I mentioned before that there might be six songs on the EP. I was planning to stick on an eerie piano melody that I wrote and recorded (it’s pretty much the same process to me) at the end of the summer. The track was called “Waxing Crescent Catechism”. There was a subtle beauty to the darkness of the piece. It was to go at the very end of the album, signifying a new beginning as there are several other lunar references throughout the other tracks. I did feel however, that I was just tacking it on because I wanted six songs and I really didn’t have anything else. Well, I do now and I can’t believe how well it’s turned out.

I have a small tech issue that I haven’t mentioned before here. I got a kick-ass new computer a few months ago. It’s 64-bit and loaded with RAM, so I finally got to play with SONAR X1, which my old computer couldn’t handle. I get the new machine, only to find that there are tiny PCI slots that would not accommodate my Delta66 audio I/O. The old computer is now in the underground bunker where I do vocals, etc. With my new machine, I’m not able to input any audio. So, no vocals here, & no guitar or bass. I managed to do the whole new track without recording any new audio. I wanted to do a remix, and had actually asked a fairly prominent local dj if he wanted to take it on (but alas, I never heard back), so I took it upon myself.

For a few hours last month I worked on a remix for the song Quiet Whales (if you’re in Chicago, you remember the night, as it was marked by a trio of fugitive gun-runners holing up in Uptown, causing major disruptions to the CTA). I didn’t touch the track again until two nights ago when I broke it wide open. I flew vocal tracks in from the album version of the song, and through the use of a fair amount of envelopes, applied gating and formant effects to them. I then boosted and chopped up some of the acoustic guitar… and Presto! I have myself a killer, downtempo remix of the track.

Another issue I had to get around was the fact that SonarX1 is using the soundcard native to this computer (i.e. the one that came with it). Latency is almost two whole seconds, so it’s impossible to track even midi parts because the computer is already two seconds ahead of what I’m hearing, and on top of that, it takes about another two seconds for me to hear the key on the keyboard that I just hit! Propellorhead Reason to the rescue. Reason isn’t as CPU intensive as Sonar, so it let me track midi just fine. I did have to keep closing Sonar and program the Reason sequencer without my vocal tracks so there was a lot of guesswork going on while I was laying down new piano tracks. Yes, it’s a lot of stupid workarounds but it’s all I can do until I can afford a new I/O scheme, which is more than likely going to be the MAudio FastTrack Ultra- a USB device.

But, I like to think things happen for a reason. I was forced to rethink things, go a little slower, and use sounds that I normally wouldn’t have. I also ended up learning a good amount of automating the Reason Mixer. This all turned out great. I originally was going to call this Quiet Whales (Undertow Mix) which is actually the name of the project file. But I liked it so much, that I didn’t want it to seem like it was a remix just added on to the five song EP. It seems like it deserves a little more than that. I decided to make it Quiet Whales (Reprise).

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