Monday, February 14, 2011

RPM 2011: Week 2

Continuing updates on my progress with my RPM 2011 album "The Ghost Town":

Day 7- 3 songs, 12 minutes
More tweaks to "What The Wire Said". Lots of writing and thinking. A bit of experimentation around a new track with a kind of old English melody. Sounds a bit too cheesy right now, but I have a verse and a chorus. We'll see how that goes.

Day 8 - 3 songs, 12 minutes
I played some of the tracks in progress for James (the amazing photographer) and Iran. Feedback was generally good. Surprisingly strong responses to "What The Wire Said", which I was not expecting. And rather muted or tepid reactions to "The Empty Sky", which I think is rather good. I think "Sky" needs mix tightening and some palette changes. The melody and underlying structure are good. Just needs refurbishing.

Still, that bit of feedback sort of knocked me off my game a bit. I had hoped to balance the moodier, slower tracks with some more upbeat stuff. Will anyone want to listen to 35 minutes of slow(cow)poke music? Will I want to make it? Will it be interesting?

Hard to tell.

Day 9 - 3 songs, 19 minutes
Today I extended "What The Wire Said". It's a bit too long now but the general shape is there. I added acoustic guitar in some nice ways and a tiny bit of JX-3P (gotta use that gear!). At 11 minutes(!) this might be the longest track I've recorded. I think it's sounding pretty good.

With the 3 songs I have so far, this feels like about 15 or so minutes, which is really great progress for such a short time.

Day 10 - 3 songs, 19 minutes
Listened to the tracks some more, but aside from some notes scribbling and a brief bit of morning picking, the rest of the day was burned with work-related activities.

Day 11 - 3 songs, 19 minutes
Had to go in to work early today for meetings and had to go to a friend's birthday. Aside from some listening, no work on RPM today.

Day 12 - 3 songs, 19 minutes
Frustration and false starts. Being Saturday, I had hoped to get a whole track done and work out. I started on one track, but realized it was far too derivative of Wall of Voodoo. As in: it sounded exactly like Wall of Voodoo. There's a fine line between homage, influence, and derivative rip-off. I was on the wrong side of that line, but it took a long time to figure that out.

I started on another track, but it felt very stiff and I couldn't get it to feel right. I pushed through sheer force of effort, but I kind of hate it.

By the end of the day, my back was hurting and I was frustrated. I can't remember so many total wipe-outs on tracks in past RPM years, but maybe I'm just selectively remembering. Went to the gym and hoped for a better day tomorrow.

Day 13 - 4 songs, 23 minutes
Got off to a typically slow Sunday start today, but I was determined to finish a track. I went downstairs to the studio and started picking on the guitar. I rather quickly came up with a nice guitar pattern for a verse and chorus.

I sketched out some words and a melody. I tried to focus on the emerging themes and vibe of the record and decided this needed to be the title track. This also forced me to lock in a title: "The Ghost Town".

I struggled to lay down the acoustic guitar - I really am a poor acoustic player. Thank god for digital editing. I think it has a nice, loose vibe, though. I spent the next few hours building up the track, adding in some low synth rumble, melodica, fake lap steel, shaker and vocals.

Lots of time spent experimenting with different acoustic samples and background ambiences.

Finished the track shortly after dinner. I think it's a good one.

No comments: