4/20/2006

Anatomy Of A Song #4: Complicated Game


After six hours of tracking, bouncing, cataloging, editing and processing various drum and percussion tracks I'm stopping to back up onto cd before I get too deep into the forest and can't find my way back. With digital there's no reason to not always be able to re-access a snapshot of the recording at any point of its development. So we work without fear.

And when we work without fear, as long as we can manage the time, we can let a song go this way and then that. One need only be a strong maker of decisions which is a great way to describe a decent songwriter.

I have a monster of a percussion bed for this song. It's so finely detailed that it'll never get boring. And absolutely nothing is electronically sequenced so it's got a nice organic Ocean Way groove. I've got cabasa and congas and handclaps and timpani and four different loops and sleighbells and tambourine I've got backwards and forwards cymbal crashes and little snare drum touches that generate a nice shuffle here and there.

The percussion bed is so a part of the song that I can and will wipe the Rhodes and vocal guides and begin my final tracks from scratch. I'll do another guide vocal while I'm printing the final Rhodes track. If any of this guide vocal is inspired I'll consider it final and punch in whatever can be improved.

I will not double or triple or anythingle this final vocal. This goes up front big and dry and has to just be real and good. I'm not saying I won't have backgrounds of up to 16 voices but this lead will be single front and center. I have a fantastic Equitek E-200 condenser mic that I will run through a tube pre and straight in. Compression will come later. One of the advantages of being a singer is mic technique- if you have it on stage you'll have it in the studio. You map out your mic zones- from a foot out to 4 inches out. It's gotta be a dry space or you'll sound like you're moving around.

Bass will come after the Rhodes and vocal. I'll spend four hours just running through it over and over, much of the time with just the vocal and the percussion bed up. This way I can lock in to the melody and get a lot of nice sympathetic motion in the bass. When I start to develop my ideas I'll start tracking, punching, slowly moving through the song until it's all there. Then, having this reference of the final line I'll recut the whole bass track from the top in 2 or 3 or however many takes.

Guitar will start to come in depending on what is needed. This song will have a little bit of doubled acoustic rhythm here and there and a few leslied lines on clean electric. There might be some slide on a countermelody or two. I may tune the electric to a major sixth or something and slide into the verses once or twice.

Then there'll be a couple of orchestra bell parts, two different organ sounds and piano.

And now my backup is done so it's time to finish this bed and move onto the electric piano/guide vocal.

5 Comments:

Blogger Kevin Wolf said...

I don't know why, since I don't understand half of what you're talking about, but I'm loving this.

Feel like I'm doing my part to help just by following along. That way, I'm not just being a complete doszpva.

10:00 AM  
Blogger XTCfan said...

One need only be a strong maker of decisions, which is a great way to describe a decent songwriter.

So, you're saying you're The Decider?

4:59 PM  
Blogger roxtar said...

What, no cowbell?

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Ol' Pal D said...

"I will not double or triple or anythingle this final vocal."

A perfect idea, the un-popped cherry on top. No, lousy metaphor, fill in your own, you're the words-guy. No fair switchin' out now and quadding it to spite me either, it was *your* idea.

:)

ps Sting quads everything, then mixes it in just a little like a pussy

11:05 PM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Woah! D!

Dude, I'm watching your empire grow. Way to fucking go.

th' metaphor: like a big pustule on a supermodel's ass. How's that?

Sting- yeah, but he can masturbate for 10 hours. I can do that do but I need crystal meth. And bandaids. And a cocksplint.

essteeceefan- I'm th' Delighter.

8:40 PM  

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