Tag Archives: studio recording

How?

Happy New Year to you! May 2012 turn out to be an amazing year all around! ­čÖé

New Year is the time where you look back at what you’ve achieved and when you make plans. I’ve been doing quite some thinking… about some of it now…

Today my boyfriend asked me why I do the making of the next album as a series of webcasts. I was completely stumped for an answer. I’ve been so caught up in doing it that way I didn’t think about it anymore. It was supposed to be quick and dirty. Just going online with only a little preparation. Yet the setup is not working for me. I can’t hear the music while it’s playing which makes the whole thing stiff and unspontaneous.

So why don’t I do it as youtube videos instead? I could do it whenever it suits me and have it online by Sunday at 9 pm just as the webcasts. As one take with a better setup where I can react to the music. And I could film myself in the recording process and add bits of it. I’m planning on making more videos anyway. Making it a habit to involve the camera would be a wise move, methinks.

So what do you think?

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Stock-taking

I’m sitting on my couch, listening to the state of the songs I have so far. This is the second attempt at writing a catch up post, but the last was swallowed by WordPress for iOs. Again. Anyway…

As the year nears its end, I feel like it’s time to take stock, look and listen back of where I got this year. I didn’t quite get as far as I wanted, but I love the new songs. Moving into a new place has been part of that, but it’s taken up some time as well. Right now I have 8 songs in various stages: ‘Audacity’, ‘Live & Learn’, ‘Too Soon’, ‘In Time’ and ‘Patchwork’ more or less roughly mixed, ‘Together’ and ‘Afterglow’ as rough demos and last, but not least ‘Aurelia’ somewhere in between. So about halfway there. Not too shabby!

Compared to ‘Minutia’ there are more live instruments on the new songs that give it a sort of live feel. I got more instruments since finishing the last album and my boyfriend, whose studio is next to mine, has even more. Working in tech support at Ableton has me staring at Live without making music. This made me crave the tactile feel of tines, strings, keys and so on. As an act of deviance against all the MIDI, editing and goggling the screen, I guess.

In the last few days I’ve made a list of all the things that need to be done before a release besides the music. I had set a deadline for mid February ages ago, but it’s dawned on me that it has become pretty much impossible or I’d have to rush things too much. So I’ve decided to instead release an EP in mid May and the album in late August or so. This way the wait is not too long. Sound good?

Webcast

If you want to have a listen to the progress on the songs of my sophomore album… I’m doing a fortnightly webcast and the previous videos are available to watch. Wanna hear the songs emerge? Or watch live from now on? The next one is on New Year’s Day at 9 pm CET, then Sunday every other week.

Bass, Minimoog, mbira, glass harp, kalimba, metallophone, tom
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Stormy

Good day today. Made some headway with the new song. The first two verses are working nicely now, the lyrics for verse number two are done and go well with the vocal melody. I wrote a little bridge that makes for a nice change in between, especially rhythmically. I also added some ping-pong-delayed rhodes to accentuate the verses and played around with some vocal ideas to be used as instrumentations. I also got a rough sketch for the refrain, although I’m unsure if it’s gonna stick around. I can’t get my head around the lyrics for the chorus. This song is so different from the rest (quite rock, at least for me) and I’m reluctant to swear and rage, but that might be the way to go. I’ll try to add some guitar parts tomorrow, I imagine feedback and the likes. Let’s see if they really end up in the song because I seem to always take out the guitars in the end, even if I wrote the song for guitar.

Nothing to put up, yet. Too early a stage. So again no mp3 snippet.

The stormy weather outside calls for some cosying up with tea and a movie. And tomorrow another day in the studio. I guess the walk yesterday really helped clear my head.

x

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Taking a breather

Good news… I cracked the new song yesterday. I’ve got a bass line for the verse running over a pretty rudimentary drum loop I’ve made. I guess this one calls for some real live drums. So I’m gonna ask a friend who’s a drummer and percussionist and not spend much time making beats. I’d rather the drummer has a choice over what he wants to play so it’s fun for him. Also I have a melody for the verses now. I’ve decided I’m gonna finish the lyrics while working on the song. I realised while singing the first verse – that one’s done – that the lyrics have to be tight and well fitting for this one. It’s fast and I have very little time in between to draw a breath. I still keep changing the lyrics for the refrain, but I might tackle that tomorrow.

