Day: September 25, 2009

Woebegone tennis racket.

jeff koons' "hanging heart"

My sleep is a mess no longer. My soggy brain is stronger.

That wasn’t meant to rhyme, but I’ll take it anyway.

I think I’ve got a clearer idea of where I want to go with the next album now. Got piano/bass/drums and some guide vocals down earlier in the week for a pretty ambitious new song that’s about twelve minutes long. While the meat of it is there already, it needs a lot more work, so yesterday I was chipping away at it. And it just…wasn’t coming together.

I don’t have a lot of banging-my-head-against-the-wall musical moments. Usually I just roll with whatever happens when I’m recording, and if something doesn’t work I throw something else at the wall until it bounces back and hits me in the face. This time it wasn’t happening at all. I think it’s one song that isn’t going to be done in a day. It needs time to unfurl, and I need to experiment with a lot of different sounds and decorative touches before I can figure out what works where.

I gave up on that one and went on to work on something else instead. Things clicked in spite of my dour mood, everything dour evaporated as I got sucked into the music, and everyone had sex. The end.

It was interesting to discover that as nice as the new compressor is, it hasn’t made the one I’ve been using for the past several years obsolete, and there are actually some things I prefer the less sexy compressor on. Go figure. But on bass, there’s no contest. The UBK Fatso lets me punch it up without things getting too low-end-heavy or tubby. It’s a lovely thing.

All that gear is really just a very expensive toolbox, when you break it down. You can build yourself a quaint little deck, or you can hammer nails into your feet and scream. It all depends on what you want to do.

I think it’s time to get back to going out of my way to avoid verse/chorus song structures again. It’s been a while since I worked that way for a whole album, and it’s always an interesting challenge to build something that keeps changing until it dies. Especially when the song is twelve minutes long. That one track is either an anomaly and the other songs will end up being much shorter, or it’s a harbinger of things to come, in which case there will only be eight songs on the next album because they’ll all be gargantuan. All will be revealed in the weeks to come.

I can tell you one thing for sure: regardless of how long the songs are, I think the end result is going to be pretty wintery by the time it’s release-ready. Everything I do seems to come out sounding melancholy lately. Must be the Bryan Adams influence creeping in.

The song I ended up recording yesterday when I gave up on the epic one is about as close as I get to ballad territory, and it doesn’t really follow the “avoid repetition at any cost” credo, but the dynamics are kind of odd and it breathes in a strange way. It also threatens to fall apart at one point, only to put itself back together. And it features the return of the bugle. Because I couldn’t let things get too comfortable or too pretty. That wouldn’t be right.

You know how I said I kept listening to that compressor-testing sketch over and over again and it felt like one of the most perfect things I’d ever done? I take it back. The song I finished yesterday is better. I’m not sure I’ve arrived at the right title for it yet (I kind of like “Knee-Jerk Howl”), but that’ll come in its own time.

I’m also realizing that for better or worse I’ve developed some sort of “sound” or “style” that’s more or less unconscious at this point, and no matter what I do or how much I mess with it, I seem to end up sounding like myself in the end. I guess that could be a good thing. I mean, it’s better than having everything you do come out sounding like it’s the work of an evil Russian spy or a rabbit with tuberculosis.

The JESUS-SATURATED BOYFRIEND EP is being put on the back burner now, and it won’t be showing up in the next few weeks after all. It might not even show up this year. I like that ridiculous title and won’t let it languish forever, but right now I think it makes more sense to focus my energy on an album that isn’t made up of musical leftovers.

So you’ll have to wait a few months before something new appears. But I think it’ll be worth the wait. And if it isn’t, just give me a few more months after that and I’ll have another one ready for you.