This page lists VPO recording sessions. It
does not explain how to record. See
vocals on a computer.
vocal recording sessions, latest first. These normally include a
lot of editing, plus often some mixing and
sometimes additional orchestration, followed by "bouncing" the master
to a single output file. For the ones made publicly available this
would include converting them into MP3 format (which the software would
do at the same time). If the session is recent, you should find the
file posted elsewhere (click the Songs button at the top of this page).
- Clarkson River. Key: F.
Takes: 20, of which 5 were for the main vocal (which consisted almost
entirely of take 5). The guitar is me. The banjo isn't.
10/2/16 - (I'm only) killing time.
First vocal recording session for Way out west. Key: G. Takes: 10, of
which 6 were for the main vocal (for which I used take 6). One of
the two guitars is performed by me; the other is symthesised.
- guitar-only session, quite a short one actually, I think about three
quarters of an hour. This time I used a recording app on the mobile and
basically bashed about to see what came. I got 56 loops although Logic
for some reason only took 54 of them. From all three sessions put
together it now has 272 Taylor guitar recordings.
- guitar-only session, largely finger picking with a bit of strumming
thrown in. A lot more chords were used than the previous session. This
one yielded 156 loops.
- guitar -only session. This was the first recording session with the
new Taylor acoustic guitar. Ten sets of loops resulted from it, almost
all strumming patterns of various types, mostly fairly basic as
recording to a click track and staying in sync with it turned out to be
extremely difficult. This was a Friday, and I was actually off
sick that day with flu. I subsequently edited the recordings to produce
- My father's boat
[re-record]. Additional backing vocals for Round and round.
- Queer as folk. This was the
last recording session of new material for Times past. It was a
deliberately sarcastic parody of an evening during a cruise up the
Douro in Portugal. The clapping was a bit of a nightmare to edit and
took ages. Key: C major. Chords: going up down C, F and G.
No minors. Takes: 5 for the lead vocal and another 6 for the
- Round and round. F
major. Chord progression (verses): originally I-V-I-IV-V i.e.
F-C-F-Bb-C. Later I-V-I-IV, I-V-I-IV, I-V-I-IV-V. There aren't
actually that many chord changes in the chorus. 29 takes of which
only the first ten were for the lead vocal. Some technical problems
towards the end of the session.
28/9/14 - I'm done. 13 takes
for the main vocal and another 8 for the backing vocal. This is
nominally scored as B minor. The chord sequence is a bit
complicated. The first two sections are mostly minors and the odd
diminished but in section 3 it switches to mostly majors.
21/9/14 - Security briefing.
Doing the initial edit was a nightmare. It was nearly 6 by the
time I wrapped. Takes: 12 for the main vocal and another 8 for the
backing. B major. Sections 1, 3, 6, the intro and the outro are
alternating B and E. Sections 2, 4 and 7 are mostly alternating
F# and Db with odd bits of B thrown in. Section 5 is mostly B and
Db with odd bits of F# thrown in.
- You know. This was the
first recording session in which I used software monitoring in low
latency mode to be able to hear through the headphones what I was
singing as I was recording it, without the offputting lag that would
have been present otherwise. Key: A. Takes: 11 for the lead vocal,
another 9 for the backing vocal. Chords: (verses) A-D-E-A (middle
8) C#m - F#m - C#m - F#m - Bm (this at any rate was how I actually
wrote the chord sequence, though the software may have done something
else with the loops). Two of the three guitar tracks are me (from the
fourth guitar-only recording session); the other consists of
professional loops (which I bought) which will have been recorded by a
- Moments. Key: C#. Takes: 9
for the lead vocal and apparently 13 for backing vocals making 22 in
all. This was orchestrated very quickly, in only three sessions.
The chord sequence is complicated. It's largely Db and Ab,
especially in the middle section, though it also uses Bb m and F#. One
of the guitars is me. The other is synthesised.
- Let's go for a drink.
Key: C. Takes: 7 for the main vocal and another 15 for the
backing vocals. Chords (intro): all C; (verse): C-G-C-F-C;
(chorus): G-C-G-C; (middle 8): C all the way through; (outro):
alternating C and G. The guitar is all me.
- Was that it? Key: E. Takes:
12 for the lead vocal, another 4 for the backing vocals. Chords:
in theory the verses were all in E, although I was following the chords
in the guitar loop. The choruses were alternating E and B. The
middle 8 was scored as mostly D# diminished and B, with bits of C#
minor, G# minor and E. I have to say I did hugely enjoy this
session, though getting the middle 8 right took a bit of doing.
9/8/14 - guitar-only recording session. 41 loops in various chords.
Processing this lot took a long time. The loops weren't bounced until
- guitar-only recording session. 15 loops mostly based on E major.
Doing this and processing them so that they were avaialble on
Logic took all evening.
2/8/14 - Nearly. Key: A.
Takes: 9 for the main vocal, another 2 for the backing vocals.
Chords: intro, sections 1, 3, 6, alternating Bb and Eb.; sections
2 & 4, mostly F and Eb with a little bit of C; section 5, Gm - Eb -
Gm - Dm - A dim - Gm - A dim - Bb - Gm - Eb - Gm - Dm - A dim - Gm - A
dim - Bb; outro Eb.
- Riot act. Key: F#.
Takes: 19 altogether for the backing vocals, another 18 for the main
vocals. Chords: some of the sections are Eb m - F dim - Eb m -
Db, though later in the song there is a very similar section subtly
altered to alternating F# and Db. The middle 8 (section 5) and outro
are F# - B - Db - F# (repeated twice). The other sections are F#
- B - F# - Db.
6/7/14 - X1 (or, enjoy
the show). Key: B. Takes,: 31 altogether, of which the first 13
were for the main vocal. Chords: for the first three sections and
sections 5, 7 and 8, alternating E and B, though with an E suspended
4th thrown in during section 7. Sections 4 and 6, F# - B - Db -
F#. Outro, E then F# alternating with B.
