Sunday, February 13, 2011

Banjo from Hell

There hasn’t much new material on the blog lately, eh ?

That’s partly because I spent a good amount of time on non-music projects, including photography, and partly because I’m still adding production and remixing the forthcoming folk-electro album « Up the River ».

In particular, I’m currently struggling with this evil object to add variety to its acoustic landscapes.

It’s a nice and cheap Epiphone banjo and boy is it hard! I’m not an expert guitar player, far from it, but I manage to play decently. Banjo is a whole new affair altogether, whether you want to play fast-paced bluegrass (I don’t) or try to find interesting arpeggios that contrast with the usual guitar parts (I do). You’ve got to play fingerpicking style, the neck is thin, the shape is awkward, it’s very very very heavy and there’s that odd high-pitched string in the middle of the neck.

In any case, I’m still practising and I’m not skilled enough to get what I want, hence « Up the River » is still a work in progress.

The track list also is evolving.
The first “Up the River” draft was recorded some three years ago, and songs have been coming in and out, and lots of re-recording has taken place.
For instance, I’m replacing some vocals recorded with the Joemeek ThreeQ with new ones recorded on the superior-sounding Universal Audio 710 preamp.

Some songs on “Up the River” are already featured in my live act, and next post, I’ll upload some live recordings from our acoustic session back in December. There’ll be “Up the River” songs like “Nixonia”, a character study of the late Richard Nixon, “End of Words” (rework of the Tsinam song) and “The Element of Blank” (inspired by, or more accurately stolen to, Emily Dickinson).

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