There is construction happening next door, we are dog sitting a second dog and a third, whom we are trying to find a home for, is outside guarding the house. We have chorus of tiny, medium and large barks. The construction guy’s radio bleeds through the wall and his drill is every 11 seconds. These are not ideal acoustics for recording.
I went to the library yesterday to refresh my inputs. The Knoxville library has one book on audio engineering and it wasn’t there. Instead I grabbed CDs. I listen for where they place instruments in the mixes. I count the seconds between tracks. I compare the overall volume of one CD to the next. These issues have all bit me before. I also listen to the music.
My selections, at random: Gnarles Barkley “The Odd Couple,” Bon Iver “for Emma, forever ago,” Alicia Keys “the diary of alicia keys,” the Black Keys, “the big come up,” and David Byrne and Brian Eno “Everything that Happens will Happen Today.”
After a very long walk last night, across the river and back with no particular bearing, I listened to all of them. Not being an audio guy, (by any stretch) they gave me some ideas and it was better than reading a book about “equalization frequency.”
The Black Keys sounds like, and probably was, two guys in a basement rocking down the gates of heaven with a superior sophistication of guitar tone and beats. From the album jacket:
“produced by PATRICK CARNEY using his patented recording technique know as medium-fidelity. This system requires equal parts broke-ass shit to equal parts hot-ass shit.”
Similarly produced is Bon Iver’s album, recorded by himself in a NW Wisconsin hunting cabin the winter of 2006-2007. Compositionally, it invites the human mind’s capacity for deafening silence and frenetic energy during a state of solitude. Sonically it is beautiful. That hunting cabin had some gear in it.
Alicia Keys was mild. I saw my apartment (the MetLife 60′s rent-controlled complex) in the album jacket spread of Harlem and know her coffee shop from “You Don’t Know my Name” on 139th and Lennox (she gives the address in the song). I love the strong gospel influence and dense harmonies. She can sing her face off. I bet the songwriting would have been better if they hadn’t made her sit with twelve co-writers. The album is called “the diary of alicia keys (plus the politics of contractually obligated record labels to their songwriting publishers).”
Out of time again. My neighbor came by to check on the dog we’re trying to find a home for. He said I could use his basement today for recording. No more making excuses.
After everything, I still listened to Jay-Z all the way home from Central.
“Reeboks? Baby. Have you ever had shoes without shoe strings?”