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Instrumental Invasion, 5/13/20 May 14, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Video, Video Games.
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The May 13, 2020, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was the seventh show recorded. By this time, I had eschewed theme weeks in favor of five segment formats:

  • 1984 & earlier
  • 1985-1995
  • 1996-2006
  • 2007-2016
  • 2017-present

The formats can be implemented in any order and one can be used twice. In this show, and most shows going forward, that honor goes to 2017-present.

The playlist was created and annotated on April 5 and the show was recorded on the 6th. The current photo for the blog header and about page was taken after recording the first segment.

After hearing arrangements of Super Mario World music in the Splash Wave retrospective on that game and its sequel, Yoshi’s Island, I just had to seek out the game’s two-CD soundtrack album. The arranged music is on the first disc and Koji Kondo’s in-game music is on the second. My favorite arranged track is “Welcome to Mario World,” based on the title screen song, thanks to Sadao Watanabe on saxophone. Once I got my theme weeks out of the way, I found a spot for the song on Instrumental Invasion.

If you’re interested, here is the Splash Wave video:

“Welcome to Mario World” is heard during the end credits.

I like my regal talk-up for “Proclamation” by Metro at the top of the show and the risque talk-up for Spyro Gyra‘s cover of “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream. It’s also fascinating when I crack myself up as I did back-selling “Katy’s Groove” by Jay Rowe.

Click here to download the aircheck or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 5/6/20 May 7, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The May 6, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show on WCWP was the last of the six shows I recorded between March 25 and 30. During my phone conversation with Jeff Kroll two hours before recording, Jeff told me I should work the legal ID into my hour 2 intro in case it doesn’t run in automation. So, I did. When he spoke to me again via text as the April 1 show began, he clarified that I should do it at the top of both hours, which I started in the May 13 show. As it turns out, the legal ID has run for all but the first segment of that first show.

The playlist was made March 23 with annotations the next day and during the recording session on the 30th. I had to redo talk breaks for the second hour’s first segment on the morning of April 30 due to a factual error in the original record. In a callback to Nelson Rangell‘s “By Light,” which Jay Rowe co-wrote but did not appear on, I noted that he was the keyboardist on Ken Navarro‘s “Walking Each Other Home.” A check of the liner notes last Thursday morning revealed it was really Dan LaMaestra. The redo instead acknowledged Rob Holmes playing three saxophones and Ken and Greg Grainger playing virtual drums. To get the segment to 18 minutes, I also had to shorten the top of the hour intro and back-sell of “Rise” by Ben Tankard. With that complete, I edited the playlist scan to remove my incorrect annotation.

I only cited album release dates in this show and the one on April 22. During the outro, I neglected to mention that Keiko Matsui‘s Echo came out on February 22, 2019.

Click here to download the aircheck file or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 4/29/20 April 30, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Animation, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The April 29, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show on WCWP was the fifth to be mixed and recorded between March 25 and 30. It was the last show with hours dedicated to one year.

The playlist was made on March 23 with annotations the next day and while recording on the 29th, exactly one month before it aired.

The way I said “Spoons” while talking up Eric Marienthal‘s song was a reference to The Tick‘s catchphrase, established in this scene from the episode “The Tick vs. Arthur’s Bank Account“:

I missed an opportunity to call back to Gerald Albright‘s bass work on “Sassy” by Bobby Lyle while backselling “Highway 70” in the 2010 hour.

Click here to download the aircheck file or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 4/22/20; Show banner April 23, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The April 22, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show was the fourth to be mixed in Adobe Audition 2020. The talk breaks were recorded March 25, but I had to pad a few out during the mix on the 28th. David Benoit coincidentally hosting a show on another 88.1 FM – KKJZ-FM – had to be acknowledged. I was listening to it while writing the first draft on April 1.

I made the playlist on March 23 and annotated it the next day. I made additional annotations while mixing and re-recording.

