MP3 Palefighter - Swan Dive Bomb
This file is no longer available on Tradebit.
9 MP3 Songs in this album (41:51) !
Related styles: Rock: Album Rock, Pop: Pop/Rock, Mood: Brooding
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Although my results are unique, my process is similar to many other composing musicians. I normally donât sit down to write, I sit down to play and after some time spent just exploring my guitar neck something happens that sparks my attention-some repeating pattern or group of chords, some structure occurs. It usually feels familiar to me, and I question whether it feels familiar because I have heard it before, or because all creation feels the same. Regardless, I try not to judge, I try to enjoy.
Guitar parts always come first. I need a harmonic structure with which to write the melodic. I suppose, if given the exercise I could perform the reverse, but the result would rely more on my training than my instinct and thus be more mechanic than I already trend toward. Second is melody and vocal rhythm. I play around with syllables, and vowel placement is as important to me as actual words. I write words last. Usually it takes me weeks of mulling a chord progression and melody around my subconscious before I am able to deliver proper prose. It is the most frustrating step in my process. I am currently backed up with three songs that need lyrics. There they sitâ¦waitingâ¦
I started writing most of the material for Swan Dive Bomb in the winter of 2004 and finished the last song, Scarface in the summer of 2005, though I borrowed two songs (Drive On empty and So Low) from the year prior. Scarface wasnât completely finished until recording was over, as Rob Ziminsky and I continued to edit, orchestrate, and produce it through out. Rob and I, while we were both still playing guitar in our rap band Solid8 (https://www.tradebit.com and Rob was fronting The Screen (https://www.tradebit.com) had been working together for years, but probably not in the capacity we find most comfortable. We were consistently writing for Solid8, but our writing comfort zone was and still is in melodic, lyrical music. Rob had that outlet with The Screen, I was writing my material for no particular band, on my acoustic guitar.
All of the music on Swan Dive Bomb was written on my acoustic guitar first. I never wanted the songs to remain in that form. In late 2005, Rob and I began fully orchestrating my songs by recording them. Our recording process was this:
We used Digital Performer to record Swan Dive Bomb. We began by laying scratch guitar and vocal tracks. I performed (in one or two takes usually) all the tunes singing and playing guitar at the same time to pre-recorded click tracks at predetermined BPM. From there, Rob and I set about figuring out what a kit would sound like (and what a drummer would do) around each song. This took months of programming. We used the program Reason which allowed for some great drum sounds and ease importing into Digital Performer. There were countless decisions to make. We first decided on kick and snare patterns, and then added hat, ride and other cymbals. We focused on pattern and feel first and then decided on pitch and timbre. In the beginning of this process, Rob and I were rehearsing with bassist Kim Byrd and drummer Phil. This made it easier to understand what a drummer might do with the material. We built a kit for nine tunes. Nothing was built for The light Fantastic, the tenth song, and one of the nine was cut from the album. While building the drums for each song, I fully intended to use them as a guide only, though we made them as awesome as we could because all the other keeper tracks would be laid on top of them. We thought it was important to have a great sounding kit while recording guitar and vocals. My hope was that Jarrett Osborne would play drums on my album, which didnât manifest because of time constraints, so it was fortunate Rob and I spent so much time on programming. In the end, I think the programmed drums on the album sound better than they probably should. While programming, Rob and I also decided on structure. We built space for the bridge sections of Switchblade Smile and Scarface. We outlined solo areas, endings, where builds would go, etc. It was a template; an outline. This is called pre-production, and most good bands do it before they lay tracks meant for the album. Most good bands do this in a few weeks. It took Rob and me almost one year working one or two nights a week. It was frustrating but saved me time in the long run.
