Hi,

I have to fess up to being one of those weird people who has always bought and listened to a bands ‘live’ albums. To me a significant measure of a band’s talent was how convincingly they could perform their studio material in front of an audience. Now obviously live albums still exist but are certainly far less prevalent, In the current computer-assisted production age we also now have whole genres like EDM and related synth and sample-based music that don’t really benefit at all from live performance. I also enjoy these genres so my love of listening to live recordings is simply a personal preference and not intended as a put-down of any other particular music form.

Over the past 6 months or so Rated Blue has been trying out Harrison’s Mixbus 32C DAW and initially recorded ourselves rehearsing live on a few cover songs we were working on arranging for our trio. 32C has far exceeded our expectations and been a joy to work with so we decided to collect our sessions and release a Digital Album on Soundcloud. Some of these songs have arrangements radically different from their original form and some are fairly closely preserved, some have already been posted as works in progress but are presented here in their final mixes with the complete album.

You may well ask… Covers!? but why!?

As someone who is both a writer of original material and also with a long history of playing covers I’m often a bit amused by the smug derision that some people express against playing covers. Everything I’ve learned about playing my instrument and writing songs has come from covers, I have also felt fortunate to pay my respects to my influences by interpreting their work and keeping it alive by playing it to new listeners. Lastly covers have paid for most of my gear over the years and allowed me to enjoy many a special shared experience with audiences and customers who also love those particular songs. I love the freedom of performing original material but helping people celebrate the milestones of their lives by performing some of their best-loved tunes is also an experience we enjoy on a personal and band level.

Well anyway, here it is. Thanks very much for taking time to listen 🙂

Admittedly as a middle-ager I’m still getting my head wrapped around how music is shared and promoted now, certainly it’s no secret that you need to be seen as much as heard, marketing your band without a Social Media and Youtube presence today is becoming increasingly difficult. When we built our new studio in 2014 I realized we would need to be able to handle both Audio recording and Video production, we didn’t have much of a budget left for the Video side of things so I figured if and when we got around to putting something together it would have to be ‘low rent’. After a couple of half-hearted and decidedly ‘meh’ attempts I decided we better give this a try for real and below is what we came up with…

As expected we used AV Linux, with Ardour and Cinelerra as the main software tools, I’ll try not to get too elaborate with the details but I’m sure some folks will want to know about the nuts and bolts. We recorded 8 tracks live to Ardour 5.5 through a Presonus 1818VSL Audio interface while simultaneously recording with 4 Video cameras. The cameras were a dog’s breakfast of 2 aging Zoom Q4HD’s, a Sony HD Camcorder belonging to our bass player Pete (sorry can’t remember the model) and lastly a Samsung Note 4 Smartphone (which actually had the best video quality!?). I used the custom build of Cinelerra-CVA included in AV Linux to edit the video, I know Cinelerra is a very maligned and misunderstood application in the Linux world but I love it, I worked on editing this for many hours juggling a very full arrangement consisting of 4 separate Audio and Video streams from each camera as well as the multitrack export from Ardour and it didn’t crash once. All the Audio and Video streams had to be synced manually and then I added some graphic overlays I made in GIMP. To push my luck I did a screen capture of the Ardour session and then added it as a synced Picture in Picture track just cuz…

Dual-head editing with Cinelerra:

 

It was a bit of a long night by the time we got the sound and video equipment all set up and then we blew a few takes, by the time we nailed it we were getting tired and grumpy which injected a little extra fire into the final result. 😛

OK, ’nuff said, here’s the video:

My AVL Drumkits sound libraries have been around for a couple of years, recently I had a discussion with Robin Gareus and Ben Loftis of Harrison Mixbus about the possibility of including them in Mixbus. Robin suggested it might be cool to make them into something more visually appealing and in a very short time between many hours of programming genius on his end and a Bandshed studio drumkit photo session on my end Robin knocked it out of the park with a really cool LV2 plugin! Here is the result!

*ALBUM NOTES*

“Turnabout” is our second Rated Blue album release and follows 2015’s “Three Walls Down”. Where “Three Walls Down” was initially a collection of songs for posterity “Turnabout” is a more cohesive collection influenced and written against the backdrop of the 2016 US Presidential Election (no we’re not American but when the neighbor’s house is on fire you pay attention!!). Our core musical inspiration remains the gut-level immediacy of the Blues within the collaborative interactivity of a guitar trio but stylistically and sonically Turnabout roams much farther afield than it’s predecessor and is possibly best summed up as ‘Alt-Blues’.

Turnabout opens with “Straight Up” a funky inspired plea for the media to cut to the chase. “The Second Sister” takes a look at gender and sexual equality. “When You Got a Name” leans heavily toward Prog and examines lives left behind by the cult of celebrity . The latin influence of “Turnabout” traces the insidious rise of Reality TV and it’s troubling consequences. “Unsteady” surf-rocks out and rips on the unreliable nature of mavericks and “You” asks for the return (or perhaps the beginning) of accountable leadership. “Man On a Wire” closes the album with a collection of vignettes and finishes with a last unresolved chord.

If you are a Blues or Rock fan becoming weary of well-worn Blues cliches and tiring of flashy virtuosity we invite you to give Turnabout a listen and hope you’ll find our ‘songs-first’ mentality an appealing alternative within the Blues/Roots genre. Thanks for reading (and listening).

We’d love to hear from you, if you’re on Facebook ‘likes’ are (unfortunately) the new band currency. Most festivals and larger venues now hire bands based on Social Media profiles so if you like the album and are on Facebook giving us a like is a great way to support us. Thanks!!

Rated Blue on Facebook

Glen, Connor and Pete – Rated Blue

*STREAM/LISTEN*

Turnabout is also available to be streamed on paid subscription services like Spotify, Google Music, iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio etc.

*PURCHASE/DOWNLOAD*

Turnabout can be purchased directly from our Artist page on CD Baby, or is available as a Digital download on Apple iTunes, Google Play store, 7Digital, Amazon MP3 music and most online music retailers!

Simply search ‘Rated Blue’.

Physical CD’s will also be available soon for purchase from our CD Baby Artist page or at Rated Blue shows.

*PRODUCTION NOTES*

*For those who care about such things (completely optional reading ;))

Turnabout was produced in our own recently built ‘Bandshed‘ studio using a combination of Open-Source and Commercial Linux Audio software with AV Linux (a Linux-based Operating System specifically geared to multimedia content production). The DAW used was the phenomenal Ardour 5 and additional plugins by Ardour Team, Harrison Consoles, linuxDSP/OverToneDSP, DISTRHO, Guitarix, Infamous, U-he and Calf were also used. We experimented a lot with mic placement, room ambience with a stairwell mic and simple line delays to re-create the natural sounding ambience of the room and also employed additional obvious effects like Flanging, Plate Reverb and Delay. A Presonus 1818VSL was used as a recording interface. An exciting new addition partway through production was the MOD-Duo guitar processor and it is featured throughout the album in various places and was one of many methods used for tracking guitars. We kept the big Red-Zep drumkit very much the centerpiece of the song arrangements but unlike our previous album “Three Walls Down” the vocals and guitars are much more layered on Turnabout. The drums were tracked live with no click tracks and for the most part vocals and guitar solos were tracked in complete takes without extensive digital edits.

We are very grateful for the excellent work being done in Linux Audio by Open-Source developers and are also appreciative of the investments in Linux as a professional Audio production platform by companies like Harrison Consoles and U-he etc.

Hi,

I often forget WordPress is a blog platform as well as a great CMS system, I have been quite slack in posting and there are a few things of note over the past few months so in case you didn’t see these items elsewhere:

AV Linux 2016.8.30 was released

AVL Drumkits 1.1 were released

I produced an EP in our ‘Bandshed Records’ studio for my son’s band:

Rated Blue is in the studio now working on our next release hopefully out before the end of 2016, we now have a Facebook page (if it wasn’t absolutely necessary for promotion I probably wouldn’t). Be that as it may, if you are on Facebook and would feel generous enough to give us a like we would really appreciate it!

Thanks so much to the folks who have been supportive of AV Linux, AVL Drumkits, Rated Blue and the other facets of our little Bandshed world. I hope to add a studio page in the new year detailing our setup and services we can offer in the studio.

Sorry for the brevity, hopefully I’ve caught the main events…

Hi AVL’ers!!

My heartfelt thanks for your patience and support, After more than a year of simmering on the back burner AV Linux 2016 is here!

AVL 2016 is so completely different from it’s predecessor that I hesitate to call this an Alpha or Beta release, it is simply an ‘Initial’ release, and there will be much to be learned from it. I’m hoping as users you will be patient and tolerant as the new version finds it’s legs and I will be depending on your feedback and sharing your experiences to help others.

