High Congress Presents #3: "Another Day" by Joe Cifarelli

Woah! Back with another exciting installment of Lightfoot Sings Cifarelli! I give you the Monday Sucks ode "Another Day".

This was another interesting project that gave a couple of starts before I got with th' program. It wasn't until I mic'd up a snare drum and some brushes that I really got the picture. I was inspired by a recent Soulfinger show where some oldsters were complaining about our volume and Alonzo Washington pulled out the brushes. The resultant sound, was, across the board, hip, intense and very musical. Some drummers just can't cut it with th' brushes or the quiet dynamics- their groove disappears. If anything, Alonzo and the whole band sounded better and groovier and it was really easy to sing over.

So I based this groove on a circular, insistent little brushed snare pattern and brought in some drum loops and live percussion as needed. Also some deep-mixed timpani for a little distant thunder. The shaker takes to brushed snare especially well, as does acoustic rhythm guitar when you really crank the pick noise.

The steady addition of instruments that marks the intro led to a stack of guitars that reminds me a little of "English Settlement" XTC. We end up with tripled electric and quadrupled acoustic, all hopefully weaving into a sort of guitar tapestry that is augmented with piano on the verses and Rhodes, leslied organ and piano on the choruses.

I angried up the lyrics on this a little bit. We'll see if I perhaps have finally overstepped my bounds as a song doctor/producer because I really sort of changed the tenor of the song. The original is more resigned than my version; the "cup of whiskey" was originally a cup of coffee; the "...little wife...little house..." stanza in the third verse is a much more discontented approach than the bleak acceptance of the original.

I guess I wanted the guy to be a little more fucked up. It scans better for me. Don't ask why.

The choruses are sort of baroque in approach. I was attracted to this song by the Am/F/Bb/Amajor cycle of the chorus- Am/F/Bb/E is one of my favorite 4-chord progressions in the world and I tried to make the E major work. It's a classic Roxy Musicism. I even tried taking the chorus into D minor so I could end on the tonic A major but I couldn't make it sit. I ended up beefing the slightly ambiguous A major final chord of the chorus with a major-tuned doubled acoustic slide that creeps up the neck a fourth to the verse key of D major. It ends up more implied than audible in the final mix.

I was less restrained in my use of compression on several aspects of this mix than I've been lately. I think the inspiration was the Emerick Beatles recording book- guy crushes shit and makes it sound really good. I ended up with some brutalized acoustic guitar using fast release times to accentuate pick noise. Also used one of my cheapie Beringer C- condenser mics- they're so toppy that they work great on acoustic guitars. Vocals are squished pretty hard too, as is the fretless bass. Heck, everything is squished.

I had originally looped the major electric guitar phrase from Joe's lofi demo because I couldn't play it- the first run at the song involved this loop set to a drum loop but I couldn't make it groove. I ended up committing a couple of hours to just mastering the lick. I added some variety with the simplified rootless pattern of the second verse where the distorted vocal and the ocean sounds come in. It seemed to evoke the warm and idealized etherealness of a distant beach for me.


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