Friday, November 21, 2008

sparks are falling

yes, wintertime is in official swing. i actually had to wear a scarf and hat yesterday on my odyssey to beans and bagels to regain my forgotten record. ironically it took me longer to get there via the normal route- which is red line down to belmont then switch to north bound brown line to montrose than it did for me to walk from the montrose brown line station (beans and bagels is right under it) to the wilson red line station (about 25 minutes) then take the red line back up to granville (about 10 minutes including waiting time). oh the irony. i'm simmering in it. even though it was pretty cold i didn't really have a problem walking that far in it because the hat and scarf make a huge difference. coats are for ninnies.
i listened to 'five leaves left' today. i'm listening to the mangled bohemians right now- it took me an obscenely long time to listen to their cd. inexcusable! i am really liking it- not surprising. it's a shame that they weren't around back when we were living in portland- it would've been quite the dream team and i could've played a lot of shows with them (and then we even though that wasn't really the case until we were almost gone). if we lived there now it would be a bit easier. that said it still wouldn't be easier than living here, so don't you get any big ideas. they're not going to happen. now that you've found it... just kidding.
i streamlined our website a bit so some of the more highly-trafficked pages weren't so cluttered. i updated the news. we did indeed get in some recording time last night which yielded two finished tracks- 'ada' and 'willows.' i even wrote a new song last night. terrifying. it is a song that's in the 'angels floating on the head of a pin' tuning. i'm guessing it'll be called 'come to me' since that's the main repeated line. it would probably be smart of me to demo it when i get back. it's kind of a drony semi-rocking kind of song. the idea for the album after 'all hope is blind' was of more of a 'rock' kind of thing. at first i thought that idea was kind of dead until i wrote a song i wasn't sure what to do with. it kind of started a certain way and then sort of evolved with a newish way that i've been playing guitar- which is more with the reverse reverb only and less reliant on the delay. this 'come to me' song works in that way. it's looking to kind of get back to these weird demos i did at the apartment above the congress a few years ago- i did a few guitar based demos with these spacemen 3-like relentless tambourine hits. nice stuff. it's almost borderline garage-y. well, at least for us. i also have that really awesome demo of this song that is currently called 'new order-esque' because it's melodic and droney in the way that a new order song is- think something like 'temptation' or something where it's based around a bass melody line played over alternating open strings. that style that peter hook originated.
today is the day for the 2-track. hopefully it will turn out a bit better than it did last week. hopefully. it would be really nice if i could finally get that shit going. it has taken far too long to get to this point.
today after i get home i think i might attempt a bit of mixing-down. that 'ada' mix has to go out pretty fast. i'd thought that it was already too late until i got a message from the guy putting the zine mixtape together. it always takes some motivation to get us to finish things. always. that's why the new 'christmas song' is coming together so quickly (well, at least so far). i need to get the strings going soon- they are going to be the biggest roadblock at this point. the vocals need to be done next and quickly. the section with vocals isn't really that long per se, so it shouldn't take too long. the 'willows' song needs to be placed in the context of the rest of the ep, plus i have a cdr with some newer mixes that i reconfigured based on my last little listening party that i had. for the most part the new mixes sound fantastic- there are only a few cases where the eq needs to be redone, etc. 'sleep now...' has some really bad hiss problems- it's from when i recorded with billy at his old apartment- the electricity in it was all wonky-like so it caused a lot of hum on his parts on that song. on the other tracks i'd done with him there you couldn't tell so much because there was so much texture that it overtook the hiss. that's one of the bonuses of playing the way that i do- it kind of hides a multitude of sins that occur when the recording is being done. i've had to make myself really conscious of it on the new stuff which is one of the reasons for an upgrade in microphones. so far it's been working fairly well *fingers crossed*.
i've really lost my thread here.
i think that i might have endeared myself to the booking guy at the record bar. nice. i emailed him filling him in on what's going on with the show and evidently kurt hasn't gotten back to him yet about who's playing on that show at all. again. *fingers crossed*. hopefully if we get all the way to kc and it doesn't work out we can do something at yj's or something. speaking of which stefanie and i need to practise for it. we haven't been practising at all lately- not since the tour. once upon a time the concept was to practise every saturday no matter what, but it's translated to only if we are active in the live realm. i guess if we get into sxsw we'd have to start up again. hee hee. if. if only.
so i think i'm going to post something on craigslist in kc trying to get some string players on the hook for that. hopefully that will work out. i'm not holding my breath as i'm sure i've said before.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

