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Instrumental Invasion, 1/13/21 January 14, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Film, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology.
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The January 13, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on December 11 and 12, 2020.

The playlist was created and annotated on December 10 and was the first playlist with 18:40 segments in mind. Hours earlier, after only a few hours of sleep, I edited all but three segments for the previous four shows from 18:45 to 18:40. I hoped that would prevent automation from cutting off the end of the last segment, which happened the night before. And so far, it has. December 9 was the last show to date with that problem.

This was also the first show where I scripted out my talk breaks in Microsoft Word prior to recording, and therefore the first time I saved a script. I tweaked each portion as recording progressed.

For the second week in a row, I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for a third 2017 to present segment.

Recording the Lisa Hilton liner (after I annotated the playlist) required a Rube Goldberg machine. There was no way for her to record on her own in a home studio or on an iPhone app, so we had to do it over the phone. I connected a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter to my iPhone 11, attached a male-to-male 3.5mm cable to the adapter, connected the cable to my TASCAM DR-03, plugged in headphones so I could hear Lisa, and hit record. Only Lisa’s side was audible, but that was all I needed. We spoke for nearly ten minutes with a minute or two dedicated to the liner. Afterward, I extracted the raw WAV file from the DR-03 and edited it in Adobe Audition. Once I compiled the best of each take, I hard limited, denoised, and normalized the audio.

With that long explanation out of the way, here’s the final cut:

Recording from my phone is presumably much easier on the Zoom LiveTrak L-8 mixer that I got for Christmas. I presume because I haven’t tried yet.

I like all the show’s running gags: musicians from Illinois, synth instruments on the same song as actual instruments, and the parent-child element. I’m sure Game Dave would appreciate the Ghostbusters reference in the last talk break.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 1/6/21 January 7, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Podcast, Radio, Technology, Video, Video Games.
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The January 6, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded on December 9, 2020. It was the first show recorded in one day since the October 14 show, which was made on September 7 (Labor Day). I recorded away from home on my laptop with a USB version of the Audio-Technica AT2020 microphone. This is most likely a one-off.

The playlist was created and annotated on December 7, exactly three months after the aforementioned previous one-day show recording.

Starting with this show, I added an extra five seconds in the playlist for talk breaks coming out of two songs and for the first talk break of hour 2. I had trouble filling time in the second segment, but then struggled to hit the post in the last segment, which was the only one I couldn’t edit down to 18:40.

As with the show that aired on December 9, to accommodate new music acquisitions, I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment for a third 2017 to present segment.

I included “Groovers and Shakers” by Blake Aaron to make up for the last 90 seconds getting cut off on November 25.

“One Day” by Yellowjackets and the WDR Big Band is another song that was also posted to YouTube:

Once I saw Russell Ferrante was playing an actual Rhodes piano, I redid that credit in the last talk break at home with an Apogee MiC 96k. I should have used that mic the day before.

Regarding “Flurries” by Brian Culbertson, I was unaware that drummer Khari Parker died back in June. I learned that on Tuesday while annotating the playlist for the February 3 show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

I also have two bonuses. First, I contributed a question to Game Dave‘s latest Digitally Distracted episode:

Here’s the question and his answer:

The second bonus is Jeff and Pat Kroll signing off last night’s The Rock Show, my lead-in:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/30/20 December 31, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel, TV.
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The December 30, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first segment was recorded on November 25, the next two on the 26th (Thanksgiving), and the second hour on the 27th (Black Friday). A pickup for the first segment of hour 2 was recorded on the 29th and the segment was re-edited. All segments were truncated from 18:45 to 18:40 on December 10.

The playlist was created and annotated on November 23.

The show was a scaled-down version of the 40-year musical journey special I had in mind for Homecoming Weekend, had there been one. Obviously, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Homecoming itself was canceled, along with the LIU Sharks football season, if not merely postponed to spring. There were plans to have an abbreviated virtual Homecoming programming block, but those were scrapped in September. (Click here to wistfully read about the 2019 Homecoming Weekend.)

