So, on Wednesday I’m flying to Tucson to conduct “Our Father, Vindicate” in front of the annual convention of the American Choral Directors Association. I am … crapping bricks. As I said to the guys in the choir, “Why couldn’t be the annual ‘People Who Rock Out on B3′ convention?”
Thanks to Zack, here’s a video of the premiere of “Our Father, Vindicate”.
I spent yesterday editing down the tutorial video from the Our Father, Vindicate recording session with our very own Mr. Zack Mathers (so expect some swearing in the comments). For those of you who do not eagerly memorize every detail of my life with rapt attention and a pavlovian frenzy, I wrote a song, wanted to do a big recording session of the song, and the only way I could afford to do it was by getting a grant to fund the demo. To do that, we had to engage in some mild academic trickery, and tell them that the whole purpose of the recording session was to make an instructional video for students.
So, Zack brought some cameras along, recorded the whole session, and yesterday we editing all of that down into a 10-minute tutorial on how to record large-ensemble composer demos with no money down and only 8 singers.
I know I’ve said this before, but yesterday was another reminder: I am always shocked when people I know, people who are just, like, my people, friends, drinkin’ buddies, when they also turn out to be stone-cold awesome at what they do. I felt the same way the first time Aly edited something I had written (the proposal for this same grant, by the way). I felt the same way when June brought down a painting for my office. I felt the same way when other florists started ripping off Gretchen’s work and claiming it as their own (a true indicator of awesomeness). It’s been the same with Cory, Chad, Rosy, almost everybody (hey Bobby).
It’s always fun to get to see people who are your friends as they are perceived by their clients, and to realize that the reason they do what they do is because they do what they do. They didn’t just hang a shingle, they became professionals.
On May 28th, 2008, I jotted down the first few notes of Our Father, Vindicate. I stared with the melodic theme (E – D#, F# – D#), and the sound of that flat 6 suspension in bar 26. One year and one month ago today.
A few minutes ago, I just finished the final mix of the recording. It’s such a huge feeling of accomplishment to see this thing come together, and to have something solid in hand, something people can hear and respond to. I’ve loved writing this piece, I’ve hated it at times, I’ve put more hours into it than anything I’ve ever done, and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a musician because of doing it. I’m glad it’s behind me, but I’m very glad to have done it.
So, here it is.
Our Father, Vindicate
By Michael A. Lee
Downlod the chart: Our Father, Vindicate.
The vocalists are, in order of part from top to bottom:
Additional vocals by Michael Lee, and Harold Clousing.
Hey there, roadsters. I need some help.
I’m finishing up the final edits and mix on “Our Father, Vindicate”, and I’m having a hard time deciding on the final ending solo. I have three options from 2 different singers, and I’m looking for input on which to choose. Take a listen to all three (the clips are about a minute each), and then tell me which ending solo (the very last phrase) you think is the best fit.
Try to ignore volume and reverb, and focus just on the vocal itself.
Here are the three options:
Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks!
I am a Logic guy. On Logic, I can fly. I can bend it and tweak it and make it do anything and everything I need, and I can do it with my eyes closed. But, this project was tracked in Pro Tools, and I need to really understand that software better, so I’m forcing myself to finish the whole project in Pro Tools.
Yesterday, I spent 90 minutes figuring out how to remove the basic volume automation that the tracking engineer had used to make a rough mix. I just about put a fist through the monitor.
I own a house now. Last week, I needed to fix a few small gaps in the brick around out pool. 90 minutes later, I was covered in mortar glue (which does not wash off), unable to touch anything without coating it with thick sludgy stainy cement glue gunk, the bricks were permanently stained with huge swaths of the crap, and the initial problem was still not solved.
I hate, HATE, feeling incompetent. I just want to scream “I am an intelligent, skilled, and valuable person … I just SUUUUUUUUCK at THIS!” I have to fight so hard not to give up, to force myself through to the other side. I know that someday, I will be able to set mix groups for Pro Tools in my sleep. I know that someday, I will be able to repair masonry without permanently damaging myself or our home.
It’s just that today, that someday seems eternally far away.
Not yet mixed, not even really edited, but here are the long-demanded rough clips from the recording session on Friday. And by long-demanded, I mean I casually mentioned that I would post them, and nobody has really said “No no, please don’t.” I take that to be a consensus for demand.
Here are 3 clips from the song. When the final mix is completed, I’ll post the whole thing in sequence, including videos of my laughably bad conducting. Joy!our_father_vindicate_clip1.mp3 our_father_vindicate_clip2.mp3 our_father_vindicate_clip3.mp3
Well, it’s finally happening.
About a year ago, I started working on a choral piece based on the text of The Lord’s Prayer. I posted some early examples here and here. In November, I thought it was finished. Then, I did a composer workshop where actual people sang through it, and ended up throwing out the entire ending, rewriting it from middle section on out.
In January, with the help of Aly and Phil, I wrote a grant proposal to do a demo of the piece, and to use that same recording session to record a tutorial video on how to record this particular kind of composer demo. It got pushed back, and further back, but finally, at last, the day has come.
On Friday, I get to go into a huge studio with a world-class group of singers, the kind who can sight-sing awkard and atonal lines with the same fluidity and accuracy that you’d expect of a real musician (instrumentalists), and we get to record the demo for this thing.
I am more than a little nervous. The singers on the session are guys from the LA Master Chorale, LA Opera, heavy hitters. I am not a conductor, not in anyone’s imagination, but there it is, I’m the only one there to do it.
In large part my anxiety stems from the fact that I care about this piece so much. I’ve invested a year into it, countless hours writing and re-writing, more time than I’ve spent on any piece of music. I think it’s the best work I’ve done as a musician, and for me it represents a way forward from being a gigging keyboard guy to being a legit composer, with commissions and everything. I am deeply invested in the piece, personally and professionally.
The night before the session, I have a 3 hour rehearsal until the wee hours of the morning for yet another LA singer songwriter doing yet another hollywood scenester gig, and the sheer exhausting will probably prevent me from being anywhere close to competent for the actual session. The irony is not lost on me.
For those of you who are into such things, here is the final version of the score.