give/sell

So, five and a half years after finishing my first album and just in time for CDs to be obsolete, I finished a CD album called Give/Sell. It’s got 12 songs in about 34 minutes. Side A (1-6) is indie pop/folk and not a big departure from Iowa Anvil. Side B gets a bit more interesting, with some different structures and production choices, and songs flowing into each other (which is something I’ve always wanted to do).

I made this album by myself again, with a tiny cameo from Sam Jansons at the end of “Bet.” If I’ve given (or sold) you the demos I compiled in 06 and 07, most of these recordings will be familiar to you. But that’s why they’re called demos.. I changed lyrics, added instruments and harmonies, rerecorded things, edited, mixed, and did tons of remixing. It was a lot of work and I’ll admit, it’s not Kid A. It shouldn’t have taken four years, but I’ll address that in a minute. Here’s the track list:

  1. Apartment
  2. Sheep
  3. Canyonland
  4. Cheap Wine
  5. Bet
  6. Bastards
  7. Six Years
  8. Picky
  9. Those People
  10. Tiger Nightmare
  11. Price
  12. Second Sight

Sooo… what took so long? That’s a long story, and this is a blog, so I’m going to tell it.

Firstly, I had technical difficulties. I record digitally and had a problem with something called “loopback latency” that messed me up for at least 2 years, made recording into a miserable experience, and screwed with my head. Eventually I got that sorted out. Then had to learn a lot about EQ and mixing, and that took forever. I also went down some paths that didn’t pan out, like external summing, and trying to build a plate reverb, and stuff like that. Fun things to do at the time, but not quick.

Secondly, I had some rules, such as “no autotune,” “nobody can play or record but me,” and “no drum editing.” These constraints were a personal challenge, partly since the bands I try to emulate recorded analog, and I don’t, I felt this was the least I could do to keep from “cheating,” as it were. But this meant I had to do tons of takes (my poor neighbors) until I had it right. And even then I had to break the drum editing rule. I edited. And comped vocals like crazy. Takes-recorded-years-apart crazy. Of course now I realize that wasting years is worse than breaking any of these rules, so I’ll probably abandon the solo thing and also cheat like hell next time.

Thirdly, I had distractions. I’ve played in four other bands since I released my first album. Not that I regret being in or having been in any of them, but they took/take time.

And finally, life stuff. The first time I thought the album was done was March 2008. I’d set a mastering date to give myself a deadline.. which was good in one sense as I got a lot done, but it was bad in that I wasted money having something mastered that wasn’t right. Then I got laid off, then married, then I got a new job, and a second job. I’ve been busy.

But regardless, it’s done, and I’m glad. I learned a lot making it, hopefully enough that I won’t have to spend as long making the next one. Oh and, I like this record. It sounds good and is fun to listen to, if I say so myself.

PS, I’ll put songs on myspace soon.

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2 Responses to give/sell

  1. terry says:

    I read the first two paragraphs of this so I would consider myself well-informed enough to make a comment, so here it is.
    this has nothing to do with “gay” and everything to do with “seriously messed up guy”. Get a grip, man.

  2. terry says:

    Also, just FYI, I just finished downloading this thing. It is one humongous package, Louis. Seriously, it is a very big package.

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