Had the weekend gone on and my proposed special aired, the playlist would have looked like this. As you can see, most of what I had in mind ended up in the December 30 show. “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr. was put in the November 11 show, and I played “Born to Be Bad” by Joe Sample on December 2. Like “Snake Eyes,” “Message to Michael” by Earl Klugh and “Strikes Twice” by Larry Carlton were included to make up for an unaired segment in the April 8 show. The inclusion of “Silverbird” by Jeff Jarvis and “Cruisin’ Down Ocean Drive” by The Rippingtons made up for the July 8 show‘s unaired segment.

My talk-up for “Going All the Way” by Nelson Rangell was inspired by Chris Berman‘s catchphrase “(and) he could…go…all…the…way!,” which he used when narrating NFL highlights on ESPN.

“That ending sneaks up on you,” my line coming out of “Aniversário” by Fourplay, was recycled from my live 2016 Homecoming show.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

I’m happy and thankful for the opportunity I was given in 2020 with Instrumental Invasion. Here’s hoping 2021 is happier and healthier for all of us.

Instrumental Invasion, 12/23/20: Christmas December 24, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Christmas, Country, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, Personal, Radio, Technology, Video.
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The December 23, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on November 20 and 21. Pickups were recorded on the 22nd after remembering Steve Rodby was also an alumnus of Pat Metheny Group. Originally, I only acknowledged Danny Gottlieb and Mark Egan. Another pickup was recorded on the 30th after learning that Jay Rowe recorded a newer, faster version of his arrangement of “Jingle Bells” for Jessy J, which I played in the third segment:

The first and third segments were kept at their original 18:45 length. The rest were cut down to 18:40.

The playlist was created on November 17 (my 39th birthday), then refined and annotated on the 18th.

As I’ve said in the past, I absolutely love instrumental Christmas music, dating back to its use in local forecasts on The Weather Channel in the first 25 days of December. I have a vast playlist in iTunes that I play at parties (in a normal year) and at home ahead of, and on, the special day. The 27 songs on this show were just a taste of the day’s worth of songs in that playlist.

The first song of the show, “Carol of the Toy Keyboards” by David Murray, a.k.a. The 8-Bit Guy (YouTube, website), premiered on David’s sister channel, 8-Bit Keys, on December 1, 2015:

And Lindsey Stirling has a video for “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” (with over 20 million views!!!):

The name of the vocalist and percussionist on “We Three Kings” by Marion Meadows was Arto Tunçboyacıyan. I consulted this page for the pronunciation. Since recording the talk break, it now rolls off the tongue, like Krzyzewski. The name of the stringed instrument Brian Keane used was a bağlama.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

And as a bonus, here’s a liner that will be heard on WCWP today and tomorrow:

Merry Christmas!

Instrumental Invasion, 12/16/20 December 17, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Education, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video.
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The December 16, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. I did the first two segments on my 39th birthday, November 17, the third segment on the 18th, and the last three on the 19th.

The playlist was created and annotated on November 15. It was the first with 18:45 segments in mind, but also the first that I edited down to 18:40 after another instance last week where the end of a show got cut off.

During the original recording session, I cut an anecdote about my 2006 interview with Bob James from the second talk break of the show, but clipped it as an outtake:

The last talk break was the hardest to record due to Gordon Goodwin’s shout at the beginning of “T.O.P. Adjacent” by his Big Phat Band.

The inclusion of “Friday” by Dan Siegel was another make-up for the unaired segments on April 8.

I chuckled while back-selling “Castles” from David Benoit‘s Shadows album because I originally quipped “castles have shadows.” That was a victim of the 18:40 edit.

The way I said Dave Yaden‘s name was an homage to Jerry Lewis.

In case you’re wondering, here’s how my backwards talk sounded backwards:

The compact cassette iteration of the 2-XL toy robot had tapes with a right side and a wrong side. The wrong side is where I would routinely listen to backwards speech. Even the buttons worked backwards. If you had to press 1 forward, you could press 4 backward and hear the same thing. Once I had a Talkboy recorder, I experimented in the same way I did on this show. Of course, it’s much easier to experiment these days with audio editing software’s reverse option.

