“I did the bits that sound "noodly" or "solo-y".
@finnkisch did everything that sounds like "an awesome motherfucking song".”
In January, Finn sent me an mp3 of this great song -- a bit minimalistic for my taste, but undeniably strong lyrically, just a great song no matter how you slice it. And he wanted me to lay a guitar solo down on it.
I was going to go see Ninja Academy that night, but the song grabbed me and I ended up playing guitar on it. A lot of guitar. I not only recorded a raw solo, but also noodly clean bits that trampled all over the vocals and repeated a theme in the first section of the mosh part. Think, maybe, of asking Jackson Pollack to paint an empty corner of your floor, and finding the entire house covered with an inch of paint.
Just the way I am, you know? I'll solo over anything.
I really liked what I did, and so did Finn, but we agreed that a lot of the busy-ness was detrimental to the vocals, which should really be the focus here.
We talked about the song a bit, then tried throwing other half-finished songs at each other to see what stuck. Nothing came of that, and no one was surprised. Months passed.
Then, in July, Finn started his song-a-month project under his old solo project moniker All the Meat Wants, and it was good. I recognized a lot of the songs off of Yesterday Again Today from the Dark Secret Love days; it's good finally seeing 'em in a finished and presentable form.
Labor Day weekend, Finn emailed me about making Fracture September's song of the month.
All in all it was fun, though there were times when I was frustrated at my own limitations on guitar. I idealize the first-take solo, the imbued channeling of godhood through the mortal instrument in one perfect transcendent performance. Yet, take after take after imperfect take later, I resigned myself to my own mediocrity. And turned to my skills at editing shit together ;-)
I think the clean guitar bits are comprised of 3-5 different takes, edited together; the solo is definitely 5-6 takes hacked into, as Finn called it, a Frankensolo. Phrasing my solos into distinct sections is not only advantageous for letting the solo "breathe", but also for covering ugly fuckups the fuck up.
My innate ability to hear flourishes and counterpoint melodies that aren't there, yet, added a lot. But Finn's devotion to the purity of the song (read: keeping me from going hog wild and trampling over everything), plus, y'know, the awesome song he wrote and recorded, were even more important. And it just meshed and gelled and whatever other verbs that connotate symbiosis or collaboration.
I think it's the best work I've done to date.
It's definitely my favorite song of Finn's, hands down. As he said, it's something special. I'm really glad he let me be a part of it.
Take a listen.
And share it with somebody.
Shawn's remix kicked my ass.
I finished version 24 of Go this past weekend and submitted it; then Chris asked for my Etched remix as well. When I sent that I noticed the timestamp on it was from March, 2008. Oops. This is how projects take forever to finish.
We're throwing cover ideas around over email... it'll probably be something simple.
Mike's only planning on pressing a couple hundred physical copies. We'll see how that goes.
Last night I laid down basslines while polishing off half a bottle of pinot noir. This is maybe the fifth or eighth time I've sat down and tried to start these remixes, and it's the furthest I've gotten. I had to
cheat a little approach it in a new way.
First I looped Mike's vocals in Live and browsed my mp3 collection... finding songs I pictured the remix sounding like, listening to how the vocals lay over the tracks, time stretching when needed. Once I found an appropriate song to guide the overall feel of the remix, I copied it into Live, then improvised complementary lines over it. Once I lay down enough tracks, I'll remove the mp3 and let the remix stand on its own.
Cheating? Sure. But with time stretching and the original songs' structures firmly embedded in my mind, I was having a near impossible time of hearing an idea that would work... and when I did, I lost it before I could successfully recapture it on tape.
Go is on the faster side, with bitter breakup lyrics (courtesy of Battery's NV). I slowed it down and reached straight for a song I've been wanting to
copy mimic for a while now that I thought might fit perfectly... and it does. I wasn't able to write a bassline as dangerous-yet-sensuous as the original, slow strip club music for the riveting drop-dead gorgeous feature dancer that no one can tear their eyes away from. Instead I went with something a bit more dancy and will try to recapture part of that sensuousness with a slightly edgy pad, the drums, and other rhythmic elements.
Add a little piano and a ton of guitar wanking and voila. A ton of editing and nitpicking later I'll be done.
Etched was by far the trickier of the two. At 87.5bpm it's in that tempo range where double- or half-timing the tempo results in either the music or vocals sounding too fast or too slow within the acceptable limits of time stretching.
I tried eight or so songs with it, stretching both the mp3 and vocals to try to reach some modicum of rhythmic compatibility. In the end I found it, in a newer song that's just fast enough to be an energetic dance hit. The current vocals don't quite line up, so I'll have to slice it up by phrase if not by word or even syllable.
