Linux, musical road-dogging, and daily life by Paul W. Frields

I blew off some other projects today to mess around with my home studio. Most of my recording is done to a DAW (digital audio workstation) — in my case, a fancy way of saying I have special software with which to do recording, mixing, editing and so forth. Unfortunately, it only runs in Windows; there aren’t really professional level tools for Linux yet. You can do a lot of the basics in Linux (recording, mixing), but the tools are awkward, don’t have consistent interfaces, and less plentiful than in the payware world.

Anyway, I did some work on tracks from an old friend of mine, Jenny Boyle. We started recording some demo tracks in my buddy Rich’s basement, and today I pulled them out and added some material. This is what I ended up with.

There are some glaring problems. There are no backing vocals as yet (maybe Jenny will be interested in getting together again?). The vocal that’s there was originally a scratch track, so there’s monitor bleed all over it from when we were doing the original demo tracking. Plus I had to auto-tune it slightly to keep from going mad; it’s a little too aggressive in a couple spots. The guitars go a little hinky in the bridge because my hands are a little out of shape after playing nothing but bass for so many months. The intro guitar is too up front, and the snare is buried too far back.

Some cool things too: My Variax is playing the part of every guitar on the record except the intro guitar, which I think is my old Strat, long since departed. There’s a couple Les Pauls in there, a Strat, and a Rickenbacker 360-12, with my GuitarPort serving as the ampage rampage. The strings and organ are courtesy of my Alesis QS7.1. I’m starting to get the hang of compression, and it’s a pity this mix is over-compressed, but them’s the breaks if you want to sound like a “real record” these days.

Jenny sang vocals, Rich played drums, and everything else you can blame on me.