Monday, January 2, 2017

The Queens Squirrel

Over this last fall I have had a young man staying in the studio. He is smart, ambitious and with a great ear. He writes songs and is into tinkering with sounds and making beats.

When he initially came to the studio we started talking about the creative process of doing things and what it means.

One of the first things I told him was the importance of finishing things. It really doesnt matter if it is good or bad or if the guitar needs tweaking. At the end of the day you want to have that stereofile so that you can sit in the car or at home and listen to it with a bit of distance. Things that seem incredibly important and the basis of the track might sound completely different when you step away from it. I trust my impulses when it comes to working in the studio. I follow them to the end. Do a roughmix of the track and then I leave it alone. If there is something good there I can go back and work on it some more but I need a roughmix so that I can listen to it with some distance and actually hear it as a whole and not just a collection of sounds running at the same time.

When you work fast and let all the ideas and impulses link into each other it creates a continous flow. You work within a line of reasoning. I hear the sounds in my head before I do them. This sounds incredibly naive and simple but its a lot harder than you might think.

There is also another aspect of working fast and that is that you sort of relax and lose you inhibitions. If you do a little weird track and its embarrassing and just move on and do another one...but you have widened your experience.

Also when finishing things you have to see a bigger arch going over the track. How you can build an arrangement in the mix by fading in and out. If you only have a handful of tracks you can create depth and dynamics with levels, panning and reverbs/delays. The more channels you have the easier it becomes to build a foundation in the arrangements. Its not very likely that you will be autopanning your floor toms in a wild erratic manner....and if you have vocals things have a tendency to become even more static.

One of the biggest autokomp organs ever made.

The track I posted yesterday...

...was a intellectual trap if you want. A version of a Readymade. The autokomp is from a Yamaha synth I bought at a fleamarket in Sundbyberg. Nothing really happens except that it fades out into a very luxurious AKG reverb. But what I like about the track is that it makes you actually listen to this weird autokomp pattern and instead of turning it off. It just stays there and then sinks into a great lush reverb. Did "I" create it? Well not really but I presented it in a way so that people would actually sit down and listen to a Yamaha autokomp machine for two minutes. There is also tension in the fact that it is so simple and doesnt really change.

There is also that thing with listening to something very small and self-contained where your creative mind starts spinning "What would I add to this?". What could I hear on top? Where is this music coming from? And by forming these questions something actually happens. There is an exchange.
Even if its something as simple as turning on a synth and pressing play.

The track of the day was recorded a week two after we got back from the Necromonkey tour. After the last show Jon drove from Chicago to New York. We dropped off our gear at Toms place and then wehn to Queens to hang out with Faye. The morning after I went to the store and I saw this super cute squirrel running on a fence. When I got back home I started recording a lot and needed a song title.

I think this track came from experimenting with triggering the Moogerfooger Murf with the Volcas sync out. when the young man left the studio after spending almost three months there I asked him " many songs did you finish?" He replied "One....I think. It needs just a bit more work"

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