Acts of Volition

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Mandy -

Excellent idea Steven.. I'm always nosey about what music people like. Adding your own thoughts to your play list is also a great idea. Top notch.

Peter Rukavina -

You should contact SOCAN. The last time I checked, their licensing policy was "under development," but they were suggesting that e-broadcasters set aside 5% of revenue (for profit-making endeavours) or expenses (for non-profits).

Steven Marshall -

Superb, Steven.

I really enjoyed listening to this, and it's inspired me to look for other music by your featured artists (I'm listening to Brad Sucks' collection as I write this).

A very nice change to my usual taste in music (hip-hop, soul, jazz and real R&B).

Matt -

I really enjoyed listening to this, Steven. I tuned into one of the BBC stations the other night and they played The Darkness three times in an hour. Wild stuff, but strangely addictive.

I'd certainly look forward to another edition of "acts of volition radio."

Alan -

How'dja do it? What app did you use?

Steven Garrity -

Alan asks how the show was put together. It was relatively simple. I happen to have bought a nice microphone and some home recording software last year in hopes of recording some songs (which still hasn't happened).

Here's a photo of my setup.

The microphone is a Shure SM-57. It's a workhorse microphone that is often used to record guitar amps. Chances are that several (or most) of your favourite guitar riffs were recorded on one of these. It also works well for voice. Shure likes to brag that the SM-57 has been used on the podium of the President of the United States for over 30 years. It happens to be cheap, at least in terms of professional recording equipment - around $150 (you can probably find it for closer to $100USD).

You probably don't need a mic like this if all you are doing is crappy amateur radio, but the mic is usually the weakest link in recording.

I have the mic running straight into to mic-in jack on my ThinkPad T30 running Windows XP. The standard mic cable is a 1/4" male jack and my sound card, like most, takes a 1/8" male jack. A $4 1/4"-to-1/8" adapter from the FutureShop does the trick.

On the software side, I have a cheap shareware-ish app called N-Track Studio. It's a multi-track recording application, like the cheaper sick/ugly cousin of ProTools, or CakeWalk. It was $49 to register (which I did).

From there, I put together a quick playlist in my favourite application and start talkin'. Each throw between songs is a separate track, and then the songs are brought in as WAV files (converted from MP3s or CD by WinAmp). I can then easily line up the song starts and ends with the speech. I used some really simple volume envelope stuff to fade some of the tracks in and out.

The whole thing probably took about an hour and a half, though it should be a bit quicker next time.

N-Track Studio can then mixdown the whole thing to a WAV file (a few hundred megabytes) and convert it into MP3 (I would like to use Ogg Vorbis, but it seems that the iPod doesn't support it and it is my secret goal to get on the iPods of all of the coolest people I know).

All-in-all, not too difficult, but not for everyone. It could be made easier if you used something like Microsoft's Windows Movie Maker or Apple's iMovie.

The feedback has been great so far (or my critics are just too cowardly to address me directly) so I hope to do more soon.

Martin Alderson -

The Darkness own. They are a new band from the UK, and they are taking england by storm. I think they will do the same to the US :). On BBC Radio 1, (www.bbc.co.uk/radio1), if you listen at 3pm-5.45pm GMT you will get Chris Moyles who's a big fan of The Darkness and if your lucky you'll get to listen to a remix of that song - It's very good ;).

Steven Garrity -

Those who listened may have noticed that the levels between the voice commentary and the music are a little off balance (the voice is too low). I'm aware of it, and will try to get it a bit more balanced next time.

If only I had a personal sound engineer, like that nice lady through the sound-proof glass behind the sound board that makes Matt Rainnie sounds so good all the time.

Graham Cohen -

Long time listener, first time caller. Stick to your day job. ;)

Charlie -

Let me know if you need a morning guy... ;)

Ryan Hillier -

Great listen, Steve. I'd offer to engineer for you, but I'm in another province.

Seb -

Great idea, and thanks for putting this together, Steven! For those who don't have an SM-57 (or are just lazy), people have started simply sharing playlists on the web - I've written a bit about it <a href=http://radio.weblogs.com/0110772/2003/11/28.html#a1279>here</a>.

Johnny Rukavina -

I think the show is a great idea and I hope its not the last episode. In fact, why stop with a single show? If you were to harness all of the bohemian hipsterism of the silverorange posse, I'm sure you could have a radio station up and running within a week or so. Anyhow, I have been a big fan of the Darkness for a while now. They are monster huge in the UK (apparently Tony Blair is a fan) and I think they have tapped in to the general public's nostalgic yearning for spandex and guitar solos. I think their finest work is "Get Your Hands Off My Woman, MotherF@#*er".

Steven Garrity -

Keep the pressure on and I'm sure you'll see more radio coming out of our new headquarters.

