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Stinkeye

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Jul 13th, 2009
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Stinkeye

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This song is sort of a milestone for me because it’s the first time I have played drums live on a recording. I bought a drum set on craigslist a few months ago because I grew tired of using computer drum loops. While it’s more complicated and the timing is not as precise, I think it’s way more satisfying to bang out your own beats.
The end of June was nigh and I had nothing written. I was dreading the possibility of more software problems like I had last time. I am pretty busy right now so I needed this song to be simple and quick. Since I had nothing, I setup the mics, turned on the “tape recorder” and started doing sound checks – with zero expectations. As it turned out, the sound check became the song and most of the tracks used were first takes.
First I made up this simple little ditty on the acoustic guitar and I kept repeating it until my fingers hurt. So then I sat at the drums and I’m thinking I would just play along with the acoustic guitar track for my sound check and test different kinds of beats. There’s some ebb & flow with the timing but overall I was surprised that I managed to mostly keep the beat. Print it. Then I plugged in my electric guitar and played along with the previous two tracks to do my guitar sound check. Print it; next. I was digging this one-take-roll, but then as soon as I started thinking about it, I lost it, because the bass took 3 takes for some reason and the solo is still sloppy. The final instrument I played on the song has been puzzling people. Do you care to guess what it is? Please leave your guesses in the comments section and I will let you know later.
I wrote some lyrics for it , but I decided that the song is better as an instrumental. And while the perfectionist in me wanted to spend time burnishing off the warts, editing and mixing to perfection, I decided I liked it raw and imperfect; with the warts and the limp. Recording this song was a good lesson for me. When you go to record, there is often a nervousness and pressure to get the track perfect, which can cause your performance to be stiff and lifeless. Instead of digging into your soul, you spend too much effort listening to make sure you are not messing up. At least I often do, as I am a hack who never practices and never masters any instrument, so when recording I feel the pressure to be on my game. But in this case I had no expectations and no idea what I would play from one second to the next. It was as liberating as a drunken late-night jam session with old friends who know you well. Sure, there are some flaws, but perhaps it has a bit of that life-force that a jam tape or live set might have, rather than the clinical perfection of so many modern recordings. Many people say the problem with modern recordings is that they’re too perfect. This song certainly doesn’t suffer from that.

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  1. Derrick - .... спасибо....

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