Recording day 5

First up today was the re-recording of Father God you reign, which actually appeared on the Rooted album In the beginning.  I remember being pretty pleased with the original recording back when I did it, but the more I listened to it the more I thought there was more that could have be done with it.  It needed to be louder.  It needed to be more rocky.  It needed better electric guitar sounds.  It needed better guitar solos.  So I decided to re-record the song from scratch to appear on this album as well.

I started off with a drum track, using drum loops, and then added guitars, bass and vocals.  I’ve given it a slightly edgier feel, and hopefully a more mature interpretation too.  It took a while to get right though.  A younger version of myself would have dismissed most rock music as being unsophisticated and requiring very little intelligence – after all, it’s just a case of turning the guitars up too loud and playing three chords…  But I’ve learnt in recent years that there is a definite art to creating a convincing ‘rock’ sound, and getting just the right sound from the guitar and amp combination is tricky stuff.  And of course if you then add in complex guitar solos as well, you can take it to a whole new level again.

Now, I’m not saying that my recording of Father God you reign would compare to a version recorded by Brian May, for instance, but it is pretty rocky, and I reckon it’s much better than the version I did for the Rooted album.  We’ll see once it’s been edited.

After that I drew my attention to The Lord watches over you, which is a song I tried to do with Rooted but never really got the hang of it.  Turns out it’s not really something for a band after all, which explains why I could never make it work.  So instead of featuring the guitar, which is how I wrote it, I’m using an electric piano and giving it a decidedly jazzy beat.  I had lots of fun experimenting with keyboard sounds, working out how to get the sound I wanted out of Logic Express’s software instruments and effects.  I actually ended up doubling up the part onto two voices, to give it a bit of depth and character, panned either side of central to give it a sense of space.

And then I had to think about percussion.  I had been quite impressed by the sound of the jazz drums software instrument on Logic Express which I used earlier in the week for another track, so I played around with that for this track too.  But not before recording some finger clicks!  It all started to take shape nicely, especially once the vocals were added.

As a finishing touch, I recorded some more piano, this time a ‘real’ sound rather than an electric one.  You just can’t have a jazzy track without some improvisation, so I went wild on the keys!  It needed two takes for me to be satisfied, although I’ll probably still tweak it later on – it’s recorded as a MIDI track so I can move notes around and take out some of the mistakes if I need to!  Not quite in the jazz mentality, but there we go.

So that’s 9 songs recorded in 5 days.  I’ve actually decided not to do the last one after all.  I wasn’t entirely convinced by it when I was writing it, if I’m honest, but I added it to my to-do list for this album just to fill it up.  But having done a whole week of recording, I don’t think I could make it work to the same standard as the rest of the tracks, and it doesn’t really fit with the general direction of the album as a whole.  So tomorrow I can focus on revisiting the other tracks and then packing up in good time.  I know I still have a guitar solo to add to Father God you reign, and I will probably re-record the other guitar parts too as I’m still not 100% happy with them – the timing is still out in places where I’ve rushed ahead of the beat a bit.  But overall, I think it’s been a very productive week!

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