10 July 2007

A Dream of X

I received a copy of the 1977 American hardcover edition of The Dream of X. Wow, is this ever a gorgeous book! It took me a while to get it -- it went missing in the mail for seven weeks. After seven weeks, it was finally returned to the seller as "undeliverable" for no good reason; the address was correct, and we get lots of books delivered! But the seller shipped it out again, this time to my work address, sent priority mail with delivery confirmation, and I've finally got it in my hot little hands.

I had previously taken a stab at recording a couple of chapters from Hodgson's The Night Land, but was daunted at the prospect of recording the entire novel -- at 200,000 words, it does not lend itself well to an unabridged reading. I have long thought that an abridged, "best of" The Night Land would go over very well -- either that, or a true radio play adaptation, which I'm not quite prepared to produce at present.

Anyway, The Dream of X is, in fact, 20,000 word abridged edition of The Night Land, boiled down to that length by Hodgson himself. So this is going to be my next podcast project. It is short enough that I ought to be able to complete the reading of the text itself in only a handful of late-night reading sessions -- not the dozen it took me to complete The Boats of the "Glen Carrig." Then I can focus on post-production.

I don't know exactly what all I am going to do with it, or how many episodes it will turn into, but this time I'll be using my own original music. I've been playing guitar a lot lately, and taking lessons again, for the first time in about 24 years. I've got enough years of playing, and enough technique, that I ought to be doing something with it. I also happen to have on hand an original Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer, purchased via eBay. I've got a pile of odd effects including a vocorder and a ring modulator. I have a Digitech RP-350 with USB out. It would be nice to have a better microphone, a better audio interface, and better software, but I have to admit that I actually have everything I need to do some very interesting audio production. I should stop wishing that I had something just a little better and get on with it!

The hard part will be actually achieving a quiet recording. It's July and our apartment building is hot and humid, even at night. The AC unit is in my office, and would be unearably loud on a recording. But turning it off will make it unbearably warm in the office. Even if I turn mine off, the adjacent units have theirs running, and my microphone picks them up very clearly. I could come in to my office to record, but the AC there also comes on irregularly, it is loud, and I can't shut it off. I might have to arrange some late night recording sessions in the basement with a laptop.

Updates as the project progresses! We'll set the estimated completion date -- I will release this project in time for my 40th birthday, on September 26, 2007.