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Rough mixes


AnneS

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Spent 12 hours in the studio over the weekend and, as my guy says it'll be into December before he can do much post-prod work, I wanted to share the rough mixes, while I'm still excited about them.

 

Here is Tribe. Three guitar tracks, and we'll be adding more rhythm, a touch of harmonica and probably an electric guitar-- I thank you all for your prior discussions around this one; I've incorporated a couple of changes, based on your collective input.

 

Here is The Curve. Four guitar tracks (from 3 different capo placements/chordings), and some harmony tracks, to boot. Layering the guitars turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, as for hitting this song's sweet spot. We'll add some other touches, I'm sure, but the surround-sound guitar effect will go a long ways on its own. As for the harmony, there'll be lots of tweaking--probably add some voices and take some away, maybe supplementing the refrain with cello/string counterpoints. We'll see!

 

Here is The Company I Keep. Two guitar tracks. Gotta say, I got a little verklempt, revisiting this one. And knowing we will keep this one spare (maybe adding a touch of piano), my guy made sure he had what he calls a "clean floor," so these tracks sound very, very pure. Like it's just me and my guitar. Like it was yesterday, and like it's ever been, really.

 

Here is Loaded Dice.3 guitar tracks. Got the train thing happening, while mindful to allow variations. We'll add more to this one, too, but this will get us there, I think.

 

I know it's different strokes for different folks, but for me...the studio experience is immeasurably valuable. It is a creative process all of its own, and I feel very fortunate that I get to experience it.

 

Feel free to have a listen, if you're following along at home.

 

Thanks, all...

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Anne, I had a listen and enjoyed all three songs tremendously. If forced to pick a favorite, I would go for Tribe. Don't know why, really, but it feels like something Neil Young could do. I like the lyrics too, very relevant. My taste in arrangements always lean to a minimalist approach, be it Dylan, Cash, Springsteen, Young, or Rachel. So in my book these songs are great the way they are!

 

Lars

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All four are very nicely done, Anne. Solid vocals. A folksinger's voice, perhaps along the lines of Mary Travers (plenty of power when needed, but often so very gentle). In addition, they're all well-written songs. That adds-up to you being very-easy-to-listen-to. Your vocals are clear and gentle. Sweet songs........And I totally agree with you in regards to time spent in an actual studio. So very different than doing what I suspect the majority of us do when we record at home. I've learned things about recording that I rarely even thought about and some I didn't even know existed. Home recordings that I thought were pretty good...lol.......were really very poor. The song and performance may have been quite good, but the "recording" of it was lousy. Aside from stretching my abilities, I've learned to listen for things that I once considered "okay," but they were hurting the recording. I look-forward to hearing more of this project. It truly is a personal journey. Keep going wherever you're going, wherever it is. You'll know when you get there.

. [thumbup] [thumbup]

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Nice work, Anne! The guitar records very well, yes?

 

I know it's different strokes for different folks, but for me...the studio experience is immeasurably valuable.

 

Not to put you on the hot seat, but if you can express it, please explain the value you find in studio recording. You know well where I am on that endeavor........I sincerely wonder what it does for you. What will you do with the finished tracks?

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Thanks for the listens and the kind words, folks...it's fun to share these with you.

 

Now, Buc--you ask if I would articulate the value I find in studio recording, and so I shall give it a go.

 

First--and has MP suggested in his response--recording in the studio makes me listen better to everything that goes into any performance: pitch, tempo, connection between music and lyrics, etc. And that, in turn, shows me what I need to do to best prepare my delivery. And that makes me able to launch into a performance with more confidence, which results in higher enjoyment for me and (one hopes) for whomever is listening.

 

I found, in my sound engineer, a collaborator--someone who has connected with my material and my reasons for being there. He has created a recording environment that is comfortable, fun, productive and efficient. He is able to listen to what I am doing and saying and then to translate it all into setting up and capturing a sound that is as "me" as I could expect. All of that process is enormously enjoyable work for me. He is intelligent, relaxed and more interested in using his toys than in over-talking about them and showing them off. So, I have learned more about all of the recording aspect than I expected or thought I needed or even wanted to. In the end, and despite my advanced age :rolleyes:, I still do enjoy learning some things--in moderation, of course. For me, then, the time in the studio is about as much fun as I could ever have.

 

With the finished tracks (and even with the scratch and rough cuts), I get to hear my songs in a way that most approximates how I hear them in my head. You are a writer, so I think you'll know what I'm getting at here: that thing that makes you complete a song, tweak it so that it becomes the "it" that calls you in the first place. That "it." As the tracks get built, I get to experience the song becoming itself. The studio experience really does elevate, for me, the whole song-making endeavor. Not completely sure how or why this is so, but it is so just the same.

