Day six: a new track, retakes, and philosophical concerns of an auditory nature

By Chris Moore:

A Friday with the condo all to myself from noon to night…

Sounds like a recording session to me!

Tutoring was canceled this morning, so I spent the late morning reading the rest of Chris Lynch’s Inexcusable (the book I’m reading with my student) and some more of the excellent Wilkie Collins novel The Law and the Lady.

By the time I got home, I was itching to record!

The first session of the day was, as I mentioned yesterday, the recording of the acoustic guitar and lead vocal tracks for “Goodbye, So Long.”  The guitar, after a few takes, came out pretty good, but the lead vocal is only okay upon further listening.  The problem I’m having with this song is that it was written — based on a couple fragments I had written by myself — with a group of four guys: Jim Fusco, Mike Fusco, Dana Camp, and myself.  We wrote it at Dana’s office and the night was a lot of fun.  There was music, food, laughing, and even an appropriately goofy Laptop Session to mark the event.  Now, recording the song on my own is difficult because I have always imagined it with Mike on drums and Jim composing the harmonies.  But, accepting the reality that a group recording session is unrealistic, I am doing my best to do this track justice.  I finished off the lyrics a few months ago, and now I’ve officially begun my studio version.

The CMM dual MacBook setup

The CMM dual MacBook setup

Finally, I had to take a lunch break… and, I’ll admit it, an episode of season three Dawson’s Creek.  I’m a sucker for this show, and a summer marathon brings me back to summers of my past.  And Mike also loves this show — he’s the one who got me into it — so I’m in great company!

After lunch, I jumped in on a new track, called “Socrates’ Gulps.”  (The Original Wednesday video for this song that I posted at the Laptop Sessions inspired the next post, “My goal as a songwriter on YouTube.”)  Like “No Lights, No Sound,” this song begins with acoustic guitars only, then builds into an all-out rock song, and finally leads out into a final acoustic-only reprise of the intro.  I’m really proud of this song, instrumentally, lyrically, and vocally, and as such, it enabled my feeling of frustration from the first session to carry over into this one.  When you have such a clear idea of what the song should, or could, sound like, it makes it very difficult to deal with the dinky little .mp3 that results from your efforts.

Finally, I spent a LOT of time this afternoon and evening listening back to the seven songs I’ve recorded as of today.  I’ve become quite anxious, as some of the tracks I thought were good simply don’t sound so good days later.  I took the time to re-record the acoustic guitar for “Work Time, Get in Line” as well as the drum track (it’s actually me!) for “The Best Reason I Wake Up.”

My anxiety has become a philosophical issue of sorts, as I’ve been considering what the final product will sound like and how I will feel about it.  I’m concerned that the tracks I’ve recorded already won’t fit well or sound as good once I’ve added electric guitar, bass, and background vocals to them.  I’m concerned that I won’t do these songs justice.  I’m concerned, most of all, that I will complete the album and think of all the recording methods and decisions I could have worked out differently.

At the end of the day, I did what any self-respecting songwriter must do.  I went out for McDonald’s, blasting my rough mixes in the car outside the restaurant before I hit the drive-through.  As my girlfriend Nicole pointed out, I shouldn’t be listening to the rough mixes on my crappy speakers at home, as it stresses me out too much.  Listening to the songs in the car made me realize that this will all work out.  It won’t be the Red Letter Days or In Between Dreams quality, but The 2010 Project will sound appropriate to the songs: new, personal, a bit raw, and voiced as a new beginning for the life and for the albums I will continue to record from this point.  And it certainly won’t be another four years between releases, now that I’m working out the glitches of my home studio setup.

Having struggled with my philosophy of sound on these recordings for hours, I ended the night with Mets baseball and some more Beek from the Creek, biding my time until the next session…

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