Here it is:
The entire album of strings charted out. It took me all week, but I'm very thankful to be finished. I first went through and made charts for all of the individual instruments (bass, cello, viola, 2nd violin, and 1st violin) and then had to go back and make "full score" charts for myself, where all five parts were together on the same page. I'm sure there is better software out there for this (I used Nuendo) but I didn't feel like taking the time to learn a new program. Several of you wrote and gave me some very helpful pointers on how to chart out dynamics and articulation, thank you! It actually was a big help. I will be making copies and mailing them out to the players some time this week, along with a CD of the entire album. I guess that's one of the measly little perks of working with me for this release show; you get a VERY early free copy of the album... By the way, I'm still looking for more players, so if you're interested, please email me.
I know it's a little early to start asking you to come to the album release show- we don't even have the exact date selected yet. But I thought I'd let you know a couple of things early on. First of all, I've decided that I won't be printing physical copies of CD's this time around. It's too expensive, and I'm working with a very small budget. We will bring about 100 limited edition copies with us to the show that will be handmade. They will only be for sale that night. Second, this may be the only time that I'm ever able to perform the entire album with this large of an ensemble. It will be the closest the music will ever be to the way it was recorded. There's just not a realistic way to get 25-30 people to travel around with me to play shows. I'm really sorry about that, but it's just not possible at this point. It's a VERY orchestral album, and I'd love for all of you to be able to hear it the way it was intended. I'm just sorry I won't be able to bring this show closer to where a lot of you live. Thanks for understanding.
I'm going to take the rest of the night off, and relax for a bit.
(and yes, that tweet that I posted was very misleading... you'll have to forgive me for that)
Thanks for reading.
I just got the "mastered" version of my CD back yesterday. It's probably safe to say that this is the first time I've EVER heard of someone getting a mastered CD back, and their album was actually MORE musical. In case you aren't sure what mastering is, I'll fill you in on what it usually is (in really overly simplified terms). It's the final step in the production process where they take the music, make it really loud, really bright, and strip away all the dynamics of the music so it's ready for the masses. Ok, that sounded a little bitter... Sorry.
From the beginning of the making of this album, I wanted to make it my way. It's supposed to be "the album I always wanted to make". And I was really pleased with the results. Every detail in the tracking and mixing was the way I wanted it. So, sending it off for mastering was kind of a scary thought. I had coffee with a guy named Jamie Carter, who wanted to do the mastering. We shared many of the same views on mastering, and right away, I could tell he was going to be my guy. I told him I didn't want to lose all of the dynamics of the mixes by trying to make it as loud as possible. He agreed. Classical recordings would be our muse for this process. Have you ever noticed that you actually use your volume knob when you are listening to a classical recording? That's not an accident. Music was meant to have parts that are very loud, and very soft. It's what makes it "musical".
Ok, maybe none of this is making any sense to those of you that don't speak "nerd". Here's a visual. In the picture below, you will see three different colored "wave files". Basically this is what recordings "look" like.
The top red one is one of my mastered songs. The yellow one is a Phoenix song (it's actually mostly black). The bottom green one is a classical recording (Faure Cello Sonata). The black parts represent sound. The bigger the black part gets, the louder the song gets. Notice the range of dynamics (loudness and softness) in the first one. Now compare that to the yellow one, which is basically as loud as possible most of the time. Then finally, the green one- which looks much like it sounds- very soft.
We are all being manipulated! Louder is not better, it's just louder. This album is extremely self-indulgent, I admit. I created an album that basically only make sense if you listen to it from start to finish (which no one ever does) and I'm demanding that people actually use volume knobs in their cars. But when was the last time you were listening to music, and you maxed out the volume while still needing more? I am extremely thankful to Jamie Carter for the amazing work he did on this project. I will most definitely be recommending him for all of my clients. Thanks for reading.
You all left so many beautiful and inspiring comments in response to my previous post. Thank you so much for that. I do read all of your comments, and I read them carefully. It really feels like we're all in this together. So, in the spirit of "sharing", I thought I'd post one of the short instrumentals from my upcoming album. It's called "Circadian Cues". It starts abruptly because it is actually connected to the track right before it. These songs were not really meant to be played by themselves, but as a series.
My good friends Stacy DuPree and Darren King actually walked down the isle to this song. It was so sad; Elsie and I drove eight hours to go to their wedding this summer, and missed the ceremony by about 5 minutes. We walked in right as it ended. I wish I could have been there for that. Needless to say, this piece of music is very special to me, and I hope you like it. Thanks for reading.
I opened up some songs tonight from the new album (not the side project) and was messing with some alternate mixes of the orchestral parts. Not to worry, I'm not actually "remixing" the album again, I was just doing it for my own amusement. It's interesting to me how much these string arrangements have changed over the last year and a half.
When I started this album, I played a little bit of cello, and had never really attempted the violin or viola. Pretty much all of the strings on the previous albums were fake strings. As I started trying to learn the violin and viola for this album, I recorded a lot of "string effects", rather than string parts. Since the violin made such an awful sound when I played it, I thought, "Hey, I can use this!" and used it more as a sound effect in the beginning stages of the album. My technical ability (or usually lack of) has always determined the parts that I write. As I got better at playing the violin and viola, the parts got more intricate. Nothing flashy- keep in mind I still haven't learned how to hold either one properly... Anyway, I think it could be safe to say that I spent more time on the violin and viola this year than all my years of piano put together. It feels a little strange to type that, but each song had roughly 14 tracks of first violin, 13 tracks of second violin, and 12 tracks of viola. And those don't count the hundreds of tracks I deleted due to poor performance. I would usually record each part at least 40 times in order to get 13 good takes.
The following clips are a few string parts from the new album. All the other instruments are muted. These clips span a period of almost two years; the beginning all the way till now. The last clip is the most recent.
Thanks for reading!
I spent nearly nine hours today working on my first (and possibly last) guitar solo. After all that time spent, I'm sorry to say, that I'm not really sure if it fits with the rest of the song. If it's going to make it on to the EP (side project), it may have to undergo a bit of a transformation. Just in case I do end up deleting it completely, I wanted to share my work with you before I do so.
Thanks for reading.
Most of today was spent working on what will probably be the first track for my side project EP (still no name for it...). I really wanted to have a fun instrumental section at the end of the song. I also figured out how to upload video clips from my phone to Vimeo. So here are two little clips of the bass and rhodes parts I was working on:
and here is the audio clip of the rough draft of the outro to this song:
I just have a few more lyrics to write, and I can wrap this one up. Thanks for reading!
Finished? I've been sitting in bed for hours. I told myself I couldn't get up until I finished this. I probably won't really know if I like these until tomorrow. As of now, this is the track listing for the album.
3. Half Speed
5. Doe Eyed Children
6. Bedside Manner
7. Night Terrors
10. Day Residue
11. Circadian Cues
16. They Reappear
Ok. I'm too tired to do this anymore tonight. Thanks for reading.