4B - Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
4B - Thursday, December 3, 2009 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Death Cab for Cutie have record-
ed in Ann Arbor.
Recording budgets vary great-
ly. Rates in Ann Arbor can run
over $100 per hour, and for local
artists, the price can seem quite
To save money, many musicians
record parts at home. Michael
talks about one instance in which
a vocalist recorded at home and
e-mailed him the vocal track,
thus saving hours of recording
time in the studio. Michael said
that drums take a longer time
to record because of set-up and
Leahy's band cut the cost of
recording time by recording the
drum tracks at home.
"This saved us a lot of money
and time recording real drums
live, which can take hours,"
Leahy recommended that Recording can get quite expensive, wit
musicians spend time in the stu-
dio only after they have a con- ative environment. Whenyou're
crete idea of the sound they are able to focus on performance,
aiming for. recording is a completely dif-
"Going to a studio to record ferent experience, and I think
your music is great if you have it yields a much better result,"
the budget. I recommend doing a Saltiel says.
lot of recording at home to think
about exactly what type of song PERFORMANCE MEANS
you want to write and how you (ALMOST) EVERYTHING
want it to sound," Leahy says. "It
was worth the hourly time One thing is for certain
just to have our instruments - a solid performance from
played through a profession- well-rehearsed and tal-
al studio's quality circuitry." ented musicians is the most
Jared Saltiel, a member important element in creat-
of Ann Arbor-based The ing a good recording.
Dirty Birds, who recently "Performance trumps
recorded some songs at Big everything ... not to reduce
Sky Recording, is another the importance of what we
musician who found it worth- do here," Michael says. "What
while to record in a professional comes across on a CD that's
studio despite the cost. By giving good is the performance."
the technical responsibilities of Leahy attested that perfor-
recording to a professional#stu- mance preparation is the most
dio, Saltiel and his band were difficult part of the recording
able to dabble more in the cre- process.
ative aspects. "Getting prepared
"The thing that I loved most before going into the stu-
about recording in a studio was dio is the toughest part. As
that I didn't have to double as a musician, you want to be
engineer and musician. I could able to go in the studio and
focus on the creative end of the just hammer out the parts
process," Saltiel says. like its second nature,"
"When you're switching back Leahy says. "The last thing
and forth between maddening you want to do is waste time
Pro-Tools meltdowns and try- in the studio, because it's very
ing to lay down emotional vocal expensive."
tracks, it creates a stifling cre- Time is of the essence, espe-
tBANJO-KAZOO1E' - N
The birds ar
By ERIC CHIU with loads of visu
Daily Arts Writer The Nintendo 64
h some rates over $100 per hour.
cially when there's a price tag
attached to recording time.
Saltiel was wont to spend less
time at the studio, but not at the
expense of performance quality.
"Practically speaking, the one
thing that's imperative is buffer
time. You need to have the space
to take longer than you expect-
ed," Saltiel says. "It's very stress-
I ful to try to rush the process. We
tried our best to go quickly, but
we all defaulted to an extremely
t high standard, so it took a long
time to get it right."
The pressure of recording
under a tight schedule inevitably
took a toll on Saltiel.
"It got right down to the wire,
t and I even got sick because I
was barely sleeping. We actually
ended up recording the last vocal
the same day that we mixed the
last song," Saltiel says. "That's
not something I ever want to do
again. But you live and you
learn. Next time I'm sure
it'll be totally different."
All the bits and pieces of
the recording process - the
fixation on mic positioning,
agonizing over the right gear
as well the cost and the long,
painstaking hours- finally
comes together to create a fin-
* ished product.
And in the end, it's all about
In the wake of "Super Mario potential palette,
64," store shelves were filled with grasp for the vi
games about brightly colored most developersI
protagonists tasked with collect- Rare took a mor
ing assorted tiny objects in 3-D tion and it givest
levels. It's fortunate that most of defined sense oft
these titles deservedly faded into Buildings and
obscurity, but a few, like develop- overworld - wh
er Rareware's "Banjo-Kazooie," levels - are all b
brought something fresh to an exaggerated ani
already well tread formula.
around Banjo, a backpack-toting
bear, and his companion Kazooie, An inte
a bird who lives in Banjo's back-
pack. Banjo goes through nine pOp-Ut
worlds to save his sister from the
witch Gruntilda. full of,
The game owes much to the tra-
ditional adventure game formulaof
the time, aseachworldhas avariety
of items for players to collect. Notes with color. Cht
and jigsaw pieces - the equivalent similarly distor
of stars from the "Mario" series character model
- advance the player through the ishly designed, p
overworld and open up new levels, all. Backed by(
respectively. Every level also tasks Kirkhope's boun
players with finding Jinjos - small jo-Kazooie" feels
creatures who give players another than an interacti'
jigsaw piece if they find the five Levels fall into
hidden in each level. types - the na
The game's graphics evoke a world and so on
storybook feel with a style remi- twists on these
niscent of late TV show "Pushing them interesting
Daisies," as every world bursts the ice world re
From Page 2B
biology," Fletcher said. "I had this desire to go and
study literature because I had so much science back-
Still, even in his undergraduate years, Fletcher
immersed himself in literature, and even won a
Hopwood Award for his poetry.
