The biggest roadblock is that this feels primarily like a remix/cleanup project, because I was like 4-8 years younger when I recorded most of this stuff. I'm spending a lot of time sifting through old rhythm tracks and hand-quantizing things while listening to podcasts with my other ear. It feels like work. Well, I guess I don't have a day job for the next 3 weeks so I am clocking in.
And then the mixing itself is probably the part that I feel least competent with, especially mixing tracks recorded so poorly. I still am not 100% sure on the best way to mic a banjo, I absolutely didn't know 5 years ago. Some of these drums sound big and crunchy, which is... a term you'd use to describe an electric guitar. Part of it is the amount of compression I put on it back in the day, part of it is because I recorded kits at hourly practice spaces which were beat to hell anyway. But I guess that makes it more interesting? Kind of? There is upwards of one instance on this record where I actually added some distress into the drums intentionally.
It's weird that there's this dark sonic thread running through the album when I wouldn't describe the music as very heavy, especially not compared to my previous thing (which, in the grand scheme of things, is still not heavy.) It's a streak of low-fidelity chaos that I will probably never totally avoid.
I also find myself adding synthesizer to a lot of stuff, partly because half the time I'm using my synth as my interface so it's always next to me, but also just because it's pretty easy to add back some information in whatever frequency range may be deficient. I am bad at operating a synthesizer, and I am not particularly imaginative, so my vocabulary is primarily saws, squares & sines, but there is enough timbral content otherwise in the almost-decade of live instruments I've recorded. Hey, you know, it might be a total decade, I think the oldest thing on the album is the drums in Knowage and that was.... summer 2010? Maybe?
That would've been my first summer back from college, I brought home a powered speaker from the radio stattion and used it as an amp. Nope, never mind, that was 2011, I didn't have a bass guitar until 2011. But it sounded good, because it was an active bass into a pretty nice little speaker, I recorded so much guitar and bass like that over the next couple of years, especially on the Christmas albums with Chris. Sure, you can DI an active bass, or you can plug it into a speaker and point a 57 at it so it sounds like everything else you recorded! I wish I had access to one of those still for this very purpose, I record the bass amp we have like, once a year. Too bassy!