Days fourteen & fifteen: it all (begins to) come around…

By Chris Moore:

Somewhere in this process, I’ve lost a couple of days in my online journal.  Thus, here I am to fill in the gaps.  I don’t have full details or exact dates, but Mike came over one night (in April? during my school break?) for the first bass track overdub of the album.  Although he was here for a couple hours, we only worked on one song: “No Lights, No Sound.”  This may not sound like what you’d call progress, but we were thrilled.  We experimented with bass sounds (i.e. through pedal, through amp, directly into laptop), Mike developed a tastefully simple but memorable bass line, and I managed to finally play it right.

This was a very enjoyable night… so much so that I forgot to write it down in the logs entirely.  It was a tease, though, in some respects, considering that school and grading were still on my mind and needed to become the priority shortly after he left.

Chris plays bass?

Another lost and notable day — and one which was also a tease — came shortly after.  On Thursday, April 21st, I brought the master tracks for mixing at Fusco Theatre.  Mike finagled the hookup between my laptop and the main (and very sizable) speakers.  Then, we ran through all twelve tracks, discussed the overall sound, and in the end, each received the Mike Fusco mixing treatment.

This post is long in coming.  I’ve post-dated it to April 22nd for posterity’s sake, although I’m writing it months later in July.  As a final note regarding continuity, the picture above was taken during the “day sixteen” session on July 2nd, but it seemed appropriate here considering day fourteen was the first all-bass track session.

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Day thirteen: the final (from scratch) track!

After another late night (though not as late as the past couple), I woke up on the couch to find Eli’s claws in my shoulder.

To clarify, Eli would be my cat, and 6am would be an hour past his usual feeding time.

I’m proud to say that, realizing how busy the coming day would be — and that this would be my last day of true break — I actually got to work right away.  I began by sitting down with my guitar to finish writing “It All Comes Around.”  I’ve had the first verse and chorus for months now, but it took until the morning of the recording session for me to finish writing it.

I should probably also apologize to Nicole for making her listen to it so many times before she left for work at 10, but I think she enjoyed it.  🙂

I spent the late morning and early afternoon at my friend Dan’s house practicing for a three-song set we’ll be playing at an open mic night at the high school in March.  We’ve been playing these songs on and off for the past several years, but we’re finally honing them and finalizing arrangements instead of just jamming aimlessly.

Although aimless jamming can be quite fun, as well!

By the time I got home, had a late lunch, and was ready to record, it was already 4:30.  Thankfully, Nicole went out with friends from work, so I had from then until 7:30 to lay down drum tracks (which took FOREVER on this one) and to record acoustic guitar, a lead vocal, and overlay harmonica on the entire track.  I did the harmonica track in one take, and though it’s not perfect, I’ll probably end up keeping it for the overall feel of the performance.  It’s hard to recapture the energy of a song when you get it just about right the first time.

And so, after 13 recording sessions in August, October, and February, the principal recording for The 2010 Project is complete!  I’ll be hard at work overdubbing and then mixing and mastering the album in the next few weeks, so I’ll continue to post my progress here on this blog.

As always, thank you to any and all for taking the time to read what I write, and I hope to have good news and good music for you very soon!

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Day twelve: on the “Threshold” here…

Thanks to my Mike-inspired marathon of Lost late Thursday night, I had another late start today.  This being the final week day of my February break — and there being not one but two songs left to record! — I got to work as soon as I woke up.

Despite the late start, this was a productive session.  I laid down the drum, acoustic & electric guitar, and lead vocal tracks for my penultimate unrecorded song, “Threshold.”  The results are very encouraging, though there are parts of the lead vocal that I think I could do better on another take.  Also, the intro sounds great on my lovely Bose headphones, but frankly sounds muddy and messy in the car, so I’ll have to reconsider that as well.

When I finished with “Threshold” for the day, I still had time to revisit “Socrates’ Gulps,” a song that I have such high expectations for that it is, as a result, constantly disappointing me upon later review.  Today, I spent a good amount of time deleting and re-recording most of the electric guitars.  I found a killer effect for the riff, but it’s an unstable vibrating sound, so it’s been a lot like taming a wild animal.  Overall, I’m not thrilled with the result, but I’m finally confident that I’ll be able to bring this song up to its potential…

…during a future session.

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Day eleven: “One” down, two to go…

Today was another productive day, especially considering that I got a relatively late start and only worked until late morning.  The song of the day was “One,” a fairly simple little song — bordering on sonically ho-hum, if you’d asked me previously — but one with great lyrical verve.

The session started off on a bad note, as my guitar tuner finally stopped working.  It has been finicky for days now, as though the batteries were dying or there was a short in the wiring.

Deciding to replace the battery was not as simple as I had hoped.

Well, I had to pry the stubborn battery hatch open with pliers, “borrow” the 9-volt from my smoke detector — I clearly have my priorities in order! — and all this only to realize that it still didn’t work.  My eventual solution was one of a desperate man, driven by the need to record immediately.  I won’t even try to explain; I’ll let you take a look yourself:

Yoda saves the day... by stretching the wires out far enough to temporarily fix the short in the connection, enabling me to tune my guitar!

On to the music…

I laid out the drum tracks when I was recording a demo earlier this summer, so I was able to simply strip off the existing acoustic, electric solo, and vocal tracks before recording new, higher quality performances over the bed of drums.  The results, thanks to several invaluable recording tips from Mike, are very much to my satisfaction.  This studio version of “One” far exceeded my expectations for the song, and instead of considering it a late album track that’s “back there somewhere,” I can’t wait for it to be heard.

Once again, I was extremely blessed to have Mike take time out of his day to drive in the opposite direction of where he was going later in the day just to stop by for a listen and some lunch.  So, for the third day in a row, he listened to my recordings, played around with levels, and added other aspects in the production that have ultimately made “One” sound different, better, and more professional than it otherwise would have.

And I got to extend my break week eating-lunch-out record to 3-0, so that’s not half bad either!  🙂

As a final note, I’ve got two new tracks to record from scratch, and then it’s all overdubs (mainly bass and background vocals), which I hope to at least start by Saturday.

Until tomorrow…

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