everything happens today

today some drum recording is going to happen. not sure if i even knew that we were doing this last week, but james posted on the cllct board about doing a christmas songs compilation- either covers or originals- and i thought about doing a revamped version of our 'christmas song' until a little inspiration struck and i ended up writing a pretty nice new song based off of the first 'christmas song.' what's it called? 'christmas song revisited.' nice, huh? the weird thing is i'd already written a 'revisited' song but now i'm going to have to think of another title for that one. the new christmas song is based mostly around the same chords and has a similar structure and i'm taking one of the melodic elements from the original one and building on them. the verses are pretty different. there's going to be an awesome loud drum part at the end with christmas bells. since no one's going to be able to understand the words (and since they are very loosely linked to christmas anyway) the bells would serve to be festive enough. so that's that.
we're also going to do a drum part for 'willows' which will finally make it a finished track. then that ep with have a few little touches that it needs- i mainly am in a bit of a panic at the moment because chris, our violinist, is really busy at the moment and won't be able to do any recording until after christmas time. he sounded really stressed last time i contacted him and he offered to do some work if it really urgently needed to be finished, but i don't think i should take him up on it. it's possible that the mixing of the ep won't be finished until the new year even if i can find someone to redo that violin part. there isn't too much wrong with the playing per se- it's mainly that it's a bit rickety at the beginning (which i would normally just leave in there because i kind of like that sort of stuff) and there is way too much bleed from the guide guitar that i played along with him. i figured out how to lose the bleed even on the most stark tracks when i was recording with billy last time so his parts have no bleed at all so i wanted to redo the violin part since it can be done without any bleed because you can really hear it on that track when it's in there. i should probably just ask drew at work if he could do it but i feel bad taking time out of his schedule because he practices the violin for 6 hours every day. i feel like taking some time to record with me would be a bit of a waste of his time because he's in it for pretty serious and i'd rather not make a habit of interfering with that because i don't want to fuck with his shit.
so it's crunch time i guess is the basic theme of this entry. i'm trying to get ahold of a 2-track right now. i had the opportunity for the perfect deal on one last weekend and it was snatched out from under me on ebay at the last second because the auction was ending on a friday night at 9pm. it was the night we went to the brauhaus and i got rip-roaring drunk. i'd bid on it earlier in the day and my bid held firm until the very absolute end. it was torture and i'm still gutted about it- i should've raised it right at the very end. in the future i guess that will be something i'll do, but at the time i didn't think of it. so i found two of the same kind of 2-track on ebay ending tomorrow in the afternoon, so i'm going to try and get one of those. hopefully it'll work and i won't have paid too much (i'm thinking i'll probably end up paying a lot for one of them). the other thing about this last 2-track was that it was a pickup only auction and the machine was in lemont, which is not that far away- it's on I55 near the bolingbrook exit about an hour away, so no shipping costs. bummer.
anyway, that's what i'm going to be doing tomorrow at about 2pm.
i had a wretched week last week. i feel like it started with that whole losing the auction thing. after that it took us two hours to get home on the cta because shit was all fucked up for some reason- i had to wake up early the next day and go in to work so the longer we were stuck waiting on the platform the more annoyed i got because it's like watching the precious few hours you're going to get slipping away from you and there's nothing you can do about it. stefanie got upset at me for getting upset (even though i had every reason to) and we ended up getting into a giant fight when we got home, which then took another hour to resolve itself. all told i went in on about 5 hours of sleep. plus the normal opener wasn't there and the person covering the shift is someone who i know as notoriously flaky, so i knew i'd get there and the place would be empty and i'd have to open things up. that's pretty much what ended up happening- except that the normal flaky person had gotten someone to cover the shift for them who had never opened the store before and had no keys. this replacement person seems to lack a decent amount of common sense as well, so all in all it was a bit of a trainwreck and everything ended up taking double the time because the few things i asked them to do they didn't know how to and i ended up having to redo everything they did and hold their hand through every teeny tiny thing they attempted to do. as if that weren't enough this girl knocked into me while i was holding my latte that i make for myself in the morning and spilled it all down my front. i'm not a morning person at the best of times and being on five hours sleep and being a bit annoyed with this person to begin with i can only imagine the kind of shattering look i gave her after this occurred. naturally the person who used to open every saturday isn't going to be coming in on saturday mornings anymore and for some reason will has delegated this opening shift to this person who does not know what they're doing. at all. but that's okay with him because he's never there on the weekends and doesn't even keep it in mind that we are open at all. so now i have to open with this girl on saturdays until she 'gets the hang of it' which i don't anticipate happening any time soon. until then it's going to be me and her there at 7am every saturday morning (which is my monday morning by the way). i even said 'you know what, why don't you just let me open that day?' and he didn't even take the bait there instead delegating me to train this person on how to do it. i don't want to train anyone- especially anyone who is that devoid of common sense. oh yeah- she also kept stopping albums i was playing on my ipod and changing them after five songs. at one point she was back there and i was playing the new spiritualized album and she goes 'you have so much stuff on here- i can't chose something' so i said- 'put the ipod down! we are listening to the rest of this album. do not touch!' i am not equipped to work with the ADD generation. that sort of shit's just annoying and rude. and you know my policy on rudeness. i'll put up with any amount of crap from anyone as long as they are capable of politeness and are considerate.
