Jul 29 2010

Album Progress Report #1

Hello folks,

I’ve just got back from playing the Dublin Olympia with the Duckworth Lewis Method, and thought it would be a good time to update you all on what’s going on with the solo project. I’ve mentioned it in a few blog posts previously, but primarily I’ve been using Twitter to keep people up to date with progress.

But first thing’s first… welcome to my new site at simonlittlebass.com!! I’ve been meaning to put a proper website together for such a long time, having spent the last few years scattering myself across the internet. It’s still under construction and I’ll be adding various photo and video galleries once I gather everything in one place, but until then I hope you at least like the design of it. When I moved the blog from it’s old home at Blogger I had a few teething problems with Feedburner but rest assured it all works fine now.

Back to the story…

Last year I went out and bought a little M-box mini and Pro Tools LE with the intention of using this to record the album, but to be perfectly frank all I actually achieved was grinding the whole project to a halt. For some reason I just couldn’t get on with the software, or indeed the interface. Having been recording all my demos and sketches for the podcast using Garageband and my trusty Toneport UX2 (which I’ve just discovered is no longer in production!), the myriad possibilities of Pro Tools wound up making the simplest things incredibly tedious.

So I ditched it all. I decided that recording with Garageband suited the project and I always liked the earthy sound of some of the demos I put out.

I fact, it was at this point that I decided to keep the technology behind project as straight forward as possible. I decided quite early on to record the whole album using only one bass; my Warwick Thumb VI. Having recorded several of the demos using my fretless bass, the Stick and the Triumph I decided that the six string just records better; sonically and dynamically.

I currently have ten tracks I am happy with ready for the album, with two more in the pipeline. The intention is to take the finished twelve tracks (fingers crossed!) to my good friend Joe Leach at The Cowshed, where he’ll sprinkle some fairy dust over it and then we’ll master it to tape. Oh yes indeed folks; we’re going old-school. And I have a deadline now as the studio is very busy. We’ll be beavering away on the 14th August so theoretically the album could be online for download by the 15th. Crikey..

Now, I am a perfectionist. I don’t mind admitting it folks. And it’s been really hard coming up with tracks I am entirely happy with with a live looping setup. If I make one tiny mistake it’ll come back and torment me countless times throughout the whole track as it repeats over and over. I’ve lost count of the number of abandoned takes over the last few months. I can spend a whole day playing and not produce anything I’m happy with. Interestingly, it’s the tracks developed directly from the podcast demos that have proved the trickiest to finish. I’m still working on Calling Out. Some of the new tunes are completely improvised and I’m really pleased with the way they came out.

I posted an alternate take of West of Eden on my Soundcloud page tonight. Mainly to give you some idea of the way the album is shaping up. I ditched this take for some timing issues. The finished album version has a much better solo too, but I thought you might like to hear this one as I personally really like the way it hangs together. Here it is..

West of Eden #3 by simonlittlebass

I’ll definitely be posting again before the album’s finished. It has been pretty tricky finding the time to dedicate to the solo project. Between Clare Teal, Duke Special, Maggie Reilly and The Duckworth Lewis Method I’ve been all over the place, but having this new deadline means I’ll have to just let go and get on with the process of putting the album out.

Until next time. Wish me luck…