Monday, December 22, 2008

Oíche Suaimhneach, Fir Caoin

Oíche Suaimhneach, Fir Caoin

I had picked up Loreena McKennitt's album, A Midwinter Night's Dream, back in October and enjoyed her renditions of some of the classic Christmas tunes. In particular, I really enjoyed God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, which was actually based on one of her previous songs, Marco Polo.

The album was also blessed with a few instrumental versions of some of the songs, including God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The temptation to produce a Christmas mashup with this instrumental was brewing... I just needed something else to go with it.

It wasn't until the end of November when I stumbled upon the Mediaeval Baebes song and I immediately thought that this was the song that I needed. I wasn't able to start working on it until the middle of December, but I had some solid ideas, so the little time I had in front of my music production software between Christmas shopping sprints was very productive.

I felt that using an Irish/Gaelic title seemed more suitable for this multi-cultural sounding mashup. I had to do a little research on Irish/Gaelic phrase/dictionary web sites to figure out an appropriate and (hopefully) correctly phrased title... Google and Babel Fish still don't have an Irish/Gaelic translator.

I determined that one of the words in the song Umlahi was "suaimhneach", which was a difficult task since I couldn't find lyrics for the song and had to rely on what I was hearing and my limited knowledge (i.e. none) of Gaelic. I found out that suaimhneach means peaceful, quiet, or tranquil... which was a good starting point for naming this mashup.

Based on the word peaceful, I thought an appropriate title for this mashup in the English language would be Peaceful Night, Gentlemen. So after a little more research on the Irish/Gaelic phrase/dictionary sites, I determined the rest of the words and phrasing and came up with Oíche Suaimhneach, Fir Caoin.

If anyone reading this has a good understanding of Irish/Gaelic, I'd be interested in hearing your interpretation of my translation as I understand that context, region of influence, etc., can produce different interpretations of phrases.

I hope you enjoy this little Xmashup. And I hope you and your family enjoy a peaceful holiday season. Otherwise, have a satisfactory non-denominational capitalist wintertime gift-giving season.

Oíche Suaimhneach, Fir Caoin
Mediaeval Baebes - Umlahi
Loreena McKennitt - God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Abdelli version)
Loreena McKennitt - God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (Instrumental)
6:05 / 256 kbps / 11.3 MB

Download the MP3 file here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Won, I Won, I Won!

Morgan Page AudioPorn Central Trivia Contest

It's not everyday, nor every year for that matter, that I win a contest or lottery, especially one that requires reading, memory, a little Internet digging, and answering more than 1 question correctly. I have enough trouble remembering anything that happened over 3 days ago, so remembering a week's worth of posts by someone is a challenge. ;)

Thank goodness I found Morgan Page's VIP Blogger Series interesting and fairly short (thanks Morgan), so it was fun to read and (fairly) easy to remember. Ok, I'll admit I had to go back to a couple of postings to refresh my memory, but the effort paid off in the end.

The guys at Nettwerk had contacted me the day after the contest closing with the good news and to obtain my shipping info, and I had the prize package in my hands the following day. A big thanks to Lex and Brian at Nettwerk for their very courteous and prompt service (with a little help from the fast delivery service of Canada Post).

My kid immediately swiped the Peterson Tuners cap with the cool strobe logo on the front (mind you, I don't look good in baseball caps, so I was okay with that)... but no one else was getting the T-shirt! As for the StroboSoft software-based strobe tuner... it looks like my kid's going to start playing electric guitar very soon, so he and his friends are going to need to be tuned up.

I look forward to seeing additional informative and fun blogger series like this at APC, as well as other cool contests (who doesn't like free stuff?).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Jig is Never Up - EP

The Jig is Never Up

Shortly after completing my second mashup back in March 2008, I was at a shopping mall with a couple of colleagues for lunch, and a Rae Stickly tune was being played over the mall speakers. We chuckled about doing a mashup with this song. But then I actually sat down to try to produce one... trying a few different songs with it, but nothing really seemed to work well enough so I put it aside.