24/6/14 - guitar-only recording session which produced 21 loops mostly
based on F# i.e. same fingering as E but with a capo on the second
fret. These loops worked out better as I did a better job recording and
- Carolling (or, good old dad).
Recorded while Ellen was typing downstairs. Takes: 5 for the main vocal
and another 15 for backing vocals. Key: D. Chords: verses
alternating D and G, with A, Fm and E turning up near the end of each
verse. Choruses: D, A, E.
- If I died. Recorded just
after my front door had been very expensively repaired (ouch).
Takes: 15 for all vocals, though I got the main vocal quite
quickly (I used mostly take 6 with bits of take 5). Key: G.
Chords: shedloads of minors in the intro / middle 8.
Alternating G and C for most of the verses, though ending D - F#m
- D - Db. Chorus and outro: nominally all A.
- Sodding horses.
This only started sounding right well into the session, while I
was working on the backing vocals. Key: A. Takes: 32 including
all backing vocals and one test recording at the beginning.
Chords: verses mostly alternating A and E with some D and a dash
of C# diminished near the ends. Middle 8: mostly minor chords - F#, C#,
F# again, B, then going back into A major at the end.
- guitar-only recording session. 20 loops based on E major &
variants. This turned out to be a bit of a nightmare while I worked out
how to do it.
8/9/13 - The stuff of dreams.
Based on a well known adventure character. I forgot to log this at the
time, but the date on the file containing the first take shows it must
have been then. There appear to have been 14 takes.
- Firm understanding.
Very loosely based on a book by Mario Puzo (the idea that is, not
the lyrics). Key: D. 20 takes for everything including backing
vocals. The middle 8 was recorded separately to the verses and
choruses, and I had to slow the whole thing down from 120 to 110 in
order to be physically able to deliver the lyrics which are rather
rapid fire. Chords: D and A in the verses, G and D in the
choruses, A, D and G in the middle 8. The outro is all D.
11/8/13 - Guess who. I'll
leave guessing who this is describing as an exercise for the reader. I
considered an impersonation but rejected it as I didn't want to do a
bad song about bad songs. It was an absolute nightmare to mix. 13
takes, although only the first 7 were for the lead vocal. Key: C major
(which I intended to be a slightly cheeky insult). Chords: mostly
just alternating C and G (another insult) though the middle 8 has a few
bars of F thrown in.
- I wouldn't know. This was a
difficult song to record as there were a lot of minor chords which made
parts of it technically awkward. The lead vocal ended up being
assembled from two takes (5 and 14), and one of the four backing vocals
had a lot of pitch correction done on it. Takes: 30 altogether, which
included the backing vocal which was mostly recorded in bits. Key: A
major. Chords: the first part of each verse was alternating A and
C#m. The second part was mostly E with two bars of B#m. The last
part of the actual song was mostly A and D with bits of F#m and
Bm. The outro was initially alternating A and E though after a time it
switched to alternating A and D.
- The twitty song. This was a
bit of a nightmare to mix. The backing vocals are very subtle but they
are there. They may sound effortless now, but it took a lot of
painstaking editing to get them completely synchronised. I was
surprised how well I was able to deliver the lead vocal, and how
quickly I got it (7 takes). Key: F major, although the pitch
corrector had some funny ideas about what F major consisted of (which I
corrected manually). Takes: 25 altogether though this did include
the backing vocal which was recorded in bits. Chords: the verses are
all in F except for a section of Bb. The choruses are alternating C and
- Drop dead. This is
something close to heavy metal and in that sense was probably the most
extreme song I've recorded. Key: G# (or if you prefer Ab).
Takes: 28 altogether for all the vocals, although the backing
vocal was done in bits and a lot of the takes were for that. The
last take for the main vocal was take 11 which was the one I used.
Chords: this was actually much more complicated than it sounds and used
four patterns altogether. I'm not going to go through the whole lot -
suffice to say that a lot of it was alternating Db and Ab, with
precisely one bar of Bbm (see if you can spot it).
- Fraulein Fi. This was I
think the fastest tempo song I've ever done - 170 - and required a lot
of physical exersion to get the lyrics out that fast. I was
streaming with sweat recording it. Perhaps you didn't want to know
that. Key: Eb. Takes: only 13 actually, for the whole lot
including the backing vocals. I knew what I wanted to do basically, and
did it. Chord sequence: the verse is various versions of Eb (including
suspended 4th for example) and Bb. The chorus is mostly
alternating Eb and Bb with the odd Ab thrown in and at one point two
bars of Cm either side of Fm. The middle 8 is Ab suspended second and
Bb, finishing with Eb i.e. the root chord. This song is entirely
orchestrated and doesn't use any audio loops anywhere (apart from
25/6/13 - Ain't it always.
This was an evening session which was very unusual, and yes it
did take all evening. I got back ache with all the standing up.
Key: C#. Takes: 22 for all the vocals. Chord sequence:
Db-F#-Ab-F#-Db-F#-Ab-F#-Db (flogging the root chord of course, that's
the verse) Fm-Db-Ab-Db (chorus)
Db-F#-Ab-F#-Db-F#-Ab-F#-Db-F#-Ab-F#Ab-Db (finishing with the root
chord of course, that's the middle 8).
- Lord. This was only the
second song recorded against a deadline. I did get it all recorded,
just about, though with fewer takes than usual. I had to do a lot of
remixing later and also decided to add another backing track (though
probably inaudible in the finished version). Key: Bb. Takes: 18
altogether for all the vocals except one vocal track made from
pre-recorded audio loops. Chord sequence: verses alternating Bb and F.
Chorus mostly Bb and F with the odd bit of Eb thrown in.
Middle 8 and outro alternating Gm and Dm.
