Album Challenge: Post 6

Sustain Pedal: I finished up the lyrics for “Going Home”.  Everything has a working name for now. Here is the rough structure of the song. I’ve been liking the sustain pedal on my keyboard. It’s something about the way the sustained notes from the last chord combine with the next chord. In a way it’s like a reverb but it’s also a bit melancholy, discordant. That’s what’s going on in the intro here. When the song starts I cut the sustain pedal.

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Doubling Vox: One thing that can add magic to your vocals is doubling them. Not a harmony but the exact same performance. It’s used a lot. Listen carefully and you’ll hear it in pop, rap, rock. Usually it’s done so well it seems like a chorus. But it sounds way better then a chorus. I’ve been doing this for years. Although none of these performances are that tight.

This time I did something a bit different. I doubled the vocals but from a different mic distance and a different timbre to my voice. I just sang a bit louder and further from the mic. Not my invention I’m sure. It has a pretty cool quality you can hear at 1:03. Something to take note of as I move forward.

I’m sticking to my sm7. Might not even try another vocal mic. I did switch to a quieter pre-amp. I like my FMR RNP but on the sm7 my RME pres are much quieter. Wondering WTF I just said?

New Digital Piano: Yup. I spent some time trying to get something with decent action. Finally decided on a Yamaha p95. It’s small, sounds decent, and has decent action. I wanted something with real action but on the lighter side. I have no ambition of becoming a real pianist (pronounced penis-ed) but I don’t like super light keys either. Aside from playing like a real piano it’s nice for playing BFD since you get a big spread of samples on 88 keys.

I’ve been taking piano lessons. I always wanted to be able to read music. Sight read. Sing what I see and write what I sing. Before lessons I read music like a 5 year old reads English. Slow and painful. Now I read like a 6 year old.

I’ve come from the Beatle’s school of if it sounds right it is right. Developing your ears is for sure worth doing. All the theory in the world won’t help you pick samples or reverbs or a guitar but it sure helps when programing music.

I wish Reaper had some musical staff capabilities. Then I could draw in proper notes. I suppose I could use scoring software and export midi but that seems like a hassle and I can see some shortcoming. Edits could be a real pain.

My new motto is: If it works make it work. (Apologies, my wife has exposed me to project runway) Instead of working on the process work on the product… er, music.

Lyrics: Just like a lot of other things the more you write lyrics the more they come to you. Last night I finished the lyrics to a forthcoming song on a whim. I just sat down on the couch with one guitar and one notebook. I was focused and things just happened. I could get used to that real easy.

A Process: Slowly a process is emerging. Program a rhythm on BFD 2. Lay down the chord changes on the keyboard and let Kontakt play them. Find a tempo and key that works for the vocals. Rehearse the vocals and see if they really work. Don’t change mics. Don’t change recording levels (I do record at 24 bits to give me some extra headroom to play with). Don’t change mic placement. I’m saving pre-sets for drums. The kits and routing I like.

The most sonically disappointing area for me has been guitars. I have a suspicion I’m in need of a different electric. Or maybe I’m just one picky MF. But tone starts at the source and I find my Strat a bit muted sounding. I want something with a tight bottom end. Something articulate but not harsh. A Tele? A different Strat? A dreaded trip to Guitar Center?!

 

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