The WDR Big Band posted a video for “Downtown” from their Jackets XL recording session with Yellowjackets:

There’s also a CD release video:

And a five-minute sit-down interview with the Jackets:

Click here to download this show’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/9/20 December 10, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Travel.
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The December 9, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on November 11 and 12.

The playlist was created on November 9 with annotations on the 9th and 10th.

I swapped out the 1984 and earlier segment in favor of a third 2017 to present segment.

While recording the second segment on the 11th, I was informed of a change to the segment length standard, from an even 19 minutes to 18:45. I tweaked the first segment accordingly and scaled down my talk breaks for the rest of the show. To that end, some of the annotations seen in the playlist were omitted. Among them, Paul Brown‘s arrangement of “Grazing in the Grass” was #1 for Boney James and Rick Braun on their Shake It Up album in 2000. That’s why Paul’s album is called Ones Upon a Time: it’s new recordings of songs he arranged for other musicians throughout his career.

Nonetheless, the end of the show was cut off again. It was only eight seconds this time, but I’m still scaling segments back to 18:40 from now on.

Last week, I dubbed tenor sax as the “MVP” of the show since it was in so many songs. This week, it was the Hammond B-3 organ.

If you still don’t think Rio.com, the name of Alex Bugnon‘s song, is a real website, here’s proof.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 12/2/20 December 3, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The December 2, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on November 5 and 6.

The playlist was created on November 2 and annotated on the 3rd.

It was the last of the three shows where segments had to be edited from 19 minutes down to 18:45.

I felt like I’d hit my stride with scripting talk breaks and reading from that script, ad libbing when necessary. I liked all the callbacks, too. (Those are references to earlier in the show.)

I originally had a Game Dave liner coming out of “ReJoyce” by David Benoit, which led to a funny moment at the start of the talk break. Unfortunately, that had to be edited out a week after recording when the segment length standard was trimmed from an even 19 minutes to 18:45. Here is how that talk break originally sounded:

I worked in Lindsey Stirling‘s rendition of “Let It Snow” (or rather, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!“) because it was the best song I could find with the time remaining in that segment. That was good as I got to segue from her to Jessy J since Lindsey was runner-up in season 25 of Dancing with the Stars and Jessy is part of Ray Chew Live, the show’s house band. I neglected to acknowledge the Hungarian Studio Orchestra playing on “Let It Snow” or the “Theme from New York, New York” motif at the end.

I was eager for the release of Elevate, Will Donato‘s new album, so I could play songs from it. “The High Road” is a great start.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

And here is an unfiltered scope of the original 19-minute segment cut, including the aforementioned funny moment and the original transition from “Portal Love” by Anders Enger Jensen to “Speak Love!” by Najee:

Instrumental Invasion, 11/25/20 November 26, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV, Video.
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The Thanksgiving Eve (November 25, 2020) Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over three days. The first hour was recorded on October 29, the first segment of the second hour on October 30, and the last two segments on Halloween (October 31). On November 11, the show was re-edited to 18:45 and a pickup was recorded. Despite this, the second spot break of hour 1 ran twice as long as normal, which led the last segment of the show to be cut off with 1:36 remaining.

The playlist was created and annotated on October 26.

Like two weeks ago, I played a song from an unaired segment: “I Told You So” by George Cables, which would have been heard on April 8.

There wasn’t enough time to acknowledge that prior to Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown!, David Benoit recorded “Linus and Lucy” along with other cues for episode 6 of This is America, Charlie Brown, “The Great Inventors.” It was interesting hearing David’s work playing underneath dialogue by voice actors Frank Welker and Gregg Berger. I watched This is America, Charlie Brown on DVD back in August while my cable was out following Tropical Storm Isaias. (The outage meant I couldn’t aircheck the August 5 show.)

I made a rare (at the time) dated reference (in the original cut) – in this case, Thanksgiving being the next day – when I quipped that “tomorrow,” “The Chicken” would be known as “The Turkey.”

The end of the October 31 session was prolonged by needing to tweak the last talk break. David Mann is credited for the horn arrangements on “Musaic” by Alexander Zonjic, but I didn’t hear horns. So, that credit was removed and I had to redo two sentences at a slower pace to fill the gap. I had to reprise the faster pace when re-redoing the talk break, not that it mattered since the last 1:36 of the segment went unheard.