- Cotton fields. This was a
somewhat difficult session. The song was orchestrated very fast, in
four sessions, and it wasn't until I came to record it that I found out
the hard way that it had stressing problems. I had to make running
repairs to both the lyric and the orchestration, and as a result
recording all the vocals including the backing took 31 takes. The
chord sequence was intended to be in F major, but the software wasn't
told this as was apparently under the impression that it was in C
major, so any musicians among you may have fun working out which one
you think it was actually in. Chords (verse) C-F-C-G-C-F-C-F (chorus) G
and C alternating, all of which does suspiciously look like C rather
- Numpty of the year. I
enjoyed recording this one a lot, though because the lyric is
rapid-fire it was very difficult to get expressiveness into it.
It's really quite basic in it's construction, but it sounds great
because all the elements are co-ordinated and work together - it has
great cohesion. I spent some while on the backing, and did more with it
than I would usually do. Key: G major. Chords: verse G-C-G-D-G (and you
can see a clear pattern in that just looking at it), middle 8 D-C-G.
Takes: 12 altogether for all the vocals including the backing. Of
those, the first seven were for the main vocal.
- When you've got to go. I
liked the idea of this as I don't think it's been done before. The
closest comparison seems to be Strephan's a member of Parliament, from
Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe (19th century). Key: E major.
Chords: this is actually quite complicated. E-C#m-E-A-B-G#m-B-E for the
verse for example. The alternating chords in the chorus are B and E.
Takes: 9 for the main vocal and another 2 for the backing vocals (which
I got very quickly as I knew what I wanted).
12/05/13 - Fry's Turkish delight.
Key: C major. Chords: basically C-F-C-G-C, with the chorus G-C
and the middle 8 Em-Am-Dm-Em. Takes: 8 for the main vocal. Another 8
for backing vocals.
- Pebbles in a jar. This was
another one I felt very good about. I knew just what to do with it,
although I was expecting it to be an emotional session and it really
wasn't. Takes: 10 for the main vocal.; 7 altogether for the various
backing vocals. . Key: B major. Chords: B-F#-B-F#-G#m-Ebm-F#-E for the
verse. Alternating B and E (with variations) for the chorus. B-F# for
the middle 8.
- Smokey River. I really
enjoyed this one; it felt just right and I felt great doing it. Takes:
10 for the main vocal, a total of 8 for all the backing vocals
including the spoken vocal. Key: A major. Chords: A-E-A-D-E-A-E
(these being the three usual chords for A major). I tried to
model the structure of this including the chord sequence on archetypal
blues so it should be there or thereabouts.
- Gordy baby. This was the
first recording session for Out of
character. Takes: 12 for the main vocal, 3 for the backing
vocal, only one for the spoken vocal. Key: D major. Chords: it's
basically D-G-D-A-F#m for the verses. The choruses are nominally all D
except in so far as the audio clip may have included chord changes.
- Read the manual. This was
the last recording session for That's odd. I had problems with
the bass part which had got mangled and took ages to sort out.
Fortunately the vocal glitches of the previous session weren't
repeated. Takes: 8 for the main vocal. A total of 18 for
the backing vocals, although these were partial rather than all the way
through. 3 for the spoken vocals. Key: D major. Chords: verses
were scored D-A-D-A-G-A-G-F# dim. The middle section stayed in F#
dim though as usual with audio loops what the machine did to fit them
to the chord sequence and whether there were chord changes inside the
loops was beyond my ken.
- One day you'll understand.
This was a very emotional recording session though it was frustratingly
marred by technical problems with the backing vocal. I think it has to
appear last on the CD because there's no way I could follow it.
Takes: 9 for the main vocal; 16 in total for the backing vocal,
though they were partial rather than all the way through. Used: mostly
9 with parts of 8 for the main vocal; 10, 13 and 16 for the backing
vocal. Key: B major. Chords: the verses are alternating E and F#
with bits of B now and again. The short trailers between verses are Eb
minor, C# minor, Eb minor, G# minor. The short outro is in B
which is where the last verse finished.
- The Englebert Humperdinckness of
it all. This is another song that is not about Englebert
Humperdinck. Takes: 6 for the main vocal, and I make it 29
altogether for various backing vocals. Used: 6 for the main vocal
(apart from about 2 bars of 5) and the last version of each section of
backing vocal (apart from one where I did a destructive edit and it
didn't work out... which left me using the one before that). Key: F
major, although this was after it was bumped 3 semitones to keep it
within my range. Chords: as they appear on the machine, the verses are
F and C with bits of Bb. The verses are F and C with a bit of E. The
middle 8 is Dm and Am with bits of Eb, until the end of the choruses
where it goes to Bb and then switches back to F.
- Englebert Humperdinck (or not).
I would like to stress at this point that this is *not* a song about
Englebert Humperdinck, and that the lyric was written years before he
narrowly avoided coming last in the Eurovision song contest. Takes: 7
for the lead vocal (which I really didn't have a lot of trouble with).
The backing vocal was recorded in bits as it was harder. There were a
total of 15 takes, but each one only for a part of the running time.
Used: 7 for the main vocal, and the last recorded for each section of
the backing. Keys: scored as B major. Chords: the first section that
repeats towards the end is
scored F#-B-F#-B-F#-Db-Eb m. The second section, the pattern of
which is used only once, is scored Eb m - Bb m - Eb m - Bb m - Db - F#.
The third section, which occurs again at the end, is scored Eb m (for
the long intro) - G#m - Bb m - G# m - Bb m, after which of course it
goes into F# for the start of the fourth section.
- The elephant. This had a
deadline as I had something else coming up at 3pm that couldn't wait. I
had a little trouble with the backing which ended up as a composite,
otherwise it was fine. Takes: 11 for the main vocal and another 12 for
the backing (although take 12 was only partial). Used: 9 all the way
through for the main vocal; a composite of 10, 7, 8, 9 and 12 for
the backing vocal. Keys: this was scored as A major though I had my
suspicions that some of it had transmogrified into Eb major. Chords:
1st and 5th sections A and E alternating; 2nd, D and A alternating;
3rd, F#m, C#m, B#m and finally E; 4th, A and E.
