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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Arrangements of Todd Songs by Leslie G.

I recorded these songs over the course of several years. The earliest seems to be around 1991. I still have my Roland U-20 that I used and this week (July, 2014) I am using the same equipment to recreate the originals. My sequencer back then was a Yamaha QX-5 and I had an Alesis HR-16 drum machine.

I took a lot of care with the mixes through that equipment, which were all done on the devices themselves, including reverb, etc. There was no home version of Pro Tools back then! I did some guitar parts to a Fostex (I think) 8 track reel to reel recorder, which I sold a long time ago.

Last week I had to buy a replacement floppy disk drive ($10.00) just to get all the arrangements loaded back in from my Alesis DataDisk. And yes, I even powered up my Power Mac 9600.  (OS 9.2)

The songs from 1991:
  • Secret Society
  • Mated (incomplete)
  • Take it Home
  • Maybe I Could Change
  • Lost Horizon
  • If I Didn't Try

I never knew what I'd do with these arrangements, but they were a lot of fun to make and sing along with. One thing for sure: trying to recreate a song gives you a ton of appreciation for the craftsmanship, love, talent, genius behind these works. It's a full-time job. It's - pardon the expression - not something that you can just pull out of your ass.

This year, I tried to modernize the sounds using Pro Tools and Reason. I even have Ableton at the ready for "Smoke". However, my setup was not ready for this work: trying to get PT 10 / PT 11 to talk to Abelton and Reason is a total pain in the backside. Also, I was playing with a few new MIDI controllers, opening Max/MSP, etc. If only I had more time!

I did a tribute concert for Todd in 2013 with the amazing faculty in the department where I serve as chair. The individual tracks were recorded to disk. I am going to try to use Pro Tools to eliminate all vocals (maybe keeping backups). The tracks are:
  • International Feel
  • Never Never Land
  • Tic Tic Tic (It wears Off)
  • You Need your Head
  • Rock and Roll Pussy
  • Zen Archer
  • I don't Want to Tie you Down
  • Is it My name
  • Just One Victory
  • Another Life
  • Hello It's Me
  • Can We Still Be Friends
  • If I have to be alone
  • Lost Horizon
  • Only Human
  • Smoke
  • Love is the Answer
I'm trying my best to create tracks that you can sing along with. And it should probably be said that I'm not here to make money, just to share. Which brings me to...

Being really careful about protecting Todd/Utopia's music. I learned a lot in a short amount of time about karaoke, mechanical licenses, fair use, "public performance".  I bought a license for "Secret Society" for $16.00 ($15.00 processing fee, $1.00 for the song.)  But rather than do this for 22 tunes, I think it will be safer and smarter to just share these with the folks going to the retreat and not post them to SoundCloud. 

So there you have it. One day a song shows up in your NewsFeed, but there's a 23-year history to these tunes. Thought you might like to know!