Doubtful I can get my "compilation of 19th century banjo tunes" release ready in time for bandcamp Friday; the tension as always is between "Make it sound as good as I can" and "It's good enough, stop faffing about and just *release* the thing"


Oh, good deal - I had gotten it in my head that I had wasted a week and that this Friday was , but there’s still a whole ‘nother week. I might pull it off after all!

Had to throw out another handful of tracks that are just too noisy, and I think I've got my final set of tracks selected and ordered. Total running time: 19:22, which doesn't feel like a lot considering I began the process with probably about two hours' worth of audio... but considering that most if it was from one-off ad hoc phone video clips (versus carefully mic'd and leveled recordings) it's pretty good.

Project is definitely into "Wow, I'm getting pretty tired of listening to this" territory now.

Gotta see if I can use FFMPEG to automate adding a bit of silence at the end of each track

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...concatenating audio is trivially easy with sox as long as both files have the same sample rate and number of channels:

sox file1.ext file2.ext outfile.ext

(You can also use sox to generate silence:

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I think my EP of collected older recordings might be done?

I'm listening to it all the way through on various devices to see if the overall loudness feels right *and* more or less consistent from track to track and I think it's pretty good for the uneven hodgepodge that it is. Might goose one or two tracks a tiny bit with Audacity's limiter but that's about it.

13 tracks, 19:38 running time.

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I've heard mixed things about DistroKid but seeing as this is more of a vanity project than a "I'm gonna be the hot new thing on Apple Music" endeavor, I'm going to give it a shot for a year... Especially since they gave me a 35% discount when I abandoned the signup process yesterday.

*immediate* stumbling block: They're very cagey about public domain music, which all of the songs on this project are, unambiguously (none more recent than 1886). They don't really have a solution, saying "call yourself the songwriter but use first name: Traditional and last name: Music" which is some dystopian bullshit, but at least they acknowledge it and provide a workaround.

In my 19th century niche I don't really anticipate any problems (other than, perhaps, their acoustic fingerprint matching algorithms flagging my stuff because it sounds exactly like somebody else's low-tuned solo fretless banjo recordings of the same tunes, which has happened to me on youtube at least once)

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Reluctantly axed one more track from the project, the original recording was clean but just too hot - Probably recorded before I was clued in to the fact that you can and should leave yourself a *lot* more headroom when recording digitally. (Analog habits die hard.)

And, in general, percussive spikes are a bit of an issue with banjo; it is not an instrument known for its dynamics.

On the plus side, I burned a copy to old-school audio CD and it sounds pretty damn good on a real stereo, all factors considered.

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Went back to the well and found two more tracks, so it's back to 13 overall.

With the help of some folks over at I was able to programmatically sort the tracks into two theoretical sides of nearly-identical duration (within four seconds of each other.) A bit silly considering this will almost certainly only ever be distributed digitally, but I wanted to reserve the right to get myself a lathe cut vanity EP someday.

With that, I *really* need to stop screwing around, finish up my liner notes, and get this ready to drop for . :boucherbanjo:

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Alright! Ready to mash that publish button at midnight.

(I am almost certainly going to fuss more with the cover image between now and then, and I would love to put together an honest to goodness PDF "booklet" but I do need to do actual work today)

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Really quite excited to release this, the music itself is a little bit warmed over for me but releasing a finished, cohesive, sort-of professional EP/album has been a daydream pretty much since I started taking electric guitar lessons 30+ years ago. It’s taken a long time to put a lot of pieces together in terms of equipment, recording experience (not that Keedysville is very well recorded), mixing software and experience (long way to go there) and getting the hell out of my own way... so, a bit of a milestone that represents more than just the songs on this release.

It’s also a way for me to maybe put the Antietam Early Banjo Gathering to bed five years after its demise... the five times I was lucky enough to attend are some of the best memories of my life, and I still miss it a lot... but it’s not coming back.

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In what world is this cool, useful, or profitable to me? I guess if someone uses your music Instagram sticks a little badge in the corner, but being instagram you know damn well they're not going to make it a link somebody can follow to actually buy music from me

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Album uploaded to , so in theory it will be available most places online (except Spotify) within a week or so.

My expectations are low and I'm vaguely distrustful of the vast distribution machinery, but it's a pretty affordable year-long experiment.


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One more listen through before I go eat something and have a beer (or perhaps a whiskey) to celebrate and wait for midnight.

Transients sound pretty harsh on small speakers, which I think is partly a banjo problem in general but also definitely a recording quality/headroom problem. The one track that was actually recorded with a good mic and interface definitely sounds better.

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Actually taking the time to cleanup and purge various project files that are no longer needed, taking a proper backup of my ipad, etc.

I still have to deal cleanup in , which is an excellent DAW but could really use an update to take advantage of iOS' newer file management capabilities. That's really a larger project unto itself, I have 3 years' worth of audio projects in various states of completion and they're all in one directory

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