these are some still images of things that have been happening, lifted from the video footage i’ve been capturing of various recording sessions. maybe i’ll go one better and put some sort of little teaser video together in the next few days, just because.
at this point there are 55 different garageband demos, and a handful of related things spread around on a few cameras and mixer scratch tracks. most of those songs haven’t even been recorded proper-like yet, and i know there are still more things left to be written before i’m through. maybe it’s time to start thinking about making this one a double-CD.
a few things i’ve learned throughout the course of the work that’s been done so far:
— dave pearlman’s TM-250 mic is the only microphone i will want or need to record a violin with for the rest of my life. it’s just that good in that application. it looks pretty, too.
— for every person who makes you wait two months to record something with them only to flake out on you at the last minute under questionable conditions, there are three people who will show up and do what they say, and they won’t make you wait at all. those three people are lovely.
— 16 tracks on a mixer…ain’t really enough for what i’m doing right now. in some cases i’ve had to get creative to make things work as arrangements have grown more ambitious. if ever i might have started to get lazy or complacent when it came to the mixing side of things, well, that’s not an option now.
one song, for instance, has the following things going on: piano on two stereo tracks. bass on one track. mono lead vocal tracks from two different people (only one of whom is me). two stacks of double-tracked vocal harmonies. double-tracked acoustic guitar. double-tracked electric guitar. a different electric guitar performance recorded in stereo. double-tracked shaker. saxophone harmonies on three tracks. drums on two tracks.
that’s 22 tracks, on a mixer that has 6 fewer tracks than 22. how i made that work is a mystery i’ll leave for you to ruminate on. i’m not even halfway through, and this is already some of the most difficult and maddening mixing work i’ve ever had to do. you could say it’s keeping me on my toes. or my elbows. i’m not always standing when i’m mixing things, you know.
— i have some really talented, generous friends, and i’ve met some great new people (not new to the world, but new to me) through extending my arms a little more than i have in a while. i’ve had a fair few experiences playing on other people’s songs over the years, but practically no experiences involving anyone who isn’t me playing on my own stuff outside of band situations. in some cases i’ve had very specific written parts for another musician/singer to work off of. in other cases i’ve said, “please go nuts and improvise.” so far the results have surpassed my wildest expectations every single time. you haven’t lived until you’ve stood in front of a microphone with a few other people and had everyone shout about galloping and trotting like horses.
— i don’t think i’ll be able to make a short, compact album again. ever. but that’s okay. i like long albums.