April 12, 2009 8:20 AM

This is one of seven tracks off my friend Brian Rozendal's updcoming debut EP, Lean. I'm on piano. A whole bunch of details within.

On this track:

Brian Rozendal - lead vox, guitar
Josh Millard - piano
Aubrey Weber - cello, backup vox

The three of us have played out together a few time in the last year or so, sometimes along with drummer Terry Drysdale (who shows up on a couple of tracks in the EP), and it's a really effective live mix. While for practical reasons we did this record track-at-a-time with overdubs, we tried as hard as we could to recreate the sort of dynamics and interplay we've gotten live. It's impossible to get there 100%, I think, but I'm hoping we managed to keep at least some of that feel throughout it all.

We've been slowly working on the record for about six months, from conception to final mix, so it's exciting (and just a relief) to have put on the final finishing touches to the mix last weekend and send it to the mastering engineer. The record will be self-released on the 25th, and I'm stoked to see the finished product in my hands. This cortex, it vibrates, etc.

Aside from piano throughout and backup vox on several tracks, I also put in a lot of time along with Aubrey in mixing the thing down, and the cover art is built around an off-the-cuff photo of Brian I snapped back when we were still sifting through scratch recordings and narrowing down the playlist for the EP.

The whole project was done in Garageband, less some per-audio-track exceptions where Aubrey engineered some of the vocal and cello recordings on her Pro Tools box before importing them into the Garageband project files. I learned a hell of a lot about Garageband in the process, good and bad—on the one hand, it's satisfying to have been able to pull this off with it, but on the other hand I feel motivated to use just about anything else the next time I take on a project of this scope. Something with, say, any right-click contextual menu functionality at all. Etc.

Slow-and-steady is exactly the opposite of how I usually work, so this has been a weird and educational and kind of trying experience, but I'm really, really pleased with the finished record; I think I'm about as happy with the EP as I could have hoped to be, which is satisfying as all heck.

Brian and I were in a band years ago that broke up about the time Music can into being, and we've continued doing music off-and-on since then; you may remember him showing up in some early posts, like this live track from our disastrous last show, and this experimental VST-laden rocker, or, notably, this home-recorded track which has since been re-done huge as the EP's first track.

posted by cortex (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

This was really nice. Congratulations on a job well done to everyone involved!
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:34 PM on April 12, 2009

That must be a great feeling to have something like this done. Very cool. This all comes together really nicely and fluidly. Are you guys doing any shows this summer? I will totally show up.

I just googled to see if he had a myspace, and the cover art is awesome!
posted by Corduroy at 10:15 PM on April 12, 2009

Yeah, the show poster on myspace right now is based on the back cover art, which is derived from the photo I linked in the post text. Whole thing should look pretty damned slick, final proofs of the art looked great. He's using that same silhouette thing for the face of the disc itself, too.

I had a dream last night that the venue we're having the release party at had suddenly become spacious, which I very much doubt is the case in reality.
posted by cortex at 8:48 AM on April 13, 2009

I love the main piano riff on this one, and holy jeez, that cello. Cellos just ruin me.
posted by ORthey at 10:25 AM on April 13, 2009

Ya, the piano and cello are lovely. Production sounds really great.
I like his voice better when he switches to the "belting it out" voice.
posted by chococat at 3:30 PM on April 13, 2009

Brian's voice is an adventure to work with. When I first met him he had just started in on songwriting and his singing wasn't so much rough around the edges as it was showing promise of having some edges hidden in all the rough, so working with him over the years has been in part a process of watching (and doing what I could to help make) his voice develop into a more nuanced and controlled instrument.

He does well on soft stuff and on loud stuff, and he's got weak spots on both as well, but he's gotten to know his strengths and weaknesses much better over the years. I think he tends to be a bit more pitchy on the low/soft end of things, and he's a little more breathy than I'd prefer sometimes, but there are other tracks on the record that sit down in this territory really well.

On the loud/high end, he used to kind of blow past his limits in problematic ways, but that doesn't happen so much anymore and as a result I think he can knock out some really effective stuff in this sort of high-energy territory, yeah. There are a few moments on the EP that really pop specifically because of that.
posted by cortex at 4:05 PM on April 13, 2009

This is just great.
posted by pwally at 8:17 PM on April 13, 2009

This is really great. I especially like the piano / cello riff in the verses. Well done on the production, too — it sounds really good. Congratulations on the imminent release!
posted by lovermont at 2:01 AM on April 14, 2009

Is Brian the lead on Perfect Martyr? I always liked that track.
posted by potch at 1:39 PM on April 14, 2009

Oh ho! Yes, he is. I missed that one when I was doing my Brian round-up for the post. Which reminds me, I need to track down my copy of the final mix of that old demo.
posted by cortex at 2:02 PM on April 14, 2009

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