Album Journal

It is December 9, 2009 and I realize that I have not spent any time keeping an account of the recording of this CD at all.  I will begin at what I feel is the beginning.

In June of 2008 I went to San Diego to see my sister who had recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  Allan and Drew also made the journey and while we were there a fan of Scaterd-Few invited Allan to play an impromptu acoustic set at a wine / beer bar downtown.  Allan mentioned to him that I was also in town and the guy provided a bass and small amp to play through.  The milestone for me was that I hadn’t played in front of people, let alone with Allan, in about 13 years.  It was fun and I enjoyed playing with Allan.  You can see a video of this in the video section of the site.

I went home and the acoustic / electric fretless Dean EAB that I ordered had been delivered.  It was great to have an acoustic to noodle on.  I spoke with Jenny and told her that playing in San Diego awoke a strong desire for me to perform my music but that I just didn’t know how to balance that kind of reality within the context of our current life.  She understood my plight and I spent July through December of 2008 meditating on this and praying a lot as well as practicing my music and writing new material.

Near the end of December 2008, I spoke to Jenny about the large open mic scene in Phoenix.  There were multiple places I could go to and play any night of the week and present my music.  I explained that I know that she and the kids like my music but I needed to know what others outside the family thought.  The fact that I would be presenting my music as a solo bassist, on fretless, with occasional vocals was outside the norm for what people usually saw at an open mic.  I told Jenny that I wanted to start playing at open mics starting in January of 2009 and that I would do it prayerfully and be as sensitive to the direction of Yahweh in this situation as humanly possible.

The first open mic was on 1/3/09 at a place called Next Coffee Company.  I was not very good but it was received well by those who were there.  Jenny and the kids came along and it was wonderful to have them there.  I played three or four nights a week at various places and each time the reception of what I was doing was the same, positive.  People were glad to have seen something different.  Then along came the month of March.

In March of 2009 Jenny’s mom Paula and her husband Mike paid for us all to fly out to Denver for a visit.  The cool thing about this visit was the opportunity for me to record my music.  Mike has a home studio in the basement of the house and we have been talking about doing this for a few years now.  We flew out and while there I was able to record Shema, Shades of a Shadow, Perceptions in the Mist, Little Man, Baroque with Kefa doing the clarinet, Rejoice in the Dance, Reflection, a not so good Whisper, Tiananmen Square, Amy, and Tehillim.  It was awesome to have Kefa record the clarinet for Baroque and he did well having never been in that type of situation before.  His tone is solid and I am proud to be able to have captured that point of time.  I was able to record bass, vocals, and the two songs that were guitar songs.  I was excited because I finally had some of my work recorded.  We flew home and I was ready to start the mixing over the internet with Mike.

Within a couple of weeks Mike had sent me a rough mix of Shema, Perceptions in the Mist, and Shades of a Shadow.  We talked about levels and what to turn down and what to turn up and he sent me a mix of Shema that I thought was wonderful and I put it up on myspace and did a video slide presentation of the studio pictures including lyrics and put is up on facebook.  People said real nice things about it and commented that they were looking forward to hearing the final CD.  Things sort of trickled off there with the mixing of the tracks with Mike and the next step in the development of the story is the reason why.

After I had posted the stuff on Facebook, a fan of Scaterd-Few requested me as a friend.   His name is Ian Baird and he is a drummer that lives in Greenville, Ill.  He messaged me and said that if there was anything he could do for me to help me get my music out that I should not hesitate to ask.  I mentioned to him that I needed percussion tracks to add an additional dimension to my music and he said that he had a home studio and to send him the tracks.  I sent them and he laid percussion on 12 of the songs and a full drum set on two others.  He also had his friend Kevin lay a keyboard track, a Hammond B3, on the song “Little Man” and another friend, Trinka, laid the vocal on “Tiananmen Square”.  Trinka’s vocal is amazing and is beyond my vision for the song.  She did these wonderful harmonies that Ian came up with that I would have never even considered.  It really makes the song more than it was.  It was fun talking to Ian almost every day to discuss each song and what I wanted as well as hearing the rough mixes of what he had laid down for the songs.  The dimension that the percussion and drumming added to the songs was wonderful to hear and was encouraging to me on the direction I saw the project heading towards.  Now I had to find a way to mix the tracks here in Phoenix and for free.

