1. Day 5 of Recording

    Today (technically yesterday by this time of the night) was really good, given the limited time we had to get stuff done. I officially have vocals on all the tracks. I’m going to spend some time tomorrow patching up vocal tracks, adding some background parts, and perhaps beginning the painfully tedious process of mixing. Overall though, I’m really happy with where I’ve gotten thus far. These songs have taken on a new life in the studio. They have actually become full-fledged songs now, and I’m deeply pleased with how they’ve grown over the past few months.

     

  2. Day 4 of Recording

    Today I got an entire song tracked. It was the same song I started yesterday, but we ended up scrapping everything from yesterday and replacing it with better material from today. I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s going to have some serious power once I finish adding the final details and polishing it. That said, I’m on pace to be completely done with this session tomorrow. That’s a really relieving prospect. It’s going to feel amazing to come out of a session and say that I’ve accomplished all my goals.

    Tomorrow’s going to be a lot of vocals, since basically all the guitar has already been tracked. I can only hope that it’ll go well and I’ll finish strong.

     

  3. Day 3 of Recording

    …was actually just an hour or two of tracking guitar, and I’m going to have to scratch most of it. It’s a wee bit frustrating, but it’s okay. I’m still making good time.

     

  4. Day 2 of Recording

    The success continued today. It really wasn’t an incredibly long or hard day, but we got an entire song done, which was a good feeling. The highlight was getting an incredibly intimate vocal on the song, which is definitely the most personal song I’ve ever written. I had already decided to be done with recording vocals, and for some reason I decided to give it one more go. That final take captured all the emotion I had channeled writing the song, and listening to it played back was very emotional for me. I can honestly say I’ve never been moved by my own music until that moment. Listening back and hearing all that raw emotion converted into music that I am legitimately proud to have written was a profound experience. It was a moment of healing and affirmation. That’s what music is at its best.

     

  5. Day 1 of Recording

    I’ve never had a day of recording like today. I got more done than I expected, I got things tracked in fewer takes than I expected, and I had more good ideas than I expected. I had more people helping than I anticipated. I got less frustrated than I expected. Partially, I know that’s a function of lowering my sky-high expectations, but more than that, I just really know these songs. I’ve poured myself out writing these songs, and they’re finally beginning to materialize. I can’t even express how exciting that is. I’m still waiting for the inevitable roadblock, but for now, I’m going to bask in what was by any standard a great first day in the studio. Which is my house, by the way. Which is awesome.

     

  6. Quick Thought

    I haven’t posted in forever, so here’s a distillation of some thoughts I’ve been having lately. In art, brute honesty, vulnerability, and other such things can be very embarrassing, because they are very intimate. The artist cannot hide behind veiled presentation or ambiguity. The artist’s soul is laid bare. However, that uncomfortability is worth it. When vulnerability and honesty are expressed correctly, they make art infinitely more meaningful. “Beauty is embarrassing.” It is embarrassing, but it is worth the sacrifice of comfort to create something that can really move people. I don’t want to hide behind art. I want art to be a vehicle for the expression of the truth of my soul. Quite an undertaking, but a worthy one as well.

     

  7. Drive

    had entirely too much blood and entirely too little of Carey Mulligan, but the soundtrack and the cool pink font and the beautiful cars made up for it.

     

  8. I’ve never heard an album that’s as meaningful and singable at once as Modern Vampires of the City. I respect that Vampire Weekend has refused to sacrifice depth or pop sensibility in making their latest album. That’s a true achievement.

     
  9. I saw this painting by Gustave Doré in the Denver Art Museum a few days ago. It was deeply moving in person.

     

  10. A thought on songwriting as it relates to experience.

    I think my best songs are rooted in experiences. And most of those experiences are bad, or at least painful. I think, in a way, if I write a good song on account of a bad experience, I have conquered it. And that’s really cool.

     

  11. I think I’ve been trading goodness for erudition. Which is a stupid trade.

     

  12. I have a new least favorite band of all time

    and it’s Neutral Milk Hotel.

     

  13. Shooting Straight

    I saw the Avett Brothers yesterday at Red Rocks. Of all the concerts I’ve been to, I smiled the most at this one. It was a beautiful experience. They have such a joy and intensity about them. It wasn’t all grins though. There were a handful of tender, beautiful moments, and a few really powerful ones (the best tender moment for me was hearing their song Offering for the first time, and the most powerful was an encore performance of I and Love and You, with the whole audience singing). The thing that lends the gravity to their best songs is often simplicity. They shoot straight. I hide so much in metaphor and imagery in my writing. I describe emotions, shades of feeling. They describe life. And they do it with a lot of power when they say it simply. Interestingly, that amazing day ended with a deep melancholy for me. I found myself feeling a deep sadness for opportunities squandered and friends lost. I thought back on old memories with a rare sense of regret. It floored me, really. I was so caught up in my head that I imagine I was rather unpleasant to be around. I think I know why: I saw myself in their music. Their tales of unrequited love, of grand errors, of the strength of the familial bond, of the cancer of self-doubt, all ring true in my soul. They are singing about me. I think that’s something really powerful, and something I hope I can do from time to time. It’s simple: if you really have something to say, something that most everyone can understand and learn from, don’t beat around the bush. Say exactly what you mean. Shoot straight.

     

  14. Morten Lauridsen

    is my favorite modern composer. I think his music will be lauded as some of the best composition of this century someday.

     

  15. Two cool moments

    I listened to a lot of good music today. Two cool moments: one, I listened to Illinois for the first time in a while, and remembered how great it really is. Particularly the second half, which always surprises me with its beauty. It’s so vivid and so theatrical. It’s maybe a tad melodramatic, but that’s forgivable. The other moment was a moment when we (a bunch of guys in a car) were all singing along with some funky, highly-distorted vocal sample, and it struck me that, despite the fact that the sample and most of the elements of the song, were very cold and electronic, there was something about the song that we really connected to emotionally. It just made sense to sing along, because somehow our minds disregarded the actual sound of the samples and heard the raw emotion on the other side of the recording. That was cool.