- Contemplating the void.
This was tricky to get right as it's rather irregular and veers around
all over the place. I decided not to do a backing vocal as such,
though I did pinch bits of main vocal and add effects to them. Takes:
16. Used: 15. Key: E major. Chords: mostly E, B and the odd bit of A,
although there are also longish sections of minor chords, especially
C#m and F#m.
- The $15m duck. I
seemed to have less trouble with this one, though I did spend some
while working away at it. Takes: 12 for the main vocal, three for the
first backing vocal and only one for the second (spoken) backing vocal.
Used: the last in each case. Key: Ab major. Chords: this is
mostly Ab, with stretches of Db and Eb and odd bits of F minor.
- Answers on a postcard.
Three hours due to a lot of vocal edits. Takes: 10 for the main vocal
and another 3 for the backing. Used: the last one in each case, though
with a small amount of take 7 at the end of the main vocal. Key:
apparently C major with G# as an accidental. Chords: mostly C and F
with bits of G and even the odd bit of E minor.
- Every minute. This took
nearly three hours. Takes: 14 for the main vocal, 3 for the
backing vocal. Used: the last one in both cases, right through. Key: D
major, all the way through. Chords: verses alternating between G
and D; choruses various, more A than anything else though with a bit of
B minor thrown in; middle 8 A-D-A-E then E-D-A-E.
- Bananas. Takes: 8 for the
main vocal, 5 for the main (harmony) backing vocal, 3 for the
spoken backing. Used: the last one in each case, right through.
Key: Eb major, all the way through. Chords: this is
basically swapping back and forth between Eb and Bb except for a couple
of stretches of Ab.
- Stick insect blues.
Takes: 8 for the main vocal, 3 for the backing vocal and just 1
for the sermon at the end. Used: mostly 8 with some 7 for the main
vocal, 3 for the backing and the one and only for the sermon. Key: B
major, all the way through. Chords: Lots of B and E with the odd
F#, although the middle verse is all minor chords - Eb, C# and G#.
- Er. Takes: 13 for the
main vocal and believe it or not 16 for the backing vocal, which I did
struggle with for some while. Used: in both cases the last one, all the
way through. Key: A# Blues, all the way through. That is, the chord
sequence was written with that, apart from a few bars near the end.
Chords: there appear to be large amounts of B flat minor and D flat,
and a certain amount of A flat at the end.
- Funny. It took more
than three hours altogether to get this. Takes: 15 for the main vocal;
another 7 for the backing vocal; and two for the jokes at the end (yes,
that really is me, pitch shifted to make it sound like a particularly
annoying but you understand purely hypothetical comedian). Used: 14 and
15 for the main vocal, 7 all the way through for the backing, 2 for the
jokes. The laughter is of course canned, but it does show you
what you can do to make it sound as if something is funny when it isn't.
(Easter Sunday) - Yoghurt as
meditation. This was harder work than it
sounded due to all the sudden key changes. Takes: 15 for the main
vocal and another 7 for the backing vocal. Used: mostly 15 for the main
vocal with bits of 14; 7 all the way through for the backing vocal.
Keys: the Indian key Bhairav, all the way through. Chords:
there's a lot of Db in this with variations of C, F or E in places.
(Good Friday) - What it feels like.
This felt like awfully hard (and very hot!) work for a time, but got
easier as it went on, and as so often I was quite relaxed by the end.
The wording of the backing vocal in the chorus was written just
after breakfast that morning. Keys: the chord sequence was written in a
jazz key called D Super Locrian (also called the altered dominant scale
or the altered scale). The choruses were written in plain vanilla B
major. Chords: a lot of the verses were either F diminished or some
version of B, B flat or B minor; the choruses alternated between F
sharp and B.
- Arabian circles.
Takes (not counting test recordings etc.): 8 for the main vocal
and another 6 for the backing. Used: 8 for the main vocal, all the way
through; mostly 6 (with bits of 5 here and there) for the backing
vocal. Keys: 1st and 3rd sections were written in the Indian key Kafi
(which however rather mundanely seems to amount to Bb major); middle
section was written in the Indian key Todi (Db major). Chords: 1st and
third sections, mostly variations on F and Bb with the odd Gm thrown
in; middle section, variations on Ab and Eb.
- Steam. Location recording
of steam train at the Bluebell Line from Sheffield Park going towards
Horsted Keynes. The original recording was well over half an hour of
which I will be using no more than 12 minutes.
- Now. Last recording of
vocals for new material for Mortality.
This one was hard work as the lyric rattles through at some speed.
Takes: 10 for the main vocal, another two for the backing vocal. Used:
10 all the way through for the main vocal, 2 all the way through for
the backing. Keys: it's scored in F all the way through, but some of it
looks a bit strange. Chords: all variations of F major.
- Baldalay. I have to say I
did enjoy this one. Takes: 7 for the main vocal (including
a microphone test) and another 6 for the backing vocal (plus a seventh
for the spoken part at the end). Used: 7 all the way through for the
main vocal, though it was hacked around quite a lot in places; 6 all
the way through except the spoken part which was 7 for the backing.
Keys: A minor all the way through. Chords: mostly
alternating either between A minor and D minor (with the odd E minor
thrown in), or between C and G (with quite a few of them being power
- Farewell. At times a very
emotional session, and I did use quite a lot of that. Takes: 13, which
included a microphone test and at least one abortive one. Used: mostly
7 with 13 in places. Keys: D
major, all the way through. Chord sequence: mostly alternating between
variations of D and A (listen to the guitar for example), with the odd
B minor and E minor thrown in.
