The story so far...
I live in Sydney Australia. My brother Quentin Eyers has an excellent audio studio, with 40 years experience running it. A very fine player to boot, the ideal collaborator.
Problem is, he lives in Adelaide, my home town, I live in Sydney, a two hour plane fight away. So the project needs to be done remotely. My Black Mountain Harmonica CD was done this way. The process works like this.
First, I create backing tracks with "Band in a Box". Then I record draft versions of the tunes in Sydney. My gear is simple: an Audix Fireball V microphone plugged directly into a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 box, leading via USB to my notebook computer, which runs the excellent Reaper recording package. A tattered pair of excellent Sennheiser HD 25 SP headphones (a long ago Xmas present from my father) complete the package.
The new CD does not yet have a title. There will be 14 tunes, some draft tracks are below.
Scottische a Bethanie
Vas y Mimille
Valse des Jouets
Derriere les Carreaux
Each draft track takes about 3 hours to create. The playing is not yet right, about 80% of what I would like. I plan to make 14 draft tracks, the whole CD. Then I will take the music to Adelaide, where my brother has set aside Jan 9th-11th 2012 in his studio. Clearly all the drafts must be ready by then. I'll be working over Xmas to get them done.
When I get to Adelaide, I won't play at all. Instead, Quentin and my excellent friend John Bridgland (guitar and mandolin player from Black Mountain Harmonica) will create backings to the music I've done, replacing the Band in a Box tracks. I'm hoping this can be done in 3 days, I'll be drawing heavily on the skill and good will of my collaborators.
Once the backings are down, Quentin will send rough copies of them to me in Sydney, hopefully some time later in January. I then record all of my tracks again, this time listening to real players instead of Band in a Box. So, the drafts above won't appear on the final CD.
For Black Mountain Harmonica I was also fortunate with the cover design. One of my closest friends is Riccardo Tossani, a leading architect and interior designer, based in Tokyo. You can see his work at www.tossani.com. He has kindly agreed to do another cover design for me. So, I will have a world class design studio working on my behalf. The music had better be good...
About the music: after finishing Black Mountain Harmonica it was clear that I could play (previously I'd had my doubts). The question was, what to play next. The time, both mine and others, the physical, emotional and financial effort needed to make a CD requires the music to be worthwhile. The music this time around is worthwhile, I believe, and came from an unexpected source: the accordion.
At the start of 2011 I read "Accordion Crimes" by E. Annie Proulx. A truly wonderful book, hard to finish without wanting to try the instrument. Fortunately I had one, a single row 4 bass Hohner 1040 button accordion in G, given to me some years ago by a band mate. I had briefly toyed with it before setting it aside. I got it out, re-adjusted the straps and started playing. 12 months on, I own 5 accordions, in particular a Saltarelle 2 row "Le Bouebe" button accordion in D/G.
While I have made some progress as a beginning player, there will be no accordion on the CD. However, I have discovered a new music world: French accordion music. Written within the constraints of the two row diatonic button accordion, I find the music absolutely captivating. Moreover an excellent forum www.melodoen.net has lead me to much great music. The tracks selected for the CD are mostly French. Better still, this music lays out beautifully on the harmonica, a close relative to the accordion.
In particular, I've found that the accordion note layout and sound is similar to the Asian tremolo harmonica, lessons for which are on this site. Some of the tracks feature the tremolo, an instrument I hopefully now play well enough to record with.
I'll update this page as the CD project unfolds.