“Days” nineteen and twenty: EPIC.

By Chris Moore:

Although both days nineteen and twenty took place today, 7/7/2011, I have listed them separately because they were two quite distinct sessions.  The first took place in the early morning, as I arrived at Mike’s brand new studio just after 11:30pm on 7/6.  He began by setting up some equipment, and we got underway around 1am.  Over the next four hours, we listened to eight of the twelve tracks on the album and mixed them down to final versions.  We even got a chance to listen to the bonus tracks I’ve selected for the deluxe version of the album.

You can tell it was late just by looking at these photos, which were obviously taken without the aid of natural light.  Being that this was a late night (or, really, early morning) session, it brought back all sorts of memories for me, namely of past experiences with mOu and with Mike and Jim individually, as well as on the Meaningless sessions.

Tonight was one of those rare moments that are sufficient to sustain dreams for months and perhaps even years to come, a reaffirmation of what it is we do best and why we do it.

After I arrived home, I went directly to bed with my alarms set for 9:45 and following.

And I woke up after noon, with absolutely zero memory of my alarms ever having sounded.

This being said, I only had a few hours to record, and I used them to complete the electric solo and background vocals for “I Would Prefer Not To.”  Mike had recorded a sample set of background vocals on my iPhone that I heard him singing (and loved), so I used those as a model to complete the song.  The guitar solo came out quite well after I worked it out, found a guitar effect on my Zoom pedal that fit the song, and further worked it through GarageBand’s on-board set of effects.

After I finished these tracks, I moved on to “Work Time, Get in Line” and managed to complete the bass for this track before I headed back to Mike’s studio for more recording and mixing.

At his studio, we mixed down “I Would Prefer Not To,” then Mike re-taught me how to play congas (I had played them a bit during a DryKnuckle BedHeads jam months prior) and I finished that track on “Work Time,” and after dinner, Mike showed me a piano part for “Vows and Changes” that elevates the track to heartbreaking status.  With Mike’s instruction and coaching, I played the keyboard, and we easily finished mixing that song, to end the evening with a grand total of ten out of the twelve songs completed.

And all in time for the beginning of one of our favorite Thursday night activities: TNA wrestling!

If you haven’t heard, I’ve set tomorrow as the deadline for completing the recording of my album, so I’ll have to step it up and put the final finishing touches on “Work Time, Get in Line” and, with a bit more to do, “Socrates’ Gulps.”

Until then…

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Day eighteen: finishing touches, part two…

By Chris Moore:

Again, not too much to say tonight, other than to convey how exciting it’s been to complete these tracks.  This morning was a bit frustrating at first, as I spent an hour working on some mixing of tracks and another hour after that searching through my Zoom guitar pedal for the best possible effect for my “No Lights, No Sound” solo.

Regardless of these struggles, I was certain of one decision: I wanted to use my Squire strat to record the solo (ironically NOT the guitar pictured below).  This simply felt right because I haven’t used the strat for any part of this album, though it was the only electric I used to record every single electric guitar track on all six of my previous albums.  Considering that “No Lights, No Sound” is the oldest song on this new album, it felt right to finally bust out the strat.

I faced more struggles in the afternoon, as I couldn’t find my groove with background vocals today.  Nothing I practiced felt right for “Threshold,” and I ended up deleting all the background vocals I recorded on “You Will Thank Me.”  That being said, I honestly do think both songs, particularly “You Will Thank Me,” work best in their tight simplicity without harmonies.

The great news of the day is that I recorded three solid bass tracks, for “You Will Thank Me,” “Threshold,” and “It All Comes Around.”  So, in the end, this was a big day, as these are the all-important 1, 2, and 4 spots on the album.

That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’ll be back tomorrow for more!

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Day seventeen: finishing touches, part one…

By Chris Moore:

Today, I’ll be brief because, as of today, the final touches are beginning to be applied.  This means that, very soon, The 2010 Project will be a completed product and will exist as an item in my history, topping the list titled “Chris Moore’s Discography.”

What remains to be done in most songs is some variation of bass, background vocals, and solos.  Today, I started by listening back to the album in the order that my producer, Mike Fusco, suggested.

The verdict?

The new track listing is far superior to what I had before.  For me, this is the umpteenth incarnation of the list, so I’ve been a bit too close to the project, I think, to see the best order.

As of this evening, I’ve completed every song on the second half of the album, with the exception of “Work Time, Get in Line.”  Tomorrow should be interesting, as I’ve saved the more complicated tracks to complete for later.

And later is, of course, tomorrow.

So, stay tuned for a few final updates and — very soon (!) — a release date announcement.

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Day sixteen: a little listening, a little rockin’ out

By Chris Moore:

I’ll always remember day sixteen as one of the high points of The 2010 Project recording sessions.  I started late morning today with the arrival of Mike Fusco.  We ended up playing all twelve songs on my 0h-so-cheap Radio Shack speakers and making a master list of “What Left to Do?” broken down task by task (i.e. bass, background vocals, harmonica, etc).

On “Socrates’ Gulps,” the only remaining track that needed electric guitar work, Mike helped me find an electric sound that was bright yet had distortion, but wasn’t too grungy.  I still haven’t completely mastered my Zoom guitar pedal, which is significantly more nuanced than my original Zoom pedal, so after some hit and miss there, we plugged in directly from the amp, and I played while Mike found levels and balances that sounded great.  After several mess-ups and false starts, I got a take that sounded great.

Mike captured one of the good ones, so I’m finally posting a recording session video for you:

Before he left, we rocked out to “Goodbye, So Long” with me on acoustic and Mike on bass, which was great fun.  We just played a couple days ago (Thursday) to an assortment of tracks, including my songs, new and old (from “The One for Me” and “You Will Thank Me” to MoU staples “Please Stay,” “Marissa,” and “Goodbye”) and Mike’s classics (like “You I Won’t Forget”) and lesser known gems.  For Thursday’s songs, I alternated between twelve- and six-string acoustic/electric and Mike traded off between twelve-string acoustic/electric and drums.

Now, that was a LOT of fun, and it served as just the boost I needed to get excited for this weekend and this coming week, which promise to hold — finally — the final sessions for my new album.

Look, Ma: no pedal! (Me adding a "phaser effect" on my electric)

After a late lunch, I worked out the harmonica solo (in the key of E, the closest I had) and harmonies to “Goodbye, So Long.”  In terms of background vocals, I tried some things I haven’t tried before, so I’ll have to run them by my producer before giving that track the final nod…

Me and my high-tech studio set up

And that about brings this up to date.  Thank you for reading, and stay tuned this week for hopefully many more updates, photos, videos, a final cover image, and…

…drum roll, please…

…a release date!

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