- Lifetime. Takes: 14
for the main vocal and another 8 for the backing vocal. Used: 14 almost
all the way through for the main vocal, with a short piece of 12; a mix
of 7 and 8 for the backing vocal. Keys: mostly Db although the middle 8
is in the obscure key C Mixolydian. Chord sequence: again complicated;
starts Db - Db - Ab/Eb - Db - Ab/C - Bb m - Eb m/Bb - Bb m - Ab - Bb m
- Ab - Db - Ab - Db - Ab/C - Db/F - Ab/Eb - Db.
- Time passing backwards. Had
problems with the chorus so I had to rewrite part of it. There are an
awful lot of lyrics delivered very fast so getting the rhythm right was
critical. Takes: 21 for the main vocal, including one test recording
and one abortive; another 7 for the backing vocal although this
did include three different backings. Used: 21 on the main vocal, all
the way through; 2, 4 and 7 as backing vocals. Keys: verses in Bb,
choruses and outro in C, middle 8 in G. Chord sequence: this is very
complicated as almost every bar has a different chord and there are 82
bars. To give you a flavour, it stars (verse 1): Bb / Dm/A / Bb /
Dm/A / Gm/Bb / Cm / Bb / F/A / Dm/A / Gm/B / Cm / Gm/B / D/A / Gm/Bb /
C / Bb / Dm/A. There are various C chords in the chorus and
various G chords in the middle 8. C and G chords are mised in the verse
2 trailer and in the outro.
- Ghosts. I had
problems doing the initial edit on this until I realised that the pitch
corrector was mucking it up. The reason eventually turned out to be
that it had been told to correct for C major when it was actually in Eb
major. Takes: 13 for the main vocal, another 8 for the backing although
the chorus backing was recorded separately. Used: mostly 13 with bits
of 12 for the main vocal; 7 (last verse) and 8 (choruses) for the
backing vocal. Keys: yes, let's hear it for Eb major, although I don't
know quite what happened about the key symbol on the score view which
looked suspiciously like C major to me... however...
- Killing time. This was hit
by technical gremlins which is always frustrating, but I got going
eventually. Takes: 19 altogether for the main vocal, and another
7 altogether for the backing which included some whistling. Sadly the
good whistling on the finished track isn't me (I was never an
accomplished whistler). Used: mostly 18 for the main vocal, with
bits of 19 due to a very late lyric change and to fix one mistake; 3
all the way through for the backing except for the whistling which is
take 7 (although I may take it off and it's barely audible anyway).
Keys: this is scored at the moment as a mixture of C#, F and Ab, mostly
F, although Logic Express is obviously not convinced. Chord
- Say goodbye. At the risk of
being smug, to me this just sounds fantastic, the mix of western an
exotic instruments creates a tremendous sound, I love listening to this
one. Takes: seven for the main vocal, including one microphone test;
plus another five for the backing. Used: 7 all the way through for the
main vocal, and 5 all the way through for the backing. Keys: this is
scored as Ab all the way through, although there does appear to be the
odd accidental in the middle 8. Chord sequence: Ab-Eb-Ab-Eb-Ab 5.
- Intimations of mortality.
Takes: 14 including one test for the main vocal; another 4 for
the backing. This was hard to get the hang of due to the variations in
the stressing patterns in different parts of the vocal. Used: 14 all
the way through for the main vocal; 4 all the way through for the
backing. Keys: there are a lot of key changes in this one. The sequence
goes: G-A-C-A in the first section; mostly E with bits of A in the
second; E all the way through the third; E and then B in the four; and
B in the outro. Chords: again a lot of chord changes. The
sequence is: D-E-C-E-B-E-B-E-F#. Angel
in the sky. This is a commercial project for which I was asked
to compose and do a piano-only demo of someone else's lyric. I have
reported separately to the person who requested it.
- I guess I changed my mind.
Takes: 13 for the main vocal,
although as usual this includes some tests and abortive takes. One
reason it took a while was that I found out the hard way while
recording that there were problems with how I'd written the vocal that
I had to sort out during the session. Another three takes for the
backing. Used: mostly 13 on the main vocal though with a couple of bits
of 10; 3 all the way through on the backing vocal though I can see some
or all of this coming out during the edit. Keys: verses are in F
major; the middle 8 starts in C major and then switches to B major.
Chords: this is almost all F, though with a short stretch in F#
in the middle 8.
- The sailor. Though I
say it myself, this is a really beautiful song, though the backing took
a lot of work. Takes: 11 for the main vocal, which included I believe
three or so that were tests or abortive (I forgot to switch the
microphone on); another six for the backing vocal. Used: 11 on the main
vocal, except for one short clip of 8; 6 all the way through on the
backing vocal. Keys: F sharp major, all the way through. This one
doesn't use a chord sequence - it just whallops straight through in F
major, going up and down it in places.
- Sin at speed. Although this
was about life and morality, the
temptation to include in jokes about work proved irresistable. Takes: 9
for the main vocal, although this included two test recordings; and one
only for the backing, although I later divided this in half for effects
and mixing purposes. Used: 9 all the way through, plus the only backing
vocal take. Keys: this is mostly E major, though there are periods of
Eb major at the end of the verses. Chord sequence: the intro is E; the
middle 8 is E-Eb-E; the verses go E-D-C-F-D, and then back into E again
at the beginning of the next section.
- Catholic shame. Takes: 11
with the Ross microphone for the main vocal, including two tests; plus
apparently one with the built-in mic, that wasn't used. A further five
with the Yoga for the backing vocal. Used: 11 (all the way through) for
the main vocal, and 5 (all the way through) for the backing, although
part of backing take 5 had to be duplicated as I missed my cue coming
in part way through. Keys: verses are D major, choruses are C major,
middle 8 is F major (although Logic Express is a bit sniffy about
this). This one also contains a chord sequence (A-C-F-A-C).