During this time I was playing 3-5 nights a week at various open mic nights around town.  While playing at Rul Bula in Tempe, a guy named Tim Thomas said he was going to be recording one of his songs soon and would I be interested in playing the session.  It was not for money but I said sure.  I went to a guy’s house that served as a home recording studio and played the session.  It went well and when the session was over and everyone left I was able to talk with the owner of the studio.  His name is Mike Post and I let him know about my project and that I was looking to record some tracks and mix the songs for release and that I was working with a “0” budget.  I asked him if he would be interested in a spec deal or possibly a barter of sessions for his clients for studio time.  He said he was interested and a week later called me in for a session.  Played the session and then on November 15? I spent the day tracking the rest of the songs for the disk.

I was in the studio again on the 18th and 27th of November and it was on the 27th that I began to piece together the parts of the intro track called “Alarm” for the CD.  While I did not actually mix the song then, I made progress on the bits that needed to be moved around and placed in the proper places.  December 7th was the next session I had.  I needed to re-record the guitar on “Tehillim” as well as lay a bass line that I had just written for that song.  Originally that song was just a guitar and vocal song but with the percussion that Ian had laid on the track it was missing the depth of the bass.  I am very happy with the bass line that I wrote for the song and after recording it I began to mix that track.  Mike did a wonderful job in following my lead as to the EQ of things and the placement of the various parts in the audio spectrum.  The mix is 80% to 85% there.  It is a matter of some gentile tweaking of the cymbal levels, the EQ of the guitar, and taking out some of the mid frequencies of the vocal.  If I can, I want to borrow a 12 string and re-do the guitar with that and give the track more of a softer sound as the guitar seems less smooth than the rest of the tracks.

Mike e-mailed me on 12/17 and asked if I could make it out to do some mixing on the 20th.  It was an obvious yes.  I called a guy I met at the open mic at Rula Bula named Doug who lives at the house of a guy named Pete.  Pete owns a 12 string guitar and I was able to borrow it to re-record the guitar on Sunday for Tehillim.  One day closer to the final mix.

The session on 12/20/09 went well.  The 12 string softened the guitar track and gave the overall song that dimension that I was hoping for.  Did some editing of the percussion part to fix some conflicting hits that one track had against another.  The hits were not a huge problem but if I could hear it then someone else would too.    I also separated the cymbal crescendos and the china cymbal hits so I could control their levels better in the final mix.  I have a session scheduled for 12/27/09 that should allow me to finish the mix for “Tehillim” and move onto another song.

The session for the 27th went well.  Mike and I made the adjustments for “Tehillim” and did a mix for it.  Having listened to it a few times since then I find that I want to bring the 12 string down as it seems to be a little strong in the mix almost in front of the percussion.  I also think that I should increase the vocal as well.  We moved on from there to “Aishes Chayil”.  We applied the EQ’s of the vocal and bass to the tracks that we had established as well as the effects for the vocal and bass.  The chorus on the bass sounded horrible so we tried a flange but it didn’t work either.  The reverb was fine and so I made the decision to have the reverb only on the bass and the rest of it dry.  I liked how that sounded.  We made a mix of it and we spent about two hours doing that one.  We may need to fix the SH and CH on the vocals as they seem a bit sibilant but overall I like the rawness of it.    The others should be as easy as this one was.

I went back into the studio on Sunday the 17th of January for some more mixing.  I softened the sibilance on the vocals of “Aishes Chayil” and I think that the mix for that one is done.  I then focused my attention to the mix and track levels of “Tehillim”.  Since my last rough mix of this song I wanted to bring down the guitars and raise the vocals.  I think that I have accomplished this on this current session and am of the opinion that the mix for this one is in the can as well.

I then moved on to the session for “Shades of a Shadow”.  In listening to the bass tracks I noticed that there were some less then sound articulations on the track and decided to re-track the bass.  I laid the new track and then mixed the song.  I am not sure yet if this is the final mix because it may be a bit too saturated with effects but that is what I was leaning toward on this track.  I need to listen to it a few million times more to know if I should back it off a bit on the chorus and reverb.

The last song I worked on in this session was “Perceptions in the Mist”.  I may re-record the bass track just to satisfy my curiosity and see if the levels would be better then the levels of the track I originally recorded.  It can’t hurt and it would only be a few minutes to do so.  Over all it was a productive session and the mixes for ‘Aishes Chayil” and “Tehillim” can be heard by clicking on the link.

