I just posted some videos from last April’s Karaokecrime show in New York at Switchboard, the awesome monthly party run by Sammy Bananas and Maggie Horn (Telephoned).
Telephoned is very karaoke, in a way. They re-sing the season’s bangers over their own beats. We got to hang out beforehand and discovered a common love for the Little Mermaid. Turns out Sammy had done a Baltimore Kiss the Girl remix back in the day, and Part of Your World is secretly their warm up / get amped song.
Thank God I had brought a ton of cheap wireless mics with me. Ended up switching to them instead of the house mics at the last minute and they saved the day.
We tried to close with a little mermaid Telephoned / Karaokecrime duet, but it was no use. The crowd drowned us out.
Did you know Ursula was based off of the drag singer Divine? That is wicked karaoke.
I need to do a batch renaming of tons of karaoke files, from the format used by Mixed in Key to letter combinations that clearly identify the key and the scale, so I can enter them directly into autotune without consulting this annoying image:
So like, 11B should become Am or 11A should be Fsm. The issue is that you can’t use a normal shell-script because the number of files is to large, so you need to use the “exec” hack to get around this, and then I get confused.
A friend said this would be an excellent learning exercise in Python, but I haven’t had the time, and I need this for Duck Yao karaoke.
KaraokeCrime show tomorrow @BLDG16 Providence, RI at 10pm. Email hwilson at g male dot commm for directions.
I’m really psyched about this show. I have a new set (tested at the Gogo Anniversary Party) with a ton of new material since the javelin show. More singing, less rapping, which is great ’cause usually only I end up doing the hip hop parts.
And afterwards there’ll be a dance party with awesome DJs. Plus the space is fantastic. You should come! And get there early. The opening band is “Singing Phil Collins through Autotune”.
First came KaraokeCrime, a boisterous one-man spitfire of interactive singalong. Bounding around the crowd, passing off microphones to audience members, he shouted along with club mixes of Madonna, Celine Dion, Three 6 Mafia and more, inspiring a mix of enthusiasm and revulsion.
“Boisterous one-man spitfire” has to be the best appellation any karaoke-er of jock jams could hope for.
And as for “enthusiasm and revulsion” well, that’s karaoke to a tee (though I’d refine the point and propose that the mechanism here is to push enthusiasm beyond its usual limits by using revulsion to break down inhibitions–like how kinky sex practices use something gross or tacky to arouse.)
Then there was the review’s meta point that the opening bands made the show. Again, what more could I possibly have hoped for? What Cheer? has got to be more used to this than I am, but they have got to be psyched too.
All of this, of course, was totally deliberate on Javelin’s part. They wanted it, they did it and it ruled. The show was super, super fun. I can’t wait to play with them again.
One funny note: usually when I get in a major US daily a bunch of people write me. But who knows I’m Karaokecrime? And who would recognize the back of my head (purple shirt, hands up)? Not many people!
If you have any friends in NYC who are into karaoke, in a band, electronic dance music, whatever, text them right now and tell them to come!
Tom Javelin was sort of my first fan. I think I opened for him (or maybe somebody else) in a house show in Providence years ago, and anyway, he’s been just dreamy and really supportive ever since.
Also, heard that a reviewer from a major publication is gonna be there. This our chance to put karaoke mashup megamix danceparties on the cultural map, guys! I want double sessions of vocal chord excercises today, 10 pushups, and you should all eat steak and raw eggs before the show, ok?
For more info on exactly when I go on, etc, text me at 1-614-(myfirstname)-1. That’s a phone number, I’m just a bit shy about posting it here.
So you’ve figured out how to pull your CDG tracks into Ableton. Now it’s time to do something awesome. And even if you have no interest in karaoke mashups as such, this is a great intro exercise to some basics of being a DJ or KJ in Live.
We’ve already gone over how to import CDG tracks into Live. It’s just drag-and-drop (or better for video playback continuity, copy/paste). But before we can do anything interesting with clips in Live, we have to make sure they’re warped right. Warping is a way of telling Live where the beats fall in the song, so that it can automatically sync it with other songs.
