Five Years EP – Violin Parts Recorded!

Hello My Readers and Friends!

This is just a short post to remind you that I’m still alive, and that I have recorded violin parts for my album! I recorded with the wonderful Carley Evangelista – and will be editing and mixing the sections tonight!

There’s just a few more things to still be done for my album, but the end draws nearer!!! Exciting! Well, I’ll leave you with a photo of my recording with Carley.

Oh – and she has a cooking blog with quite a few tasty recipes and kitchen tips! www.sweetiepieblog.blogspot.com – Check it out if you feel inclined! Thanks for reading!

-Pouch!

Violinist found!!!

It’s been a long journey, but I have finally found her – (a violinist to play on my Five Years EP, that is.)

Last year, I asked around quite a bit, found a few who could play the part – but then ultimately fell through. There was a series of failed attempts and multiple cancellations after cancellations, with a number of different people.

Then, I actually did set up a recording date, finally… only to arrive and be told, ‘Oh, sorry, I don’t actually play the violin, I play the viola…’  The arrangement was way out of the range of his instrument and the session was a failure.

A few months passed, and I decided on a new approach. I work at a school, so right around move-in day, I hung up 15-20 flyers. One key point: * Will be paid! *

Success! The next day I received around fifteen replies! I suppose money is a huge incentive, and being early in the semester means less of a workload too (as I previously tried to get someone to do it during final’s week. Heh.) I’ve picked out who I want to do it, and she seems pretty excited about it!

On a related note: the ‘kickstarter’ page for my EP should go up early October. I still need to sort out some details and film a video for it. The album itself just needs a few touch-ups, but is otherwise finished!!!! Expect a release in January or February (still need to do promo stuff…)!

-Pouch!
(Oh – and just thought this was kind of funny. This is from my violin/cello/piano sheet music for Five Years Ago.)
Thanks for reading!

 

Super Mario 64 – Koopa’s Road (8-bit)

Hello all!

I have just posted another 8-bit track! This is an older one… but I think the quality still mostly holds up.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these 8-bit tracks though:
First, there’s a reason my Halo 8-bit is at almost 50,000 views and growing at a rapid rate (I get a few comments daily), and my Mario 64 and Sonic 8 bit tracks aren’t even breaking 300. This could be for a few reasons, but I think the main thing is that making retro versions of games that are already semi-retro isn’t extreme or cool enough for people to search. They just don’t stand out. As well, a Nintendo version of Halo just seems strange because the franchise didn’t exist in the 80s/90s. Also, having a picture/animation probably helps a bit too! So… I need to find better games/movie soundtracks/songs to do 8 bit covers of (any suggestions?!)! As well, I should include some kind of 8-bit artwork!

Second, this is more for the blog, but I am going to stop doing a big ‘making of’ for each track. I’ve said most of my techniques, so I don’t want to repeat myself too much. In addition, I’m sure most of my readers don’t make 8 bit music, so the blog will mostly go unread or be uninteresting. Although, I think I will, at some point, do a series all about making 8-bit music that covers all the main techniques with included examples.

So with all that being said, I do have a few more ‘older’ tracks to post over the next few months. I have 8-bit versions of one more Mario 64 song, one more Sonic, a Zelda Wind Waker track, and the Professor Layton puzzle music. I also want to release some ‘Originals’ too! As well, I still have at least five Nintendo versions to post next month to celebrate the 20th anniversary of something! Should be awesome and might develop into a whole twelve song album release! Details on that next month!!!

Ok, here’s the track – Mario 64 – Koopa’s Road 8 bit:

Enjoy!

-Pouch!

New Site Up and Running!!!

Well, if you are reading this, then you can see that the new design is up! So far, I’m really loving the way it came out, and the functionality of it (both from the user’s end, and from a designer/updater’s end.)

Here’s a screenshot of the old site:

 I removed the top bar, since it was kind of unnecessary, and made it annoying to bookmark pages/send links to specific pages to people. As well, the blogger bar right below that looks kinda silly.

I’m still having some issues with the new site, though.

(But this is because IE sucks.)

Internet Explorer indents the last word of every track. This is particularly bothersome with the production tracks (seen here) which are numbered. This only seems like a problem with internet explorer and doesn’t seem fixable without installing a new player. So yeah – if you are using IE – click this picture for a solution.

So everything in the site is fuctioning, but I still have some optimising/designing to do.  I’m also still having issues uploading a background actually. Strange – it should be one of the easiest things to do. If you find anything not working, or simply want to suggest something, let me know (and let me know what browser/OS you are using.) Thanks – and thanks for reading!! Enjoy the new site.

