"Somaphone 4: Heartbreak"
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11. Ain't No Sunshine
12. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (feat. Alex Faille, Portia Foos, Alison Gimbel)
13. The Tears of a Clown
14. Since I Don't Have You (feat. Mary Mackenzie)
15. Ooo Baby Baby
16. I'll Follow the Sun
17. I'm Not In Love (feat. Carolina Sosa Rommel)
18. Don't Answer Me
19. Hard To Say I'm Sorry
11. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
12. Your Wildest Dreams
More About This Album:
Well, obviously the 4th in the Somaphone series... The 2nd that is a collection of pop covers (the other being Somaphone 2)... I'm very, very happy with this album, which I hope is not too surprising. I also hope it is obvious that I put a lot of time, money and effort into it. So much so that the process of sheparding the thing from start to finish was unusually excruciating. I always have the feeling "I am never gonna finish this album!" but it was especially acute this time...
Tho I dedicate the album to my ex Caitlin, this album was in the works long before we broke up (tho making it was very cathartic at the end there.) As I was assembling the list of songs I wanted to do for the next Somaphone album, I realized that most of the ones that were near the top of the list had this common thread of being breakup, or heartbreak, songs, so it came together organically, as these things always do.
Kinda went the extra mile this time by using my half-way decent compressor mic on the lead and back up vocals. Generally, I don't like to "try too hard" when it comes to musical efforts -- I like my work to have a little dirt in it -- thus all "instruments" were recorded on my shitty old Shure 58 (first mic ever bought) which died half way through the album, at which point I replaced it with a low end Sennheiser (not exactly shitty, but...) This lack of continuity, actually, is much more irritating to me than working with a crap mic. Oh, well.
I recorded all of this album in my tiny Upper West Side studio (I have very patient and/or deaf neighbors.) I'm actually pretty proud of how loose I was able to get in that space, considering how fearful I am of irritating my neighbors / embarrasing myself.
Eric Ronick (of Black Gold and Panic at the Disco touring band) started mixing this album, but he had to go on tour, so his friend Vinne LoRusso took over. Vinnie is an awesome engineer (clearly,) in addition to being an all around cool guy, so he did this wonderful work for me for a song (no pun intended.) Thanks again, Vinnie! Michael "The Guy Who Mastered 'To The Extreme' By Vanilla Ice" Sarsfield put a great final coat on the project.
One of the points of pride or me on the Somaphone cover albums is how much of the original instrumentation I'm able to hear and make sense of simply through (interminably) repeated listenings. But I had to pull out the big guns this time, and resort to tapping the talents of some of my more classically talented musician friends for some expert transcription. Some of the trickier excerpts: the strings and back up vocals on "Desperado", the strings on "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning", back up vocals on "Since I Don't Have You", some of the chords in "Sleepwalk". In my defense, oftentimes the issue is just that the mix prevents anyone from hearing exactly what's going on, but in such cases, having someone who knows what is most likely going on (based on the principles of music theory) will do better than my relatively educated guess. Many thanks to Joe Crnko, Nate Papadakis, Robert Urban and Jake Winkler for their invaluable assistance in this area.
My crazy ex-neighbors, Alex Faille, Portia Foos & Alison Gimbel (hi guys!), did a great job backing me up on "Breaking Up is Hard To Do." I'll never forget how much effort it took to coax them into agreeing to do it (tho I knew they would do a great job,) or the night they came over and knocked it out the park.
My awesome and amazingly talented cousin Mary Mackenzie did the gorgeous, super high work at the end of "Since I Don't Have You". She lives in NY, so was able to just stroll into my apartment and nail it. Despite the fact that she was near to finishing her Master's degree in Opera at the time, she claims this was the first time she had ever been recorded singing. Can you believe it?
I have to quickly tell you the story behind getting Carolina Sosa Rommel's sultry voice on "I'm Not In Love". So, I live less than a block away from Central Park where I go running and/or walking more or less every other day. One day I'm running around the reservoir (along with a lot of other people, even tho it wasn't great out, as I remember.) So, I'm wearing a big bulky, mismatched sweatsuit over my normal running outfit because the weather's not great, and this gorgeous, fit girl runs past me on my left, turns back to look at me and laughs. Now, I'm not terribly vain about my running gear (cause I'm running) but it is goofy enough to make me a little sensitive about it, so I think I just responded to the girl's laughter with a look of horror, which made her laugh even harder. She said something to me which I think was supposed to be concilliatory, but it ended up just being even meaner, which made her laugh even harder. I think I said something like, "If that's your way of apologizing, it's not helping!" cause she was really starting to hurt my feelings. She busted up laughing again and just took off. Naturally, I ran to catch up to her after jogging in stunned amazement for a minute. She cracked up again as she saw me run up alongside her and started apologizing again, this time a little more believably. She really was drop-dead gorgeous, so I was wary of her just trying to fuck with me for fun or something (I have my biases against beautiful women) but I figured no harm in at least trying to have a conversation with her. I found out in the first 5 minutes that we grew up very near to each other in Washington State. By the end of our second lap, I felt like we were already friends, so I thought "Fuck it!" and asked her if she wouldn't be willing to come up to my apartment to record something cause I was in desperate need of a woman speaking on one of my tracks. Rather unbelievably, she agreed, and what you hear is the (perfect, in my opinion) result. Thank you, Carolina, for your incredible bravery!
This was the last album I got to record free of my tinnitus. Specifically, "Your Wildest Dreams" was the last track I recorded without the dreaded ear-ringing. October 26, 2006 was the morning it hit (Black Sunday,) about half-way through recording "instruments". Oh, well. I made it 29 years as a serious musician without this happening. I consider that a rousing success.