Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tiki Music for Your iPod!!

LOADS OF PEOPLE MAY FIND IT DIFFICULT to locate their favorite sources of tiki music. Spotify, iTunes, etc. all are great places to start, but what search terms do you use? You may be asking yourself who are those ethereal bands that scream "I want a Mai Tai and I want it NOW!!"


Many people refer to this genre of mystifying feel good music as Exotica (named after Martin Denny's 1957 album of the same name). The whole goal of this music is to transport you to a world of Polynesian paradise in the confines of your local drinking establishment or the comfort of your backyard tiki torch party. Congas, bongos, steel drums, mixed with elements of jazz and even every now and then a modern twist of electronic funbuggery makes an interesting mix...one to sweeten your musical palette and inspire musicians of all types.

Tiki music isn't necessarily confined to just the sounds of Exotica. The great thing about a tiki themed night of tune-age is that it is flexible. The only real goal is to consider is conveying that pseudo-tropical feeling of goodness and positivity. Hawaiian & Polynesian mixes can get the job done. Lounge music, space rock, and surf guitar anthems are a nice eclectic breed of genres that can populate a party's soundtrack and provide the perfect ebb & flow for your evening. 

What I'm asking is that you look no further when trying to provide this musical service to the patrons of your next exotic shindig. Visit this website: THE QUIET VILLAGE PODCAST! The Quiet Village podcast is presented in .M4A format, allowing each episode to display constantly changing artwork and photos as well as web links in most players, including Apple iTunes. They do a great job updating with enhanced podcasts (the last one was uploaded on 1/29/12 at the time this article was written). In order to subscribe manually with iTunes to this podcast just CLICK HERE. Wanna know what their tagline is? "Exotica, Polynesian & Lounge featuring rare and vintage recordings from yesterday and today. So come join your host DigiTiki as the record lazily spins on the phonograph and we sip Mai Tais in our own private palm tree oasis." Check out the playlists...they are very specific and awesomely organized. "Crime Jazz," "The Music of 007" & "Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica" are just a few examples. The site is maintained by Mark Riddle and he gets two thumbs up from this exotic musician. 

Please check it out and leave your comments regarding this podcast below. Be sure to visit Digitiki by clicking above or by looking at my list of links titled "Sites You NEED to Visit!".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Mic Your Ukulele!!

With the emerging popularity of the ukulele stateside and the release of Eddie Vedder’s album Ukulele Songs in 2011 it is likely that in the foreseeable future audio engineers will struggle with the most efficient ways to record these “exotic melody-makers” of the guitar world. Among the challenges and considerations for recording professionals are the amplification techniques and microphone placement.

The first important selection the artist will need to make is what type of ukulele they are going to use to record. Is it going to be acoustic electric, a straight up acoustic, or (yes!) a solid body electric uke? Personally, I believe that your comfort level and skill on the desired instrument should come first. Recording and performing live are very different as well with different attentions such as movement on stage, amplification, etc. 

The ukulele is for the most part an impeccable instrument being compact and wonderfully artistic at times. The acoustic electric ukulele, like a regular acoustic, is going to provide you with that hollow body thus a more rounded tone. If you record from a pickup, however, you will lose some of the instrument’s intended sound as under saddle pickups aren’t a 100% accurate reproduction of the sound. It will provide you with the projection that can be so crucial with recording and live performance. It is also going to give you a bit more versatility and cleanliness when cleaning up your tracks or adding effects with your production software since you are providing a line straight in to your recording gear.

If you don’t have the benefit of an on-board pick-up then your best option is to use an external condenser microphone. The two types to consider using are large and small diaphragm types. Large diaphragm models typically have a broader frequency range, but more importantly they have less self-noise and are more sensitive to sound. Condenser microphones operate frequently on battery or, more commonly, phantom power. Be sure to take that into consideration when making a purchase. You will have to experiment with the placement of the microphone both to minimize ambient noise and to get the intended amplification of your ukulele. Remember to have fun with it…and try to learn something at the same time!

Below is an excellent beginner’s video that discusses the major challenges of recording your ukulele. I encourage more comments below and feel free to ask any questions. Perhaps you would like to share your techniques, disagree with my recommendations, or share a recording! Contact me with all of your media and you may be showcased on www.TheGangiSound.com!! CLICK HERE!! for a phone number to an excellent ukulele resource in Madeira Beach, Florida (Compass Music). Just ask for Chris and tell him Mike Gangi sent you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Surf Rock ~ Alive & Thriving!!

How many of you out there like the song “Tequila?” You know, the one that Pee-Wee Herman danced to on a bar full of bikers? I know most of you can recall the theme song from Quentin Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction.  Hell, if you don’t know the song “Wipeout” you should just navigate away right now! Surf rock has its roots in the music of the Beach Boys and the Ventures. Brian Wilson built his sandbox and well…it all kind of disappeared from the mainstream if you ask me...

Some bands still mystify us with surf rock and continue to thrive at tiki and surf festivals, beach bars, and the underground rock scene. The question is: Have you even listened to them? A quick hit list you might recognize: Brian Setzer, Los Straitjackets, and Dick Dale. I decided to feature a few bands that I believe have done a great job representing the style. Certain to impress and broaden your horizons, this list is pretty sweet and refreshing. You can catch a lot of these bands for around $10 - $17 and you’re guaranteed to have a killer time watching them shred. Some hard line audiophiles think this genre died in the late '90's...tell that to the groups of young musicians in the psychobilly, space rock, and indie vibe scenes that are inspired by and reviving this classic sound.

Ten Modern Surf Rock Bands You Might Not Listen To Right Now:

The Insect Surfers
Man or Astro-Man?
The Dynotones
The Swamp Coolers
The Space Cossacks
The Mel-Tones
The Messer Chups
The SG Sound
The Woggles
Southern Culture on the Skids

Recommended Reading for Beginner Audio Engineers

I would like for people to think of this blog, at least as of now, as an excellent source of all things audio related for beginners. In my belief, music has been plagued with over-production, sloppy and lazy work by both musician and engineers, etc. The trade of audio engineering needs to be refined in a huge way.

It begins at the earliest levels of recording and as I progress through my education I hope to share my beliefs and philosophies of recording here with you as I grow. I intend to provide a valid platform of discussion and professionalism that will reflect the exemplary education I am currently receiving at Full Sail University.

One way we all contribute is by taking advice and processing it with our own beliefs and interests. I wanted to share a few books that I have read prior to entering this career field that helped me individually as an artist in Catching Red and as a promising sound engineer. If you have any specific questions regarding the books below please comment and I'll check back frequently.

Sound Recording Advice (John J. Volanski)
Working With Audio (Stanley R. Alten)
Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices, and Tools (Roey Izhaki)
Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals (F. Alton Everest)
This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Daniel J. Levitin)

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