And what an experience! When we entered PulsWorks studio in December of last year, we were worried. Some of us were terrified. We were rehearsed and prepared, but as we sat before the microphones in the centre of the room, we were tense. Were we making the right decision in our choice of studio? The standard amount one can expect to pay to record an album is $10,000, but we were budgeted for half that amount. Would our miserliness ruin our work? Would we mess up and cause a fiasco? Were we good enough to record an album?
Jean Ritchie ballad about working coal mines. For four brief minutes, everything went right. We had a near-perfect one-take wonder instrumental track. "It's a good thing we did that," said Rob, "Because if we hadn't, there wouldn't be a second day of recording."
Over the next months, we got better at recording. We relaxed. We started to have fun. And we also ripped through tracks with confidence and the good musicianship I've come to expect from my band.
Next came editing. Rob and I joined our engineer, Brady, in the studio to turn our work from kinda good into perfect. It's amazing what a good sound engineer can do. It's not just adding echoes. The three of us surfed all of our music for not just the best takes, but the best sections of each take. Seemlessly, Brady cut the rotten bits out, substituted good bits, and subtly blended the result so it didn't sound dumb. His wonderful gadgets and gizmos were also able to easily change the duration of sung lyrics so that we sounded way tighter than we actually are.
pitch correction tools were used. Each track was recorded with all instruments in the same room, playing at the same time. Also, no animals were harmed. Also, go to hell you stereotypical conservative Irish straw-men!
|Rob recorded his tracks from prison|
At the time, I thought the stress was over, but there was more fun in my future. There was the manufacture to arrange and make sure it would be in Saskatoon by FolkFest. There was the booklet to design. And also licensing. Ohhh, the licensing. Take it from me, if you're going to record an album, make sure you either write your own songs or borrow from the public domain. 8 cents per song per album may not seem like a lot of money to pay in licensing fees, but you pay tenfold in time-wasting as you fill out forms and hunt for composers on the internet.
Great Big Sea minus the drum kit and minus the cheesy songs designed to get them laid. Or maybe imagine what the Dubliners could have done if they drank less.
Knocking the Windowpane truly redefines Irish traditional music. Nay! Music itself! Junk your other CDs, dismantle the recording industry, disband the Metropolitan Opera, send Bob Dylan to the gibbet, throw the Black Eyed Peas to the wall, dig up the corpses of the great composers and burn them. You won't need 'em after you buy Knocking the Windowpane. Am I over-selling this? Perhaps. But I still think the Black Eyed Peas should be executed.