I’ve been wanting to get to this progress report for a few days but I just haven’t had time. In fact, I haven’t even listened to this for a couple days, so I’ve kinda lost track of what all I did with it this week or what it sounds like. I remember I built up the break a little and I recorded the vocals yet again.
I am so glad that I decided to track the vocals again. I really didn’t realize just how lacking in energy I was feeling when I tried to track them the last two times. If you’ve been following along with these posts, I’m sure you’ll hear the difference. I think I mentioned last week that I often like to chop up the vocals, make the rhythm real precise and franken-song the whole thing by picking the best parts from different takes, but as fate would have it, I got most of the lead track out of one take this time. My timing is usually okay anyway, but with this take I got my breath marks down well so I really didn’t lag hardly anywhere, which colored me happy. Sometimes I overestimate how much singing I can get out of a breath, gasp, and then try the shove the next phrase into too small a space. Usually the words in the next phrase are timed pretty well in relationship to each other, but the entire phrase will be off grid by a 16th note or something so I slice out that one little sentence of lyrics and scoot the whole thing over a tad to make it more perfect.
It would be nice to be moving ahead with this project at a faster pace, but summer means kids going to bed late, spending the weekends doing all day activities with family, and generally packing in too much to a week. Also, I’ve been working a little bit on the piano stuff for my friend’s album. Now that I actually got a chance to hear the vocals I can create something that fits and doesn’t conflict with the melody or the feeling behind the lyrics. All I had to work with going into the studio was a recording of bare guitar, so I knew the chord progressions but didn’t have enough to go off of. I’ve also spent a couple late night sessions just practicing or writing, because I can kinda sorta do those things when I’m feeling spent, but I probably shouldn’t because 1/2 ass practicing ingrains bad habits. I think all in all I spent 2 nights this past week working on Feelin’ the Wind.
…Oh no, that’s not true actually. I spent an hour or two one night labeling and color coding stuff, looking through what fx I had thrown in along the way and swapping some out for ones with a different sound, etc. Now that I think about it, the bass thing I was talking about last week… yeah, I just kept the bass I had and put a regular old compressor with a slow attack and a mild ratio on it and liked it just fine. I still don’t trust my room as far as frequencies go (yeah, I got traps but they are not very good ones,) but it sounds good with the room and monitors I’m working with. Haven’t really got to the point where I listen to it on different systems or on headphones yet.
I think moving forward I’ll be looking closely at mixing, getting the drums and percussion stuff tightened up, looking closely at the vocals and looking for details in there… We’ll see. I’m feeling very motivated, so it’s just a matter of time and adequate sleep.
Ummm… Oh, there’s something that’s been nagging at me about something I wrote in a post a few weeks ago. I said something to the effect that working on this type of song is different from playing with a group because it’s less linear, but that’s not exactly what I meant. To be more precise, like with painting, making music this way is different in that you get to more so pick and choose what happy accidents to keep and when and how to use them. To some extent, I think this same thing happens with playing live or with a group because sometimes you happen upon something unexpected and you like it so much you file it away in your memory banks so you can use it again later, or something like that might even become a consistent part of the song, but making an electronic song is still different because the whole thing, like a painting, is more permanent. It’s not going to evolve organically through playing it repeatedly. Like with painting, I like to step back, disengage in a way and sort of conceive of the whole thing in my imagination at once. I suppose you could say I meditate on how all the elements interact – and I’m the only one in control of all of those elements so I have to decide for myself how to get them to play nice together. With my solo acoustic music I’m more so in a linear flow head space. With this creation I’m undulating between more of a timeless head space and then back into that linear consciousness. (There’s probably only a few people who would grock that and I probably should have never mentioned it in the first place. I feel what I mean in some foggy and mysterious part of my mind but I don’t actually know how to describe it and I’m just digging a deeper hole by even trying to put it into words. C’est la vie.)