February 3rd, 2011


Con report: Conflikt 2011

Conflikt 2011, at the SeaTac Holiday Inn - the TL;DR is that things mostly went fine, but it felt a lot less social than last year.

That might've just been me; I have difficulties here. A big part of that feeling comes out of the new hotel - the personnel are fine, the rooms themselves are perfectly good, but the layout is just... really bad. It's terrible for social hangout space and group flow and the like; small spaces, separated by many corridors with many turns, and it's pretty well isolating. For me, anyway, Conflikt kind of leans on that social feeling pretty heavily, and with that missing, it loses a lot. The best hang-out space at this hotel would be the front lobby, but that's separated by a maze of corridors and elevators from the rest of the convention space, so feels isolated and doesn't work. It's not where you go to be randomly social, it's where you go to be alone.

I wish they'd move to the Marriott that hosts Rustycon. I love that hotel; it doesn't have this hotel's problems. And I'm not sure you can fix this hotel.

But that's a physical plant issue. Other than that, it seemed to go pretty well; no major technical issues that I noticed, other than problems with the sound system I'm told were caused by having to work around a sudden malfunction in the soundboard compressor, and on the whole, from the audience side, they mostly had that under good control. Programming seemed pretty solid; nothing hugely new, but that's not why you go to Conflikt, really. The new part is what music people are bringing.

Me, I mostly caught up with a couple of people on Friday. That, and getting business mostly out of the way - handing ARCs off to dealers for order consideration, things like that - of which I didn't have very much, really. For the record, food at 13 Coins has gotten a lot better; it's not worth a special trip, but it's now worth it if you need to GTFO of a hotel on the Sea-Tac Strip.

Saturday, Conflikt's version of the Home Recording I panel confirmed how I can contribute to the Norwescon Home Recording I panel - basically, everybody else will talk about correct ways to do things, and I'll say, "those are the good ways; do it those ways if you possibly can; but if you can't, here's how to make it work with twine, bamboo, and coconuts." ^_^

Leannan Sidhe's first show went really well - it did not look or sound like a first show, and she was so nervous beforehand, omg. Saturday's shows were good up and down, really; Mark Osier's song about groupies is a riot while being perky and danceable - Shanti and I snoopydanced our way through it, for atmosphere, and were informed we did that disturbingly well ^_^ - and he did this thing about genetically damaged lab animals on Old McDonald's Farm that was so ill. And so recommended! But the con suite conversation was all about Egypt and rightists going on about MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD NEW IRAN OMG OMG OMG MUST SUPPORT THE DICTATOR, which was not at all fun.

By Sunday, I was pretty wiped out and got there a bit late for rehearsal for and play in the Band Scramble, where I ran into [personal profile] technoshaman who popped in for surprise chorus before taking off for the day. Our group called our band Invader Tak and the Perfectly Normal Humans, then played "Elf Glade," which, if you don't know, is about luring away and killing humans for nefarious purposes. I SWEAR THE SONG WAS NOT MY IDEA. But I jumped on it like a jaguar on a 2012 Mayan. XD

Sunday Jam was really quite good - one of the more jam-like Sunday jams I've played with, and I liked that a lot. It just flowed well, if you know what that feels like, and was actually mostly a proper jam, rather than songs. The Smoked Salmon after ran nicely long too. I was quite surprised to discover the second room having its own playing going on... Sunday? Separately to the main room. Go, small group, go! ^_^

Despite the hotel, I ran into and talked with a lot of people through the weekend - J.C., Stephanie, J.T., Chaos, John, Richard, K., Shanti, Alec, Cern, Angi, the Lundervillains ... it's a long list and I'm forgetting people, I'm sorry. But despite that it felt all socially scattered, just like the space, and I didn't get to talk to half of you as much as I'd've wanted.

Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive to architecture. But I still hope they find a new hotel.

15 days to go on Kickstarter project Dick Tracy Must Duplicate; currently funding at 65% of goal. Consider joining!

This post originated on Dreamwidth journal ソ-ラ-バ-ド-のおん: Solarbird Makes Noises. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.

Second Kickstarter update

I just posted this to the Kickstarter site as an update, but that doesn’t echo around. TL;DR: we’re at 65% of funding, we have technically 15 but really 14 days left, mastering is awesome, tell your friends, your enemies, that guy with the sign on the corner saying the police are communist – whoever will listen! Two words from you carry a dozen times the weight of two hundred from me.

Here’s the update:

The first mastering session went really well. Mastering is when you take the final mixes of a bunch of songs and process them for CD and digital download – you’re evening out levels across all the tracks, adjusting equalisation so that everything behaves better across different sorts of speakers and in different environments, setting spacing between tracks, and things like that. It’s a collection of subtleties, really, but as with all such things, they add up.

It’s also something you don’t do yourself. You can do a lot to be as mastering-session-ready as possible, and we did those things, but it has its own set of skills. Plus, you just need the fresh ears on the project. As I’ve heard credited to Jeff Bohnhoff, “Mastering your own album is like defending yourself at your own murder trial,” and just for the record, we’ve learned from our mistakes. XD

So we’re working with Mark Guenther at Seattle Disc Mastering. He runs a vacuum-tube-driven mastering studio – I’m pretty sure his D/A converter alone cost more than all our equipment combined, and I’m not even joking a little – but that’s kind of exactly what we need for our DIY low-end digital monster sound. We need something like that to take that brittleness off, and we are very much liking what we hear.

15 days to go – well, 14, really – and we’re at 65% of funding. If you’re considering what to do – trust me, we’ve put a our own money into this thing, in spades. Time in a mastering studio is not cheap. (And for good reason – that was over $150,000 worth of equipment I sat down in front of a couple of days ago at Mark’s studio.) That’s purely out of pocket.

If you’ve decided to back us but haven’t yet, any time is good! ^_^ Click on Project Home and click the big green shiny BACK THIS PROJECT button today!

And if you’re already a backer – thank you, thank you, thank you so much. And I hate to ask anything else of you, but I am: would you tell your friends? The words of backers are a hundred times more persuasive than anything we can say. If we don’t make at least 100%, we don’t get funded at all, and we’d really, really like to get there. Point them to the project site:


The rest of you, I hope you’ll check out our band website:


…and sign up with us. This planet isn’t gonna conquer itself, after all! XD And thanks.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Also posted to ソ-ラ-バ-ド-のおん; comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.