First Times

my Studio and Recording I lab last night read "free lab" in the syllabus. not knowing what that meant -- i'm just getting reacquainted with the whole college concept again: studying, reading, 3 hour lectures, bratty little adolescents -- i showed up and no one from my lab was there except the lab tech. and he was helping this gal from another lab track some stuff. so i walked into the recording studio and sat at the piano and started tinkering. i took a beginning piano class this term and it's my first real exposure to it. but a few of the songs from the workbook came to me so i was playing around.

Johnny told me to put the headphones on; i did. through the headphones Johnny said he'd be playing a song and i should add the piano parts to it. what the hell? i asked him what key it was in and he said, "i guess you'll figure it out." he didn't realize that i was new to piano. anyway, he the track is sort of jazzy funk and i went through my reportoire and found that this little blues riff i had learned fit pretty good. i went with it.

we were doing about a minute long song since it was just for learning experience. they asked me to do two more passes, one just "tinkling on the high keys" and another just throwing in some ambient chords. i did my best. then i went into the control room as they added reverb and eq and other enhancements to the tracks and did a quick and dirty mix down. all the while saying i had done great. it felt awesome.

when they were done and the student had left, Johnny asked if i wanted to run the board while he played and i jumped at the opportunity. we tracked two drum passes with different rhythms on the snare as i pecked and hunted for the right knobs to record, then send his current takes along with previous takes to his headphones. then we added a bassline with him playing the hi-hat with his foot -- i was laughing at that. it was a quick and dirty job, but fortunately the hi-hat sounded decent bleeding into the bass track and a little eq and compression popped the whole thing. we mixed those 3 tracks down to a stereo pair on tape. then i recorded three different piano parts. we added some delay and got the levels right then mixed down the three tracks to a streo pair to another 2 tracks on the MTR. finally we bounced it all to CD through a little bit more compression/limiter for a quick and dirty studio session recording.

that was my first taste at engineering a tracking session and then mixing it down, albeit perfection was not the goal. very excited about this class now.