Friday 09 Dec 2016

Layers
Matt Seinberg

For some reason, this week, the word layers entered my brain; it wouldn't leave until I write about it. I made the deal, and here we are sitting at the computer after dinner and a glass of wine writing about a simple word.

Are layers so simple? A layer can be something quite complex. For example, one of my friends at work mentioned how he used to like the song by Pharrell Williams, "Happy." Now that it's everywhere, playing all the time, he's tired of it.


you can hear Pharrell singing the chorus in the background
at the same time

I told my co-worker to listen to it a different way. I explained how a song is recorded, layer-by-layer, piece by piece and to listen for something particular, which will make it, sound different from any other time he listened to it.

If you listen closely, you can hear Pharrell singing the chorus in the background at the same time he's singing on the main track. That's in addition to the other background singers as well.

In the analog days of recording albums, all sounds recorded on magnetic tape. If you needed to edit, it a manual task: razor, tape and dub. Today, in the digital world, everything records on a hard drive; punch a few computer keys to edit a recording.


editing in radio used to mean grease pencil, razor and tape

When I first got into radio in the middle 1970s, I had to learn how to use a grease pencil, razor blade and editing block. There was no such thing as digital editing; all editing was a manual task. Today, in radio or studio, all the sounds are digital, recorded and edited in such programs as Adobe Audition or Pro Tools. Each production producer has his or her preferences. You also had to have sharp hearing, as well.

My friend Mike is a great photographer; he takes great pictures of people and places. I've seen the things he can do with digital photo programmes that would absolutely amaze you. He'll take numerous photos of the same subject. If one little thing is wrong in one, he'll take the good part from another and fix it until it's perfect. Most people call it photoshopping. I call it art.

The other thing Mike does is layer the photos so they acquire a depth that you can’t see in a single photo. He can take a simple sunset on the beach and turn it into a true work of art by manipulating the colors and depth, giving the illusion of the never-ending water and sky.

My favourite layer though is the cake kind. In my younger days, I used to say, "Give me cake or give me death." I can't say that anymore. My wife watches me like a hawk when numerous desserts are around, to make sure I don't overdo it. I don't think Dr. Robert would approve of it either.

For this Memorial Day at work, our managers are going to grill hot dogs and hamburgers. I hope someone brings an apple pie as well. My friend Nicole is baking two layer cakes, one Red Velvet, which is my favorite, and something else. It doesn't make a difference what the something else is, I'm sure it will be good. She brought in two other cakes before and they were delicious. Nicole says she doesn't cook but she bakes. That's fine by me.

For this Memorial Day weekend, enjoy your friends and family, grill some hot dogs, hamburgers, steak or chicken and have a good time.

Please have a piece of layer cake for me.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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