(May Day) - Old; as for the
previous one, orchestration completed
before lunch, completed after lunch. I was all set to pack away when I
realised I'd forgotten the backing vocal. Takes: for the main vocal
believe it or not 19, although one was purely a microphone test. For
the backing vocal, 4 including a microphone test. Used: main vocal take
19 all the way through, backing vocal take 4 all the way through. The
muttering at the end was ad-libbed at the end of recording take 4, and
then partially muted using a region gain setting. Keys: I've written
this up as seven verses although you could argue that the five line
verses could be described as choruses. If you take it as seven verses,
then verses 3 and 6 are in C major, and the rest of it is in B major.
This was done using chord changes. This is the first time I have ever
intentionally done a chord sequence (B-C-B-C-B).
(Royal Wedding day) - Memories are
gold. Yes, this is what I did to avoid *that* wedding - I
completed the orchestration in the morning, had lunch out and then
recorded it in the afternoon. Takes: 10 of the main vocal (plus one
test recording at the beginning, and one abortive because it didn't do
what I expected); then three of the backing vocal. Used: 10 of the main
vocal, all the way through; and 3 of the backing vocal, all the way
through. Keys: F# major, apart from the first half of the middle eight
which when I analysed it I was surprised to find appeared to be in F#
minor. I believe this is the first time I've ever switched between
major and minor of the same key in the same piece.
(Good Friday) - Dig those crazy
climate change email blues. Takes: 16 for the main vocal,
although the first eight
appear to have been abortive for technical reasons.; two for the
backing; and believe it or not two for the muttering. Used: almost all
13 on the main vocal with a small piece of 14 towards the end; and the
second takes on the backing vocal and the muttering. Keys: mostly F#
major with short sections of Bb minor at intervals.
- Farewell words. Takes: 11
for the main vocal, then another 6 for the backing vocal. Used: for the
main vocal, mostly 11, with small bits of 9 and 10 here and there; for
the backing vocal, 6, except for a few small bits of 5. Keys: Bb major
(or as Logic Express insists on calling it, A# major). That should be
it for Abstracts, unless I need to re-record one of them.
- Don't blame me.
Takes: 10. Used: 10, except for odd very short bits of 9 here and
there. Keys: E major, all the way through. I did quite a long initial
edit on this.
- Your own way, just, after
being up until one in the morning the night before finishing it.
Takes: 15, although as per usual this does include some that were
abortive. Used: 15, all the way through. Keys: C major, all the way
through. The bit of this I had in my head to begin with turned out to
be in C major in three beat bars, so I just stuck to that.
- Do you?. Takes:16,
although some of these were abortive due to technical problems. Used: mostly 16 except for one
phrase at the end which was from take 14. Keys: there are suggestions
of key changes at intervals during this; however ignoring that you
could say A major with G and A# as accidentals. Eastern mist (harmonic vocals).
These were Indian style backing vocals. Takes: 5. Used: both 4 and 5,
all the way through. Keys: D major, all the way through.
- Bittersweet. Takes:
17 plus the 'lost' take 15. Used: 17, all the way through. Keys:
scored as the default C major but with A#, C#, F# and G# as accidentals.
- The tune. Takes:13. Used:
13, all the way through. Keys: another oddity. Apparently C major but
with D sharp and G sharp as accidentals in places.
- What isn't going on. I did
have some technical problems with this but managed to get round them,
and in the end it worked out quite nicely. At least in the initial edit
I didn't use flex editing. Takes: 28 for the main vocal, one each for
the two backing vocals. Quite a number of the 28 were abortive, some
for technical reasons. I had 11 in my take folder after deleting the
abortive ones. Used: 28, all the way through, plus the only take of
each of the backing vocals. Keys: this
song is in D major except for I believe three accidentals.
- Get down (to the doctor).
This was the first recording using Logic Express on the Mac, so I was
very much feeling my way. It's also as you can see the first vocal
recording session for ten months, as I have been busy with Beach Sounds
(which didn't include vocals) and some of Abstracts (which is likely to
be mostly instrumentals). Takes: 21, although around 7 of those were
purely test recordings rather than serious takes. Used: on the initial
version, just 21 (the last one), all the way through, although that may
well change during later edits. Keys: apparently A major (though
this wasn't deliberate) but with both C and F as accidentals.
5/7/09 - A little chat
[re-recording, see 11/1/09]. Takes: 10, not counting one false
start. Used: 10, all the way through.
28/6/09 - Fine [re-recording, see
18/1/09]. Takes: 9. Used: 9, all the way through.
31/5/09 - Some other rainbow. Keys:
F sharp, all the way through. Takes: 18. Used: 18, all the way through.
This took longer than recent sessions have done, and I was very
painstaking in trying to get the vocal to sound right.
24/5/09 - Gasworks Terrace. Keys:
E, all the way through. Takes: 13. Used: 13, all the way through.
17/5/09 - Fort William. Keys:
A flat, all the way through. Takes: 10, including 3 for backing vocal.
Used: 5, all the way through (main vocal); 10, all the way through
10/5/09 - The theme theme. Keys:
C flat, all the way through. Takes: 5. Used: 5, all the way through.
26/4/09 - Gatwick airport. Keys:
D, all the way through. Takes: 18. Used: mostly 18, with bits of 14 and
5/4/09 - Noddledirk (oh yeah wow far
out). Keys: C, all the way through. Takes: 20 including backing
vocal. Used: 18 with 1 word of 17, 20 (backing vocal).
22/3/09 - Rocking chair blues. Keys:
C flat, all the way through. Takes: 15. Used: 15, all the way
15/3/09 - A guide to the city. Keys:
G flat, all the way through. Takes: 12. Used: 12, all the way through.
8/3/09 - Saltcoats in my mind. Keys:
E flat, all the way through. Takes: 8, plus one abortive. Used:
8, all the way through.