Sunday 1/24/10 – Went back into the studio today from 10 AM till 2PM.  Started working on “Perceptions in the Mist” and set up to re-record the bass track but we were having issues with the system as Mike had updated the studio to Logic 9 and moved onto the balancing out of “Shades of a Shadow” as mentioned in my last entry.  I began with a clean signal and added a bit of chorus and then a slight delay and boosted the low end of the percussion track to get a bit more “boom” in the percussion.  I like the blend but may need to bring the boom down a little but you can judge that for yourself.  I then moved onto “Baroque”.

“Baroque” features my son Kefa on clarinet.  It started coming together and a rough mix was put together but since time was coming to an end, it was a simple rough mix.  When Kefa heard the mix he asked me if he could re-record his clarinet as he felt, and correctly so, that his timing was less then perfect.  He assured me that if he could have another opportunity to record his part he would place the phrasing in the right place and not have that slight tugging at the bass part.  Speaking as a father I was so proud that he could hear the inconsistency in his phrasing.  As the artist I was happy to have the “green” inexperienced playing on the recording to show the innocence of his musicianship.  I will be in the studio again on 1/31/10 and Kefa will be with me to re-record his clarinet and I am sure that we will have a great time together.

1/31/10 – The session began once again at 10:00 AM and Mike set up two microphones to record Kefa’s clarinet part on “Baroque”.  After getting levels and a re-placement of mics we began tracking the clarinet.  We did about 7 or 8 takes and then found the parts that best fit each expression of the musical phrase.  After piecing together the sections Kefa’s clarinet part was done.

“Baroque” has roughly four distinct sections and I wanted to be sure that the percussion for each part was as solid as it could be with its EQ.  In giving the attention to the parts I spent the whole day working on that one song.  We made a pass at the mix and called it a day.  I listened to the rough mix and when the fourth “section” came on in the song there is a conflict in the frequencies of the low mid range that has to be fixed.  I do not know why I only heard it at home but that is how the process works sometimes.  My next session is on February 2nd in the evening and I will be recording a trumpet player named Jim Liu on “Rejoice in the Dance”.  That should be a lot of fun.

2/2/10 – Session began about 6:00 PM.  Jim Liu was going to record some trumpet for me ala Miles Davis for the song “Rejoice in the Dance”.  We ran about three passes on the muted trumpet and then three regular.  Jim had not been in regular practice playing his trumpet so his lip began to be a bit blown out in about 40 or so minutes but I believe I can piece together a part from the bits and pieces that I have.  I also had him record some bits to send to Ian for some additional horn to be sampled onto for a “full” horn section sound.  Hope it pans out.  Session for 2/7 didn’t pan out so 2/14 was scheduled instead.

2/14/10 – Started the session at our usual 10:00 AM curtain call.  I started with recording the bass line for Ian’s cover of The Beatles “Rain” that he is doing for his Spring Clock Wonder cover album.  I did four passes and pieced together my track from those takes.  Ian really liked what I played and the rough mix he sent me was a lot of fun to listen to.  I spent the rest of the time working on a mix for “Amy” and a few minutes on “Baroque”.  The frequency issue on “Baroque” still isn’t resolved so I will need to work on the shelving of the HZ of the bass.  Going back into the studio on the evening of the 18th for more mixing.

2/18/10 – This session is on a Thursday night because Mike is flying out to visit some family in PA.  We worked on the “Baroque” frequency issue and started working on the song “Reflection”.  The general EQ parameters were applied to both the neck and bridge pickup tracks and I decided to keep the low bass clean and add a slight reverb to the high bass.  Adjustments were made to the levels of the percussion and after a blend of the bas and percussion was found, we bounced the mix and called it a night.

2/28/10 – Once again the Sunday morning session was upon me.  Start time was 10:00 AM and we spent the first hour talking about the frequency warble in the song “Baroque”.  I played a CD copy of the mix for Mike in my car and he finally heard the warble I have been speaking about.  We made various passes of the mix with and without chorus on the bass and EQ on the percussion.  It was my theory that a conflict in the lower mid frequencies of the percussion against the bass was the problem.  After making those passes we moved on to the mix of “Reflection” again.  I had noticed a couple of “fix its” while listening to the track while Mike was in PA.  We did some fixes on the mix and raised the percussion a bit to give the song a bit more balance and moved on to the song “Beauty and Bands”.  The final decision was made on the bass part and then we threw together a rough mix of the bass and percussion together to call it a day.  When I got home I listened to the different configurations of “Baroque” and I was correct that the problem was in the EQ of the percussion.  That problem having been solved, the next session will result in the finalization of the mix for “Baroque” and “Beauty and Bands”.  That will be 7 of the 15 tracks of the album finished and the half way mark on the completion of the CD.

