Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dive - Day 1 (the next step)

If you haven't listened to the 1:50 snippet of the six-track "Dive", check out the post before this one. There, I had a finished drum track, though not mixed, and every other track was a "scratch track", or placeholder for parts. Doing this helps me to work with the drums and get them exactly where I want them for fills, accents, pushes and other dynamics.

The version above is still a rough mix, but the difference in the tune is night and day; you can hear the finished product beginning to emerge. I re-tracked the dulcimer twice - two separate performances with slightly different amp settings - and panned them slightly to the left and right for a fuller sound. I re-tracked the lead vocals and made a few passes before deciding to keep the first take. I then layered the harmony parts, four in all, and then doubled those tracks like I did the dulcimer - so I sang the same parts on a different track.

I then began the process of mixing, even though I've got a few more elements that I'd like to fit into the song. Mixing is the most laborious part of the process and it's nice to chip away at it slowly, adjusting levels and equalizing frequencies as you go. Then, once everything's in place, the final mix is not too far around the bend.

The harmonies are still too low in the mix, the vocals too "hot", the bass still needs to be tracked by a real bassist. I've got some "opening up" of the drums to do and there's a lack of definition in the repeated "Dive" chorus. That's going to take some fine tuning, 'cause I'm not going to re-record anything besides the bass. One of the things about the process - you capture the moment and the more times you do it, the more the original moment slips away. Sure, I just wrote this tune today, and will be more familiar with its possibilities somewhere down the road. That's when it begins to become a morphing musical organism in the live stage show. Right now, it's raw, honest, in-your-face, and I like it. Hope you do too!


Anonymous said...

I like the vocals and music...very older rock feel to it. Makes me miss the good stuff. :)

How many hours does it take on average to work with a track until you are satisfied with it?

Bing Futch said...

Thanks! I was feeling pretty retro when I wrote this.

Depends on the track and how many "moving parts" there are. Something like this that's pretty basic, I may tinker with it for another day and be done. Some tunes will get about 40 hours of concentrated effort; recording, arranging, mixing, tweaking. Though I started this one about 9:30 a.m. - I stopped about 6:30 p.m. - with stops to eat, blog, play with the dog - maybe a seven hour investment? Another seven and it's close enough for rock 'n' roll. I'll wait till it's done before starting the next tune.

Thanks for the comment!