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Wednesday, July 25

On The Record

Last night I did something I haven't done in a while. Oh how such a sentence will make childish minds everywhere snicker guiltily to themselves! Anyway, in this case, the something was perfectly clean, legal and edifying.

Along with my musical comrade from years gone by, I recorded a song. Now I'd like to be specific about this. I personally did the recording, not the playing or the singing or anything like that. I was the fat man in the sound booth - except it wasn't a booth, it was a spare room in my house. The other chap brought along his guitar and a load of musical ability. I provided the venue, a multi-track recording desk, piano, bass guitar, cabling, FX pedal, power and know how. In fact, the know how was initially "not quite remembering how" but then I recalled how to use the recording desk and also looked up some stuff that I'd never known how to do. Oh, and I also discovered some stuff I didn't know it could do.

There was the small matter of the lyrics which I'd written, which needed to be rewritten on the hoof a little to make them into a song that suited the actual tune. Luckily, there was my printer nearby and I could quickly nip into the next room with my laptop and print out a new version of the lyric sheet.

Thus, despite having a time budget of about 3 hours to pick up my cohort from the station, buy beer, do the recording and get him back to the station, we managed to record a 3 minute song. There was very little time for messing about. At the start of the evening, the room which became the recording studio was empty of all equipment. I set most of it up before he arrived, and got to put it all away before going to bed, after I'd done the mixing. In this case, mixing is the term I'll use for making various settings of relative volumes and so on in order to make the piano, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, vibes, bass and vocal tracks all sit together in a way which sounded passable. I've no idea what I'm doing, and the end result shows this quite emphatically.

We haven't recorded together in a very long time. I personally hadn't used that mixing desk since about October 2005. I think my friend used it himself in about March 2005. We definitely used it together in mid 2004 when we recorded the soundtrack album of The Musical!. So, it's, essentially been three years since we recorded, studio style, together. It took very little time to get into the right mood for recording. I think the fact that I didn't have to provide anything except words and button pushing helped reduce my own levels of stress. Indeed, I felt under no pressure whatsoever. I wasn't uninvolved, but I was more objective and less precious than I might have been in the past.

That could, of course, be the process of growing up taking over.

Anyway, we managed to get a bunch of tracks down and there is a resultant song. If it goes online somehow, I'll link to it.

It's good to know that, without any ceremony, I can get back into the spirit of teamwork required to record a newly written song with an old writing partner. It's worth noting, though, the whole rehearse-record process for a song can take, as a guide, 3 hours for just less than 3 minutes of end-product.


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