3/7/10 – The efforts on “Baroque” continued.  An adjustment on the EQ of the percussion was made and then we bounced it.  We moved onto the song “Beauty and Bands”.  The track needed something to give it presence and I suggested putting a phase shifter on the high end bass.  It was a good move as that gave the sound of the bass part a character that just wasn’t there on the dry track.    Some minor adjustments were made to a few particular articulations by way of increasing the level of the attack on a couple of notes but other than that the mix went smoothly.  We bounced the track and moved on to “Perceptions in the Mist”.  The last time I worked on this track was 1/24 and I had been considering re-doing the bass track at the top of the song.  I had articulated a certain phrase a certain way that was “off” to me and though nobody else would know, it was bothering me.  We set up to record the track and did a fix.  Worked on the percussion and its EQ as well as the bass and bounced it.  Overall it was a productive session and I am hoping that I am closer to dialing out the frequency problem with “Baroque”.

3/14/10 – “Baroque” is becoming my nemesis.  The adjustments last week were not enough to fix the warble issue.  We tweaked it some more and bounced two mixes that had different adjustments.  I hope the first one is the one.  Jumped back into the session for “Perceptions in the Mist” because I had forgotten that I wanted to have the harmonic pan alternately from left to right then right to left each time it played.  We set up the automation for that and added a final wind chime at the end of the song.  It all came out nicely and I am pleased with the final result.  We then began to work on the mix for a song called “Whisper”.  “Whisper” is a song played using harmonics so its overall aesthetic is mellow.  Right away I knew that a certain percussion hit, that will be called the “clack”, was too forward in the track.  Mike was able to isolate the clack and we began to edit the bits and pieces of the percussion track to mellow the clack on the track.  We were unable to finish the work on this track as time ran out as it always does.  There are two vocal tracks on the song.  One track is done as a spoken word and the other is sung.  The two tracks are combined on the rough mix I have but I want to have them separated and alternating on each verse from left to right.  I think that would be a nice effect on the song and change it up a bit.  I look forward to the mix session on the 18th and by the way, the first bounce of the fix we did for “Baroque” worked.  You can hear all the un-mastered mixes on the player located in the media section of the website.

3/18/10 – Started the session at 5:00 PM.  We spent the session working on the song “Whisper”.  Mike began by continuing the editing of the “clack” track and once that was finished we checked and adjusted the other percussion parts and then moved onto the vocals.  We adjusted the vocals in the manner I had described in the previous entry and brought them down a little in the mix.  We also moved the final vocal lines which began on the first bar of the musical phrase to the second bar of the phrase which worked out well.  We bounced the rough mix at the end of the session so I could listen to the progress of the song and the mix is coming along nicely.  It is close to its finality and this coming session should wrap it up.  Upon listening to the track at home I think that the vocals should come up a bit in the mix and a certain percussion part in what I refer to as the chorus part is panned to far to the right and needs to be centered.  Other than that, it sounds close to being done.

3/25/10 – My brother Allan and his wife Cristina were in town today.  Cristina stayed home with the kids and Allan went to the studio with me for the mix session.  It was nice to have him along for the session and have his input on the efforts of the day.  I began by making the adjustments to “Whisper” that I had mentioned in the previous entry.  I panned the percussion part to the center and increased the vocals a bit to clarify them.  We then did some clean up of the vocal track to take out unwanted breath sounds or mouth clicks in between the lyrical phrases.  The overall mix remained the same and we bounced the track.  I then began work on the song “Shema”.  Allan commented on how funny it was that I would start with the bass and getting it situated first.  He always starts with the drums, specifically the bass drum, and then builds from there.  I thought that was funny as well.  Time got short and we called the session after bouncing a rough of “Shema”.  It was nice to have that studio moment with Allan.

