25 February, 2012

FINALLY got some recording done.

It's been something stupid like five months since I last recorded anything. There are two reasons for that and stop me if you've heard them. First, since closing the third floor male dormitory for the winter (a ballroom-sized space that's rarely populated by more than three to five guys through out the winter, you really can't justify the heat bill for that - and that was my money saving idea for the company, thank you very much), all the men looking for dorm beds have to sleep in the coed dorms (temporarily made male) on the first floor for the season. These dorms are right above my quarters, so big bang boom loud racket is pretty much out of the question.
Secondly, I've been going through a total artistic block, lately. Writer's block, musically, is nothing new to me; I've learned the zen practice of letting the song come to me rather than trying to force something out of my brain and fingers. Then there was also the literary form of writer's block, which is why SD&A is on "temporary slowdown". Then I found I really didn't have anything in mind that I wanted to draw while down at the Forest. About the only art I'm not experiencing a block in right now is the culinary one - tonight's dinner is Cornish game hen in the crock with shallots, tomatillos, lemon juice, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and butter for the curious. Maybe I'll post a picture. Maybe I won't.
But earlier this week, I was dicking around with my rig. Since receiving my delay pedal for Xmas, I've figured I've got the optimal effects setup for what I want to do: Big Muff π → Moog MF102 → First Act Delay. Sure, I still have a chorus pedal and an octave divider but those don't see as much action as they used to. Back to the point, I was dicking around with my effects and came up with a ghostly little tune that had me going "yeah". I go "yeah", sometimes. What do you want?
The ring modulator was tuned to the open G-string and the LFO is set to 12Hz at a depth of two for a nice little flutter, kind of like how Louis CK describes the way all vaginas should be accompanied by a butterfly. I started playing some natural harmonics with the ring modulator mixed in at four and later six. Toying with the delay pedal, I said "fuck it" - sometimes I go "yeah", sometimes I say "fuck it" - and just dimed the delay time (reportedly about 500ms or ½ a second, same difference). I went "yeah" again.
So, for the past week, I've been practicing this little ditty on guitar for maybe twenty minutes at a time, just kind of zoning out to it; it has this whole ethereal thing going for it, all dreamy and ghost-like. I pretty much knew from the minute that I came up with it that I had to record it and today, after grocery shopping, making lunch, and putting dinner in the crock, I said "fuck it" and tracked it.
The problem lie in bi-amping the signal. I wanted one amp ring modulated and the other not. To do this, I ran the guitar into the delay and then split the signal using the stereo outs on the (disengaged) chorus pedal; one line fed the ring mod, the other went straight to an amp. Ring modulating the delayed signal instead of delaying the ring modulated signal was different sounding (duh) but no so different sounding that it was unusable.
After loading it into the DAW and trying to get it to sync up to a tempo (I recorded this to the beat of the delay pedal, mind you, not the drum sequencer), I found the delay pedal's maximum delay time is closer to 582ms / 583ms. I had to find the right tempo, mind you, because I wanted to program drums. I started with a very lazy and laid-back rhythm consisting of only kick, snare, and ride cymbal. It fit perfectly, so I think I'll leave it that way. At least for now.
After that came the bass line. Equally lazy and laid back.
The whole thing lasts about a minute and a quarter, just a nice little chill-out piece. I still have to do some mixing but that can wait a while. I have to clean my bathroom today, too, after all.

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