(Here's a little disordered and random account of my latest recording efforts, written while I listen, omg what a relief, to music made by others... The thing that I hate the most about producing is that you cannot listen to music while you do it :P )
As the month of the RPM challenge advances -and the February Album Month if it still exists, I can never figure their website out-, I, more modestly, make my way into the first song of my song-a-month-challenge.
Although on second though, I shouldn't think of it as a "challenge", as I intend to use it -the learning that it produces-, as the stepping stone to my next goal, and so on. Challenges are more like "OK, I'm finished with this, now I'll go back to my well earned rest and my routine". This one is rather a "production rate" (should I say takt time?) that I intend to establish for myself, as the new basis from which to jump to the next improvements.
So where am I now? Already with delays regarding the plan (according to my plan today should be last Thursday), screwing up a lot of stuff (but either putting the means on the spot to avoid the error in the future, or well recorded in a "hansei" file that I'll revise after the song is delivered). All in all, in spite of all the mistakes, the result of being so rigurous is paying off. The song already, in my view, at certain moments has "it", that invisible snake, that "tickle" that I always try to capture and is what motivates me to start in the first place...
Organization wise, lately I've discovered the Grammy's recording standards, and I'm trying to use them as the starting point for my projects for the first time. Of course you cannot take the analogy too far; those standards are intended, among other things, to help a lot of people from different places to work together and "find the frickin' file", while in my efforts I still have little collaboration, but the rigor created by money (recording used to be a millionary industry, remember?) gives a kind of seriousness to things that can be very useful when you are wearing so many hats simultaneously. There's a lot of useful stuff in there, perhaps in the future I'll write a new post about those documents and the changes I've made for myself.
The most notable thing in this process, by now, is the continuous decission fatigue. But I'm getting better at this. For example, doing the compings, although they will never be among my favorite activities, at some times they have acquired a comic similarity to an audition, with me sitting and listening to candidate after candidate for each part; "OK, thank you, don't call us, we'll call you"...
In one of my previous posts, I made the praise of the virtues of rehearsing a lot before recording, and the point cannot be overemphasized. My pitfall in this case was the bass, that I hardly rehearsed I guess under the unconscious (and dorky) belief that "knowing the guitar parts, the bass will pretty much fall into place by itself". Wrong, and one of those cases where it would have paid off a lot to "go slow to go fast". Even though the bass line, as it is well known, is often constituted by the basic note of each guitar chord, 1) there are gazillions of exceptions to that rule, and they require -again- creative and artistic decissions that it's better to take and practice as upstream as possible. And 2) even in those places where the bass happens to mimic the base note of the guitar, still, the muscle memory you have to build for a guitar chord and for the swift fingers of the bass, are different and require their different dose of time.
None of this struggle, I'm happy to say, will show in the final track; bass is an instrument I'm very fond of, and I'm satisfied with my performance, but it took waay too much time and effort to produce it. Lesson learned for next time.
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it