All we hear is….. Radial Fractures

So, it appears that I angered the gods of bass. Having openly mocked the suggestion that not warming up to play could cause serious injury, they apparently took matters into their own hands because a week later I broke my arm. Admittedly, I didn’t break it actually playing bass, but it is clear to me that the ‘bass gods’ went and had a quiet word with the ‘clumsy lanky idiot playing football gods’ and arranged for me to injure myself. So, bass gods, I apologise.

My stupid arm has prevented me from doing much recording of my own. That hasn’t stopped me roping in a number of unsuspecting musicians, Caroline (violin/viola), Martin (piano) and Claire (viola). These recording sessions have followed a fairly common pattern.

Firstly I send the musician in question a recording of me playing the part badly (on a keyboard) and a score. They look over the score and mistake it for one that’s been written by somebody who knows what they’re doing. Assuming that as it looks like a proper score it will bear some relation to the part they’ve heard, they put it to one side. They turn up for the recording session and we start to record only to find out that my scores are in fact (in no particular order) in the wrong key, missing some pages, in the wrong time signature, only physically possible to play if you have 6 hands etc etc. We then spend some time working out what to do before the musician in question eventually bails me out with their general musical talent.

You would think that somebody who has written and recorded music for about 15 years would be able to respond to the question “are these meant to be quavers?” with something other than “sorry are you talking about crisps?”, but alas, I am entirely reliant on my computer for producing anything vaguely resembling a score.

Anyway, all three of them were absolutely brilliant and I am massively grateful for them giving up their time to help me out. Here are some pictures of Martin and Caroline in the studio, I completely forgot to take any of Claire so have created an artist’s impression. I might try to get a job doing those courtroom drawings next, as long as nobody turns up with a viola I would probably be fine.

As with the drums previously, the effect of replacing the synthesized or sampled versions of these instruments with the real thing can really help bring a track to life.

Here is a section of ‘Faces to Hide’ with synthesized strings.

and here is the version with the real thing, a massive improvement I hope you will agree 

It’s even more obvious in a quieter song….

Here is a snippet from ‘Chasing Shadows’ with me playing the piano (I say playing, it really consists of mashing the keys in the hope the right notes come out), and with synthesized strings.

and here is the same song now, with Martin playing the piano part and some viola from Claire

It should go without saying that I’m much, much happier with the newer versions of these songs. Chasing Shadows in particular has been transformed by having somebody who can play the piano with some sort of subtlety.

Next up, cello and backing vocals this week, then just my vocals to do before the real work starts when I have to mix it.

Cheers for reading.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joe
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 10:50:28

    Nice one James.
    Your blog never fails to leave me smiling.


  2. Dave
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:02:17

    These clips sound awesome… seriously! More!


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