Friday, January 30, 2009

swing low

i recorded a song yesterday by the above title. i think it's going to be for the 'chinese blue' debacle. i say debacle because i feel like it's about an eternity away from being done. i've lost track of all of the songs i've written for it. a lot of the songs are still just disjointed fragments spread out over up to three moleskine diaries. i have tried to consolidate them all into an easy to carry notebook- one of those old composition books that i used to use back in the day before the moleskine diary came into my life. my life is beginning to revolve around the ubiquitous notebook. i lost a box of old notebooks that contained a few songs i was in the process of trying to update- one for the 'all hope is blind' album. it's good in its own way because it forces me to rewrite them and these days i'm more capable of doing a better job. plus when i've found things later oftentimes my brain redoes things in exactly the same way- sometimes verbatim. kind of terrifying. one time i lost a string arrangement, panicked, rewrote the whole thing recorded it and then found it later and i'd put the thing together in exactly the same way. very very unsettling. i'm not sure what i think that that means. am i the one writing these things or are they just sitting somewhere for me to pluck them down.
anyway, the song. it's probably a rip-off of a buffy st. marie song that i've never actually heard. spiritualized used to cover it in their earliest days- 'codeine' or 'codine' as it's written on her first album. i tried to look for some of her records when i was at laurie's planet of sound last but i had trouble figuring out where it would be filed- under 's' or 'm.' but anyway, i might have ripped it off wholesale- i'm not quite sure. the chorus is only vaguely similar, but the verse is probably a bit more than vaguely similar. either way it turned out really well. it was pretty difficult getting the whole thing down and what started off as being a very simple idea got a bit complicated- it's in waltz time. it's mostly one chord- e. the progression does two measures of e, then the third is an asus2/e, it goes back to e for the fourth, then three more measures of e, and the fourth is a dsus2/a and then it starts all over again. for some reason my brain only understands it that way when i'm singing the words, but it rewrote it for me during the breaks- it subtracted the fourth measure of e strumming after the asus2/e. but it did that in every break without me thinking about it at all. so i'm not sure whether i should keep it that way or change it because it was fine with the main guitar and the vocal, but started to cause problems when i started adding more guitars. it was a huge problem when i added the bass- which took a long time and which i did last. i even had the drums to play along with, but things still got a bit convoluted at times because the original rhythm guitar was the first thing added. i added guide guitar while singing, added a different vocal because there was too much bleed from the guitar, added another rhythm guitar which became distorted and then a lead guitar, then two seperate drum tracks- same basic beat but one used christmas bells and the other one a maraca and then the bass. it took forever. i started at 2pm or so, finished the guitars at about 4pm, did the dishes, went back at about 5pm and did the drums and bass and wasn't done until about 7pm. that's a grand total of four hours. back in the old days i used to be able to crank out a full track in about an hour. i guess that the setup has become a bit more involved- it takes me about 20 minutes to get the drums all miked up and ready to go. plus our bedroom has become a bit of a rubik's cube these days- move this to get to that, move both of those to get to this, then reverse to put everything back. it's amazing how much stuff we've accumulated living in this place for three years. we have three or four new shelves that we didn't have when we moved in. i'm thinking of putting some shelving up in the bedroom for master tape storage and such. there are stacks of cassette tapes that i'm working on on top of the bass amp, on the bedside table and they are getting to be a foot-and-a-half tall. i had no idea i was working on so much stuff. i had always thought that i was moving a bit slowly these days, but i don't think so anymore... *sigh*. i guess that it's a good thing, really. i enjoy working on tracks. i only got grumpy towards the end because i always thought that the bass was something i was able to do the easiest, but i was proven quite wrong.
i'm looking forward to the next few weeks on the tip front. i am hoping to get ahold of the last missing piece on the 2-track so that i can start using the tape to see if i need to calibrate the machine (i'd imagine that i do need to). after that i have to get money saved for mastering. as long as the record comes out by about june i'll be fine with that. we do need to get saving again as well. we'll see how that goes. i need to call the act one guy today dammit. now. i think i shall go and do that right now in fact. exeunt pursued by bear.

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