Today is my day off. Nevertheless I went to this big music shop in Prenzlauer Berg to check out the audio/MIDI-interfaces they have because I still need one for live gigs. The guy there really seemed to know what he was talking about and he himself also works on a Macbook with OS X. Unfortunately he said that Leopard (mac operating system – they sure like their cats of prey) still causes a lot of crashes with all interfaces. Damn! I feared as much. So I’ll have to stick to Tiger a while longer. He recommended the Echo Audiofire 4. Since I don’t need it right away I’m gonna sleep on it and rethink how many Ins/Outs I need to make sure I definitely get what I need. Had a quick look around in the shop… not too long though I don’t want to get any ideas. I simply don’t have the money for all the great geeky gadgets at the moment. Afterwards I went for a nice long walk. I so needed to get out of the house again. I already started feeling like climbing up the walls. Much better now. Got some nice clothes at a big thriftstore, been looking for something to complete my outfit on stage for a while now.

Off to bed now so I’m fit and ready for the next few days of writing and recording.

x

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Words unspoken

Back in the studio after taking the weekend off. I can’t say that it was all that relaxing, but that’s my own fault… got hammered with my best friend. The more disciplined I am most of the time, the more excessive I become when I eventually go out. Work hard, party hard… or something like that (and then pay with a mean hangover).

Therefore not much lyric-writing got done. I made up for it today though. At first no words came and then all of a sudden they came flooding out of me. The first verse seems quite solid. The rest is too extensive so far. I need to distil the jumble of words to the very essential. Haven’t found a title yet either. It’s been a while for me writing any substantial lyrics and it’s with it just as with everything else. You have to practise and get the hang of it again.

I also did some further tweakings of the beats and refined the string arrangement for ‘Unspoken’. Pretty happy with the way this song is going. The next time I’ll get back to it I will record the vocals and see if anything else seems wrong or insufficient, but it might actually be finished apart from vocals and the mix.

x

mads

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Finally weekend…

I’ve been pretty busy trying to finish ‘Chaos & Order’. The beats are mixed and automated. The rough mix is done, too. I realised though that I have to rerecord the vocals, don’t really know what I did back then. Some are too quiet and some distorted. And I can’t figure out a nice brass arrangement for the refrain. What I’m singing is in a pretty odd key. That’s what you get sometimes when you start with the vocal melody. Mmh. Might have to find a new one for the choruses then.

Well, here’s the new version (work in progress):



I’m off for the weekend to see friends and family. So looking forward to not staring at a screen all day. I might actually see some sunlight. But I’m not gonna take the whole weekend off of music. I’ve got this idea for a song and I still need to write the lyrics for it. All prior attempts have been futile. Well, let’s hope I’ll crack it this weekend. Also I’m gonna play a couple of songs with only my four-track-looper as a belated birthday present for my mom. Good for getting some practice, too.

Have a nice weekend, y’all.

x

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Beats & Brass

It’s been a very long day yesterday, but a very successful one. In the end I was already kind of getting cross-eyed and it would have taken me twice the amount of time to write a new blog since I would have spent half of it correcting typos.

The two sounds I recorded really make the beats sound much better. One is me saying ‘pft’ which makes for a nice hi-hat sound, the other one is finger clicking and is a nice rim-shot-like sound. I’ve sorted out the beats. The only thing left is to get them mixed just right so they really groove perfectly. And of course my much loved automation, mainly panning.

The new bassline in the verses didn’t really sit too well with the chorus immediately following. So I put a little bridge in. Makes for nice suspense! I actually thought I’d make the whole song shorter because it’s over five minutes long, but instead it’s a tad bit longer now with the bridges. I guess I’m gonna cut about 10 seconds of the beginning, but that’s it.

I’m happy to report I finally figured out what the song wanted for instruments. There’s lots of brass in ‘Chaos & Order’ now, a big build-up right at the start before I commence singing, reflecting the chaos together with the tiny beat snippets. Later some great fills in between, quite orderly. Gonna work that out more today. I’ll put up a little fragment of the new version tonight.

x
Mads

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Sussing out

I had some appointments in the morning and early afternoon and managed to go swimming in between in this great public swimming pool that was built in 1914 (Stadtbad Neuk├Âlln. Yep, that’s where I live, Berlin I mean, not Neuk├Âlln). Quite decadent and much more fun doing laps. It’s gonna be my chosen pool from now on to get fitter and ameliorate my lungs, twice a week I promised myself.

That’s what it looks like.

Stadtbad Neuk├Âlln

So not having a full day in the studio I didn’t make all that much audible progress, to be honest. I’ve recorded two sounds to be used in the beats. I’ve sussed out why the beats sounded so scrambled, fixed some sound issues and started putting the beats right. I will finish them tomorrow. Also I got some more ideas for ‘Chaos & Order’ that I’ll try out. Nothing else planned for tomorrow but music making… so I’m really hoping to make some headway.

Here’s the old demo version of ‘Chaos & Order’:



Toodles.

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