I’m sitting in the back of the booth in Studio D, listening to Squid Inc. brilliantly and artistically perform/add to/interpret the string parts Gabe wrote and scored for some of my songs. Gabe’s composition is creative and beautiful, and as I said on facebook earlier, it’s bringing me alternately to tears and incredulous laughter. I had no idea what would happen to these songs when they were given flesh. I don’t have the right words for it, but it’s one of the most deeply fulfilling works I’ve ever participated in.
I am so grateful to be here.
I want to share a little more about yesterday with you! First, let me introduce you to our engineer, Adam Munoz.
Adam is as nice as they come, and also ridiculously quick with the board and all of the software and stuff that is above my pay grade. He chases fugitive pops and creaks that I can barely hear, melds and fixes tracks like a magician, and does it before I even realize that it’s happening. He’s got an impressive list of clients with whom he’s worked (including Dave Matthews, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Lyle Lovett, Sixpence None the Richer, etc., etc., etc.). Here he is in front of the board he controls.
What many people may not know about Adam is that he has a The Who’s Tommy-worthy arcade game triumph hiding in his childhood. Picture this: Adam is fourteen, hanging out at the arcade like he does every day. The game of the moment is Super Mario Bros. Adam has played this game many times, but every time he has gotten hung up on level 6. But this day was special. He’s on his game, and suddenly he realizes that the impossible has happened – he’s passed 6! And then, incredibly, he passes 7! By this time, he’s surrounded by thirty kids from the arcade, cheering him on. He should have been doomed – after all, he’d never even tried level 8, didn’t know any of the tricks, had no idea what was coming. But friends, adrenalin and luck carried him forward, and he RESCUED THE PRINCESS and beat the game. Boo-yah.
I just loved that story.
So yesterday, as I said earlier, I played piano for probably about 7 hours. Given my history of piano lessons, this probably shouldn’t have been the first time that had ever happened, but it was. The great thing was that it just went so quickly. That’s one thing I’ve been noticing about this whole process – that “flow” state happens a whole lot for me. Whether I’m working on the music by myself, or doing the recording, or working with the arranging, hours will pass without my realizing it, and then I’ll suddenly realize I’m hungry or stiff and be shocked by what the clock says. It’s kind of lovely.
It turned out to be a nice thing that I painted my toenails, because even my soft little shoes were making some noise as I pedaled. So this is how I worked yesterday:
Next is a view of the piano itself…I find the ways they use microphones absolutely fascinating from an engineering perspective.
You can see that Adam fixed up my own little board for me to use, so I could adjust the levels of what I was hearing in my headphones.
Gabe and I stopped to get Mexican food on the way back and passed the new 49ers stadium…wish the picture wasn’t so blurry, but it’s very pretty. I mean, it’s no Lucas Oil. 🙂
But there you football fans have it.
I hadn’t felt tired all day, but while we were eating, I suddenly realized I was exhausted and almost fell asleep with my face in my salad. (Thus the short post last night.) So we’ll finish strings today, and then tomorrow and Friday will be devoted to singing. I’m so, SO excited because my friend Jace Wittig, from my days in the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, is going to be be coming in Friday to add some guest vocals. A thousand years ago, he played the heroic and betrayed cabinboy to my murderous ship captain in Benjamin Britten’s children’s opera The Golden Vanity. It will be a gift to hear him sing again.
I leave you with some photos…first is Squid Inc doing their magic, and then there are a few Gabe took of piano stuff. Until tomorrow, friends. Love, Elise