A little insight into the recording process


OK, so now there’s 36 bars of a guitar track for my next track in the making. This equals about half a day’s work. Why that much? And why was I being slow? Can’t I play at all? Let me explain:
I left it the way it is now at about the 30th take into it. When I say “take”, I mean to say one ENTIRE track of recorded guitar, from bar 12 through 38. Don’t get me wrong: I had a decent take on the first attempt, yes. But then: It was only decent. I don’t by any means claim that the current track is perfect or anointed or anything. But it’s the least quality I’m satisfied with. So now why does it take so long?
Ok: I found out that I sound more organic when doing “entire tracks of takes” – in this case: About 36 bars at ONE GO! That again means, if I mess up anywhere in between … – you guessed it! – I stop the recording, go right back to the top of the track and start all over. Most often, I delete the current take right away unless I feel there were some parts I might be using later (which I rarely do, given the approach of taking the entire track in one go). To give you an example: Let’s say, a string accidentally snaps or “tingles” (in not a musical way) on the neckboard at bar 37… YES! I go RIGHT BACK TO THE VERY TOP and start all over!!! And I keep doing that as many times as it takes for me to be “OK” with the recording. When I say OK I don’t mean to be fishing for compliments, either. It’s really just that: When I’m ok with it, that’s when I leave it as is and move on. No sooner than that. If that requires for me to come back for an entire week until I got it right – I will! If it means, I have to drop some heavier parts and play something simpler, I will. If it means I’ll drop the take altogether… I will. The bottomline: Only – when I can lean back and listen without getting a knot in my stomach, only THEN will I warm up to the thought of actually “freezing” the take and move on to the next one.
For the songs I’ve put out so far, there’s typically between 20 and 30 individual tracks. Not all of them are single instruments. Sometimes, there’s a track with only fill-ins on drums. Other times, there are some ad libs (“random” additions) on the instrument. Sometimes, it’s a midi-track I’ve already recorded, which I copy and assign a new sound to (to “fatten” it, mostly for bass sounds, sometimes for bass drum or snares). This is just about the “raw” process of tracking instruments. The editing process… guess, that will be a different chapter.
OK, now I’m gonna take a break and do a lap of bike-riding or swimming, then back to the “sweatshop” later LOL.

Have a great day, everyone!
Peace,
wesbound

Song+additional info: Will this be the MP3 successor?


MusicDNAvia Jazzdrummerworld.com: Interesting article on a new file format that might eventually supersede the somewhat dated MP3 format. The idea in a nutshell: Attach additional information like lyrics, photos, live tweets, updates of all kinds to the song itsself. Sounds promising to say the least. Apple as well as traditional major labels are experimenting with this format as well as derivatives. Digital music lovers should keep an eye open on that.

update: Here’s another source discussing this. As well as this one, pretty much opposing the enthusiasm of the first two sources.

Collaboration with Brian O’Neal


For the past months, I must admit to have become s.th. like an online-addict – on any regular day I spend hours on MySpace and Facebook. On one of those days, I came across a profile reading ‘Brian O’Neal’ – changing the world one ear at a time. This claim immediately caught my attention and I took the tour around his virtual home(s) – and LOVED what I saw, read, listened to. So I left a comment on his wall status and continued my daily online trip. I later found, he had commented back and noticed that I was a musician myself. This is how a more frequent communication started.

Let’s fast forward: As of this morning, I find a new message in my inbox with a download link to an updated version of one of Brian’s songs named ‘Dreams in Color’ and him asking to check it out and come back with feedback. While I had LOVED this song before, he had asked me a few weeks ago, whether I’d add an acoustic guitar track to it. At first, I wasn’t all sure what to make of it, since I thought the song was perfect then with his virtuoso piano performance and more so, as I hadn’t even TOUCHED an acoustic in years, if not decades, let alone really played it. However and so far, I think I can say I haven’t backed out of a challenge and so I started practicing and recording – it was TOUGH, but rewarding, as I noticed some progress from day to day (most aspiring musicians, whether for fun or for making a living, will remember this sometimes painstaking process of learning the building blocks of your instrumental chops).

