Thursday, March 01, 2007, 4PM
I woke up at 4AM out of a dream: Another dream about Grandma Lila. I was 
driving & wanted to see her, so I turned around as if she was just down 
the road.  I lay awake until 4:30, felt the emotion, got up, and began 
new lyrics to Leading You Home. 
                                            Friday, March 02, 2007, 1PM
More lyrics and a bridge have come to me for Leading You Home.  

                                        Sunday, March 4, 2007, 5PM
+   lay out basic map, record scratch track. 

    *   Current lyrics:

                        your flower bloomed in the autumn
                        with the beauty of faith's
                        quiet devotion

                        with a word to comfort the hurting
                        you were always there
                        caring & serving

                        and when i look 
                        on the years of your life
                        i see His hand 
                        leading you home

                        Often sad 
                        you were always rejoicing
                        always praising
                        your song rose every morning

                        and when i close my eyes
                        i see your face in the night 
                        and i believe in your God 
                        and i know He is leading us home 

                        the gates flew open
                        when you were arriving
                        to the sound of the angels rejoicing

                        then you lifted your eyes 
                        and beheld Him
                        Whom for all of your life 
                        you were waiting

                        and then you looked
                        on the years of your life
                        and you saw his hand
                        leading you home

                                        Tuesday, March 6, 2007 (6:55PM)
    *   Second take at a scratch track. Much better. 
        -   Place markers.
        -   The song is barely 2:50. Is there room for something else?
            I don't want to add "fill" to something so important. 
            Lord, please show me. 
        -   scratch vocal.
        -   quick mix. render leading_you_home_scratch_a. 

    *   Why didn't I do this years ago? LOTR, p378: "But if Legolas
        was with the Company, he would not interpret the songs for
        them, saying that he had not the skill, and that for him
        the grief was still too near, a matter for tears and not
        yet for song." 
        -   She died 06-July-2003. A note in planner on July 7:
                Mike willing to work through night on painting
                of Grandma. Last night C asked me what the painting
                should say. I immediately thought of the verse, but
                I didn't know precisely where it was. I opened my
                Bible RIGHT TO THE PAGE!
                    "Me and my household shall be saved" Ac 16:31

                                        Friday, March 9, 2007 (7:38AM)
+   Arrangement. Struggling a bit with how to approach it. Drums?
    Piano? Strings? Synth? Electric guitar? 
    *   I fiddled around last night with piano, strings, and other
        keyboard parts. I am thinking I need more ambience to find
        such parts. Perhaps concentrate on drums and bass first. 
    *   Certainly the first two verses need very little more. What
        do I introduce and when? Drums in bridge for starters. 

