Mefite albums and attempts from RPM07? March 1, 2007 10:34 AM   Subscribe

RPM Challenge, post-game: February is dead and gone, and a bunch of us either finished an album in a month or didn't. Let's have the dirt, folks. And the links. And some Music posts.
posted by cortex (staff) to MetaFilter Music at 10:34 AM (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Not that we haven't had a few Music posts already—there have been a number of posts tagged with either rpmchallenge or rpm—but I know for a fact that some of you have recorded tracks but haven't posted.

*nudge nudge*
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2007

Well, I finished my project, entitled "Ladies of the Radio Barn Dance," at 12:05 am last night. Finished, that is, except for burning onto CD, adding the art, and walking it down to RPM HQ. Minor details after my last-ditch effort.

In the end, I'm feeling kind of up and kind of down about it. Up because I did it, and in a month where my entire work and personal life were cranked to 11 and there was very little time for creative pursuits. Down because the audio quality is so poor, and the recording was done in a slapdash manner with really bad equipment.

On the plus side, my goal was to learn about how to record at home, and I did learn that. Kristal Audio Engine is my new best friend (thanks to Ludwig_Van for the recommendation). What this taught me is that I just need to bite the bullet and invest in a decent studio-in-a-box setup, rather than trying to granny together a bunch of cheapo components.

But hey -- it's done. It's the process that matters and there was no way in hell I was gonna NOT finish, after running my mouth about it so much!
posted by Miko at 10:53 AM on March 1, 2007

That's the way to go cortex. We do wanna hear everything.

You should swing that banhammer a bit when you say "let's have the dirt folks," make sure no one hides anything.
posted by micayetoca at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2007

I finished recording the album on the 25th, and then got the artwork done on the 27th. It was a great experience.

Before the challenge, I had written less than 10 DJ Dial-Tone songs spread out over a few years, and this time I managed to write 11 songs in 25 days, and wrote lyrics and sang for the first time in several years (ever since an ex-girlfriend told me I was tone deaf)...

You can download the album here or wait for these tracks to trickle into music.mefi...

It's inspired me to avoid music for a little while (except for the band I'm currently playing in) and then to work on a short EP tentatively titled "8-bit Opera" made using only vintage nintendo sounds, and to record a dub version of Bad Religion's "American Jesus." Also, the positive response to "Breaking the Mecanique" has made me consider working on more found sound stuff.

The process also helped me learn some of my weaknesses (I need to work on production/mixing technique and drums).

I know my album has many flaws, but the challenge kept me from succumbing to doubts or perfectionism.

Congrats to everyone that was involved!
posted by drezdn at 11:26 AM on March 1, 2007

Glad I did it, but I'm sick to death of those songs now. I feel like I don't even know what they sound like...after yesterday's marathon ending at 4am...listening and re-listening and adjusting EQ and compression, it better like this? Wait, no, this sounds better...let me play it in the upstairs on my iPod headphones...damn this mix sucks, I need to pan this harmony more...hmm, sounds a bit flat in the car stereo, better bump up the hi's and lo's...
On and on and on I HATE the mastering part because I suck at it.
And I noticed last night when it was too late to do anything that I forgot to chop off some long annoying silences at the end of a few tracks, so that sucks.
In the end it was a really good experience and I'm really happy that it got me off my ass to create some new things which I normally would not have (I like about half of what I did, the other half embarrasses me...songs like "You Dance with Old Ladies" with lyrics that were clearly written in desparation very late one night with a rhyming dictionary.)

I thank cortex or Miko for alerting me to RPM, I can't recall who posted about it.

I'm lying here so exhausted and wanting to nap but I'm wired and the whole thing feels so anti-climactic. What do we do now?
That's why I'm raving like a lunatic.
And the last thing I want to do is play music right now but I have to play guitar and scream harmonies at yet another twice-weekly loud rehearsal for my brother's band tonight and playing Thursday March 8th at the Gladstone in Toronto [/shameless plug].
posted by chococat at 11:54 AM on March 1, 2007

Damn, I thought I was the only one who did the mix-down, run to your CD player, then go to the neighbor's stereo, then listen to it in the computer, then in a car and by the end be utterly depressed, not wanting to ever have to record myself again and definitely not wanting to try yet another mix of the same song.