so this carried on through the week and by wednesday i was ready to kill someone when i walked in the door. my manager opened and did his little three strikes act with me which resulted in me not speaking to him for about two solid hours. my manager does this thing where he'll do something belittling or rude to me that i don't like and i can manage to be graceful and not think anything of it until the third offense and then the graceful forgiveness is stopped dead and i'm pissed, usually for the rest of the day. when i get pissed though at work i mostly just walk around with my scowl sewn to my face. i never have a problem being nice to the customers during this though. i never have a problem being polite and nice to the customers there at all come to think of it. the customers are the least annoying bunch in that place. i like anthony- he's a nice person. at least to me. he's a get what you give kind of person. i'm nice to him so he's nice to me. what people complain about him principally is that he's late everyday. news flash- even our manager makes a habit of coming in at least 15-30 minutes late every day as well. i think i'm the only one who shows up exactly when they're told to show up. he gets a little salty with the customers sometimes- but he isn't the one at the front counter most of the time. it also just depends on who it is and what they do.
so that was my week. suffice to say that i'm incredibly relieved that it's time for the weekend. hallelujah already. i went to bed fairly early last night (about midnight) and slept like a log until 9:30 and now i'm here at the coffee shop. after this i have to go back to beans and bagels because the new walkmen lp came in the mail and i forgot to take it home in my eagerness to leave. i did come up with a decent 'life plan' should i get so irrevocably burned-out with that place that i actually have no other choice but to leave and actually do something with my life. i decided that if i'm going to back to grad school for english/writing/whatever that i should look into going to grad school in london or someplace in england. it'll be perfect- i can get a student visa and it probably won't be too much of a problem bringing stefanie with me since we're married now. i don't know how that works, but i'm sure that that somehow will make it easier in some respect. go to grad school, do some internships and then hopefully that will parlay itself into some kind of employment there. what's more we would be living in london (ideally) and we'd be able to start playing shows over there. then we could test the little thesis i have that we'd be more readily appreciated in the uk and possibly europe. 90% of the song downloads/listens are from oversees ip addresses. when someone in chicago downloads/listens to a song it's generally either my ip address when i'm checking a link or it's james' ip address (he lives in elgin) or it's a complete fluke. a lot of people from the bay area listen, which is ironic to me since we weren't able to play there over the tour.
this brings me to my next little thesis- the tour. stefanie and i now agree that it was a really great experience and that's why we're so down in the dumps about everything else at the moment. my life seems a bit meaningless and rote now that the tour is behind us. obviously we're going to have get out and go again. unfortunately this won't be for quite a long time. i hope we get into sxsw because it will give us an excuse to get the fuck out of town. i'd like to play at the record bar again on the way down there (or on the way back). speaking of which i'm still not 100% sure of what's happening with the acoustic show- if that's a firmed up thing or not yet... i guess i should write.
i think i might actually get my ass to the coffee shop. at least it'll give me something to do to waste away the day. plus i'm not the monthly pass again so it's basically like it's free- or at least that i've already paid for it so i might as well use it.
i think i'll talk about the new walkmen record now. i know no one's made it all the way to the end here- but i would highly recommend it. it's become one of my favourite records released this year- i actually might like it more than the first walkmen album which has always been my favourite of theirs. it's such a beautiful record and it's like the audio equivalent of a warm blanket- a perfect winter album. all of the tracks are wrapped in this layer of gauzy dreamy reverb and the effect is quite nice. talk about a mood enhancer. i'm a bit biased as i'm obviously of the opinion that you can never have too much reverb- anyone who listens to the music i've been making these days can tell you that. the songs are all really strong as well. it also has all of that weird, fucked-up, grimy walkmen-feeling all over it too that i really like. they don't really care if they sound sparkly and perfect- that's not the point. there's some vintage amp grumbling in there that i usually leave in our stuff as well that i obviously love.
there have been too many amazing albums released this year. surely there has to be a ceiling somewhere, but it just keeps getting higher and higher. i thought that last year was a good album year, but this year has really taken the cake. the 'white chalk' of this year has been the new sigur ros album. what i mean by that is that it's the album by a band i've loved for a long time that i somehow haven't gotten around to buying. i still don't have 'white chalk.' i put it on my christmas wish list and never got it- it was a scheme that did not work. i also never bought 'mountain battles' by the breeders which i've heard as well and that sounded like a really excellent album as well. haven't gotten the new mogwai album either. criminal really.
i guess i should go though- this post is much much much too long.