After recording this show, Dan Cox, WCWP Director of Broadcasting, informed me that my show would be airing weekly starting the following week. He suggested I should also record a promo:

The excerpts I included in that promo were inspired by what I had played:

For the second week in a row, the show aired flawlessly. Click here to download the aircheck file or listen below:

Four days earlier, on April 18, WCWP‘s social media handler, Kim Brander (a.k.a. The Original DGunboats) suggested I make a logo or banner for Instrumental Invasion. After 45 minutes in Adobe Photoshop CS2, I came up with this:

The keys are from my Yamaha YPG-625 located in the basement, which I photographed with my iPhone 11. The WCWP logo is from the icon toward the bottom of the station’s website homepage. If you right-click “view image,” you get this. From there, you can “save image as” or just do that directly from the homepage without opting to view it.

Kim is another male, just like the ones I referenced after playing female Kim Scott‘s “Take It to the Rink.”

Instrumental Invasion, 4/15/20 April 16, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The April 15, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show on WCWP was the third I mixed between March 25 and 30, but the fourth show I recorded talk breaks for.

Like the first three shows, work on the playlist began March 22 with annotations on the 24th along with the other five.

I’m proud of the anecdotes about listening to “Heartbeat” by Spyro Gyra on the way back from my sister’s college graduation and Jessy J writing my name and then signing hers for my copy of My One and Only One. I also liked the allusion to Batman while talking up Jessy’s “The Tango Boy” and quoting Chieli Minucci’s March 7 Facebook post. I regret forgetting to say his last name, forgetting that I played Jeff Lorber in the first hour while talking up “Right On Time” in the second, and not acknowledging the Pat Bianchi Trio’s album, A Higher Standard, while talking up their song and signing off. I got wrapped up in the “from the bottom of my heart” segue.

The show was correctly programmed into automation and aired flawlessly. Click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

Instrumental Invasion, 4/8/20 April 9, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The April 8, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show on WCWP was the second I mixed between March 25 and 30, but the third show I recorded talk breaks for.

I made the playlist on March 22 with annotations on the 24th and while recording on the 26th. It seemed like a good idea to share my love of that Gil Shaham recording that I first heard on The Weather Channel 25 years ago, but it’s such a long title. As I said on the air, I’ll just stick to jazz.

Due to a technical error, the April 1 show initially reran. I got in touch with Dan Cox, WCWP Director of Broadcasting, and he corrected the error after the second segment of the first hour.

Below is the show’s aircheck (or click here). The ones from the first two segments and the start of the third are directly from my mix with the broadcast multiband compressor effect applied. The rest is from the FM stream.

Instrumental Invasion, 4/1/20 April 2, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio.
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The April 1, 2020, Instrumental Invasion show on WCWP was the first of six shows I recorded from March 25 to 30. My foolhardy plan was to livestream my recording of talk breaks for all six shows on March 25. It took way too long just to record the first show’s talk breaks. Not only that, but few people watched the stream. So, I abandoned it before recording a second set of talk breaks, which became the fourth show. That was as far as I went.

I encountered issues in Adobe Audition 3.0 while recording the second aircheck of the first show. The program constantly froze. I had issues recording with my USB interface before, but that was the last straw. So, I subscribed to Adobe Audition 2020 and the problem went away.

I was only able to mix multitrack sessions for this show on March 25. I’m required to record three segments per hour, six in all. I used one of Audition’s templates: Radio VO with Music Ducking. It was the only time I’ve used a template, so this show will sound different from the ones to follow.

Work on the playlist began on March 22 with annotations on the 24th and while mixing and re-recording. I miscalculated time remaining in the second segment of hour 2. I had to replace “Sorceress” by Return to Forever with the shorter “No Mystery” and redo the aircheck coming out of it.

Unfortunately, each show has the potential to have anywhere from part of a segment to none of the show airing. The last few minutes of this show were cut off. I’m glad that was it.

Here is the aircheck.

