Again the days have drifted by and I lost track of “post day”, four days ago.
Still, better late than never.
This week’s post will be about one of the new songs written during the pandemic, although not specifically inspired by it.
Rather, the idea of things happening due to odds, the hope to beat them, and simply the concept of numbers themselves have fuelled this latest song.
Layered over that, I set myself the challenge of working in different time signatures (again numbers). This one has three – 7/4, 4/4 and 6/8. Huge thanks to NeMo and Chris for bass and drums, remarkably done remotely!
The title comes from the classroom game played many times when I taught.
This week, I’m featuring another fellow musician who has recently posted some interesting remote collaborations on social media.
I got to know about Joanne Park from her appearances at Relish and through her posts. Not only is she a great and fearless bassist (playing and singing Yes songs unaccompanied save for her on bass is remarkable), she also plays a great guitar, particularly in the Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed style.
The video below is Supertramp’s Logical Song, and besides Joanne, includes Joan Marshall on keyboard and Kristen Prince on saxophone. Worth a listen!
Thanks to Gary17’s weekly post, I was pointed in the direction of this quite spectacular cover of the Queen/Bowie classic Under Pressure. Please check out Gary’s post at Torontomoon.ca for details of the line up and how this video came to be. Also, please consider subscribing to his newsletter if you are a musician or a fan. It’s the least we can do to show support back for someone who has never given up on live music.
The days are drifting into one another. Partly why this post is late.
Anyway, now that heat has finally arrived in Toronto (nearly 30° today), there is impetus to install the window AC unit that had been sitting in storage since the rest of the fenestration was updated.
I’m happy to report it’s done. Even with only me in there, the computer and the rest of the electronics in the old MaCave put out quite a bit of heat over the course of a recording/mixing session. No excuses now to avoid ongoing projects.
Over the last week or so, I have engaged in exercising the one element that can improve my mixes in the old ManCave Studio.
Thanks to a suggestion by respected producer and excellent communicator Warren Huart on his brilliant YouTube channel called Produce Like a Pro, I subscribed to SoundGym, a pay-for-use website that lets users develop audio acuity through games that test a variety of skills all related to recording, mixing and production.
For instance, identifying the relative levels of instruments in a mix, or which frequency is bested in a sample, and so on. The result is less time guessing what to do to fix and improve recordings, as well as more confidence.
I am finding both very useful. Check them out – there is a free trial on SoundGym so you don’t have to immediately commit.
It’s been a while since I took stock of the entire array of effects pedals I own. The good news is that I never actually need or would use all of these at once. There are actually three separate systems geared towards stage size and gig requirements, so there’s quite a bit of redundancy. A fourth board (top right) works with any of the other three to add Mellotron and looping. A few odds and ends on the lower left, including one that looks like a pedal but is actually an amplifier — the Traynor Quarter Horse.
Anyway, when you look at them all together…yeah maybe that’s enough.
Every so often, a subject for this blog luckily falls in my lap. This is the case this week.
Isolation has meant that I’ve had to learn to work physically distanced from the rest of the band, so we have worked out technological solutions, including all of us set up for home recording. By sending each other files, we can play along to previously recorded bits and then sum them up for a finished product.
Good friend and Relish regular Dan Boggs wrote a pandemic ode, and recorded it solo on his computer (phone?). When I saw it, I could not resist the idea of fleshing it out with a full band arrangement.
But first, a few words about Dan.
Dan Boggs has performed many, many times at Relish (and probably other places too, but that’s where I know him from). His songwriting is original in the truest sense of the word, with subject matter often out-there (surgical anaesthetic?), and clever crafting of the lyrics. His latest is called Bunker Town and speaks to the isolation we all feel. I have included a before and after for your enjoyment. On the full band version, Chris Bender plays drums and piano, Neil Morris plays bass, and I added the electric guitars, then mixed the whole thing. It was a lot of fun to do.
There is a rumour that a compilation of locally written pandemic anthems may surface in the future. This song should certainly be part of that.