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Started by Ron Edwards, August 16, 2010, 07:32:14 PM

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Ron Edwards

I like music, and I like creative mutualism, and I like the whole independent DIY thing. So ... for the sake of indulging and combining all three, and based on some chit-chat on Adept Press thoughts and projects for Sorcerer, and the fact that I really like Erik's weird-ass compositions, as well as really liking Marshall's The Rustbelt CD, I'm thinking of compiling Sorcerer music. I must say, though, that the right vision or framework for it is totally amorphous right now. To the point of blithering nonsense.

I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to claim that any such collection should purport "to be played while you play Sorcerer." For one thing, Sorcerer games have wildly different atmospheres and thematic content, which leads to differences in all sorts of musical things, tempo most obviously.

I mean, sure, a group might easily find that a particular song was something they liked to include as a play-aid, but you don't need a "Sorcerer album" for that. Also, playing music while role-playing remains an individual taste, largely uncharted in terms of effectiveness or utility, with the recent exception of Ribbon Drive. In fact, one of my main reasons for wanting to play that game is that I don't typically enjoy music during play and would like to stretch a little bit out of that preference, if possible.

So what would it be for? Well, I guess the point would be to have a great album to listen to, period, and the neat thing is that all the contributors were in fact using Sorcerer as some kind of inspirational touchpoint for what they did. Which I guess pretty much requires that these be new compositions, and not something they whipped out of their long-standing library because it's called "The Summoning" or something like that. Honor system only, obviously, but I'd like to be able to claim they were new songs with Sorcerer at their heart and not lie.

Um, that leads to sort of a conundrum. If everyone does his or her own thing, then the result is sure to be a mash-up of individually neat things, but nothing imaginable as an album that one might listen to all the way through, with some kind of identifiable unity. Which in these days of iPods and MP3s might be no big deal, but to me, more rooted in the literal and aesthetic term "album" in the vinyl sense, it doesn't seem like enough.

And going with that, I gotta say, I like songs, or least some inclusion of songs along with however-long assortments of moody sounds. But so what? Does what I like matter in this case? So what am I now, a producer, seeking a dash of spice from this guy and a little sugar from that one? Me? I don't think so.

See what I mean about amorphous? I need to see if I can articulate this a little better. Any help would be appreciated. If I can't come up with some kind of unifying concept, though, then I should scale back simply to including a music compilation page on the website.

Best, Ron

Erik Weissengruber

Why not try to turn the production process into a kind of a game.

With the world of the internets and mp3s it is fairly easy to collaborate across distances.

Frex: A song called "Bangs Banged"
- The GM is the bass player, driving play with bangs.
- I lay down a rhythm track with a bass line and holes for guitar or other instruments to answer back
- Louie handles guitar for verse 1
- Contributor X handles guitar for verse 2
- All of us lay down a fast "tutti" version of the chorus
- Lyrics added by Contributor Y

I am sure a Sorc/Forge fan could facilitate the process. 
[Not me: I am doing freelance curriculum writing and working on a book right now]

For anyone with a Brian Eno bent:
- make a soundscape for each of the Sorc rituals
- set a basic beat/tempo over it
- with that base, farm out the song structure, elaborated rhythm track, guits and other instruments
- remix, remake, remodel on yer own computer

Marshall Burns

I've done stuff like that before. It's doable. But you lose a lot of the recording's integrity through mp3 conversion.

Erik Weissengruber

That's why I am thinking that someone has to step up to the bat as a producer. 

S/he can propose a shared platform (Audacity is enough for my needs and it has a basic click track function that could keep everyone in time),  a common file type (wav. files only, or mp3. or whatever), shared standards (such-such kilobytes-per-second in the recording of the file), general parameters (no more than X amount of decibels, no reverb or excessive EQing so that the producer has maximum freedom), and a way to host all of the data that will be building up.

If the final product is going to be a CD/download with audio quality at least as good as the folks on someone has to set these technical parameters then a tech monkey needs to lead bangers and fumblers and jammers.

Ron Edwards

Bangers, fumblers, and jammers? This sounds like one of my RPG theory posts.

Um, well, what you're proposing, Erik, seems as viable a starting point as any. In a way, it's more like forming a band!

Since we're all merely discussing it in a non-threatening way, Marshall, can you say what you think of the idea? Let's assume for the moment that some kind of chairman is involved and that whoever it is is perfect for the job. Or do you have an alternate notion?

I mean, everyone make his or her own individual song is still an option too, at the other end of the organizational spectrum.

Other musician-people, speak up, please. Or Erik and Marshall, if you know of anyone else who might be interested, see what they think.

Best, Ron

Marshall Burns

.Wav format presents an obstacle for me, since I don't have internet at home, and must use public terminals at the library. .wav files are too large for me to download when I only have a couple hours of access a day. And, as I said, .mp3 format entails far too much data loss.

It's possible to do this through physical mail, however. The Postal Service does that: they're two guys collaborating and mailing discs back and forth, which is how they got their name.

Another obstacle, though, is the recording software, and the general lack of compatability between different programs. I've only got Acid.

I like the whole idea in concept, but execution can be a nightmare.