Thoughts about the new album:
The music will be defined as much by what was left out, or what we did not use or do, as by what we will do. The music will be recorded with 21st century recording equipment, but with a 20th century recording ethos.
a trio of musicians
a Flamenco guitar, an electric bass guitar amd a drumkit
contrary to common 21st century recording practices, these are methods we will not use:
no time shifting
no overdubs (((I am not going to avoid overdubs at all costs – if a song calls for it, I might do an overdub – as an exception)))
You might already know my thoughts about modern dynamic compression. I know, it’s very confusing, but there are two kinds of music compression. There is Audio Compression, which is a form of data compression to reduce the file size, e.g. mp3, AAC, FLAC, ALAC. And then there is Dynamic Range Compression, which is what I am talking about. I have mentioned this often before, for example here, here, here, and here. I might do a little dynamic compression, as much as I used on The Scent of Light, but am considering doing no compression for the HD version of the album. I’ll do whatever sounds best.
Jon told me that the Yamaha Subkick microphone arrived at his studio and we will check it out tomorrow during rehearsal. As you might have noticed, I generally prefer having a large, heavy kick sound (((I have often used a modified 808-type kick))) on the first beat of each measure, leaving the rest of the bar open for percussion and bass. That is something I have done since Solo Para Ti, where Davo brought in a huge marching drum we used as a kick. My plan for this album is to record Michael’s kick drum with several microphones – Jon wants to use three altogether – giving us a lot of low-end from the Yamaha Subkick and a tighter sound from the other mics. Rather than having a huge kick sound every time Michael plays the drum, my plan is to use the subkick on the one of the beat (((or wherever I want the accent))) and to mute it for the rest of each bar, leaving the tighter kick sound in those places. This will mean quite a few hours of muting, but I like that we are not overdubbing a low-low kick – it’s the natural performance as captured by the microphones. One reason I like the low-low kick is that there isn’t anything else that will deliver that sort of physical sensation, as neither the guitar nor the bass really cover that spectrum. If you listen closely, I have done several albums (((Little Wing and Innamorare come to mind))) where Jon overdubbed some synth bass, which has more low-end than a fretless bass guitar, because I wanted that physical element.
In a way this is going to be the most hybrid of my albums. I am writing and playing without considering anything external. There isn’t even an occasional look to any tradition here. It’s Post-Category music. The music is defined only by the chemistry of the trio. There is a great feeling of independence, of liberation.
PS: I didn’t end up using the subkick mic in the manner I envisioned above. We liked the sound of the subkick microphone by itself and I didn’t use the second mic we had set up – just in case. I also didn’t mute anything and went with the kick as performed. We did end up doing a few overdubs: a couple of rhythm guitar parts at the end of Backwards Firefly, the guitar soli in the verses of Future Green, Jon’s bass solo on Dancing Alone, the tambourine on Jump and the djembe on Future Green and Backwards Firefly – and that’s all.