The mp3 is a very sparse dance track. Not sure if I'll be able to stick to those guidelines or if I'll end up filling in the empty spaces.
All in all I'm glad to be working again. And this particular process is allowing me to intimately study and break down the composition of two [more] tracks that I'm a big fan of. Here's hoping I can finish one or both of these.
I spent the past few days outlining the structure of the Curtains remix. Still not done.
It's a good sign when the unfinished scratch rhythm tracks make me want to lay down solos for days. And bounce around the house despite the heat.
That's the problem. I want to get this one perfect, and I'm going to want to extend it to 10 minutes or so. Hopefully I'll come to my senses at some point and cut the church organ solo and some of the piano bits. Or maybe I'll just release two versions: the radio friendly mix and the overly gratuitous extended mix.
Still, at this pace I doubt I'll finish before the end of the month. But I'm looking forward to it.
Also. The Melodyne plugin? Slow going and a bit tedious and frustrating. And I think I'll be [over][ab]using it on just about everything until I decide I've hit the proverbial wall.
It may just be lack of sleep, or the suddenly free weekend now that Gavin's injured himself and we have to temporarily postpone recording. But my mind's working overtime on one-man-band live possibilities, and I'm not talking about just sitting behind a laptop twiddling knobs.
Perfect weekend so far =)
I was feeling exhausted by mid-week, with flyering, rehearsal, work, insomnia. On Thursday I really enjoyed myself at Meat (best in a long while), which I really needed. But I had to wake up extra early Friday morning, which led to a jittery caffeine-filled day.
On Saturday I woke in the early afternoon, then spent my tax return on a floor model Virus TI. Roman, the sales guy, was steering me towards the Nord Lead 2x, which I like quite a bit... kinda "that sound is cool" and "I could probably use that sound quite a bit." But the TI kept going "Here's a song idea!" and "Here's another one!" and "If you can't turn this into an amazing song you might as well throw in the towel right now." Hopefully that's true.
And now I'm not so frustrated that Native Instruments are being so slow with their Intel Mac updates. =)
I was going to go see Babyland at 12 Galaxies but I had a beer with dinner and felt soooo sleepy. I'll catch 'em again in April.
The plan for the rest of this 3 day weekend is to continue kicking caffeine yet again, but still get some work done on some Escape(Window) songs.
I think I should go shower now. And find some food. Then write some music.
It's nice having the studio set up again... started work on remix #1. The OS change and the different VSTis, plus the year off, are definitely slowing things down, but it's fun.
It'll probably be easier to go in without any preconceptions and let the instruments and sounds inspire something rather than trying to dial up the sound in my head, at least at first.
But now it's time for bed.
[i: inside my head] I've got a bit in. Like a nightguard, but thicker (and more transparent than my nightguard, thankfully). This is part of the holistic "form equals function" fix for my bite and stop me from grinding my teeth. Tim is highly amused by my [even more than normal] obstructed speech.
( +1 )
[ii: photogenic city] The past few days I've consistently seen cityscapes that I desperately wanted to photograph... and I've been without my camera. The magic hour disappears so quickly; it's perfect at 5:25 and it's too dark at 5:45. And this morning the giftmas lights and fog by my dentist were so purty. Maybe I'll catch them over the holiday.
[iii: project solo] I've been coming up with new escape(window) tunes in my head recently... and I've been working on getting my studio back up to snuff so I can do something about that. In the meantime, I've put up a quick'n'dirty escape(window) myspace page. Not without a certain amount of aggravation and hassle and "an unexpected error occurred... well, actually, with how crappily we architected this website, it shouldn't be unexpected at all, but we'll just call it unexpected so we don't have to go into detail". Still, that's where the kids is at.
A number of shots, beers, and a bottle and a half of red wine.
Numerous silent thank yous to Cubase SX 3, which was both stable and efficient (I never would have been able to finish this track without new hardware, had Cubase not had its "freeze track/vsti" feature.)
( commentary )
Also, courtesy of blackmagic, Keith Olbermann's scathing commentary on the government's actions. Quite worth watching.
Escape(Window) - Labyrinthine Catacombs
VSTi's:This was my working title: Blah track. Thinking about dumping Exorcist2, finishing Zombie1 and World Weary, then writing new stuff.
- Steinberg Hypersonic
- Korg PolySix
- LinPlug FreeAlpha
- Waldorf Pulse Plus... think I'm gonna get rid of everything else
Still want to be more of a guitarist than programmer, but I'm getting better at this. I think.