The Blind KingŪ - obscurer than thou

Does it mean this, does it mean that, that's all anybody wants to know. Fuck them, darling. I say what any decent poet would say if you dared ask him to analyse his work: If you see it, dear, then it's there. - Freddy Mercury

4.28.2005

'Til You're Gone

The new album is nearly through the mastering process; yay!

Jeff from Peerless Mastering gave me a reference disk which I'm listening to right now. The mastering brought out a lot of detail in the mixes, and has provided a unifying sheen that sounds really great.

I originally imagined the songs would flow one into another, with minimal space between tracks, sort of like Ziggy Stardust or other similar concept albums. But Jeff talked me into leaving fairly long pauses between each track, and I think he was right. It allows a sort of mental breath, a sip of wine, to occur between each song, and I think it helps to create a relaxed atmosphere around the material.

So I'm going to listen to it in a few places over the next few days: at work, in the car, at home, and make sure everything sounds good.

It's hard not to compare it to the tracks on my computer that I've been listening to over and over while choosing the mixes, remixing, figuring out the song order, etc. The mastered version is much brighter, and louder. There's a more consistent dimensionality from one song to the next. Jeff said it was like mastering a multi-artist compilation, since the mixes are all so different from each other; this is due to them having been recorded and mixed at such different times (2000-2005), in different studios, in my basement, in the B Room at Peerless, etc. I think he did a great job of making the album sound consistent, and his suggestions on the song order really helped a lot, too.

There are certain subtle details that seem lost, or maybe they've just moved to a new place in the mix, nearer or farther, due to the changes in EQ. So far I haven't noticed anything I can't live with, and in fact I think most of the songs are improved quite a bit, since the various parts are more separate and distinct. There's a lot less of that 400-500Khz "mush" that typically happens in recordings that have many parts/instruments playing at once. It's tough to avoid it, since most every instrument plays pretty loudly within this range. The arrangements were developed live, where this isn't as much of a problem. It explains why a lot of music sounds so different on record: it's actually a different arrangment, typically much more sparse, designed to avoid such issues. We'll probably do more of that on the next album.

We've included 2 tracks from our previous record, Lady Fay and Lost In Space. This other "first album", The Silent Wheel, was recorded and mixed in 2000 but never actually released. It was originally meant simply as a collection of my songs, something to hand to other musicians so they could learn the material and play shows with me. But then my friends started coming in to do overdubs, and it started sounding more and more like a real record, and the next thing I know I'm in the mastering studio with Jeff. Working on that album provided a welcome distraction at a time when various other things were melting down around me. Despite certain predictions that I would end up "all alone with my solo album and my Barracuda", life is now actually quite good. :)

After I made The Silent Wheel, my friends who had played on it decided, one by one, to join the band. Next thing I know I'm in an 8-piece indie "orchestra" called The Blind King! We've been doing it for a couple years, now, and it's been really great.

So this is our first album as an actual band. Though much of our sound is melancholy, and the songs might seem sad, 'Til You're Gone actually documents a wonderful time of growth and discovery. And hopefully it's also a good album!

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