File Under: Finished. December 30, 2007 7:59 PM   Subscribe

It's here: the Metafilter Music Collaboration.

[Raw tracks available here!]

Statistics: 26 parts submitted by sixteen people from four countries (including karlos the jackal's wife, and myself).

First of all, of course, an immense thank you to all those who participated. This has been lots of fun - and I know how this sounds, but the enthusiasm really was overwhelming. What have I learned? Well, that Mefites are a creative bunch, that's for sure. And that a project of this size and diversity isn't exactly a cakewalk to manage. The audio part wasn't too difficult - I'm reasonably used to handling large amounts of tracks for the more obsessive of my own projects. Nor did the diversity of recording methods and locations pose any unassailable obstacles - a little reverb goes a long way.

The most challenging part for me was simple administration: keeping track of parts, usernames, files, machines, versions... (Right now I'm cowering in fear of having forgotten to include or credit someone after all. I really hope I didn't.)

Once all the parts were was in place I spent a considerable amount of time just comping everything together and selecting which parts of which contributions I could highlight at what point in the song. Over time I kind of started obsessing over giving everyone "equal time", but then I realized that that was rather naive and probably wouldn't render an enjoyable mix, at which point I dropped that strategy in favour of mixing just as I would a more standard rock song, with some weird bits thrown in here and there for good measure. To my knowledge, I have included everyone after all, in one way or another - you may have to hunt for some parts before you notice them, though.

For instance, at some point it became apparent that I wasn't going to have the luxury of a multitrack drum part. I was sent some drums however, but with them being only 1 or 2 tracks (mono or stereo) it wasn't going to do much good for keeping an already crowded mix uncluttered. So I ended up programming a simple drum track myself, augmenting it with other people's stuff (in the case of the drum parts, mostly in the late verses leading up to the choruses).

So kill your darlings, and all that. By the end I had about a few dozen plans of what might work in the context of a mix, but then, with the thing about 80% done, my computer broke down. Luckily almost, I'd say. Because by the time I installed a new system (it was the same problem as back then and it turns out it was probably a faulty motherboard IDE controller after all) I could finish it with a clear mind. You can only tinker for so long, and I had to relent at some point and just call it a song.

There are some little things I still kind of regret: given the time - and a less crowded mix - I might have more emphasized the wonderful call-and-response interplay between micayetoca's melodica and cabingirl's violin in the last verse, for instance; or punctuate the song with more of the "small percussion" parts (two tambourines, a pandeiro and a shaker), or allowing more room for the more outlandish instruments such as karlos the jackal's tremoloa, verysleeping's singing saw or herrdoktor's wonderfully abrasive Moog noises. If anything, I would have allowed more breathing room for the various backing vocals, too, which were truly brilliant in their personality and diversity.

But water under the bridge. In the end I just closed my eyes and mixed a song, and in the process I probably sold a lot of people short. I hope you don't mind - I had a lot of fun doing this, and I hope you like it. Thanks again to the contributors, to those who egged us on, and to cortex, who I understand will be making the raw multitracks available soon for possible remix purposes.

Happy new year.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) to MetaFilter Music at 7:59 PM (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:04 PM on December 30, 2007

Terrific! Will this be happening again any time soon?
posted by Corduroy at 8:07 PM on December 30, 2007

posted by The Deej at 8:12 PM on December 30, 2007

So great!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:12 PM on December 30, 2007

Hey that was really good y'all I really enjoyed that. What a fun song choice.
posted by nola at 8:27 PM on December 30, 2007

This is beyond awesome! Great job everyone!
posted by at 8:32 PM on December 30, 2007

It certainly was fun. Next time (if there is a next time) I'll see if I can record the drums better.

Still, I played it for the family and they really liked it.

