Sing For your Supper – Part 2

So Part 1 was shit – we can all acknowledge that and go on, it’s all going to be thrown away anyway. The one problen though is that it’s so shit that it actually becomes difficult to perform against it. I found that when I recorded other instruments over such a raw track I kept losing the feel of the song and going back to thinking about how crap the guide is.

In order to address this I do three simple things:

1 – I add relevant compression to each track – it just makes it stand out a bit more. You’ll find a lot of trach talk about over-use of compression everywhere you go but for a home recorder it’s likea “make everything a little bit cooler” button.

2 – Add chorus on the acoustic guitar. it just opens theaudio field a little bit and if I’m truthful it smudges my playing just the right amount. 😉

3 – Reverb on the vocals – Reverb that will sound awful with a large amount of instruments can make a crappy vocal take acceptable. Cheap trick – I know.

So listen to the result after you’ve listened to Part 1. Bear in mind that there are no re-takes, it’s just the same basic audio file with a lick of paint. This also helps with some of the composition tasks. The chorus effect introduces some interesting hamonics and helps me find interesting notes to lay over the track once I’m done with the more basic elements.

The next task is the bassline and this is where I could usually use some help…

Sing for Your Supper – Part 1

Her is the first version of the guide track.

The first version is always the worst – no effects, no equalisation, no compression – it’ll sound empty and every issue in the recording will stand out. Ignore the drums as far as possible, all this needs to achieve is to keep my notoriously haphazard approach to timing in somekind of check – extra points to those who spot the mistakes. Extra-extra points if you don’t point them out.

The only thing that’s important with this take is that the structure is in place and that the guide track gives all the cues that are necessary for the instruments that will follow.

Take a listen – revolting eh?

Recording “Sing for your supper”

I started recording “Sing for your supper” this morning. This is a song that Sharkbrother used to play as part of our set in days gone by so there are a few people out there who know it well. I wrote the song over 20 years ago during my national service. In some ways it foretold those dark days between 1990 and the sharkbrother success when I used to busk in northern suburb malls for small change.

The song is about whatever the listener thinks it’s about. besides, i wrote it so long ago I don’t even remember who I was back then. 

The process I use for new recordings is starting to get familiar, comfortable… I usually lay down a guide track against a basic beat. In the case of sing for your supper the tempo is 90 bbm; fairly slow. The guide track is vocals and acoustic guitar together. Initially I was using my 12 string, which you can probably still hear on some of the recordings from early 2010 such as Resolutions. On the last 5 numbers I have used my Seagull S6 Folk – it’s a wondrful little guitar with a big voice, far bigger than it’s size would lead you to believe.

The first vocal take is through the JoeMeek JM27, usually without using the compressor, mainly because there is no real reason as this take will be dumped later.

In the next few posts I’ll upload thetracks as they progress. I hope you find it interesting.