22/2/09 - The easy to assemble
furniture flatpack blues. Keys:
D flat, all the way through. Takes: 15, including some abandonned and
discarded. Used: 12/13/15 (composite using parts of all three).
15/2/09 - Hallelujah, praise the
A (intro, verses), D (middle 8, outro). Takes: 11 including two
for backing only but not counting one abortive one. Used: 9 (main
vocal), 10 & 11B (backing vocal). Part of the main vocal was later
moved to the backing vocal.
7/2/09 - The shoes blues. Finally
sorted out how to get round the microphone issue, so back to the Samson
again. Another annoying glitch also finally resolved. Takes: 13. Used:
8 (first half), 13 (second half). Keys: Bb, all the way through.
25/1/09 - Reasonable. This
was done using a different microphone into the voice recorder,
and then uploaded into the laptop before being cleaned up with
Audacity, which is how I now intend doing them. Takes: 7
unuseable ones using Samson, then on voice recorder about 16 using Yoga
and about 3 using Ross, total 19. Used: 19, all the way through.
Keys: Ab (intro, verses, outro), C (middle 8).
18/1/09 - Fine. Keys:
E (verses, outro), F# (choruses). Takes: 56, + 3 more on voice
recorder. Used: 21/14/16/8, 44/42, 32/33, 50/48/49, 55/56. Due to
technical issues (which this time I was braced for) this took a lot of
doing and an almost indescribable amount of patience. I did get it, but
I am aware that almost anyone else would have given up in disgust long
before getting remotely close to finishing it. [It was later
11/1/09 - A little chat. Keys:
F (verses, outro), G (choruses, middle 8). Takes: 7. Used:
3/5/6/7 (assembled from extracts from all four). Recording of this was
severely hit by technical gremlins and it was later re-recorded.
20/7/08 - Creation. Keys:
dropping steadily from 7# = C sharp to 1b = F. Takes: 31.
Used: 21, 5, 18, 26, 23, 31, 28, 9, 19, 11, 29, 17, 20, 25.
13/7/08 - Table polishing for dogs. Keys:
6b = G flat, except middle 8 3b = E flat. Takes: 23. Used: 21
(verses), 14 (middle 8), 19 with bits of 16 (choruses).
6/7/08 - Too late. Keys: 4#
= E, all except middle 8 (6# = F). Takes: 8. Used: 6 until middle
8, 7 from there onwards. JFDI. Additional
29/6/08 - Think of something else. Keys:
all naturals = C, except part of middle 8 2# = D. Takes: 13,
although the last two were just one phrase I'd been unlucky with on two
other recordings. Used: mostly 9 and 10. Bits of 8 and 11.
12 (one phrase).
15/6/08 - JFDI. Keys: 3# =
A, intro, verses, choruses, outro; 6# = F sharp, middle 8. Takes: 48.
Used: 42, 38, 44, 48.
25/5/08 - Me and you.
Keys: 4# = E, intro, verses, outro; 7# = C sharp, middle 8. Takes: 16.
Used: mostly 15 and 16. Some 13. Bits of 11 and 14. God (did you do it right) - MC for
18/5/08 - God (did you do it right).
Keys: 2# = D, all the way through. Takes: 11. Used: 9, all the
way through (except for about a second of 11 in verse 1A).
17/5/08 - recording rain for God
(did you do it right).
11/5/08 - I wish. Keys:
6b = G flat , intro, verses; 4b = A flat, choruses, middle
8, outro. Takes: 15. Used: 15, except verse & chorus 2 (12),
verse 3 (11), chorus 3 (12).
4/5/08 - Tragic. Keys:
1b = F, all the way through. Takes: 15. Used: 11/12/14/15 (assembled
one phrase at a time from these four takes, each of which was recorded
in one go all the way through).
20/4/08 - Going. Keys:
3b = E flat, intro, verses; 1b = F, choruses. Takes: 15. Used: 15, all
the way through (except bits of 13 or 14 here and there). I'm calling
them choruses although in point of fact the structure of this song is
13/4/08 - Toleration. Keys:
all naturals = C, all the way through (this was accidental, but I left
it like that). Takes: 22. Used: 22, all the way through. This was
the first recording where I used the guide as just that, a guide, but
sang what felt right at the time (which was different in places).
6/4/08 - You thought, I thought. Keys:
7# = C flat , intro, verses; 5# = D flat , choruses, middle 8, outro.
Takes: 12 (yes, really). Used: 12, all the way through (yes,
really, though I have a lot of recorded vocal to work with so I
may swap bits of it around).
30/3/08 - Cough up. Keys: 6#
= F sharp, intro, verses; 4# = E, choruses, outro; 5# = B, middle 8.
Takes: 57. Used: 15/50, 41, 34, 44, 26/57, 47.
16/3/08 - Basic BASIC. Keys:
4b = A flat , intro, verses; 2b = B flat, choruses, middle 8, outro.
Takes: 39. Used: 6, 22, 15, 25, 31, 10 (just under a second of 8
substituted), 27, 35/37/39 (outro).
9/3/08 - Only me.
Keys: Intro, verses, 5# = B; Chorus 1B/2B, middle 8, 3# = A;
Chorus 1C/2C, 1# = G. Takes: 75. Used: 9, 25, 35/52,
46/64, 16, 30, 40/67, 50/75.
2/3/08 - Organic Jack.
Keys: Middle 8, 1# = G; Choruses, 3b = E flat; everything else, 2b = B
flat. Takes: 31. used: 8, 31/29, 15. One phrase from take 29
substituted for part of take 31. First recording for Introspection.
22/10/07 - Doom is nigh
[complete re-record of vocal, see 19/8/07]. Takes: 9. Used: 9,
all the way through (apart from the odd word here and there pinched
from other takes in this or the previous session). This has been the
only Mustn't grumble vocal
recorded start to finish all the way through in one take.