Click here to download this show’s aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Like last week, I’m also including an unfiltered scope of the original 19-minute segment cut:

Instrumental Invasion, 11/18/20 November 19, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video Games.
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The November 18, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded one hour per day on October 22 and 23 with a pickup recording on November 11.

The playlist was created and annotated on October 19 with additional annotations during the recording sessions.

This is the first show where I scripted out every talk break, though I give myself freedom to ad-lib. (The remark about “a lot of classic rock in this show” was an ad-lib, for example.)

The show was originally recorded with 19-minute segments, but they all had to be trimmed down to 18:45 through editing out portions of talk breaks, and even speed compression. I had to do the same to the November 25 and December 2 shows. This is another danger of recording shows well in advance.

My reading of “Lucky,” while talking up the Fourplay song, was an homage to Mario‘s exclamation in his eponymous Nintendo video games when he snags a 1-Up Mushroom.

I originally recited the joke that inspires Jeff Lorber‘s “He Had a Hat” while talking up the song, but it was ten seconds over. I’m proud of the talk-up that made the show as I still shouted the punchline. Here is the joke (which Jeff told differently in a promotional interview):

“The Jewish Grandmother”

A Jewish lady’s grandson is playing in the water, she is standing on the beach not wanting to get her feet wet, when all of a sudden, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly over the spot where the boy is wading. The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. He simply vanished.

She holds her hands to the sky, screams and cries, “Lord, how could you?

Have I not been a wonderful grandmother?

Have I not been a wonderful mother?

Have I not given to B’nai Brith?

Have I not given to Hadassah?

Have I not lit candles every Friday night at dusk?

Have I not tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?”

A loud voice booms from the sky, “Okay, okay!”

A few minutes later another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes on the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there, smiling, splashing around as if nothing had ever happened.

The loud voice booms again “I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?”

She responds, “He had a hat.”

Incidentally, I recorded the segment, and the entire second hour, on a Friday afternoon.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

As a bonus, I made a scope of the original 19-minute segment cut of the show. No broadcast compression filter was applied:

As still another bonus, here is how Jeff and Pat Kroll signed off my lead-in, a live edition of The Rock Show:

11/21 UPDATE: I forgot to note in this post that I swapped out an extra 2017-present segment for another 2007-2016. When I made the playlist, I didn’t have much material from the last four years to fill a second segment. Since then, I’ve received five more albums, which you’ll hear in the coming weeks, except for the last two weeks of December.

Instrumental Invasion, 11/11/20 November 12, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, TV.
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The November 11, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over two days: the first hour on October 15 and the second hour on the 16th.

The playlist was created on October 12. The first hour was annotated that same day and the second hour the next day.

For this show only, segments are 19 minutes long, expanding from 18 minutes in the first 31 shows. Next week and beyond, segments will be 18:45 a piece.

Most talk breaks were scripted as I had no faith in my ability to ad-lib.

Four songs were included to make up for unaired segments. “Off Broadway” (not to be confused with “On Broadway”) by George Benson and “Snake Eyes” by Grover Washington, Jr. were part of two segments that didn’t air in the second show on April 8. “Mr. Rodriguez’s Opus” by David Benoit and “Something About You” by Jeff Kashiwa were part of the unaired July 8 segment.

My reading of “percussion…by Henry Gibson” while back-selling “Michelle” by Ramsey Lewis was an homage to the actor of the same name. Henry Gibson was a player on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a show that I watched from start to finish on Amazon Prime Video over 58 days in 2018. One of Henry’s characters was The Poet, a southern man who recited poetry while holding a giant flower. Here’s an example (along with a Dick Martin elevator sketch):

Sadly, both Henry Gibsons passed away in the 2000s.

I had to redo the line later because I forgot to write flugelhorn player Arthur Hoyle’s name while annotating. Art passed back in June.

I was glad to debut Nelson Rangell‘s new liner after playing “Nana’s Song,” and I’m equally proud of the grandma synonyms riff I went on afterward.

Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below: