Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 2 Studio
Yesterday Adam and I were in the studio to lay down the scratch tracks for each song. Scratch tracks are a ghost form to give the song shape for the drummer and bassist. Basically my vocals and guitar are recorded with a click track and various drum samples. This gives us and the drummer a sense of direction and the feel we'd like him to experiment and develop as he lays the foundation. Scratch tracks help me and the musicians get in sync and in time as well helps me focus my vocal phrasing and meter. To prepare for our time I sat down a few weeks ago and picked out some tempos and click tracks on Alice's roland and gave Adam the bpm's (beats per measure) to speed the process. We ended up changing the tempo or bpm's only for a couple of songs, one a little faster and the other a tad slower.
Adam suggested adding a solo section for a slide guitar in the song take the sleek train and that will be great. Adam also thought my guitar lick on the song Today was reminiscent of a late Nick Drake tune and he played it for me. I haven't discovered this 70s singer songwriter and really liked what I heard. I could hear the similarity for sure though Nick's is far more intricate than my little hook. Adam thinks at this point the song How Would We Know is the most radio friendly  and will be interesting to see if it remains so at the end of the project. The title track is more flushed out now too. Adam had suggested reintroducing the intro to the song in the middle but instead I did 2 variations of the melody with the intro lyric and we both feel the song flows and is complete now. We still may add the intro though depends on how the production evolves. The song Lightening Strikes Twice is going to be a bluesy edgy song and will be cousin to 99%. I had a hard time keeping my groovey little blues lick solid in the verse and glad I can focus just on guitar when we record rather than voice and guitar. I think this one will be electric guitar rather than acoustic as well. Our session was about 3 hours and a very windy day outside. I had wondered if he might have a power outage as his studio backs into a luscious forest. The blue sky was a lovely backdrop with the fresh new green leaves swaying in the blustery air. Now back to practicing :).
Drum and percussion record next weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I had a new order for a review last night and thought I will start posting my reviews of fellow artists. In case you didn't know I am hired gun on fiverr and musician marketplace. After reviewing well over 300 songs on c0nsensus and because I love helping I decided to offer my services for up and comers to help build their press kit.

Stay Rugged by Felon is a fear ridden classic punk anthem for the disenfranchised. The kick ass drumming sets the drive and angst for the authentic roots of punk rock sound. The vocalist tears at the flesh of the song’s message and is the heart of this melodic and infectious tune.  Lyrically the words are well matched for the wailing guitars and in keeping with a preamble to the song, “You cannot protect yourself from sadness if you cannot protect yourself from happiness.” Stay Rugged is a song for those rage-fueled days when it’s tough out there. 
Norine Braun – Braun and Brains Music  - April 24, 2013

Envy knows what it is. Lyrics like, “this is why they envy” is full of rhythmic rhyme and swag that leaves you wanting more and explains very well why you are to be envied. Ultra simple and sparse percussive with vocal production surprisingly works and is always interesting and never dull. This stripped production style highlights the importance of the artist’s message as well as the vocalist’s metaphoric meter and fluid flow. I loved the groove and the performance was tight and overall it was a very pleasing listen.  The hypnotic tune is innovative and the original lyrical imagery invites the listener to enter the green-eyed monster and leave singing along with the clever hooks like this why you hate me, wish you were like me. Great songwriting and delivery by rmr321bo.
Norine Braun  - Braun and Brains Music 2013

Johnnie Newkirk Jr.’s, “I just want to be with you” track is a throwback to an earlier era, circa 70’s soft pop with it’s naivete, earnestness and innocent lyric and production approach. The sustained opening strings and guitar strums remind us of being youthful and of that era of sweet candy pop. This song would work very well in contemporary theatre, musicals or in children’s productions as the melody is light, airy and approachable. Johnnie’s silky voice suits this timepiece, his clear diction and tone enunciates his desire to communicate as a performer and in the meaning of the lyrics. The song is playful, upbeat and pleasant.

Norine Braun – Braun and Brains Music 2013

Germany’s Anodine scores a melodic dark introspection with Into The White Light from their new album Passages. The slippery, snakelike and foreboding bass lines and ethereal synth-pads winds like a serpentine into your psyche and fills the emptiness with despair and a longing, searching energy. The cynical lyrics state a manifesto of the faithless and pose a final question to the origin of the pain. The lyrics are well matched to the gloom of this trip rock alternative song with the dreamy and lonely meanderings. The wistful strings conclude the shadowy journey into the white light. This track was made for those who love Korn, Massive Attack and Bjork.

Norine Braun - Braun and Brains Music 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013

This morning I picked up a lovely gift from a student, a beautiful deerskin medicine bag with purple beading outlining the corners. I felt it was such an auspicious way to begin the first day of working on my new album! Today was a pre-production meeting to go over the new songs and ideas for recording and I am so excited about the new project. I delivered the 11 tracks to Adam the producer about a month ago for him to listen and evaluate.
Today I played them live for Adam and we went over the keys and feels. I slowly begin to take off my songwriter's hat and put on the performer's cap.

First change is I am going to record the song Boy in a higher key now and we worked out an alternate strumming pattern with a way for me to build and highlight the guitar along with the dynamics for the vocals. The new key gives me a chance to really use power in my vocals so will be fun practicing with the new power and richer tone. I think I may use our rooftop garden to belt it out while practicing as no one is up there these days :)

We changed the key to F#minor for the song Today and Alice took a big gulp when she heard the news. It's an easy key for guitarists and singers not so pianists poor gal! But the new key does help my vocals in the bottom end of my register from fading away.

Adam totally changed the feel for  How Would We Know into a ska skanky reggae style ( his words)  and it so works. I love the song but for some reason I couldn't find the right vibe and he sure found it! This is going to be a great tune to record.

Adam had a recommendation to add a chorus to the song Dizzy. I explained my reasoning for not having a hook, my intention was to intensify the feeling of not having anything to hang on to like when one is dizzy. He asked me to think about adding one so I came home and played and a lovely dreamy chorus fell out of the heavens. Love it and is very hooky giving folks something dreamy to hang on to and sing along with. This is going to be a long and adventurous track! I sent an mp3 of it to Adam and heard back just now, he thinks it's fantastic, YAY!

We have 4 tracks lined up for Huggybear to shine on and 2 will feature him as soloist. Alice will be on hand for her lovely piano and or organ. Alice and I have also been working on harmonies for some of the songs too.

Next step is to record scratch tracks in 2 weeks and drums to be recorded in 3 with percussionist Elliot Polski! I plan on writing and blogging the process as I tend to forget how things evolve when people ask me later on and this will serve as documentation in the process of making an album. Stay tuned.

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