24 January 2006

whether 'tis nobler to be true....

so i'm at a bit of an impasse here.

as i may or may not have mentioned earlier, there's a project i'm working on right now that involves recording an album of cover songs, all by the same band. now conceivably, there would be certain benefits that would come from focusing on the same band or the same style or a specific time period...but none of those really come into play with this project.

there was originally a thought that i might concentrate on a particular era of material, but that would be to the detriment of the project in my mind...as there would be a lot of great songs that would be left off.

but, really - all that aside, i find myself wrestling with a particular point during the recording, and that is:

do i try to stay faithful to the sounds of the era these songs were recorded in, or do i throw all that shit out the window and just put my own stamp on this thing?

typically, this would be a no-brainer...and most folks would say that there's no real reason to do someone elses' material unless the point is to put your own stamp on it. nonetheless, i've felt compelled to try and stay somewhat close to the spirit of the original versions of these songs.

as time goes by, i'm finding that's less and less important.

as a for-instance, i had set up and tuned the drums with this project in mind. i deadened the shit out of them, cranked the snare down pretty tight - did everything but take off the bottom heads and put duct tape on the cymbals (although i'm not above doing that too, if it comes to that).

but what i've found, in listening to the drums as i play them or as dylan uses the studio kit to practice for jazz band, is that i'm kinda digging the way they sound as they are. they're not necessarily true to the era that i'm recreating, but i think that they'll ultimately sit very well in the tracks as they build.

granted, these are the kinds of things that one typically thinks through before they dive headfirst into a project...and i did give it some thought, but i don't think i gave it the proportionate amount of thought. and at this point in time, and this point in the timeline of this thing, i'm thinking that i'm just going to let it fall together as it will. i don't know that there's any point in trying to recreate these songs note for note on every track...there's no flattery angle here - i'm not trying to prove anything to that end. i just want to do these songs the very best that i can.

i talked for a good while to my buddy marty higgins just before christmas, doing my own bob stirner impersonation and trying to convince him to get off his ass, write some songs, and bring them to my house so that we can record them. unlike me, though, when i'm in his position during The Bob Chronicles, marty actually seemed enthusiastic about the prospect - so this could actually happpen at some point in the not too distant future.

and in the spirit of other projects, i've decided that i'm going to start a "noises from the basement" series of discs...you know - "noises from the basement, volume one", "volume two", and so on and so forth. these are going to be relatively low-key recordings - covers, outtakes, alternate versions and the like.

crazy as it may seem, i got the idea from a discmakers email that came my way a few weeks ago...they now have the means to let you upload content directly to their site, assemble a j-card via their site, and place your entire duplication order via their site. they say the results of the order would be on your doorstep in less than a week.

now, seriously - how friggin' cool is that?

what that means, as i interpreted it, is that you can just sit at home and record shit, mix it, shoot it outta your mailbox, and have finished duplicated CD's back in a week or so! now, that's just too much temptation for me. shit - you thought the market was crowded with product before? just wail 'til this shit catches on.

anyway - i did record a couple of things for the potential first volume of "noises" - "top of the world" by patty griffin, "satellite song" by shane nicholson, and "your bright baby blues" by jackson browne...and i have a ton of other songs that i want to add to that...even some original tunes! can you imagine that?

boy...i dunno if i can even imagine that.