The last few days have been dull but productive. I haven’t worked seriously in Logic since the start of the Antidep sessions when version 7 was so unstable that I had to move to Digital Performer, so a lot of what I’m doing right now is learning, and customising the set up so that I can hopefully demo quite quickly. I have a basic starting point now with 10 audio tracks, BFD (I contacted them – I’m upgrading to BFD2 so I can use the built in sequencer/groove builder – Logic isn’t great for drum programming), Guru and Kontakt sampler (with just two pianos in to start with – Kontakt uses way less CPU than Ivory, which I used for the pianos on Antidep, if I were to ultimatley use virtual piano, I would track with Ivory). I also have two channels Rewire Ready for Reason and I have a Reason file with piano and electric piano (my preferred EP is now a Reason combinator thingy).
I’m using the tune Guesswork as my set up file and it is sounding pretty good – acoustic guitar driven, but definitely more rock than folk. If it succeeds it will have a Blood on the Tracks kind of vibe, though not as angry…
Finding a bass sound that works well with acoustic guitar driven tracks is not easy. It wasn’t easy on the last two records either. I’m hoping to get a couple of basic sounds I can switch between with the Jerry Jones http://www.jerryjonesguitars.com/index.htm (short scale, easier to play, but string tension is less and I’m having trouble getting used to that). It took quite a while, I brought the old trusty Jazz Bass up from the basement to be sure it wasn’t the Jerry Jones that was the problem – it wasn’t. It seems that a completely clean bass sound will almost disappear in a mix and provide only low end, not really any harmonic information – some distortion seems necessary to bring out the notes, unfortunatley this also adds sustain, which is a longstanding problem I have with distortion (I was at one point working on a pedal design to add distortion or fuzz without changing the gain volume envelope of the sound). Controlling sustain is something a real bass player would have no trouble with, me on the other hand… Anyhow I ended the day with a decent sounding track – slightly distorted and played with a pick.
I used the VoodooLab preamp to record the bass, it proved easier than the SansAmp rack thing (my SansAmp Bass DI seems to have disappeared – my son’s band are the prime suspect – they are actulally demoing right now, too) and so I stayed with it to get a Telecaster ‘Quineish’ sound, and this was achieved quite easily (maybe because I am actually a guitarist) using just my Custom Audio Electronics distortion http://www.jimdunlop.com/index.php?page=products/pip&id=264&pmh=products/p_and_e_detail.
More good news on the musician front – I just made contact, after many years out of touch, with Bob Hoffnar (Lightning Bob) who played pedal steel guitar on Bad Vibes. We haven’t come to any arrangement yet, but I’m confident we’ll figure something out. He’s in Austin, now, but we can do FTP stuff and maybe I’ll get to spend a few days out there with my laptop – that is my next ‘to do’ – I need to find out how easy it is to have a Logic project on my Desktop and my Laptop at the same time. If it works out, I could record guitars and bass, anything amplified, in fact, in the basement… I could also get on a plane with my album and record overdubs almost anywhere.
That’s all for now, I think I’m about all done with the test file, maybe time to actually record a song.