In his freshman year, he was also a member of the
Marine Corps ROTC, going down to boot camp for
"But then the University of Michigan gave me a
full scholarship - I think it was actually an astron-
omy scholarship, even though I never did any
astronomy," Fletcher said. "So in the end, I didn't
need the military money, (and) I didn't need to join
the armed services. And so I thought, I'm kind of
a nerd; I probably wouldn't have done well in the
military anyway. I'll take the astronomy scholar-
Following his graduation from Michigan, Fletch-
er went to Yale to get his PhD in English. He became
a fellow at Stanford University teaching in the Eng-
lish Department and then made the transition to
theater a couple years ago.
Fletcher is currentlya tenured assistant professor
of theater at the University of Southern California.
He believes his theater background helped him con-
struct a screenplay with strong characters.
"(Theater) is such an amazing actor's medium.
There's a sense that people always want to watch
other people," Fletcher said. "And the more you
learn about them, the more interesting and power-
ful and eclectic their personality is."
id the bears
al inventiveness. gigantic snowman in the middle
's technical limi- of the stage, while the nature
inhibited Rare's world can change seasons, which
but rather than shifts gameplay and puzzle-solv-
sual verit6 that ing accordingly.
fumbled toward, In addition to the game's visual
e stylized direc- strengths, the gameplay has sur-
the game a more prising depth. Banjo can learn
character. . new abilities in each world, and
the enormous the game is designed to make
ich links up the sure players fully implement each
uilt at comically one. In particular, players can
gles and burst learn how to fly, and this ability
to explore levels via an additional
plane of movement makes the
game feel much more expansive.
ractive Following "Banjo-Kazooie,"
though, developer Rareware's
book (now Rare) fortunes havn't been
nearly as fruitful. After Microsoft
JinioS. purchased the company in 2002
for $375 million, none of Rare's
games have come close to the suc-
cesses of their past titles. "Ban-
aracters have a jo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts," the
ted appeal, as developer's most recent title and a
Is are cartoon- sequel to "Banjo-Kazooie" for the
googly eyes and Xbox 360, opened to respectable
composer Grant critical reaction and tepid sales.
cing score, "Ban- If Rare's pedigree - with
less like a game games like the "Donkey Kong"
ve pop-up book. and "Banjo-Kazooie" series -
the usual arche- says anything, it's that the devel-
ture world, ice oper is capable of producing the
- but the game's type of games that can define a
designs make console generation. Hopefully, it
Everything in won't be too long before they do
volves around a it again.
Fletcher cites Michigan as one of the best experi-
ences of his life.
"(Michigan) leads you to believe you can do any-
thing you want," he said. "It's such a big school, and
there are so many talented and interesting people
and you kind of have to find your own way. When
I left Michigan, it made me feel really empowered
because I had this whole community of people to fall
back on. My whole sense of openness to new experi-
ences - that all comes from Michigan."
In the future, Fletcher and Dewan both want to
continue working in the film industry. "Vineet actu-
ally wants to direct ('Sand Dogs'), which would be
kind of exciting. I love writing for film, so I want to
continue with that, but I'm also interested in writ-
ing for TV," Fletcher said.
Already, Fletcher has finished writing a new
script about a woman who steals a drug that treats
AIDS from a pharmaceutical company and then
smuggles the medicine into South Africa. Still, he
says he would like to stay on at the School of Theater
"The great thing about theater is that it's is fun
and experimental and recharging," he said. "I love
working with students and all the energy they bring.
The thing about writing is that you're by yourself, in
a dark hole. It's like two sides of your personality."
Fletcher believes that to truly write, one must
experience other things first.
"If anyone's thinking about being a writer, you
can't really be a writer at 20 because you haven't
really done much. You may think you have, but I'm
now in my early30s, and I spent a lot of my 20s doing
stuff - I was in the military and science and I've
been doing things overseas. You just see a lot of dif-
ferent things and it gives you a deeper sense of the
world," Fletcher said.
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