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Your Ball and Chain (slight return)

October 12, 2012 4:43 PM

I remixed this song I posted a few days ago taking into account some of the feedback and I like it a whole lot better now!

I changed a whole bunch of things.

-- retracked the vocal completely. It's still a bit sibillant but that's the mic/pre-amp combo and I realized too late to fix it. It's mostly in tune now although I'm really straining to hit those high Fs and it hurts to listen to.

-- lost the rhodes

-- added a clean Fender Jag playing a tremolo part with the trem set to a triplet feel, which I really llove. It lifts the choruses which takes some weight off the main vocal

-- reduced the velocity on the kick and snare to make it a bit more laid back

-- redid all the mastering completely, so overall it's much less compressed

We played this for the first time in the full band last night and it sounded really nice with the bass player doing an echo on the choruses

Didn't we have a ball (didn't we have a ball)
Didn't we show them all (didn't we show them all)

I tried doing this myself but it sounds really weird in the same voice.

I wrote and discarded a horn part which got too bombastic.

Thoughts?


posted by unSane (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

It's a great song.
Such a chorus; so catchy and emotional.
That's all that matters.

But! Here's thoughts since you asked:
If you're not going to do the echo on the "Didn't we" lines, then for god-sakes put a harmony on there. It's begging for one, all plaintive-like. I can hear it. Just quiet and wailing in the distance.
Although there's something to be said for resisting a harmony.
The problem with canned drums, for me, is that they're so same same same throughout a song. That Perfect-Snap-Every-Time snare, for me, detracts from the human-ness and you-ness of this song. Maybe subdue that business for the verses and let it out for the more dramatic bits...or bash it out yourself.

Love it regardless.
posted by chococat at 7:53 PM on October 12, 2012


Agree completely on both points, Chococat.

I just haven't been able to make BVs work with my voice... it needs a different timbre. For some reason it just sounds weird when I do it. I think because I have to belt to hit the right notes and belted BVs sound freakin' odd.

I did actually play most of the drums in on the digital kit but that was right at the start of the process and I quantized them so I could track everything to them. I should go back and do it again or at least loosen them up, especially as the vocal is pretty much ahead of the beat throughout. But I'm more interested in getting a midi track from our (newish) drummer who's so much better than I am. (He played our 15/8 song right through the first time).

At some point I have to make the odd transition from playing everything myself to recording the other guys in the band.
posted by unSane at 8:17 PM on October 12, 2012


belted BVs sound freakin' odd
Ahh but you can double them and reverb them and pan them and make them quieter or falsetto.

And track a real snare in that awesome house in the woods or quonset hut or wherever it is you record. Jesus. I'm in a dungeon, ten feet from boxes of old Christmas decorations and a fucking toilet pipe here.
(I'm jealous.)
posted by chococat at 8:38 PM on October 12, 2012


Heh, all right, it's a deal.
posted by unSane at 8:46 PM on October 12, 2012


A vast improvement - sonically and vocally! Splendid job!

But I still think you can make it even better..... It's like you've now got the ball into the box and you've only the keeper to beat.....

There's still a bit of room 'verb on the lead vocal that I'd lose - try to make it more intimate. If I was producing I'd think that's the key for this track - less will definitely be more. Even just a single guitar - electric not acoustic - a Gibson ES 175 on the neck pickup...stereo panned... We're looking at after-hours in a smokey club, it's 3 am, the punters have gone home, you're having a last drink before turning your collar up against the rain as you walk back through deserted streets.....

Anyway - you're certainly getting there - the organ works a treat, for instance.
Try tracking the chorus? Or getting a female vocal an octave above, pulled back in the mix??

Have to dash - Inspector Montalbano is starting on BBC4 which is my cue for beer and wishing I was in Sicily (which I will be next June....can't wait). Ciao.
posted by MajorDundee at 1:11 PM on October 13, 2012


As promised, I did a quick and dirty version with live drums in the Quonset hut today... I think I'll have another go at it tomorrow and try to get a different snare sound and play the part a lot simpler but you can hear what it sounds like here.
posted by unSane at 2:11 PM on October 13, 2012


OK, redid the drums, a lot better this time. Link is still the same.

The only thing is my Q hut is terrifically live and there's really no way to get a really dead intimate sound out there. I used two ST77s as overheads in the recorderman setup, an SM57 on the snare and a cheap CAD kick drum mic.
posted by unSane at 1:17 PM on October 14, 2012


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