Eight months later, an opportunity presented itself that allowed me to resurrect that old project. Actually, I scrapped the original project file and started fresh... I decided to try a different approach to this one, and I think it worked out well... well enough to create a second mix. The first original version has a pop-folk flavor to it and became part of a compilation album for Audio Porn Central, while the second mix has more of a rock-folk flavor and is only available as part of this EP release.

As a special treat (from my usual offerings), the zip file download features 320 kbps MP3 files and a special instrumental bonus track.

The Jig is Never Up - EP

Zip file: Download from SendSpace

01 - The Jig is Never Up
String Cheese Incident - Valley of the Jig
Rae Stickly - (Something's) Never Up

02 - The Jig is Never Up (Drunken Sailor Mix)
String Cheese Incident - Valley of the Jig
Tears for Beers - Drunken Sailor
Rae Stickly - (Something's) Never Up

03 - The Jig is Never Up (Drunken Instrumental) [Bonus Track]
String Cheese Incident - Valley of the Jig
Tears for Beers - Drunken Sailor

Zip File Details:
31.3 MB zip file.
320 kbps MP3 files.
Bonus track - The Jig is Never Up (Drunken Instrumental).
Album artwork in two popular resolutions.
Track notes.

Or listen to the not-as-good-quality-as-the-zip-file versions below...

The Jig is Never Up
4:28 / 192 kbps / 6.2 MB

The Jig is Never Up (Drunken Sailor Mix)
4:42 / 192 kbps / 6.5 MB

Note: The instrumental version is only available in the zip file download.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Little Piece About Death (A Rockoween Love Story)

A Little Piece About Death

I originally had no intention of producing a Halloween mashup this year... But yet, here's one now.

I often drive my son to school on my way to work in the morning if he's ready to leave when I am. And I often let him play his tunes from his iPod on the way to his school. After all, it's a good way to hear what he's listening to, and to hear what teenagers like to listen to these days.

It was the 2nd week into October, and my son was listening to tunes from the Sixx:A.M. album, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack (he read the book this past summer). It had some songs with good instrumentals and guitar work, but in some of those songs, instead of singing in between, it was quiet instrumentals with monologue-style speaking. There was another long song that my son played, which I originally thought was part of the Sixx:A.M. album, but turned out to be by Avenged Sevenfold. It had some interesting change-ups and time changes, but had singing throughout with pretty much no instrumental break from the singing.

After listening to these songs almost every weekday morning for 1-1/2 weeks, it suddenly hit me that some of these songs need to be merged together into a Halloween style mashup, with a touch of Oingo Boingo for good measure. And using the magical mashup technologies available to producers today, the Sixx:A.M. guitar riffs could now be accompanied by singing, and the Avenged Sevenfold song could now be accompanied by some instrumental breaks... in the same song.

By the time I realized this, there was only 2 weeks until Halloween... I had a lot of work ahead in order to pull this off in time for Halloween, but the ideas had obviously already been stewing and it was just a matter of getting those ideas working for me.

A Little Piece About Death (A Rockoween Love Story)
Avenged Sevenfold - A Little Piece of Heaven
Sixx:A.M. - Life After Death
Sixx:A.M. - Intermission
Oingo Boingo - No One Lives Forever
Excerpts from Darwin Chamber's 3D Halloween Sound FX 2006 album
8:21 / 192 kbps / 11.7 MB

Download the MP3 file here.

Warning: Language advisory.

Monday, September 29, 2008

King of the Road

King of The Road - Mashup Industries Release
[A Mashup Industries Release]

Back in August, Clivester from Mashup Industries approached me about contributing a song to a Dean Martin mashup tribute album they were putting together. How could I say no? Dino was a cool entertainer extraordinaire... he sang, he danced, he acted, he was funny, he had swagger, and much much more.

My contribution to the album is a track called Swing 'Till Somebody Loves You, which is a mashup of Dean Martin - You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You and Thomas Dolby - The Ability to Swing.