4/18/10 – No session on 4/4 because I was traveling back home from observing the Passover and the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in California as well as visiting my family while out in CA.   4/11 was a non-session due to a communication mix-up that occurred because Mike was waiting to hear from me and I was waiting to hear from him, funny how things like that happen.  Worked it out and returned to the studio on 4/18.  I was listening to the rough of “Shema” and realized that the cowbell, “More Cowbell”, was not going back and forth between two tones but staying on a single note.  Turns out that Ian had automated the bell to do that on the session but that the automation was not on the session that ended up on Mike’s system.  I had planned to take the CD’s of the original sessions to Mike’s but I forgot them at home.  Since I could not fix the cowbell without the session disks I chose to move on to the song “Looking Darkly Through a Mirror” instead.  We began to work on the percussion and found a real nice blend on the parts involved.  We began to add the bass and sometime into that process we heard a loud “pop” on a certain section of the song that we didn’t notice before.  It happened to be on the bass track so we decided to clip it out and take that section from the alternate take.  When we began to do this we noticed a slight distortion on the track we were going to cut from and then checked the main track.  It also had that distortion even when we took out all the lower frequencies.  We just looked at each other with disbelief.  “Well”, I said, “Guess we need to set up and re-record the bass.”  So we did.  The track recorded fine and the mix came out nicely.  You can hear the mix on the music player found in the “Media” section of the site so give it a listen.  With the completion of the song “Looking Darkly Through a Mirror”, 10 of the 15 tracks for the CD are finished and puts me ¾’s of the way to the completion of this project.  It is close but as the song says, “So close and yet so far.”

4/25/10 – The session today began with the downloading of the session for “Shema” from the disks I had forgotten the week before.  We found the bits and pieces we needed and got the automation to be on the track.  However, it was not working in the proper time that the pitch changes of the cowbell were to occur.  Mike and I began to troubleshoot the issue and after some time simply separated the track to two tracks and pitched the one as the low and the other as the high and that set the cowbell issue right.   We worked on the percussion and its blend with the bass then placed the vocals in the mix.  This particular song has a vocal track that serves as both a backing vocal and a percussive element.  I wanted to make sure that it was not lost in the mix or overpowering the main vocal.  I think that it works well as a bled and represents my vision for the song.  Again, this song can be previewed by going to the media section of the site.

5/2/10 – Today we mixed “Little Man”.  This is a song that I had written back in 1986 when the prospects of a relationship looked dim.  If I remember correctly, I was a close friend to a certain girl in the college age bible study I was a part of.  Our friendship led us to have certain feelings and so I asked her if she wanted to start dating.  She knew that if we had entered into that path we would be working towards a goal of marriage and she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to be in that place at that time in her life.  I completely understood and we remained close friends till our lives eventually drifted apart.  This song was a result of that part of my life.

The mix began with the percussion that Ian had laid.  I really wanted the sound of the brushes on the snare head to come through and not be lost by the inclusion of the other elements of the song.  I think that Mike and I achieved that goal. The acoustic guitar on the track is a blend of the guitar track that I had recorded in Denver, using my brother-in-law, Matt’s, guitar and my guitar that I recorded here in Phoenix.  Ian has a friend, Kevin Reeves, who played the keyboard part ala a Hammond B3 through a Leslie speaker.  It is a nice additional element to the song and I like how and where it is placed in the mix.  I had never written a bass part for this song and while recording bass parts here in Phoenix this past November 2009, I finally wrote one for this song.  As always, the un-mastered preview of the song can be found on the music player.  This mix completes 12 of the 15 tracks for the CD.  The next mix session will focus on the song “Tiananmen Square”.

5/9/10 – “Tiananmen Square” was written by me and my brother Allan the evening following the massacre that occurred there in June of 1989.  We watched the events unfold on CNN until the feed from China was lost and the world waited for news of what had happened.  We were moved from what we saw and wrote the song that evening.  It was always our intent to record the song and release it but life comes quick and all we had was the rough 4 track that we had recorded that night.  I have no idea if that still exists or not.  We pulled the song out of the box and recorded the basic tracks of drums and bass during the Scaterd Few sessions for Jawboneofanass in the fall of 1994.  This was back in the days of 2” tape and due to an honest mistake made by the young studio assistant, the 2” tape was snapped and it happened to be this song that was damaged.  There were no additional funds to purchase more 2” tape and the song couldn’t be “spliced” together as a fix so we never finished recording it.  This back story is why I was determined to record this song for this CD.

