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Blog: Recording Update

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Development of the new solo album continues APACE, notably this week with a drastic change to the very title itself. Originally I was going to call it "Back To The Office" with the cover being a picture of me sat at a desk in reference to the cover of "Back In The Juge AGANE", but the other day I had a new idea that was a) a bit less BORING than that and b) a lot easier to photograph. ALSO it was somewhat RIDICULOUS, and PRECISELY the sort of thing that I would never be able to get away with usually. Part of the PLAN for this album is to do it all myself without consulting ANYBODY about ANYTHING, thus hopefully making a whole load of idiotic mistakes that would never usually happen, and I feel that the title and image chosen will be a prime example. FEAR NOT, gentle reader, it is nothing AWFUL, but I do think it is quite funny!

Other IDEAS include a GRATE Dance Routine what I have devised for a song about a specific Change Management Methodology, and making stumbling steps towards the realms of TIK TOK which I am going to vaguely try to use to promote it all. These may all take a while to actuall DO but, as I continue to remind myself, the world is not exactly DEMANDING I finish this quickly, so I'm going to take my time!

RECORDING itself has also continued. Last week I got to the stage where there was a DRAFT of every track, and so settled down to try doing some MASTERING. Usually I do this by just sticking tracks into my audio software and pressing COMPRESS, but early attempts weren't coming through hugely satisfactory, so I thought I'd have a go at LEARNING how to do it properly. THUS I downloaded a proper guide which was full of loads of stuff I didn't understand AT ALL, although it did have a couple of really helpful points, notably that you should select a few GUIDE tracks by other acts to listen to in order to work out LOUDNESS and so on. I chose "Kaizen" by Peaness, "Chaise Longue" by Wet Leg and "I Guess I Drifted" by Gavin Osborn. The album doesn't really SOUND like any of these (chance would be a fine thing!) but that's mostly what I'm listening to and LIKING at the moment, so it seemed like something to aim for.

This mostly worked well - apart from GUITARS nearly all of the other instruments have been done via MIDI, so the quality sounded pretty good - until I got to mixing the VOCALS. These sounded rather less good, which I'm sure will come as a terrifying surprise to most. Obviously my SINGING is a thing of joy and wonder, so that couldn't be the problem, and I soon realised that it must be at least partly to do with how it was recorded. I have been using the microphone in my old digital four-track so far, which is not wonderful, and so I've since spent AGES trying to work out how to make it better. Eventually, after wondering about breaking my own RULES and going to an actual STUDIO to record all the vocals, I remembered that I had a tiny condensor microphone that I used to use on my PREVIOUS digital four track to record Totally Acoustic shows. The microphone socket on that device stopped working, which is why I got the new one, but THAT one didn't have "ghost power", which meant the microphone stopped working.

To cut an EXTREMELY LONG and (I think) VERY INTERESTING story short, I spent a couple of hours digging around in my Drawer Of Wires, looking up the above mentioend Ghost Power, mucking around with different leads and sockets, and delving into the hidden mysteries of LATENCY before FINALLY getting to the point where I could use the condenser microphone to record vocals DIRECTLY into my actual laptop. I was hugely delighted by this possibility, and so the next stage of proceedings will be to a) do remixes AGANE of everything without vocals b) attempt to do NEW vocals for everything in this way then c) MIX it and hope it all works this time. As stated previously, nobody is screaming for a release date (although I am sure they will be once these THRILLING DETAILS are UNLEASHED) so i can take my time with it.

I'm also very conscious that it's highly likely nobody will either notice or care about all this - I was reminded of this the other day after about half an hour of worrying about some PIZZICATO VIOLINS in the last ten seconds of one song - but it's a highly enjoyable project for now. I look forward to unleashing the finished product out into the waiting world, maybe even some time this year!

posted 9/6/2022 by MJ Hibbett

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