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Album scratch demos!

After the marathon of recording yesterday (basically from 8am to 6pm, by myself), I didn’t have the time or energy to actually make a post about it last night. So here we go!

I’ve recorded ten tracks yesterday, adding up to about 28.5 minutes of material in raw form though there’s a minute or two of chaff mixed in there with untrimmed starts and ends. The demos are made up almost entirely of piano, acoustic guitar, vox, and drums (with a couple bits of uke and upright bass popping up here and there); this isn’t the form I expect the final album to take, but in the interest of keeping things simple yesterday I deliberately kept the instrumentation to a minimum.

Here’s the rough demos, in track order:

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As I said, these are not attempts to nail down the actual sound of the final recordings I have in mind; they’re structural demos that are more about putting the shape of songs down on tape than anything. If you think something sounds kind of wonky or underwhelming (cf. various acoustic guitar lead bits), I probably think so too. Still, these will be really useful me to tear apart over the next week or so, and here’s why:

One of the problems I have with arranging things in my head is that I get lazy about the hard parts: I’ll have a fairly clear idea of how most parts of a song will be recorded, but then there will be a section here or there where my plan for how to execute it turns out to be about as substantial as “Then A Miracle Occurs“. Doing these demos means that I can’t keep just glossing over those bits of what’s in my head. I’m forced to make a decision, to put something down on tape.

Whether forcing my own hand like this leads to a the correct decision is a different matter; some of these put-up-or-shut-up moments reveal serious problems with an arrangement; some of them prove that I had a workable idea just needing to get hammered out; some are happy accidents that improve the song without me having planned for it at all. The important thing is I can evaluate what’s actually there and decide how to deal with it. The really important thing is I can do that while I’ve still got most of the month to make corrections.

As far as the final sound of the thing goes, I’m planning on having a lot of electric guitar on the album, and to tie in a lot more electric bass, to give the album a more solid rock feel. I may also bring in a bit of synth stuff for texture (esp. on Uh Uh); I’ve got a couple ideas for banjo cameos (Stumble, maybe Meanwhile); some slide guitar could fit in on the faux-blues-bar thing on Get You Laid; and so on. Theremin, harmonica, shakers, washboard, there’s a lot of little things that will creep into the final recordings by February 28.

I’ll be sure to talk about the individual demos here, and the distance between them and where I want to be at the end of the month (which varies a good bit from song to song), over the next week or two. I feel like I still need another song or two to help glue things together as well, specifically at the end, and I’d like to see the running time come up a bit too. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited!

One Comment

  1. Paul wrote:

    Fucking bravo!

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

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  1. Josh Millard . com » Album demos! on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    [...] Check ‘em out! [...]

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