March 5, 2005

"You waited yesterday, I didn't come your way." - RIDE

Dear techies: Help! I have isolated a problem that has plagued my ripping of audio from cassettes to my hard drive. Somewhat beknownst to me, but I didn't realize it was a consistent problem until I was working with music I was very familiar with (stuff I wrote, duh). Anyhow, when I run an RCA-to-1/8th out of my tape deck into the microphone input of my laptop/soundcard, the sound in the left channel is decreased or just not delivered. The same happens when I run an 1/8th-to-1/8th out of my cassette deck or tuner's headphone jack (via 1/4 to 1/8th adapter on the sending side of the equation). I don't think this has to do with my recording software's settings (I use CDWave, a freeware app, on advice of digital entertainment enthusiast Cable Elk). I believe this to be true because I've tried them all, different sound qualities, stereo/mono, bit rates, etc. What is odd is I can see the problem visually manifested in the LED display on my tape deck. No matter which cable set up I am using, both the left and right channel LEDs are pumping normally with the music right up until the point at which I plug the 1/8th inch plug into the microphone input on my laptop. When I do this, the LEDs for the left channel pin at 0 db, and don't vacillate. My question is, how can I fix this, or what other recording scheme can I use to get precious and rare audio off my cassettes and onto my hard drive? Leave solutions in the comments section, or email me at the link at right. The sucky thing is that I know this has effected the rips I did in compiling the Kam Fong comp, as well as all the ripping I've worked on in the last 15 months. When you listen to a stereo recording a find half the picture missing, it is a real drag. I am fairly certain this has also plagued the rips I've done from vinyl, but I'd have to set that up again to see, which I don't feel like doing until I take care of the cassette issue. So that is that.

Loyal readers may recall one very hung-over post I wrote last fall, in which the only thing that was saving me from the throbbing in my head that was trying to kill me was listening to Ambulance LTD's "Stay Where You Are" on repeat. If I had to pick a favorite track from 2003 (when I think the Ambulance EP came out) this might be it. Anyway, now there is a video for the song. I have to say, I don't really like any of Ambulance's other songs. I try and try but I don't. But I like this one. The version of the song used for the video is different from the one I have from the EP and record, either re-recorded or edited and remixed. It cuts out the ambient beginning stuff and boosts and clarifies the vocal and trims the end. Which I think is unfortunate, but its still an awesome song. Check it out.

Here is a Philly Inquirer article about the death of alternative rock radio in the city. I have yet to read it, but will get around to it before you do. But even without reading it I can say I don't really care. There is great indie rock radio servicing Philly from Drexel University's WKDA and Princeton University's WPRB (if you've a half-decent antenna). And then there is the Interweb. So I don't think the Earth will stop rotating if 25-year-old retail clerks can no longer hear 17 minutes of ads and 43 minutes of commercial alternative rock every hour on their Dumonts. They probably weren't listening anyway. Screw you, commercial radio.

Devoted yesterday to driving around listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's record the Monkey sent me, and today driving around listening to the ... Trail of Dead joint he sent me. I like both a great deal, but I have to say the TOD is not as ridiculously prog and over the top as I thought it would be. It is actually kind of bland relative to ST&C. But there are good songs and good hooks and big giant rock drums. So I dig that. Even so, I still am put off by the tunes with hokey vocals. That really can kill a song for me.

An astonishing curatorial feat
. I am sure this is totally unlicensed, but goddamn!

Hey, how about a song? This is one of my favorite electronic tunes, I discovered it soley because I think it was released on Thrill Jockey, the CD had that sort of Thrill Jockey digipak with the minimal design that really stood out on the rack of CDs in WESU. Oh the glory days of having nothing better to do than stand in a dimly lit room and stare at a wall of CDs and just look around until something jumped out at you. Anyway, this jumped out at me. It is Oval's "Do While (Symbol)" from the record 94 Diskont. The song is very mellow and hypnotic, and I used to put it on while I was going to sleep in the '90s. How quaint. Enjoy.

That is all.

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