinyl version (I even pre-ordered), it would be amazing with the gatefold artwork of this double vinyl release.  Heavy 200g vinyls to boot!  This is classic Munly, not really country but definitely a rural vibe.  Munly’s unique vocals (sometimes high, sometimes low) and various stringed instruments in the composition give this record a very unique feel.

Reighnbeau x Sister Grotto – Highways

Remix by New Mexico artist Reighnbeau, this is a classic shoegaze pop track featuring Denver’s Sister Grotto.  I first saw Sister Grotto open for Mark McGuire earlier in the year and really enjoyed her ambient/melancholy set.  Soon thereafter she released this track and I have been enjoying it on my commute for the rest of the year!  Definitely worth checking out!

Obsolete Future’s House of Mutes Vol.1

Coming from around the world, Denver/Austin based Obsolete Future describes this compilation of electronic music / techno tunes precisely.  Beautiful artwork on this cassette release (think ANALOG) and overall great presentation of local and global artists.  In the electronic high rotation bin for sure!  A must listen!

Carpe Sonum’s Veni Vidi Audivi

This was just released at the end of the year and already is in high rotation.  For those unfamiliar with this label, it is a tribute label to the late Pete Namlook (think FAX – the pioneering electronic music label out of Germany).  This is an excellent lineup of ambient artists and look forward to what 2015 has to bring from this label!

SYM TRN

Symbols & Translations?  This is banned media from some Austin freak.  This track is solid techno and makes you yearn for the next release.  I happened to find a bootleg of the upcoming Austin show and that track is amazing.  Clubs, beware!

 Now some not so local artists…

Trentemøller – Lost

I’m a big fan of Trentemøller; his latest couple of albums have been more listening albums than his earlier dancefloor style.  This album is great; excellent female vocals throughout; some really mellow tracks while others are seriously rockin’.  Several tracks remind me of older The Cure, especially in the guitars!  Got to see him on this tour at the Gothic and was a stellar show!  Full band…he’s a very talented individual!

Hank III – Long Gone Daddy

This is a great record of probably mixed timeframe of tracks on Curb Records.  Hank III has departed ways with Curb (seems pretty nasty relationship) but they must have a wonderful archive of his stuff.  I liked this better than his Brothers of 4×4 and punk albums he came out in 2014 as well.  Classic country, as only Hank 3 can pull off!


Terranova – Hotel Amour (Kompakt)

I’ve been a big fan of this German producer and this album took me by surprise.  Vocal electronic tech house music, but a little more soulful than I typically listen to.  The album has grown on me and I listen to it often.  I recommend all his releases!

Kid Koala – 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)

Ok, the gimmick lured me into this album, but after the first listen I loved it.  Kid Koala mashes up old blues tunes as only he can.  The best part, though, is on the CD there is a small turntable you put together (cardboard) with a flexi record you can listen to!  Now this I couldn’t turn down.

 

Bonobo – Cirrus (Ninja Tune)

What a cool picture disk.  This is a zeotrope with a cardboard zoetrope viewer.  The limited picture disk was made available only to fans with a voucher (from the fan club I think).  The track is really nice, and the picture disk and its Zoetrope video is incredible.  Super sweet!

 Blawan – His He She & She EP (Hinge Finger)

Love this straight up techno track.  Why they hide bodies under my garage?  Don’t know, but it definitely inspired an amazing track.  The other 3 tracks on the EP are killer tracks too.  Mostly dancefloor techno tracks, one is an amazing “anxiety” track ala Demdike Stares.  Highly recommended!  Oh, and the video is amazing; again Zoetrope!  Took 2 years to track this bad boy down; but acquired the single in 2014 so it made the list!

Plastikman – EX (Novamute)

Richie Hawtin was commissioned to perform at the Guggenheim Museum and this is the set he put together for it.  Classic Plastikman minimal acid techno, I really like the album.  Lots of work on the EFX and straight up 303 and beats like only Richie can pull off!

Luke Vibert – Ridmik (Hypercolor)

Luke Vibert is one of the kings of acid music, and this is a great expedition down that classic acid sound like no one but Luke can do.  FUNKY beats and soulful techno acid.  Super sweet!

