Rough Mixes

Now, the anxiety sets in. I haven’t given any of Sunday’s recordings a complete listen: too stressful. I notice everything imperfect: rogue drum fills, errant bass notes, off tempos. Its all there on tape: done, permanent. So I just won’t listen, until I have to… when I return to the studio tomorrow night.

Not that it’s not a terrific recording. It is. It’s just, well, this whole process (I should KNOW this by now — my freakin’ tenth record, at least) is a rollercoaster. Example: by the time we’d gotten a good performance of ‘Hollywood Arms’ the other day, I HATED it. Which of course, I don’t. I’m proud of it. But, well, over and over and over, every little detail… it gets difficult.

I’m listening to Wilco right now, which is illustrative of my point. There are four versions of the ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ song “Kamera” alone, all wildly different, all interesting, all cool.

To make matters worse, I’ve heard these songs solo acoustic — some of them — for years. I was gonna’ do a ‘Damien Rice’ record: minimalist, mellow. All of a sudden, they’re larger than life. Huge. Stadium rock.

Don’t fret — that’s why they call these “rough mixes.” There’s no EQ, no effects, no overdubs. They’re just bare bones. They’re building blocks. They are the first steps on a very long road home.

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