+   Drums
    *   Setup: keyboard via MIDI. Port = VSC DXi (Default), 
        Channel = 10. This gets me immediately into playing drums. 
        Even the drum-kit window responds real-time. 
    *   First fill: a tom sequence in the middle of the bridge.
        However, I have crashed PT twice by editing what I played in
        the piano roll window. I think the problem is the changing
        -   I can edit if I turn snap off. Then the program doesn't 
            have to think about which beat I am placing the note on.
            A little difficult: the roll window divides the measure
            into four equal beats, but the true tempo is 6/8 giving
            six divisions. 
        -   8:49 AM Wah-lah...the first drum notes. "It's the job
            that's never started as takes the longest to finish."
        -   Handy setup: I can look at the stickers on the keyboard
            to quickly see where a note is so I can insert it with
            the mouse in the piano roll window. Gettin' the hang of it!
        -   A bit of MIDI reverb adds a nice touch. Just turn up the
            aux send and return. But I don't think I can control it.
            Later on I can use the PT reverb plugin instead and tweak.
    *   Got a basic beat concept (beat_1.dg). 
        -   9:48 AM Make a cassette for further inspiration. 
                                        Friday, March 9, 2007 (6:40PM)
    *   More fills. Emotions flooding. Anointing is definitely on this
        song right now, and I want to make as much progress as possible 
        before the T5 arrives—it will present a bit of a distraction.
                                    Saturday, March 10, 2007 (7:17AM)
        -   Before I lay any real audio tracks, I need to begin the
            last ritard earlier--say, 88--and ritard a bit more 
            aggressively, perhaps as low as 40 (currently 50). 
        -   9:56 AM File error: the last save included an audio 
            rendering of the drum track. When I opened it, PT error box 
            said, "File has invalid data," then another box said, 
            "unexpected end of file." But it opened. I erased the track 
            and saved under a new name. 
            >   I found an erroneous MIDI note in the drum track,
                an E8 at measure 158 (far beyond the end). Deleted.
                PT crashed on exit. 
            >   Export drum track to drums_10mar07.mid just in case.
            >   Rename corrupted file leading_you_home_corrupt.seq.
                Continue with recovered file. Up and running again.
        -   10:22 AM Mega-awsome fill at 83! Can I get it out of my
            head and into the window? 
        -   12:04 PM That is probably enough to go on to carry tracking
            other instruments. I now have 5 hours into the drums, and
            another 3-4 to go. 
            >   Who needs a T5? I am on top of the world! 
            >   render leading_you_home_scratch_b.mp3

+   Bass. 9:23 PM. Can't sleep, and I have been hearing a lot of
    licks as I work out the drums. Got a take in. Fingers out of shape
    (blister potential), need to file nails--but that will interfere
    with the fingerstyle guitar part! 
    *   Use RP20 patch 95 ("Will's Killer Bass") with no extra effects.
        Pan to neck pickup (this is a first!). Drop treble to 
        reduce fingernail noise.
        -   render leading_you_home_scratch_c.mp3
    *   Wow! I just realized, I have not recorded anything on the
        bass in years--since Cheering You On in July, 2005. 
                                        Sunday, March 11, 2007 (7:35AM)
    *   Some notes from listening:
        -   I am feeling that the overall tempo (75 and 60) needs to 
            slow down. The lyrics sound rushed, as do the snare 
            triplets. On second thought, much of that effect is a
            lack of familiarity and approach. 
        -   I like this bass sound. Perhaps I won't file the nails!

                                                            3:10 PM
+   ritard earlier and lower. 
    *   Try 60 to 40 from 88:1 to 91:1. Too slow. 
    *   Try 60 to 45 from 88:1 to 91:1. That sounds good. 
        Now the scratch guitar track and bass tracks are no good
        beyond 88. I think the next step is record the 414 and
        strum the latter half to serve as a scratch guitar track. 

                                        Tuesday, March 13, 2007 (8:23AM)
+   Record the 414. Storm clouds gather, but "your focus determines
    your reality," and this is where it needs to be right now. 
    *   setup: B-2 Pro through BlueTube (no tube), flat, 
        -   through dbx 266XL: settings I found in an article actually
            sound nice:
            >   no expander
            >   threshold = -10
            >   ratio = 2:1
            >   attack & decay at 12:00
            >   The reduction kicks in only on moderate string attacks.
                Any lower sounds a bit artificial with too much of the
                dynamic signature. But it is a nice touch on the louder
    *   Take one. Went great, but PT crashed on save. Recovered from
        TMP file. 
    *   Made two more takes. 
        -   render leading_you_home_scratch_d.mp3
        -   9:56 AM The storm is here. 

                                                                2:09 PM
+   555. Straight into it--same setup. I want to cross-fade from the
    414 to the 555 from bar 45 to 51 to let the 414 "morph" into a
    12-string. Two takes. 

+   Bass. 3:19 PM. 
    *   File nails (now that the 414 is recorded). 
    *   4:53 PM Got one take in, but I am having a hard time hearing
        the fills. Time to pull away, listen, and meditate on it. 
        -   Render leading_you_home_scratch_e.mp3
                                    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 (2:12PM)
        -   Something just doesn't seem to be working in the song. 
            The 414 through the expression system may have had 
            some magic for the rhythm. 
    *   Did a second take. Just octaves on the fills--maybe that's
        all that is appropriate. 
        -   Render leading_you_home_scratch_f.mp3
        -   I found Grandma's bible. 
            >   Ac 16:31 is dated, "4/22/85 12:10PM". 
            >   Col 1-2 is torn, taped, and torn again
                (one of her favorites was the prayer in Col 1:9-14). 
                How acutely I feel her absence today! Tears stream
                down my face. 
            >   Ephesians is littered with highlighting, underlining,
                notes, tears, and tape--especially the prayer 
                in 1:15-23. See grandmas_bible_b.jpg.
                                    Thursday, March 15, 2007 (9:03AM)
        -   As I thought, back away and just listen to the scratch a
            few times, and I begin to "hear" the fills. 
            >   Caught them, bass_fills_1.wav. The rest is take 1. 
            >   "You fingers would remember their strength if they
                grasped your sword." Gandalf.
    *   Got a third take, and I rather like it.
        -   The magic is coming back to the song. 
        -   Fingers sore, but I managed to avoid blisters by 
            pacing myself. 
        -   Render leading_you_home_scratch_g.mp3
            >   Boosted drums via audio effects->gain change.
                Added reverb. 

                                                                1:05 PM
+   Integrate the takes
    *   Hot keys to remember:
                F7          from = now
                F8          to = now
                Alt-F7      now = from (very handy)
                Alt-F8      now = to
    *   Bass: take 3 is it. 
    *   555: some of each. 
                44  56      B
                56  88      A
                88  end     B
        -   Example of the perfect cut: perfect_edit_a.png. I can't
            hear the transition even soloed, though I can barely detect
            a slight timbral difference (could be my imagination). 
            At any rate, the less is: don't make the cut right at the
            bar, but search near it for a low point between notes.
    *   414
        -   I decided to include the 414's rhythm: pan the 555 hard 
            right and the 414 hard left. Split the 414 into fingerstyle 
            and strum tracks. 
        -   take selections:
                1   44      C
                44  70      B
                70  78      A
                78  end     C
    *   Save leading_you_home_rhythm.seq (80Mb) as a solid return
        -   render leading_you_home_scratch_h.mp3
        -   Demagnetize and clean tape deck, and make a cassette.
            Still sounds poor. Try fresh tape. Better, but still
            not quite right. Cheap deck. 

                                    Saturday, March 17, 2007 (4:56PM)
+   Cymbal swell. 
    *   Ken Broy with Zildjian 22-inch, marimba mallets
        (Vic Firth M1 6-4). Two B-2 Pros four feet from center, 45 
        degrees off-axis. Through BlueTube, low-cut on 1622FX (75 Hz). 
    *   render leading_you_home_scratch_i.mp3
                                    Tuesday, March 27, 2007 (4:11PM)
    *   Ken offered an idea for the drums in the tag: kens_fill.png.
        Double hits on the toms staggered with bass hits cue the
        listener that the song is ending. Nice one, Ken. Thanks for
        the tip. 

