Skip to main content

Writing a song: Part 2: Fattening up

See also: Part 1, The Beginning

After the Sunday talk show, I fiddled around a bit with the Outside song. It's sounding pretty cool already!

As you can see from the waveform, the levels are squashed all to hell. I have not spent any time on mastering -- just ran it through a rock preset on Ozone to make it big and loud. Even so, sounds good, if lacking in dynamics!

I tightened up the bass part, added some variation in the articulation, and found a decent-sounding amp model for the part.

I re-recorded the guitars for a total of four tracks: two tracks in matching style, and I think I used the 7D:Start Me Up patch on the PodXT. I played open chords on the left track and mostly bar chords on the right with different tone settings on the Strat; these parts are panned about 60% left and right. I recorded a dirty part with patch 10D: Sunshine Of Your Love, which is panned 24% right. I did one pass with an acoustic guitar and a large-diaphragm condenser, and that's panned 22% left. The dirty and acoustic guitars have a bit of reverb on them to put them in space.

I've put the ReaEQ plugin on all the guitar tracks with a high-pass filter to leave room for the bass and the kick drum. In some of my older mixes, I didn't have the good sense to use subtractive EQ to make space for all the instruments, and ended up with cluttered, muddy mixes.

I'm also trying to record at lower levels in general. When I first learned about digital recording in 1992, digital-to-analog converters (DACs) weren't the best quality and everything was 16-bit/44kHz at best, so the prevailing wisdom was to record as close to 0db as possible without going over to avoid the distortion and noise that would come from lower-level signals. Heck, in the analog tape world -- which is where I learned my stuff the first time around -- recording hotter is better because of the effects of tape saturation. Well, through the Home Recording Show podcast, I learned last year that today's gear is of such good quality that it's wiser to peak around -6db or even lower, and having 24-bit quality to work with offers even more headroom. Plus I won't have to pull my faders down so far when I'm mixing.

I tightened up the synth and piano parts to clean up some overlapping notes. The piano has the same bit of room reverb. On the woo-woo synth part, I tweaked the patch to have a low-frequency oscillator (LFO) pan the signal back and forth as it plays.

I switched drum kits and added a bit of reverb on the snare and room mics.

I added a pitch-shift effect to the small voice before the last chorus to make the comeback sound even bigger.

Here's a shot of the project so far in Reaper:

Still to do:

  • write lyrics
  • record main vocals
  • record bg vocals, if any
  • re-do drum track, maybe trying to play it on the keyboard
  • record a solo


Popular posts from this blog

Gordon turns four and has questions

Gordon wanted to know where mommy went.

Not what happened to her body, but where SHE went.

We celebrated his fourth birthday this weekend with three gatherings. One at our house with his little friends. One at nana and grampa's house. One in Stratford with the Simpson clan.

The big party for the kids was a success. I'd never planned such an event. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I found a Martha Stewart article that laid out the basics. And thank goodness for Party City, which had a ton of Transformers party stuff ready to buy. I wasn't feeling well, but managed to pull it off. Thanks to sister Shannon and SIL Amy for being the Designated Adults who helped in wrangling and last-minute logistics. G thought the whole event was kind of loud, but he really enjoyed it. And I feel like a winner for making it happen -- some of the other parents even chimed in that they now know what goes into a kid's party, since they were as clueless as me! Great!

Great time at nana&#…

The sweet smell of success (the opposite of that)

Let me lock in the system at warp 2 Push it into systematic overdrive - U know what 2 do - Ween, "Poop Ship Destroyer"
Pardon the juvenile humour off the top, but this journey has been so unreal that I can't help but fall back on laughing in the absence of appropriate things to say.

Amanda's headed for another big surgery this week.

Quick recap of how we got here: She went into hospital in late January to have her ovarian cancer tumours taken out. That surgery ended up taking a foot-long chunk of her colon, so they spliced what was left to her nature-given outlet. Well, that blew apart and she went for emergency colostomy surgery. THAT didn't work, either, as illustrated by our guiding light with the scalpel hand and the silver tongue, Dr. Sugimoto:

The business end of the remaining colon sloughed its way back into her insides and strictured itself off, creating a cul-de-sac with no escape for poop nor gas. They put her on TPN (full nutrition by IV) but let her …

Things get much worse as tumours spread fast

Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin

Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense —
To fence
The enemy within - Rush, "The Enemy Within"
We don't know how or why, if there is a how or a why, but Amanda's cancer has woken up and is on the move, double-time. Things have become much worse in the time since the last update.

At that point, the docs had found a couple of spots on her ribs that were causing her pain. They zapped it with radiation to give her some relief.

Since then, things have progressed quickly.

Just after the hospital stay when they were trying to get Amanda's pain under control, docs found more bone metastases in her sacrum (large, triangular bone at the base of the spine) and iliac crest (the big wing-like bone on the pelvis where they harvest bone marrow). More radiation. This time, the radiation hasn't knocked the pain down.
Then she had headac…