Sunday, August 17, 2014

Almost Done!

Recording and mixing, done!  All that remains is mastering, which is merely the normalizing of volume levels and the addition of an extra layer of compression.  In case you were wondering, compression is what separates us from the animals.  The above cartoon hangs in the office at Avast.  I find it very, very funny, because there are dozens of things that need to be fixed at the session, but they generally get kicked down the road to the mixing stages.  There are, however, some things so crucial that they could potentially ruin an entire tune if neglected.  Plus, errors of that magnitude tend to get in your head and stay.  In those cases, I'm in favor of fixing them immediately, so I'm totally in the Batman camp.  Of course, I'm a lot nicer than Batman.  
This last week wasn't all mixing and sitting around, not in that order.  I also went to the zoo.  I saw Dave, the new giraffe (not pictured) and a sleepy penguin (above).
Yesterday was the last of mixing.  After it was all finished and everyone got paid, we went off to a bar in Wallingford.  So above you see Johnny on the left, who is the finest engineer in town and, as luck would have it, Ryan, who sang backup for yours truly.  He was just there playing pool.  Ryan is in the Chasers.  I have seen them.  They're pretty terrific.  And intense.  I highly recommend them.  I guess I was celebrating, because I drank a lot.  The bartendress was Roma, which was quite interesting.  For those not in the know, Roma is what we know as gypsy.  I ended up walking home, which had nothing to do with the Roma-ness of the bartendress.  I got back around 3:00.  All in all, it was a fun evening.  I got up early, had a run (not recommended) and listened to the mixes of the album.  It's good.  I'm happy with it.  In fact, I'm overjoyed with it.  As I've mentioned previously, it's a funk effort.  Now, those who know me don't detect a whole lot of funkiness to my character.  That's where they misunderestimate me.

As a jazz musician, funk is not a long stretch.  That doesn't mean it's easy to attain, it just means that I know how to get there.  So this album has many aspects of the genre - and a rich one it is.  There are a few raw funk tunes, full-on juggernaut numbers and even a fake-gospel effort that is really quite surprising.  OK, here's the thing, I did not expect this particular song to pack a wallop.  I'm just this guy from Edmonds who grew up very Catholic.  What the hell do I know about gospel?  It turns out that I know enough to write and arrange a pretty convincing chart.  Yeah, I'm surprised, too.  That's one of the great things about music.  Unexpected stuff happens all the time.  How else do you explain one-hit wonders?

It's important to know what you want.  If you don't, that's trouble.  It's so weird; you hear all these tales of chaos, drama and brawls in the studio.  That's pretty much the opposite of what goes on at my sessions.  True, this time there was a slight difference of opinion between me and my B-3 player over one tune.  The fault was entirely mine, as it's my job to give direction to the band.  The whole problem was that I kept telling him what I didn't want, rather what he should do.  After several attempts, we shelved it for later.  And it super-happened several hours afterwards.  It's a recording that I'm truly happy with.

You know, it's strange; exactly two weeks ago was the pre-session rehearsal.  We covered eight tunes.  At the end of it, I was concerned.  But then again, I'm a worrier.  The next day, we recorded five tunes.  The day after that, six.  In comparison, it's fairly normal for bands to take one or two days per song.  But when you hire jazz musicians, you get superior performances and you have a lot of fun.  That's just what happened.

I don't expect this album to sell any better than any previous releases.  Once again, it doesn't matter.  This is all about making as many albums as I can until this all starts looking ridiculous.  I know that it will happen at some point.  Maybe I can become a bard after that.  I'll have to hire a guitarist, as I don't possess the skills to self-accompany. This may also seem a stretch, but if I can pull off a honest-to-god funk album, I can probably do that, too.  But I promise nothing.          


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