Tag Archives: recording

Recording Process for Banding Together 2015

Last year, I wrote about the recording process for Banding Together 2014 and how it evolved from 2012-2014. In 2015, the process took another step forward. Here’s how.

In 2012, I put a stereo field mic on my dining room table, sat in a chair, and let it happen. In 2013, I learned a bit about mic placement and I stood up to get some more energy on the recording. In 2014, I abandoned the stereo field mic approach and instead used two mics. This gave me better control over the balance between the voice and guitar.

As I set up to record Banding Together 2015, I started with the same approach as 2014. And then at the last minute, just before hitting record, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that same stereo field mic I had used in 2012 and 2013. I had a thought!

Though I liked the sound of the 2014 recording, everything sounded “up close.” As the listener, I didn’t get the sense I was in the room. There was no ambience, no space, no room sound. So at the last minute, I grabbed the stereo mic, placed it on the other side of the room, and hit record. I didn’t expect to use it in the final recording at all, but I thought it would be a nice experiment. I had changed my approach each year since 2012. It just didn’t feel right to take the same exact approach.

Well… what was just an experiment turned into a revelation.

I was shock when, after having finished recording my performance, I dropped the stereo field mic’s audio into the mix. It made it sound so much bigger! There was a bit of space between the source of the sound and the mic. The room acted as a natural mixing board, blending the sounds of my acoustic guitar and my voice in a natural way. Combining this sound source with the close up sources made the overall recording sound fatter and larger. It sounded like you were there in the room with me. Which was exactly what I was going for!

Having that room sound alongside the closer mics on my voice and guitar really gave me the best of both worlds. I had the detail and presence I needed from the close ups and I also had the room and a sense of space from the room mic.

And of course, after all this, I made a connection I probably should’ve made from the beginning.

It’s a lot like recording drums! The close up mics are for the detail, but the drums don’t sound complete until you hear what they sound like in the room. The room is essential!

Just like anything you are trying to capture acoustically, the room can make all the difference.

P.S. If you’re interested in listening to the final recording, it’s available on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else. Check it out here.

Recording It Live

My latest album – Banding Together 2015 – is a live album. Not live in the sense that it was recorded at a show or even in front of a live audience (other than my cats). It’s live in the sense that the performance is live. I played my guitar and sang each song from the beginning to the end. And that’s what you hear on the album.

But why do it live? Why not record to a click track and multi-track the guitar and vocal separately? Recording software makes it easy. Plus, it produces a nice “studio sound.”

In this particular case, live was a requirement. The Banding Together webathon had to be performed live because that was the nature of the event. But even if that requirement wasn’t there, would I have done it differently? Would I have multi-tracked?

I don’t think so. Not that I wouldn’t ever record that way, but there’s something special to me about being able to hear a singer/songwriter perform songs in the most intimate setting. I don’t believe you can truly capture that sound unless it’s recorded as a live performance.

When the performance is recorded live – even if it’s captured in a studio – it feels like you’re in the room with the musician. That’s what the early Bob Dylan records – like The Freewheeling Bob Dylan – make me feel. That’s what Damien Rice’s first record makes me feel. It’s the best part about stripped-down, live-performance recordings. They allow us to hear the music as written.

It’s the reason MTV’s Unplugged was so popular, right? We’re able to hear if the song stands on its own. We can focus on the melody, lyrics, chord changes, and intent of the songwriter. We’re not distracted by studio effects or instrumentation.

We want to feel the natural ebb and flow of the music as expressed through the dynamics of the performer. It’s not often we hear true dynamics in today’s recordings. The effect of dynamics is often achieved by adding or subtracting instruments, but rarely does the overall loudness change.

Yet if you’re listening to one person play in front of you live, the player’s dynamics come through so clearly. This is something I wanted to capture in Banding Together 2015. I want you to feel like I sat down on your couch and sang you my songs with all my heart.

I hope that feeling comes through when you listen to it.

Where to Listen to My Latest Record

Thanks to everyone who downloaded and listened to my latest solo acoustic album, Banding Together 2015.

In addition to being available for pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp, it is also now available basically everywhere you can listen to or download music! I’ve listed some of the most popular ones below as hyperlinks. Enjoy!

Listen to Two Live Tracks from the Toll Collectors

Recorded live at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ earlier this year… check out two live tracks from Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors. There’s an original called “Leave the Light On” and a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Enjoy!

If you can’t see the embedded player above, use this link to listen to it directly on Soundcloud. https://soundcloud.com/christinaalessi/sets/christina-alessi-the-toll-collectors-at-maxwells-live

New Album Available Today

My new album is available today!

Photo Oct 21, 6 16 09 PM

Download it, stream it, and own it at Bandcamp today.

About the Album

Banding Together 2015 features eight songs (seven original and one in the public domain) performed live. I recorded it for blowupradio.com’s Banding Together Webathon which aired last month. Today, i’m making it available as a digital album that you can stream, download, and own. I recorded it in my apartment with studio-quality microphones and then worked with Missile Silo Studios to mix and master it. I think it came out sounding pretty great. I hope you agree!

Use the player below to stream or download the album. (If you don’t see the player, click here.)

What Is an Album?

Must it exist physically as polycarbonate, vinyl, tape, drive, or cloud storage? Must it spin?

Must it be made in a studio? (What is the definition of a studio?)

Must it include a producer? An engineer?

Must it be multi-tracked? Click-tracked?

Must it contain real instruments? (What is the definition of a real instrument?)

Must it have a human element? (Is there a line between what is human and what is hardware and software?)

Must it play for a minimum duration?

Must it have an audience?

Must it be owned?

Must it be purchased?

Must it be streamed?

Must it be promotional?

Must it tell a story?

There are very few “musts” for an album anymore. That notion can be both scary and liberating.

All I know is this. An album (or record) is one medium on which music can be captured and communicated. Like any piece of art, it is created using tools of the artist’s choosing to make a statement.

My New Record Is Available Today

Today, I’m releasing a new record into the world! It’s a recording of my recent performance on Banding Together: A Webathon to Benefit the Spondylitis Association of America.

Banding Together 2014 Album Cover

 

About the Record

Things you won’t find on the record:

  • auto-tune
  • overdubs
  • editing
  • studio tricks

Things you will find on the record:

  • my voice
  • acoustic guitar
  • original songs recorded in their purest, simplest form

The recording features a half hour of original music, recorded in a way that captures the live performance with high fidelity. I worked with Missile Silo Studios to mix and master it professionally, so it sounds good coming out of your sound docks, speakers, and earbuds. (Read more about the recording process here.)

How to Get the Record

The record is available as a digital download.

Pay what you want for it. You can even grab it for free. I’m proud of the way it came out and I just want you to have it!

After you download it to your computer, you can easily add it to iTunes, Spotify, or any other music player. Just drag the files into your player.

Get the new record today ➝

I hope you enjoy it!

 

New Digital Album

Today, I’m releasing my live acoustic performance from Banding Together 2013 as a digital album. Pay what you want for it – including FREE – and download it right here.

Banding Together 2013 cover

Get it today →

Banding Together 2013 features 30 minutes of original music recorded absolutely live. No auto-tune. No overdubs. No editing. Just my voice, acoustic guitar, and whatever other sounds occured during the performance. The album features eight original songs in their simplist form.

This recording originally aired as part of the Banding Together Webathon Concert to benefit the Spondylitis Association of America on blowupradio.com.

Please consider donating to the Spondylitis Association of America here: www.spondylitis.org  

I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

Banding Together

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I recorded a solo acoustic live set for the upcoming benefit for the Spondylitis Association of America, called Banding Together. It airs next weekend, Friday-Monday (10/18-10/21) and features some great local artists including Jonathan Andrew, Joshua Van Ness, Paul Rosevear, and The Wag.

Click here to see the complete schedule on blowupradio.com. My performance will air at the following times:

  • Friday, October 18th 7:30pm
  • Saturday, October 19th 7:30am 
  • Saturday, October 19th 4:35pm
  • Sunday, October 20th 4:35am 
  • Monday, October 21st 12noon

If you donate during the benefit weekend, you will receive a free digital compilation album. The album features exclusive tracks from the artists performing. I donated the first song in my set to this compilation.

My set features 30-minutes of original songs. Just me and an acoustic guitar. It’s not too often that I perform as a solo acoustic artist, so I hope you are able to listen at blowupradio.com.

PS – I released last year’s Banding Together performance as a digital album. You can stream it, download it, and pay what you want for it right here.

Guitar Pull Now Available to Stream

guitar_photo

You can now stream the Guitar Pull featuring J Orellana, Keith Beck, and yours truly on blowupradio.com. In case you missed it when it aired back in March, you can stream it on demand. After clicking the link, look for the air date March 17th, 2013.

Totally unfiltered and completely laid back, you can listen to the three of us play original songs and talk about everything from the songwriting process to Wonder Woman. Enjoy.

Stream it now