Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Home Studio Work July 24-27 2012

It's a right smart privilege to sit here around high noon in the shade on the back deck. A gentle breeze and lower temperatures make for a fine lunchtime. As I write this I am listening to a vinyl rip of a rare Indian lp from the 50's.

For some reason I really dig early recordings of Indian music. This one comes from a blog I won't tell you about. Unless you ask nicely. He he.

After a non-entity Monday (don't know how that day turned into nothing), the week so far has been fabulous in getting music work done.

Yet more work on "Your Idiot Son". Tuesday saw me editing kid handclaps and, much more extensively, my own electric guitar tracks. Initially, I was going to copy and paste the best moments of  the prominent linking riff repeated 4-6 times in the song. The riff is played by the piano and two electric guitar tracks. I found two good spots, but knowing that the old Mac hates bouncing stereo 24-bit tracks, I just decided to copy and paste the mono guitar tracks. Good call. I also edited or pasted some other brief passages that are difficult to describe here.

Because of the way I recorded the kid handclaps last week (one open mic down the hall from the blasting monitors) there is a lot of bleed over from the full mix of the song. Not a surprise. It was a surprise for some reason, though, that I couldn't copy and paste the best bits over and over....because the background bleed over would be from a different part of the song. That wouldn't be good. Not feasible. I just deleted a few extra claps here and there.There are a few moments when the three of us sound like castanets instead of an atomic metronome. Sounds good, though.

(now Mr. Hall has come to mow the grass and interrupt my peace. Oh well, I shall move inside)

Still on Tuesday,  I successfully removed the piano segment from the "Self Starter Suite". I had long wanted to see if the ending bossa/samba bit could come right after the other guitar bits. It isn't an obviously natural pairing. The piano segment--as heard on SoundCloud--was just "there."

I was glad to have made the cut and dragged the soundbites for two guitar tracks and percussion as a group and re-enterred the fades without seriously screwing anything up. (I had already saved the original project folder to a cd-r) Great. My plan was to just use this demo after the surgery as a released track for the next album. Contributors, including percussionists, would find a steady enough set of tracks to perform alongside. So what if there was no click track or MIDI kit? Hmm...well, the longer I listened the more issues I found. The steel stringed acoustic guitar is seriously out of tune in a few areas. The lead vocal is incomplete because I hadn't finished the first couplet yet. The timing of the bossa bit and the "live" percussion track are pretty bad, which is why the demo fades so early. So...I decided to next teach myself to play all the segments (A-D) again and determine the tempos and next set up a MIDI click to work with.

Which....took hours on Wednesday morning. I had already been playing the piece up to the bossa/samba segment, which I couldn't remember. Listening to it on the demo helped, but I couldn't sound it out. After some searching through bits of paper and sketchbooks, I found the segment. It was apparently written at the same time as "Bossa Brookmania" (!). I have now labelled it in big letters that it is Section D of "Self-Starter Suite." Geez. That settled, I moved on to setting up a MIDI drum kit to act as a click. Surprisingly a simple pattern (kick 1, snare 2, kick 3, snare 4) works--at different tempos--for all parts of the suite including, as I eventually found, the bossa segment. Who'd a thunk it? It took forever--and I still don't know why this eventually worked--to make the conductor track in Digital Performer allow me to set a different tempo at measure 45. I even consulted a manual with no luck. For the record, the beginning of the piece is at 100bpm, which allows a nice slow pace for the goofier picking at the start and an unhurried vocal, and moves up to 140bpm from measure 45 all the way through the samba thingie. Save, save, save, save. And double save.

To allow the subconscious to work on this problem, I began a big clean out of the weird closet space in my studio. I threw away a lot of old boxes, including the original box for my cheap-ass Yamaha PSR-3, a synth of sorts my parents bought me for about a hundred bucks in the mid-80's. My kids now make noise with this durable piece of plastic. Some broken lamps are headed to the dump. I also found more of Wayne Pooley's audio odds and ends. Boxes of tiny bits: connectors, fasteners, baby lengths of cable. Oh, and and old rack-mountable amplifier of his.

On Thursday, I dawdled a bit in the morning, but still took considerable time over recreating the audio tracks of percussion from the demo as MIDI tracks. Luckily, I found a scrap of paper on which I had written the name of the drum bank on the synth used to make the demo. Whew. Not knowing that could've lead to hours of fruitless searching. I quantized these, of course. Then I practiced all the guitar parts for quite awhile. I think everything is going to be fine with re-recording this suite. Tra la la. Oh, happy day.

Also, on Thursday, completely out of nowhere the words to "An Unexpected Perfect Day" suddenly came to me. I'd long wanted to rewrite, indeed, finish the words to this one. In a flash, I had all three verses. That's tremendously rare for me at age 49, let me tell ya. The verses are simply the real life boring details of my daily life; the choruses contrast that with the title sentiment.Can't wait to re-cut a vocal alongside the original demo tracks. Next week?

And, finally, the only work I managed to get done on Friday was three mixes of "Your Idiot Son" to begin sending out to collaborators. Yani is first.

I practiced "If You Buy My Album" throughout the week. Fun.

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