Posts Tagged recording

Price Drop for CDs and downloads

I’ve reduced the prices of CDs and downloads at my webstore, added lyrics for all the tunes on Guardian Grace and set up a free download for anyone who signs up on the fan list.  Feel free to listen to full track streaming as well. My music is available on several online distributors, but my webstore is the only place where you can receive these reduced prices.

BTW – It’s great to be able to hear so much music online for free, but please support artists that you enjoy by purchasing their music and attending their shows. Don’t just “like” an artist; become a sponsor/patron if you want to hear more from them – especially independent artists.

 

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Austin Stone – A well executed worship resource site

Thanks to my friend Chris Hatch, I heard about this church, Austin Stone. They are using video and sharing their music through their website in a way that empowers many other churches to perform their songs. It’s a cool business model, but it’s also an interesting model for how the church can share it’s songs in the digital age. Watching the videos, I am struck with a few random thoughts (2 positive and 1 critical).

Theology is important to my generation. Despite the accusations of traditionalists, the music of post-modern Christians is expected to have theological meat to it. It might not sound the same as Isaac Watts, but theology is not something we want to ignore.

There is an art to writing piano, guitar, and drum parts. (also bass, but there were no tutorials for that. Check out this video for bass tips.) You can see from the tutorials that these musicians are doing a lot more than strumming the four chords. When you go in the studio and take time to craft a song, you have to think about every guitar or drum part as a composer.

Your cultural is invisible to you and blatant to the rest of us. It’s great to see how this church is living out the gospel in their context. If you are not from their culture, you might notice that they dress different, sing different, think different, etc. When I listen to most “modern worship” recordings these days, I am struck by their mono-cultural nature. Did you notice the vintage keys and antique piano? Why not use a Phantom? All the guitar parts are a wash with delay and chimey distortion – where’s the funk or the blues? I’m not saying that they needed to include that stuff, but I am saying that this music is not designed to reach across cultural barriers. It seems to be comfortably easing into a singular cultural expression, but they are probably not doing that intentionally. Right?

True confession: I am totally jealous of this website. I love the video tutorials, the chart downloads, the minimalist design. They have nailed what we imagined our ncfmusic.com site to be like.

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Cakewalk Homestudio vs. Audacity

6/3/2010 – After receiving a comment about this post that accused me of stealing, I changed the phrase “breaking the code” to “figure out how to use” in order to clarify. I apologize for the confusion.

Last week, I had some extra time in the office, so I once again attempted to figure out how to use Cakewalk Homestudio in order to make a few simple demos.

My dad has successfully incorporated demos into his volunteer system using a Tascam digital 8 track. He records 3 part harmonies and produces custom demos for every Sunday with each singers parts. This is an especially valuable tool in the world of cross-cultural ministry because it levels the playing field for non-readers and it communicates more effectively the elements of style that are not easily communicated on paper. So, I’ve been jealous of this tool for a while.

A few years ago, I bought a copy of the computer recording software, Cakewalk Homestudio. With a name like that I thought, “this will be for simple, home-based, user-friendly applications.” I was wrong. I found it very complicated to get set-up with the proper latency etc.  to just roll tape and produce a quick mp3 demo. I made one concerted effort to produce a demo using MIDI instruments combined with audio vocal and guitar. It took me forever to figure out the program. I had to contact support, look in user forums, and decode all the recording language that I was not familiar with. Yes, I read the manual and did the tutorials. It was not helpful.

I abandoned Homestudio for about a year. I’ve been creating quick easy demos using our M-Audio Microtrack recorder. It has a little stereo mic and does a decent job, but no multiple tracks or editing.

Last week, I emotionally prepared myself and dove into Homestudio the process again. I found that it was a little easier the second time around, but it’s still not as easy as a cheap digital multitrack recorder. I also found that after I had completed the recording, I had to purchase a $30 add-on in order to export the demo into an mp3 format that could be uploaded to the web or burned. Argg! I ended up downloading the free shareware program, Audacity, then importing the raw wav files from Homestudio in order to produce a simple mp3.

After that, I realized that I could actually do a lot with Audacity by itself. It doesn’t have MIDI instruments or fancy effects. But, with just a guitar accompaniment, I could add all the vocals that I needed and produced a demo that was as good as the Homestudio product with much less effort or frustration. Did I mention that Audacity is free? Now, I should point out that I am using the M-Audio Black Box as my audio interface. It has tons of amp models and effects, so I can do a lot with that by itself.  Still, I have been pretty disappointed with Homestudio.

Some of you are reading this thinking, “You should have bought a Mac. Garage Band is what you needed.” Well, if I had bought a Mac, then take the price of 3 or 4  Homestudio’s and add that to the cost of my rig (not to mention that I’m using a donated PC, so I don’t really have a choice.)

Here’s “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me” which was done with Homestudio (then exported to mp3 with Audacity).