Friday, November 14, 2008

lifted sugar eyes

listening to mbv at the moment- big surprise.
got some more work done yesterday- a lot of it might fall under the category of 'scratch tracks.' when we have a song that's considered 'dead' and i continue to work on it i usually tend to record a drum part myself because most of the time i feel like i'm wasting stefanie's valuable time working on it when i've pretty much already given up on it. i did drum parts to two 'dead' songs yesterday- both of them ridiculously old. i have had a desire for a while now to finish the unfinished tracks from the 'down to sleep' sessions. the true test i guess would be whether or not i will bother to add strings to them. i guess i wanted to have them finished because a few opportunities have come and gone for compilations- i like to give out extraneous tracks for those just in case anyone's paying any attention and because i often have songs that i'm thrilled with that just don't fit in anywhere.
the two tracks- one is called 'all i have' and the other is called 'swirl around you.' 'all i have' i think was started when i was 18- i rewrote the lyrics twice while we were working on 'down to sleep.' i filmed myself putting it together for the whole 'down to sleep' diary thing that i never bothered to post on youtube and then ended up abandoning it because i had a fantastic scratch track and a great vocal recorded but could never get a decent sounding guitar or drum track. i did both of those yesterday. it's possible that i didn't get those yesterday- although the drum track sounds pretty nice. the guitar still doesn't sound quite right. not sure why...
i guess that since i can't really work on anything at the moment finishing these tracks will somehow keep me occupied and i'll have a well of extra tracks to draw from should anymore of these opportunities for compilations or anything like that spring up. that way if one does i can hopefully get string parts recorded for them very quickly and that way i'm not wasting time recording strings i'm not going to use. 'swirl around you' was written when i was living on the plaza with tom. it was actually written about someone from the past- i wrote a few songs about girls from that period and this is one of them. i toyed with putting it on 'down to sleep' or at least giving it a shot and recorded a really nice sounding acoustic guitar and this awesome weird tremolo electric guitar. i even wrote a really ornate string arrangement for it- it was going to be very ambitious, but naturally it never came to pass.
i emailed some people who do diy booking in europe and the uk to see if they'd be interested in helping us out and they emailed me back saying that we're not really their cup of tea, but that should we ever cook up some solid plans to tour in europe we should get in touch with them and they'd be happy to get us in touch with people who they thought could help us out. nice. i actually appreciate this kind of response- it's quick and doesn't cause you to pull your hair out wondering and getting upset. i much prefer being told the truth in lieu of waiting, wondering, waiting, waiting and hearing absolutely nothing.
maybe the europe thing will have to wait. i think maybe it would be best to just stick with our current plan- touring the east coast in september next year. we are planning on taking a trip for stefanie's birthday next year. i'd like to finally get us to europe. i am trying to get this current ep released and saving the money for that should be somewhat manageable as it's in different parts, as opposed to how it normally is where i have to scrounge all of the money together at once and meet tons of unexpected costs along the way, this is kind of bit by bit since i'm going to do the packaging myself. once that's released we're going to try and get 'all hope is blind' released with an arts grant since it's going to be so expensive for us and we are going to have to buy some equipment to get it the way we want it to be. that way hopefully we can get it released before the next tour and then take 2010 off to figure out what we're going to do next and pay back some incurred debt and whatnot. keeping this going for so long has been quite emotionally taxing as well. it's kind of taken over my life. anyone who wants evidence should take one of these rambling blog entries at random to read through. i don't talk about much else. i wanted to watch that cure 'trilogy' dvd yesterday but in my brain i actually heard the words 'you don't have time to do that- that would take three whole hours!' it would be nice to get a slower pace going. i'm finding that the nagging urgency has sort of lead up to the 'all hope is blind' album because there isn't really anything real planned beyond then (except maybe 'chinese blue' which is only about halfway through the massive writing process). there are a lot of good ideas related to what to do next, but it would probably be well advised to go at a slower pace. that will allow us to save more money towards touring and getting a functional 16-track analog studio going, as that is the eventual goal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

