About Me

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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New website...

Exciting news. The new website is fully operational and up for your viewing. www.timdaoust.com, as always. The new site features a new blog centered on audio software and composition tutorials as well as all of my contemporary music, my film reel, and it will eventually have a link to my iTunes store as soon as my release is finalized. More on that when it actually goes through and I get the html code for the store.

Right now, if you're interested, you can buy Disrupt, my three song EP at indabamusic.com. The songs are Daresay, Pastel and Windy April, all composed between 2001 and 2004.

Anyhow, I had my first VO gig ever today. Last Wednesday I received an email from the people at Edge Studio saying there was an unpaid voice-over job at Atlas Media, doing ADR for a few scenes from some Discovery Channel documentary. At first I couldn't go because the dates and times conflicted with work at NY1. But at some point during the weekend another email went out saying they were moving the date to Tuesday because they didn't get enough people for the second session. So, naturally I seized on it, Tuesday being my day off.

I went to the office of Atlas Media on W 36 St. in Manhattan and met two other voice recording artists that were there for the same job, one of whom I recognized as one of the people from Edge Studio that I had met while doing my coaching there last year. We waited only a little bit for the associate producer on the project and were taken into a conference room where he and the director were going to record us using the mic on their camera. The idea was to get the ambience of an open room vs. an audio booth for some dramatization scenes. The subject matter of this documentary, I won't say much, but it has to do with a hypothetical alien invasion. The scenes were set in a military command center both leading up to and in the wake of the alien invasion. It was a really fun read all in all, especially since I just watched Battle LA and have been somewhat obsessed lately with documentaries about space. I'm going to get an email when they know the air date and I'll be sure to pass that along to you all at that point.

Tonight, I was working with Kontakt, an advanced sample engine from Native Instruments that I will use extensively on this project. I may blog on the new site soon about some of the more advanced features of the program. At the moment, I'm trying to come up with melodies for Mohammad's film while listening incessantly to Ali Jihad Racy to get a feel for some moods that I may want to emulate. But honestly, I think I need to get some sleep because it's been a long night. Lacy is coming tomorrow and we're rehearsing again and possibly playing another open mic in Brooklyn. This one is at Abigail in Prospect Heights and it starts at 9pm if anyone is interested in coming out!

For now, good night and stay tuned for more news as this project unfolds.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weird weather and the new project...

I'm pretty sure every possible form of precipitation fell from the sky yesterday. It was raining when I left then it turned to snow as I was leaving RFB&D but by the time I was down on the street it was sleeting and raining again. Later that night I saw lightning and heard thunder and sleet tapping on the windows. I was surprised we didn't get a nor'easter-tsunami-gale-force-earthquake-mudslide-sandstorm-meteor-strike in the process. Yeah, this weather is weird. I met up with an old high school friend yesterday for a quick drink before she caught her flight back to Charleston and I felt obliged to apologize for the weather.

I hope that was the last time (knock on wood) and that soon I can hang up my winter coat for good. My folks are arriving tonight and at some point during the weekend their going to help me get my window A/C out of storage (among other things) so I can get rid of the expense. Hopefully, I'll be able to put that in the window without worrying about 20 degree drafts seeping in.

Anyhow, I met with Mohammad about the film score yesterday. He liked my first takes, just a little noodling with melodies. Although the finished project is going to sound so much different, I'm sure I'll be using the basic melodies that I came up with...or at least morphing them into something even more middle eastern sounding. Seriously, I want to do this the right way so I'm listening to a ton of middle eastern music, mostly Arabic, learning as much as I can about the forms and the scales they use, as much as I can about the Ney and the Oud and various drums, especially the Darbuka.

By the end of next week, I hope to have the piece fleshed out and ready to show some performers. I think it's important to have real performers on the piece. From here at home I can use Kontakt 3, which comes with samples of the Oud and the Ney among other instruments, and then Battery 3, which has a complete set of world drums which includes several of the drums that I'd be interested in having on this recording. But this is all just to come up with something to show the real performers. Since, this style of music is often characterized by improvisation around a certain melody and scale, it will be nice to get people who actually play these instruments to hear something I've written and improvise something around it that might sound more idiomatic and authentic.

