I’ve been thinking recently about how to turn a bunch of demos into a living breathing album. Fantasy Bridge grew organically out of the demos as I painstakingly replaced the guide tracks I’d laid down on keys with performances from real people. This process worked reasonably well and might work again, though I have to say, starting with a blank slate does have it’s attractions. However before getting to that decision I needed to decide who was going to play on the new album.
Warning… This is a keyboard-geek post. If you’re the sort of person that isn’t going to get irrationally excited reading about synths, then I suggest you just look at this relaxing video instead.
A couple of months ago I became the proud owner of a Roland GAIA SH01 synth. I had wanted a synth that had lots of knobs and was easy to program for some time and though what I really wanted was a real analog synth, the Moogs and Prophets were really out of my price range, and while a Korg MS20 Mini was affordable, I just couldn’t bring myself to get something with mini keys (Why Korg? Why?)
So after some time researching and demo-ing I settled on the little Roland GAIA…
I am sure that there has been a lot written over the years about approaching that ‘difficult second album’ So here’s the thing: A band, or a solo artist in creating their first album probably has a lot of well rehearsed stuff they think is pretty good. It’s been in the pipeline for years (or in the case of my first album decades! ). But come time to start on album number two, the band or artist in question is faced with a blank sheet of paper, and some difficult questions they need to ask themselves…
Last summer we moved house. We moved from a fairly ordinary 1970s estate to a quirky 1920s chalet style building tucked away down a long drive and not very far from the beach. Apart from falling in love with the building and the location, on a more practical note there is a room on the ground floor which was previously a study that makes a lovely little studio control room, and it’s adjacent to a large open entrance hallway that can be pressed into service as a live room.
So with the addition of some acoustic trapping, here we are. All ready to record. It’s something of a work in progress. I’ve yet to sort out any curtains, there is a new large display to install on the wall in place of the desktop display,not all the keyboards are fully patched in yet, and the lighting needs attention, but the basics are there, so really there are no excuses not to get on with the 2nd album!
After some months of preparation, studio redesign and song writing we are more or less at the point where it makes sense to start recording!
So I got to the point where I had a bunch of disparate songs, but to me an album isn’t a random collection of songs, they need something that gels them together into something greater than that. I’m not talking about a concept album or anything, but a stylistic, look and feel (or listen and feel perhaps). I’ve finally got a theme in mind that I think works, and with a little tweaking here and there, the songs are starting to feel as though they are part of this theme.
More of that in future posts.
For now I have the task of taking all these new songs and deciding which are genuine candidates for the album and which aren’t, and once again I’ll be ruminating on each of the songs along the way.
I hope you enjoy the journey.