King of the Road - A Bastard Pop Tribute to Dean Martin was just released by Mashup Industries this past weekend, with 14 unique mashup tracks that are very reminiscent of a variety show.

Listen to or download it from Mashup Industries.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guide To Labeling Your Mashups

About six weeks ago, Paul Stix, the fine proprietor and operator of, approached me about writing an article regarding the proper labeling of MP3 mashup files. Little did he know that I'm a software developer by profession, and I've reviewed and created my share of programming guidelines, so this was right up my alley. The only difference was that I now had the opportunity to add a little creative flair to this somewhat dry subject matter.

Every good article requires research, so I turned to Internet articles, blogs, and other ramblings for some initial insight to the dilemma. Besides the huge collection of MP3 mashup files I've come across in the past few years, which provided a good range of poor examples and excellent examples, I reviewed the music filenames found in P2P or torrent downloads to get a good idea of how other people were naming their music files. I also looked into how a few active DJ's named and organized their own digital music files for some insight into how other industry professionals, who needed to access their music quickly on a regular basis, were naming their music files.

The approach to the article was not to create a standard in an already established industry, but to provide a guideline that shows music/mashup producers the benefits of intelligently naming their music MP3 files and completing the ID3 tags, and conversely, showing the downfalls if they don't spend a little extra time doing so.

The result of this research is the ultimate and comprehensive Guide to Labeling Your Mashups, which can be found at

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Feedback Inside the Robots (Morekraft-Lessewerk Mix)

Feedback Inside the Robots

I had a couple of bad-weather days during my vacation, so I thought I'd pick a small mashup project to work on... Create a new mix of a mashup that I previously produced.

When I first released Feedback Inside the Robots back in March, I had received some good constructive feedback from some of my peers on the mashup forums. But I was a bit "done" with working on this particular mashup for the time being and I needed a break from it, so I put it aside for a rainy day.

I started thinking about it again when I heard it on the Ramdom Thoughts #114 show at the end of July, and I thought about some of the feedback I had received. I then got the idea for a new mix instead of tweaking the original since my ideas would significantly change the sound of the mashup.

You'll find the new mix a bit punchier, faster, much shorter, and there's a bit more Kraftwerk vocals injected. The album art was also slightly altered for the new mix.

The new mix still includes the few subtle excerpts from Robot Rock by Daft Punk and Robot Girl by Was (Not Was), but it also includes an excerpt from Computer World by Kraftwerk (robots... computers... I couldn't resist).

For your listening convenience, both the new mix and the original mashup are included in the divShare music players below.

For your download convenience, I've packaged up the original mashup and the new mix into a zip file that you can download (the link is below the music players).

Please let me know what you think about the new mix by leaving a comment.

Feedback Inside the Robots (Morekraft-Lessewerk Mix)
The Thompson Twins - Come Inside (Feedback Max Remix)
Kraftwerk - The Robots
5:11 / 192 kbps / 7.3 MB

Feedback Inside the Robots (Original)
The Thompson Twins - Come Inside (Feedback Max Remix)
Kraftwerk - The Robots
6:54 / 192 kbps / 9.6 MB

Download the EP single album as a zip file, which includes the new mashup mix, the original mashup, and the album art.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Playing on GJDN Radio

deConstruction of a Stigmata on GDJN Radio...
one night. two time zones.

My first mashup album, deConstruction of a Stigmata, will be aired on the Global DJ Network (GDJN) Internet radio on Thursday, July 31, 2008.

It will be played at 2 different times to accommodate evening listeners in Europe/UK, and evening listeners in North America.

Here's the play times...

1. Thurs July 31 at 10:00 PM BST (that's British Summer Time if you're wondering)

2. Thurs July 31 at 11:00 PM EDT

Simply go to the GDJN Community site at about 5 minutes before the appropriate play time. You will find the on-line radio box near the top. Click on the appropriate music player icon to launch the music stream in your favourite streaming music player.

No registration is required to listen to the radio, and there's a convenient shoutbox available to chat with members and guests.

