I really want to finish this album already. Let's (quietly) get back to holding me accountable on the internet. I pledged to the Fleming & John third album Kickstarter probably four years ago and I still get studio updates from them, the album is probably nowhere near close to completion. Maybe I should do that too.
I have 16 songs that will comprise an album called SAND. Most of these songs were written in 2011 or 2012. I started recording them after I recorded my first little EP of songs played primarily on real instruments, especially pianos and organs that I snuck into my school's music building to record.
So there is a lot of that. I would stumble upon, say, a big marimba, and then I would coordinate times I could go in there to record. A lot of these things I didn't get to practice, I just start rolling as soon as I get in there and learn the whole thing on tape, because I've never gotten to be in front of a 5 octave marimba before in my life. My old band was on tour in Vermont once and there was a piano at the venue that I just sort of decided to record before the show. Stuff like that.
There were also songs that I had to learn instruments for, because I was bad at convincing friends to record stuff for me. I did learn to play woodwinds to record this album. There are a lot of woodwinds, and a lot of recorders too, which are woodwinds for babies. The vast majority of the instruments on this record were borrowed from friends or recorded guerilla style (renting a couple hours at a practice space so I can record their drums, for example).
So by now I have effectively recorded the same 16 songs over and over and over again, on different instruments, with different gear, and different levels of skill. I am finding myself redoing all my vocals, not even because I've gotten better at singing, but just because I've gotten better at micing myself, better at controlling my voice, better at setting up a signal chain.
It has felt like a grind for several years now. In 2017 I dropped everything and made a punk album of new songs, under a new name, partly because I was losing my entire mind. It felt good, I kind of want to do it again. But I feel like this record has been almost about to drop for SO LONG now, and it's time to buckle up. I asked a friend if I could hire him to like physically sit down with me and make some decisions, but he won't be free till like January and it's probably going to be quarantine for the next year anyway so I will do this myself to keep myself from going insane.
Yesterday I went to my space with the intent to write lyrics for the bridge of this song Countdown, which had been missing them for quite some time. But there were no appropriate vocal mics, we had taken them elsewhere for other purposes. I dug out a cheap condenser mic that I probably hadn't used since 2009, plugged it in, the thing sounds weird. It's fine for the bridge, which is kinda distant and distorted. I tracked the whole song on it, just for kicks. I've recorded vocals for Countdown so, SO many times and never been happy with them, both because it is not easy to sing (lots of long-held notes) and because I cannot get them to sit in the mix. This is the closest I've gotten so far.
It is difficult to resist the urge to rerecord everything constantly. This song has a glockenspiel that I dropped an octave for some reason, plus one at pitch. Everything sounds weird. The drums, which I did at a practice space in 2014 or 15, at the time sounded bigger than any drums I'd ever recorded, but now I feel like they're kind of dead. I think I can mix them to a point where I am happy with them. But it's been years, and this one song has been haunting me.
I did want trumpet for this but I got a trombone on it, mostly because I had access to a trombonist. It sounds great, but it's an octave lower. The trombone and my voice are in the same register. So maybe it helps that the vocal track is thin and distorty and the horn is relatively transparent.
The internet feels altogether too crowded and like it cannot possibly provide enough stimulation for my brain. Maybe if I start updating my Neocities more, it'll make me start browsing other people's Neocities again. I liked doing that, the month or two I did that last year.