Simple Town (Full Version)

November 24, 2010 6:15 PM

Feisty powerpop version of the a capella song I posted for the challenge. Man, this was another freakin' difficult song to mix, not least because it was the first one I did on my Yamaha HS50m monitors which Chococat recommended.You know when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night in a hotel and accidentally turn on the overhead fluorescents and catch yourself stark naked in the most unflattering, pore-revealing detail and sort of gasp in horror? These speakers are like that. You fight them every inch of the way, not trying to get the song sounding good, but just to stop it sound so goddamn bad.

As a side note, there are way too many tracks on this. I think 9 tracks of guitar and 12 backing vocals plus the lead vocal. It still doesn't sound quite as full as I'd like but I ran into diminishing returns.

Full disclosure: I also had to autotune a couple of the high notes, which I just couldn't reach.

posted by unSane (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Sounds like you're getting the hand of the speakers.
This is really layered, and super-poppy in all it's jangly Teenage Fanclubness.
9 guitar tracks? Man.
I'm awed by the sheer investment of time this must have taken.
posted by chococat at 9:31 AM on November 25, 2010

The organ really makes this piece. Sweet version, but I think the back-up vocals could be louder.
posted by Corduroy at 9:44 PM on November 25, 2010

Yeah, one of the problems with this version is that it has so many things going on it's hard to balance it all out. Too many things, really, but whenever I try to take one element out it seems to lose a little something.

It originally didn't have either the 12-string (except for the solo) or the organ, and it only came alive when I put those parts down. But they tend to fight each other, so I'm riding the levels in the call and response between the diddly-diddly twelve string and the organ riff, but the backing vocals are vying for attention too...

As Chococat correctly sensed, this was very much a product of my infatuation with Teenage Fanclub in the early 90s. I've recorded several versions over the years with different bands and never gotten it right yet, although this is closer than most. I don't know why it's such a hard song to get right -- it's so straightforward melodically, structurally and harmonically. Maybe that's it -- it's a bit too vanilla as a song, so that's why I keep adding ingredients.

I should give this to someone else to mix really. Maybe it could be my collaboration project.
posted by unSane at 6:14 AM on November 26, 2010

a product of my infatuation with Teenage Fanclub in the early 90s

Did you see them at the Horseshoe in September? Awesome show.
They sure did get old, though. But didn't we all.
posted by chococat at 6:47 AM on November 26, 2010

No, I missed that. I think the last time I saw them was in, literally, 1993 with Neil Young in Finsbury Park in London. They're forever young to me.
posted by unSane at 7:02 AM on November 26, 2010

This is fantastic! And yeah, the organ totally makes it.
posted by clcapps at 7:33 PM on November 26, 2010

(The massive number of tracks works out as follows, not so unreasonable really in the abstract

-- 2 rhythm guitar parts, one which only plays in the chorus, both double tracked and panned L/R
-- one picked guitar part, double tracked and panned L/R. I'm not sure this even made it to the final mix
-- one 12-string melody guitar part, double tracked and panned L/R
-- one solo 12-string part, center panned

-- one lead vocal, center panned
-- one verse call/response parts which sings harmony in the chorus, double tracked and panned
-- the chorus part double tracked again to give a lift in the chorus
-- two 'ooh' parts, each double tracked and panned

As usual it wasn't the tracking that took the time but working out WHAT to track)
posted by unSane at 8:39 PM on November 26, 2010

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