The Music Of JC Harris

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

positively the most intelligent progressive rock on this here planet

Rants By Topic

Production Notes

This is meant as a central filing cabinets for more thoughts I have on the whole production business, including DIY vs. ‘pro studio’, ‘live vs. loops’ and various ‘how do you do that’ techniques that people ask about from time to time. I want to come back here and flesh these out as time permits.

If you’re looking for a link to the post on playing techniques. It’s here

But First A Sub-Rant On ‘Loops Vs. Real’
I almost never use ‘loops’ or MIDI ‘patterns’. I’m either thrilled or annoyed when people tell me my stuff sounds ‘mechanical’, but a lot of the time I want it to do that so I guess I’m doing OK. The only exception is for moments of intentional ‘sound design’. For example, I’ve become quite a devotee of ‘scratching’ so that sort of thing shows up here and there (eg. ‘Power’ on Beautiful Sounds.) But I never quantise, auto-tune, comp, loop, step-record otherwise ‘patch together’ sounds. If I can’t physically play it, I […]

Twenty Years (The Video)

This is the official video for the second single from Beautiful Sounds. It’s a tender love song. Or at least as ‘tender’ as I get these days. 😉

What’s It All About, Mr. Natural?
Again, asking about the whole ‘plot’ thing? OK.

The song is about written to a hesitant lover–something I know a bit about. After one reaches a certain age and ‘been around the block’ a few times, one is naturally reticent to believe in happy ever afters. But most of the people I’ve met want to believe in that stuff. The song is about how we may have to actually talk ourselves into making that leap, even though it’s what we want.

The whole business with the airplanes came to me as fitting all the honking and push/pull at the beginning of the song. I spent many years running from one airport to another, always in a rush and the quick cuts seemed as if they’d be built into the song from the […]

Nice Cuts (Voting)

The voting for selections on the next record “Nice Cuts” is complete. Thanks to everyone who voted. I dunno if it’s right to call it a ‘greatest hits’ record, but that seems to be the common term of art, so for those of you not clued in? It’s a ‘Greatest Hits!’ record. Actually, if it didn’t sound so bloody pretentious, I’d have called it a ‘Retrospective’. But to do that I’d have to hang with the kind of people who refer to movies as ‘the cinema’.

And the winnahs are:

You Are Loved (Positive) 6:00
Why Don’t You Come In? (Positive) 4:08
On My Way Home (Positive) 2:51
Paul’s Story (Positive) 5:56
What A Wonderful World (Superpower) 4:44
Shy (Superpower) 3:39
Hey Johnny! (Superpower)  2:55
Open Your Eyes (Part II)  (Compartments)  7:30
Too Far (Balance) 3:39
Money (Balance) 3:47
Matters Of The Heart (Balance) 6:25
Teflon (Home) 3:57
Suicide In A Hurry […]

The House That Became A Studio

STUDIO I: The Wiring

When I bought my house, I realized that there was no way I could afford to put in a proper studio ‘room within a room’ of proper size for really good acoustics right away. On a different track, my house has a crawlspace. When I went under the house to run a network cable between two rooms I decided, since I had to be down there anyway, to create structured cabling throughout the entire house so that every house could have Ethernet (I’d had very bad performance issues with WiFi.) Now after living there for a few weeks I realized that every room has it’s own unique sound and I decided that, since I already had cabling in place, I’d add audio and digital lines to each room. It turns out that it’s not that hard to expand lo-z audio, SP/DIF and lightpipe connections. This gave me the ability to use each room as either:

a) A place to record; each room having a ‘special sound’

b) The ability […]

Why So Eclectic?

As fans tend to know, I utilize quite a number of musical instruments and varied recording techniques on my albums. But at the same time, I’ve made no secret of my disdain of ‘gear sluts’ constantly in search of the next great gizmo that will propel them to stardom. I’d like to address both these topics here in a way that answers some commonly asked questions and hopefully dispels my image as ‘complete hypocrite.’

Some background. We had basically one radio station to listen to in Galway. It alternated constantly between The Carpenters (‘Close To You’) or Don’t Walk Away Renee or Andy Williams (‘Moon River’) or Elvis or ‘Popcorn’ (my introduction to the synthesizer.) And so on. Ironically, there was very little ‘Irish’ music played. There was no such thing as ‘formatted radio’. Every song would give today’s programmer a severe case of whiplash.

My earliest memories of hearing this sort of diversity in one group came in listening to my sister’s Moody Blues records. I was amazed, not only by […]

May, 2009
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