Tagged: MP3

“Invisible Boy”–listen to the MP3

EctoplasmAs previously reported, I’ve been mucking about with sound recording of late—music, initially, but yesterday I thought I’d try my hand at some spoken word.

“Invisible Boy” is my best known and most frequently anthologized story. It appears in my collection Sex & Other Acts of the Imagination and has become one of my signature tales.

I’ve performed it frequently at live readings but, for some reason, resisted recording it.

I’ve rectified that oversight, adding some music for dramatic effect.

Hope you enjoy my rendering of a favourite short story:

“The Midnight Detective” (Spoken Word)

Couldn’t get into serious writing yesterday–still catching up on research on my western novel, The Last Hunt, and I’m not yet at the point where I can begin to tackle necessary revisions.

My science fiction story needs one final polish/run through before I send it off.  I’ll likely get that done today.

And so…yesterday.

Decided to create a little something with Garageband.  The first effort wasn’t very good but the second tune had promise (as soundtrack music for the creepiest film ever made maybe) and then came the third number…

Well.  I didn’t really set out to create a spoken word bit, but that’s how it came out.  I was poking around my notebook and came across a series of phrases that, if you put them together, would almost make a kind of narrative…

I plugged in the microphone and gave it a shot.  The very first vocal track was perfect and then I started building and shaping music around it.

The end result is “The Midnight Detective”, a 2 1/2 minute effort that plays around with noirish conceits and comes together for a rather tasty finale.

This piece should work on whatever audio player your computer employs (if it’s fairly new) and, of course, you’re free to download it and share it with pals and like-minded folks who might get a charge out of my whacked out, postmodern detective.

You’ll find more of my musical noodling and spoken word efforts on my Audio page.

Click here to listen to Midnight Detective

* This post is dedicated to Caroline Ames–Happy Birthday, kid.

For your listening pleasure… (Blog Post #100)

imagesWell, this is cause to celebrate.

This happens to be blog post #100 and, if that isn’t enough, later on this week this site will receive its 50,000th visit.

Wow.  That’s an overwhelming number of people coming to a blog devoted to a Canuck writer who has eschewed the big time, stubbornly maintained his singular vision with an orneriness not often seen in writing circles.

God bless you, folks.  You’re all the proof that I need to reassure myself that the indie path is the one for me and I shall continue to produce work that fits no niches or stereotypes or genres, confident that smart, discerning readers will find me…and help spread the word.

To mark this auspicious occasion I’ve recorded three of my favorite short-short stories, adding music and sound effects to enhance the experience.  Once again, Sherron lent a helping hand, pulling the whole mess together.  The final result surprised and delighted me to the extent that I think it’s safe to say there will be more such efforts in the near future.

Ah, heck, enough of my jabbering.  Have a listen to these pieces and, as always, I encourage you to leave a comment, letting me know what you think…

Cliff Burns Reading Short Stories (V.2)

Gimme That Old Time Radio

images2I love radio dramas.  The “theatre of the mind”.

Yes, indeed.

I’ve had the good fortune to write a number of radio plays and, as has been mentioned, one of them just aired nationally on CBC Radio’s “OutFront” program.

But listening to the old stuff is what really gives me pleasure.  Recently, I purchased a personal CD/MP3 player and, despite my well-documented techno-phobia, was able to hook it up to the stereo in my office.  Thus, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been kicking back after a hard day of scribbling, listening to Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Sherlock Holmes and his amiable (if slightly dotty) companion Dr. John H. Watson…I also have the complete “Sam Spade” series starring Howard Duff and the four-disk dramatization of Les Miserables, produced and starring the one and only Orson Welles.

welles

Radio, in its heyday, presented news, live sports, game shows and various types of entertainment, from comedy revues to adaptations of classic works of literature.

Now we have “talk radio”, Howard Stern and the shock jocks and “classic” stations playing the same tired playlist of golden oldies.  Even the venerable CBC has dumbed itself down in the past five years, desperately seeking a younger demographic and losing its traditional listeners in the bargain.

It breaks my heart when I think of a time when the folks at CBC used to let the likes of Glenn Gould have the run of the place, accommodating his odd lifestyle by letting him come in and record and mix at any hour, working meticulously to create material like “The Idea of the North”, which I managed to snag on long playing record a number of years ago.

The Mother Corp. once had a dedicated radio drama arm in the good ol’ days but not any more.  They no longer consider it part of their purview to develop young writers and there is currently no equivalent of  “CBC Playhouse“…and that’s too bad.

dimensionI have, I confess, a particular soft spot for science fiction on the radio and I’ve been fortunate to find a couple of sites (check out this one and Calfkiller is fun too) where you can find shows like Dimension X and X Minus One, Mindwebs and others. Fun adaptations of classics of the genre by the likes of Arthur C, Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, J.G. Ballard, Henry Kuttner, etc.  Once I figure out how to create MP3’s of these beauties, I’ll be able to listen to them up in my office as opposed to being relegated to the family computer down on the main floor, where I have to queue up, vying for time with my two sons (both of them World of Warcraft junkies, as well as using said PC for their homework and designing their own computer games).  The computer I use for my writing is an old Mac, too old and decrepit for cyberspace, a word processor plain and simple.

The nice thing about the sites I’ve just mentioned is that you can listen to the programs for absolutely nuttin’ and, believe me, you will be entertained.

Listening to a radio drama requires the listener to visualize an entire universe being created purely with words and sound effects.  It’s the perfect format to enliven long car trips and commutes.  Thanks to the internet, these programs live again, a case where state of the art technology enables us to access an art form that is, sadly, little known and certainly under-appreciated.

holmesI will continue to write radio plays and when the time comes that no one airs them, I will produce them myself, through podcasts.  I love the special limits and demands radio drama imposes on writers and can never quite suppress the shiver of excitement I feel when I hear an announcer introducing Lux Radio Theatre’s production of To Have and Have Not, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, or Petri Wine presenting “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”.

I feel sorry for anyone who’s never heard a really well-rendered radio play. It is an experience not to be missed…and yet so many do.

Shame…