Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Decider

Well, after today, it's pretty clear that I have two choices:

1) Continue working the freelance job at the cost of my free time, health and sanity, or
2) Go back to just the one full-time job and give up the security of the extra income (also at the cost of my sanity).

Both scenarios meant the house will remain fuck't in one way or another. If I continue with the freelance gig - at 30 hours a week - I have no time to work on the repairs that need to be done. At this point, that's finishing the dining room ceiling and demolishing the basement, and removing the other half of the basement that's been sitting in the driveway for two weeks and counting. I'm thinking of adding a burned out '46 Chevrolet truck skeleton to the front yard on cinder blocks, just to balance it out and give the house that complete redneck look that's so in this year.

And, if I quit the gig, there goes the income that I could use to waterproof the basement, and do whatever major repairs need to be done. I mean, doing things yourself is great, but nothing says "Man of the house" like pulling out a checkbook and waving a contractor in the direction of some things that need whacking, then going off to lie in the hammock and read some Spider-Man.

There are other pressing uses for the money as well, but these are stories for another time and day. Check this space in a few months for what that might be about, hmm?

Spent another few hours in the studio today, mixing. Well, Ryan Ball (whose studio it is) did some mixing, and I sat around and made nattering comments about whether or not the kick drum was loud enough. Ryan humored me (as he always does), and we ended up 'getting a drum sound.' This seems like it would be straighforward enough, but drums are bastard things that are either too loud, or too quiet, or one part is too loud and the other is too quiet, or tinny, or boomy, or too 'dry,' or too 'wet,' etc. Entire wars have been fought that required less effort than goes into getting a drum sound in the mix that I'm happy with.

Hell, entire wars have been fought with less hardware than setting up the drum sound takes. Ryan has a set up that's probably small by professional studio standards, but it's still a few hundred thousand dollars worth of mixing boards, computers, hard drives, patch bays, compressors, clocks, pre-amps and cables. By the time Ryan is done patching things through (he does at remarkable speeds, considering that nothing seems to be labelled and the dozens of cables are all black and of identical length), the signal for each drum sound - broken down into 8 tracks, one to each piece of the kit - passes through enough circuits on its way from the computer and back again that British Telecom must be earning a royalty fee, somehow.

We did some last-minute overdubs (see! I said final was never final) to fill out the bridge, which seemed empty. We at first tried Wurlitzer, sounding a little Supertramp-ish, but then found - or refound, becuase I'm sure we knew this at some point - that the entire song was just a shade out of tune. In tune with itself, sure, but nothing could be overdubbed that couldn't be tuned to match it. So we intsead opted for a little Moog-like synth, which sounded pretty nice.

Oh! And speaking of things never being final, it turned out that all of Monday night's work - full vocals for two songs and various other overdubs - had been vanished by an automated hard drive incident. So all that work has to be done over.

I'm sorry. I meant, "All that fun needs to be done over."

Heading into a pretty busy weekend. Freelance full day tomorrow, an ad due for one of my other job's clients (that I really should be working on now, but it's off to bed for me and I'll rise at six to finish it up) and Saturday in the studio all day, Sunday in the studio half day and then helping my mother empty her garage in the afternoon.

My wife is going on vacation next week. Oh, how I wish I were going with her.


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