Friday, June 02, 2006

Strings and Things

I’m listening to it again – for the twenty-fifth time since Tuesday. Most of it is very nice. Some of it is downright ready. Some of it needs major remixing. Much of it needs a little tweaking. But all of it is ready to move on to this next phase.

I’ve just gotta say again: David’s string arrangements are just beautiful. Breathtaking. And using real strings makes such a difference. Often, especially with lower budget, indie recordings, strings are synthesized. That is, they’re played on a keyboard – a synthesizer – that can imitate other instruments. You can almost always tell. Even if you think you can’t tell, you can. It’s that little subconscious, subliminal signal that goes off. It’s like when I’m tuning my guitar and someone says “Oh, just play it. I’ll never be able to tell the difference.” What they’re really saying is “I don’t have any musical training, so I could never tune a guitar,” or “I don’t understand the relationship between pitches to intellectualize what you’re doing,” or maybe “Hurry up. I’m bored.” But, for the average listener, music is not about intellectualizing. It’s about gut reaction. Play someone a song with an out-of-tune guitar, and then play it again with an in-tune guitar and ask them which one they liked better…they’ll pick the in-tune guitar without knowing why. It’s the same with synthesized strings. But I’ve digressed, so just take my word for it.

Along with David’s fine arrangements, of course, we were privileged to have had some fine string players as well. Cleveland is blessed to have at least a couple of top notch music education institutions, one of them being the Cleveland Institute of Music. CIM is a "leading international conservatory" which offers graduate and post graduate level classes for serious musicians. And it’s where David found the three young ladies, who play together as a trio, to record his arrangements on the record.

I’m harping on strings today (get it?) because I’ve been listening to the song “Blessing.” This song has a lot of magic going for it. I’m going to refer you to an earlier blog entitled “Soul-mates.” It’s about singing with the Prayer Warriors in the studio and then doing a vocal take of “Blessing” after they’d gone but while the “vibe” was still in the room. We did one take straight through. We may have gone back and punched one or two little spots, but this was a good take. The “spirit” was still with me. And now, as I listen to the final mix, it was a pretty amazing take. The whole song is pretty amazing (in all humility). I think it’s just gorgeous. From my guitar and vocal, to the strings, Ed Ridley’s piano, Rob’s percussion and the mix, the whole thing just works.

Needless to say, I’m excited.

More impressions of the near-final mix forthcoming.

1 comment:

mom said...

I'm glad to see you are blogging again, and excited about strings and things. Thanks for Lydia's blogs - I'm going to read the whole thing later - I have so much admiration for her.

David will be back from California tomorrow, and tomorrow is Lauren's graduation. We won't be at Rock My Soul Shabbat Friday, we are going to Daniel's graduation.