back in business

i had a really productive day yesterday. i sang the vocals for a song called 'willows' and then lugged all of my mountain of crap to the stairwell to record some reverb for those new vocals and several of the 'all hope is blind' songs with vocals that are finished. i used the new microphone to record the reverb and it seemed to work quite nicely- much less tape hiss and the reverb sounds a bit clearer. the 'ess' sounds are going to be murder though and i'm a bit worried about that once it's time to press the record to vinyl as 'esses' are murder on vinyl. time will tell. i think that 'down to the willows' from 'all hope is blind' might be a finished track now- i'm not 100% sure. the string parts are slightly dissonant- can't figure out what's wrong with them- but i did a mixdown and it seemed to me that it is probably a good dissonant- it actually moves in and out of dissonance which makes for an unsettling feeling- which suits the mood of the song. what's more i don't think that the instruments are out of tune like i had previously thought. so i've got the mix of it and i'm just going to listen to it a bunch as a finished track. nice. it feels good to have a finished track. '4am train' sounds fantastic now- all it needs is a violin part and then it's finished too. 'windsong' is nearly finished as well- it really only needs a few things period. the others are coming along.
so then i got all of that done and now there isn't much left to do for the 'dandelions' ep (which has been true for quite a while, really). i've started mixing the ep- i have a few final mixes in hand as well. i listen to the whole thing and i am quite pleased with it. i was worried that the quality was going to dip a bit after 'down to sleep' but now i don't really give a fuck about that stuff because the songs are good enough that i need them to be out there. what's more we've been playing a lot of the songs live and they've already become mainstays which means that they are good. i've found that if we don't play new songs live it's usually a bad sign. i'd almost given up on 'willows' as well until i listened to it. the guitars i had thought were kind of crappy but really what ended up happening was that i tried them without any eq and basically that is the way that they sound best- exactly as they were recorded. the same is somewhat true for 'glasslands'- which is so good it was supposed to be a hidden track and ended up being added to the group of listed tracks. it serves now as a buffer between two songs that basically have the same drum beat.
other than all of that it feels really good to have a real weekend off again. it made the week feel a bit more bearable knowing that i was going to have a weekend at the end of it- a real one. this is my first proper weekend in about a month or so. i guess i'm not surprised that it kind of got me inspired to get productive again. i felt really good yesterday.
i have a nice fat paycheck waiting for me at work today that stefanie's going to deposit for me today. it will have something called 'extra money' on it. just in time for her birthday- which has become a three day extravaganza. tomorrow night we're going to the brauhaus with a bunch of people from her work, a few from my work and hopefully my sister and her boyfriend. saturday night we're going out to dinner with claire. saturday night is also when deerhunter is playing at the metro and stefanie doesn't want me to go now since we're going out to dinner. then sunday night stefanie and i will celebrate on our own and she'll open presents and whatnot. i also have to buy her another present and then pay for dinner and such and the brauhaus is always a dent in the wallet so i don't really expect to have anything left by the end of the weekend. then thanksgiving is basically the week after that- i think that as it falls it doesn't affect my work week at all- which i'm going to decide is a good thing right now.
the acoustic show is making some progress towards working out. fingers crossed. as it stands now it looks like we'll be playing at the record bar at 6pm on a saturday night. probably a decent fit. we are going to play for about 30 minutes- which will probably be a good thing. i didn't want this to be too much of a production. i hope that people show up. it still amazes me how few people we know can show up at our shows when we manage to play in kansas city even though we hardly ever play there. i hope that this time is different but i'm not holding my breath. at least we'll get to play. i just have to remember to record it this time. i didn't remember to record the last show, which was a shame because it went so well and everything sounded so good. i also really wish i'd recorded the seattle show as that ended up being the best show that we played on our tour.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

