Tracking has completed today!
By “tracking”, I mean recording stuff that is not MIDI – or, in other words, stuff that is recorded onto an audio track in the DAW. And considering that all of my synths (or at least those I use for this project) are MIDI-controllable, it also means “everything non-synth”.
Parts for Tracking
There were two things to consider with regard to the tracks which were to be tracked (read: not done via synthesizer), and also how it would be done. Starting with the second one: I had at some point made the decision that this would be a solo album in the sense of “everything played by me”, so I could only record parts that I was able to play.
As the album is meant to be a synth-heavy album, tracking would also be limited to just a few tracks. And also coming back to a discussion I had with Thomas Mathie about an earlier project idea of mine (now disbanded, but incidentally also bearing the working title Erlanger Programm). In this conversation, Thomas suggested to be careful (or rather: know what to do) when putting acoustic parts onto a synth album, as it can completely change the mood.
So the idea was to limit tracking to parts that were either hard to do with synths, or played a very pivotal role in a given part. All in all, that would mainly be the lead parts (whatever that means). And based on that, I had the idea to have (at least) one tracked part for each major (read: uppercase-letter-named) part.
Part A: Electric Guitar
Of course, for A the part to track is the electric guitar. It restates the main theme and then continues to lead through the C section in this part’s formal structure.
Here, I used my trusted Ibanez Superstrat, and this actually went rather smoothly.
Part B: Electric Bass Guitar
This part doesn’t really have a lead. There’s some kind of melody in the mid-section, but this is a synth. And really, the action in this part happens in the sampled drum parts. There is, however, an electric bass guitar, which for the DMU I had realized using a sampler patch of an electric bass guitar. So what to do?
I decided to dig out my trusted Tune 6, record that, then create a MIDI part from that, and drive a sine-based synth patch from that.
Part C: Counterpoint
Part C is a four-voice noise counterpoint on top of an ambient piano bed. Of course, there’s no lead voice, but on the other hand, the noise parts need to be tracked anyway.
This was actually the first thing that got tracked for this album, and has also been documented ins some detail.
Part D (and a’): Melodica. And Electric Bass Guitar again
Part D and the biggest part of part a’ is a melodica as the lead instrument. While I was relatively happy with the harmonica patch in HALion replacing that in the DMU, this should be tracked. Which was not so simple, because the sixteenth-triplets at 141 bpm had me a little challenged. Still, I got it done, and continued to record the a’ part as well, this also with the vintage Hohner Professional.
As I was quite happy with the electric bass for part B, I decided to record the bass part here just in case. This time, it was the Ibanez EDA905 fretless that was used. Super-deep sound from the neck pickup – I won’t need a sine-synth doubling that…
Well, sound design, of course! And mixing. And editing. And starting on the master. And cover art. But I’m truly confident about the “still in 2015” deadline!