-Pouch!

WordPress Site Redesign!

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Thursday, July 14, 2011)

Hello dear readers!

This is a short post to let you know… my site is going to go through another redesign. I discovered the wonders of WordPress and figured I would give it a shot. I’m doing this for a few reasons:

1. It’ll be easier to edit individual pages. This has been a bit of a hassle – (editing code and uploading new versions of pages everytime I upload a new mp3 or whatever.)

2. It’ll look more professional. For one, I won’t need to link blogger into the main page for news. Also, I won’t need to use the top bar the way I’ve been using it (rather poorly.) And lastly, the site will look good on all browsers without me doing any additional work.

3. The widgets and wordpress applications are useful! I’d like to link my twitter to the main page, and be able to upload mp3s more easily!

So that’s it! I’ll try to get this done later tonight (since I won’t have to change much content, just some new design integration!) I may transfer over all of these blog posts, since there weren’t too many, and they contain a lot of interesting information (8-bit tips and whatnot!) So yeah – be on the lookout for the new design!!!

-Pouch!

Sonic 3 – Ice Cap Zone (8-Bit)

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Saturday, July 2, 2011)

Hello dear readers! I know it’s been exactly a month since my last post… I apologize. This summer has left me rather busy catching up on life and catching up on bills, paying people back money I owe (all paid back now!), and struggling with a car on the fritz! Yowza! During the year, I work a consistent weekly job at a school with consistent pay, but, being at a school, I am let go for the summer. So in the meantime, I’ve been finding odd jobs/freelance work in order to pay the bills. It’s been consistent enough where I haven’t had any major problems, but it’s left less time for music, sadly.

So in short, I haven’t forgotten my readers (and listeners)! I think once September returns and I have consistent work again, I’ll be able to work on things and post more often! I still have big plans for an awesome September remix or two (celebrating a 20th year anniversary of something…) and a TON of 8-bit remixes in October (to celebrate the three year anniversary of something else!!!) As well, my EP is still in the works… and still being delayed. Heh. It’ll be finished this year, for sure!

Well, onto the 8-bit remix! This one is for Sonic 3’s Ice Cap Zone (one of my fav Sonic tracks!) Once again, I made this one a little while ago, so it’s hard to remember all the details, but I’ll speak on what I can remember:

Drums and effects: I made the hi/hat metal sound with the noise channel, with a Duty/Noise at 25%. This gives a more metallic sound than the usual ‘white noise’. You can hear this effect used extensively in the famous Mega Man 2 – Quick Man stage. As well, the backwards ‘sweep’ sound was a simple noise channel track with a reversed volume slope. I used a simple ‘kick’ wav sample on every quarter note on the DCIM channel. Pretty basic stuff there, but it works well.

Instruments: The bassline was simple – just the triangle channel (as used in most NES tracks.) For the intro parts, I have two square channels with a little bit of a fade-in with the volume channel. This gives it more of a ‘pad synth’ feel, much like the original. For the ‘chorus’ part I have one square channel playing the melody – once again, pretty basic stuff. For the arpeggios, though, things get a little bit trickier. In the instrument editor, the arpeggio tool only goes from -10 to positive 10. This means you can’t do octaves at -12 to 0, which would be ideal. In order to achieve the arpeggios the way I needed, I set them at ‘-6, -6, 6, 6’ – which means in order to play the notes I wanted, I’d have to play a 6 half tones higher (example: to get a G I’d have to play a C#.) Here’s a picture of the editor:

Well that’s pretty much it! Here’s the track!

As always, thanks for reading!
-Pouch!

Imogen Heap – The Song That Never Was (Mike Pouch Main Mix)

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Thursday, June 2, 2011)

Alright, this is a little bit late (sorry, sorry, sorry!) but not without reason. My music computer, while being ‘fixed’ is still having issues. It starts up, and is able to run – but after a short period of time, it starts to beep and then restarts. I’ve taken the files I need off of my music comp and installed most of the programs I need onto my laptop, so now I can do some work (like release this mix!) This also means I’ll be able to finish my album… thank God.

Anyhoo – the mix! Here is the story behind it:

“Earlier [2009] Imogen Heap took time off from writing her album to write a song for the credits of a TV show. She wrote and recorded the vocals, leaving the music to be written by the composer who was writing the score. For some reason the song was not used in the end leaving the vocals music-less. Imogen Heap decided to donate the vocal tracks to the world to do with whatever they wanted.

