Friday, February 24, 2017

Touring upon dreamscapes.

I see chains, this sad misunderstood object, oft do people shun them. A tyrant's tool, a dictator's apparatus. Oh does the world fear this symbol of slavery.

Yet I see its uses, bond upon bond does each support each to strength. They are tools, no more; the old ways have died with its previous masters.

I see chains upon a frame, is it a symbol of oppression? No, this is my instrument to liberation, a mechanical marvel with an organic touch.

And so I pull these chains through its paces, while they push me past my usual threshold. I stay in place, yet they bring me to new spaces.

Up towards the hills that I might gaze the sun set upon the valleys below. To the winding paths of yesteryear, a glimpse of many childhood memories.

Down to the slopes that I might set my eyes upon the new moon above. To the road that finally leads to my love.

I see chains, but I feel free.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Walls.

Stay here, don't go, I implore, I ask this beaut,
its sparkle and glaze doth shimmer and shine through all.
Four walls rise high to keep my being within,
yet flutter and fly it goes beyond this hall.

Who forgot to place a roof above my head?
I squirm and weep in disdain that I should stay.
'Most surely my hopes, my dreams had left with it.'
I told my thoughts to the wind which went away.

Would it remain when its wings are feathered?
The blind would see it clear as day, not I.
These walls I built with non but hands my own,
these walls I seek to break so I might fly.

Surely this bird has sang its tune to me,
entranced by non but songs of chirps and squeaks.
Yet while I still had wings in place of arms,
I shed them and exchanged it all for bricks.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Postings from the room under the staircase.

No, I'm most fortunately not the boy-who-lived. My uninteresting life is nothing like the sorts of Harry Potter, although this week I finally have something in common with him.

Moving to Petaling Jaya, specifically Seksyen 17, proved to be quite an interesting mix bag of emotions. For one, I am yet another step ahead in my journey of self-reliance and independence. On the other, the place which I've landed in is rather, for want of a better word, challenging.

Petaling Jaya is many things. It's urban and hip, yet aged and unsurprising. Being one of the older townships in the Klang Valley area, I find myself thrown into this weird juxtaposition of the old and new. My parents, when they first ventured out of their own hometowns to take a leap of fate into the city that is Kuala Lumpur, they started out in none other than this town that is PJ. And here I am now, following in their footsteps.

Except when they first started out, PJ was still quite new...

So yes, I am now settled down in this aged room, part of a semi-detached house, whose owner is also renting out other rooms en masse. Interestingly this place is quite a community of strangers confined within, there seems to be at least 6 or 7 different tenants. And of course, I landed in the room right under the staircase. A simple room with a table, bed and cupboard, sufficiently cleaned yet old spots still abound; bare necessities, really.

I shall now wait for my letter of invitation to Hogwarts.

Or maybe Dobby can pay me a visit. I suppose a chat with a house-elf would be pleasant in this solitude that is new to me.

But gloom aside, this room does remind me of pleasant thoughts of a time before. I suppose this house with its 30 to 40 years old design reminds me fondly of both my grandparents' homes, as well as a collection of memories from my childhood visiting homes of my various relatives.

And yet it fascinates me this place that invokes such nostalgia, is also close to Jaya One, Mid Valley and the like that which you'd associate with modernity. Truly, the contrast makes me ponder.

I suppose starting out my adult life proper (with my first day job so to speak) in a place devoid of the usual creature comforts could do me a favour, that I may build my character in my time here.

So here's to a year of fruitful career development.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rantings from the 1st floor.

They say 23 years old is the worst age to go through in one's life (although some argue that mid-life is as bad, or worse). The time where you finish your tertiary education and are most likely seeking a place in society.

Lacking experience, having outdated if not insufficient amount of knowledge in your respective fields, no colleagues or employers to network for you, only a bunch of ex-classmates who are in a similarly precarious situation like themselves; Your other friends who've decided to start work right out of secondary education seem more well off than yourself...

Yes, I speak about myself. Pardon the whine. I write to no one, yet I wish to write this down for my future reference.

Applying for a job in the music industry. Sounds as bad as auditioning for a software engineer post. May the fastest coder win the job offer.

Music: Rarely any job offers listed on paper or online, and they're mostly irrelevant to my major. Of course there's always ample of teacher posts, but I pity my hypothetical students if I do take the job; I've hardly the patience nor the talent to teach. The world doesn't owe me a job, sure. But neither do I owe the world silence from my frustration.

