EPOCH Recording BLOG

06.07.08 (CJW)

Yikes! Has it really been that long? How time files when you're not recording... Let's catch up a bit shall we?

Hi, my name is Chris.
(Hi, Chris)

It's been almost 4 months since my tone intervention.
(tepid applause)

Seriously though, I have started re-recording all of my tracks. So far I have completed Voices and Nightfall. Paul has yet to add my new (and hopefully improved) distinctiveness to the collective effort. I'm sure there will be a required tweak or two or fifty. Three more to go. Not to throw another wrench in the works but I recently messed with my rig yet again and inserted my Mesa Dual Rectifer Recording Preamp(eters) at the beginning of my signal chain. Sounds even better (yikes...).

And on a totally unrelated note, Paul, our resident gear benefactor (gear wh*re) recently purchased a digital snake to go with the new Mackie digital studio board. All of the analog to digital conversion is done at the breakout box and then sent to the board over a single RJ45 ethernet cable instead of 32+ cables in a conventional analog snake. The clarity is amazing. Nowhere to hide your mistakes.

02.24.08 (CJW)

Drums are done. Keys are done. Bass is done. Guitar 1 is done. Vocals are almost done. Guitar 2 (me) status? - almost, kinda. A couple of weeks ago I had a "tone intervention" hosted by the resident tonemeisters, Scott Evil (GPE), Ed the sound genius, and Paul. I've since continued recording Nightfall and Premonition at my home studio. After listening to the before and after tone, I'll probably re-record the others.

13 Feb 08_____________________________________________________GPE

     So here I am once more, with yet another action packed update...well, kinda. We're still working out the final kinks with our new board, and spent a considerable amount of time squeezing tone out of Komrade Felchers rig the other night. But I must say, it was well worth it, he's now got Krunch---even in milk! Ebola has been busily tracking his final tweaks, and Thumper has finally gotten all of his trax completed. Now, just a little nudge here, a little twist there, a few minor reworks, and it's off to the Mixing race.     And not a moment too soon...3 years later...stay tuned.

17 Dec 07_____________________________________________________GPE

     It's surely been a while since I've gotten around to posting anything here on the RBLOG. so here goes. I've finished all of my tracks, and they've all been vetted against the other recordings. So, the execution portion of things is complete, now we get to the fun part: Mixing and Placement. Since I own considerable sonic real estate, not to mention 10 tracks, the placement and sub mix of the keys alone is going to be some work. Different patches cut in different ways, and they have to sit in the frequency spectrum so there isn't phase cancellation going on between my keys and the guitars. So after getting my individual stereo field for each keyboard, and getting the relative mix between the key tracks, then they have to be placed into context with the rest of the mix. I'm not sure which will end up taking longer, the recording, or the mixing.

     We still are waiting on some guitar tracks, bass tracks, and finally, vocal track + backing vox. It's going to be a huge sounding mix, and we've just added another feather in the technology cache: A Mackie TT24 digital console. Whoa! We got a relative level from the keyboards through it, and I have never in my lifetime heard my beauties shimmer and sparkle like they do through the Mic Pre's that are built into this thing. There's tonality I've never heard before because of the accuracy of the reproduction and reamplification. Sick, that's a good descriptor - Wicked might be better. So we're getting there, and now for the mixdown, we've got even better tools available, and of course, our Resident Engineer Head-On is just slavering over his new playground. Merry Christmas Ed, now make the freaking thing sing! The final push is on...I can't wait to get this out & about to the world.

19 Oct 07_____________________________________________________GPE

     Nailed down the hatches on part 1 of NTYG, complete with random mutation and flourishing embellishments. Cleaned up the changed parts in part 2 that are reprised, and now I have to go through and listen to the whole thing and see if there's anything I spaced from part 1 or 2 that gets a reprise in part 3 and modify as found. Stayed around a bit after everyone else had left and forced the hemispheres of my brain to get with the program, repeating over and over the new pieces so that tonight at full strength, I'll be able to execute properly. Cookies, anyone?