I kinda thought you guys just turned the machine on, played perfect first takes and then just mixed it in a second. It's a relief to hear that I'm not the only one. Now, at least in your case it's worth it and by the end you have very good songs. Imagine you did all that and ended up with songs like mine, man. It's demoralizing.
posted by micayetoca at 12:08 PM on March 1, 2007

One more thing, chococat: are you going to eventually post all those songs (even You Dance with Old Ladies) the easy way or do I have to bribe my man cortex to threaten to ban you if you don't?
posted by micayetoca at 12:11 PM on March 1, 2007

Could I humbly suggest that we prefer with one tag - rpmchallenge seems to be the more popular option - so that all the contributions can be tracked in one place?

All the dirt on my completed album in a post on the most relevant of my personal weblogs. In my last post on the inproject blog of the RPM website (which, as Cortex pointed out to me the other day, does twelve things at once, but they're all badly done) I said something to the effect that I'd upgraded my opinion of my album from "unlistenable" to "practically unlistenable." I'm going to post a handful of the less offensive material to Music, but not everything (because I am a nice person).
posted by nanojath at 12:18 PM on March 1, 2007

Here's a song that I placed on Music (and recently tagged rpmchallenge because I completely forgot). Here's a zip file of the album.

This was a fun experience. There are some real songs, some that I'll probably tweak a bit, and some that are there to fill up the 35 minutes (or whatever it was), but most of those I like so I left them on. There were a few recording techniques I wanted to try and didn't get around to (one of them is the dummy head technique; we have a mannequin, I just need to record when everyone is awake so it doesn't have to be straight in), so I'm a little disappointed in that, but it's something I can live with. I think I finished this around the 21st or something. I've been busy with various things, so I just haven't had a lot of time to think about the album since I finished it. The whole experience felt a lot like when a friend of mine and I would get together for a lost weekend of recording, except there was nothing to get lost with and no friends that could play on the album. It had that loose, write-as-you-record quality, though. I'm happy with it for the time being and that's all that really matters now. Oh, and it turned out way more country than I intended it to be in the beginning.

I think everyone's songs that I've heard are great and I wanted to say congratulations to everyone who entered, not only those that finished. If I wouldn't have been on a four-year-or-so recording jag, I'm guessing it wouldn't have been finished before this morning without frantic calls to the boss that I would be in late if at all.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:29 PM on March 1, 2007

This really was a lot of fun. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out...I've been describing it as an unholy combination of Coil, Massive Attack, and Yann Tiersen.

I would have liked to have done a lot more guitar work and maybe take a stab at some vocals, but I don't think I ever would have been satisfied, and would have become too bogged down to complete the challenge.

And I swear, that 10-minute experimental track at the end of the album is an integral component of the project, and not just a cheap attempt to come in over the 35-minute mark.
posted by malocchio at 1:13 PM on March 1, 2007

I guess I have to be the first to say that I failed, utterly and completely, to record even one song during the month of February.

Not. one. song.

It is truly inspiring, though, to hear that so many people stuck with it and turned out finished projects!
Maybe March will prove to be more (creatively) productive for me...
posted by dan g. at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2007

and to record a dub version of Bad Religion's "American Jesus.

Um, drezdn, please can I hear this?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:50 PM on March 1, 2007

Goodnewsfortheinsane, I will post it to music as soon as I finish it.
posted by drezdn at 2:07 PM on March 1, 2007

i got mine done... (music's not up yet) ... i was effectively done on the 9th, but it took me about a week and a half to realize it
posted by pyramid termite at 2:25 PM on March 1, 2007

i forgot, that first link doesn't work ... the one criticism i have of rpm is that they use some screwy software on their web site
posted by pyramid termite at 2:28 PM on March 1, 2007

Dan G - allow me to be the second, although I didn't sign up because I knew February was gonna be ridiculously busy for me! Might give it a go for March just for the sake of it since I'll have my weekends back this month!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:32 PM on March 1, 2007

Ultrasweet, drezdn, I'm looking forward to it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:39 PM on March 1, 2007 a month where my entire work and personal life were cranked to 11 and there was very little time for creative pursuits.

I had the same thing happen, but I'm made of weaker stuff. Maybe next year.
posted by danb at 4:14 PM on March 1, 2007

Oh hell yes. More DJ Dialtone and more Chococat!

