Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 10-11: I Remember L.A. (updated again with MP3 links)

Unlike past years, I decided to send some rough mixes around to friends to get their thoughts on how things are sounding and whether or not the songs work for them. The good news is the response has been very positive and the feedback has been very helpful. The bad news is now the pressure is on...and all that great feedback translates into more work on the tracks.

I felt that I needed to get something else done, so last night I started working on "I Remember L.A.", sketching it out pretty quickly. I was going for a David Sylvian/Christian Fennesz type of thing.
I came up with a nice melody, somewhere between a lullabye and a children's song. Reminds me a little of "On Top of Old Smoky". I also created a very simple set of chords to accompany it and mapped out some appropriate bass notes.

After creating a minimal, nearly inaudible beat, I recorded the bass.
I recorded 4 individual guitar notes and broke them out to individual tracks, looping them and letting them drift out of sync.

Next I processed each note individually - one getting distortion, one getting a granular delay, and so on. I also recorded a few tracks of noise and hum and processed that as well.

I sung a decent vocal take and started "painting" the guitar parts around the melody, dropping them in and taking them out as I saw fit. I wasn't sure if it would work, but it ended up sounding very good.
I did a quick mix and called it a night. Getting up today was tough. I did my morning exercises and brought the mix up. Vocal was nice, but a touch too simple. It needed some harmony to give it some motion and interest, and to keep it from being too monotonous.

I raced through the vocal a line at a time dropping in harmonies I thought were good and ran a mix off.

While the mic was up I re-ran some of the vocals for "The Signal" and for "Resigned".

A bit late for work, and the bass was way too loud, but man, "L.A." sounds good. More or less what I wanted.

Tonight I ran through my mix notes - fixed the bass, tweaked some processing, danced some levels around. I think it's done, or very close. I then turned my attention to working on "The Signal" to integrate the vocal work I had done today.

Some of the takes aren't usable - I was too congested or something, and the original takes sound better. But it's good enough now that I think I can move on.

It's 11:58 pm and I'm tired but satisfied. 3 songs all but done. 13 minutes down, 22 to go.

Update: These are final mixes, uploaded now that the album is done.
I Remember L.A.
The Signal

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