I, of course, being a huge fan and a musician who loves doing different mixes of things, could not resist. I ended up doing a few different versions, while DJ Pere Fouettard handled a dance mix. I whipped up a nice little booklet and put together this little free EP for you to enjoy. Sooooo… Enjoy!”

You can download said EP at http://www.mikepouch.com/imogenheap.html and listen to the ‘Main Mix’ right here:

Enjoy!

(Oh – and I’ll try to post some more 8-Bit mixes soon! I have a few nice ones I haven’t released yet…)
-Pouch!

Good News – Computer Fixed! (And remix updates.)

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Monday, May 23, 2011)

Yes! It only took three weeks – but my music computer is back up and running! I’ve been busy with work and whatnot, so it took a little longer than intended. (A HUGE thanks goes to Mr. Austin for fixing it!) So yeah… back to making music!

This leads me to my next point: Remixes. While I was planning on releasing one remix a month – I’m realizing that this is resulting in them being a bit rushed. I think it’s important to put quality over quantity, so I’ve decided I’ll release them on a less scheduled basis, and moreso when I simply finish them. I’m still planning on releasing 4-6 of these a year, though. This is partially because my efforts are spread among quite a few projects (let alone, working to pay my bills and simply living life.)

Speaking of projects – my solo album “Five Years EP” is very near to completion! Now that my music computer has returned – I can get back to work! I just need to rerecord vocals and do some final mixing touch ups! I’m very excited about this… although it will be a little while until it is released (I need to promote it and whatnot).

In addition to my album being finished, I am planning on doing some open mics and then some shows this summer! As well, I am currently working on a music video involving sticky notes. More details to come on all that!

One last bit of good news: my Facebook music page has just claimed the name ‘www.Facebook.com/MikePouch’! Hopefully this will rid the other Mike Pouch whose facebook page I helped jump up on the Google search results. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading!
-Pouch!
(By the way – Imogen Heap remix coming by the end of the week! I promise!)

Mario 64 – Endless Staircase (8-Bit)

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Sunday, May 1, 2011)

Alright, so it turns out I have a few 8-bit tracks on stockpile. Phew! So I was able to release this April’s second 8-bit remix (a day late… I know…) This one is a short, easy one – but it has a unique element to it, especially for a Nintendo track!


Yup! It’s Mario 64’s Endless Staircase music, a personal favourite ever since I was a kid! It’s interesting because it uses the Shepard’s scale.

From wikipedia:

“…named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.”

In lament’s terms, the same notes are played an octave apart, with the higher set of notes fading out, and the lower set of notes fading in (repeating forever). This gives the illusion that the music is forever ascending (much like trying to walk up an endless looping staircase!)

In order to achieve this effect in 8-bit, a feat I was curious if even possible, I needed two of the exact same sound. Lucky for me, the NES has two square channels! I programed the sequence in Square 1 and slowly adjusted the volume to fade in from the bottom and fade out at the top. I pasted a duplicate of this pattern in Square 2 at the half way point. IT WORKED! With this done, all I needed to program was the string part – I simply used the triangle channel for this. Nice.

Enjoy! Comments always welcome!
-Pouch!

(Oh, and I do have a remix for April. It’s not the track I intended to release, but instead, it’s a remix I did for Imogen Heap’s ‘Song That Never Was’ a while back. Expect that tonight or tomorrow!)

April’s Remix and some bad news…

(Originally posted on Blogspot on Saturday, April 30, 2011)

Three things: misc web-happenings, April’s second 8-bit track and April’s remix, and some really bad news.

First: Some web happenings. I’ve discovered a lot of old web pages from the past… a LOT of really outdated, and mostly embarrassing, stuff. In the past I created Myspaces for every single band/joke project/etc, update them two or three times, and then they just sit. I also found an old online blog from highschool/early college. Yikes… So I’ve been going through and deleting all this stuff permanently from the web! Feels good for this stuff to be gone!

Second: April’s 8-bit track and April’s remix. They were supposed to be released, but there is a bit of a hold up… this leads me to part 3…

Third: My music computer – the computer I do ALL my music on, the computer were all my project files are saved… all my programs are installed… won’t turn on. Not sure what happened, but it’s most likely the power supply. I have an old desktop in the basement, so I am going to replace the power supply tomorrow as a test. Fingers crossed that this will work so I can get back to finishing my remixes… but more importantly, my album. Yikes…

I *should* be able to post an 8-bit remix tomorrow. I have a few backed up on my laptop, so I just need to make the video and whatnot. Fingers crossed on that as well.

Well, that’s it for now – I’ll keep you posted! Expect an update tomorrow night.

-Pouch!

                       
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