When the programming was complete, guitars were next. I do not remember the order in which we recorded guitar. I laid virtually all the acoustic guitar tracks-SoLo, The Barbarian Invasion, Switchblade Smile, and Drive On Empty. Rob and I played electric guitar on Weâll Crush You With All That We Are. The end section six bar phrase is all Rob, with the climbing picking pattern and descending octave pattern that mimics the background vocals. The raga inspired harmonized lead lines on Drive On empty are Rob. We both played the main guitar chord line. We doubled chord and riff-playing guitars left and right on most songs. Rob played the picking lines on both Switchblade Smile and Scarface. Though I wrote them, he is a much cleaner guitarist than me and I preferred his steady hand on the album. Some of my favorite Rob guitar moments:
Weâll Crush You With All That we Are: The guitar âpeepersâ in the second verse. Our electronic bug chorus!
Blown Out: In the two bridges, I played the picking pattern. Rob played the distorted chunking guitar. I love the chunking guitar.
Drive On Empty: The aforementioned raga inspired lead line that begins after the first verse.
Song for A Wedding: The awesome solo with great tone and feel. Rob had a very bad night when we recorded that solo. He may not remember it as such, but it was the worst night I had ever witnessed anyone have. I was pretty sure I lost him for good after that. He made some amazing music for me all throughout. We built the whole section from guitar solo to the end in that one night. We tracked not only his solo, but also all the building distorted guitar parts underneath, as well as all the harmonizing background vocals. I also doubled my lead vocals.
There was a hiatus after the guitars were complete. I had started recording vocals-only Drive On Empty was laid and Swan Dive Bomb was put on hold for a few months. I feared I would not finish it with Rob or at all, so I brought the album to Bob Beale-Robâs guitar mate from The Screen and my friend and roommate. Bob had very quietly become quite a force with Digital Performer and Reason. Bob resurrected Swan Dive Bomb. Bob and I recorded 90 of the vocal tracks between Christmas 2006 and January 1st 2007. He was a machine. We also recorded the entire version of The Light Fantastic in about one day, which Bob played slide guitar on. Bob also played the backward guitar in the bridge section of Switchblade Smile which totally compliments the vocal suspensions and acoustic pattern. It even swells nicely into the third verse. We also totally built the bridge in Blown Out. I recorded the electric guitars and rappy vocals. We experimented with the drums.
We enlisted the help of Kim to play bass, which she recorded in less than a day. Kim knew the music pretty well from rehearsal. I also gave her a disc with all the scratch tracks on it to practice with. She recorded very quickly and very accurate. My two favorite Kim bass moments are:
Switchblade Smile: The verses and last chorus when she goes up to the third-brilliant.
The Barbarian Invasion: The last chorus. I love my Kimmie.
After all tracks were recorded, we needed to mix the album. This is an editing process when one chooses everything about the sound of each individual track, and song besides its actual structure. (Although sometimes that changes as well.) Some examples are: What frequencies of the recorded track do you want to remove, accentuate, or minimize? What reverb or other effects are appropriate? How loud should the track be in relation to all the other tracks? Where in the audio spectrum should this track be?
Some of the songs on Swan Dive Bomb had 40 plus tracks, and each one of them needed to be ranked in importance, treated, EQed, and placed. This was a larger undertaking than any of us had attempted. There were albums Rob, Bob, and I recorded earlier, but none were as intricate. It took months to complete. Rob and I worked first and were able to get the album about 70 mixed. We were able to achieve an overall feel. Bob and I completed the process. He brought clarity through better use of pre-delay, helped me find a pre amp and EQ for my voice, and worked with me to better use reverb to enhance but not clutter the recording. We rearranged some of the more synthetic drum sounds on Switchblade Smile to make an organized bottom end to the verses. Together, Rob and Bob are the perfect engineer, both creative and knowledgeable in their own way. I believe Swan Dive Bomb became a great recording because both influenced the project.
Swan Dive Bomb was completed in the late summer of 2007. It took almost two years. I named the album after a phrase I use in The Barbarian Invasion. The song is about a movie by the same name. The movie is about a man dying, and how he reflects on his life. Swan Dive Bomb comes from the two phrases swan dive, and dive bomb. A swan dive is beautiful, exact, graceful, planned, practiced, and elegant. A dive bomb is big, explosive, destructive, messy, and unforgiving. I believe life is a celebration of both, and my music reflects the celebration. Thank you for listening
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