Alas, first class honours all for naught, nobody cares. You need to be in the right social group. You need to be thick-faced and be a people-person. Know-who, not know-what. Sure I've heard all these things way back, but it doesn't change the fact that it's frustrating.

Another e-mail ignored, time to move on.

Pardon the rant.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Considerations, deliberations.

When was the last time I actually bothered? Of companionship and company, of endearment and adoration. Looking back at old entries and taking a guess, probably two years.

Two years and no less of solitude, I daresay I nevertheless appreciated the predicament placed upon me. I spoke not of it nor did I venture finding such. Friends remained friends, and I remained focused on nothing else apart from work.

But maybe the days are free now, thus my foolish heart seeks things to fill itself up when there is nothing else to distract it. Finding someone to be a bundle of fun yet serious, witty yet silly, smart yet ignorant. It's all a contradiction, yet still the right kind of weird. I find myself enjoying the conversations no less than any before, if not more so.

Forget the minor moral implications, ignore all the past actions that might make this any less appropriate, yet I cannot ignore one thing. Regardless how charming and lovely this idea is, it is nothing short of a train wreck. This locomotive, grand and beautiful, well built and elegant, doesn't change the fact that it is headed straight towards a brick wall.

Such as it is, I cannot help but join in the ride regardless. Such is life, full of contradictions.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 13

Friday 3/7/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 4pm - 3am (11 hours)

Foreword: Bunkface! guitar and bass tracking

Timeline:

4pm - Reported to work, moved on to run tracking bass for Bunkface!

6:30pm - Finished tracking, short dinner break

9pm - Continued to run tracking session for rhythm guitar and lead guitar

3am - Wrapped up most guitar overdubs and main lines, dismiss for the day

Reflection: 

Perhaps one of my most exciting and yet challenging tracking sessions tonight, partially due to the energy the members of Bunkface! have, it can be quite hard to keep up sometimes, especially since I'm still a novice.

Tracked most of the night without much incident, although I realised that more engagement between myself the engineer and the session musicians is crucial in maintaining a calm environment for both parties. A smile and a warm reception always helps with calming the studio anxiety most musicians face, even experienced ones like Bunkface!.

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 12

Thursday 2/7/2015
Site: Home
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 12pm - 10pm (10 hours)

Foreword: Intern site mix work-at-home

Timeline:

12pm - Started mixing for Garden's International School band competition winner's originals

10pm - Finished 1 session, dismissed
 
Reflection: 
 
My supervisor had some personal matters to attend to today, and thus left me with some mixing assignments to be done at my leisure today.

Finished one mix today, another to be completed during the weekend.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 11

Wednesday 1/7/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 8pm - 1am (5 hours)

Foreword: Tracking day

Timeline:
 
8pm - Reported to work, briefed on tracking session for later

9pm - Did mix prep for previous sessions

10pm - Tracking drums, handled the tracking

1am - Dismissed 

Reflection:

Today I had the pleasure of running a session tracking for drums, was properly challenged on my DAW chops again.

Also did some session prep for my supervisor's previous sessions.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 10

Tuesday 30/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 4pm - 2am (10 hours)

Foreword: Recording drums on a long haul

Timeline:
 
4pm - Reported to work, went on to continue mixes from previous assignment

8pm - Observed demo tracking for corporate contract
 
9pm - Set-up drums and mics for drum recordings, artist was Bunkface!
 
11pm - Recording commenced
 
2am - Dismissed
 
Reflection: 
 
Today was a pleasure in that I managed to observe local band Bunkface! conduct their drum recording for their new material. I was able to learn a few tips and tricks from observing the band, listening to the kind of feedbacks and effective communication of ideas being thrown between the members from the control room to the recording booth, from engineer to band leader and vice versa. The creative energy this evening was very inspiring, and the drummer was spot on.

I also managed to observe how the band nitpicks on the recordings, being fairly conservative with their punch-ins and retakes, preferring to nail takes in one go. Also learnt how to weed out bad takes by observing what the band mates scrutinise on between take reviews.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 9

Monday 29/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 7pm - 1am (6 hours)

Foreword: Consultations

Timeline:
7pm - Reported to work, briefed on today's consultation job

8pm - Went over to Paranormal Studios with supervisor to oversee set-up and recording of artist Narmi in new studio
8:30pm - Observed set-up and recording session, assisted in set-up and session prep

1am - Dismissed
Reflection: 
Today is an outlier in that my supervisor doesn't usually do consultations. I suppose it is my luck to be able to observe him working as a consultant to a relative new studio set-up, as I too get the benefit of learning the ground-works.

The session was in Logic X, which was more familiar to me as opposed to my supervisor, glad to say I managed to assist better today than I usually would back in the studio.

The artist today was Narmi and his band, we did a live recording in a medium sized room, surprisingly good room sound given that it wasn't fully treated yet.
Once again efficiency proved vital in sessions like these.

Friday, June 26, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 8

Friday 26/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 4pm - 8am (4 hours)

Foreword: Observations

Timeline:
 
4pm - Reported to work, observe mixing session by supervisor

5pm - Observe mix review between band and supervisor

8pm - Dismiss
 
Reflection:

Straightforward day to be honest, mostly observational. If anything useful today, learnt a bit of tips and tricks on how to present a mix to a client, the nuances and in-betweens of etiquette and communicating.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 7

Tuesday 23/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 7pm - 12am (5 hours)

Foreword: String quartet in the studio yo!

Timeline:
7pm - Reported to work, began mix session prep work on upcoming Hari Raya song.
10pm - Set up mics and stands for recording session for string quartet

11pm - Tweaked studio set up to optimise for the players

12am - Dismiss
Reflection:

Today was pretty interesting, as I manage to observe some miking techniques used for string instruments. The process of setting up the studio for the quartet was a little more intensive than I expected, mic stands and cables were easily cluttered due to the not-so-big workspace.

Pity I didn't get to stay for the whole session, had to leave before the recording started, as I needed to go back and continue my college projects of which submissions are the following day.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 6

Friday 19/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 1pm - 8pm (7 hours)

Foreword: More mixing prep work

Timeline:

1pm - Reported to work, observe mixing session by supervisor, track by various artist.

3pm - Prep mix session from Lim Kok Wing students.

8pm - Dismiss

Reflection:
Did more prep work and observation today, manage to pick up a few new approaches to mixing for multiple vocal tracks from supervisor.

Also polished my editing speed today on Cubase.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 5

Thursday 18/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 1pm - 8pm (7 hours)

Foreword: Studio maintenance day.

Timeline:

1pm - Reported to work, briefing on maintenance work schedule for the day

1:30pm - Install new cable ties on studio XLR and 1/4" jack cables

2pm - Cleaned most of the studio cable contacts with contact cleaner

4pm - Re-patched all cables after drying

4:30pm - Dust away mix console

5pm - Observe mixing session by supervisor, song by artist "Aina"

8pm - Dismiss

Reflection:
The studio's annual maintenance day happened to be today, thus I got the opportunity to have a taste of the inner workings and patching of this studio, which I sorely needed as I failed to fully comprehend the full signal chain during the 1st briefing.

After cleaning through all the cable contact point, I had the challenge of recalling all the original patch work and restoring it.

Remainder of the day was spent on observing my supervisor running a mix session from the day before. Managed to pick up some new mix techniques, but also made me realise how inadequate my own techniques are.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6MU017 "Career Prep" - Site work Day 4

Tuesday 16/6/2015
Site: Studio 21:05
Supervisor: JD Wong
Working hours: 1pm - 12am (11 hours)

Foreword: First try on working hands on as a recording engineer during a session.

Timeline:

1pm - Reported to work, jumped straight into mixing prep work.

4pm - Assist drum recording session for local artist "Dafi"

7pm -Assist bass recording session for local artist "Dafi"

12am - Dismiss

Reflection:

First time working the full shift after approximately 2 weeks of hiatus (Due to supervisor being abroad). Was rather taxing on my studio knowledge and versatility, being asked by my supervisor to helm the session today without much prep prior to today, considering also the fact that I am still relatively new to the Cubase 8 DAW, meant that I had a rather interesting day having need to learn on the fly and also consult my supervisor several times (much to my embarrassment) halfway during recording.

But today I also realise an important part of the studio recording process between engineer, producer and sessionist. Communication, positive communication, is greatly needed, and considering that my supervisor's major client base is Malay, placed me in a spot where I get often tongue tied.

All in all, today I begin to understand the subtle nuances that makes or breaks a good engineer.