The problem with big projects is that they only get bigger. A few hours ago, I gave my recording prof a disc full of six embarrassingly rough tracks (the completed album will be ten). Of course, I wasn’t expecting the album to be finished at the very same moment I finished my undergrad work, what with the scope of the album and the other senior project I’m working on (a novel with just as expansive a scope), but it’s still frustrating to be a week from graduation and know there’ll still be more to do afterwards.
Bard and I formed the album’s concept (an earthquake-instigated Cascadian rebellion) late last spring, began lyric and music-writing mid-summer and recording in the fall. We worked frantically to get all of my drum tracks recorded, finishing up by mid-winter. This was possibly the wildest and most consistently frustrating stretch of my four years at Fairhaven College. Over the course of those months, it was a luxury to have the music finished before going into the studio. Most often, I had no chance to practice my drum parts—I had to write and record them simultaneously, in the studio, and often had only a day to write lyrics. If these songs had been had been anything but long, long metal epics, this would have been no problem. But as they were just that, recording the drums was a process of self-loathing, dejection, insanity–and fulfillment; I think that, because of the stress and time-constraints, my rhythms and words were more honest and true and feral than any I’ve made before.
The songs on the disc are as rough as they are because honestly, Bard and I haven’t even finished recording everything (though we are very, very close). This incompletion isn’t the result of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs–we knew they were when we started (they still are now) and we knew how long and mind-bogglingly big the bite we were gnawing off was going to be. So we’ve worked with few breaks to get down what’s been gotten down and are still working–more hysterically than ever. This past week, I’ve focused on drum edits, which I have yet to finish and only at the last minute (okay, I’m not going to lie–early this morning) did I throw together a shamefully rough mix of six of the album’s songs before skedaddling off to Fairhaven to drop them off.
But our plan is to finish most everything before June 20th (see, it’s in writing now, so it’s sure to happen…right), send the whole thing off for mastering, to the printers after that and then release it into the wild.
To conclude, a run-down of what yet needs to be done for each song:
1. The yet-to-be-named intro: bring up throat-singing at end, lighten reverb, record penny whistle.
2. Together, United: edit vocals/all instruments, fine-tune drums.
3. Existent No More: bring up some vocals, solidify kick.
4. Zen: Less reverb on pretty much everything, edit/bring down snare in some places, edit/mix interlude.
5. Follow the Owl: edit vocals/all instruments, possibly record wine glass or a singing bowl at the song’s end, whistles during programmed flute.
6. Call of the Mountain: Bring up intro, edit vocals/all instruments, record trumpet.
7. Cascadia: write lyrics, edit vocals/all instruments.
8. The Grand Parcel: edit vocals/all instruments.
9. Internal Epilogue: vocal ahs, edit vocals/all instruments.
10. The Trail Beyond the Dying Sun: record hand drums at end and vocal ahs throughout, deep male vocs during female verses, edit vocals/all instruments. Add programming.
All tracks: Record bass, re-amp guitars, record violin, mix, possibly insert kick and/or snare triggers + whatever else I’ve forgotten needs to happen (like re-naming the album, since we’ve decided Path I just wasn’t good enough).