Zia Hassan

Planting Seeds So My Trees Are Leafy

I might as well mention that London was full of fun. It was hot, and I hadn’t brought clothes for that sort of climate. No one in the UK has Air Conditioning either, so that didn’t make things any better. Liza came for a quick detour through DC before she went back to Minneapolis, and I won’t see her for another couple of months. I feel as if everytime we say hello, it’s goodbye again.

When we got back, I bought myself a little tape recorder, just to sketch out musical ideas when I wasn’t near the studio. It has a USB plug so I can download sounds I record to my computer. I’m not sure how useful it will be, but so far I’ve done a lot of sketching. Quick ideas and melodies.

Andy told me he wanted to record, so I quickly wrote a song and he came over. He sang it all wrong, coming in early, coming in late, until finally we gave up. Later I thought, what if I had let him continue singing the way he was, the way he was feeling the song moving was different than the way I was feeling it. So what if I let him do it that way, and sonically tried to match the song to his method of singing? Now that’s an idea.

But I realized that the mixing process is something that I dread everytime, not because I’m not happy with my mixes, but because I have to transfer all the data from those zip disks to my hard drive, and it’s even harder with a mac since they only made the software for PC.

So I went and bought one of these. The way my old studio was set up with the instruments plugged into a gigantic mixer/tracker with 8 open tracks, 4 if you wanted stereo tracks immediately. The tracking would occur on a zip disk, which didn’t fit much data anyway. Then, the zips go into a computer and the raw signal is transferred as a wave form to the pc. From there, I would load the wave forms into some sound editing software and proceed from there. With this bad boy, I’ve cut out the middle man completely. Now I can record my synth, guitar, and vocals all at the same time if I had that many arms.

Last night saw Click thanks to Aimee’s free passes. Went with Andy and we met Scott at the theater. I was expecting the usual Adam Sandler hokeyness, but what we got was a Christmas Carol-esque film that left you with a warm feeling in your heart, as most Adam Sandler movies do. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but I’m glad we saw it. Afterwards, dinner at Brio’s per Scott’s recommendation. I had the risotto, but Andy’s mushroom raviolli looked like it would suit me better. Afterwards, Andy and I tried to find the car for about an hour. We got a good luck at every side of the mall, until we found a security guard who drove us around until we found it. Thanks.

I’ve lost my dad’s nail clippers, after he made a huge deal about not losing them. And this time, it’s not as if I can’t remember where I put them. They must have fallen out of my cargo pockets.

So The Wranglers have their first and probably only gig at the Grog and Tankard on July 22. Another idea: form a band with no album or even any songs, create liner notes and an album title, decide who plays what. Decide what mood the songs will create and even make a discography of future records: where they are headed, which ones will be flops, which ones will be hits, and why the band will break up eventually. Get a gig, a huge one, where you have to have at least 20 people show up. Hype it up, make it sound like the event of the century, tell them about the wonderful songs you’ve written. Then begin writing and recording. What better way is there to start than from the end?

Drove Billy and Alex home the other night from Andy’s and Billy and I examined the new Paul Simon record a little. He finds it polished, and while I don’t disagree I haven’t really thought about how clean it sounds. It’s the arrangements and musical texture that I love. One of my favorite musicians with my favorite artist and some Herbie Hancock thrown in. Bliss.

Speaking of Eno, saw a really cool video today of him talking about the inspiration for Music for Airports. He said that he loves the design and the feel of airports, but the music they play is too happy – as if to say “you won’t die on this flight!” He thinks they should play music that’s a little more realistic, more “you are about to sit in space for a few hours.” So there’s no happiness in the piece, there’s no sadness, there’s just this feeling of suspension. I hope I’ve made it clear how much I love this guy. I got excited because I read today that he has another book coming out, but in 2008 because he’s spending 2007 writing it, day by day, the same way he wrote the last one.

My meeting with Rick went well. I think he wants to use basecamp and zoho for data and collaboration, minus some of the more sensitive stuff, but still useful. I think he liked what I had to say about an emphasis on programming rather than mundane tasks.

I had soup today that was excellent. I dipped crackers in it.