Silent Night

December 22, 2010 4:07 PM

Extremely spartan recording, for me. Vox, piano, a simple vox harmony, and a melodica solo.

This song always felt more like a lullaby than it did a carol; especially if you just stick to the first verse, the religious stuff is more gestural than bludgeoning. It's such a sad, pretty song.

And I'd blown my voice out doing Walken impressions yesterday, and was coming down off a caffeine high, and just found myself playing this at the piano. I pretty much never record vocals and instruments at the same time—it's distracting, it's harder to mic—but that seemed like the thing to do.

Piano and main vocals are one take; I room miked with it mostly on my voice and then ran a DI to another channel to catch isolated piano as well, and mixed those two. Melodica and harmony vocal lines were one-takes right after to try and get it all in one reckless don't-look-back go. There's mostly just the one harmony line, but I bring in a second really briefly at the end to fill out the chordal harmony on the "sleep in heavenly peace" swell.

I have such a hard time keeping things simple that I actually recorded a harmonica line, a banjo part, and a trio of distant-miked background "chorus" vocal parts before remembering that the whole idea was to keep it simple, so I pulled those back out and this is what I was left with.

The melodica was a recent gift from Secretariat, and it's totally swell but I haven't quite figured out what to do with it on recordings yet so I'm pretty sure this is its debut. Instrument had never even been on my radar until I met melissa may a few years back.

posted by cortex (1 comment total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

Sounds tired. In a rather vintagey good way. This is how I imagine the music at the end of SNL would be if it ended at 4 AM after making the band play two hours straight.
posted by ignignokt at 10:12 PM on December 22, 2010

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