Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


Leave a comment

We Are The Future (and a few things went wrong…)

This experimental piece started out with my desire to get back into using the mic. Most of the vocals are me with some heavy digital filters. At the beginning and end, I also use some electronically generated voices from FL Studio and Alter Ego.

I don’t expect a lot of people to like this! But I do. It means something to me. And art is about being true to yourself. At least, that’s how I see it. I suppose a commercial artist would also be concerned about the audience.

It’s not that I don’t care about the audience. I actually spent days and days trying out different mastering techniques to get this as “commercially professional” as I could at this stage in my learning curve.

But again, I know it’s out there. I’m used to being slightly ahead of my time. It has its joys, misunderstandings, and related challenges. But that’s what I am. šŸ™‚

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Books!

Books! via Flickr

Nothing too special. Just a shot I took not too long ago. Someday books like this will be a memory. Probably not too far away.


3 Comments

Reelin’ in the Years – 2007

It’s 2007 and I’m 45 years old. This year makes me smile because the Canadian TV comedy show The Kids in the Hall used to do a sketch where this groovy looking guy would fall into the camera and the headlines would read “He’s hip, he’s cool, he’s 45…”

I think the implication was that being 45 or more is sort of like being a loaf of staleĀ bread or a bag of sour milk. And as wrong as that is, it’s a cultural bias that persists today.

In a word, ageism.

I probably was an ageist when I was younger. And I don’t blame younger people for looking at me now (55 yrs) as some kind of damaged goods past my shelf life.

Let’s be real. That’s how it often is. People say “age is only a number” but when it gets down to brass tacks their ugly ageism emerges.

Madonna once said on the topic, “So am I suppose to die..?” (or something like that).

That’s my sociological rant for today. To get back to the music, the prime focus of Reelin’ in the Years, I choose this tune for the best of 2007.

I dig T-Pain because he popularized a vocal effect called “auto-tune” that has become pretty mainstream in 2018. Basically, a software program corrects your pitch and can vary parameters (like speed and the musical scale you’re being shifted to) to get a robotic sounding twang.

Others did it before T-Pain. But he made it a staple. As a matter of fact, there now are auto-tune programs (and presets within programs)Ā named after him.

You can hear the effect with various degrees of subtlety throughout the tune but it’s really obvious around the one minute mark.

I recall hearing another song with auto-tune in a dollar store in Peterborough ON sometimeĀ in the late 2000s to early 2010s. The effect was more popular and I realized it was becoming a thing. I found that interesting because auto-tune is about the interface of mankind and the machine, a place where I think we are collectively headed.

For those old skool critics of newer music who may think auto-tune is just a cheap gimmick, I urge them to try doing it themselves. As a bedroom producer, I can tell you that doing it well is an art and a science. You gotta be smart, tech-savvy and artistically gifted to pull it off. Yes, you can make your voice twang with a VST plugin. But to get it timed right, clean and effective, well, that’s another matter. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t know what they are talking about.

Before my time some conservatives thought electric guitars were a cheap sellout or of the devil. Dissing electronic music without any kind of appreciation of what’s involved to my mind is not so different.

People get stuck in patterns… at any age.

T-Pain performing at Hot 97's Summer Jam 2007 ...

T-Pain performing at Hot 97’s Summer Jam 2007 in Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reelinā€™ in ALL the Years

Ā Believe it or not, T-Pain and his wife just gave us major relationship goals (mashable.com)

Ā T-Pain ft. Mr. Talkbox “May I,” MURS ft. Tech N9ne “Same Way” & More | Daily Visuals 2.15.18 (hiphopwired.com)


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 2005

Image – Wikipedia

It’s 2005 and I’m 43 years old. PopeĀ John-Paul II and Johnny CarsonĀ dieĀ this year while North Korea announces it has nuclear weapons.

I remember driving downtown and hearing if not this song another one by Mariah Carey and thinking how pop music, in Toronto anyhow, had become the era of the diva.

This isn’t a bad song but I don’t think it’s great either. More about vocal gymnastics than memorable melody. But I could be wrong. Music is a very personal thing. And for all I know folks younger than myself might like this just as much as I enjoy some 70s fluff—e.g. “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb.

So here’s Mariah, looking sexy as if you’re just about to jump into bed with her. Sex sells. We all know that. In this case, sensuality, vocal acrobatics, and an okay tune made for the #1 single in 2005.

Luckily, things will get better in the pop world.

Reelinā€™ in ALL the Years

Ā Poo Bear announces album featuring Justin Bieber, J Balvin, Jennifer Lopez, and more(thefader.com)

Ā Man charged with felony theft of Frances McDormand’s Oscar(bostonherald.com)


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 2004

It’s 2004 and I’m 42 years old. Not much on the charts or album releases that I can relate to.

I’m exploring the Toronto Public Library which has a great network of branches. You can order a book, magazine, CD or DVD online from any branch and a van delivers it to the branch of your choice. Add up all the branches in our geographically large city and that comes to quite a selection.

Daniel Ek addressing Spotify staff.

Daniel Ek addressing Spotify staff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days Spotify is rendering that a bit redundant for music, and the library should probably put its funds towards obtaining a free Spotify account for all Torontonians. But we’re not there yet. We do have Naxos, though, which is awesome for classical.

So this year I’ve settled on a song rather than a particular version of it. I like this tune a lot. Cat Stevens wrote and performed it in 1967. P.P. Arnold sang another version in ’67. It was a hit in Canada in ’73 with a take by Keith Hampshire. Rod Steward also did a cover in ’77.

Here’s the 2004Ā incarnation by Cheryl Crow:

And the version that spoke to me as a kid:

Reelinā€™ in ALL the Years


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 2003

It’s 2003 and I’m 41 years old. My father would pass away this year so it wasn’t exactly a stellar year. However, my faith saw me through. I remember driving down to St. Michael’s Cathedral and hearing this song by the Canadian duoĀ AppletonĀ come on the radio.

The radio program was called Lovers and Other Strangers, hosted by Don Jackson. It was always nice to listen to this show while driving down to Mass. It dealt with love and spirituality from different perspectives so was a good precursor to receiving the Eucharist.

Sadly, one year CHFI decided to change its format a bit, and the show was canceled. Nevertheless, Mr. Jackson has reinvented his programĀ online.

We can’t always control the Powers That Be but we can choose how to respond to them.

Reelinā€™ in ALL the Years


Leave a comment

Reelin’ in the Years – 2001

Image – Wikipedia

It’s 2001 and I’m 39 years old. This was an eventful year. I formally converted to Catholicism at Easter in 2001. I remember feeling graces pouring down on me after leaving the church that sunny day.

The other main event, of course, was 9/11. I was with my parents that morning. We had CNN on and saw it happen. I recall thinking, Oh, they’ll just put the fire out and it will be okay.Ā Little did I know I was watching a turning point in history.

In Toronto, the FM of 2001 had nothing to do with the FM I loved in the 70s. FM in 2001 had become what AM was in the 70s but with better, stereo sound. This programming trend actually began in the late 70s/80s but who’s counting…

So here’s a hit I remember liking byĀ the Canadian singer Nelly Furtado. Things are getting better in the pop world; for me, anyhow.

Reelinā€™ in ALL the Years