SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Here’s part two of the recording process of the song presently titled “If I Went Back Home.” This version features a three part celeste solo for an ending that sounds like a music box. The singing needs work.
This song started as an improvisation I recorded on my phone on July 1, 2013. I had just returned to San Francisco from a childhood friend’s wedding in Malibu. Also at that time I was working on a fund raising campaign to have enough money to complete the album “There is No Need to Name the Moon.” This was a humbling learning experience in the meaning of what it meant to be an artist in the commercial internet. I studied the tactics of political campaigns and it wound up working. I wondered though if I was just making a vanity project.
What else? My father had passed away about six months ago. I was dealing with that and being burned out with my day job as a substitute teacher. I felt lonely probably, and was drinking a lot. That’s what was going on at the time. I remember at night sitting in the front room of the house I lived in and playing the simple cord progression and singing the words without thinking about it right into the phone’s voice memo recording function.
Recently I’ve felt compelled to revisit the voice memo files of these old song ideas and document the process of cultivating them. This landscaper I used to work for called Terry Mulrooney said that pruning trees was “like sculpting with a time factor.”
-Take the original iPhone voice memo recording from July 1, 2013 and import it into a protools session.
-select a verse / chorus iteration, identify the BPM and make a loop.
-create a click track.
-play the chords with a midi organ along with the loop.
-mute and hide the loop.
-record a simple midi drum part and bass line along with the click track and organ cords.
-copy and paste on the grid verses and choruses until the song’s long enough to fit all the words and a long instrumental.
-print out lyrics and rapidly record scratch lead vocals and backing vocals.
-record and edit celeste parts as lead and ambient instruments.
-bounce a rough mix and include it in this blog as representation of a stage in the song’s life.
-Overall it sounds a bit like elevator music. I need to apply effects to the midi instruments and / or play some real instruments so the ambience is better.
-Likewise, the arrangement needs attention so the song builds to a climax rather than its current state of maintaining relatively the same level of fullness throughout.
-All the vocal performances (lead and backing) need to be thought through, practiced, and then performed and recorded with greater care.
I’ll post a new journal entry with an updated version of the song once I’ve made the progress suggested above. Please contact me if you have questions, and thanks for reading / listening.