Today’s studio adventure

May 23, 2011

Wow. Today’s session in the recording studio kicked my ASS.

I spent the weekend with family in Chicago for my niece’s wedding, then hot-footed it back down to Bloomington to be ready in time. It turned out I woke up two hours early this morn and then kept falling asleep behind the wheel on the drive home. I am grateful for those raised bars on the sides of roads that suddenly bring you back to reality.

I had time for a nap, spine realignment, and episode of Glee before heading over to Rhino’s to meet everybody. It’s a hot, humid day which usually means tempos and pitches sag. Fortunately the studio was like a freezer so we snapped back up.

I had about 6 tunes I wanted to get in the can today, but I knew that was aggressive. We did a good job, though, nailing a couple in only three takes. But everything unraveled on Pata Pata. We can’t do the vocals without the percussion and we can’t do the percussion without the vocals. So we just kept trying to record things in fits and starts. By the end of it we were all exhausted and I have no idea if we have anything salvageable.

I’m a little concerned about recording Lu Lops. We nailed it perfectly when we performed it at the UU gig last month but usually we just can’t get it together. I don’t know what it is about that piece. I changed the arrangement at our last rehearsal to have everyone come in at the start of each verse rather than having just the mezzos lead us in. That made a huge difference in the sound—it’s much fuller now, which is great. But I don’t feel like we really own it yet.

Some people are still having trouble with the lyrics. There are some songs like that, that you just can’t get some piece of. I have never been able to get all the lyrics to Oi, Rano, for instance. Of course, it has six verses, so maybe that’s part of the problem, but there comes a point where the brainspace has to be devoted elsewhere. I made lyric sheets and we use them to cheat during performances.

Oh, I guess I really don’t have anything to say except, “I’m utterly spent.” That’s not so very interesting so we’ll leave it there for the night.

P.S. Big props to the sistahs for hanging in there today.