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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

7th Week - Anachronic (372nd Song)

Well, although my last song wasn't enough to represent the quality of the documentary that it was made for I'm still in in the project, I was asked to make the rest orchestral songs and the one that I'm bringing down today. The idea was to make a song in the style of Chris Isaak's Graduation Day and after the producer of the documentary (AKA my friend Willy) will sing it in his own style and with his own tweaks on lyrics as they are not very cool and I committed many mistakes. But I ended up with a nice song, my favourite part is the chorus with all those backing vocals, turns me into a happy mood.

Thoughts: I wrote several drafts before I started to record it and every time it got better. The harmony was very clear from the beginning but I had to change the melody a couple of times. The first thing that I recorded was the drums. In Chis Isaak's song there's a cross stick in the upbeat, that makes it darker and more intimate, I wanted something more folkie and I opted for brushes on snare drum to make it more 'dancy'. I had to record it with a virtual drum kit because I still don't have enough mics and cables to record my kit. I didn't find a kit played with brushes in Logic among all the presets but, fortunately, Logic provides with a browser were you can search key words and, in this way, I could find my brush kit. 

The bass was an easy one too, I mean, the harmony is super easy but I'm not a great bass player so the challenge was to snap in time more than the notes that I played, which are very basic and obvious, nothing that may absorb any attention to the listener. Actually, I had to use flex mode in Logic to quantize some notes, technique that I used today by first time. I had a guitar guide track for the recording of bass with the purpose of flowing better.  So far the rhythmic section is nice and flat, I want to give to the voice the main role. 

Now is the turn of guitar and, hence, the microphone recording. Surprisingly I didn't struggle a lot recording this. Yeah, my guitar is very hard, and my pointing finger hurt a lot and I needed to repeat some times to get used to the rhythmic pattern, which finally suited very well, playing the bass note of the chord in the downbeats and strumming the rest of the chord later. I played as well with the position of the mic, I found the best position that I've ever done. I pointed to the fret 22 and place it like 40 cms away, like one foot maybe? (I have massive feet so my feet measure is bigger than standard) but still not very happy, I learned some techniques later that I'll try in coming recordings, so stay tuned. The quality of the sound that I got has much to be with the fact that I muffled my room and, now, it sounds much nicer, with not an awful tail as it had. Still can hear unwanted frequencies in the tail but the difference is big. I also learned that if I point the back of my mic to as source of noise, such as my laptop and interface, it'll sound the softer, so I placed them together and behind my mic. Well done! Very happy with the results. 

I did the same for the voice, I placed my mic not only in front of the interface but also as far as I could and trying to project my voice to the center of the diaphragm and, far behind this, to a muffled wall. I sung closer than usually and I did well, much less room sound and I didn't get close enough to enable the proximity effect. I tried many takes because that low pitch wasn't sounding good at all and I had to learn how to make my voice work in that range by trying. My english accent is crap as usual but better, there's a lot of mistakes that I hear when I listen to it but when I sing it back I do the same even when I thought that this time had been much better. Still working on that. The backing vocals where easy to make and sing, just one take without any rehearsing, so obvious, but so lovely. They are my favourite part of the song. 

The mixing was long but not very difficult. Now I feel like the guitar is louder than wanted and the voice is too dry. I played a lot with different compressions and I learned a lot, I'm getting better defining what the attack and release do and I find it very useful to lead the melody. 

I think this is a great song that could be played in any pub in Texas and make people have fun with it, nice, soft, cheering, ... The sound is one of my bests, which means that I'm learning (as I expected FORTUNA Quest would be useful for), I played the instruments quite professionally, and the voice is not fully lame as normally is. I'll post the finished version with Willy's voice soon and you can compare. I miss some violins, I might record some for the final version. 

Questions: What kind of reverb should I use? What's the best spot to place the mic for the acoustic guitar? How can I make my voice sound fuller, like in Chris Isaak's song? Why in my laptop the bass sounds a bit out of tune? Does it something to do with frequencies in the mix?

Enjoy it!

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