From the Studio - Take 11

It's been awhile ( six weeks, actually) since I did a "From the Studio" update. The reason for that is that our vocalists have spent the last six studio sessions doing their part, and have had little need for a guitar player or arranger. The break was well needed, though, as the project had been consuming much of my time for four months.

Not that I've been doing nothing. Besides the actual recording, there's been working on the cover art, planning the packaging and distribution, working on the press kit. Lots of stuff to do. (A tentative version of the front cover is shown to the right. )

Last night was the last full vocal session. Everything is just about "in the can" so to speak. The plan for last night was to do three things. 1) redo the acoustic part on "You Said." 2) have Mariah record her parts on "You Said" 3) have Mariah record her parts for "From the Inside Out."

I was redoing the acoustic part on "You Said" for one basic reason - it didn't sound good. When it was just music, it sounded fine, but as the vocals got layered over it, there were two problems with it: there were a couple of timing issues, and the chord voicing didn't sound right with the vocals. We're doing the song in A, but I had played the song in a G voicing with a capo, the way we do it live. But recorded, the guitar sounded a bit tinny behind the voices. So we redubbed it, this time using the open A chords. I also stripped down how I was playing it, as it sounded a little busy.

Once that was done, it was time for Mariah to step up and sing. Our arrangement of this song is vocally layered over simple accompaniment. She was doing choruses, the bridge and the tag. One of the things we're doing is called "doubletracking." Doubletracking is a technique where a singer sings over a previous take in order to get a "bigger" sound. It's not as easy as it sounds, as the second take has to be just about exactly like the first take in timing, inflection, vibrato - everything that goes into a performance. The other challenge was that Mariah was singing aharmony part, and thus had to sing a third above the music. (Basically sing in the key of C while the music played in A.)

Obviously the vocalists have been working hard during the past six weeks, because Mariah not only nailed the key and the timing, but the doubletrack as well. Moving on to the second song, she breezed through that as well, as if she's been doing it for years.

It was exciting listening to the songs, now that all the parts have been assembled. All that's left to record vocally is for Josh to do two choruses on one song, and then record a couple of spoken parts for a short interlude on the record. We should get that done early in the next session, then it will be time to do the final mix and get ready for mastering.


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