Monday in Santa Fe

02010-03-09 | Music | 7 comments

I uploaded the February slideshow.

That is the first chorus of another still unnamed piece. When one plays rhythm and melody at the same time it is difficult to bring out the melody nicely against the chords. What I normally do is to separate the two parts and record them separately. Take “Up Close: Beginning”, from The Scent of Light, for example. There I first recorded the arpeggio and then the melody. This meant that I could create their relationship in the mixing proess by turning up the volume of the melody against the rhythm-arpeggio (((and, of course, against all of the other instruments))).

This time I did not want to do that. As you can hear, there is a wonderful flow from the shuffle rhythm of the verse to the the straight four of the chorus and back. After my signal (((the single note after the arpeggio… I love the hi-hat playing the next single note with the guitar))) we go to a closing chord and Michael sets the tempo and feel for the chorus. The drums straighten out and at the end of the chorus I set the new tempo and feel of the shuffle for the next verse. And, well, the melody of the guitar in the chorus wasn’t loud enough. If I turn up the guitar track, the arpeggio will get louder as well, so that’s not an option. I could try making just the melody note louder, through editing or automation, but that doesn’t usually sound very good because one can hear the guitar getting louder and softer.

Then I had an idea. I asked Jon to double the chorus melody on a synthesizer. The next morning I had a couple of music files in our Dropbox, the melody played on a Moog synth and the melody played on Jon’s grand piano. I placed the Moog on the left, outside of the bass, and the piano on the right outside of the drums. Very pretty, I think, and the perfect solution for the piece of music. The melody is brought out, but the performance of the trio is kept intact. Listen on headphones to best hear the stereo image.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world.
– John Muir

Oh my, that’s well said. From the Upaya newsletter.
Old Hungarian bike cartoon:

(Via Milano Fixed)


  1. Matt Callahan

    So it doesn’t go unsaid, hearing the steps of the recording and mixing process is great. Like handling pieces of a puzzle before putting it all together.

  2. yumi

    Matt, just yesterday I thought it was like layers of sumi/ink. The style of layering the ink to make something beautiful, meaningful.

  3. yumi

    Bike cartoon p.s.: Hilarious. Number zero. Love the angel part in the beginning.

  4. dave

    I agree with Matt, hearing about the recording/mixing process is fascinating. I read The Beatles Recording Sessions some years back, which documented the recording process of all their songs but this is in real time, or at least in real-er time.

  5. Brenda

    Applause, Smiles to Slideshow, Sensational Chorus, and yes the wisdom and music of Gusztav cartoonist that reminds me of how being self-centered has no winner.

  6. Adam Solomon

    gah! this is fantastic. somehow i’m late to a bunch of these. but this album is coming along incredibly, it seems. can’t wait.

  7. Adam Solomon

    Just to throw this in there (now that I’m taking a closer look and noticing it), Jon’s synth work on the chorus is perfect here. It really brings out that nice chorus melody and fits in seamlessly.


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