My Little Corner of the World

November 24, 2008 7:48 AM

As requested by chococat, and featuring the great Karlos The Jackal on marimba and toy piano.

First I gotta say that it was specially fitting that, of all songs, this request came from someone who is exactly at the other end of the continent.

Now, the thesis. Often when people use Brazilian rhythms they tend to make (or try to make) every instrument in the song play in a Brazilian "style". I've always thought that the intensity of Brazilian rhythms can be used as a bed for regular, non-Brazilian melodies to great effect. It works specially well with melancholic songs such as this one, I believe.

The underlying rhythm here is called Ciranda and it was played by the nice fellows of Suvaca diPrata and released under a CC license over at ccMixter, where I found it.

A million thanks to Karlos The Jackal for helping me out with it.

Last, I managed to make it sound bearable on headphones, but it still sounds awful on speakers. Any tips on how to make mixes that will sound similar through any outlet are gladly welcome (and badly needed).

posted by micayetoca (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

Oh man. Perfect.
I just got goosebumps.
posted by chococat at 8:04 AM on November 24, 2008

Did you hear it on headphones or speakers?
posted by micayetoca at 8:14 AM on November 24, 2008

Both. I played it on the speakers while I was looking for some phones.
Didn't sound as bad as you say on speakers.
posted by chococat at 8:25 AM on November 24, 2008

This is terrific. I picture a bunch of people, all fully asleep on ambien, all converging outside on their street to join hands to dance a sleepy, creepy ciranda (it's like variation on the Jewish hora).

Regarding the mix, I listened to it on headphones, and I thought it sounded good. What's the problem on speakers? Is it too muddy? I don't have any miracle cure to the problem you mention, except burning CDs (and mp3s too) and playing them on a cheap boombox and in your car so that you hear them in on lots of different speakers. Then, you just have to compromise.

But don't listen to me. My mixes are usually iffy at best.
posted by umbĂș at 8:32 AM on November 24, 2008

I'm glad to hear that. I recorded it with one of those plug-in mics straight to the computer. The bass was actually played in acoustic guitar, then dropped an octave with some dodgy software. I'll spare you the boring details, but there's no way to get good quality out of my current setup. It's still better than not participating, of course.

I'm glad you liked it.
posted by micayetoca at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2008

Hey, this is beautiful! As much as you're lamenting about sound quality, it does sound really good here in my garage, I mean, studio.

This is something that I've noticed with other folks recording with gear that they find less than perfect/great/good. If the soul is there in the voice and instruments it will and does come across as it has here! Good show, man!
posted by snsranch at 5:06 PM on November 24, 2008

Yeah! Thanks for asking me to play on this.

I find it funny that you're recording this gorgeous guitar track with a plug-in computer mic while I'm recording a plinky little toy piano with a fancy-schmancy ribbon mic. I guess it all comes out even in the end.

Mix sounds pretty good to me, too.

(I added a "collaboration" tag because I can! I'm helping!)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 11:18 PM on November 24, 2008

Very nice. The vocals were so Damo Suzuki-esque in the best way. I would have never guessed the bass was pitched guitar.

Sounded great in headphones with all the panning.
posted by dagosto at 12:52 AM on November 25, 2008

umbĂș: muddy is the perfect word to describe it. I thought it could have been the speakers, but if I play other song it sounds fine.

The vocals were so Damo Suzuki-esque in the best way

I wanted it to resemble Nico's awkwardness in that Velvet Underground album. I know it sounds horrendously pretentious to say "oh yeah, I thought I'd just knock off an I'll Be Your Mirror", but I don't mean it like that. There was something about the way she sang in that album that sounded almost like she felt uncomfortable, and that sort of uneasiness is what I was going for here.

Thanks to you all for you comments. I'm relieved the mix is not sounding as bad in your equipments.
posted by micayetoca at 4:17 AM on November 25, 2008

This is super-cool. The rhythm and the timidity of the vocals and, of course, the toy piano... I love it.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:42 AM on November 25, 2008

Wonderful! I'm listening on headphones, but it sounds great. I love all the panning, especially the sound of the person dancing... is that what it is or is it a drum?
posted by sleepy pete at 4:43 PM on November 25, 2008

My sister said the exact same thing, that it sounded like people stomping on a wooden platform, but it is the exact rhythm you hear all along, with some EQ changes (I think I dropped all the treble and mid frequencies).
posted by micayetoca at 4:54 PM on November 25, 2008

Crazy. I swear that sounds like someone stomping around.

Great job on the tune, again.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:16 PM on November 25, 2008

... as always.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:17 PM on November 25, 2008

Excellent! I wouldn't worry too much about sound quality. As far as I'm concerned, it just gives the recording character.

It sounds great on my laptop speakers, by the way.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:45 AM on November 27, 2008

Very nice, mica, I like this a lot. And I'd nth everything folks have said about sound quality. I think it sounds just like it needs to. The piece has a casual, ragged beauty that is perfectly served by the *lo-fi* documentation.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:44 AM on November 29, 2008

Gorgeous. And what flapjax said, too, though it doesn't seem all that lo-fi to me. (If I ever get around to posting something here you'll hear what I mean.) I'll keep listening to this.
posted by zoinks at 9:56 AM on November 29, 2008

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