Thanks for making it happen!
posted by jazon at 8:35 PM on December 30, 2007

This is a great cover, guys. You done awesome.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:01 PM on December 30, 2007

This is wonderful!
posted by rhapsodie at 9:32 PM on December 30, 2007

It's the beginning of MeFiMu as spiderwire would like to know it,

And I feel fine.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:10 PM on December 30, 2007

This is awesome.
posted by Sailormom at 10:14 PM on December 30, 2007

Loved it! nice job goodnewsfortheinsane.
posted by special-k at 10:27 PM on December 30, 2007

Great job! I'm feeling happier and shinier as I type this.
posted by heyho at 10:52 PM on December 30, 2007

Congrats and well done, gnfti.
posted by Cranberry at 12:01 AM on December 31, 2007

Awesomeness all 'round.
posted by mumkin at 12:12 AM on December 31, 2007

posted by sveskemus at 1:33 AM on December 31, 2007

Oh, and I can't wait to get my hands on the individual tracks for remixing!
posted by sveskemus at 1:44 AM on December 31, 2007

Wait no more, sveskemus. Here they are.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:50 AM on December 31, 2007

Our Dutch correspondent reports that not all of the tracks got uploaded last night, and so I have not actually got all of them available at that link yet. We'll get it repaired as soon as possible.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:06 AM on December 31, 2007

So what's the next song? Hmm?

When can we start?

Can I play?


posted by potch at 7:30 AM on December 31, 2007

posted by jeversol at 7:39 AM on December 31, 2007

Once all the tracks are accounted for, I'd be happy to seed a torrent of said files.
posted by potch at 7:51 AM on December 31, 2007

Chapeau! I'm a picky SOB and I genuinely enjoyed that.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:05 AM on December 31, 2007

Sounds like a crowded crazy mess, in a good way.
As far as the raw files go, is there any way we can get the individual users' actual complete takes as they uploaded them? I could be wrong, as I've only just listened to a few of the "raw" files, but it seems that they are solo'd tracks of everyone's edited parts as they appear in the finished song.
Does that make sense?
posted by chococat at 8:16 AM on December 31, 2007

posted by spiderwire at 9:32 AM on December 31, 2007

Oh, how fun! Perk of my morning, by far. I hope this happens again.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:20 AM on December 31, 2007

Loving that singing saw.
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:57 AM on January 1, 2008

chococat, they're not soloed from the project, or shouldn't be at least. I have no way to check right now, but most of them are the original file submitted to me. Some were truncated to 16 bits with no other alterations. Maybe a handful were converted from stereo to mono (throwing out the right channel) because both channels had the same content. Then there are my drum tracks.

And then you yourself are an exception because you submitted five (I think) guitar tracks, which I indeed comped together as a stereo mix because I kind of doubted anyone would want to tinker with the different takes to that level of detail. If you want me to put up the original five anyway no problem, let me know, and if you can give another example of where this happens then I'll look into it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:55 AM on January 1, 2008

No no, that's fine. But I had an idea for a version and I wanted to use an alternate vocal. I only checked one other vocal track which seemed to start a verse or two into the song so I (wrongly) assumed that the uploaded tracks were already edited instead of being complete takes. Sorry about that, I'll dig around some more. And no, what you've uploaded of me is more than enough. Thanks again!
posted by chococat at 10:00 AM on January 1, 2008

Brilliant work, gnfti & co.!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:51 AM on January 1, 2008

It is the We Are the World of MeFi, except good.
posted by The Deej at 4:16 PM on January 1, 2008

The few missing tracks are now up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:51 PM on January 1, 2008

This thread deserves more comments, I love it.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 12:44 PM on January 2, 2008

I've loved the insanity of this from the beginning, and hearing the final result I'm more than delighted. I'm one of those that didn't quite like the original song, but I wasn't going to let that stop me, and it's really cool that so many people participated.

And gnfti, what are the four countries you mentioned?
posted by micayetoca at 8:33 PM on January 3, 2008

Canada, Netherlands, United States and Venezuela.

Two or three Canadians I think (I could check later if anyone cares), Netherlands and Venezuela one each, rest US.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:29 AM on January 4, 2008

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