4/24 UPDATE: I recorded the May 20 show yesterday, which included another song from Chet Baker’s She Was Too Good to Me album: “Autumn Leaves.” I turned don’t know why my brain turned “to” into “for,” but I realized my error yesterday. I missed the error with “It’s You or No One” in the premiere.

Audiobooking 5 April 1, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Commentary, Film, History, Media, Military, News, Personal, Politics, TV, Video.
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In light of my practically apolitical audiobook streak since I impulsively quit the “Audiobooking” series, save for the right end of the spectrum, I chose to bring it back. Here’s what I’ve been listening to while exercising since September 2018:

2018 humbled me with the unexpected political turns in the memoirs I listened to, not to mention Kevin Hart’s endless tangents. It taught me to choose the audiobooks I buy carefully. If the author is politically active from the left on social media, chances are it will come up in their book. Eric Idle was the last mistake in that respect, which is why I haven’t bought John Cleese’s memoir. Thankfully, Neil Ross only had one political sentence in his book: deriding right-to-work states. I wonder what Goldie Hawn’s memoir, released in 2005, would have been like if it came out today. Never Play Dead and The United States of Trump weren’t exactly choir music, either. The books reminded me of the political stories I missed while avoiding current events. Nevertheless, they were worth listening to, as were the rest of the audiobooks listed above.

Whenever Andrea Barber mentioned her son Tate in Full Circle, I thought of a running gag on the Game Sack YouTube channel involving TATE Mode, the vertical screen orientation for arcade games. It’s generally pronounced “tah-tay,” but host Joe Redifer pronounces it phonetically, an acceptable alternate pronunciation. Whenever a game is featured with TATE Mode, he’ll get facetiously hyperbolic.

I have three more audiobooks to listen to in my Audible app after I finish Full Circle, and you’ll see what those were in the next “Audiobooking” post. Until then, happy listening.

Instrumental Invasion to air weekly on WCWP! March 30, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Radio, Technology.
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Wednesday night will mark the beginning of my first weekly stint at WCWP since the Evening Jazz era a decade ago.

Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri began life on WCWP in 2015 as a new name for my annual Homecoming Weekend show. I’ve done two shows a year: a live one on Fridays and a prerecorded show early on Sunday mornings. The name Instrumental Invasion was recycled from my WGBB-AM show in the mid 2000s.

The closure of WCWP during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a call for alumni to create original programming to run while the station was entirely automated. After receiving the blessing of WCWP Director of Broadcasting Dan Cox, I planned out six shows to record. I’ve been recording since last Wednesday and will record the last of the initial six today.

Two days ago, Dan gave me a regular slot: Wednesdays from 9PM to 11PM for at least ten weeks. I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and I thank Dan very much for it.

Make plans to listen to WCWP every Wednesday night starting April 1. If you can receive the signal, you can listen on your radio at 88.1 FM. Otherwise, go to WCWP.org or the WCWP app for iOS and Android.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my setup:

I use an Audio-Technica AT2020 XLR condenser mic with a compatible windscreen by Whisperteknik. (If that windscreen is unavailable, get one by VocalBeat instead.) The mic is connected to a Koolertron shock mount which attaches to a Neewer boom scissor arm stand. A six-foot AmazonBasics XLR male to female cable runs to a FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 USB interface. I’d been using Adobe Audition 3.0 for 12 years, but it does not take kindly to USB, regularly freezing while recording. Adobe Audition 2020 does not have that problem. I subscribed to the software early in the recording process. My shows are recorded in multi-track sessions. Airchecks are recorded and music and liners are added. The duration of an aircheck depends on how much time is left in a segment or to the next song’s post. Audition 2020 lets you record files up to 48 kHz and 32 bits, but I stick with 44.1 and 16.

Pat Contri, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library December 2, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Basketball, Books, Education, Football, Internet, Media, Radio, Sports, Technology, TV, Video, Video Games.
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I photographed my copy of Guide to the SNES Library shortly after completing it Sunday

Two months and one day after completing Pat Contri‘s Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Librarywhich I reviewed here – my pre-order copy of the special edition of his Guide to the SNES Library arrived on my front porch.

