Sunday, December 15, 2013

Morning Becalms Electra

So how did we actually spend the day after the storm?  Pretty much a continuation of the day of the storm - stayed inside, finished the Christmas decor (which is lovely) and did little chores here and there.  Add to that a little shoveling and a trip to get bagels and to drop Frida back at my mom's, and that's the bulk of the day.

Well, not quite.  I also took a little time to do overdubs on the two albums I've been working on for the last year or so.  An average solo session for me goes something like this: grab all my computer gear and bring it downstairs; futz around with setting it all up; get my instruments, mics and cables connected and then spend a couple of hours playing terribly and hating everything I'm doing.  Eventually, my despair at my fumbling meathooks overcomes my enthusiasm for recording and I sulk back upstairs, where I whine to Yesenia that I suck, in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice as though I were commenting on the weather.

Today was no exception to this pattern, including the last act, several hours later.  This is when I get into bed and review the new parts, and suddenly everything sounds good.  This has actually been the pattern of the recording from the very beginning of the album.  Stuff that I thought sounded like screaming rabbits while I was recording it sounds great the next day, and stuff that I thought was a perfect stone genius take turns out to be an out-of-tune, ill-conceived and amateurish cacophony so far out of sync with the spirit of the song that you'd think I'd never heard it before.

For anyone playing the home game, here's today's progress:
  • Six string acoustic on Everyone I Know, which is a country-flavored number.  I never could play the part as originally conceived, so I decided to break it into two interlocking parts and hope the listener can't tell.  Of course, no-one else actually cares, but there it is.  I laid down the high-end strumming, but then got bogged down in the picking counterpoint, and dropped it halfway through the track, convinced it wasn't working at all.  Listening back right now, it sounds quite nice... until the goddamn guitar stops halfway through.
  • I wasn't really sure what else I wanted to add acoustic guitar to, but since the acoustic was on deck, I basically picked the song Flyover, by process of elimination.  Meaning that I thought the acoustic would suck the least on this.  Did the song in one take, which is impressive when you know that the song is almost eight minutes long, and not impressive in the slightest when you realize that the last five minutes are the same three chords repeated dozens of times.
  • Finally, I moved on to No Ghost, which is sort of an R.E.M. covering mid-period Wings tune (if you can imagine such a thing). Also did acoustic on that, then went ahead and laid down the bass, which I think means the bass on the album is all done, minus the random punch I need to do here and there.  I was holding off doing overdubs on this song for a couple of reasons - 1) it was originally a Tappan Sea song, and I felt kind of guilty about taking it back, but I figured if I did it differently enough, I could justify doing it in both projects.  Which is all well and good, except I used the Tappan Sea backing track, and 2) the actual backing track is problematic, since the left overhead drum channel had chosen not to record anything, meaning there's no ride cymbal whatsoever.  I've been intending to go in and do a ride cymbal track to fill it in, but I'm somewhat hesitant, since that's the type of thing that never seems to sound like a natural part of the recording, no matter how you pan it or mix it or effect it.
Anyway, that was my day.  And how was yours?


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