It’s funny how sometimes what you think a song needs doesn’t end up working at all, as ridiculously obvious as it seems. You say to yourself, “Self…this song is almost finished. All it really needs is some overdubbed kick drum to add a little low end thump.” And yourself says to you, “Why, self, of course! It just makes sense. We are so smart.” Then you sit down to record said kick drum part, and it sounds just fine on its own but in the context of the song it doesn’t work at all.
And so you say to yourself, “Self…what happened? It seemed so simple. Now I come to find out the kick drum and my stomping live in two very different frequency ranges that aren’t at all compatible.” And yourself says to you, “What can I tell you, self? Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expect them to. Try overdubbing another track or two of stomping instead.” So you do, and all is well. Your entire universe has been altered, and things will never be the same again.
Then some drunk teenage girl throws a brick that hits you in the head, you suffer a concussion, and you forget all about the kick drum incident. But the nurse that attends to your needs is quite fetching, and she’s a jazz fan. Perhaps angsty drunken teenagers should throw bricks at your head more often.
Anyway. Today I decided to do a little experimenting with that stereo ribbon mic. As it turned out, I didn’t get to do much with it. With the assistance of Johnny Smith I discovered the mic clip provided by AEA is too large to properly thread into the mic itself, so I could only screw the microphone directly into the mic stand and was very limited in how I could position it. I also need some patch cord extensions, because the attached cords are far too short for me to get the mic more than halfway into the room, which means recording drums is not possible with this mic for the moment. Why hast thou forsaken me, AEA? Why?!
Hopefully I can find a mic clip/mount around here that’s the proper size and is strong enough to hold this mic. I was able to at least do a tiny bit of playing around, in a limited way. The first thing that hits you when you take the protective cover off is how pretty this mic is. I wanted to woo it and give it flowers or something. It just looks classy. And it should, given how much it costs.
But that’s beside the point (on the left side of it, if you’re interested in specifics). All I could really do was talk into it and try a bit of acoustic guitar. Because I couldn’t get the mic where I wanted it without the use of the clip, I had to stand on my tiptoes and hold the guitar up as high as I could to get things more or less in the middle of the stereo field. If you know how I play guitar, you might be wondering, “How do you play standing up, holding the guitar so high you could rest your chin on it if you wanted to?” The answer is, “Not very easily”. But I was able to get at least a bit of something that the mic could work with.
And holy donkey-curated vinegar, does it sound nice. My voice ended up mostly in the left stereo channel because of the awkward positioning, but the guitar sounds pretty tasty, and I wasn’t even in anything near the optimal place to get the best sound out of it. The high end is sweet without being even remotely hyped (I think the impedance button on the great river MP-2NV is partially to thank for this). I could easily stick this microphone in front of someone singing and playing guitar, spend a few minutes finding the sweet spot, stick a pop screen in front of it to catch any unexpected plosives, and as long as they kept a good natural balance between guitar and voice it would sound more or less perfect. I doubt I would need to do anything to it after the fact or add any other microphones. I want to try this thing out on guitar amps, drums, and other things. But it’ll have to wait for another day.
I realize anyone reading this is probably falling asleep at this point, and all I can say in response is, “I hope your dreams are as messed up as mine. They’re like weird little movies. It’s fun.”
Speaking of dreams, I had one last night in which “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones was performed as a sort of rockabilly/skiffle number by The Doors, with Jerry Garcia on guitar, and the original lyrics had been replaced by the words to “All My Loving” by the Beatles. The results were bizarre, but strangely catchy.
I dumped “Promises”, a nine-minute piano ballad (scare of all scares) from 2000, back onto the mixer to play with today and found out my original mix from almost eight years ago isn’t as bad as I remembered it being. I just assumed I would have to record a new drum track, because what I originally did was a little amateurish and I’d only just acquired my drum set at the time. But it seems to fit the song, and I like the drum sound. So that was a pleasant surprise. All I really have to do is remix the beast…bring the bass up a bit, use a little EQ and compression to tighten things up, and away we go.
It’s still surreal to listen to this song. Sample lyric:
And I will try not to spit out a stream of clichés.
I know they’ve outworn their welcome.
They’ve seen better days.
Yes, I will try not to break the ties that bind me.
I’ll probably forget if you don’t remind me.
What the hell?! That doesn’t sound much like the sort of thing I would write these days. But damned if there isn’t something about it I still like anyway. Everything rhymes, it’s a love song, and yet it seems to fly by in half of the nine minutes it actually takes to play out. Maybe it’s the John Lennon-inspired slapback echo on the vocals and snare drum. Yeah…that must be it. In any case, I think this song will be one of the highlights on OUT-TAKES, MISFITS & OTHER THINGS.
Look for it soon in a meth lab near you.