Note: If you join the radio 2 hours before the first play time, you can enjoy The Smash Up (airs every Thursday from 8-10 PM BST [3-5 PM EDT]), which is 2 hours of mashup music from various other mashup producers.

You can also download your own free copy of the album on the deConstruction of a Stigmata blog page, as well as get details about the song tracks and a little background about the making of the album.

I hope you find this mashup album enjoyable.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

deConstruction of a Stigmata

deConstruction of a Stigmata - front
deConstruction of a Stigmata - back

Whew! This mashup project is finally done. I have to admit... it was quite the undertaking. It was 3 months in the making, if you include the date when I first started working on the Working Class Stigmata mashup, which was April 25, 2008.

The Working Class Stigmata mashup had spawned the idea of this opus-style mashup album, and after completing that mashup I had immediately continued to expand from it to create over 36 minutes of mashup music that flows from one song into the next. It's a collection of 10 tracks that are a culmination of 26 songs, which have been deconstructed, reconstructed, mixed, and mashed with each other, and the overall sound and style was governed by a very specific theme throughout.

Selection of the source songs for this project was fairly specific. I wanted songs where the lyrics or combined lyrics included some form of religious reference or connotation, and/or the combined names from the songs would create song titles meaningful to the progression of the album. I also wanted to include songs from artists that have had an influence on my musical interests.

Much of the music I really enjoy tends to have a lot of subtle backing instrumentals as it seems to add a lot of depth and layers to a song. If you change your focus within a song, you can hear a different rhythm, melody, or tone, and you end up hearing the song in a different way or it adds additional meaning or emotion to the song. One of my main focuses for this mashup album project was to try to incorporate those type of subtle backing instrumentals throughout the album, and hopefully introduce the same type of depth and layering that some of my favourite artists are so good at doing. After listening to this album, if you have any comments about my level of success in this attempt, please leave a comment for me.

There were some technical challenges to overcome. I did manage to hone a few skills (and then some). In particular, I improved my techniques for extracting vocals and other instrumental segments, and I think I've improved my musical arrangement and remixing abilities, which is more of an art than a skill. I certainly dealt with a lot of work around changing the keys of source songs to put them in the right key, as well as work with harmonizing keys.

Please, give it a listen and send me your comments. Comments let me know whether I'm going in the right direction with my work, or let me know what I can try to improve on, and can just simply affirm the goals and attempts of my work.

I'd like to thank a few people at GDJN and a couple of my colleagues and friends who acted as a sounding board for some of my draft segments, and whose feedback helped to keep my mashup work and goals in focus... you guys know who you are... Thanks guys, I really appreciate the time and effort you put towards it! Even my son got into the action and reluctantly provided some (apologetically) honest and useful feedback.

You can listen to the full album as a single continuous mix via the divShare player below, or download the single continuous mix as an MP3 file via the appropriate link below.

OR, you can download the zip file, which contains a folder with the 10 MP3 tracks from the album, the cover art in a couple of convenient sizes, and a text file with detailed track info. If you have an MP3 player that supports gapless album playback (such as iTunes and the iPod), ensure that you enable gapless album playback for this album if it doesn't pick it up from the ID3 tags... otherwise you'll get some undesirable results.

deConstruction of a Stigmata (Continuous Mix)
36:39 / 192 kbps / 50.6 MB

Download the continuous mix MP3 file here.

Download album as a zip file (52.7 MB)

deConstruction of a Stigmata - Song List

  1. God's on the Horn (1:25)
    OMD - Dazzle Ships
    Revolting Cocks - No Devotion
    The Sisters of Mercy - Ribbons

  2. O Lord, No Devotion? (Ain't No Heaven = Heaven) (5:37)
    Revolting Cocks - No Devotion
    Champion - No Heaven

  3. The Angel Divine (5:17)
    Massive Attack - Angel
    Yello - The Rhythm Divine
    Art of Noise - The Vacuum Divine
    Art of Noise - What Have You Done With My Body, God?

