Friday, October 09, 2009

What's the Signal-to-Noise Ratio for a Recording of Noise?

Note: Fixed broken download link. Sorry.

Continuing my quest to recover the crappy songs I recorded back in the day, we come to a personal favorite, Whipping Cream. Not a favorite because it was any good, but because it was, how can I put this, really goofy.

Following the example of the Beatles, for a while I was filling all four tracks of my tape recorder with parts, then bouncing those down to another tape recorder, giving me more space to record on. The Beatles did two things differently than I. First, they bounced down to only one track, leaving three to work with but mushing the original tracks to mono, whereas I bounced to two tracks, only leaving me two more to work with but leaving the originals in stereo. The other thing they did differently was being the Beatles. Still not convinced that's relevant.

So I had two tapes with this song on - one with the final four tracks, and the other with the original four backing tracks. Sadly, the final tape was one of the ones that was totally destroyed by moisture. "No matter," I thought cheerfully to myself. "I can start with the backing tracks and just try to recreate the other two!" Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that while the sound on the backing tracks was clear, the tape had become stretched out oddly over time, and now had wildly uneven speed. Impossible to work with.

Crucially however, it also had the sound effects in fairly clear condition. Sound effects, you ask? Yes, sound effects. Well, mostly voices stolen from old dictation training and children's records. I said it was goofy.

So I had to recreate the whole thing. At least I could listen to the drum, bass, one keyboard and one guitar part for reference, but the rest I had to try to remember or just make up. I remembered the lyrics off the top of my head, which is pretty good for something I wrote 26 years ago. There's another song on the same tape that I only remember the first two lines for, so you probably won't have to suffer through that one.

Whipping Cream (2.66 MB mp3) Download from MediaFire