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I recorded the core parts of this track in 2013. It was a huge chunk of work back then to record and arrange the original parts, as there are eighteen tracks of subtly layered percussion, three complete guitar parts played on nylon string, steel string, and electric guitar, plus electric bass.
And then in the start of 2018 I added midi controlled orchestral parts. It sounded so fresh and exciting! It made me realize that all my hard work back in 2013 was not in vain--I could do something cool with this track! And thus in February of 2018, I hired legendary Seattle busker--violinist Pasquale Santos--to record real live acoustic violin parts to go with my orchestral melodies.
And again it required a lot (!) of tedious work to arrange the violin parts. This is in part due to my budget constraints. As I couldn't afford hours upon hours of violin recording time, the parts were recorded phrase by phrase, the most time efficient way to get it done. This means that extra work must be done in the mixing process, as I had to reassemble everything piece by piece by sorting through all the takes. Party!! It took a lot of extra mixing time to get them all properly in sync and balanced. The situation was also extra-complicated because the piece is in the key of F# Major, which is perhaps the absolute worst/most unidiomatic key for violin. If it had been in G major the piece might have been a lot easier job for a violinist, and it might have been easier to record longer phrases of violin. Props to Pasquale for painstakingly working through my F# major melodies with me! I didn't originally plan to have violin parts on this track, but I guarantee you I do want to do more pieces like this, and the next piece I do with violin parts will definitely be in a key like G or C major!
Finally when it came to mastering, I spent extra time in discussion with Emch the mastering engineer to make sure the mix was sounding strong but warm. I had several rounds of last minute changes to the mix. Why "rounds of last minute changes"? Because I kept thinking it was done, and then I wasn't fully happy with the final version. I wanted to make sure that the percussion parts that should be heard were indeed heard, but I didn't want to pursue clarity at the expense of beauty. On the sixth mastering mix of the sixth version of the track I sent to Emch it finally sounded just right.
So, it's done! Please enjoy. Share far and wide! I may put it up elsewhere once I get some proper artwork done, but for now it's a Bandcamp exclusive, and I think it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've yet made. I am very glad to have it finally done!!!
released March 16, 2018
Composed, recorded, produced, and mixed by James Whetzel.
Guitars, bass, percussion, and orchestral sounds by James Whetzel.