 

Bjork – Bastards (One Little Indian)

This was a record store day special from several years ago, Angelos had it for 1/2 price. Great album full of limited edition remixes from the album Crystalline.  Bjork remixes are typically more fun and I like them better than album versions.  Bjork was ahead of the game (image that) creating an interactive iPad app for this album.  For fans of Bjork; even includes a Daniel Bell remix, who passed this year; his Dancer In the Dark soundtrack was amazing!

Kline Coma Xero (Medical Records)

Tony Williams I first heard on Soundcloud, the Left Behind track.  I’ve been following him since.  This is his first album and it is absolutely classic EBM.  Very talented, can’t wait for future releases from him!

 

Happy New Year S/T

I bought this on a whim; the discogs seller had it cheap and it was free shipping; sometimes you have to take a chance to get something new.  This would fit perfectly at The Road House opening for Julee Cruise!  Sometimes you get lucky.  Also on pretty white vinyl!

 And finally some classic reissues on vinyl…

  • Lassigue Bendthaus – Atom Heart’s first project, essential EBM, an absolute classic!  Comes with a 12″ and 7″.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – Songs from the Void.  The earliest Siouxsie recordings available, on incredible orange marbled vinyl (my favorite color and rare color for vinyl).  Amazing bootleg!
  • Psyche – Re-membering Dwayne.  Tribute album of Skinny Puppy band member Dwayne Goettel.  He was in Psyche and crushed the band to join up as a permanent member of Skinny Puppy until his overdose prior to The Process album.  I am a big fan of Psyche after Dwayne left; and this album doesn’t disappoint; much more aggro–all the stuff Dwayne recorded with the band including his diary/notebook as an insert!
  • Skinny Puppy – The Greater Wrong of the Right.  Classic re-issue of this album when they started their comeback in my opinion.  Only available on DVD/CD combo (concert) and Metropolis released this super packaging gatefold release.  Classic “new” album in the Skinny Puppy catalog.
  • Xymox – Subsequent Pleasures.  This album has been impossible to find over the years, and recently repressed in high quality vinyl with a remaster.  This is the first Xymox single before they signed to 4AD Records as Clan of Xymox.  If you like early Clan of Xymox, this is a must!

Singles – Soundcloud playlists

Finally, I have been finding a bunch of music on Soundcloud.  As you probably know, you have to dig to find gems; and many times you come up empty handed; but as prospecting for gems in the real world; when you hit a pocket you are treated with many incredible finds.  That’s Soundcloud for me.  I have been interested in 140/Dungeon style of Dubstep…very slow funky beats with cinematic backdrops and just amazing bass.  Check out some of these tracks…

 

Replicast releases Obliq Recordings miniLP [CRY-08]

Replicast - Obliq RecordingsNew release limited to 333 vinyl copies. Replicast includes Multicast members Jeff Holland and Dave Alexander; with Eric Allen from Apples in Stereo; free-jazz sax player Zach Shaw. Replicast is a loose collective appling the techniques and technology that Multicast has used for years.

The LP falls on the axis between Electronica, Free Jazz, and Psych-Folk. This melodic release explores new directions and will please Multicast fans who have appreciated the packaging and improvization in the past.

Check out samples of the news tracks on the Replicast Myspace site.

Available to order through obliq shop very soon, likely mid-spring. Check back soon or sign up for our mailing list to be notified.

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Multicast – Bahian Coastal Hwy [OBQ-10]

Multicast - Bahian Coastal Hwy.MULTICAST returns in 2005, landing on the turntable with a new kool-aid laced tropical-flavored platter. BAHIAN COASTAL HWY explores the rain-slicked Brazilian jungles of the mind. This limited release was pressed on beautiful green-marbled vinyl and packaged inside clear, hand silk-screened sleeves. It was cut at Dubplates & Mastering in Berlin, resulting in an LP with deep bass, sparkling resonance and represent the trio’s most sophisticated sound to date. The LP opens with the title track “Bahian Coastal Hwy”, where Multicast explores latin electro-infused rhythms, interlaced with Multicasts trademark lush guitar melodies. This Trans-Brazilian Express is a fusion of ideas past and future. Its a syncopated trip. The subsonics of “Underdub” pulse with dub-wise beats and deep chords delayed beyond imagination. A bubble-bath of modular synthesis percolates throughout, while deep jazzy guitar sheds some sonic light bringing dark shapes into context. There is a cinematic quality to this release, and it shines best in the tracks “Arrival, “Departure” and “Rotation”, which explore themes of anticipation, longing, dread and hard-cold beauty. The choice college indie-radio track “The Only Thing I Adore” reveals Multicast’s sensibility in fusing pop and left-field electronics. Like morning sunlight through a window, warm and immersive counter-point music-box melodies weave between shimmering static and vocoded lyrics singing of love and admiration. Multicast’s approach to music is all about creating atmosphere and depth without cluttering the sound field. “Pucuna” explores this notion with intricate poly-rhythms and tribal syncopations. The incorporation of synthesized sounds of birds of the rainforest, electronic insects and formant vocalizations will paint a vivid picture in the listeners mind. “Ansico” rounds out the journey, winding sublime melodies, clockwerk rhythm’s, and lap-steel guitar around a 30 hz & below bassline. Multicast reaches new heights in terms of production, arrangement and song writing skills. It’s absolutely rich with emotion and detail and will reveal new things with each repeated listen.