Once again, the guide is as big as an educational textbook. Now that I think of it, this book is educational. There’s much to learn about the Super Nintendo Entertainment System within its 445 pages (plus a few pages listing Kickstarter contributors).

When I tweeted on Sunday that I finished reading, Pat wondered what my muscle gains were, considering the book’s heft. I replied thusly:

I was late in boarding the NES bandwagon, not getting a console until February 1990, over four years after its initial release in the New York Metropolitan Area. The Super NES, released on August 23, 1991, is a different story. Besides commercials, my first exposure to the console came at my friend Jessie’s house. I regularly played Super Mario World and F-Zero on her projection TV as 1991 gave way to ’92. After saving up part of the cost, my parents got a console for me and my sister Lauren in late January. In the months that followed, I spent many hours playing games, especially the aforementioned Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart (an 11th birthday present), and Mario Paint. I discovered all of Super Mario World’s exits and repeatedly watched the end credits. I would get emotional at the scene with the Yoshi eggs hatching. I successfully beat all cups in Super Mario Kart in all cc modes, and I loved the Rainbow Road theme. And as a weather buff, I had fun making radar loops with Mario Paint’s animation feature.

In nearly 28 years, I’ve amassed a collection of 46 Super Nintendo games. Reading this guide inspired me to add to that collection, at least somewhat.

Guide to the SNES Library chronicles all games released in North America and PAL territories in alphanumerical order, from 3 Ninjas Kick Back and The 7th Saga to Zool and Zoop. (Yes, those are their names.)

Pat Contri was not alone in reviewing the games. Returning from Guide to the NES Library are Asheton “Ashi” Phinney (I loved his alliteration, puns, and rhymes), Jim Evans, and Karen Niemla. The new recruits are Daniel Anderson, Daniel Greenberg, Dagan Moriarty, Kyh Yang, Alli Flanagan (who, like Pat, appeared in The Video Game Years), Pete Skerritt, and Mike Vito(12/14 UPDATE: Dagan, Kyh, and Pete also wrote reviews for the third edition of the NES guide.) Visual effects artist Yoshi Vu provided cart and hardware images, and additional cover art. The foreword was written by Jirard Khalil, a.k.a. The Completionist.

As with Guide to the NES Library, most pages in Guide to the SNES Library are devoted to two games. An image from one of the games is blurred in the background with two images from each game appearing above and below the review. The top of the page shows the games’ cartridge designs and lists their genre, release date, developer, publisher, number of players, special features, availability during the SNES’s life (from “very common” to “extremely rare”), and star rating. There are 10 ratings that range from half a star (one small star, “poor”) to 2 1/2 stars (two big stars and one small star, “average”) to 5 stars (five big stars, “classic”). Reviews can take up anywhere from a fifth of the page to a third of it, followed by the reviewers’ “reflections.” Reviewers are identified by their initials (i.e. PC, PS, AP, DG).

Eleven landmark titles with five-star ratings got full page reviews, including EarthBound, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario World and its sequel, and Super Metroid. Those reviews take up more space on the page than regular half-page reviews. I only own four of the games out of those eleven, and only two that I listed here. Some five-star games only got half a page, such as Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, Super Street Fighter II, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. I have two of those, along with one that I didn’t mention. You’ll have to buy the book to find out which other five-star games were only on half a page and which got the full page treatment.

The tone of game reviews ranged from clinical to critical, but not in your face or obnoxious. I’m just glad the SNES versions of Tetris 2 and Yoshi’s Cookie weren’t treated as harshly. As I mentioned earlier, I currently have 46 SNES games, and I plan on buying some of the easier-to-obtain games in the book with ratings of 4, 4 1/2, or 5 stars to add to the collection. If they cost over $100, forget it. No Pocky & Rocky for me.

