Unfortunately as some of my session musicians had pulled out on certain dates I was forced to look for other solutions. After recieving an extension which I was extremely grateful for, I set about new plans to record some of the key parts for my tracks. Robbie Caswell-Jones was able to record bass for me, however there was no free time in the studio so the only other option was to record at my house. However as were recording through DI anyway it didn’t change the situation too much but I felt it was a little bit less professional.
I used my macbook pro to record onto via my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 audio interface and monitored through my M-Audio BX5 monitors.
Robbie had rehearsed the parts sufficiently and we managed to go through the takes very quickly, which was great as I was eating into my mixing time! I listened back carefully to each take to ensure that it was relatively on the beat and in time. I say relatively, as I had been learning of a fantastic tool available in the DAW logic known as flex time. I believe there are similar functions available in pro tools (elastic audio/ beat detective) but I am generally more comfortable mixing in logic so I went with that option. This is where the DAW detects transients in the audio file and references them with markers. These markers can then be adjusted to match the timing of the song. However this does mean stretching the audio somewhat so in a few cases you have to be extremely careful but with a generally monophonic instrument like bass guitar, you are able to get away with more edits. I made small edits to the majority of the bass tracks and adjusted the timings in three separate ways:
- Going through the audio file by hand and matching the bass notes to the drum transients to create a ‘groove’.
- Automating specific parts of the audio file to match the tempo of the song (only used when songs had ben recorded to a click track).
- Using the drum track as a ‘Groove Template’. This involves logic scanning the drum file and then matching the bass notes to the closest drum transients.
‘Flex-Time’ in action.
These methods were extremely successful and I even managed to apply them to other recordings such as the banjo for Mason-Dixon Line.
We also managed to record the electric guitar for Quicksand via DI as well and emulated a great electric guitar sound via Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig.
I was disappointed that we weren’t able to record in the studio but also pleased that I had managed to arrange an alternative solution that didn’t have too much of an impact on the final product. This shows my problem solving abilities as a producer. I also wished that I had more time to record extra instrumentation due to some sessions not working out, therefore if I was to go through with this project again I would definitely plan a contingency period, which would give me ample time when things don’t go as planned. This was my final recording session of the project – I’m now looking forward to the designated mixing stage!
Here are the sheets from this session.