sian alice group luv

i can't quite shake my obsession with this band- i have everything they've released so far and i wait with baited breath to see what they release next. one of the things i'm most upset about missing while we were on tour was their set at the empty bottle. i was so bummed about missing it that i almost went to see them in kansas city at the record bar. the other one was missing neko case at the hideout block party. i guess that in a pinch this will have to do-

Monday, November 10, 2008

how could i forget????

for some reason i totally forgot to post our new video here. dep...
i recommend that you click on the youtube link and watch it in higher quality as it looks much nicer. the downloadable version down at the bottom looks nicest of all. (awwww...)
download here (ipod format).

Friday, November 7, 2008

i have precious little time

whenever i listen to music it makes me want to make more music. whenever i read more it makes me want to start writing again. i've been reading joan didion's 'the year of magical thinking' which is about the aftermath of her husband's death and her daughter's serious illness (which escalated dramatically after her husband's death). it's an incredibly interesting and insightful book and i really love it. naturally it fills me with morbid thoughts- similar to the 'love is a mixtape' book that billy got me for christmas one year.
one of my favorite tidbits i've picked up from 'the year of magical thinking' is what joan didion refers to as 'the vortex effect.' i finally have a term for what happens to me when i go home. the older i get the more i see this even though i am still much younger than joan didion is (thus the effect is much more dramatic in her life). basically when i drive around in kansas city i usually can't drive around without driving past something familiar that sucks me back into this weird kind of chain of vivid memories and i'll remember the strangest things that i haven't thought about in years. they're very sudden and the effects are kind of curious- i usually can't explain it after it happens, but it happens a lot.
that's usually the state i'm in when i've gone through a deep myspace wormhole and i start to get completely overwhelmed with nostalgia for things and people that i haven't thought about in years. my last trip to kc was a lot like this in many ways. i don't know that i've written about it too much. i haven't really written about anything other than the parts that got finished (big surprise). i managed to get to lawrence on this last trip, which was incredibly unexpected. on my first day in town after recording billy had to go up to lawrence for school and i ended up tagging along with him and i had about an hour or two (not real sure now- an hour sounds too short and two sounds too long) to walk around and do whatever i wanted. he parked right by where the pirate house used to be (which is where the short bus kids used to play probably 90% of the time) at 14th and kentucky and i walked downtown from there. it was interesting- kind of a dual time- i went to a lot of places i used to go all the time and then some places that i never used to go. lawrence is kind of nice in this regard- i spent a fair amount of time there but i did about the same four or five things every time i went there, so there's still new groung to cover when i go back these days. i went to mass street music for example, which i'd always passed on the way and never gone inside of. i went to the lovegarden and bought the vinyl version of the first walkmen album- which is basically two short records in one package- the tracks are all in a different running order and there are some extra tracks. i went to java break too which has changed a ton over the years- that was a highlight i'd say- a place i used to go that had changed enough but still stayed the same in other ways that it was really nice to be there. i didn't get to the bourgeois pig, which is a place i normally go when i'm in lawrence because i like the beers they have on tap and because i never went there when i was living in kansas city so it's a new place to me. i had a really good time there.
i'm amazed at how much i was able to squeeze in in kansas city even though i wasn't even quite there for two full days. all of the recording and then there was a decent amount of loafing time as well. it served well as a prelude to the christmas visit. i feel like there's less pressure to get more fitted in when i'm in town. we're currently trying to get an acoustic show going. we were going to play at the record bar on the 29th, we changed our flights to leave on the 30th (it only cost $40 total) and then the booking person there told us he made a snafu and couldn't offer us the 29th after all, but that the only slot he had left was on the ad astra per aspera show on the 27th. naturally that would work well. i haven't heard from mike yet. i kind of feel like it will work out since we've played with them before and that they're our friends and all but i can't help feel a bit anxious until it's firmed up and i know it's going to happen. we really fucked up last year not getting to fit the acoustic show in- i was really bummed about that. i guess it's probably better not to do it every year in reality. i'm going to try to get more string players for this one to play for about half of it. if that doesn't work it's not the end of the world.
anyway, the battery is getting low and i'll just ramble on anyway and i can't seem to get an outlet at this coffee shop to save my life. i think it's time to get a new computer. i think i'm just going to have to pay for it myself and have to do the apple payments on it- they can be as low as $24 a month. why not? we can't go on like this and the last two laptops have belonged to stefanie, it would be nice to have gotten one that belongs to me. they definitely have more memory space than this dinosaur- 120 gb is the lowest storage that the bottom of the line one has.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