It's going to be an exciting process. More on that as I work on the ideas and it all comes to fruition. I've gotta get ready for work now!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Open Mic at Pete's Candy Store...

Well, the open mic night was a success. Good turnout and the songs we performed were pretty solid. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the experience.

We got to Pete's at about a quarter to 5, me with my guitar and Lacy with all her luggage in tow. Before the open mic, some sort of church service goes on in the music hall section of the bar (something called the Revolution Church...a Christian church aimed at those with alternative lifestyles). So we had to wait out in the bar area but eventually the hall cleared out and the clipboard with the open mic signup sheet surfaced. So, I signed us up for the number 2 slot while chatting with one of the people who was there for the church service. The crowd of guitarists and other performers was growing slowly as I finished my first beer, so I eventually took a seat in the music hall with Lacy. She had already grabbed us a seat and, in the process, met one of the other performers, Macy, who agreed to video us with Lacy's phone.

We played two songs, opening with "In the Garden" and closing with "White Lion," (one of the audience members thought Lacy said "White Line," but we assured her it was not a song about cocaine use). Lacy may post audio at least from one or both of the songs as the video was a little blurry.

I stuck around until Macy performed but left at that point because I had to take care of some things before leaving for work and wanted to meet Lacy back in the city for a drink before she left town. So I got to see a handful of the other performers, very few of whose names I remember. The opener, who went before us, I had seen last time we went. He played guitar and harmonica and sang (a bit like Bob Dylan, in fact he covered a Bob Dylan song, too). We were followed immediately by a fellow playing guitar by himself and doing some fancy alternate tuning slappin' and tappin' guitar playin' that I was pretty impressed with. I wish I had gotten his name as one of his tunes was exceedingly catchy. There was a rather tall Indian gentleman who's last name was Gandhi and who was in a band named Gandhi. He sounded a bit like Cat Stevens or Donovan. After him, there was an older gentleman who played some folky Simon and Garfunkel styled stuff (he also covered a Simon and Garfunkel tune). And of course, Macy did really well. She played a few original tunes in her soft sultry voice that were rather captivating.

Anyway, it was great getting to perform along side these folks and get out some of that energy. It's been something I've needed for a long time and hopefully we'll be doing more of it pretty soon. We're hoping to play another one in April.

Next weekend is the jazz choir concert and my folks'll be in town as well. The concert will be pretty big I'm hearing, with tons of other acts besides us and a half hour long intermission (something that tells me the whole night might go on for 3 hours). If you would like to come it's in the chapel at 7pm Saturday, the 26th of March at the Brooklyn Unitarian Church on Pierrepont and Monroe Sts. in Brooklyn Heights. It's a $20 donation to support the youth group and there will be dessert and drinks there, I'm thinking maybe even dinner but I can't remember. I will find out for sure and add a comment to this post.

For now, I've gotta get going on studying some Middle Eastern music theory for the next project! Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Not a tourst and some music opportunities...

Sitting at home tonight with a beer and my computer and a healthy to-do list. It's nice to have a relaxing evening in with projections of getting things checked off of that to-do list. Last night Karishma and I took on Chinatown again for dim sum and some Chinatown Ice Cream Factory action. I took a few shots of the moon, it being bigger in the sky than it will be for another 18 years, but not much else. Those didn't even come out right. Even though Chinatown always makes me feel like a tourist when I visit, memories of my high school chorus trip to NYC rushing in the whole time, I still have not been much about taking pics around the city lately. Except when I see something stupid like this:

From Misc. March 2011

Or funny or interesting like these:

Funny Signs

And even then, it's just my phone taking crappy pics because my Canon is too bulky to carry around for recreational photos. Perhaps some day I'll take a day off and shoot some interesting shots around the city.

Me getting a day off just seems a laughable concept nowadays though. I have a ton on my plate that's new this week. Some of this is going to go in the newsletter that I'll send out next week but I wanted to go ahead and drop some of it on you faithful readers.