Before we get started:
Go to Preferences > Record/Warp/Launch and set “Default Warp Mode” to “Complex”. If you don’t, your music will sound kludgy.
Read the amazing Ableton Live Manual section on “Live Concepts” and “Tempo Control and Warping”
Mess around warping and playing some random audio tracks until you get a feel for it.
Start with simple, straightbeat techno-y songs, then try some rock songs, then try some new hip hop songs with weird beats (those are usually the trickiest).
If you really want to wrap your head around warping, download some acapellas and try matching those to instrumentals.
Now, time to warp your tracks
Drag two tracks into the “Session View” (the view where clips appear in columns with their own play buttons, you can hit “TAB” to switch views).
Unlike the audio you’ve been playing with, you’ll have to click the “Warp” button (Live doesn’t warp videos by default)
You’ll also have to choose the start point by hand. Just drag the start marker close, then zoom in and find the spot where the song starts. Conveniently, lots of karaoke songs have those four metronome ticks at the beginning, which are easy to see. They also are almost always recorded to a perfect rhythm.
Once you’ve got that starting point, click “warp from here”
Double check and make sure it’s good. Depending on the song, skip straight to the first verse.
TIP: if you do warping in the arrangement view dragging the start marker will scrub through the video so you can look at the words on the screen to see where the video starts. This is handy during performances too, but it will confuse the singers, since they’ll see the lyrics of the song you’re queueing up.
Now line your clips up over each other:
Copy the clips into “arrangement view” so that they are both starting at the exact same point, in different tracks.
The video playing (i.e. the lyrics) is always the “lowest” clip in the arrangement view (in the example below, Stay Fly is the video that’s playing). You probably want to mute this track.
Play the video to see how it comes out. The lyrics should be in some kind of sync with the music, though you may need to tweak where each song starts. Just drag the start markers around until it looks right.
Exporting your video (to Youtube, etc)
You’ll need Ableton Live 7 or later to export video, and the free demo version doesn’t let you save or export anything.
You need to select the region you want to export first. This is an annoying thing about Live that stumps many people, who export their work only to find two bars of nothing. Drag the start and end points of those black brackets sitting above your clips so that they fit around the range you want to export. (see how the brackets are encompasing just a small section in the screenshot above but the whole thing in the screenshot below?).
Go to File > Export Audio/VIdeo, make sure “Create Video File” is turned on, select “Quicktime Movie” as the output, and click OK. This will make both a video file and a WAV file of the selection.
Open the video in Quicktime (or drag it back into Live…wooooahh) to make sure it came out okay.
Ableton Live does not have built in CDG support. But since Live 6 it lets you import Quicktime videos and play/manipulate them. There are some big limitations, but you can do the basics of KJ’ing no problem. The hard part is converting your CDG tracks to a video format Live can work with.
Pick one of the methods above (the one I can vouch for is kJams, see:Best Karaoke software for Mac) and try a test video. Once you’ve converted the video, import to Ableton Live by dragging it into the main window, where it says “Drop Files and Devices Here”.
If the file appears in the list of clips, you’re good. Now hit the “TAB” key to switch to Live’s “arrangement” video (more on this later) and drag the video into the main middle space (in this view, it isn’t marked “Drag Files… etc”).
The video should appear as another colored rectangle, and if you hit “Spacebar” in Live (or press play in the top row of buttons) a video window should appear and the track should start playing.
If you can’t drag the file into Live. Or if the video is garbled, that means the file is in a format that Live can’t work with. Go back and try one of the other tools in the guide above, or try tweaking that tool’s options. (The goal is a an h.264 video file in an .m4v wrapper. If the video plays in iTunes, it should work in Live.)
Note: Live 6 lets you work with video, but only Live 7 and later let you export your work. So you can perform with Live 6 but you will need Live 7 for making Youtube videos, etc. Since Live 6 was the last version with a stable crack for Mac (at the time of this writing) this is important to remember.