There were plenty of sports games released for the Super Nintendo that I read about. At the moment, I only have four: NBA Hangtime (which I also have on the Genesis and Nintendo 64), NBA Jam: Tournament Edition, True Golf Classics: Pebble Beach Golf Links and Super Bases Loaded. While reading about Midway games like NBA Jam, I learned who that the voice of most of those games was Tim Kitzrow. Besides NBA Jam, Tim also voiced the NFL Blitz series, which I enjoyed on the N64. He included video of an appearance on FOX Sports West on his website:

NBA Hangtime, Midway’s successor to NBA Jam, was voiced by longtime Bulls TV play-by-play announcer Neil Funk, who is retiring at the end of this season. Other TV announcers and analysts to lend their voices to sports games on the Super Nintendo are Al Michaels, Jack Buck, Pat Summerall, and of course, John Madden, to name a few.

After 400 pages of North American and PAL releases, there are chapters on special and promo cartridges, test cartridges, select games from the Japanese Super Famicom library, a look at some unreleased games (by Evan Gowan of SNES Central), and the SNES console and its accessories.

Guide to the SNES Library concludes with supplemental articles. Three of the articles were based on the authors’ YouTube videos. James Rolfe‘s “The Console Wars: SNES vs. Sega Genesis” was taken from a two-part video in 2012, which was combined into one part on the Cinemassacre Plays subchannel:

James and Pat Contri’s friendship dates back to their early days on YouTube. They’ve occasionally collaborated on videos. In fact, their latest went up on Saturday night:

Kelsey Lewin‘s supplemental article was on the Life Fitness LifeCycle Exertainment Bike, based on her video from last year:

In addition to her YouTube channel, Kelsey is the co-owner with her husband Cody of Pink Gorilla Games and co-director with Frank Cifaldi of The Video Game History Foundation. For you sports fans, Kelsey’s father is play-by-play announcer Josh Lewin. You may know him from his stints with the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers on TV, and the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, San Diego Chargers, and UCLA Bruins football and men’s basketball on radio. Those and other credits can be found here.

And speaking of sports, the third article based on a video was Norman Caruso‘s Gaming Historian 2016 episode on Nintendo‘s ownership of the Seattle Mariners, which he posted as Nintendo was selling most of their shares. The episode had periodic quote readings by YouTubers, and Pat read a quote – in a sinister tone – from Fay Vincent, commissioner of Major League Baseball at the time of Nintendo’s purchase. Unfortunately, MLB forced the removal of the video, so I can’t embed it here.

As for the rest of the supplemental articles, Chris Kohler’s entry on the SNES CD-ROM originally appeared on Kotaku last September. Roger Barr, Andre Meadows, and Karen Niemla supplied original articles. It’s worth reading each article, especially the ones based on videos so you can see differences in text.

It took 19 days to read 445 pages of Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the SNES Library. Once again, I kept a journal of how many pages I read per day. Dividing 445 by 19, I averaged about 24 pages a day. I mostly imagined my own voice in my head as I read the reviews, but I occasionally thought of certain public figures narrating them. I had Pat’s voice in mind when I read his reviews.

Guide to the SNES Library was another great read! Thanks to Pat Contri and his fellow reviewers Ashi Phinney, Daniel Anderson, Daniel Greenberg, Kyh Yang, Karen Niemla, Alli Flanagan, Jim Evans, Dagan Moriarty, Pete Skerritt, and Mike Vito.

For those that grew up with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, are collecting for it, or just want to learn about it, this book is a must. There are eight versions available for purchase ranging from $59.99 to $99.99, or $29.99 for just the digital download. I have the $79.99 special edition, but I recommend the physical/digital combo at $99.99. I should have bought that in the first place, but I didn’t mind paying an extra $10 yesterday for the digital download and paying the same price to download the NES guide. Having the books physically and digitally is the ultimate experience.

There will eventually be an Ultimate SNES Game Guide Collecting app for iOS and Android. I will update this post when it’s available.