  4. Arrivée (2:45)
    Peter Gabriel - Passion
    Wooloomooloo - Jean Michel Jarre
    Sarah Brightman - Gothica

  5. Fleurs Soutenues du Mal (4:50)
    Sarah Brightman - Fleurs du Mal
    Laurie Anderson - Born, Never Asked
    Alan Parsons Project - The Fall of the House of Usher: ii Arrival

  6. Haven't We Met Your Soul Before (2:54)
    Peter Gabriel - Stigmata
    Timo Maas - Haven't We Met Before
    Massive Attack - What Your Soul Sings
    Ministry & Co Conspirators - Willie Stigmata
    Marianne Faithfull - Working Class Hero

  7. Working Class Stigmata (2:48)
    Ministry & Co Conspirators - Willie Stigmata
    Marianne Faithfull - Working Class Hero

  8. God's on the Horn... again (1:22)
    OMD - Dazzle Ships
    Peter Gabriel - Disturbed
    Timo Maas - Enter My World

  9. Sowing the Hopes and Prayers of God (3:44)
    Timo Maas - Enter My World
    Peter Gabriel - Of These, Hope
    Champion - The Plow
    Massive Attack - A Prayer for England
    OMD - Dazzle Ships
    Peter Gabriel - Disturbed

  10. You and Me, Eternally (5:57)
    Skinny Puppy - Haze
    OMD - 4-Neu

Total Running Time: 36:39
All song files are 192 kbps MP3 files.

Download album as a zip file (52.7 MB)

Cover Art - Front: Elements humbly borrowed from the "Tooth and Nail" movie poster and Peter Gabriel's "Passion - The Last Temptation of Christ" soundtrack album.

Cover Art - Back: Elements humbly borrowed from Peter Gabriel's "Passion - The Last Temptation of Christ" soundtrack album, plus original photo of a butterfly.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Angel Divine - Exclusive Ramdom Thoughts Release

It's been a while since I've posted anything here, again... But I've actually been working on that "grander idea" mashup I had mentioned in my last post. It's turned into a bit of an opus, as someone else has pointed out to me, and I'm making decently good progress. I should hopefully have it ready for release within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, DJ Useo from the Global DJ Network (of which I am an active member), approached me about providing a new mashup that would be released exclusively on the Ramdom Thoughts podcast, episode #111 on July 5, 2008. He was kindly producing a guest show for the podcast because dateable Scotty has been busy with his studies lately.

DJ Useo had given me fairly short notice, and I was currently in the middle of working on my opus. So instead of scrambling to produce a new mashup in a really short time, I thought I'd extract an excerpt from my opus, turn it into a single, and have that released exclusively on the Ramdom Thoughts podcast, as well as give you a little teaser of what's to be expected in the upcoming opus.

Here's the details for the mashup, and a link to the Ramdom Thoughts post where you can download the podcast as an MP3 or Ogg Vorbis file, or subscribe to the iTunes podcast...

The Angel Divine
Massive Attack - Angel
Yello - The Rhythm Divine
Art of Noise - The Vacuum Divine
Art of Noise - excerpt from "And What Have You Done With My Body, God?"
5:57 / 192 kbps / 8.3 MB

Available at Ramdom Thoughts #111 - mashups & remixes

Now available via direct download here, or for your listening convenience, try the divShare song player...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Working Class Stigmata


It's been a while since my last mashup. I had been working on a little vocal extraction project for someone else for a little bit. Then I had started working on a remix and a mashup project, but put those aside for another time in the future since they weren't quite working out as intended.

As I worked on this mashup, I was hit by a nifty idea that I could build around this mashup in the form of a 4 or 5 song gapless mini-album, or more like a long song that can be segmented into 4 or 5 shorter segments/songs... similar to the song The Fall of the House of Usher by The Alan Parsons Project on the Tales of Mystery and Imagination album.

Keeping this idea in mind, I proceeded to create this mashup as a single or (internet) radio edit, and left out certain elements that are more suited for the grander idea. Releasing this [iRadio Edit] version of the song may be a bit premature since I haven't actually started working on the grander idea yet, although the ideas and elements have been stewing in my head for a little while now, so I hope I can pull this off.

As a bit of technical insight into this song... The main instrumental mix is constructed of reversed audio samples of the deconstructed/reconstructed snippets and loops that I extracted from Working Class Hero, giving the mashup a more alternative and slightly industrial sound. You can't have a religious stigmata-like experience without having something going backwards, right?! But I won't be held responsible for any hidden images that you mind find in the album artwork for this mashup. ;)

Working Class Stigmata [iRadio Edit] v2
Ministry & Co Conspirators - Willie Stigmata
Marianne Faithfull - Working Class Hero
2:48 / 192 kbps / 3.9 MB

Download the MP3 file here.

NOTE: This is version 2 of the mashup, which has been tweaked with compression filters to reduce clipping effects on larger speakers or more powerful speaker systems (such as car stereo systems), and consequently, levels have been tweaked as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feedback Inside the Robots

Feedback Inside the Robots

The inspiration for this mashup came to me when I was listening to Come Inside by The Thompson Twins. At the 1:49 mark in the song, I heard the 4-measure sample of the intro from The Robots by Kraftwerk hidden as a faint background layer in the first lull of the song. I scoured the rest of the song for other Kraftwerk samples, and that was the only sample tucked away in the song. The sample was also left unaltered... Come Inside is slightly slower than The Robots, and the speed of the sample was left at its original speed. So the sample in the Thompson Twins song is actually slightly OOT (out of time) and slightly off beat in order to "fit in".

Of course, after hearing this short little Kraftwerk sample tucked away in a Thompson Twins song, I figured a full mashup was in order. Listen for a few subtle gems I've added in the form of short excerpts from Robot Rock by Daft Punk and Robot Girl by Was (Not Was). And I left the original Kraftwerk sample in the mashup, which you'll find at the 2:15 mark.

Feedback Inside the Robots
The Thompson Twins - Come Inside (Feedback Max Remix)
Kraftwerk - The Robots
6:54 / 192 kbps / 9.6 MB

Download the MP3 file here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Principle Look of Twin Lust #14


I have a list of songs I'd like to mashup, and this was not originally on that list. But when I came across it in my stack of CD singles and gave it a listen, it was an immediate must-do.

It turned out to be a bit of a challenge, though... I only had the experience of one mashup under my belt (maybe more like one-and-a-half mashups with the extended version of my first). And I didn't have an instrumental of the Enigma jazz mix. Nor did I have the acapella for the Diana Krall tune, so I extracted my own. And, of course, jazz can be a little loose when it comes to where some of the instrumental or vocals kick in, so I had to reconstruct some audio sounds to remove some clicks and fill in a few tiny gaps.

I also got a bit stuck on what to do for the mix on a small section, so I just put the project aside for several days while the songs stewed around in my head. Once I figured it out, I was quite happy with the end results. This is definitely not a dance/club mix, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

The Principle Look of Twin Lust #14
Enigma - Principles of Lust (Jazz Mix)
Enigma - Principles of Lust (Everlasting Lust Mix)
Diana Krall - The Look of Love
Aphex Twin - #14 (from "Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II")
Depeche Mode - I Want You Now
5:27 / 192 kbps / 7.6 MB

Download the MP3 file here.

WARNING: Maximum speed of this mashup is only 95 bpm -- Not intended for the dance floor.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thinking About Pumping Up the Volume


This was the first mashup I worked on while learning the music production software I had purchased. I included some voice extraction and other sound extraction tasks as well as applied a few other simple effects and techniques (especially working with automation paths) as part of the learning process.

I also discovered a bug with one of the VST plug-ins whereby an automation path for any of its custom parameters wouldn't stay locked to the audio clip, so if I moved the audio clip, the automation path wouldn't move with it, and I would have to reconstruct the automation path. Note to self... don't create automation paths for this VST plug-in until I'm almost done the edit, or I'm positively sure I'm not going to move the audio clip.

Part way through creating this mashup, I realized that a song by Yello would fit in well, but I was really liking the clean simple sound of the original mashup. So I decided to complete the original mashup and create a second extended version of the mashup.

I had completed and posted the 2 mashups on the MashupTown forum on Jan 26, 2008, inviting some critical feedback. I received some very good feedback with tips for improving the mashups, which I incorporated into the final edits.

Here's the details and album art for the mashups along with the DivShare embedded player for the MP3 files so you can listen to or download the songs...

Thinking About Pumping Up the Volume
Londonbeat - I've Been Thinking About You (The Eclipse Mix)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (Instrumental)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (7" U.S. Version)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (Bonus Beats)
4:33 / 192 kbps / 6.4 MB

Download MP3 file here.

Thinking About Pumping Up the Volume (Touched by Love Unreal Mix)
Londonbeat - I've Been Thinking About You (The Eclipse Mix)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (Instrumental)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (7" U.S. Version)
MARRS - Pump Up The Volume (Bonus Beats)
Yello - Unreal (from the album "The Eye")
5:39 / 192 kbps / 7.8 MB

Download MP3 file here.

If you're interested in listening to the original non-tweaked version to compare the before-and-after changes, here's a link to the file I have on my DivShare account:

Download/Listen to non-tweaked version of Thinking About Pumping Up the Volume

It All Started When...

Although I've been listening to mashups for a few years now (thanks goes to Mr. Sandman for introducing them to me), I just started producing my own mashups recently as of Jan 2008. Two months and two mashups later, I've determined that I do, in fact, enjoy both the artistic and technical aspects of producing mashups. I may not be very good at it right now, but I want to learn from anyone willing to offer feedback and tips, and I want to focus on producing good quality audio and mixes. The Internet mashup scene and forums have been helpful thus far as it appears to be a very supportive community for newbies and veterans alike. And now that I've decided to continue with this intriguing hobby, I've erected this blog to showcase my work.

But before I get into posting my work, I'm going to season this first blog entry with a dash of retrospect and a pinch of introspect (for anyone who dares to read on)... and then I'll get right into posting my first 2 (sorta 3) mashups that I completed these past couple of months.

So the question is, "Why did I start a hobby producing mashups? And why now?" The word now meaning now that I'm over 40-years of age (Yikes! I'm over that hill already!). My full-time gig is not related to the music industry whatsoever and I haven't worked in the music industry for over 20 years now (more on that later). I also haven't played a musical instrument for over 20 years, and I haven't done the bar/club scene for about 15 years now.

So what's the drive? I didn't get the bug for music production after I was introduced to mashups... it was actually long before then.

[Rewind back to my junior and senior high school days]

I started writing a little story here about my exposure to various musical influences in junior and senior high school that really didn't have any importance to me, and when I re-read it, I could hear "blah blah blah" echo in my head, so I deleted it and opted for a more concise and shorter paragraph...

I had listened to top-40 radio like most average junior/senior high school students at that time. I had played the trumpet in band course through my junior and senior high school years. I was a bit of a natural at it, and required very little practice to remain in first chair (most of the time), but I definitely was not a trumpet prodigy and I didn't have a desire to make it a career choice.

Obviously, I didn't catch any music bug from this.

It was my final year in high school and I was on a group trip to Europe with 19 fellow students (and 2 teacher escorts) as part of a school-supported trip. We were in Lisbon during the last couple of days in Europe, and a few of us had popped into a small music store. I thought I'd buy a tape for the flight back to Canada (I had one of those new innovative portable tape players the size of a brick). One tape caught my eye as I recognized the cover from my favorite uncle's record collection (y'know, those black vinyl platters that scratch easily and warp or melt in the sun, and you stick a needle on it while it's spinning slowly and it somehow played music). I thought my uncle was cool (he played in a local rock band, so he must have been cool), so I bought the tape. It was a tape of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe" by The Alan Parsons Project.

The first time I listened to it was on the flight home to Canada. I will admit, on a public blog, that for the first time in my life, I found the music so emotionally moving that it put tears in my eyes. Why weren't the radio stations playing this kind of music? From that point forward, I started buying albums and listening to the entire record to fully appreciate the artist's work.

I caught the music bug, but not the production bug.

It wasn't until a few months later that I made the connection regarding how influential the producer and/or engineer can be on an artist's music and album. I came across the "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd and realized there were some similarities on that album to some of The Alan Parsons Project albums. That's when I read that Alan Parsons was the engineer on the Pink Floyd album. Wow! Music wasn't all about the artist, although public perception believed it was.

[Fast forward a bit to my university days]

I needed some cash while going to university. My friend, Mr. Sandman, was doing some sub-contracted DJ'ing for local social events (well, actually, tape jockeying), and persuaded me to give it a try. It turned out to be a great part-time gig. Needless to say, I could dish out some beat mixes using tapes, and was known for popping off the acrylic window on the tape doors so I could slow down the drive wheel a bit with my finger to get the beats to mesh

But I wouldn't say I caught the music production bug at this time, either.

[Fast forward a few years]

I took a break from university, got a full-time job, met a girl who lived outside the box who introduced me to the truly non-mainstream music of that time (Severed Heads, Skinny Puppy, Jean-Michel Jarre, Devo, etc.) and some awesome parties, dropped the part-time DJ gig, and became rebellious for a couple of years. Some of her friends played music and sometimes jammed (MIDI keyboards and drums, guitar, etc.). I had a chance to plunk around on a keyboard a little bit during a couple of the jam sessions, but for some reason, I didn't have the urge to try my hand at learning to play.

[Fast forward a year or so]

It was time for me to get back on course with my education and career. I went back to university but changed my major to something that I felt was more in line with my interests (but it wasn't related to music). And I picked up the part-time DJ (tape jockey) gig again.

Somewhere between the realization about the producer's and engineer's influence on an artist's music, doing the primitive tape jockeying, the short stint as a rebel, and returning to university, I somehow caught the bug to produce music in some form or fashion and found myself looking through the for-sale ads for used MIDI and mixing equipment. I was about to make a purchase from someone who had the whole package when an opportunity to work in a different city for my co-op work term portion of my education had presented itself. It was a tough decision, but somehow good judgement prevailed and I passed on the equipment so I'd have the money to move so I could accept the work term position. It wasn't until a few years later that I would come to the realization that this decision turned out to be one of the most important pivotal decisions in my life... one that led to a chain of other life-altering events... but I won't get into all that because they're not directly related to the focus of this post nor this blog.

In the meantime, I put the music production bug into a jar and sealed it.

[Fast forward about 17 years to the present time, skipping over university graduation, a wife, a kid, new city, new home, a few ups'n'downs, and a few career advancements]

This could use one of those visuals where my past self suddenly plops into a scene with my present self...

"This is me?! In the future?! Nice! We've done well for ourselves, haven't we?! Yikes! We've also got a few grey hairs now, too."

During those 17 years, I had listened to and collected a lot of music from various genres, embracing the transitions from vinyl and tape, to CD, to MP3 players (and the like), to on-line streaming music, and yes, even iTunes. And not once did I get that urge to get into music production. Not even when I was first introduced to mashups... it didn't even enter my mind... or at least I didn't think it did.

In the dying months of 2007, my friend and I sold a small part-time business that we had been operating together for several years. Part of my share of the profit went towards a new LCD TV to replace a 17-year-old failing CRT TV (the very same TV that I had purchased when I made the move for that educational work term position over 17 years ago after putting the music production bug in the jar). As for the rest of the money... from within some inexplainable mental fog, I suddenly found myself researching the different music production software packages available. Apparently, I had the notion... the idea... that I was going to try my hand at producing mashups. Where the heck did that idea come from?!

Someone let the bug out of the jar! And my subconscious already knew what it wanted to do... my conscious mind was just catching up.

Wish me luck!