17 Oct 07_____________________________________________________GPE

     Well, slammed down 2/3rds of the first part of the epic NTYG, and the thing is taking on a life of its own in the recording process. Yet again, everything changes when you have time to sit down and *really* listen to what the other parts are doing...you end up changing things that you've been doing for years, because you finally have the right perspective on what the whole of the song is. Thursday night I'll tackle it yet again, hopefully to completion, then it's just a matter of going back to Nightfall and all 3 parts of the epic to lay down the Reason tracks. The light at the end is even closer, and the final product is shaping up to be so much more than the original ever had going for it. And, as a bonus, my retarded left hand is finally getting some motivation and cooperating with the left side dominance I possess. More to follow on Thursday.

12 Oct 07_____________________________________________________GPE

     Looks like I've slain Nightfall (with the exception of Reason). The sessions started out rough enough, but eventually settled down to proper progress. Once the panning & EQ are in place, this thing is going to roll through the stereo field like shuffling Zombies...kind of the idea. Tonight I will attempt to hammer out part 1 of NTYG, and when the rest of the crew completes their parts, we'll be able to get on with it and MIX!

5 Oct 07______________________________________________________GPE

     Actually made some great progress on Nightfall, got through about 2/3rds of it. There *is* a light at the end of the tunnel & I'm beginning to see it. Hopefully when the Boyz return from ProgPower we'll be able to put the rest of my parts to bed and get on with the mixing.

3 Oct 07______________________________________________________GPE

     Tonight I get to get back to basics and finish my recording, or most of it anyway. I've been put on hold because of life, and it'll be good to get the wheels turning again. I'll hopefully get through it unscathed, but there's a bit of rust growing under my skin, as the past few weeks have been anything but friendly to my music. So, once again...into the breach.

  31 Aug 07____________________________________________________GPE

       Well, let me re-iterate. I re-did Voices on Wednesday night, the delay I was using onboard my Korg was creating some sonic chaos for Head-On, resident engineer, during EQ'ing. So, a quick couple of button presses later, and the delay was slapped down to a quick slap-back, which achieved spatial tempo sync in a more musical fashion. I also made another pass at the second part of NTYG, the end result being that I've laid that section to rest as well.

       Now, just have to finish up the 1st and 3rd sections, and record all of Nightfall. Yeah, I think I'll do what the 'ol skin pounder did, save Nightfall for last. It's finally getting near the wrap of recording, then we can move on to the *fun* part. And as a bonus, we've had some mind bending jams lately, with another one scheduled for this evening. I couldn't think of a better way to begin the long weekend.

22 Aug 07_____________________________________________________GPE

       So, after my sojourns through the Sierra Nevada, and my newly awakened Buddhist leanings, I've gone back into the studio, and slain another dragon on the journey. Voices now belongs to me. Another feather in the proverbial cap. Now, there's only a  few things to complete for me, anyway.

     I have to admit, tonight was a dress rehearsal for me, a test to be undertaken, and completed with colors (Yo Boyyzzzzzzz) in the most focused fashion. Color it with the foreshadowing of watching David Bowie last night at the "Isle of Wight" Festival. Talk about a band, these players have always been genious. And so they remain.

     This is where I'm heading...Symbiosis. If only I could achieve what my head plays for me...it's coming

     And, if it's not...

          I'm going slightly mad...

08.09.2007 (CJW)

Even more progress. Last night Paul helped me with some more trackage for Now That You're Gone. We worked on the middle section, which is mostly dirty with a little stink and a few wacked chords thrown in for good measure. During the final takes we encountered one of those moments when the fabled question is asked - What exactly are you playing? Often when your instrument is isolated away from the rest of the cacophony minor "discrepancies" are often discovered and requires a quick re-write. No biggie on this one. I'll re-record some parts next time.

