Vocals, the live vibe and clean recordings.

I have done another crash course on vocal recording and given myself another headache.


As a performance artist, poet and filmmaker, I have got into the habit of live recording. With that, of course, comes a slightly documentary-style production. I did my thesis on documentary as an undergraduate and I have been making live video and audio diaries for years. I like a first response style of creativity, it feels honest to me, purer, from the heart.

I loved all the live events at the BAC and have done my fair share of bootlegs; the punk never dies.


But now I am making electronic music and the editor is dominant in the work. The software is the new goddess.


I have come up with a lot of style issues in the process.


Live improvised recordings on acoustic instruments, including vocals, are not sliding in tightly with the midi recordings and the electronic instruments. I have come across a myriad stylistic problems, but also a grating incompatibility when I get to the editing stage.


Improvisation, whether it is a poem, a shakey warbling out of tune phrase, a live cello or a bit of found sound from the washing up bowl, needs a lot of post-edit to fit with the sleek and highly polished, highly regimented midi orchestrations with their rigid tuning and time keeping.


It takes more than a metronome to get things to fit. Electronic music is not an easy option. The easy option is to turn up at a venue and play and then go home and get your mate to record it. I jest of course.


Live recording on acoustic instruments or live sounds, including vocal, is my next nightmare. What microphone to use, even to record the washing up sound I liked for a loop? I will be working with the Zoom next week, all £500 worth of it, and hope to have better results. My recording pod and mic are the best money can buy so I also need to work on using them properly with my vocals, which, during the pandemic and without a budget, are all I have.

My own vocals, my pet hate. Recording, repeating phrases, is so boring and of course taxing because it hard. I am working on a way of producing a sort of Pasha robot.


Actually, I am a bit excited about this bit. I am looking at creating a bank of individual words for each track and modulating them through the effects that I have at my disposal. I can hit individual notes but I can't intonate to adjacent ones so this is a way I can create something interesting and in tune, hopefully. I want to experiment. I want to make work that is interesting and groundbreaking. I want to make art.


I really have to let go of the desire to have live sensitive humanity, in this series of tracks at least. That is not to say these tracks are not sensitive, I really think they are, but for now, stylistically, they are going in one direction.


If I play Shambala next year, I will need to work on the live elements as well as all my electronica. I will need to understand how to make things fluid, how to put on a show. That is a journey ahead.....




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