June 14 1995 9:23 PM
The relatively unthinkable has occurred...I was just listening to "Inca", "Moggio" and "Night School" from "Zappa's Universe" for the first time in a long time, and although the mix was even MORE peculiar than I remembered, I found myself enjoying it. Amazing what a little distance can do. People tell me with some frequency that they really like the solo I played on that version of "Inca", praise I always receive disbelievingly because of the relative perfection of Frank's original effort. Hearing my attempt again this evening at very loud volume, I thought it wasn't bad. Maybe in a couple of decades I'll really like it. (Right now I've got the new "Fillmore East" going. It sounds fine through speakers, haven't done the headphone test yet for any of the offensive stereo maniac compressed panning horror action which seemed to afflict all the masters generated during the FZ-25 release campaign, but out in the room I don't perceive any yet.) A gentleman has just asked me to explain at greater length the ZU-inspired window damage alluded to in the discography, and I've penned a lengthy reply which will show up on "Really, Keneally?" post haste.
I finished the Faux Pas mix today then went to get some lunch and clear my head before remixing one last tune for The Mistakes (it being the last song I tackled during the original mix, at the end of a long day when a certain fatigue had set in and I didn't notice that the kick drum was virtually absent); when I got back to the studio the guys in Faux Pas had stolen my cassette of their mixes, so I can't listen to them tonight (seriously impinging on my post-project- completion ritual behavior). (News flash...as "Little House I Used To Live In" gets more arrangementally dense, the horrible spectre of squishy compressed weirdness is rearing its head, even out here in the big wideroom. Fuck. Heard the new "Sheik Yerbouti" today and that's pretty disastrous as well. Fuck. If any of you can find the EMI CD issues of "Yerbouti", "Tinsletown" and "You Are What You Is", snatch them HASTILY. They all sound a zillion times better than the domestic issues...for which I do not blame Ryko, sonically they were not the ones in control.)
Weird glitches affect the safe passage of The Mistakes into the valley of the done things. First off, and this doesn't qualify as a glitch, when Henry heard the final version he steadfastly maintained that several of the rough mixes were more powerful than the final mixes at which I'd arrived. These things will happen when you have two days for mixing, and when I compared them as well I had to admit he was quite correct. I want to do right by you folks so I had scheduled an editing session last weekend, with a friend of mine who works in the sound department of a major motion picture studio (no names please) and who was willing to sneak onto the premises late at night and do some pro bono editing for me, in order to accomodate the insertion of the Kaiser-approved rough mixes (which Henry and engineer Paul Stubblebine had re-EQ'd up in No. Cal.). Horrors. When we tried to load the DATs into Pro Tools, they were unplayable. Here's why...when I got the DAT with the replacement mixes from Henry, the machine I used to A/B them with my "final" mixes was Toss' portable Sony. I'm still learning about digital, and here's the fun new thing I learned...NEVER PLAY AN IMPORTANT DAT ON A FUCKING PORTABLE SONY. It ate and crumpled the tapes, and when you play them now they say "zzzztdt". So at least we're all grown-ups and we make back-up copies of all DAT mixes, so it was not totally disastrous. I had Henry send me his back-up DAT and got the back-up for my "finished" master and took them to Joe Statt at Anza Digital here in SD where I did the original edit. Joe had sadly dumped the edit information from the first session out of memory so he had to load it back in from the DAT, and while he was at it, the new mixes from Henry's DAT as well. Guess what? Henry's DAT has time-code which is incompatible with Anza's player. So tomorrow we get to see if the Sony-eaten Henry DAT will work for some bizarre reason, and if it doesn't (which is a 98.9999993% certainty) then we look for DAT players which won't freak out at the smell of Henry's poor little DAT. I'm sure this is boring the shit out of you but I had to get it off my chest. Mastering is already scheduled for Monday so one way or the other, we have to find a way to make it work. ARRRRRGGGGGGGGh.
Speaking of mistakes of many sorts, TC, the drummer of Faux Pas, brought a glaring "Dust Speck" typo to my attention: "I get more emotional nourishment from the "H" in the opening credit sequence of "Hudsucker Proxy" then I do from etc. etc." "Then" should be "than"!!! I worked so bloody hard on those liner notes too. It pisses me off when things like that escape my attention. It may seem minor, compared to something like "Stage Vol. 6" inventing band line-ups that never existed, but it still gets my little goat. I just checked out Todd's home page and down-loaded a new song called "If Not Now, When". It sounded great. Wish me luck with the DATs. Digital. Humbug.