Why My Next Album Can’t Live up to the Past

Back in the studio working on my second piano album!

It’s official… I’ve begun working on my second piano album!  I plan to record most of it over the course of this summer, and I expect to release it in early spring of 2015—perhaps sooner or later depending on how many other projects I’m doing.  I’m hoping to make it longer than Airbornehopefully around 40 or 45 minutes.  As of right now, I’ve completed two compositions with another almost done, bringing me to around twenty minutes of music.

I was hoping to come home from college with enough material completed to record another album right away.  And I wanted to be more active on my blog throughout the past year, release singles, produce other artists, and play more gigs, but life happened… Continue reading “Why My Next Album Can’t Live up to the Past”

Airborne is Out!

It’s been a wild ride, but my debut solo piano album Airborne is done and out!

Eleven months ago, I was inspired after returning from two GRAMMY Camps and had a bold idea: I was going to release a thirty-five minute solo piano album by the end of the following summer.

At the time, I only had one piano piece (“Airborne”) that I felt was good enough to record.  I had already committed to producing an EP for singer/songwriter Lily Garay that fall, too.  And there were college music school auditions in February to practice and prepare for.  Suffice it to say that the prospects of releasing a full-length album were not good. Continue reading “Airborne is Out!”

Studio Diaries – Airborne, Part 2: The Rubber Meets the Road

I didn’t want to do this, but I’m pushing back my Airborne album release to July 19.  I’ve changed my plans, but I haven’t changed my mind—I’m still making an album.  I’m going to push through these roadblocks and move forward. Continue reading “Studio Diaries – Airborne, Part 2: The Rubber Meets the Road”

Exceptions Are the Rule – “Airborne” Studio Diaries, Part 1

In The Studio

After five years of studio work, I somehow continue to hope that, maybe, my next recording session will be “normal”—no technical problems, no surprises, and no burnout.  But I’ve never had a “normal” session.  Apparently, in the studio, exceptions are the rule.  

Recently, as I’ve been recording my piano album Airborne, every day has been an exception:  five-hour experiments gone bad, poorly timed thunderstorms, and unexpected results.  Don’t believe me?  Read on. Continue reading “Exceptions Are the Rule – “Airborne” Studio Diaries, Part 1″

288 Hours

Oh, the doom of May 18!
Oh, the doom of May 18!

May 18.  The day is burned in my mind.  It ominously looms over me like a storm cloud, on the verge of raining havoc upon my world.  So what dreadful tribulation shall befall me on this date?

May 18 is my album’s tracking deadline.

No big deal, right?  Wrong—I still have to finish writing one of the pieces (which I’ll refer to as “F Minor” for now) on the album.  That’s a serious problem—really serious. Continue reading “288 Hours”

Is This Piano Recording or a Physics Lesson?

I know, I know––It’s been a few weeks.  I’ve been in the studio a lot.

Since my music school audition is coming up, and since I’m applying as a composition major, I need to send in recordings of my work.  For better or for worse, I don’t separate my work as an engineer from my work as a composer, so the recording quality, as always, is of utmost importance to me.

Continue reading “Is This Piano Recording or a Physics Lesson?”

My Heart Beats: The Final Chapter?

Wow.  Just, wow.  I know I haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks, but I’ve been insanely busy mixing and mastering My Heart Beats and rehearsing for the release party.  So now, the album is finally out, and Lily and I performed to a packed house last night at the launch party.  It was incredible.  It was one of the best nights of my life.

Continue reading “My Heart Beats: The Final Chapter?”

Studio Diaries – “MHB” – Part 4: Answering the Production Question

Remember in english class how you were told to keep your essays on-topic?  They said to come up with a thesis, and everything in the essay had to somehow support or build up to it.  You weren’t supposed to put in lots of “padding” or go off on a tangent.  Well, believe it or not, the same concept applies to music production.

Like a strong essay, your song should grab people from the beginning and make them want to stick with it until the end to see how you resolve the “question.”  The intensity of the song has to be constantly increasing through contrast and changes in instrumentation, tone, and dynamics.

Continue reading “Studio Diaries – “MHB” – Part 4: Answering the Production Question”

Studio Diaries – “MHB,” Part 3: Sleeplessness and Logic’s Super Tool

It was 1:00 AM.  Like a typical teenage musician, I didn’t feel the least bit tired.  The rest of my family had already gone to bed, so I couldn’t play or really mix.  What did I decide to do?  Why, I added some key commands in Logic, of course!

I hit option-K and opened up the long list of assignable shortcuts.  I’d already made key commands for most of the tasks that I did routinely, but I wanted to add more to save even more time.

One thing that has continued to irk me about Logic has been the lack of the Super Tool (aka, the Smart Tool) that ProTools has.  After working in ProTools at GRAMMY Camp this summer, I took the SuperTool for granted.  I could clean and edit audio tracks so fast with it.  When I came back home and discovered that I had to assign a key command to switch to the fade tool in Logic to clean tracks, I was pretty frustrated. Continue reading “Studio Diaries – “MHB,” Part 3: Sleeplessness and Logic’s Super Tool”

Studio Diaries – “My Heart Beats,” Part 2: Hurricanes and High-Pass Filters

Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I gained a few extra hours today for mixing since classes got cancelled.  Where I live, we have been fortunate so far because it has only been raining, and there has just been some mild wind.  However, we need to keep those more directly in Sandy’s path in our thoughts and prayers.

Our packaging manufacturer for the album is located in New Jersey, which has been hit pretty hard.  Because of this, Lily and I haven’t been able to order the packaging since the company’s web servers are down… Continue reading “Studio Diaries – “My Heart Beats,” Part 2: Hurricanes and High-Pass Filters”