RTFM!

If you haven’t seen the new AV Linux User Manual yet I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to read it first. There are 84 illustrated pages of FAQ’s and important Operational details that have taken many hours of my time in an effort to save many hours of yours… The User Manual is also a part of AV Linux and can be found in the ‘Accessories’ Menu. So please take the time to read it! Many thanks to all of the volunteer proofreaders who invested their precious time for corrections, the existing manual is a snapshot and will see further review and correction in the future.

User Manual: http://bandshed.net/pdf/AVL2016.3UserManual.pdf

HEY, THANKS A LOT!

First of all there have been some pre-release donations in anticipation of AV Linux 2016, my sincere thanks to those who donated for your generosity, confidence and support!

These people and organizations have been very helpful in the development of AV Linux 2016:

The Debian/GNU Linux Testing Distribution
Krisztian Kende – Systemback
Trulan Martin – RT Kernels
Allen Tate – Torrents
Anahata, James Lawrie – Bytemark Mirror
Robin Gareus – linuxaudio.org Mirror
Tony Brijeski – Yad/Zenity Scripts
RockHopper – H2 and SFZ Thunar Custom Actions
XFCE4 Team
Filipe Coelho – KXStudio Repositories
Paul Davis, Robin Gareus, Ben Loftis – Ardour/Mixbus
Conor McCormack – libremusicproduction.com
Proofreaders and Torrent Seeders

KNOWN ISSUES:

Nobody’s perfect and that goes double for me 😀 . Since I uploaded AVL 2016 a couple of minor issues have caught my attention:

Google dropped 32bit support for Chrome so AVL 32bit users can use the latest version included as long as they feel safe doing so and after that you will probably want to use Synaptic to uninstall Chrome and use the AV Linux Assistant ‘Repositories’ button to remove or disable the Google Chrome repository. Thanks Google for being so lame to such a large and still relevant userbase of Linux especially in developing countries… 👿

The optional Liquorix kernel Repository points to a Mirror that has been removed, this will matter only if you want to use Liquorix kernels instead of the default AV Linux RT Kernel. To fix this you will need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list as Root and change the Liquorix repo URL to the one shown here: https://liquorix.net/#install

Probably thousands more to be added…

HELP NEEDED!:

This project is in need of donations to help out-of-pocket costs and more importantly to offset at least a small portion of the time I’ve invested in both maintaining AVL and documenting it. Donations do not have to be a large amount of money, many people donating a few dollars can make a huge difference. Donations beyond a certain level are shared upstream for kernel development and to help KXStudio as well as other projects AVL relies on. Help is desperately needed on the forum to support users, my daily time is often limited and being the only person to answer user queries is an impossible task, if you are experienced with Debian SysAdmin or with Linux Audio your help is needed, as with donations a small amount of experienced AVL users willing to answer a question or two everyday can make a huge difference and make the forum a valuable resource.

DOWNLOADS:

Ok, first you need to be aware that AVL 2016 requires a Login, so make note of this… Hint… the Login info is hidden in the ISO Filename as well.

64bit – Username: isotester Password: avl64
32bit – Username: isotester Password: avl32
*Root Accounts are not accessible on the LiveISO for security reasons.

All download links are found on the AV Linux site, PLEASE prefer torrents and Mirrors whenever possible and be aware that the Bandshed ISO FTP has very limited bandwidth, if there is too much sudden traffic they will disable the server which will not only kill downloads it will take the website and forum offline as well!

GO GET IT! : http://www.bandshed.net/avlinux/

Hi,

Well it’s time to do some spring cleaning in the bandshed (a curious thing in January).  A new AV Linux is on it’s way and it’s time to lighten the load on the poor web host and remove much of the stuff from AV Linux 6. Also the old FTP sites will be taken down and content moved over to the new WordPress site, expect things to be in a transitional mess for a few days. Better go get the mop.

Hey there!

Well I thought maybe it was time I got hip to using WordPress, hmmm maybe next I’ll set up a MySpace page… OMG I’m like so 2005! Anyway I’m sure it will take a bit of awkward fumbling to get used to how it works but hopefully this will be a more streamlined way to maintain a web presence for the various bandshed-related projects… I can already see that I should have done this years ago, like maybe back in 2005.