Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's Raining - The Recording Challenge 2014

My good friend, Helen Robertson,  has started a recording challenge in which she is going to record and E.P. every month for the year of 2014. I've decided to piggy back on her motivation and try to do a recording challenge as well. My goal is to make a decent recording every week for 2014 (with the possible exception of two vacation weeks.)  I will be aiming for new recordings, but I may revisit older recordings and touch them up or re-mix them or junk them and use parts for new recordings or re-recordings. But I'll be sure to give some information about the recording process for each song.

This is the first day of the new year and I've already made my first recording. I actually spent about two hours listening to my back catalog of songs but, honestly, it was overwhelming. With over 600 songs to choose from I had no idea where to start. So I took a break and watched the Levon Helm documentary "Ain't In It For My Health" which I highly recommend and a song melody just kind of blurted out of my mouth. I had the lyric done in about fifteen minutes and the music to go with it in less time than that. I spent the rest of the day recording.

I started with a click track on my Roland BR-900CD and recorded two passes of acoustic guitar. I used two mics, an AT2020 and Superlux 241.  I scrapped the first one, but the second sounded decent. While recording I just kind of fell into the arrangement as far as structure goes. It is a fairly quick tempo at 147 bpm and with only three minutes I put in two instrumental breaks and a repeat of the first verse at the end. That got it over the 2:00 mark (which I wasn't sure about until after the recording was done.)

I then recorded a guitalele part. Two more passes using the same mic set up as with the acoustic, but only keeping one take. I then recorded the bass. I recorded the bass straight into the BR-900. This took six or seven passes and I finally just stuck with the last one. I experimented with different tones and settings and even bass-lines. The basic pattern was easy, but I tried a pick, fingers (which I'm not much good at) and longer notes instead of the faster rhythm. Ultimately I used a pick and a faster rhythm and just chose the last take. The take before it might have been better, but I didn't hear anything glaringly wrong so it is what it is at this point.

Then I used EZDrummer to get a drum track which didn't take as long as I thought it would. After a couple of hours of mixing, a dinner break and a return to some tweaking, I'm satisfied with what I have today. Of course, when I listen back tomorrow I may change my mind. Oh, and I have a slight head cold that's been coming on for a day or two. So my hearing is kind of clear/not clear depending on the amount of congestion I have at the moment.

Here is the first track of the year: It's Raining. Feel free to leave me feedback or comments as I'm sure I need lots of input to improve the recording/mixing process. Thanks for listening.


  1. Plugging in headphones -

    I really like how the song starts. Great rhythm on EZ Drummer!

    I think everything is in the right place sonically. Nice rhythm work, great bass, and love the lead work. It has a really nice laid back production feel to it.

    Fantastic vocal TC.

    The only thing is that the end is very sudden. Perhaps everything ringing out at the end? Just an idea.

  2. Very nice, TC. Enjoyed the listen and well, written. Excellent instrumental that works nicely with the lyric and vocals. The end leaves me hanging as well like there needs to be just a tiny something more there rather than the quick cut off. Maybe just a repeat of the last line again as a tag to let the listener know it's the end before the drop off. Awesome work!