Ian played a great drum part on this track and I think that his interpretation of the song gave it a current feel.  I had wanted a girl to sing the song and had someone in mind who lives out here in Phoenix but Ian had mentioned having his friend Trinka give it a go.  Trinka is the vocalist for the band that Ian has called Omnibus 11.  I told him it couldn’t hurt and I wrote about it earlier in this journal.  The great thing about having someone so far removed from your life and the writing of the song is that they can see the song with different eyes.  What Ian envisioned for Trinka’s vocals was beyond what I had hoped for.  The layers of harmonies that he created with her are just wonderful.

Mike and I began the mix for “Tiananmen Square” with the drums.  The room mic gave the drums quite a spatial element but the cymbals at the end of the song were real hot and overpowering to the overall mix.  We decided to bring down the overall level and separate the track at the point where the end of the song begins.  This separation allowed us to control the overwhelming cymbal ambiance at the end of the song.

The bass was next in our quest.  After applying the EQ’s to the low and high bass tracks I suggested placing a chorus effect on the high end bass and then tried a phase shifter.  I didn’t like either one of them as they seemed to cloud up the signal so I just left a slight reverb on that track and left the lower bass track dry.

Ian had played a couple of guitar tracks on the song.  Mainly ambient sounds, they were low in the rough mix of the song that I had and so after listening to them on their own, I adjusted their placement in the mix and brought them up a bit.  I like the “color” that they add to the song.

It was at this point that we increased the high-mids / mids of the high bass track.  This was to bring up the bass line which was slightly buried in the mix with the inclusion of the guitar part.  The bass in this song is a supportive role and not so much a solo piece as the others on this CD.  It is because of this fact that I just wanted to have the bass there but not in the forefront.

The keyboard part was lower in the mix then I had wanted but increasing the db level was placing it too far above the other elements in the mix.  We placed an EQ on the track and increased the high-mid frequencies which gave the track a greater presence.

The final element was the vocal on the song.  I made no adjustments on that whatsoever.  I left the levels as they had been on the pre-mix by Ian because he knows Trinka’s voice and had worked a nice blend of the various tracks that he had recorded of her.

The layers have been put in place and I hope you enjoy the effort.  Stop by the music player and give it a spin.

5/13/10 – Tonight was “fit it” night.  It turns out the Ian was using a program called drumagog along with his drum sounds on “Tiananmen Square”.  Mike does not have that plug-in and so the overall drum sounds were not exactly like the rough mix that Ian had sent me for the song all those months ago.  The snare had an unbelievable long reverb and the toms were a bit lost in the mix and lacked presence.  Ian bounced me the drum tracks and Mike was able to insert them into the session.  The drums were clearly more defined and the snare was not dripping with reverb and the toms were back within the mix.  We bounced the track and moved onto the other little fixes.

“Baroque” was next on the list.  The only fix for that song was that I wanted the clarinet, which my son Kefa played, to be a bit louder in the mix.  We raised the level of his track, bounced it, and then moved on to “Whisper”.

“Whisper” had a couple of fixes.  There is a percussion part that Mike and I called the “clack” track that I wanted to bring down.  Its original placement seemed a bit to harsh to what was going on in the song and its placement now is more subtle.  The second fix on this song was the vocals.  While the original placement of the vocals was intelligible, I felt that they needed to be placed higher in the mix to achieve the overall feeling of the song.  We adjusted the vocals, bounced the song, and turned our attention to “Tehillim”.

When my brother Allan was in town, see 3/25/10 entry, he had mentioned to me that the vocals of “Tehillim” could be up more in the mix and be “bigger”.  I considered what he had said and raised the vocals and added a rather strong reverb to the vocal to give it a bigger feel.  I like how it came out so we bounced it and called it a night.

All the previously uploaded tracks that have been “fixed” are now replaced with the new mixes and the mix of “Tiananmen Square” is now uploaded for your previewing pleasure.  Stop by the music player and enjoy.

5/18/10 – With two tracks left to go on the CD I was feeling a bit apprehensive that I would not find a trumpet player to record on “Rejoice in the Dance”.  So, I set aside my horn-a-dilemma and moved on to the mix for the opening track of the CD titled “Alarm”.  This is not actually a song as it is meant as an ambient palate cleanser to set the mood for the CD.  The track includes shofars, rain stick, fretless bass played with an e-bow dripping with effects, and a guest appearance by Aslan.   I love how it came out and I know it is a wonderful way to open up the disk.  Stop by the music player in the media section and give it a spin.