Here’s Soki Natali Monene which was recording entirely on Audacity. There’s some clipping and distortion on this one, but it’s more user error than the program. I tried boosting the signal with a compressor or something…it was overkill. Did I mention this program is free and this recording was done in half the time?

Can you hear any difference?

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The Changing Face of the Music Business

I am going to Chicago this weekend to play guitar in my dad’s band as we lead some of the worship at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share our songs and unique sound. Before I depart this morning, I wanted to share a few things that I’ve been thinking this week about the way the music business is changing. First, you can check out this blog, The Future of Music, which gives you a good picture of what sort changes I’m talking about. The biggest changes have to do with how people hear new music, interact with other fans, interact with artists, and how they consume music and other media. If you  have Netflix, you can relate to the idea that a change in technology can change the entire way that you get connected to entertainment

You might remember me writing a few weeks back about the website, lala.com. As read more about lala, I learned that it’s actually made a big deal with google so that every time you do a search on an artist or song, it puts the lala link at the top pf the search where you can click to listen to the song.

This week, my friend Tanya introduced me to another site called, grooveshark.com. Grooveshark is a throw back to the old days of the big, bad “illegal” version of Napster. The difference is that grooveshark streams music instead of doing downloads. Their site claims that they have deals with all the major record companies, but if you google grooveshark you find a bunch of news stories about all the companies that have filled lawsuits against the site. The point is that it gives you free access to listen to any song that another user might upload. This gives the power to control who listens to the music to users and disconnects the control of the music from the record companies or from the artist.

This week, I was also introduced to a site created by a fellow Presbyterian musician, Derek Webb, called Noise Trade. This site restores the interaction between fans and artists. With Noise Trade, artists can trade a download for an email, give fans an easy way to virally share their favorite artist with their social networks, and it also includes a “tip jar” which gives fans the opportunity to give back to the artist. I am definintly going to sign up for this when I get back from the windy city.

I’m kind of rambling, but the point is that our ways of selling, consuming, and sharing music is changing to be more free and more instant.

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My Refuge

This song was written to encapsulate a big part of the vision of New City Fellowship which reflects that commitment of God’s Kingdom to be a refuge for the fatherless, the alien, and the widow. The gospel of Jesus Christ is more than personal salvation, it’s a gospel about the restoration of the whole creation and a new world order of justice and mercy. Stylistically, I took this song in a soul/gospel/rock feel that is a kind of Staple Singers sitting in with the Beatles. Enjoy!

My Refuge

Chorus:
You’re my refuge
My refuge O Lord
You’re my refuge
In the midst of the storm
Though the mountains my fall
and the earth give way
You’ll still be my refuge
at the end of the day

Aliens and strangers
from across the lands
are here on our doorstep
living the best they can
Famine and warfare
corruption and greed
have made these people homeless
brothers and sisters in need
Lord you were my shelter
when I was a stranger too
now when I see injustice
I want to be a refuge like you

To Chorus

In the heart of the city
a young man is there
abandoned by his father
but nobody seems to care
everyday is a battle
a struggle to stay alive
he can’t trust nobody
if he wants to survive
Lord you were my Father
when I was an orphan too
now when I see injustice
I want to be a refuge like you

To Chorus

Lord you were arrested
and falsely accused
abandoned by your best friends
tortured and abused
willingly you suffered
and were killed on a tree
you endured this injustice
to save sinners like me
Lord you were my ransom
when I deserved to suffer too
you gave me your compassion
So I could be a refuge like you.

To Chorus

“My Refuge”
Words and Music by Kirk Ward
© 2008 Kirk Ward Music

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iTunes, baby!!!

Both of my recordings are now available on iTunes. Check it out here.

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Pics from the CD release party

Pics by Neil Das from the Dassler Effect. Click here to check out the full gallery.

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Guardian Grace now available for purchase online!

I just received word that both my CDs are now available for purchase on Nimbit and CDFreedom as well as my profile pages on facebook and myspace. These services ship directly to you and can also accept credit cards.

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CD Release Party Poster

Poster designed by Paul Heirendt, CD artwork by Ken Zarecki, Photo by Ed Crim

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CD Release Party Planning

According to the UPS tracking site, my CDs should be arriving today. So it looks like we are going to be all set for next Friday’s party. December is an awful time to plan any kind of party.  Every one is already double booked with various family, church, and work related parties and stuff. Despite all that, I’ve received a lot of good feedback from folks who plan on coming. It should be a fun party whether you like music or not.

I just had lunch with my friend, Paul Heirendt, to talk about sound and tech support. Paul is one of those people who makes you feel safe knowing that they are around. Thanks, Paul!

There will be two sets of music, one with a full band and one just me and the acoustic. We hope to have text so that everyone can sing a long. The most of songs on the CD are intended for corporate worship, so I believe they are best performed as such. Please come anticipating that you will sing along.

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