Eventually and weeks later, I sent Brian some files, which I hoped I wouldn’t get shattered over… (which, b.t.w., is s.th. Brian would most certainly never do :-)). You can’t imagine my joy and fulfilment, when he replied in a most positive and appreciative way – I think, I might have even gotten a little ‘misty-eyed’… :-). He told me, he’d do a little bit of editing and adding one or two tracks of his own and send me a made-over version – which is the one I’m talking about.

I’d like to say that I feel honored to have crossed paths with Brian, whom I believe to be the archetype of the “New Millenium Artist”. I am grateful he has made me a part of the song. I am hoping for this collaboration to grow and continue and appreciate everything coming from it. To those of you, who are here for the first time: Thank you for visiting my page (minimal material, yet – I’ll be working on that, too… :-)).

Here’s to eventually meeting the real people behind the (online) names, faces, pictures and blog entries. Have a blessed day, may music spread and flourish in every way it is supposed to!

Peace,
w.

DiC Recording Session
Recording session at Justmusic, Munich for Brian’s song ‘Dreams in Color’.

P.S.: I would like to thank Roland Köhler at Justmusic Munich for supporting the recording session at the guitar booth – awesome, many, many thanks!
Please check out the store: http://www.justmusic.de
P.P.S:: I would also like to thank Wolfram, my high school buddy and friend since then, for letting me borrow his acoustic guitar – thanks, man!

More Acquisition in the Process


I have been dining a few times at a new Indochine restaurant in Munich, which I discovered by pure chance after a business appointment one Friday afternoon. As the appointment had gone fairly well and put me in good spirits, I spontaneously decided to reward myself by dining at the Green Leaf on Erhardtstrasse at Cornelius- in Munich, in walking distance to the former building of “Deutsches Museum” on the Isar. It wasn’t prime dining time, yet, so the place wasn’t crowded – much to my liking! I had a most delicious meal (and I can tell the differences, as I mostly prefer Asian cuisine when dining out) and the opportunity to chat a bit with the owner and the bartender. The place had just opened about a week ago and you could tell they hadn’t gotten around all finishing the furnishing, but I didn’t mind. What was already there looked and felt promising, especially the tasteful lighting. On top of it, service staff was really accessible and very, very nice – which is a rare thing in Germany in general and Munich in particular.

So I took chances and presented my music repertoire to them, handed them one of my advertising postcards and let them listen to an original tune I had just finished and happened to have with me on the iPod. Before I left, I had a larger version of the most delicious welcome drink, which is a Mango-Kiwi-Daiquiri – very tasty! When I finally headed out, the owner as well as John, the bar-tender said they’d call me about potential live performances. So, after having been there a second time and then finally today, a third time and delivering a demo CD on their request, things look, as if I might get to play there live beginning of March. Nothing’s carved in stone, yet, but I get the feeling this could be a great place to perform, as John had Smooth Jazz on the PA system all night – and every night I went there. And on top of it all, I get the impression that we get along well with each other as people, too. I had a quite nice and lengthy talk with Tran, the owner, tonight after returning there when I had fnished watching Seven Pounds.

Along with Vielharmonie in Alling, who also announced they might book me on a rather regular basis, project wesbound is picking up pace faster than I thought it would. Hm… should I have struck the right nerve with my selection of tunes? From the looks and sounds (sic!) of it, this might actually be the case.

Interesting… in the past few years things didn’t always really pan out for me. Tentatively speaking again, this looks and feels, as if times were about to change for me – for the better… I certainly wouldn’t mind THAT at all! :D

Rethinking Priorities


I have contemplated on how to restructure my life to make more time for music. I guess, I’ll have to see to it, I continue to work for the IT/web industry part time in order to make ends meet materially. Parallel, I’ll try to land more gigs in order to make some income from playing.
Read on…