Saturday, December 16, 2006

Days 15...16...man I lost count...

Sorry loyal blog readers I haven’t been updating regularly, a combination of things set me back, most notably my own health. As Lodhi’s recovery got better and better, I got worse and worse with the flu. Plus the stupid comments section on these blogger thingies is down so If you guys get a chance please leave comments on our orkut community page.

We finally got finished with Lodhi’s guitar bits, although it took us forever to get the tones right, I’m glad we spent time on it. Most guitar players have one tone or one style of playing for every song. For example, you can identify Mekaal Hassan or Salman Ahmed almost instantly by the way their guitar sounds. My approach has always been to have a variety of guitar tones to suit every song. To me it’s like using a palette to create a unique mix for each song. Thankfully Lodhi shares my ethic so on the album, you will find a variety of guitar tones and styles which should keep it pretty interesting. The only trouble is remembering each combo for when we’re playing live…

These early morning sessions had really taken a toll on me. I had no days off because we were recording Friday and Sunday morning and then I had work the rest of the week. Intensely intoxicated with cough syrup and antihistamines, I was lying on the studio couch trying desperately to say awake so I could listen to Lodhi doing his vocal takes. I knew I was hallucinating when the music started appearing to me in psychedelic colors and Yasir started appearing to me in a pink tutu. Although I wonder if that last one really was a hallucination. I didn’t want to let the boys down by appearing indifferent but I reached a point where my ears just couldn’t distinguish between sounds anymore. In the distance I heard Yasir calling out "Whaaaaaaaaat dooooooo youuuuuuuuu thiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnk". It was literally just like the movies…with elongated speech and slurred comprehension….

Lodhi was having trouble with his takes. Its tricky recording vocalists because most of them have a peak period where they start to do solid takes. Most vocalist warm up for the first 2-3 takes and peak around the 7-8 take. Anything more than 15 takes and they start to deteriorate. So there is a very small window to get it right. Plus one had to be really careful with criticism, because singing is all about confidence, and the slightest remark, even a joke or an innocuous suggestion can completely throw off a vulnerable songbird.

It’s hard not to get frustrated when we are so close to finishing our recording process. I know the mixing and mastering is the major part of it, but I really wanted to get past this milestone. It just wasn’t happening. Generally our morale was down. I was sick, Lodhi wasn’t performing at his best, Omar wasn’t around and Yasir was doing his best to pull us through with his cheery enthusiasm. This was a welcome change. Most times Yasirs’ cheery enthusiasm has inspired my cheery enthusiasm to call him names such as "ass-queen". But this time it helped to get us through.
To make matters worse, Raza fell sick too and was also reassigned to work with another party. Which left us to work with Ashfaq bhai himself. This slowed us down immensely because we had a really good understanding with Raza by now and he instinctively knew what we wanted when recording. (Plus we suspect Ashfaq bhai of using time-wasting tactics so that we have to book more shifts….bastards)

For icing on the bastard cake, after dragging myself out of bed and fighting through my morning sneezes, we found the studio locked and abandoned this Friday with Ashfaq bhai nowhere to be found. Apparently the strike froze everyone’s activity. But given that the man has his own care and lives pretty nearby, this was just too much to handle. I often try hard not to show frustration or depression in front of the other guys because then it just gets everyone down. But this was the last straw. I still haven’t been able to get to Ashfaq but when I do, I will call him an ass queen…at least.

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