Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mixing and Sampling (Music, Perfume and Environment)

Today's Fragrance was Le Labo Jasmin 17 which I always enjoy. I noticed that I smell lots more of the vanillic base in the heat. The animalic notes that I usually smell in its dry down weren't very apparent to me today but the vanilla was. I'm wondering about a theory I thought up which undoubtedly isn't any new discovery. Firstly, I'm a musician but not a music engineer so I don't physically do music mixing. Mixing is balancing the levels (volumes) of each instrument on a recording--similar to what blending is in perfumery except you need very steady hands to move the faders on the board up and down smoothly or you have to do the mix over--it's not as easy as just hearing what you want and 1, 2, 3--you have to be able to physically perform the parts and that means hours, months, years of practice are involved. Many people don't understand that learning to play a musical instrument (in this case the mixing board which becomes the instrument when you're mixing the entire arrangement) takes physical dexterity as well as the ears to hear what you want and don't want.

As a co-producer on my own recordings, I put in my two cents when I want to hear more or less of any particular part that I put down, but I have no experience doing an actual mix on a mixing console which has about a hundred different faders and buttons to control. I did take basic recording and learned to bounce down some tracks but I can't work a board enough to even fake it. However, I did learn something recently from a real mixer and that is that whenever you add more bass, the kick drum seems to get lower in volume, and when you lower the bass, the kick seems louder, even if the level (volume) of the kick is left the same. I know that the same thing happens when I mix perfumes--if I add patchouli, the vanilla seems to disappear but if I add just a touch, the vanilla's there, only a little less prominent than before. I thought today that maybe different smells in the air affect how we smell perfumes in the air, like if there's a scent in the air that competes in the same pitch or range as the note in the perfume, it might seem like there's less of it than there actually is. In a cleaner-smelling environment, what seemed less might seem like more. It's just a thought that crossed my mind today because I was in a different part of New York today, a more suburban area where there's lots more greenery.

Right now, I'm testing all of the samples that arrived today and here are my thoughts:

Polo Sport Woman--Just as I thought it might be, it's a '90s cool and high-pitched melony Marine Floral. It's not my favorite smell and I don't think it's anything like my beloved Creed Silver Mountain Water like someone on a board had said, but I'm not doubting that they are similar to her and her assessment is valid to me. To me, Polo Sport is like a cross between Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon and Liz Claiborne Realities (the original formula in the cubic bottle). I doubt I'll ever want to wear this, even if it's a well-crafted sporty fragrance, but I'm glad to have had this chance to get to know another Ralph Lauren fragrance.

Tommy Girl--The first tea fragrance they say, and I smell the tea in it, all right; it reminds me of a dozen others: Osmanthe Yunnan, Un Zest de Rose and even the new Guerlain Tutti Kiwi even though I'm not sure it actually has any tea in it. Tommy Girl starts out smelling more berrylike to me but ends up a rose and tea scent on my skin. It's a nice scent but a bit tart and way too tealike (I'm one who doesn't care to smell like anything too specific in nature). I don't want to smell like afternoon tea time--it makes me think of lace doilies, parasols and white gloves.

Aphrodisiac by Lumar Beverly Hills--Mega tuberose (a heavy tropical floral)--strong, feminine, a little goes a long way, especially in the heat. It smells very much like Coty Sand & Sable without spice.

And here's one which arrived a couple of days ago:

L by Lolita Lempicka--Soft, powdery cloud of sweetness with a citrus top, similar in feel to Guerlain Shalimar Light. It also reminds me of Lea St. Barth (soft, powdery, hypersweet almond musk) and Fifi Chachnil (heavy ambery-smoky-powdery Floral Oriental with strong citrus notes). The best part is its animalic musky dry down which smells almost identical to the dry down of Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur but I'd rather wait for the dry down wearing Musc Ravageur because I'm not a fan of powdery soft scents (I get images of baby products).

That's all for now.