Thursday, April 9, 2009

it just made me tired

i am now officially back. this is a week-long interval until we are back housesitting for jay and diana again. i thought that it would be a bit too much at the point that we're at, but i've come down from a four-day work-week after my trip to kc. the trip to kansas city also ended up being exactly what i had been craving after all of the craziness of the last month. what ended up happening- i spent tons of time at the filling station (the coffee shop across from my parents' place) and i went there with my mom's computer and i couldn't figure out how to get online there. the result of being at a coffee shop with no internet? i ended up writing two new completed scores and writing out the sheet music right then and there! boredom is nice these days because the creativity kicks into overdrive and i am able to get an astonishing amount done. i did end up recording with billy (who was coming down off of his own ridiculously hectic-sounding work week himself) on saturday afternoon. i haven't listened to the playbacks yet, but honestly i have noticed that i don't really have to anymore- i can hear what is going down to tape so clearly that it has rendered listening to playbacks completely pointless. we did five songs in about two hours? maybe less- i can't remember. it was very fast. 'narcoleptic,' 'whisper,' (i was able to hear so well that i was able to fix a problem with the string parts that had been bugging me while we were rehearsing it for the strings show) 'falling stars,' 'paper doves' and we redid some parts he had done previously for a song called 'down to the willows'- for some mind-boggling reason when i'd recorded the meat of that song (i'd just gotten my fender twin reverb and did the track live- it's just stark guitar, vocals, some textural guitars and two cello parts- i might add some more string parts if inspiration strikes and i did all of the guitars and the vocal in one very fast session) i had failed to tune before starting the recording (which happens a lot when i get a rush of inspiration- it usually isn't a problem because i can almost always tell if the tuning is out of wack) and for some reason it was in a tuning that i don't normally use- basically just normal tuning tuned down half-a-step (Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Bb, Eb). very strange because i don't keep my guitar in a tuning like that for any reason- i think i have one other song that i tuned my guitar to that tuning for and it was 'just like you used to be' because i'd done it on mike's mom's piano and that piano was tuned perfectly half-a-step flat so i just adapted everything else to it. when we'd done the first cello recording session i'd just thought that it was in standard tuning, so when billy played it it sounded out of tune and i thought it was just my mind playing tricks on me so i mixed it down and let it lie for a while and listened to it before heading home and indeed it sounded dreadful so i sat down to try to figure out the problem and the answer was very strange. i rewrote the sheet music so that it was in tune and it seems to have worked quite nicely. most curious.
as if all of this weren't enough i wrote a new song on the megabus ride back home. i got really depressed and listened to 'bavarian fruit bread' by hope sandoval and then drifted off for a little while and while i was out evidently a crazy rainstorm had started outside of kansas city and i had a sort-of half dream that resulted in the first verse for a song. as the trip went on and i kept drifting off i kept getting more and more depressed and ended up writing a second verse. i had a vague idea for a chord progression. when i got home i fucked with the chords and such a bit and came up with something i liked, then took some bits from some other incomplete ideas from another song. i sat down when i got home from work yesterday and sussed-out a structure and such and got the tones i was after and then the little tick in my brain let me know that the song was ready to be recorded, so then i immediately set up a click-track and the ungodly task of setting up recording the guitar part- the whole pointing the two amps towards each other and miking them a bunch of times. it was kind of a shame because the first take was going so perfectly until the very absolute end when i tried to turn on the wah-wah pedal (which i hadn't planned on) and it killed the whole signal and i had do more takes. kind of a bummer because i had some problems on the next few takes with the cadence of the guitar part. what i mean by this is that when i have the guitar part so loud and then start adding effects- the reverse reverb, the delay, the vox tone-boost and then, of course, the distortion sometimes if i'm not playing the rhythm in the right way the signal gets overloaded and it can just turn into total sonic mush. i had to strum very lightly in a very specific way to get the tone to stay balanced and on the third take i did it exactly the same way as i had when i'd done the first take and man did it work! woohoo! i am going to get stefanie to do the drum part tonight- i think two drum parts are in order. i am going to try to do the vocals when i get home- i have several different ideas for the approach and tone of the vocals that i'm not sure of at the moment. i also think i might want stefanie to harmonize- maybe not through the whole thing- but i do want her to at some point in the song. i am wondering if i want to give the song the string trio treatment or not. i haven't written a score for it and i don't have anything at all in mind- that's one thing that all just comes in an inspirational flood that's all its own thing. as it stands right now i want to put this new song on the 'dandelions' ep. what brought about getting it getting recorded was that i was going to redo the guitar part for 'willows' because i've been having problems with that song- it is just begging me to either fix it somehow or just replace it completely. it's a hidden track (one of three) but it's at such a pivotal point that i feel like since it's the weakest of the tracks it comes at too important of a point- second to last- so it either needs to be fixed or cut. i am going to speed it up and give it another shot, but i am thinking that this new song will fit in so nicely and it has no other possible place that it would be ideal for the 'dandelions' ep. plus i am dying to play it live- as good a sign as any. that tends to mean that it's one of our better songs. it's called 'field of flowers'- which is the name of an album cycle i am toying with doing after 'all hope is blind.'
i will write about the bjm show in greater deal in the next entry- which will also have links to download the show in flac and mp3. it's a pretty nice sounding show- one of the better-sounding ones that i've done.
not much else is going on in tyler-land, really. i scored some extra money from my 6-day work-week. i bought a few tickets- one for jenny lewis in june at the park west and i bought two tickets for the crystal antlers/vivian girls show in may at the empty bottle. great stuff. just a few more to go. i'd like to go to the mogwai show at the congress theater even though i don't have their new album. i think that would be the fourth time i've seen them. i missed them last time- we were on tour when they came to town. i hope that doesn't happen again in september- so many great shows are coming through during the summer months that i'm hoping it won't. it was unbelievable how many amazing acts we missed while we were out of town- several of our perennial favourites. i am still a bit sick about missing the hideout block party- the 'middle cyclone' bonus track is a live version of 'people got a lot of nerve' from that show. grrrr.
but onward and upwards.

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