music, writing

how the magic happens

Sitting in my sonic bubble. Headphones on, bass plugged in, staring at a sheet of glass – sucked into the vortex of 21st century recording software’s infinite possibilities (Logic, if you’re curious, and the irony of such a name for something that helps birth so many imaginings is not lost on me).

I pour one piece, a three-minute snippet of my analog soul, into this magic box, one take at a time. Notes and melodies and chords alchemized into ones and zeros.

screenshot of Logic

I used to resist this – longing for the “good ol’ days” of 2-inch tape and the legends of Abbey Road, but I now embrace my new electric overlord that lets me massage, prod and nudge these rainbow-colored sound waves until they more closely resemble this auditory loop that constantly runs through my head and won’t let me sleep.

And it’s overwhelming. I’m closer to the ‘rank beginner’ end of the spectrum than I wish when it comes to recording demos – bringing them to proto-life before I share them with the other wizards who will complete the metamorphosis.

So I have a process, a method that I’m sticking to for now. Don’t know if it’s the right one yet, but it’s something to follow so I Have Something To Do when I sit down:

For each instrument (I’m keeping it simple, so it’s not much more than vocals, guitar and rhythm section), I lay down two to four tracks – at least two because even if your first take is wicked awesome, there should be at least one more “just in case.” No more than four because then it’s just too much to listen back to. Your ears start herding cats and I just don’t have time for that.

Hopefully you have what you need by this time. But if you’re still figuring out what the hell you’re doing (this friggin bassline, for example), then cobble together something with what you have using the powers granted by Logic to help you along. Let your amazing live-in wizard (ie my husband Jamie) take a listen and offer his wisdom, then learn to play that new part and lay it down again.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s achingly slow right now – though faster than two months ago. But something interesting is happening. I’m getting excited. New ideas are coming to me and old things that aren’t working are dropping away. The song is taking shape before my eyes and ears. Yeah, I’m getting real excited.

Which means whatever this is I’m doing, I’m on on the right path. So I’m going to keep on trucking, one track at a time.

Hope you’ve found a path worth taking, too. Something that makes your insides glow.

Wishing you luck on your journey!

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Bob Lee October 8, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Love it.

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