August 25, 2013

Evergreen Wolf Song Preview - Studio Results

I needed a break from recording to give my hands and voice a rest--so I did a rough, incomplete mix of Evergreen Wolf Song for ya'll to preview. It was recorded less than 24 hours ago, so very little has been done to it as far as editing goes (hence the low volume and harsh dynamics). I applied some reverb and adjusted the EQ, but that's the extent of things so far. In the end, it'll (likely) be decorated with percussion, bass, and some backing vocals. There might be a second guitar in there somewhere, as well. We'll see. This is just the base-level shit here.

I want to say, I'm pretty happy with this one so far and I think it serves as a good example of the mood and groove I've been trying to capture with my new recording strategy. It's one take from start to finish, performed live to a click track. And it's not the cleanest recording I've ever done (there are some mistakes here and there) but overall it seems genuine to me. It sounds and feels like my music--the way I hear and feel it in my head.

Anyway, here it is! Thanks for listening!

August 13, 2013

Tear Me Up - New Song

I've been recording more than I've been writing lately (which feels intensely good to be doing) but I've got one new song to share with you. I've chipped away at it for a little while now and, although I may revise it later, I think it's ready for a listenin' to.  

I've been living with my demons
and the nights can get a little rough
but I trust they won't betray me
I know them well enough

Sold it to me as simplistic
they said I just gotta keep it clean
but I'm dirty--my life is limbic--
I fuck and fight and feed and then I flee

If you can't hear me barkin'
I'm gonna have to use my bite
Feelin fierce 'cause I've fallen
I'm down for a fight--
tear me up, do your best

I can feel the snake inside me
coiled up in my gut
hissing rage and rattling things
just to make me throw him up

I've taken too much
so don't mind if I shake
I'm all out of touch
I've gotta learn when to break
I need to break

If you can't hear me barkin'
I'm gonna have use my bite
Feelin fierce 'cause I've fallen
I'm down for a fight--
tear me up, do your best

August 11, 2013

Introducing: My Home Studio Setup

In my July 1st post, I related some issues I'd been having with recording and promised a more detailed explanation of my new outlook, process, and setup. So, as promised, here's the rundown on...

Being a performer, my music sounds best when recorded live--so that the interactions between my guitar and vocals are captured. The way the two flow together as they're simultaneously produced during a performance gives the music its heart, genuinely expressed. As an artist, it's the genuine expression of the music that concerns me most when recording.

Yet, in the past I've found myself focusing more on the quality of the recording--the perfect isolation and "mixability" of each sound, etc.--rather than the quality of the music. As a result, I recorded the guitar and vocals separately to a rigid tempo and never accomplished what I'd consider to be a heartfelt recording of self expression. But now my approach is different and things have gotten better.

With the heart of the music in mind, I've set up a home studio in which I can capture my live performance by recording the guitar and vocals simultaneously, but in such a way that they can still be adjusted separately afterwards. To accomplish this, I'm using two microphones; one captures vocals while the other captures guitar. However, to make sure each microphone only captures what it's meant to (no vocal sounds on the guitar track and vice versa), I've had to get a little creative. Check out the studio floor plan:

Basically, I record the guitar inside the closet and the vocals outside the closet. In the closet, a microphone captures the sound of the guitar as it comes through an amp. This effectively produces a guitar track free of vocal sounds.

Outside the closet, another microphone captures the vocals. To avoid capturing guitar noise from the amp in the closet, I placed a chair between the vocal mic and the closet. To avoid capturing acoustic noise from the guitar itself, I placed a sound barrier (a music stand, some foam padding, and a variety of blankets, pillows, and shirts) between the microphone and the sound hole of the guitar. With the addition of a rug-covered spare closet door and some more blankets, most of the acoustic guitar noise is absorbed and deadened. The resulting vocal track features only quiet, distant guitar sounds which can't be heard above the isolated guitar track once mixed.

As for the recording quality, it's good enough. I mean, I'm no audio technician--you can hear the click track from time to time, the vocal track isn't completely isolated from the guitar, and the guitar sounds less acoustic running through an amp. But, I'll work with what I've got and worry about polishing things up later during the mixing and mastering stages. It's been done before. Besides, it's the performance that matters most.

That said, new recordings are coming soon. So get stoked and stay tuned!

August 10, 2013

Rough Drafts, Revisions, Experiments - Now on the Music Page

I've recorded a lot of crap since I started "keeping track of the process" on this blog. I've posted half-written tunes, songs with incomplete lyrics, and experimental recordings, but only the more "presentable" recordings have been posted on the Music page. However, in keeping with the theme of this blog I decided it would be best to include the rougher recordings on the Music page, as well, where they can be more easily accessed. They're not tidy or polished--nor meant to be--they're simply a record of the process. And the process is never pretty, but the experience is. So, feel free to visit the Music page and peruse the process--all in one convenient location!

That being said, I have a small recording update: My studio is set up and I've begun recording. I'm four songs in and things are moving along at a comfortable and comforting pace (I'm currently only recording guitar and vocals--bass, percussion, lead, etc. will follow shortly). I'll be sharing a cluster of tracks for you to preview soon!