Friday, January 16, 2009

you can't be 20 on sugar mountain

at the coffee shop again. oh, the lazy day i will have today. and it will all culminate with tacos. woot!
my day of recording yesterday was a touch disfunctional and non-productive. i spent a good chunk of time trying to get as much recording finished for 'all hope is blind' (as in the song) only to figure out that the loop wasn't working at all. i'd even bothered to record the piano in the rehearsal room at the other building, finished the loop, loaded it into the sampler, played along with it on the 6-string bass, sang a scratch vocal, recorded some reference drums only to listen to it at the end and hear what a horrible, awful mess the whole thing was. the loop just isn't reliable enough for a group of people to play along to. it slowed down in the middle just for a second and it has a few open spaces that just make it difficult for everyone to stay on the same page, so basically i came up with an entirely new way to play it that should yield similar results and make it easy to play live. i think it'll be better. it's going to be good dammit! i was going to cut down the lyrics, but i don't think that that'll be necessary. it's about seven and a half minutes long. so the record will close with a few classic shalloboi epics. what the fucked-up version did yield is a nice roadmap for the ending of the song. i did an improv 6-string bass distorted solo at the end and it turned out really nicely indeed- solved several sound problems with the 6-string bass that have plagued past recordings.
'all hope is blind' is an odd song that's existed as an idea for a song for at least 10 years at this point. i think an old version of it exists somewhere in my mountain of old 4-track tapes that turned out fairly well. the motif kind of underwent a makeover while i was working at starbuck's (i believe that that might be when i recorded the piano part for the original loop). tiny strands have always been coming together around it seperately- i tried to round them all up a few weeks ago and it's been quite the to-do. i had to comb through all of my old pocket notebooks to round all of the loose threads together- a string melody on one page, a 6-string bass motif on another, and then i couldn't find the notebook with the lyrics for the old version. i ended up scrawling what i could remember in my last notebook one day at work when it was really slow fairly recently. i didn't remember much- maybe the first four or five lines. from there i got some new ideas and one day (another really slow day at work) i wrote free-association and ended up with an entirely new set of lyrics and something that *might* work as a hook (i don't really know anything about hooks- but it seems like it could be something for people to grab onto- who knows). then a few weeks or so ago i finished the old loop very quickly, loaded it onto the sampler and tried to played along to it with what i had, trying to get a decent arrangement. what i ended up with was what i'm keeping, but the old loop was so slow that it rendered the song completely plodding. it was over nine minutes long and the gaps between lyrics and melodies were just gigantic- which i sometimes like. i was able to drum along with the loop very easily, but everything else i had to strain to play slow enough to not get ahead of the loop. a big problem. plus we have enough plodding nine-minute plus songs and i felt like it needed to be at least a bit faster, so that's when i started the new loop that i finished yesterday. it picked the speed up enough to make it two minutes shorter (which is fine) and once the strings are added i think it'll have a nice balance of everything while still leaving some space for everything. also it's become something that we will probably have to do live now, so once stefanie learns it and starts playing it she'll probably speed it up a bit. we've been getting all keyed up at our shows lately and playing pretty fast (at least for us). it's kind of nice to not be tied to the tempos of those loops. we've also been learning the new songs as they've been coming. the newest song i've written was called 'falling stars' and i thought it would fit in on the 'chinese blue' album, but as i was recording it i realised that it might work for the 'all hope is blind' album. i had a guitar melody that i turned into a violin melody and fleshed the other string parts around that. then i tried it a few different ways with different guitar tones and then tried one that involved the reverse reverb and this giant swirling delay setting that i used to use all the time and that ended up being used for a song called 'paper doves' so i recorded both of those. stefanie and i have practised playing the two new songs at our last practise and they sounded really nice even without the strings. kind of like our old stuff but no distortion. nice. we're going to be putting the album together with songs that have already been started (and many of them nearly finished) that don't have drums and are more gauzy and dreamy than other things we've done in the past. it's going to be quite a record. i'm pretty excited. i'd wanted to have 12 songs on it, and i'd thought that i would be able to succeed at this because a lot of the songs were coming out really short and i figured i'd be able to fit all 12 on an lp, but it's getting trimmed back to 10 i think max because even with all of the short songs a few songs have stretched out enough to make it seem most plausible to fit 10 songs on the lp. if it was really important to me that all of the songs be short then i could edit down the stretched out songs, but i have difficulty condensing something that feels best the way that it is. why fuck with it?
my god, i've rambled and rambled as always.
i had a bit of a sobering moment yesterday. i went through my day planner and tried to approximate the amount of money i would be able to save at a rate of $60 a week (skipping one week every month). i then tried to do some addition and subtraction based on the cost of everything i would want to get accomplished this year. it's quite a lot, but basically as long as we don't go down to sxsw this year then we should be able to get it accomplished. basically not everything can be accomplished without some extra financial help (of course). i've looked into a few studies for some extra money. i even found an editorial internship that looked pretty nice that i don't think that i quite qualify for, but would like to give a shot anyway.
we're housesitting for jay and diana for a few nights coming up soon. i think they're leaving town on sunday morning and coming back into town on wednesday i believe. so that's three nights. this will mainly be a pro-bono thing since they watched our cats while we were out of town. we'll get to have a car for a few days. that'll be fun. i kind of enjoy that bit. pita inn. woohoo! i'll probably try and do some fun with photo shop- the warlocks were soliciting for artwork for a new album (!) recently and i did get an idea for something but photoshop would kind of be a necessity- and that's only if it actually works. what annoys me about these tiny digital cameras is that they don't take large enough pictures to make adequate tifs. one has to shell out a boatload of money to get a camera nice enough to do that kind of stuff.
i've been trying to plan out my finances for the next year as well. just to know what i'm up against. it is time to make some sort of effort to buckle down and get debt under control. i mainly just tried to do the math and figure out how much i can actually do in the coming year. i can still plausibly release 'dandelions' at least, which is a good thing because i really think it will be worth releasing. i also want to try and do a good job of promoting shows that we get this year. i'd like to try and not do too many of them. i do still want to play some shows this year, but the emphasis is definitely not going to be on quantity. i am hoping that the whistler will prove to be an open-minded place to play at this year. i'd like to play at the empty bottle again this year as well (if at all possible). if we could do those two things and manage to get a show at schuba's then i would be pretty happy with that. on the touring front the emphasis will have to be getting said tour to at least pay for itself. not a big deal- just getting enough college shows to pick up the tab- pay for the rental car, gas and ideally hotel rooms when we need them. what i learned last year is that if you're doing a really long cross-country drive and don't have time or logistical ability to stay with friends along the way then you need to be able to pay for a hotel room because you have to get a decent night's sleep. even if you only have a handful of hours to get then you at least need to make it count.
another thing i've learned just now- the telescopes are a criminally underrated band. criminally. exeunt.

No comments: