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Cellicious!

As hinted at in Ed’s latest Tales From the Lab strip, we’ve tracked some cello parts for the new record. Big thanks to out to the lovely and talented Kathryn Barlow, who came in and contributed some tasteful-yet-aggressive lines. We were blown away with how smoothly the session went. Special thanks to Kathryn’s friend Matt Redman who came along for moral support, and being a recording engineer and producer himself, also offered some valuable insight for getting the best tone from the bowed instrument.

The song Kathryn’s parts will appear on is currently titled “Here Comes the Radiation”. I only say “currently titled” because as Steve finishes up the lyrics and records vocals, song titles can change at any time. Several have already, and i’m sure we haven’t seen the end of the switcheroos. ;)

The demo track of this song employed some really beautiful and haunting string samples that Steve had cut and processed. They were relatively simple and repetitive, and prior to the cello tracks being laid down, i wrote some parts which i transcribed into my own notation, then recorded about seven layered tracks of Ebowed guitars. I gave these parts to Kathryn to listen to, but being a classically-trained musician, she really needed a proper score to work from for the actual notes, and the phrasing and timing she’d learn by ear. (Having a classically-trained musician in our midst is somewhat new for Organical.)

So i did some research into how i’d go about scoring the parts. Since the original string parts were based on samples, there was no MIDI information to start from. I ended up sitting down at my computer, guitar and notation for my original parts in hand, and i set about transcribing these parts into cello-friendly bass clef using the free demo version of Finale Notepad. As a kid, i never spent much time learning bass clef in any of my music lessons, so it took a bit of re-orienting. After three or four tries, i got the phrasing to sound how i wanted so it would complement all the other parts and carry the melody we wanted. (Finale was able to output a beautiful clean score which i sent to Kathryn in PDF form, and also a MIDI file for reference. Great application!)

I believe this session marked several firsts… The first time i had transcribed anything into basic music notation, Organical’s first guest musician, the first time we’ve recorded real strings, and the first time anyone has worked from sheet music on an Organical record! :)

We’re nearing completion of the recording of tracks for the record, and will soon be moving on to mixing! We should all be hearing completed tracks hopefully within the next couple of months…

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Posted by darren under recording diary
«Recording Diary #40 or Steve gets some new ink for his keyboard.Tales From the Lab »

2 Responses to “Cellicious!”

  1. Kathryn Barlow said:

    Had a great time guys! Can’t wait to hear the final track!

  2. Fred P said:

    Then what happened?

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