As for The Darkness, I usually don't go for the joke/gimmick stuff (for example, though I appreciate the concept, I just can't get into Kiss or the WWF/WWE). That said, this just struck me as plain old awesome. He even yells “GUITAR!” before the guitar solos.

Daniel Burka -

Great listen Steven. Keep them coming.

KJW -

The Darkness are huge here in the UK, even gracing the covers of the more "serious" music press like "Q". Personally I find it quite refreshing, currently our music scene is dominated by TV generated singers (Pop Idol, Fame Academy etc).

I also thought that he yelled "GUITAR" before the solo's but a friend of mine is convinced he says "GET DOWN!". Subsequent listens make me think he might be right.

pinder -

Steven, if you're going to be hosting large mp3s each week, it might be a good idea to looking into putting up a BitTorrent file. You'll save on bandwidth and users will be able to download the file faster.

Steven Garrity -

Pinder, a few other people have suggested a bittorrent file too. I thought about it but decided that I don't have the volume to make it necessary. Also, some people stream the MP3, which BitTorrent wouldn't help with.

That said, I might give it a try for the next session (coming soon folks!).

Matt McQuaid -

<i>As for The Darkness, I usually don't go for the joke/gimmick stuff</i>

I think the beauty of The Darkness is that they're not a joke--they mean every word and artificial harmonic. Sure, Darkness shows are filled with hipsters wearing Ratt t-shirts and foam-mesh "trucker" hats soaked in post-modern irony, but these cats just don't get it... as usual.

Nice work on AoV Radio too, I eagerly await the next installment.

József Sasvári -

Steven, it was well worth staying awake till 2:15AM. Excellent!

Martin -

This is good stuff.

You should try to write a script of what you think you might be likely to talk about - especially your main introduction, and the intros to songs (facts about the bands etc).

Time yourself reading the script out on a run-through, and try to stick to the schedule and text. You'll sound more natural and the speech parts will flow better - especially if you write the material exactly as you would say it.

Keep it snappy!

Otherwise, this was pretty good - I'm looking forward to some more, or even a live show that we can tune in to.

I've been thinking of doing something similar - maybe not music related.

Peter Rukavina -

Scripts can be Good and I suspect, as Martin suggests, they would help you. But this is not certain: scripts can make some people sound dead as doornails.

ffoeg -

Respect!

Andy Collier -

Hey Steven,

Pretty cool idea, I was especially pleased to see The Weakerthans on your set. I have Reconstruction Site and absolutely love it. I think A Plea From A Cat Named Virtue is my fav or the track with Sara Harmer....

Ken -

I made a sound effect from your show, I don't know, I was bored.

Also, listen to Celso Fonseca's 'Origem de Felicidade'

Andy Collier -

http://www.thedarknessrock.com/video/

Reivec -

Just got this and listened to it all and I am already looking forward to future ones, keep this up. More and more lately I have been looking into a lot of non mainstream music and I actually found this site through the link that Brad Sucks had up, so I was already a fan of his stuff, but the bands you played are also quite good and it has given me more to look into. I have been kinda blown away lately by the shear number of great bands most people have never heard of. Anyway keep this up, loved it and I like to get a little info on new bands when I start to listen to them.

James -

Pedro the Lion is awesome. I've just discovered his music and I think it's utterly unique and lyrically sophisticated as well. Thanks for this, Steven. And just got around to linking you today, though I've read you on and off for the past couple of years. Hopefully more "on" now. Cheers from Toronto.

Justin -

Awesome stuff on these radio sessions... just finished listening to the third or fourth....

Last night at Target, I heard a vaguely familiar song in the electronics area.... turns out they were playing The Darkness in Target . . . . my jaw dropped.

Steven Garrity -

Yeah Justin - I had a similar experience this week. They were playing The Darkness in the local Sobeys grocery store.

It's the devil's musak!

Alan -

I picked up the CD of The Darkness today. I am now in touch with my inner 13 year old living in 1975.

Alan -

...and with "I Believe in a thing called Love" at #3 on Much Music this week, I can place my vote that it is "Guitar" that is shouted not "Get Down". The liner notes say that as well. The best touch in the video, other than the space squid they defeat in the final crescendo, is the salami that suddenly appears for an instant in the change of shot just as the lead singer sings that word "Guitar!"

Sherif Tariq -

This is probably a little late, but why not :-) Nice job with the Acts of Volition radio idea. Until I downloaded this session, I had no idea there was so much more variety to the music out there (I know, duh). But I honestly didn't realize I would enjoy it so much. Thanks for expanding my horizon (music-wise at least :-).

Especially love The Post Office ;-)

casey -

Just thought I'd note that Postal Service is not reeally an underground indie group or anything (albeit it, it is a year later, but they weren't then either). They are two individuals, Ben Gibbard of "Death Cab for Cutie" and the guy behind "Dntel". Both are featured in the next gen 90210 show, "The O.C.".