Christmas Cancelled?

Perhaps…

Two weeks until Christmas and I’ve not yet recorded vocals for this year’s offering.  Not a good recording, anyway.  I was able to get a couple dreadful vocal takes out in my bedroom (a horrid place to record) before my voice gave out.  I will still try to release a volume of my previous Christmas work (probably as individual tracks on SoundCloud), but without an appropriate time and place to record, I don’t see this one getting done.

Speaking of, the same may well go for Chapter One of Hijacking Your Fiction.  I still have to record for one song and find time to work with Scott to mix.  The planned release date will be pushed back as always.  I can not express how badly I want to move beyond this album.  This album was over two years ago in so many ways.  I feel I’ve moved on but I can not let this album go unfinished.

John MusiM has been kind enough to let me use his place for recording, but my voice is at its best late at night and both he and Suzy work early, so I have to do it in the afternoon.   The drive I had to finish has diminished.

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The Production Notebook VI: Mixing “Ruin”

Saturday night mixing session.  “Ruin” is probably the song that needed the least work, yet somehow, thanks to Scott’s sonic compulsive disorder, it turned into all night mix session (not a bad thing to have a mixing engineer obsessed with auditory perfection, but at this point I’m ready to have things songs out so I can move on).

We spent an appropriate two hours before taking a break for coffee, but upon coming back we spent about five.  One of the first rules of mixing is to give your ears regular breaks.  By five in the morning, brains and ears were exhausted and, though I haven’t had time to do a side by side comparison, I’m afraid we’ve lost a few things, in particular the raw balance the song had.  The arpeggiated bass synth is giving us the most trouble at this point, trying to maintain its character and, at the same time, leave it as one of the primary musical elements in the song.  Scott brought some of the high end out in the vocals, and with a bit of work, gave it some of its missing detail.  The main kick is punchier, heavier, and though I didn’t want to make any creative decisions at this point, we ended up with three versions of it for different parts of the song.

As stated, I’ve not listened to it since Sunday morning as I need a couple days to recover my senses and listen again objectively.  I plan to do a side by side comparison of my previous mix and this weekend’s mix to see what is right or wrong still.  There was no objectivity or comprehension of the big picture mix by the end of the night.

What I can say with certainty is that, despite some areas of pronunciation I’m not completely content with, I am quite happy with the results of the vocals.  I tried a few things that I’d never done with vocal processing before, and am quite pleased with the results.  If all goes well, I will post a pre-mastered version on soundcloud before long.

Upcoming production work:  vocal recording and mixing for “Voices,” a new mix of “The Temptation of Saint Anthony,” and reviving an old fan favorite, “A New Man,” to round out Chapter One.

Scott at our mixing piano. Why, yes, the monitors are on a piano. What, that’s not acoustically sound?

Hijacking Your Fiction, Chapter One (Spaces Between)

A few months ago, I started to find myself overwhelmed by the concept of completing an entire album on my own.  It has been well over five years, and the album has been in its current conceptual state for nearly three of those years.  Because of this, I’ve decided to release Hijacking Your Fiction in three chapters (clever, I know), each consisting of four songs.  Now the big news:

If all goes according to plan, Chapter One (Spaces Between) will be released by the end of the year.  The first chapter will be given away for free on my Bandcamp page, though donations will be more than welcome and, furthermore, encourage me to get the next two chapters and future work finished sooner.  Chapter One will also be followed by video and artwork, but for now that is all the information I can give.

Overtime and Other Updates

With the amount of overtime I’ve been working at my teaching gig, I spend more time at work than at home.  As a result, yet another delay on the album – which at this point it should be no surprise.  I am quite disappointed that my September/October deadline will pass.  I hope to be freer after August, at which point I can resume minimal production work.

Speaking of production, my “Production Notebooks” entries seem to be getting quite a lot of attention from people who I believe are looking for dramaturgy-related materials.

I apologize, but thanks for visiting my site.

This may be the end of updates for a while, but I think I lost most potential fans years ago.

The Production Notebook V: John Beauchamp, Zachary Annett, and Lizzie Gask!

Just a quick one this time for the record, as well as a few preemptive thanks.

As mentioned previously, the creative stage is going well enough, while the production stage is virtually absent.  There are a lot of songs that reflect a broken heart (and perhaps this is one of many excuses not to work on the album), something I’d always hoped none of my albums would become.  Hence, Hijacking Your Fiction may be more therapy than art.

“Voices” is currently my favorite work-in-progress (with the increasingly frustrating “Ruin” right behind) so I feel the need to get everything just right.  I finally had a few ideas yesterday that might get me a couple steps closer to the production stage.  The lyrics are coming together (indeed, the lyrics for most of the songs are nearly finished) and I’m considering using Lizzie Gask, known around these parts for her work with The Dirty 30s, and who will likely be featured on at least one other song on the album, to help me close the song.

As far as using other people, I’d also like to give a quick mention (there will be longer mentions later, no doubt) to John Beauchamp (a.k.a. MusiM) who is doing an embarrassingly simple guitar riff for me, not because I’m incapable mind you, but because I do not at this time have an electric guitar in Seoul.  I did, but its disappearance is another story.  I’ve turned acoustic guitars into post-production electrics before, but in this case I’m going to need an electric to achieve the tone I’m looking for.  Also, my cousin Zachary Annett will be featured on drums for “Reconnect,” and I’m debating whether to hand him drumming duties for the album version of “Gate 36.”    Finally, a preemptive thanks to Scott Coward who, whether he knows it or not, will become my mixing engineer.  He may also, again unbeknownst to him, contribute some hand drums to “Sweet Victory.”

One final note, I may opt to work on The Recovery Project for a while, a digital noise side-project that I’ve had on the back burner for quite some time and have been hoping to use to vent some frustrations, instead of AllThisIsMeaningless.  I spoke of therapy, and right now I can’t imagine a better therapy than that.

The Production Notebook IV: Cafes, Guitars and Giving Up

I woke up late Thursday, and rather than getting to work as I said I would (nothing new there), I went over the hill into Itaewon (the so-called “foreigner district,” near my flat) for lunch and to go to a cafe.  I read a little, and studied Korean even less before sleepily going home, where I did manage to get a bit done.

More guitar work:  Worked on the rhythm guitar for “Reconnect” as well as “Where Are You?” (working title “Chimera”).  Also came up with a simple riff for “Electricity,” though part of what I liked about the song was its driving simplicity, so I’m not sure at this point whether or not I will use it.

Also for “Where Are You?” I put another effort toward additional percussion and am much happier with the result.  I may recruit a friend or two to add some good hand percussion, and I will likely make a third attempt.

I don’t want to do anything but sleep.  I feel I’m giving up.

One more week before I have to return to my job.