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Dec 2012

“Talent Made Me Love You”: Transmission 9, 2012 December 26

December 27, 2012

Lady Catharsis and Catharsis Junior visit the studio on a night that is too snowy for most people to be out. "Rescue Dog Radio" was meant to air live before BOMBAST, and "Radio Waves" was meant to air live afterwards, but both Allison and DJ Stu were sensible enough to stay home.  Not the Catharsis family!  We crazy.  I did finally get to speak to DJ Stu, when he called in to say that he wasn't going to risk a drive into town.  He said that he routinely listens to BOMBAST, which I took as a compliment.  It was, right?  I routinely listen to "Radio Waves," which is the only show I've heard in 10 years of living in Ithaca that has broken off this chunk of funk.

This was a vacation night for all three of us, and such a night will not occur for another four months or so.  It seemed like a good opportunity to bring the two "other voices" of BOMBAST into the studio live instead of recording and editing voiceovers--live is much easier for people with lazy tendencies like me.  As luck would have it the National Weather Service predicted 10-14 inches of snow for us beginning that afternoon.  We only wound up with about 4, but most of that happened before showtime.

Thanks to global warming the city is now out of practice dealing with situations like this, and the roads weren't in any condition for driving.  We are not going to win parents of the year for this, but it is much easier to get a 9-year old to walk a mile in the snow, each way, if she is hopped up on candy--this explains the "gummies" reference late in the first hour, as Catharsis Junior is by this point about to give up back-announcing music and sink into a vortex of sugar-assisted Ninjago research.

But all of this is worth it for the sake of tuneage, isn't it, listeners?  Lady Catharsis brings her "A" game in this soundclash--why have only two visits to the "Listening Parlour" when the Lady is going to be sitting in the studio for two full hours?  We unfortunately had to truncate the spoken-word segment at the end of the Bongwater track in case any cranks were listening, pen in hand, waiting to report something to the FCC [this really does happen].  But we did finally get to play Blancmange--we had meant to during the 12-inch extravaganza a couple of weeks ago, but the extended version of "Feel Me" is, we both felt, quite poor.  Allison deserved a better song for her vinyl rehab, so "Bedsitter" got the nod.  Just as well--I don't know how I would have followed the Blancmange track had I not just discovered the Jimmy Edgar recording this past week.

For your further enjoyment, here are some links to accompany the banter from the voiceover segments.  The making of the "Debaser" record was indeed documented by The Raw Story, via Wired; information on the John Dowie 7" is available here and here [apparently there are, pace me, inexpensive copies kicking around, if you're willing to go featherless and pay for shipping from Germany]; finally, here are those leg warmers.

Technical note about the mp3 files: I continue to struggle with them.  There's a difference between what I capture on my digital recorder and what people hear when they actually tune in to the station.  When you listen to radio, whether it's a receiver snagging terrestrial broadcasts out of the air or an internet stream, what you are hearing has undergone dynamic range compression, sometimes pretty severe depending upon how commercial the station is and how it chooses to compete for listeners' attention.  "Dynamic range compression," for the lay person, is the process of smoothing out differences in volume, so that the loudest parts of the signal are made quieter and the quietest parts of the signal are made louder.  This is done to pretty much all recordings and radio broadcasts--when you consider that many people listen to music in pretty noisy environments [a workplace, a car on the highway, and so forth], it makes sense.

What my recording device actually captures is the signal straight from the control room mixing board, BEFORE this compression is applied.  That's just the way the station is set up at this moment, and I think everyone's just recovering from the fundraiser and the holidays, so the signal paths in the studio probably aren't going to change any time soon.  Also, I don't think the microphones in the studio are compressed before their signal goes to the board, as is often the case in "professional" radio.  So the raw sound files I'm working with are riddled with crazy dynamics, which is "good" from a "documentary" or "art" standpoint but makes for a weird listening experience at times.

Before uploading the podcasts to this website, I edit the sound files using Audacity freeware.  I've been experimenting with the built-in compressor settings in this application but I'm really not happy with what I hear, especially when it's applied "globally" [to the whole file].  I have resorted to spot-fixing the craziest peaks in the signal, "normalizing" the individual channels to 0 dB, and letting it go.  So, except for these sporadic problem spots, the sound files are uncompressed, meaning that they might sound "quieter" than other recordings you hear on the internet.  While no digital file can exceed 0dBFS in volume, a compressed file seems "louder" because the human ear perceives averages, not peaks.  Apologies for the quietude--you can always crank it!--and for the long explanation.  It's just that I've spent a considerable amount of time on this particular sound file, trying to give you the best listening experience I can.

I know there are better audio editors out there--I have some--but Audacity is currently the "quick and dirty" solution that is giving me the easiest time, such as it is, working with sound files of 2 hours' duration.  If any tech-heads out there hear some anomalies in the files that they feel I could solve more effectively, and have specific advice on how I might do so, please send me a PM.

Technical note about the podcast website: I'm considering this a milestone, but I have finally reached my storage capacity, meaning that beginning with Transmission 1, today, each new podcast upload means that an old broadcast goes to the "archive."  Subscribing on iTunes by clicking the box on the right-hand side of the page is a way to get all the existing episodes.

BOMBAST playlist, 2012 December 26, 8-10 p.m.

  1. AFX: "Boxing Day" [Rephlex]
  2. The National Jazz Trio of Scotland: "Oh Xmas Tree" [Karaoke Kalk]
  3. Bob Dean and his Hi-Way Wanderers: "I'll Take Her from the Valley" [Collectables] ***"Listening Parlour"
  4. The 13th Floor Elevators: "You're Gonna Miss Me" [International Artists]
  5. Tom Waits: "Frank's Song" [Manifesto] ***"Listening Parlour"
  6. Shelter Point: "Forever for Now" [Hotflush]
  7. Opal: "Happy Nightmare Baby" [SST] ***"Listening Parlour"
  8. The Carnations: "Scorpion" [TT Shaker]
  9. American Music Club: "The Hula Maiden" (live) [Demon] ***"Listening Parlour"
  10. Pixies: "Debaser" / "Gigantic" (live) [4AD / FNAC]
  11. John Dowie: "It's Hard to Be an Egg" [Les Temps Modernes]
  12. Loretta Lynn: "Hey Loretta" [MCA] ***"Listening Parlour"
  13. Little Annie / Baby Dee: "Perfect Gift" [Tin Angel]
  14. Darling Farah: "Aangel" [Civil Music]
  15. Commodo: "Raymond" [Didlybom]
  16. Blancmange: "Feel Me" [Island] ***"Listening Parlour"
  17. Jimmy Edgar: "Hrt Real Good" [Hotflush]
  18. Divinyls: "Ring Me Up" [Chrysalis] ***"Listening Parlour"
  19. Throbbing Gristle: "20 Jazz Funk Greats" [Industrial]
  20. Primal Scream: "Slip Inside This House" [Creation / Sire]
  21. Miracle Legion: "Sea Hag" [Morgan Creek] ***"Listening Parlour"
  22. The Bags: "Survive" [Artifix]
  23. Bongwater: "Talent is a Vampire" [Shimmy Disc] ***"Listening Parlour"
  24. Moullinex feat. Peaches: "Maniac" [Gomma]
  25. Thin White Rope: "Burn the Flames" [Munster]
  26. The Human League: "Marianne" [Caroline / Virgin] ***"Listening Parlour"
  27. Teenage Fanclub: "December" [Creation / DGC]

next time: a small avalanche of small records.  --kid catharsis