 

What will I do with them? Nothing and everything. No, I'm not going to hop a tour bus or deliver copies to the far-flung AM radio towers. But if ever I wanted to send a song out for a publisher's consideration, it sure better be in a condition commensurate with the occasion. I assume the days of kitchen table tape recordings is long past and that anything that comes to a publisher these days has been expertly recorded and mastered. So, with finished tracks, I can send material out to be listened to by strangers. No way I'd send out anything of lesser quality. No matter how great the song, it ain't gonna sound great if it sounds like it's coming over a transistor radio. A good recording is critical here, I think--and I'm sure there are many who can accomplish wonders with their Macs and PCs, but I'm not one of them. And if I were, I'd still be missing out on the collaboration piece.

 

And, I do the occasional open mics, and people ask me from time to time if I have anything they could buy. I'm not about to send folks to my soundcloud page--those are Works in Progress; they are not recorded or made at a level that is worthy of a stranger's request to hear more. Same goes for friends and family who want to listen. Plenty of good reasons to listen to works in progress, but if I've piqued someone's interest, then I want to give them my best offerings, not rough drafts.

 

That might be a way to sum this up: the studio work helps me bring my best--to myself and to anyone who likes what they hear. All my life, music has made me better--now's not the time to short-change it in return.

 

Oh, and to link up with another recent topic: it turned out to be a good thing I had two different guitars. Even with the identical pickups (Anthem), the sonic differences between the long-scale maple super jumbo with mediums and the short-scale hog slope with lights were significant and clear. With only one guitar, I doubt I would've opted for more than two tracks on any song. Changing the capo positions alone did not provide the range of tones that made the multi-tracking really interesting, sonically. In Tribe, for example, the J45 did the low string "chunking," and I thought it'd suffice for the second, more trebly track. But they overlapped and sort of competed for the same part of the palette. When I tried the maple for the second track--Voila! Exactly the contrast we were looking for. It was so stark, it was almost visual--like you could "see" how the tones were different.

 

Well, you asked for it. [tongue] Seriously, it was a good question, worthy of a measured answer. Thanks for asking it...

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Thanks for that, Anne. I can appreciate more what the studio environs do for you and what you're doing.

 

A defining recording for me is dwightyoakamacoustic.net, a bare bones, one man/one guitar presentation of his catalog that had previously been studio releases with the band. This, for me, is the truest representation of the singer/songwriter craft.......a simple, honest performance revealing how the song was originally written. The full band studio productions of these tunes are good and generally necessary for a mass audience, but it's about the song to me, the lyric, the melody.......what is being conveyed. All the other players, the solos, the harmonies and studio processes are window dressing to me. And I suppose that's where the studio and I part company, for it does not require a studio to produce the essence of a song, lyrically nor musically. It's sometimes nice to ponder full productions of what I write, but such imaginings are no more honest than what I can do here at home. More whistles and bells, yes, but no more honest. I remember spending many hours and a few thousand dollars over the course of a few months recording with the last band I was involved with, and it really got to be boring. Night after night after night sitting and listening, tweaking this, twisting that.......by the time we were done I was sick to death of the songs, having listened to them in minute detail a thousand times. And what did it get me? Nothing, in the end. It was, as I like to call it, musical masturbation.

 

It is good that you find value in your studio work......and I applaud your efforts and your results! I sincerely hope this becomes everything you hope it will be! [thumbup]

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Interesting to read both your perspectives on this. Seems both have merit in terms of what the artist envisions and how that vision can best be achieved. Speaking in generalities, I guess you could say that one person's notion of over-production is another's idea of full expression. I belong in the minimalist camp, for good or for ill, and the 'musical masturbation' tag is one I've also used to describe my point of view re. the studio experience. Not to say that it should be or is true for everyone, as obviously it gives rise to some excellent music (witness Anne's studio achievements!). I do believe strongly that the individual artist needs to have final say in how his/her work is eventually presented. The commercial route, though, is possibly an altogether different matter.

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Late to the party, as usual, but i really enjoyed that. I can see that you are really grasping the art of songwriting Anne, and are enjoying the process. Both with the songcrafting and now the recording adventure. Its quite inspiring i must say. I enjoyed all the tunes, but felt The Company I Keep the strongest track. Difficult to explain why, but it just felt the most complete track in terms of structure, verse, melody and overall .... mojo. Keep it up [thumbup]

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