Sunday, September 13, 2009

Recording Day 5: I'm Giving Myself a Tambourine Credit on the Record

I got there bright and early as the first on deck to begin the long day's work. We started with 12 string acoustic parts for "Eli Whitney." I had three separate parts that make for one complete take for the song. I then worked on the bass solo for "Let's Go to War." I had practiced plenty, but we still ended up compling several takes and then punching in the sketchy bits to make one gigantic frankensolo that I probably could not play if I just picked up a bass and wailed one out.

During this time, Daniel called me to weasel out of coming to the studio. I was frustrated about this because we are starting to feel like we're waiting on him, but I wasn't too surprised. I waited until Kelly got there to tell him because I knew his first reaction would be not to record at all (which it was). We cooled off once we got to work and realized what all could be done. Kelly finished up several vocals, and I spent more time yesterday with a tambourine in my hand than I ever thought I would in one day.

The best part of the day was starting to work on "Dear Abbey." Kelly laid down the basic classical guitar and vocal, and then he and Aaron and I just sat down, put our heads together and started talking about all the layers we could put on top of it. We wanted to add light percussion first, which meant me back on tambourine (of course). Aaron went upstairs and came back with a bongo box, which is a wooden box that looks like a Big Muff box and does a fine job simulating bongos. I wasn't sure about how it would fit the song, but Kelly did one take and really did some cool irregular things throughout the last two thirds of the song. I did my tambourine part after that and then put on some root note bass to fill out the sound. Kelly had to run, so he put on some guitar and took a rough of the song with him. Too bad, because we changed it a lot after that. Aaron had been working since 10am (this was around 7pm) without a break or food (I had been grazing all day from the cooler I brought--I am my mother's son), so I went to my house to get my Casino (which I was hoping would make it on to the record) while he took a break. I came back and added acoustic on this great guitar from his arsenal. It's a really great player with nice sound and feel, and it took the song up another notch for a fuller sound in the last 2/3s. I then plugged in the electric guitar and added a very different part from what Kelly was doing to the last 1/3. What was crazy was that after thinking about it this morning with what the upright bass player had said when we were discussing "Eli," I had inadvertantly added a string arrangement to the song with electric guitar. The bass was there, and the parts I added were the parts a viola and two violins would play. I'm now hankering to take two seconds and put in the cello part next time we're there. As always, the last song written or recorded is my favorite, and I am so in love with this song right now that it's really a chore not to want to listen to it.

I ended the day by working on "Election: 1800." I always felt like there was something missing from it, especially the first verse, so I felt it needed a really smart guitar part to mix it up a little as the song progresses. I used my ebow to simulate feedback since it is actually very controlled feedback, but it didn't simulate it well enough and was too controlled, so Aaron just said, "Why don't you just do some feedback?" Oooh boy, the fun. He just recorded my feedback a few times and comped to wherever he wanted in the song, making the first verse what I want to be. But I didn't have ear plugs and Aaron's wife and baby were upstairs and we were pushing 10 o'clock and I couldn't manipulate it to get the right feedback notes we needed (next time, write the song in A instead of C#, Kelly-gah!), so I cut it short. I did some ebow work later in the song hoping to land somewhere between Sonic Youth and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and I'll leave it up to the rest to decide how close I came to the former (where I was aiming). I'll also leave it up to them to decide if we want to add more skronk to that one too. Personally I find it delectable and find that one to be my second favorite right now.

I took the roughs home. I was the last one there, and I needed some fresh cuts to send to places that ask for CD's to let us book shows there.

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