Archive for January, 2009


One Man On Bass

Friday, January 16th, 2009

In our continuing quest to not spend, oh, I don’t know, years working on the same material, I’ve suggested a goal that we will finish the recordings we’ve got in progress by the end of February.  Bad enough that we pull open a session file and see that the last time we touched it was a year ago at this time, but we’ve got new stuff that’s juicy and kind of ignored while we try to tweak out other songs.

Mike stroking itOf course tonight Mike and I re-recorded a bass track for a song we started recording a number of years ago – the idea was to mix the song, but we realized as we pulled up the old tracks that the original bass track was all clipped. *Sigh*

The trouble with working on old sessions is that you realize that you had crappy equipment and didn’t know what you were doing several years ago.  Unfortunately this seems to be a sliding scale, so what we think we know all about today will be revealed as goofy ignorance when we look at it in a few years… but I digress.

It was worth the time we spent to put another bass track down.  The track has so much more body and presence than the original, and Mike remembered the parts with the tiniest of reminders.  Yay us.

So the current fantasy is to finish the mix of this song and another old track by the end of next Thursday’s studio night.  We have to get this stuff out of the way.  There’s some crazy James-Brown-sounding stuff that we want to work on…

Capturing Andy Summers

Friday, January 9th, 2009

KB channeling Andy SummersWow, is it snowing here on the north coast. It’s definitely a good time of year to enjoy recording music indoors.

KBilly and I convened last night to work on mixing some of the new songs, generally regrouping for the new year. We tweaked up a mix of “Keep It Up” by including a synth bass that doubles Mike’s bass line. It’s pretty subtle in the mix, but since Mike wasn’t happy with the “bite” of the existing part, hopefully there’s enough to make it… punchy. Or something.

After cleaning that up (and we’ll probably wind up tweaking it out some more because we’re INSANE) we talked about getting some horns recorded for three or four other songs. Right now we have an interesting mix of real horns (I busted out my E-flat alto sax when nobody was home within a three block radius) and horns from the Roland Fantom (the Fantom horn sounds, by the way, are really good).

When you put it all together in the mix, sometimes it sounds fine. Sometimes, especially when the horn part is an important component of the song, it doesn’t quite make the cut. So we’ve got some work to do there.

We started to work on a mix of a song that was originally slated for the “Funk Out” record, but didn’t make the cut: “Things I See On My Way To Work”. It’s the song that slowly developed in my head as I drove around greater Cleveland during my days of corporate industrial sales. To me the chorus has the lyrical feel of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” – kind of the way the words are all strung together.

As I was trying to get the basics of a mix in place, KB was monkeying around with his guitar, playing along. He started using this crazy reverse sound that instantly sounded like Andy Summers. I originally had a guitar track on there that was recorded with this warbly, thin delay, but it suddenly seemed that what KB was playing was way better. So we slapped a signal chain together and put the track down.

That’s what I’ve really begun to enjoy about studio night – the surprises. We can have a plan in place, which is great, but it seems like the best stuff rolls out unannounced. Hopefully this year we’ll have the best of both worlds: we’ll start actually finishing recordings quickly instead of obsessing over mixes for years, and we’ll also have flashes of inspiration that we didn’t expect.