Re-released June 2015 on CD/Digital with bonus tracks for the 10-year anniversary!  Original vinyl released in 2005 in a limited edition run of 400 Green marbled vinyl 12″.

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Obliq Recordings – 4213 [OBQ-09]

Obliq Recordings 4213 CDMore than the sum of individual the parts, Multicast presents expansive new views from the sidelines, featuring stellar new tracks from Crix Madine, Ted Sturgeon, Freq Modif and the Multicast mothership. Four limited colored vinyl slabs of Obliq are being released in the 7 inch 33 1/3 series with unique inserts and tasty sci-fi packaging. The CD release will contain tracks from the vinyl release with three exclusive new ones and the impressive video for “Hall of the Inverted Mushrooms”.

Obliq Recordings 4213 Vinyl Box SetReleased in 2002 in both compact disc format and limited edition vinyl box set.  300 CDs were available and 88 4x 7″ colored vinyl Box Sets with hand crafted artwork were available.

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Freq Modif – Larkspur [OBQ-07]

Freq Modif - LarkspurObliq residents, Freq Modif present their debut release here with warm and fuzzy de-tuned oscillators that hail in a warmer and brighter season. “Larkspur” is a homage to the all-encompassing deep blue Colorado skies and the fresh smell of passing afternoon rain glittering on the wildflowers of the Larkspur meadows. Pure analog sequencing and triggering at its best harkening back to the synthesizer masters of the 1970’s but with the bounce of the kick drum and the sparkle of hi-hats of the 808. Truly a gem of an electronic piece.

The b-side “Interstates” gives you a synthetic taste of a night drive along on the Colorado autobahn. Traveling back and forth between studios on the high-speed corridor of I-25 inspired this amazing new track of psychedelic ambience and pulsating dub. The fresh smell of rain evaporating on pavement is splashed by the roar of passing trucks and freighters along the journey. The sound of locusts great the passing cars. Both tracks recorded at the Larkspur Facility.

Released in 2002 on 7″ red vinyl.  500 pressings with 88 reserved for the 4213 Box Set.

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NOTE: HD download available on 4213 OBQ-09 release.

Multicast's Berlin debut! Kanzleramt/K2o Records Album

Multicast presents Further Obliq PerspectivesSince 1996, projects including Multicast, Ted Sturgeon and Freq Modif represented this perspective to the contemporary electronic ideology, but with a more psychedelic and improvisational twist. From tracks constructed with the basics of noise and rhythmic sequences to full on melodic washes, Obliq artists sculpt aural images aimed not at the dance floor but the armchair. These artists employ methodologies of sequencing not too familiar with modern technology, but rather more traditional and improvisational in approach. Multicast, for example, creates most of their tracks from live, late night sessions. Guitars, electric mandolins, kalimbas, modular synthesizers, analog sequencers & effects and digital synthesizers are all part of the Obliq arsenal located at the Larkspur, Wallsteet and Erie facilities. Think of Multicast as an ever-evolving music project. A revolving door of ideas. A meeting of the minds from various individuals involved with the other projects within Obliq. It’s the flagship and corner stone project and even further an ideal representation of the Obliq record label as a whole. If you listen closely to the Multicast material, you will notice a sort of mesh of musical influences and backgrounds from all individuals involved yet close attention is paid in how the various parts are combined. The physical landscape of rural Colorado surrounding members of Multicast play a big part in the environmental influences in the music itself. These are wide-open spaces with room enough for ideas to flourish away from the confines and distractions of an urban environment. This isn’t to say that Multicast lives in a music vacuum or an environment void of art and music culture. Rather, the geographic location gives the project an opportunity to observe the world of electronic music from the outside in and not consumed by a metropolitan music clique. Therefore, members of Multicast rely on each other to be energized and inspired to create and follow through with ideas and bring them into being. A lot of the popular software-based music making tools — the ones dominant in modern day electronic music — are put aside which allow Multicast to focus on improvisational and organic composition. All members of Multicast are DJs, but styles may be surprising as compared to their musical output.

