Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On Second Thought...

Last night I had gotten ready to share the next song. I finished the mixing and mastering and uploaded it to SoundCloud to include on the blog. I was all set to write up a post talking about it this evening. Then I gave it another listen.

It's not a complete atrocity. Somewhere in there I can hear a good song, waiting to be uncovered like a gold vein in a cavernous mine. But man... there's a lot of crap to blast out of the way first. I recognize that sometimes I'll have to share something that might not be as good as what has come before it, but as I looked at the list of songs I've produced so far, I realized it doesn't belong up with them (and that's saying something).

So, I'm going to shelve it. I hate doing it, both because it's been a fair while since anything has shown up on here and because it feels like a cop out. But I have to be honest with myself about the song: it's just not ready yet. And that's OK. Six months from now, a year perhaps, it will still be there and maybe I'll know what to do with it then to unlock its potential. A couple things already come to mind:

  1. I feel like the song could really use some extra instrumentation. Some Hammond B3 organ or piano are immediate thoughts, but there may be more. I'm still not very good with MIDI sequencing yet, so maybe through a couple other songs I can learn to work in it well enough to create tracks for this song that sound fitting and organic.
  2. My vocals are already pretty rough to begin with, but having to throw out takes due to outside noises makes an already bad situation worse. I'm not about to plaster the entire room in soundproof foam, but I may look into creating a makeshift vocal booth (which despite the name will not be an actual booth).

On a positive note, I've got another song fully written and waiting in the wings. It's simple (solo acoustic), short (it may not even clear a minute and a half), and shouldn't take long to record.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Alive

Yes, August was a quiet month, even quieter than July. C'mon, it's summer, for crying out loud!

In all seriousness, I can't blame it on life getting in the way. Part of it was not kicking my own ass to sit down and record. Breaking out a guitar to work out a song structure or molding lyrics hasn't been too difficult to instigate, but a fresh, empty track list is an uneasy thought. Recording is when I have to figure out how the extra bells and whistles I'm hearing in my head are going to come to life. This is usually combined with me discovering how short the final result is going to come, but I need to remind myself that none of this is set in stone; I may not get there this time, but maybe down the road I might be able to make it happen.

On a positive note, I've now laid down a full core track of the song, worked out the dynamics of each section, and found the samples I'm going to need. Now that it's rolling, hopefully it won't take too long. In terms of influences on the sound of the song, I'm dipping into my singer/songwriter favourites such as Neil Young, John Roderick, Jeff Tweedy, Ray Lamontagne and Steven Page.

I actually placed two challenges/restrictions on the current song. The first was to have a longer title. Every song I've written so far have had pretty short titles, and I thought it might push my mind into other areas by basing it around a phrase.  The second was to get away from writing from the perspective of a person/character. Even narrative songs like "The Law Did Rise" and "Isle Dauphine" feel like I'm writing from the narrator's view. I made it an aim to write the lyrics from a more abstract standpoint. We'll see whether these two limits were worthwhile.