Gentlemen Songsters Studio Diary: Session 6

Feb 28 No images or video today, it was mostly about audio. In the morning Tom was working to closely edit some of the vocal parts & instrumental bits. This is sometimes as detailed as shifting the timing, pitch or timbre of a single note very slightly. To me this doesn’t at all interfere with the project’s organic liveness. Given how possible it is to improve stuff slightly using this technology it’d be weirder not to do it.  Added a little uke to one song – filled a hole.

9_pb_take_a_chance_movie_posterWe also listened back to a few tracks we’d recorded but not heard in their (almost) complete state of instrumental plus vocal. A big surprise was a tune called Last Song, a slow, blue, angular, swinging piece of what I’d consider jazz.  It was pushing the envelope for us as composer/lyricist, arrangers and musicians, and it was great to hear the artistic payoff coming out of the speakers.

A couple of the guide vocals were fine, with a little tweaking. A late-night, intimate vibe was more than fine for some, but a couple of other tracks needed a more performative approach, so with less than 15 minutes to spare, with the encouragement of Tom and Sam, I laid these down, singing with a brighter daytime energy , and received the thumbs up through the glass.

To get the album complete (in hard copy: online timing’s unpredictable) before our upcoming appearance at the Melbourne Ukulele Festival, we need to have it at the CD duplication joint by Monday morning. Tom’s been mixing as he goes, but there’s still a job of work to be done to balance all the individual elements within each of the songs, and then line them all up next to each other for a quick mastering.

RegentThe tunes range from absurd to bittersweet; from torch songs to plain silly. So there’s the album’s track order to consider – an old fashioned idea in the age of itunes.  But order of appearance matters to me, and the artwork has to be done.

I think of Philip Larkin’s comment regarding his careful sequencing of his poems in each of the slim volumes he published in his lifetime.  Typically self-deprecating, he drew on the idea of the order of acts on a music hall or variety ‘bill’ “ …make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, bring on the dancing girls’. You won’t laugh,” he continued. “But you might smile.”

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