Although I don't think drezdn has ever forgiven me for paying for a Scarring Party cd in Chuck E. Cheese tokens even though he told me it was okay.
posted by hindmost at 6:41 PM on March 1, 2007

Fortunately, it's not about cranking out a better album.
posted by Miko at 8:00 PM on March 1, 2007

Here's today's NPR story on the completed challenge, by the way.

Warning: if you listen to this, it's highly likely that the Poo Poo Platters' chorus of "Rocket Mannnnn-unh" is going to echo in your head for the remainder of the day.
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on March 1, 2007

I got all busy with the day job & whatnot but I'll try to post a song or 2 this week. Promise.
None of them will be a capella tunes about tally-whackers though, sorry folks.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:45 PM on March 1, 2007

Listed as done: "666 User(s)"

RPM Challenge = SATAN's Art Project!!!

I am now glad that I chose to focus my time this month on old material, rather than generating a whole bunch of new stuff.

But I still like the general idea for these sorts of things, and hope I'll be able to contribute next year (or if another good one comes up sooner...).
posted by sparkletone at 11:37 PM on March 1, 2007

The guys from Dome could crank out a better album in under a week than everyone of the rpmchallenge entries could in a month.

the only problem with that is, you'd have to go to art school for 4 years to like it
posted by pyramid termite at 5:53 AM on March 2, 2007

Although I don't think drezdn has ever forgiven me for paying for a Scarring Party cd in Chuck E. Cheese tokens even though he told me it was okay.

Hindmost, I thought it was hilarious, I still even have the tokens around my apartment somewhere, as I can't figure out a good way to part with them.
posted by drezdn at 6:17 AM on March 2, 2007

I also wanted to mention, if anyone wants a free copy of the album with artwork, hit me up with your address (email is in the profile) and I'll mail you one.
posted by drezdn at 6:45 AM on March 2, 2007

Nope. Didn't finish. Did even more experimenting than usually. Didn't technically finish any of the songs... or record them for that matter.

posted by defenestration at 6:59 AM on March 2, 2007

I still even have the tokens around my apartment somewhere, as I can't figure out a good way to part with them.

All you have to do is organize a Mefi Meetup at Chuck E. Cheese Milwaukee. I'm sure someone has a birthday that needs celebrating.
posted by hindmost at 9:18 AM on March 2, 2007

i am proud to report that i did indeed finish my album. it is a stunning work of emotional depth plumbing the far reaches of the creative impulse. shunning traditional approaches, it defies existence, opting instead for a visionary avoidance of technique, tonality, originality, and listenability. the use of conceptualized technology and never-before-imagined media reflect the bold genious inherent in its production. i'm really fucking glad you like it.
posted by quonsar at 11:10 AM on March 2, 2007 [2 favorites]

Alright Burhanistan, which one are you? Bruce Gilbert or Graham Lewis? Also, if I may be so bold, why did Wire suck so much in the late 80s and early 90s. I mean, I know the whole E/rave culture thing was going on, and you had to compete with the idiocy of Happy Mondays, but you really sounded like a flaccid penis being smacked against a brick wall.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:00 PM on March 2, 2007

My girlfriend and I started a band, Hep Kitty, specifically for RPM. Alas, we did not finish the album, but we recorded a couple silly songs. I'll post one this weekend.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:02 PM on March 2, 2007

I'm with sleepy pete. Wire was great for their first three albums (and I consider them as one of my many influences), but I saw them on their first reunited tour (around '87, I guess), and I can't find words strong enough to convey the mighty suckage. One of the most disappointing shows ever.
posted by malocchio at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2007

This is as good an excuse for my first metatalk comment as any. Hi! I too finished the RPM Challenge, and will hopefully be making my first posts to music.metafilter sometime this weekend. Much thanks again to goodnewsfortheinsane for the link - I probably would never have heard about the challenge without it. It's been great fun, and I've learned so much.
posted by Ira.metafilter at 3:10 PM on March 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

I finished mine and got it in before the deadline.

It feels like a win.
posted by First Post at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2007

The Global RPM Listening Party is scheduled for the 30th. If you can't come to Portsmouth, host your own! There are a few listed already - Denver, Seattle and the Twin Cities - and anyone can organize one in their own location. Even if you didn't enter an album, you can go to the parties just to support the musicians.
posted by Miko at 3:38 PM on March 6, 2007

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