Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Organ Failure, Beached Whale

Monday and Tuesday I was busy recording with Moostache, and didn't really get to mix much of the Balloons is Fun!?! stuff. Today, though, that's all I did.
I finished up the Tapes mix, and moved on to Organ Failure. It's a simple song with very few tracks (especially for us), so it's kind of a lull before the multi-track storm that is the rest of the album.
The hardest part of the song was finding the right reverbs and delays to use. I ended up using the RVerb reverb for the snare and rhythm guitar, and the Tel-Ray Delay for the vocals. I wanted something a bit phasier and spacey sounding for the solo guitar's effect-double track, so I started playing around with different effects from the Sound Toys bundle. They have really awesome analog-sounding phasers and delays and reverbs and just effecty crap that makes everything sound awesome. I could spend days just messing around with different settings in just EchoBoy. I ended up using one of the FilterFreak effects for the snare drum on the track, too, because it made it so deliciously crunchy.
After that it was just as difficult/easy as any properly-tracked recording is to mix. I was using Skyway by The Apples in Stereo as my frequency comparison, because I think it's pretty similar sounding in terms of guitar and reverb stuff. One last note about this song: Chris's bass lines are every bit as insane (in a good way) as he is.
I already started to mix Beached Whale while we were here in January, so almost all of the effects were chosen, and the drums were pretty much done. This song has about twice the amount of tracks that Organ Failure does, so it took awhile just to get everything to sit in it's own place and not fight with something else.
The drums are panned completely to the right and use a heavy EchoBoy effect makes them sound "underwatery." As a side effect of this, the bass and kick weren't sharing the same space, so I made the bass nice and fat in the low end since it was the only thing there. The intro oohs and aahs and Nick's backing vocals are also heavily effect-ed and have and underwater sound. I was having trouble finding a good delay for the lead vocals that didn't make them stick out above everything else, until I tried yet another EchoBoy effect. This time I used one of it's tape delay emulations, and it worked like glue sticking together the vocals with the instrumental part of the track.
So, the first 3 tracks are done (pretty much, I'll probably be tweaking them until they're mastered). Tomorrow I'll be moving on to Doesn't Matter and What Could I Be. I already did volume mixes of them today, but that's about as far as I got. I'm really proud of these first 3, and excited to see how the rest are going to turn out (also, buy Sound Toys)!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I started mixing a lot later than I thought I would, so I couldn't use the monitors for too long (neighbors), plus I'm tired. So all I did was start mixing Tapes.
Tapes is a song that Nick and I wrote together, so I never recorded a version of it on my own and had no idea what we were gonna do production-wise. There's only about a minute of the song that isn't on a tape recorded, but I want that minute to be as cool as possible to get the listener excited for the rest of the album, but not too big so there are still production tricks and surprises left for the rest of the tracks.
We originally had Nick's voice going through a phaser, but listening to it now makes me think it sounds like it was recorded in a closet, so I instead went with some amplitube effect and a Tel-Ray Delay.
There is also a theremin playing on the left channel of the track, and mellotron violins, both run through amplitube to give them a harsher sound that fits in with the rest of the song.
The violins are each playing an individual note in a chord and are panned hard left, middle, and hard right. It is a very cool effect because it sound like a chord, but a bit fuller.
That's pretty much all there is to that song.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fun. Details

So, in the beginning of January we recorded our album at Paisley Daisy studios in California.
I had to go back to Arizona for awhile, so the recordings have been collecting (digital) dust on my hard-drive.
Now I'm finally back in California, so tomorrow I am going to begin mixing the album. Some of the rough (rough) mixes are up on our myspace, but they were mixed on my laptop in about half an hour and don't sound even 1/10th as good as they will when properly mixed (and mastered, but I'm not going to be the one doing that).
So as I go along mixing, I will be posting blogs detailing my work on the songs. Might be boring for most people, but it might be interesting to some, and it helps me have a grasp on how much I'm accomplishing.
Anyway, here's the tracklist:
  1. Tapes
  2. Organ Failure
  3. Beached Whale
  4. Doesn't Matter
  5. What Could I Be
  6. (as of yet untitled instrumental)
  7. Asteroid
  8. For a Time
  9. 645 Spacetime
  10. Sleep
  11. Dead Friends
  12. Tapes Pt. 2