Day: July 31, 2008

There’s just something about the key of E flat.

I just put a new song up on Spyspace. I’ll probably leave it up there for a week or two before I mix things up again and pull out some warped songs from 1999 or something. Most of it was recorded yesterday, and today I tracked the drums and mixed it.

It’s more or less the complete opposite of everything on CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN — no vocal multi-tracking, no stringed instruments of any kind, everything soaked in reverb. The Arp Omni-2 is all over this song, and this is the first time I’ve ever recorded the bass patch on that synth. It’s a pretty cool sound. Kind of makes me think a bit of the synth bass in “Goodnight Tonight” by Wings.

I need to make some more use of that Arp beast. No digital synth I’ve ever played can spit out sounds like that, and the string sounds are pretty neat too. I keep neglecting it in favour of guitars and things. Then I play it and remember how cool it is. It’s not high up there on the list of synths people salivate over like the Prophet-5 or the Jupiters and Junos, but I dig it.

I’ve had the thing for more than a decade now, and it refuses to die even though it has to be well over thirty years old. The only problem I’ve had with it in recent years is a bit of a bit of a high drone that’s developed (I’m not sure offhand what note it is exactly), usually sounding at odd brief moments when I play around the high A key that doesn’t pass sound anymore. But actually, it’s kind of a cool sound when it happens, and the unexpected moments of dissonance tend to suit whatever song I’m using the synth on. It happens a few times in this new one.

How many more times am I going to type the word “cool”? The answer is three. Observe: cool cool cool.

There. I think it got it out of my system. I feel at least two pounds lighter now.

The song was meant to be a good deal longer — I was shooting for somewhere between seven and ten minutes — but it felt like it would get a little stale if I kept the instrumental section going for too long. So even though it’s shorter than I intended it to be and there were a lot of additional ideas I didn’t bother to develop, I think it feels right. I’m not sure if it’s a harbinger of things to come on the next CD or just a brief detour along the way. We’ll soon find out.

I thought I’d throw some piano in the mix, because I haven’t used that sound in a while. For some reason the Clavinova doesn’t really sound digital at all to me in the context of this song. It sounds like a pretty sexy grand piano. I’ve been holding off on recording a wealth of piano songs because I wanted to wait until I had a real piano at my disposal, but maybe I should just bite the bullet and use the Clavinova like I always have. Running it through a nice mic preamp with transformers seems to do a good job of warming up the sound and taming whatever digital bite I would normally try to EQ out of the picture.

The drums sound kind of muted, but I think it suits the song. And I played them with mallets. That does tend to muffle the sound a bit, or so I’m told. I guess I’m diving right into the next album(s) before the one I just finished is even packaged and release-ready (it should be ready for everyone next week sometime), and before I’ve figured out what exactly to do with that imposing misfits compilation. I figure it’s best to keep the momentum going. Maybe I’ll even become absurdly prolific again, kind of like I used to be before my little unintended “vacation” from productivity.

Here are the handwritten lyrics, just for fun. Not my neatest writing, but I think it’s mostly legible. To my knowledge this is the first time I’ve ever used the words “hyperbole” and “myriad” in a song. I borrowed the last two lines from Meryl, keeper of the smoo.