Track 1 - Outside ahhh's

 

Recorded: 2009
Instrumentation: Guitar, Drums and Vocals. no reverb, no delay, or any other modulation. 
Tempo: 124bpm

"Outside Ahhh’s", as many of my songs, started on my old Kay acoustic guitar. For years now I've wanted to be able to call myself a guitar player. Growing up as a bass player, the guitar never felt fully comfortable in my hands. Yet, it's safe to say I've played more guitar in my life than bass. This hyper fast fingerpicking technique has been a recurring style in my life. It seems to always push me to the top of my playing capability at the time.  

The guitar is doubled, looped and panned hard left and right. I recorded the guitar with Shure Sm57 into my old mBox. One of my favorite parts of this song is how the two loops create the feeling of the guitar dancing from left to right in the stereo field. It's the inconsistencies between the double that create this.

The drumming is a muted floor tom played with my hands, again mic’ed with the Sm57 (my only microphone at the time). While living in Ghana, I was exposed to drum patterns and tuning techniques that have influenced all of the music I have made since. This particular rhythm is directly from the Upper West Region of Ghana outside of Nandom.

The vocals on this song were improvised and recorded live, one track after another. There may be 10 or so tracks of me singing. To be honest I don't know how many there are because the original session is no longer around. After I improvised the vocals I went through, edited out some parts and consolidated the arrangement.  I have an original recording that's much looser, maybe I'll post that some day.

I didn't intend to at the time, but track after track, words started to come out as I recorded more.  "You fall outside, you fall."  I'll never forget, when I first moved to Brooklyn, my head was so far in the clouds that I kept tripping over myself, literally tripping over the cracks in the sidewalk. I was completely unprepared to handle how tough the city was. These lyrics always stuck out to me because I never really felt safe outside. My home, my studio, my headphones, that’s where I was comfortable. Fortunately I’ve grown a lot since then, but this song always reminds me of that boy with his head in the clouds.