Stressed out as I have admittedly been the last month or so, most of my distress has been self inflicted by bad budgeting or overly optimisitic scheduling. Until today most of my equipment has worked reasonably well and certainly better than the Antidepressant debacle would have suggested...
Blair and I arrive at the small room at around 11 AM after a rather excessive All American breakfast with Frank. We spend the first hour making sure everything is working, and everything is except the Kurzweil PC2-R which is not responding to midi controller 64 (sustain pedal). This is really annoying. And I hate the term, but it is a deal breaker. If we are to use the Kurzweil piano sounds (the same ones, updated maybe, but basically the same ones we used on Lloyd Cole and Love Story) Blair needs to be able to use a sustain pedal... I never knew there was a problem because I can't use any pedals when playing keyboards - it's hard enough for me to use two hands...
After at least an hour of hair tearing I go on line and search for others suffering and find almost nothing but I do find reference to problematic operating modes. 20 minutes later we find the problem. How on earth would a mode called AUTO not recognise the standard midi sustain pedal data? I don't know. Ask Kurzweil. Fortunately their samples still sound great and we finally get working on Diminished Ex.
This song is not easy to play unless you wrote it. Everyone has been complaining and Blair doesn't so much join the chorus but he does sigh a lot. But we get it done and the part works EXACTLY as I had hoped it would and it backs up my guitar and offsets Will's lead work. I declare the song finished (wrong - later I think maybe we should add a Like A Rolling Stone tambourine).
On to California Earthquake for no other reason than I think it needs piano. I have played a guide, somewhere between Waiting For the Man and Venus In Furs. Something like this will work, I think. Blair leans more towards Baba O'Reilly and You Really Got Me and I like his take better than mine. We break his idea into a high (RH) and a low (LH) part. We record them separately so that they can be mixed later. All is going well until the computer freezes.
What is going on? The set up had been working without any issues... I had recorded guitars this way just a few days ago... Sordid details not really needed here - the long and short is - somehow or other, when inserting a 1/4" cable into the Apogee Ensemble, at the start of the day, I seem to have broken it. Or at least input 5... How one can break an input by inserting the correct plug, I don't know. I will be asking Apogee. Suffice to say that another hour plus was lost figuring this out, but once we stopped using Input 5, all was fine...
We bounce down the Kurzweil midi tracks (after substantial editing) and move on to the synth idea. I always imagined a Low (Bowie) type string synth playing the B-Verse. B and I listen to all my saved Prophet and PolyEvolver preset and we find one we like one an lot, but not enough. I wonder if the old (Omnisphere) Radio Chamber String sound from Silver Lake might work? That would certainly help the album sound like and album. We're lucky - it's perfect. Nothing like my original idea... Blair fine tunes the part and then plays it. We note that a two finger part is somehow stronger than three... 25 minutes later that's two songs done today.
We skipped lunch because to the Gremlins, we get burgers at the Apollo Grill. Very nice. And here I am again, back on schedule, filing my report. Very tired but not too tired to type.