Lo-Fi Symphonies Residency – DAY 4 (21.08.13)

06:30: I wake up with a headache. Must have been that second glass of wine I had last night. But I have at least had a proper night’s sleep.

The first task of the day is to ‘comp’ the guitar takes I did for My Heart Has Wings; then I record some crisp acoustic guitar for a bright, percussive edge; and another electric guitar overdub to add some extra oomph to the bridges and choruses.

We Didn’t Have Much Time has been re-named Praying For Time.


That is the extent of my accounts for the day, as I spent just about every minute of every hour working. I will, instead, attempt to piece the day’s progress together from my written notes, song-by-song.

Praying For Time: at the close of Day 3 my notes show that scant progress had been made – just a click track and a pain-stakingly programmed and sequenced drum track in 6/8 time. As Day 4 went on this was fleshed out into something like what I can hear in my head. It went like this: delicately plucked staccato electric guitar (2 takes) > electric guitar takes mixed with EQ + compression > Morricone-esque Spaghetti Western fuzz guitar solo in verse 3 (2 versions) > in the absence of a bass guitar,  I ran an electric guitar through an octave pedal, which, after a bit of tweaking and practising, I was able to avoid too much stray ‘tracking’ and record 2 takes, which I comped into 1 good take > I could hear synth-bass in my head, so I added synth-bass > at 01:30 I set up a vocal booth in a small WC – I can’t help thinking Joe Meek would approve.

Water Closet = vocal booth

Water Closet = vocal booth

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (Praying For Time)


00:30: The hard-disk on the trusty old 8-track is full. This is not good. I go through each of the 4 song recordings and delete anything that is surplus to requirements (unused takes; takes that have been combined and mixed with others; anything that I think I will either not need in its raw state, or that if it came down to it I could record again without too much bother ). I salvage 33 minutes 41 seconds of disk space. From now on I must delete as I go, as soon as non-essential parts have been mixed down – this is called burning bridges and I will have to do it increasingly as the project continues.


My Heart Has Wings: having added a load of guitar overdubs in the early part of the day, I continued with the following: wielding a decorators paintbrush, I strummed over the faltering intro > next a lead vocal take in the live room, with an extra ambient mic to capture the room sound (this almost definitely done after 03:00 when there was a break in the planes coming and going) – subsequently deleted > another vocal take belted out through a different mic, recording the verses and choruses separately from the bridge parts to give me some space to breathe > a vocal overdub to fill out certain passages.

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (My Heart Has Wings)


05:00 Day 5

05:00 Day 5

The Fledgling And The Moth: In the wee small hours of Day 5 (but actually at the end of a very long Day 4), I loaded up this song, and, feeling that my finger tips weren’t going to feel like they were being stabbed with hot pokers the moment they touched a fret-board, I ran through a few proper takes of the acoustic guitar with a single microphone running via my Joe Meek VC3Q compressor/equalizer. I played until I had a couple of takes I was happy with, but ended up keeping all of take 2 with just the very first chord of take 1 in place, mixed together with a touch of brightening EQ, and finished just as the sun had come up and the rest of the world had awoken.

I took myself off to bed at 06:30 – a full 24 hours work in the bag.

[additional note: When I rose from my slumber later in the morning, I had to do a quick overdub on the acoustic guitar middle-eight, where timing had gone awry on a chord change]

NOTES FROM DAY 4 (The Fledgling And The Moth)



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