+   Strings. 
    *   I think I will lay a few notes for guidance and hand strings
        over to Rob. 
        -   Enter chords. Learn about the PowerTracks chords window.
        -   Enter the notes. 
            >   The notes are on track 9. The notation window shows
                some text events to give guidance about where to 
                exit and enter, etc...
            >   PT is having a hard time again playing
                the MIDI in sync--very large delays, not those produced 
                by a software synth. Seems to disappear if I start 
                playback in a certain spot. No problem--render track
                to audio track. 
        -   Render leading_you_home_scratch_j.mp3
        -   Burn the data CD for Rob. 
                                    Saturday, March 31, 2007 (9:36AM)
    *   Rob's plate may be a bit full (basement remodeling, djembe
        samples, and a back-track to record), so I think I should
        take a stab at the strings myself. 
        -   One thing I noticed in the effort above: the strings
            patch on the keyboard (Yamaha P-120) is far superior to
            anything on the Virtual Sound Canvas. To record it, I
            need to add another 20-foot MIDI cable to send PC output
            to the keyboard. 
            >   OK. It's plugged in, but no sound. 
                        Port    = Delta 1010LT MIDI
                        Ch      = 0 or 1
                Find manual. 
                :   Host select switch to MIDI. It plays, but it
                    plays piano. 
                :   Set bank MSB and LSB to nothing. I can manually
                    set the P-120 to strings, and it works. Is there
                    a better, more robust way? The manual has strings
                            Bank MSB    = 0
                            Bank LSB    = 112
                    but no patch change occurs. Oh well, move on. 
                :   Overdue for a dusting! Get'r dun! 
            >   Turn off the piano's speakers, monitor through the
                main monitors (via Delta Control Panel Monitor Mixer)
                so that playback introduces no changes.
            >   Odd. The manual says the strings are not stereo-sampled,
                but the VU meters say otherwise. Record stereo.
        -   First decision: Where do the strings come in? 
            >   The interface is nice; I think I could create within 
                it. Even the PowerTracks graphic piano sends notes to 
                the P-120. I can control volume with the fader while 
                :   I have often wondered: could I connect 
                    the MIDI foot controller to use an expression pedal 
                    to control expression volume? Not worth it here: I 
                    am not good enough. I can't play a DbMaj9 in real 
                    time to save my life! 
            >   Add two bars to the song (after creating a backup).
                Worked fine, even with tempo-map ritards. 
            >   11:20 AM I have a passable 4-bar intro that forecasts
                a refrain common in the latter half of the song. 
                I think I want to use the slow strings for the intro
                (variation, LSB = 113). But, for the life of me, I
                cannot get the PC to change the patch on the P-120.
                MIDI monitor shows the program-change message, and
                notes work fine, but the P-120 never changes its patch.
        -   Got side-tracked and finished the ending, but I still don't
            know where to introduce the strings (after the intro, that
        -   1PM. I think that is all it really needs. 
        -   3:31 PM Rendered to audio. Simply play while recording
            on a stereo-audio track! 
        -   Mix it in.
            >   try compression on the cymbal swell. Ratio = 2. This
                gets more of the build into the mix--bigger effect.
        -   4:02 PM Render leading_you_home_scratch_k.mp3

                                        Monday, April 9, 2007 (5:13AM)
+   Render a mix with no vocal to practice with. 

                                    Wednesday, April 11, 2007 (12:39PM)
+   Record vocal. 
    *   Setup. 
        -   B-2 Pro through BlueTube DP. 
        -   Monitor through HD 280's, which I have come to trust
            most, though they lack mid bass. 
        -   Mild compression (dbx 266xl). 2:1 ratio, attack & decay
            at 12:00. Low threshold. 
        -   Tube at 35% adds nice "warmth" via high frequencies.
    *   Take one. No emotion. Pray.
    *   Take two. Weeping. Toughing keeping it together. 
    *   Four takes. 1:55 PM done. 
    *   Integrate the takes.
                        from        to              take
                        01:01       25:01           3
                        25:01       37              1
                        37          41              2
                        41          46              4
                        46          53              3
                        53          62              2
                        62          72              3
                        72          76              2
                        76          82              1
                        82          88              3
                        88          end             4
        -   Using the hotkeys, I can really do the edits quickly
            (since their are breaths between them). 
    *   Add chorus + extra reverb effect at 57-62. 

+   Mix.
    *   render leading_you_home_mix_a.mp3
                                    Thursday, April 12, 2007 (6:52PM)
        -   Mix A passes the test on three headphones, two desktop
            speakers, and the car. Publish. 

total production hours = 34.5