Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mixing things up...

Well, I managed to get four vocal tracks down and have done rough mixes to live with for the next few days.  Spent about seven hours today recording these vocals and I'm just shot!  Although it was hard I did have some fun although having only 1 1/2 ears is a bitch. The voice cooperated for the most part but it took a long time to get things right (hence the seven hours) and I'm hoping that they're good, but there's no way to be certain other than listening to the rough mixes.  I was going to re-record the vocals to one song that was recorded back in 2008 but decided that the original vocal is the best...warts and all.  It's not perfect but it conveys the emotion of the song since everything that I had experienced up to that point went into the vocal for it.  The song is entitled NEVER AGAIN WILL I and it's about being careful with people you trust.  It's also the only song where another musician is playing on it.  My friend Rob contributed rhythm and lead guitar to it and in listening to the original master mix I remembered what a fun session it was: being sprawled out in his office space with two sets of headphones, microphones and an effects box trying to get the right amount of distortion from his guitar.  It took us a couple of tries but we got it pretty good...I think.  Whenever I record with other people the sessions never seem to take that's only when I'm on my own that I can sometimes take days, weeks, months, years on things.  I really need to put a stopper on shit like that for it'll be my undoing.

So things seem to be taking shape slowly and I am hoping that this sucker will be done by mid-July and then I can hope to have it released by Christmas.  Then I can get back to working on the ballet.  Just a few days ago I found a few sketches from some pieces that I wrote a good 25 to 30 years ago that never saw the light of day.  I'm thinking of working some of them into the ballet so that should prove interesting.  I've got to brush up on my piano playing in a major way.  I won't be recording the ballet until I can do it proper justice and can't really plan on anything concrete since more than 95% of it isn't even written and for this work I am actually writing it all out, orchestrating it properly so that it may have a life beyond me.


Monday, June 13, 2011

New EP available for download today

Just a few words on the new EP released today via Noisetrade.

HOUSES OF FIRE is the 3rd single release from RENDER, which will be coming to soon.

HOUSES ON FIRE: Although the title is never said as it is written in the song (Why can't you see that your house is on fire?) I titled it HOUSES ON FIRE since it had better imagery than just one house on fire. I wrote it about a musician that I used to work with who was extremely talented but an extremely, huge pain in the ass.  High maintenance personality, drug user, etc.This single version was remixed and edited since the original album has the word FUCKING in it and I cleaned it up for this single release just so it wouldn't be offensive to those who can't handle "language".

THE WORD LONELY: This is essentially the same song that was included on the previous EP but in a shorter form.  Slightly remixed but more or less the same.

DANCE ME TO THE END OF THE WORLD: This was written and recorded shortly after the events of 9/11 took place and while it doesn't reference the event it's about being with the one you love until the end of the world.  This is the edited version of the original song which runs over 7 minutes.

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA: An instrumental which was inspired by the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

TIME:  A song that was written a few days before Christmas 2001.  Thinking of mum and religion and the meaning of mortality.  It was originally titled ONLY TIME but because Enya had released a song with that title a earlier in the year and it was big hit I didn't want anyone to think I was trying to steal her thunder.  The album version features some ambient effects that open the track which were omitted for this version, which is also slightly remixed.



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One year and older. One year closer to...fabulous!


Well another year has come and gone and as I find myself creeping closer to the big 5-0 I can only look forward with positivity, which is a change for me since I'm usually such a nihilist and only ever see the fuck-ups and shit-storms.  Oh well, new year, new me.

I know that by the end of 2011 I will be in a much better place, spiritually, and physically.  As any other musician will tell you, it's the hard times that feed your soul, otherwise I'd be writing songs about sunshine, daisies and frolicking unicorns that live under a rainbow of skittles; not that I ever wrote that kind of shit, but you know what I mean. I love angst and writing about it in all it's forms is something that is interesting to me since I don't just bitch and whine about things, I find my way out of it.   I wish to truly be back in fighting shape vocally, physically, mentally (so I can write that song cycle about sunshine, daisies and frolicking unicorns living under a rainbow of skittles) but more than anything, what is paramount is happiness.

Having to work so hard on my voice has been heartbreaking and I can't tell you how many times I've cried over not being where I was at just a few years ago but I must persevere and be strong.  Having had brain cancer and suffered the loss of hearing in my left ear is the greatest obstacle I've ever had to face.  I am almost there; some days really good, others just ass-wiping bad and since no one loves a quitter I intend on NEVER giving up on anything.  Some days the ear isn't actually a problem since it goes from bad (nothing) to not so bad (Charlie Brown's teacher).  On the other hand in an attempt to bring levity to social occasions I simply let everyone know this:  Compliments on the right, complaints on the left.  Onward and upward!

Now, off to get ready for my birthday luncheon and no recording today!

7 June 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A great big smile for the boy next door...

Okay, my pal isn't exactly smiling but I know that he's happier being bald and tick free.  I love cuddling with him and have even on occasion let him up on my bed to watch the boob tube with me.

As for the boy next door, if I was ever anyone's "boy next door" I'd advise them to move away from this weirdo!  Ha!  Anyway, the big smile is for the fact that I managed to save two songs that were going to be chopped!  I finally remembered how to work the old Kawaii Drum Machine and it's working out just great although it is a bit more time consuming when recording since I have to bounce tracks down in order to have room to record vocals and other key instruments.  This bouncing biz was the one thing I absolutely hated about my old process when all I had was an analog 4-track machine.  The rhythm track always ended up being MONO and if you screwed any level up whilst bouncing down you were stuck with it if you didn't notice it at the time.  For the uninitiated, "bouncing" is actually short for "bouncing down" and it is basically taking any number of tracks and "bouncing" them down to either one or two to either free up tracks or make things easier to manage.  Back in 1983 when I was in an actual studio in San Diego and had the luxury of 24 tracks at my disposal and I quickly ended using all of them up on some songs.  

Without my trusty Yamaha SY-99 I have to record everything manually one by one and it just takes a lot longer than I am accustomed to.  SPOILT CHILD!  Anyway, now that the rain and thunder have stopped I can resume recording vocals today.  Didn't want any power outages in the middle of recording yesterday.  I did have to stop a few times but luckily didn't lose any data.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

One song down...HIT OMIT!

Well, one song has already gone bye-bye and I'm not that sad to see it go.  I know it'll show up at another time so it's bye-bye with a kiss.  I spent two and 1/2 hours last night trying to fix the song and it just wasn't working out so I stopped.  The older version has a drum track that just bugs the shit out of me so it's not being used...I am saving the mix for posterity but it's gone from the lineup.

Powering through today and working on a song that's been waiting in the wings for a few (ahem) years.  The bulk of the songs on this collection are culled from the past so it's not that big of a deal that I'm putting yet another old song on here.  There are three new songs that are very close to being done, just a few fills left and maybe some adjustments to the vocals.  Taking my 5 hour energy and getting busy.