Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today's The Day

I'm a little late arriving at this party, but last night I recorded a cover of Inverse T. Clown's song "Today's the Day." Because the Too Much Awesome community site is now defunct, I was unable to track down the original song before recording it, so I worked entirely from other people's covers. Edric Haleen had made a PDF of the song scored out, but it didn't really resemble a lead sheet (no chord notation, many, many pages long, piano in treble and bass clef) and I can't really sight read well enough to play that in any reasonable amount of time.

So, I made up my own chords... it's in G major (at least, my version is; I'm not sure about all the others), and the guitar part is basically crunchy 5ths (major chords without 3rds). I played the main guitar part on my Fernandes Telecaster copy with some extreme processing. The level going into the amp model was (accidentally, because apparently the input gain on the Ensemble got reset) very low, which resulted in weirdly horrible break-up. Which is exactly the sound I wanted. Come to think of it, this might be the song that finally calls for me to break out the Gonkulator. Well... OK... maybe not.

I kind of like the way my vocals came out on this one. I hit the mic extremely hard, and it was gained up pretty high, but the Apogee has a "soft clip" setting that kept this from turning into digital clipping. I now have three sound-absorbing panels up in my studio and they are helping to dry up the reverb I get when singing. (I will get more eventually, but I'm doing this as I can afford it, bit by bit). The panels seem like a pretty basic thing but they have a big effect on the way the vocal track sounds when it hits the EQ and compressor, even when these things are all virtual, and how it sounds in the completed mix. It also seems to be easier for me to stay on pitch when I'm hearing less natural room reverb in my headphones. I experimented with a second microphone lying on the floor in the corner but didn't actually use that track in the mix, and after applying Flex time to help align the two vocal takes, it would be really hard to synchronize it.

Oh, I made a really quick video. It might make you dizzy.

I started out with a doubled solo recorded on the Fernandes, but it was pretty weak, so after the kids were asleep I went back in the studio and played a new doubled solo on the Parker Fly, screwed around with various compressor and mastering settings, and bounced a new track. Hmmm... if I had known I was gonna use a second guitar, I would have tuned the first one...

Here's my video on YouTube.

Here's the full-resolution track on Bandcamp. (I've also added bass and screwed around with the mix a little more; the bass is the Steinberger XP...)

Some link rot has occurred since the original project happened... but:

Here's the intro page on the blog which has an embedded player for the original song.

Here's the full blog feed. I'm particularly enamored of Kevin's, Joe's, and Jeff's videos.

Here's a link to the original on Dr. Lindyke's Bandcamp page as a backup.

"Mad props," as the younglings say, to Mr. The Clown for writing such a fun song and allowing people to cover it. (Note that releasing a recording under a Creative Commons license is not necessarily the same thing as releasing the intellectual property of the words and music under the same license). It is the way I intend my original tracks to be released as well, but it seems to me to be a bit of a gray area unless explicitly pointed out.


Dr. Lindyke said...

I should probably mention that though the original song and the lyrics are on the tribute site, I left the chords off for a reason.

The reason is this... the author -- known to his friends as "ITC", but you can call him "Mr. Clown" ;) -- desired that people bring their own take to the song. Each cover artist should bring a unique interpretation, so flailing around looking for the right chords is part of the game.

He also likes pulling the wings off of flies and putting Pop-Rocks in birdseed.

Paul R. Potts said...

Were I not interpreting it kind of in the Ramones/Clash school, I might be concerned about actual chords with 3rds and 7ths and everything... but when you're applying as much distortion as I did, these things just get in the way!