Thursday, September 29, 2005

When the gods conspire, they think they're being cute

All I really want to do is get my songs recorded. It shouldn't take that long... there are about eighteen of them, and I have everything I need to get it done. My mics and mic stands are set and ready to go, my Baby Taylor is all tuned up, my recording interface is linked to the laptop, and my mixing program is up and running. Naturally, I need a few obstacles to contend with, because things look too easy at this point.

Obstacle #1: Natural forces. It simply can't be helped that I live on a busy street in the Bronx. I have to time my recording opportunities just so, else I suffer the consequence of some very melodic car horn or fire truck accompaniment on my track.

Obstacle #2: Kyadden. The cat is direly opposed to certain songs. On one or two of them, he makes it a point to voice his opinion. Loudly. One track took ten takes before I could get a clean non-mewing version.

Obstacle #3: Weird mic noise. At one point, for no aparent reason whatsoever, my instrumental mic began making strange noise. It continued to do so for about an hour, which set me back a good bit.

Obstacle #4: My roommate. Completely accidental, of course. She wasn't due to be home during the afternoon I was recording, but she popped in to get something that she'd left in the apartment. The door opened rather loudly, which lost me a really good take.

Obstacle #5: Perfectionism. Thing is, I'm hardly a perfectionist. One little flaw can screw up the whole take, though, which means another take. And another. And another. And another twelve.

Obstacle #6: The mixing software. I'm not as good at using it as I could be, and the book that comes with it doesn't seem to explain things very well. Unless, of course, I'm an idiot. I can read Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and about a hundred gazillion scientific journals, but I can't for the life of me read this book that might enable me to work this stupid program correctly.

Obstacle #7: Vocal fatigue. After twelve takes, it gets hard to keep singing these angst-ridden, belligerent songs of mine. By the time I've gotten all the other kinks sorted out, I'm just too vocally tired to keep trudging through the song. Then, after I've taken a break, I'm sort of out of the groove, if that makes any sense, so it's back to square one.

Obstacle #8: Tedium. I mean, not only is it just emotionally taxing after seven or eight hours, but it's also very lonely work with no feedback from anyone on how I'm doing and how things sound. I'm sitting by myself in my room, wheeling on an office chair back and forth between my mics and my computer. At the end of it all, I get so tired that I end up settling for passable, mediocre recordings that, with some help from at least one other warm body, could be much better, I'm sure.

Obstacle #9: Busted cuatro. I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm pretty confident that I can blame one of the cats. The cuatro fell from somewhere, and now the bottom of it is cracked open pretty badly. I can still play it, but it can't exactly maintain its tuning for longer than one song, so I constantly have to stop what I'm doing and retune the thing.

Obstacle #10. The Baby Taylor. My sweet, sweet Baby Taylor. Right in the middle of a pretty decent take, a string pops, whacking me in the forehead. My head's fine, but now the Baby Taylor's temporarily out of commission. That hurts, man. That hurts deep.

Yeah, I know... it could be worse. I'm certainly glad to at least have the equipment with which to record, whatever the quality of the outcome. My dad's in Venezuela right now, so he can get me a new cuatro while he's there. As for the Baby Taylor, I can get it restrung this weekend. Still, I can't help but feel there are powers at work here, impeding my every attempt at progress. Curses, I say, as I rail against the forces of fate that ceaslessly seek to thwart my endeavors! Ugh... whatever. I've fought through worse. Besides, I have two weeks to finish this thing in time for having a complete CD to hawk at the CBGB gig. At this rate, most people would panic. Me, I have little choice but to panic very silently and briefly, then suck it up and pick up another guitar.


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