5/30/10 – It has been a week and a half since I was in the studio mixing and that was because I had to travel out to Watsonville, CA to observe the Feast of Weeks on May 23rd. The session began by bouncing the mixes of the tracks for the CD to the specifications needed for the mastering. Mike and I knew this was going to be a time consuming effort because we were bouncing the complete mix for the CD as well as a playback track of the tracks for me to perform to live. These live tracks were without the bass part and vocals except for the two guitar sons of “Little Man” and “Tehillim” which I did without guitar and vocals and left the bass lines in the mixes. I have chosen to perform these on acoustic guitar live. By the time Mike and I were done bouncing the tracks it was 5:00 PM and we called it a night and decided to get together on the 31st to do the mix on “Rejoice in the Dance”.

5/31/10 – Within that week and a half I mentioned in the previous post, my friend Ian found a trumpet player to record on “Rejoice in the Dance” and ended my horn-a-dilemma. His name is Scott Stanifer and he played a regular trumpet, copper trumpet, and flugelhorn. The trumpets were played both open and muted and Mike and I had some nice material to work with on the track. We pieced together a horn arrangement that included all the trumpets that were recorded and created a nice blend of all the elements available to us on the tracks. There was an additional track of Scott playing some miscellaneous stuff and I had the idea to use this stuff at the start of the song as if a horn section was warming up and then recorded myself calling everybody to order so we could record the song. It was silly and I felt it worked well for the song and gave the CD a little bit of levity. We mixed and blended the song, bounced it both as a mix and track to perform to live, and we were done. It was weired to believe that we had finished recording and mixing this project. I could not have been able to finish this project if it hadn’t been for the kindness of Mike Post. If you live in or around the Phoenix, AZ area and you need to record in a studio then I recommend Mike Post and Mojo Recording Studio to get the job done. All that was need next in the process was to upload the mixes to Ian’s FTP server so he could master the tracks to that beautiful CD quality.

6/1/10 – Uploaded the tracks to Ian and he informed me that there was a 2 second drop out near the end of the “Baroque” track. Called Mike and had him re-bounce the track so I could upload it again to Ian. By the end of the first week of June, Ian was in the midst of mastering the CD. I also had dropped off the art work for the CD insert to the manufacturing place.

6/6/10 – I was able to download 14 of the 15 tracks of the mastered CD before I went to my father-in-laws house. We were spending the night there as a family because my father-in-law was going to watch my younger two while the wife and I took our oldest to a thing called Biztown that he was participating in on the 7th. So, due to this detour in the CD schedule I had to wait on approving the masters till we got home on the afternoon of the 7th.

6/7/10 – Downloaded the final song from the FTP server and imported the files to my iTunes. I converted the files to mp3’s and placed the songs on my Coby mp3 player and discovered that there was a slight distortion on 85% of the tracks.

6/8/10 – Informed Ian of the distortion in the morning and he reworked the mastering processes and re-bounced and uploaded three of the reworked tracks for me to check. They sounded wonderful and without any distortions on the tracks. Ian then bounced all the tracks with the re-worked parameters and I once again download, imported, and converted the tracks and they sounded awesome. The mastering was done. I then burned a CD of the final mastered mixes with artwork attached and song info encoded into each song and dropped it off to the manufacturing place. While there, I fixed a lyric that was in the graphics as “when” to “while” and was given a target date of June 22nd as the completion of the pressing for the CD.

6/9/10 – I set up an account with Tunecore to upload my CD to the various digital stores available online. Uploaded the CD and waited for the CD to drop online.

6/11/10 – Was shocked to see that the CD was available on iTunes and Amazon MP3 as of today. Tunecore said it could take up to three weeks but it was up in two days. Weird to see my CD online.

6/22/10 – Picked up the CD’s and noticed that the covers were more purplish then blue. Contacted the manufacturer and they agreed to reprint the covers.

6/23/10 – I pulled the covers from the CD’s and returned the CD’s to the manufacturer who said it would take a couple of days to reprint the covers. They were real understanding and cooperative about the reprint.

6/25/10 – CD’s were done and I picked them up. The rest of the story is all about promoting my CD and playing where and when I can. Thanks for reading the story and I hope you like the CD.