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Crix Madine – Yori [OBQ-04]

Crix Madine - YoriObliq newcomer Crix Madine blasts in from the north with this solid debut release. “Yori” is a poly-rhythmic sound experience where the percussion slips and slides along over dreamy and static-driven melody lines. Half-way thru the listener will find himself/herself engulfed in an “analogue bubblebath” of sublime synth lines and the metallic thunder of disjointed beats.
On the b-side, “Alpine Refuge” may invoke the imagination of overlooking deep alpine valleys and a vista of snow-capped peaks can be seen through the trees. It’s a seamless meld of organic electro-beauty, combining an almost left-field hip-hop aesthetic with melodic and crystalline bass-pads. The track is majestic in nature and leaves the listener with optimism. This seven inch release is not to be missed.

Released in early 2003 on yellow 7″ vinyl. 500 pressings with 88 included in the 4213 Box Set.

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NOTE:  HD download available in the 4213 OBQ-09 release.

Ted Sturgeon – Green Sequence [OBQ-06]

Ted Sturgeon - Green SequenceTed’s motto: “Spirituality Through Technology…” The forces of good and evil cancel each other out and heave a sigh of relief that we’re all here to enjoy another day. Listening to the A-side’s “Green Sequence (Frost Mix)” one discovers there is always something new to explore, and here, Multicast’s science-aficionado Ted Sturgeon discovers just what happens when the sound of hip-hop and psychedelic ambience collide. A new genre of Gregorian Modernism ripples through our cortex, courtesy of the Frost Laboratory’s manipulation of the original track, recorded at Facility Minor.
Too much science fiction as a kid said his high-school adviser, but look where it’s gotten him… “Echowurld” kicks off the B-side. The field recordings underlying this Matrix come from placing mics 30 feet apart on the Mimbres River in New Mexico one whispy moonlight night. The Mimbres Valley was once the home of a graphically advanced American Indian culture. In this track you can feel the spirits rising up from the dead to avenge their grave-plundering desecration by pot hunters. On nights like these, who needs a drum machine?

The original version of “Green Sequence” finishes off the B-side. Here we find a track making guitars safe for electronic music again. Psychedelic-acid-electro-analog-blues, indeed! A homage to the psychedelic blues of fractured genius Peter Green AND the movie “Andromeda Strain”, all in one concise little construction! Begin the countdown… another genre bender that puts the Tedster spin on sequential indie-tronics.

Released in 2002 on 7″ green vinyl.  500 produced, 88 of which were included in the 4213 Box Sets.

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NOTE:  HD download available on 4213 release OBQ-09.

Multicast – La Honda [OBQ-08]

Multicast - La HondaThe A-side presents “La Honda (Live at SinFest 2000)”, showing Multicast’s improvisational prowess as taken from their NYC debut at the SiN Festival 2000. The interplay of three distinct voices interlocked with beautiful and shimmering melodies makes the run-of-the-mill electronic duo run and scatter for cover behind their lap-tops. Compare this track with the original studio recording found on last year’s “Rural Sessions” release and see for your selves.

The B-side contains a remix by the other Obliq mad scientist Crix Madine of the original “La Honda” recording. This lo-fi bastard out of the Multicast camp shows an early incarnation of what would become a “Rural Sessions” staple. “Crix Madine’s Glik Glok Mix” sounds like the inner-workings of an analog clock ticking away, producing waves of electro-static like a Tesla coil. Here we have another genre-blender soon to be dubbed Psychedelic Electro-funk.

Released in 2002 as part of the 4213 series.  500 blue 7″ vinyls released.  88 of these were available in the 4213 Box Set.

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NOTE:  HD 320kbps download available with OBQ-09 4213 release.