Yes, this is another collaboration/production by the ever-creative never-predictable always-talented band The Really Good Pot Roast.
And yes, that is Mrs. Cranquis and I making monkey noises like a pair of gibbering idiots (literally having to keep from awaking Baby Cranquis as we howl with laughter around the computer microphone in the dark of the night — I had to refrain from going full-on howler-monkey, for that very reason.)
Mark and I have been working on production for his album for a while now, and before that we were doing a bunch of production on some tracks we sent out to other folks who participated in FAWM as well as writing music for the next Pot Roast album, Mixed Signals. It’s been a while since I just sat down and just jammed. I just opened up the microphone and this is what happened. I originally was going to live blog this one but I forgot to write blog posts as I went along, so there you go. It’s been raining a lot here recently and you can hear that in the music. At least I think so.
Oh yeah… I remembered to tune today. Always a victory.
There is a ritual. The Sacred Ritual of the First Track. It’s when you finally break down and buy or build a new system, and you want to put it through it paces. So you record your first track; a song that you know would have blown out your old system. Something you should would have made the soundcard from your old computer jump right the hell out of your old computer and smack you before retiring for the evening with a cup of decaf chamomile and some easy listening.
This song started life as a tech demo for my new system. It is a ridiculous collection of things I wouldn’t have even tried on my old computer. Some details:
This song is 26 tracks in total.
There are two concurrent drum tracks
There is an 8-part vocal harmony in the bridge running various effects, all just to push the system
The main vocal is triple layered.
The guitars are triple layered.
I pitch shifted the twinned solo just because I wanted the computer to have to handle it.
There is a LOT going on here.
This song hits like a freight train and doesn’t let up. It’s a fun, fast, punk-ish, new wave, industrial track. It goes until it doesn’t.
Thanks to everyone who listened to the album. Hugs to those that downloaded it. BIG hugs to those that bought it. You’re all awesome.
Down and Locked (Track from NEW THING - Coming May 15th)
I wrote this song during 50/90 2011. The 50/90 community offers songwriting tools to help nudge the muse into action. I used one called the Plot Spline that gives you a rough outline sentence to write towards. Here’s what I was given:
"write a song in first person ("i/we") in which the main character is addressing the listener. the story takes place in the present, and the scene is a moving vehicle."
And this is what I did.
More so, this song was my attempt at a TV on the Radio (David Sitek) / wall of sound feel. The mix was really difficult during 50/90, and when it come up for consideration for this album, I almost cut it. I couldn’t get it into shape the way I wanted.
Then I gave it to Rob to try mixing. And he freaking nailed it.
Mark Dabney - Designed Mistake (Track from NEW THING)
Designed Mistake was the first solo song I wrote this past FAWM, and it’s the reason I put this album together. Looking at a month of songwriting in the days before FAWM started, I wasn’t sure how I’d approach it, what style, what sound, what direction I wanted to go. Then February 1st, I wrote this.
Rob and I have had discussions about what tracks to post here as previews for the album. We originally crossed this one off the list because an early version had been posted here before. But this song solidified the direction I wanted to go for an album. It’s direction and sound is why NEW THING is happening.
Mark Dabney - Distance (First Track from NEW THING)
We’re less than 2 weeks out from the release of New Thing, and tonight I’m thrilled to debut the first track off the album.
"Distance" started life during the 50/90 songwriting challenge in 2010. I was lucky enough to collaborate with EchoVoodoo, an awesome electronica and folk musician from Canada. He had a keyboard riff section he liked, and passed it off to me. I liked it so much, I wrote and recorded the rest of the song in an evening.
What’s here is a new mix and master by Rob. I really dig the work he did on this track to bring out the depth of sound.
Rob and I have known each other forever. Over the years, we’ve developed a report that allows us to vent our frustrations, often with horrifically graphic language, and sometimes directed at each other, if only to have a brief direction for our general ire. And then we move on with our lives.
Over the last few months, though, something has changed. Due to stresses in life and work, the calloused exterior has faded, and we’ve both felt the need to apologize to each other for almost everything. This has become evident during the final mixing process for New Thing. We’ve been passing emails and mixes back and forth, and offering critiques. But it seems like every time we offer a critique, we immediately back up and apologize. Seriously, it’s absurd. In a recent email, Rob hit it right on the head.
When the hell did the 2 guys who used to pull over so they could yell at each other on the way home from [Work] only to laugh about it on the drive home become 2 old men who write apology emails back and forth during legitimate discussions that involve nothing worthy of apology. I don’t know what’s wrong with the 2 of us, but we’ve been writing a lot of unnecessary apologies back and forth. I’m putting a stop to it. We both need to stop apologizing to each other about issues that don’t exist. The whole purpose of the mixing process is to exchange critique on minute imperfections in songs most people would think are just fine the way they are. There’s nothing dickish about it.
The mix is coming along. The guitars are still way too far in front at times. It also sounds like a MIDI track is dropping out during the chorus. You might need to freeze it. Also, you might want to TVT [Triple Vocal Track] the backing vox during the second verse.
Did you do this mix before or after you filled your ears with quick dry cement? Seriously, did a hobo sneak into your room last night and stab you in both ears with an awl? I’ve heard 80’s punk with a cleaner mix than this. Wait! I know. You played the mix using shitty Windows speakers, recorded it using an old cassette player you had laying around, then re-recorded the audio off of the cassette using a microphone 100 feet away, then mixed that down to an MP3 and sent it to me. It’s a bit much for a gag mix, but I appreciate the effort. Email me the real mix and I’ll listen when my ears stop bleeding.
Last Thursday I played at The Acoustic Club, Bishop’s Stortford. As always I got a recording and it’s here for you to check out if you couldn’t pop down to the gig.
If you want to hear more from The Acoustic Club you can download a 4 track EP for FREE from Bandcamp
If you visit that page it also has the lyrics for the four songs I have previously performed there so feel free to check it out.
Great acoustic performance from a fellow musician here on Tumblr. The reblog won’t work with Sound Cloud so I’ve put a link to the original post instead. Do click through and give it a listen. It’s quite nite.