not much time, but...

... the trip to kansas city was a success. we got seven of the eight songs recorded and all of them turned out quite nicely. the sounds were really great- best cello tones i've recorded- and i figured out ways to solve the problem of bleed that has made itself known. unfortunately it was pounded home to me that i need to have chris redo a violin part because his part on 'glasslands' is a bit out of tune at the beginning to a noticeable degree and there is far too much bleed from the guide guitar track that i played along with him. you can hear it even with everything else blaring on the track and it really detracts from it. we basically got the ball rolling for the 'all hope is blind' album- billy added two cello parts for each of six songs that have been started because they don't require the live treatment- for this album we are going to play the songs that have drums live and do guitar and drums at the same time. i started the album trying to use click tracks, but very quickly we realised that the performances were a bit soulless and when the tracks are as stark as these tracks are there needs to be a strong organic base for them and the best way to do that would be to do the basic tracks live together. i've had to buy more microphones to meet this goal (i have about three or so still to go) as we also wanted to use nicer mics so that we don't have to do as much mixing to get the parts to sound their best. this experiment was kicked off by a version of 'narcoleptic' that i started with a click track and when i added the guitars i wasn't really that happy with them and stefanie had a lot of trouble playing along to the click track- she even told me she'd rather play along to just my guitar. even with that idea the track was missing so much that makes it so fantastic when we play it live, so that's how i arrived at my brilliant idea. so now i won't have to go back to kc to record with billy for quite a while because i have to work up more of the tracks that need strings- the album is kind of coming together in pieces and several of the songs haven't gotten much in the way of real serious attention- some of them are a bit fragmented and underdeveloped. if they aren't underdeveloped they don't have scores to go with them yet either.
of the seven that we did there's only one that i'm not 100% sure about. it definitely sounds a bit dissonant which i suspect stems from when i recorded the guitar part i probably didn't tune ahead of time because i got too caught up in the moment. it might be okay, but i'm just not sure. i should let it sit for a while i guess and try and finish it soon.
i'm getting a bit burned out. i still haven't really planned anything beyond 'all hope is blind' which is a bit strange because i usually at least have some groundwork laid for a few albums ahead and usually those are based around a few solid and complete songs and i still don't really have too many of those for anything beyond 'all hope is blind.' i have a few ideas of what kind of record i might try and make, but it's still so up in the air it seems a bit dangerous. i think it will be important for us to take our time with it and be a bit careful. i have that double album still in my head as a concept and i've been gathering up the demos for that- i think i have about 20 mixes or so of demos in various states of completion. that's the only future record that i have any kind of clear vision of in the future. i wanted about 50 songs for it as well and i think i've got about 35 at the moment.
there are other things too- i kind of thought i might do two eps in a row or a series of eps or something based around these really ornate, orchestral instrumentals i did back in 2000 and trying to work with stefanie to give them more structure and/or lyrics and stringing them together like 'low level owl.' i've been really into those two records. i can't seem to not listen to the set as a whole- i noticed that when i just had volume 1 i wasn't that impressed by it until i got the vinyl set and then listening to it that way has been incredibly enlightening. it's a record that i get on the brown line from work and ride all the way downtown and back through the loop just so i can have enough time to listen to the whole thing in one stretch because the flow of it is so beautifully constructed.