Picking a studio and some listening

2009 November 26


I thought some of you might be interested in hearing a bit about the work process as we begin a new project.

We are planning to head into the studio in January to start our first full band project since “Dancing The Full Moon”.  Maybe I should say “a studio” since we are visiting a few right now to decide on the right space.  I do still prefer a larger studio, especially for tracking the rhythm section.  We can get good isolation for tracking, a better choice of mics than I can afford to have on hand at home and a good engineer so we can focus on making music instead of worrying about tech issues, etc.  Beyond those basics, we want a place where we feel comfortable, the sound in the rooms is good for the instruments involved and we get along easily with the engineer.  It also helps if the price is right…

Most of the tunes are in lead sheet and we’ve been trying out several of them in our recent gigs.  I find it saves a lot of studio time (therefore money) if we’ve tried out as much of the material as possible live before we get in the studio.  We know what is working, hopefully have changed what isn’t working and the band seems more comfy.  This one has a lot of vocals for Janice, so she and I have spent a lot of time trying out different keys for tunes and getting the feels just right.  I’ve been doing most of the writing, but Janice has contributed some strong lyrics for one song and a beautiful melody for another.  Lenny Stevens will be producing, has already had some great ideas for arrangements and, of course, his guitar work is always stellar.

Some recommended listening…  Allula label has a series of world music recordings called “Origins”.  Their on location recording of music from the Garifuna people (now living in Honduras) is a fascinating blend of Arawak, African and European influences.  Of special interest for us as wind players is their use of conch shell trumpets.  Title of the CD is “Lita Ariran” (Black Turtle)

I’ve also been listening to Joseph Fire Crow’s “Red Beads” a lot this week.  Don’t know how I missed this one when it came out.  To my ear, it seems to be one of Joe’s most personal efforts.  It’s very intimate and the playing and singing are quite moving.  Check out the track “Two Voices” for a beautiful use of drone flute.  Note the way Joe will sometimes overblow the drone and sometimes get off the drone altogether.  It’s on an F instrument.  Even if you don’t have an F drone, try imitating the main melody on any F flute for a good lesson in melodic structure and ornamentation.

For a bigger challenge, check out the last track on the disc, “I Walk With You”.  It’s a sung track, but since our flutes are really an extension of our voices, try to imitate the song on N.A. flute.  If you are comfortable with upper register and an alternate fingering, a D flute works very well.  On a lot a flutes, you will need to half-hole finger hole #5 (counting top down) to get the highest note to sound “in tune”.

good journeys



1 Comment leave one →
2009 November 26

Thanks for the info, Ron. I particularly like hearing anything about the studio and recording process–as well as the CD recommendations. Looking forward to your new release.

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