February 25, 2010

RPM Days 23-24ish

Day 23

I was in the studio until 2 AM ignoring the blisters and sore muscles in order to finish off my drum tracks. I think my playing was a little better, but I'm not so sure my microphone setup was. There's still not much kick drum being picked up. It's a shame because I really was incorporating it into my beats.  

The other only other thing of note is that I wrote a new track... on drums. This was a result of my worry that I don't have 35 minutes of material. I only had 8 songs written (and one of them is basically two minutes of filler), so at an average of 4 minutes a song, I wasn't going to make it to the finish line. It's possible that my song average is higher (or even lower), but the point is that I just don't know the total track time yet until I have basic mixes done and I don't want to risk not having access or energy to play drums at the last minute. Right now that track is just drums. I have an idea for a melody, but I probably won't dive too far into that song until the end.

While recording, I was a little gentler on the 8-track, and it only locked up once, at the very end of the night. I did figure out how to recover those "lost" songs though. I still can't explain why the system kept freezing, or why the system freezing caused the 8-track to erase the songs' table of contents, but none of the sound files were actually deleted. I basically had to go to the hard drive, copy the songs' .bak files and recreate them as .adl or something in order to get the 8-track to add it back to the selectable menu. It was annoying, but I'm glad I didn't lose any material. I'll be honest, that would've been the last straw.

Day 24

I was asleep on my feet all day because of the past few nights' sleep deprivation. By the time I got home I had no desire at all to jump into bass playing or lyric writing. I got home, shoveled some Chicken Lo Mein into my mouth, and passed out at 9 PM, halfway through Roger Ebert's commentary track on Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Excellent, by the way.

Morning 25

There was supposed to be a giant snowstorm blanketing New Jersey by the time I woke up today, but at 6 AM, there was nothing on the ground. I was hoping for a bonus snow day to spend working on this project, but instead, I got in my car and went to work. Of course it started snowing heavily as I drove in, so there's still hope that the work day will end early and I'll be able to get a lot accomplished.

I did make some stereo mixes of the guitar and drum tracks before I left today because I wanted to be able to start working on lyrics while driving in my car. Either the 8-track or my computer was running very poorly this morning, so I only managed to make 5 or 6 mixes before I had to leave. While listening to them on the way in, I realized that a couple are mixed a little too low, but at least that's an easy fix. Better to do that now then after I add more tracks.

I also realized just how much I still have to do. Coming up with 9 complete sets of lyrics and then recording them in less than 4 days is complete insanity. Fortunately, I have my new mp3 player, so I can play the track through my car stereo, turn on the mp3 microphone, and babble my way to a melody and lyric. I think I managed to come up with good starts for 3 songs this morning. If I can do 3 more on the way home, I'll feel a little less overwhelmed.

What I'm not so confident about is the bass. Not that I can't play it, but that I simply might not have time. I originally intended to do that before vocals, but right now words are taking the priority. Because the kick drum is almost nonexistent, I know the album needs a bottom end. But on the bright side, I consider myself more of a rhythm guitar player, so the stereo spectrum is fairly full as it stands. In a perfect world, I'd have bass and a lead track, but this is crunch time, and the songs need words.

The other big snag I discovered this morning is that I completely forgot to record drums for an entire song. I'm going to try to get that completed at the studio tonight. Maybe I'll use the out of tune piano to write the music for that drums-only song.