7/10/07 - Now and Zen
[complete re-reccord of vocal, see 8/7/07]. Takes: 40. Used: 10, 30
[2-3 seconds of 32 substituted at beginning], 40, 21, 32.
16/9/07 - (before lunch) Let's
do something now.
Keys: 2b = B flat (intro, verse), 4b = A flat (chorus,
middle 8, outro). Takes: 25. Used: 6, 16, 8, 23, 12, 25. (After lunch) Cheerful news [version
2, re-orchestrated, new vocal]. Keys: 6# = F sharp (intro,
verse), 7# = C sharp (chorus, middle 8, outro). Takes: 40. Used: 3, 27,
5, 29, 39, 10, 33-32* [* about 3 seconds of take 32 substituted for
corresponding section of take 33 at end of last chorus]..
2/9/07 - The end. Keys: 2# =
D (intro, verse 1), 3# = A (verse 2), 4# = E (verse 3, outro). Takes:
48. Used: 16, 38, 48.
19/8/07 - Doom is nigh.
Keys: 5b = D flat (intro, verse, chorus, outro), 1b = F (middle
8). Takes: 39. Used: 14, 28, 19, 35, 24, 37.
12/8/07 - (I hate) that bloody tree.
Keys: 4# = E (intro, verse), 6# = F sharp (chorus). Takes: 42.
Used: 9, 32, 30 (with about a second and a half of take 21
substituted), 39, 21, 42.
5/8/07 - Fifteen hundred quid.
Keys: 4b = A flat (intro, verse), all naturals = C (chorus, outro).
Takes: 34. Used: 8, 28, 19, 32, 23, 33.
29/7/07 - We've got lots of money
(and you haven't). Keys: 2b = B flat , all the way through.
Takes: 22. Used: 7, 20, 11, 22, 14.
22/7/07 - Let's all have a party.
Keys: 3# = A (intro, verse), 5# = B (chorus, outro). Takes: 18. Used:
3, 12, 8, 16, 18 (through the wall effect in outro). Recorded while I
had a cold, so my voice will sound somewhat different.
8/7/07 - Now and zen. Keys:
all naturals = C (verse, middle 8, outro), 2# = D (chorus). Takes:
39. Used: 14, 27, 39, 22, 29.
1/7/07 - Cheerful news. Keys:
6# = F sharp (intro, verse), 7# = C sharp (chorus, middle 8,
outro). Takes: 61. Used: 11, 35, 18, 42, 60, 26, 52.
24/6/07 - Gas board lament.
Keys: 7b = C flat, all the way through. Takes: 20. Used: 10, 20,
17/6/07 - Goodbye tomorrow. Some
orchestration took place before recording. Keys:
4b = A flat (intro, verse, middle 8), 2b = B flat (choruses).
Takes: 34. Used: 13, 32, 27, 18, 34. About 2 seconds of take 33
substituted for corresponding section of take 34 at the end of chorus 2.
10/6/07 - My absent mind (partial
re-record - verse 2, with corrected lyric). Takes: 5. Used: 5. Also
swapped one word in verse 1 with corresponding word from other take.
10/6/07 - Not a sales call.
Keys: 2# = D (intro, verses), 3# = A (choruses, outro).
Takes: 29. Used: 6, 22, 10/8, 25, 15, 29.
20/5/07 - My absent mind.
Keys: 1b = F (intro, verses, outro), 1# = G (chorus/middle 8). Takes:
20. Used: 8, 20, 11.
13/5/07 - 120 bricks.
Keys: 1# = G, all the way through. Takes: 31, including brick
commentary in outro. Used: 6, 22, 11,
27, 31 (brick commentary, which believe it or not took four
takes to get right). Included about 18 seconds recorded at Hampton
29/4/07 - Be nice to spiders.
Yes, finally. Keys: 4# = E (1st part of verse - key change during
verse), 5# = B (2nd part of verse & outro). Takes: 44. Used:
27, 26, 42, 39. Included about nine seconds of Druscillas recordings.
28/4/07 - on location at Chessington World of Adventures making
additional recordings for The theme
theme. Recorded about 65 minutes of ride and zoo noises.
22/4/07 - Footsteps in the hall.
Some orchestration took place before recording. Keys: 6b = G flat
(intro, verse & chorus), 3b = E flat (middle 8). Takes: 32. Used:
14, 26*, 32, 19. Included about 33 seconds of the Druscillas
recordings made the day before. *About half a second of take 25 was
substituted for the corresponding portion of take 26 towards the end of
21/4/07 - on location at Druscillas zoo making additional recordings
for Footsteps in the hall.
Recorded about 38 minutes of zoo noises.
8/4/07 - Let's stop whinging.
Keys: 5b = D flat (intro & verse), 3b = E flat (chorus). Takes: 25.
Used: 3, 11, 24, 16, 14.
1/4/07 - Christmas now and then.
Keys: 2b = B flat (verse & outro) 2# = D (chorus). Takes: 31. Used:
6, 26, 14, 27, 18 (in that order, verses were recorded first, one at a
time, then choruses one at a time).
18/3/07(?) - We'll talk to you.
Keys: 4# = E, all the way through. Takes: 47. Used: 4, 5, 32, 14, 39,
18, 42, 22, 46. This pre-dates this website. Orchestration work on it
was started on 13th March, that is almost immediately after recording I hate Christmas. Recorded before
this website was up and running. Seems to have been altered on 5th
April, and again on 13th May.
11/3/07(?) - I hate Christmas.
Keys: 3# = A , all the way through. Takes: at least 15. Used:
5-9-5-11-5, 8, 10, 13, 15. This pre-dates this website. Orchestration
work on it started on 22nd February, during sessions for the
family Christmas video. After being discarded from that it was included
on Mustn't grumble. It seems
to have been altered on 13th March (new version, which I assume means
the orchestration was significantly altered), on 5th April, and again
on 13th May.