O Holy Night

December 8, 2009 11:58 AM

This is one of my favorite bits of not just holiday music but music in general, but it's not something I usually hear people rock out to. This is my attempt to help change that.

Recorded this morning in my basement; I'm reasonably happy with the drums I played on it, and increasingly unhappy with my lack of spare mics and know-how for recording the drums themselves. The EQ in general feels a bit mushy, too, but throwing three guitars at it probably didn't help that at all.

Years ago I recorded a four-part classical guitar, four-part wordless-vocals version of the song. The whole thing was messy and improvised, but while the guitar bits in the first stanza still make me smile a bit the vocals are just embarrassing now.

I'm much happier with this new version as a piece of work. And I'm surprised and pleased that I can hit that high A near the end, something I couldn't do years ago. (Though the effort of establishing that I could hit it over the last couple days took a toll on my voice, to the point where you can hear my vocals crack coming out of it. Heh.)

posted by cortex (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

This is great! It's much better than this.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:33 PM on December 8, 2009

posted by Stynxno at 12:38 PM on December 8, 2009

O Holy crap this is good, cortex!
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:16 PM on December 8, 2009

I've always liked this song too - nicely done! This version makes me wish Queen had recorded a Christmas album. How did you get that electric guitar sound? Something about it reminds me a lot of Brian May.
posted by usonian at 2:18 PM on December 8, 2009

Guitar sounds are my Gibson L6-S into my 2x12 Fender Deville amp, with some knob twiddling differences:

- the clean electric is the neck pickup through the clean channel on the amp
- the main low distorted electric is running the gain channel, with the pre-amp at about 4 and both bridge and neck pickups active
- the higher distorted electric dials back the pre-amp a bit for more chiminess on the arpeggios, with the presence turned all the way up and only the bridge pickup active

The latter two together in time unison but 5-7 frets apart for their respective barre chords were the best solution I could find for getting a fair amount of full-spectrum bite out of the CHUNK-chunk-chunk-CHUNK sound. I find Big Guitar sounds sorta fascinating but don't know a whole lot about how to produce them.

In all cases, condenser mic about 3-4 feet from the amp, in a big open basement. No compression on it; at that gain level, there's not much volume dynamic anyway.

I really need to invest in some more mics and stands, because I don't have a lot of convenient options for miking at this point.
posted by cortex at 2:32 PM on December 8, 2009

That was killer. I wish the vocal was a little bit louder (it gets swallowed a little at least in my headphones), but the arrangement is excellent and the guitar parts slay.
posted by raisindebt at 2:39 PM on December 8, 2009

Ha! Kick ass!
posted by snsranch at 3:42 PM on December 8, 2009

Yeah, those are some wicked guitar sounds. Really nice. I actually really like the way that amp sounds with the distant condenser.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:49 PM on December 8, 2009

This atheists favorite Christmas song (I always get a little misty eyed, so maybe I'm just an agnostic) done very well here Cortex. Nice one.

I thnk I'm just allergic to the incense at my annual attendance at Mass alongside Mrs Verstayne and little Nicky & Nicollete)
posted by Nick Verstayne at 5:34 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Leading up to the top A, I was on the edge of my seat, anxious if you would actually hit it. And much to my astonishment, you did. Although it seems to take the punch out of your voice for the rest of the song.

Seriously though, nicely put together and all that. Love it!
posted by spherical_perceptions at 7:25 PM on December 8, 2009

Really nice job, cortex! The drums sound good, especially the cymbals. You totally hit that note.
posted by Corduroy at 8:24 PM on December 8, 2009

Really nice job.
This has always been the only really Christy Christmas song I've ever liked.
I remember, years and years ago at the Ticketmaster staff Christmas party, standing beside a girl I worked with. I'd heard she was a singer and we were watching a choir do this song on stage and she was singing along with them. She hit that high note and I swear tears came to my eyes.
posted by chococat at 2:54 PM on December 9, 2009

Very, very nice.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2009

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, mmm.

posted by By The Grace of God at 7:22 AM on December 24, 2009

« Older Bunch of Uncles   |   Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments