I Let My Dandelions Grow

It’s no big secret that I’m not so much a fan of doing yardwork, but alas it has to be done sometimes. It’s curious that I have a dislike for it though, because once I’m out doing it I enjoy it, and afterwards I feel good for having gotten it done. Anyways there is one thing that I really do enjoy about cutting the grass…it gives me about an hour to myself to just let my mind wander. No emails to answer, no phone calls, no TV, nobody to talk to, just a mindless task to occupy my hands and plenty of space for my imagination to roam. Occasionally on these little vacations from reality I have what I like to call “mower epiphanies.” Read More — I Let My Dandelions Grow

The practice of gratitude

You’d think that something as simple as saying “Thank you” would be a fairly easy task, wouldn’t you? Yeah, so did I.

As the weather warms, the sun begins to shine for a normal amount of hours and things begin to grow there is always this sense of abundance surrounding me. The trees used to be bare and now they carry so many life-giving leaves that they bend toward the Earth. The world used to be 90% white, 9% some shade of brown and 1% whatever color plastic was peeking through the snow: now we have colors upon colors. I noticed the same happens with our personal lives. During the winter months there seems to be an endless boredom and restlessness, once it’s nice out it seems like everyone wants to get together to visit, to grill, to work on the house, to meet new friends and say “see you later!” to old ones, etc. It’s a great time of the year and it really does make you feel like one of those old trees, bending under the weight of your life-sustaining blessings. In the spirit of all this abundance I tried to make a commitment to be more thankful. I’ll be honest, it met with limited success.
Read More — The practice of gratitude

Good Things are Happening

I just noticed that I hadn’t posted an update since January. It’s less of a reflection on my inattentive blogging and more an indicator of how much we’ve done since then…not much.

But now…
songwriting:done
recording parts: done
editing: done
equalizing (EQ): done
mixing: working on it
mastering: there have been conversations
artwork: done!

Then, about 2 weeks ago something changed, maybe it was the weather, maybe it was all the new growth but for some reason this project got back underway.
In that time Sarah Schneemann had finished all the artwork for the album, Lucas had finished his semester at school, figured out the method by which we would EQ the kick drum, figured out how to tune the bass in the very few spots that had tuning issues and made a schedule to get this thing mixed, mastered and out the door in 5 weeks. Bevans and I worked on the website, the glory and majesty of which you are currently basking, and there have been many conversations about the CD release party. More to come on that as it develops.

The thing I want to focus on here is really the artwork though. Sarah had made many. many pieces in different styles that she felt reflected my music or that were grown from ideas in my lyrics. It was really hard to choose a style and direction from them because they were all so very good. In the end we chose the piece that had the most potential for use in a web environment. Sarah then went home with that direction and created all of the sketches, splats and things that you see here on the site.
Read More — Good Things are Happening

So…is it going to be done soon?

So here’s an update on the album…

songwriting:done
recording parts: done
editing: done
equalizing (EQ): pending volume automation
mixing: nope
mastering: not so much
artwork: ???

So we have all the parts recorded; all the “raw tracks”, that is. What we’re working on now is called volume automation. Basically it involves going through all the tracks and deciding if there are parts that need to be louder or quieter in relation to the initial recorded volume. The best example of this is to say “we need the rhythm guitars to be louder on the chorus” or “the drums need to come down for the verses.” That sort of thing. When we finish this process it will make mixing easier because we can just set the volume for each track to a level where they “sit in the mix” well, and each track will get relatively more quiet or loud in certain parts of the song based on how we automated the volume control.

Recording is a much more refined process than sitting in front of a microphone, hitting record, and burning a disc. There are so many things I didn’t even know we had to think about…little things like going through the tracks and taking out any parts where someone breathed too loud or shuffled their feet. Volume automation is one of those things. Now that I know what it is, it makes perfect sense and I can’t see how I didn’t assume that there was such a process before. It’s all a learning experience.

Read More — So…is it going to be done soon?

Attack of the Swedes

Well here it is…a new year and I haven’t posted since August. I guess it shows how busy being a new parent is. At this point Finn’s about 5 months old and he just got his second tooth. He’s saying syllables, dropping things on the floor and loving family cuddle time in the morning. Despite his early proclivity for blood-curdling screams he’s turning out to be a pretty happy kid.

So my buddy Marc, 5th cousin 4 times removed (or something like that) came over yesterday and shared with us his grandmothers recipe for Swedish meatballs. I know, you’re probably already drooling on your keyboard. It’s probably best if you get a towel or something….seriously. I’ll wait.

Let me start out by saying that there’s a difference between fluid oz. and oz. by weight. This is not how I messed up great-5th-grandma’s recipe, but it makes the error a little less egregious in my mind…I think our error may have led to a great recipe anyways.

Read More — Attack of the Swedes

Editing…like spellcheck or something?

songwriting:done
recording parts: done
editing: working on it…
equalizing (EQ): nope
mixing: nope
mastering: not even close
artwork: I think Sarah’s doing something…haven’t seen it though.

So we finally got all the parts recorded…no mean feat let me tell you. Now we’re beginning the process of editing, which I was not aware you even needed to do on a recording to be honest.

So what’s there to edit? Oh, just about everything…The main bulk of editing was done for instruments. I’ll go through them one-by-one and tell you what sorts of things we did.

Drums:
Andy really is a great drummer, but even the best can’t hit every beat right on the nose every time. There are literally tens of thousands of drum hits on this album. A few are bound to be a little off, so what we had to do was listen really closely. If we heard a section where the drums seemed off beat we then had to determine which drum, which microphone picked it up, whether it was early or late and by how much. It’s surprisingly difficult to tell whether a drum hit is late or early after a few hours of this activity. Read More — Editing…like spellcheck or something?