Making love to a chain link fence…but never the same way twice.

It’s a bit of a switch working with piano as an initial musical building block. I used to do a lot of that, but it’s been a while.

I kind of fell into a pattern of using slight variations on a pretty specific electric guitar sound on CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN. It seemed to play nicely off of banjo/guitar/other things with strings, but I’m not sure it meshes as well with a real acoustic piano (though I think it worked on “Pretty Cynical” where it was a digital piano instead of the real deal). It’s probably better to resist the temptation to fall into comfortable habits anyway so things stay sonically interesting and at least somewhat unpredictable.

The triple-tracked vocal approach apparently isn’t going to be reverting to single/naked lead vocals anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean fun can’t be had with what surrounds the voice. I just find it interesting how certain things that work well in one setting will sound out of place when the glue of the song is a different instrument, even if the song itself isn’t that much different stylistically from what it might have been if it was led by banjo or an acoustic guitar.

So, while I’m still not much of a producer and don’t spend much time thinking about what any given album should sound like, there will probably be a bit of a different ethos at work on the in-progress piano-heavy CD. The new song that’s up on Spyspace right now is a good case in point, and maybe it offers a bit of an idea of what to expect from the album. The brushed drums are still there, but I think the drumming sounds a little meatier and more confident. The twangy Teisco is there too, but only in the places where it could fit without too much resistance.

Funny how for a song that’s still pretty stripped-down it was a lot more challenging to mix than most of the songs on the last album, what with different things coming in at different times and the volume of certain tracks needing to be altered at key moments. In general it seems a bit jazzier to me, at least to the extent that I’m capable of being jazzy, though I resisted the urge to go crazy during the instrumental outro and left a lot of space there.

Dig the bugle section during the “bridge”, if you can call it that. I don’t think I’m ever going to figure out how to form anything approaching a decent embouchure, but that doesn’t mean I can’t torture some noise out of the horn anyway, even if the results sound something like a small drunken elephant stampede. I recorded piano for a few different songs yesterday, and “Capricorn Cloves” (don’t ask me what the title means — I have no idea) was the one that decided it wanted to be fleshed out. I messed around with the others a bit, recording some rough vocals, but they still need work. And there are still so many songs I need to record in general, I fear I may never get completely caught up. Now it’s moved past the intimidation stage, though, and become kind of a fun problem to have.

Now, here’s something fun. Check out #166 on the chart, sandwiched between Be Your Own Pet and Bob Wiseman. Not bad for a guy with an imaginary/nonexistent record label and no serious distribution, who’s only ever really garnered airplay on one of the many radio stations whose charts were used to come up with the top two hundred for September. For my next trick, I will make a music video for “Blue Cheese Necklace” in which David Spade is beaten to a pulp with a baseball bat in slow-motion, and MuchMusic will play it once before everyone becomes violently ill and several hearts are irreparably shattered.

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