Saturday, September 29, 2007

Twice the Usual

Twice the Usual is my brother Thom’s fourth album. The first was Planet for Sale which we recorded in our parents’ basement on my Vesta Fire 4-track tape machine. It was all Thom on acoustic and vocals, with a few parts added by me. The second album, Regent Street, was recorded at the old Sound of One Hand studio in Ottawa. I had very little to do with that album, though I seem to remember adding a keyboard part or two. Thom had a few other guests on the album. The third album (the first CD) was Forest for the Trees, also recorded at the old Sound of One Hand. Forest was almost entirely Thom and me, with a guest guitar here and there.

2x is by far the most ambitious recording and yet is a return to the “basement studio”. We started the recording in the spare bedroom of my apartment in Austin in the Spring of 2002. I recorded Thom’s Taylor acoustic to two tracks (microphone and direct from the Taylor’s pickups) through an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 at 24-bits, 44.1 kHz. The earliest recordings used an AKG C535EB condensor, but we switched to the large-diaphragm AKG C3000. I don’t remember if any of the 535 tracks survived. I don’t think so. The early months were kind of experimental, recording Thom’s guitar and then adding a few throwaway bass and vocal tracks trying to get a feel for the setup.

In the Fall of 2002, Thom decided to leave Austin to move back to Ottawa. We had to cram all of the remaining acoustic and vocal recording in before he left. We ended up with twelve songs. Eleven survived. The Night Brings is the only one I dropped. I expect to arrange and produce it eventually. Probably for the Borders Bookstore special edition.

I continued recording the album in the attic studio at my new house in Austin: four years of arranging, recording, mixing, erasing, re-recording, listening, reading, purchasing, burning, cursing and starting over. There were some droughts: I completely abandoned the project for several months while I finished the even-longer-ignored soundtrack for Jean-Guy Brin’s short film Let’s Give Him a Big Hand.

Over the next several weeks I plan to post each track and blog its details. And Thom will be posting a songwriting journal in parallel.

Next: 2x: The Album

1 comment:

  1. Kenneth
    Though there is technical stuff that I don't understand in this story of how Thom's four albums were recorded, I am thrilled to learn of their existence.

    I am reading only the second posting and already this journal is allowing me to get to know you and Thom. I'm looking forward to sharing more of your art and creativity through music, pictures, reflections and text.

    I feel a bit like an explorer in unfamiliar territory. Here I go...