First, I have a new film scoring gig. The gracious director of "Peeper: A Sort of Love Story," Mohammad Maaty, has a new project he's working on called "Sides of the Track." I'm going to be coming in and writing some Middle Eastern-inspired music for the opening sequence. It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm extremely excited to be working with Mohammad again. Watch the youtube video on the Rocket Hub page and pay particularly close attention to what Mohammad says at about 3:19.

Second, rehearsals with Lacy James have been going very well and, in fact, tomorrow, we are hitting our first open mic in Williamsburg somewhere between 5 and 7pm at Pete's Candy Store. I think we're going to rock it out. You are welcome to come out if you are in the area. There's a possibility that I'll eventually be playing on Lacy's new recording as well.

Third, the choral piece is finished and plans to have it performed at the church are underway. Stay tuned for an exact date on that one.

Fourth, Tania and I are coming up with plans for my piece that she will be performing at her concert later in the year. It'll probably be June and we're hoping to book Symphony Space at 95th street.

So, I've got a pretty exciting couple of months ahead of me. And to top it all off, oh-all-right-I'll-tell-you-already: The new website is almost done. That's the surprise I hinted at a few blogs ago. It's on wordpress and we've spent a lot of time over the past few weeks tweaking the look and functionality of everything. Hopefully, fairly soon, we'll launch it.

Meanwhile, I'd better tackle that to-do list I have for the evening. More info and a newsletter to come next week! Before I go, a brief mention of the awesomeness that is Zen butter ice cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. Go get some!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pete's Candy Store

It seems like about a year ago I was blogging about a particular Nor'Easter that drenched me and my friend Claire on one of our first romps through New York City and leaked through my kitchen walls when I got home that night. Well here it is a year later almost to the day and Lacy and I had to deal with a similarly wild storm this evening while attempting to scope out the open mic at Pete's Candy store. Weird how weather can repeat itself like that.

We had a good rehearsal today...well, a very educational one. I'm still getting this laptop performance ready and we're still trying figure out the best way to set up our various setups. So, we learned a lot today about what works and what doesn't. We tried hooking everything, guitar and vocals through Lacy's computer, which is where the tracks and samples were being triggered as well. It works but it's a little difficult to share the interface. Plus, I was working with different software than I'm used to and wasn't ever comfortable with my sound. It's clear that if ever end up having to do it that way, we'll have to spend some time on working out the kinks.

In addition, I'm struggling with a little bit of a fret buzz I didn't even realize I had on my acoustic 12-string. For the longest time it only had 11 strings on it because, while I was trying to remove strings once a few years ago, I broke off one of the pegs in the bridge and wasn't able to fish out the rest of the old string, nor was I able to put a new string in there. For whatever reason I just left it like that. When I last restrung the guitar, shortly after Christmas, I replaced the peg and put the 12th string in there, only to realize a fret buzz a few weeks later on that particular string. Not only a buzz but a huge intonation problem; anything past the7th fret sounds like it's being played on the 12th fret. I imagine the neck's been warped for a while but I only now heard the effect when I put that highest string back on and tried to play one of Lacy's songs capoed at the 5th fret. One of those chord voicings plays a note on the 8th fret and it just sounds bad.

So before we can even play these songs acoustically, that will need to be taken care of. It's a quality thing on my part. I don't feel like I should have to avoid certain notes because the guitar won't sound good playing them. I should fix the guitar.

It turns out Pete's Candy Store will probably be better played acoustic anyway because it's just that type of intimate venue. Finding it was not hard but crossing under the BQE and getting over to Lorimer Street in the pouring rain was not fun. The venue itself, like I said, was intimate and cozy, and removed from the bar area. It was reachable during the open mic only by a side hallway. The music area was a long narrow space with tables lining the side. The crowd was mostly guitar players and singers, although one uke player and one stand-up comic did get up and perform though. Varying levels of talent made it very unassuming and comfortable. We even considered asking the emcee if we could use his guitar to do one impromptu but we decided against it last minute. I think we both really want to nail it when we finally do get up and perform. I feel like one or two more rehearsals will do it. Anyway, we talked to the guy afterward and he mentioned that there was another open mic up the street (the name of the venue escapes me at the moment) that a lot of performers will go and do right after his. Sounds like a plan!

The rain had gotten slightly worse by the time we left Pete's so we opted to take a cab instead of taking two to three trains to make up for the L train being out of service (stupid MTA). We had to go all the way to 8th and 14th and I think it was only running to Union Square. The wind was so bad our umbrellas were pretty much useless and, once in Manhattan, the wind was so bad it was knocking over trash cans and blowing large objects down the street. I think at one point, the force of the wind actually bent the shaft of my umbrella a little as I was trying to hold it against the wind. To make matters worse, our destination, Benny's Burritos, was being descended upon by a group of 18 people who effectively filled up the dining area and made our wait 45 minutes. Grumbling we opted to go across the street to a French restaurant on the corner of 13th and Greenwich Avenue. This place was expensive but at this point all we wanted was to get out of the drenching rain. The food and service was good though. I've always wanted to go into this restaurant ever since I first saw the building, one of those triangular shaped numbers like the flatiron that takes it's shape from the angle of the streets around it. I love those buildings, the ones like the Flatiron that taper toward one end. There's one in NOHO next to the Bleeker Street subway stop that just look so cool because it get so narrow at one end it's probably only the width of one person.
(Zoom into the center of the map and you'll see what I'm talking about)

View Larger Map

Anyway, this restaurant, Lyon used to be called Bruxelles but that incarnation closed down last year sometime and the new one opened a few months later. I'd go back, maybe on a date, but it's in the $25 entree range. We only ordered appetizers and sides but some of the entrees sounded amazing.

Right now, I'm sitting at work, not clocked in, in my little corner in the far conference room posting this blog. Lacy grabbed a cab to the bus depot from back on 8th Avenue and I jogged to work, ultimately slam dunking my tattered umbrella in the last city trash can before the front door to my building. They never last too long here. It was time for this one to go back to the ground. I've got several discs worth of software, twelve to be exact, to install tonight, so I'm getting started now before I clock in for work at 11pm.

For now, I'm gonna run and take care of that.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Productivity and functionality...

I have the Macbook Pro now. I'm slowly getting to know it and installing all of the software I use, synths, notation software, samplers and most exciting, Logic Pro, my DAW. It's giving me the most problems so far. Logic is one of those programs where you have to connect a USB dongle (love the word dongle) each time you use the program. I'm not sure whether or not this is the problem but the first time I installed it, it would close and spit out an error report every time I tried to open it. Fooey. But beyond that, any frustrations with software installation and whatnot have been dwarfed by the excitement of having such ease of functionality and sheer portability on my side for once. I was able to do a lot of these things while on my break at work...since someone clued me in to the free wi-fi from Google's offices that you can tap into from the far conference room at NY1. Shhh! Our little secret.

Anyhow, I've decided to stay in tonight and mess around with my new toy, in lieu of my jam session which was canceled. I need the night in at this point, too. It's been a busy week with a lot of revelry squeezed in the empty spaces. Lacy and I had a great practice on Wednesday followed by a nice French dinner and a bottle of wine at the location of one of the open mic nights we've been researching. The lounge area where they hold the open mic at Belleville Bistro on 5th Avenue was regrettably closed for renovation. Tomorrow, we plan on rehearsing some more and then going to the open mic night at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg. This one we may actually perform, depending on how practice goes.

Meanwhile, I'm on my third attempt to get my Audio Kontrol interface to work with the Macbook Pro. Reading up on Macbook troubleshooting stuff I think I'm close to trying out some solution that might work. For a second there I was worried it was a faulty USB output on the device itself because the light was blinking on and off. Then when I realized it was a regular blinking, I figured it was probably a sign of something. More on my progress later though. Isn't troubleshooting fun?

I'll tell you what is fun. The new version of Sibelius, version 6. I've been using it on the new Macbook while on my break from work, and I'm finding out just how much I love being able to use my breaks to make advances on my various projects. Plus, the new program has some new features that are making life so much easier on me. Stand by for a short blog about its functions and features. I've been starting to blog on the new site, which should be up any day now, about audio and music software, and other music related topics.

Meanwhile, because of the added productivity of the new laptop, I'm hoping to have Collapsing Elbows and the choral piece done within a few days now. Wish me luck!