Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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Shooting Stars – An international kinda Christmas

Maybe living in Toronto, one of the most multicultural places on Earth, did it. Or maybe it had something to do with my living in India for a couple of years. Or maybe it was my interest in world cultures. I really don’t know. But I was playing around with some exotic scales and it turned into a kind of international Seasons Greetings.

I learned some new techniques here. Most notably, “ducking”—not only the bass by the kick drum, but also the synthesizer pad by the sleigh bell. If you’re not into music production, chances are you won’t know what the heck I’m talking about. No worries. Music is mostly meant to be listened to. Not analyzed.

My gut tells me this one will, like most of my others, miss the radar. But with these techniques now under my belt, I’m still hoping for that big hit (someday). That may seem far fetched but if you listen to the earliest recordings of most bands, including biggies like Supertramp and The Beatles, they went thru a “not so great” phase where they were still refining their style and polishing up their technique. That gives me great comfort, knowing that “Fool’s Overture” or “Hey Jude” didn’t pop right out of the box.

Anyhow… enuf talk.

Season’s Greetings! 🙂

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small town santa

country santa

I like this Santa. He’s an ancient old thing. Looks like he was dredged up from some basement, kicking around since the 1940s. Beautiful moonlit night in Port Hope, Ontario.


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i have a dream… (to get this mix right!)

THIS TRACK DELETED – FINAL VERSION NOW AT SOUNDCLOUD… WILL BE POSTING IT ON MLK Day!!!! (Jan 18)

Here’s what I wrote at SoundCloud for this…

* * * * *

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech (abridged) set to original soundtrack… my challenge is to use entirely free VST plugins.. so theoretically, anyone with a half decent computer could do something like this.

I’ve been experimenting with compressors, limiters, EQ, and expanders.. learning as i go along… would like to get a clean, balanced but also punchy version by MLK day (Jan 20). Can’t really tell how it’s going to sound until I upload it here, because SoundCloud takes the wav file and renders it into mp3. At least, I think it does… 🙂

* * * * *

Thanks to those who liked my previous versions. I really appreciate the feedback. Negative feedback would be welcome too, as long as it talks about the music and isn’t just a bunch of expletives!

I had to delete the earlier versions. I’ve learned so much in the past few days that I can better see (and hear) how to improve it. This mix seems a bit too boxy. I was trying to level it out. Maybe went a bit too far. Not sure. Will have to take a drive and listen to it then. Everything becomes clear behind the wheel…


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The Paranormal Christmas Lights

lights_edited-1

The case of the reappearing Christmas Lights!

Okay, this is a true story. It just happened. Today I felt it was time to get the outdoor Christmas lights out. So I went down to the basement to get them. After a few minutes of looking in the usual storage place, I decided I’d outsmarted myself and put them in some new place that I couldn’t remember. I looked and looked and looked and looked. And then I looked some more! Still no lights.

In the process of looking, I realized the basement really needed a cleanup. There were old shirts I’d been keeping as rags and old boxes and bags. I cleaned it all up. I got the snow shovels out. And put the rakes away. I sorted through other old things that could be recycled and thrown out. And I found a digital photo frame that I wanted to run my Christmas pics through.

I figured that the lights would appear once I got the basement in order. But they still were missing. So I went upstairs to the closet in the living room. I cleaned it out. Still no lights. Then I went to the closets on the second floor. And I cleaned them out. Still no lights!

At this point I pretty well gave up. Maybe I took them to Value Village (like Goodwill and the Sally Ann) last summer, I thought. Maybe I donated them by mistake. But that didn’t make much sense because I don’t really remember going to Value Village last summer. And I bought this set of lights last winter.

By this point I said to my Mom, whom I live with, “Well, at least some good has come out of this. The house is good and clean!”

Then, taking one last trip downstairs to get my coffee that I’d left there, I was stunned. Sitting right there, at the bottom of the stairs in a tidy clump were the Christmas lights!

Now the funny thing is, when I was cleaning, my mom kept saying that they might be in a clump to the left of the basement stairs. I looked in that area 3 or 4 times, and couldn’t see the lights. But that’s exactly where I finally found them. And it seemed like they literally appeared out of thin air, after I’d done all the cleaning.

Did God “hide” them from me so I’d be motivated to do all the housecleaning? Did I subconsciously block them out while moving them around? It’s just too weird! But it all turned out well. 🙂


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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Image via Tumblr

Toronto has the oldest and possibly largest Santa Claus Parade in the world. And it’s today… Sunday. You can probably catch it on the web if interested.

To match the occasion I’ve created a new Songza playlist all about Christmas! It’s already 10½ hours in duration. And I plan to add a few more songs. So you could listen almost all day and night!

Admittedly, I haven’t listened to all of the songs from beginning to end. I’m still exploring as I go along. But I’ve compiled these tunes from a certain genre. Sort of 50s and early 60s cornball, crooner, swing and soft jazz stuff, with a few exceptions like John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace On Earth / Little Drummer Boy,” and other timeless classics.

Check it out » Christmas Classics!

Thanksgiving – 2

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Thanksgiving - 2

This was taken over the (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a beautiful little church. I purposely used my old cell phone because it’s tiny and unobtrusive (I can’t stand big flashy photographers when people are praying) Also, I really like the photo effect. It’s so low res that it’s almost like a painting… it leaves room for the viewer to fill in the gaps. I’m not sure if I like this photo or Thanksgiving – 1 (immediately below). I guess I like both, in different ways.

Thanksgiving – 1

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Thanksgiving - 1

This was taken over the (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend. It’s a beautiful little church. I purposely used my old cell phone because it’s tiny and unobtrusive (I can’t stand big flashy photographers when people are praying). Also I really like the photo effect. It’s so low res that it’s almost like a painting… it leaves room for the viewer to fill in the gaps. I’m not sure if I like this photo or Thanksgiving – 2, which has the spotlight above (obvious symbolism). I guess I like both, in different ways.