Thoughts

February is done! 

This last weekend was a sprint. Thursday night, I was feeling supremely insecure about whether or not I could finish this batch of songs in time to get it off for mastering. That is, until Bremen McKinney came over to record some accordion tracks. Right away, I was washed over with a sense of relief and could picture in my mind how some of these songs could come together. There was light at the end of the tunnel. Bremen worked quickly, taking direction as well as improvising in his own way to help craft some of the more interesting elements that ended up in those particular songs. Not only that, but he’s a good buddy, and it was nice to have a couple beers and screw around with something musical. That night, I went to bed feeling pretty jacked up about what we had done, and ready to tackle the next piece of the puzzle: saxophone. 

For that, I called in Dan Nelson. Co-worker and tenor saxophonist. I don’t know Dan very well, aside from the occasional at-work small talk about shared interests. This was to be the first time that I’d every worked musically with someone I hadn’t first been good friends with. Which made me a bit nervous that it just might not work. After a few instructions, he was ready and standing in front of the mic. 

Right away, Dan nailed his parts and improvised like a pro. To “say like a pro” makes it sound like he’s not. I want to be clear, the man is a pro. He crushed it. Everything I could have wanted from those saxophone parts, he delivered and then some. There’s one part in particular, a somewhat jazzy solo section where it was like he just cracked my head open and played what was rattling around in there. That was one of the easiest recording experiences I’ve had with a musician that I wasn’t in a band with. 

I’m very much excited to get this album out into the world. It’s quite a bit different from January  in pacing and feel, though many of the same themes are touched upon. It is a bit of a strange album and I hope you all get a good chance to listen start to finish with a good set of headphones, or some excellent speakers… there are lot of little elements to be noticed! 

The release date should be on the 23rd of this month; a little ahead of schedule but we wanted to release on the last Friday of February, so, there it is.

Progress 

January is out there, and released. It feels good to have this project moving. February started off very well. In the first weekend I recorded the base tracks for nine of the ten songs. That being said, the demos for this batch of tunes are a lot more incomplete than those of January. I’m finding that to complete this album, I’m having to do a lot more writing than expected. This is making for a lot of experimentation, exciting new directions, and hefty dose of second-guessing. More than anything, time running out and I feel as though I’ve got a million things to do. By sunday, all tracking needs to be done, and there’s so much I want to do with it. I know I can get there, it’s just gonna mean very little sleep! 

Tomorrow I should have a friend coming over to lay down some accordion, which I think should make some of these tunes feel more complete. The songs themselves are more experimental and odd as well. They are from a period when I was really enjoying experimenting with moods and letting songs do what they will in the writing process. That means now, I’ve got to do a little reigning in. So, expect an eclectic batch of songs which dive into some deep personal areas and sometimes fall suddenly into experimental breaks. 

Part of the spirit of this project is allowing myself to experiment with production, arrangement and the recording process. What makes a song sound complete? How can analog sounds feel as though they exist in the same sonic world as electronic and digital instruments? Does something actually sound good, or would an experienced maker of electronic music hear some of these sounds and scoff? “Oh, he’s using such and such synth sound… that’s so 2007.” Most of the electronic music world is new to me, so I’m flying very much by the seat of my pants, and enjoying the process of introducing electronic elements into these songs which started their lives as simple acoustic tunes. February is gonna be a strange one, but that is exciting to me.

One down, eleven to go.  

After much trial and error as well as a steep learning curve with regards to mixing, the first album is done. I ended up recording it three times... with each new technique I learned I wanted to scrap the old versions and start the whole process over. Hopefully, that won't happen with every album, but who knows. Digging through these old songs is nostalgic and brings up so many forgotten experiences. It's nice digging through these strange sonic scrapbooks, though not everything I find is pleasant to remember. I started tracking February last night, it's sounding even stranger than January! Can't wait to #getthemoffmychest. 

Keep an eye out January 26th for the release of January through www.quinnhenrymulligan.com as well as iTunes and Spotify

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