08.02.2007 (CJW)

More progress. Last night GPE was a no-show, so Paul helped me with some trackage for Now That You're Gone, our 24 minute emotional roller coaster. For recording purposes we were able to break the tune down into 3 bite-sized morsels. My Bo~El was back in action with a fresh set of strings. I finished the final section first, which starts with a clean 15/8 passage, transforms to a reprise, and ends with a sextet of outro solos, 2 of which are my responsibility. Paul and I were happy with the outcome, but the jury is still out on my solos. I'll have to let them season for a little while inside ProTools and revist them at a later time. My left wrist was a little sore afterwards, but I have only myself to blame since I was the bonehead who came up with the 15/8 section in the first place. One down, two more to go.

07.19.2007 (CJW)

Woohoo! With Paul's help, last night I finished Voices. This time I used my "Ebanyez" Universe since I am apparantly too friggin' lazy to change strings on my Bo~El. Like the tracks for TTE, I'm using my PodXTPro direct into ProTools, using a drier-than-normal Diezel Herbert patch for my dirty stuff and a nice piezo acoustic patch for my clean stuff. I tried going all digital via SPDIF, but I liked the warmth of the analog XLR output better. Slight difference, but a difference nonetheless. Mucho cleanup still required (again)- sorry, Paul...

My apologies to my comrades and you all for my slothy progress. Life often gets in the way, especially for a middle-aged man who's eyes only recall distant echoes of the glimmer from the stars of youthful dreams. This is simply fun, and hopefully also for those that are along for the journey. It's all gravy at this point.

29 Jun 07__________________________________________________________GPE

     Well, Eric's final vocal takes were done to a full house of misfits Thursday night, the American Idol Rejects on the couch, and the engineer and enabler hovering over the board. Now, it's hard to get much done in silence with the toxic combo on the couch, and the toxicity levels were high. Backup vocals from the 3 leather cherrios in the peanut gallery. Thumper yelling for quiet before every take.

     But the good news is, every time we heard a good take, we all nodded like bobble-heads, and when there was throat stink, we all had faces of stink, like driving by a cattle yard.

     We've finally put this one down, and there will be much mixing today, prepping for the ProgPower CD Sampler. Now, we must complete the rest and put this CD where it belongs, out there.

21 Jun 07__________________________________________________________GPE

     Indeed, Komrade Christov skewered the bastage, right down to the tortured "Stink" noises he commands on the guitar. We went through a very rough mix (Boulder sized rough) and I have to say, this song sounds amazing.

     If you were to lay this down in the middle of the first CD, it would be always in the "wrong" place. This sounds so much different, in every conceivable way, and more importantly, so much better than I thought.

     Epoch is the title of the CD, and last night I think I found yet another parallel to the title...It seems as if an Epoch passed between the original recording, and the material we're putting down now. Our sophomore release will be worlds away from our freshman, and I can only dream about what we'll be laying down when we hit Varsity. These are exciting times, and we're growing with it. The music is growing, and once we can put this to bed, the great question is "What's next?".

     We'll be anxiously awaiting the next milestone on our Timeline.

06.20.2007 (CJW)

Stick a fork in it! With the moral (and immoral) support from GPE, Paul, Patrick, and a special guest Ava (Patrick's daughter) I finished my tracks for TTE, even my "dirty" solo section. I'm happy with how it came out. All that's left to do is get it mixed, some EQ, effects, and mastering and off to the folks at ProgPower to (hopefully) get included on their CD sampler. Mirror in the Sky was on the sampler 2 years ago. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

19 Jun 07__________________________________________________________GPE

     Well, that's that. Slammed the lid on it. Now only to go and give Komrade Christov moral and immoral support while he lays down his tracks & more importantly, his lead. Tomorrow night is the final push. More juice. More riffs. More jammage.

18 Jun 07__________________________________________________________GPE 

    Just finished up everything but the choruses of TTE last night, after pounding mucho vegetable juice, carrots, beets, elephant garlic, and a bit of celery. Swimmingly smoothly is how I would describe it. I hope to nail the coffin down tonight, then leave the rest up to Komrade Christov to put the finishing touches on it. More juice, more clarity, and as a bonus, colorful evacuations. Guinea Pig Evil couldn't be happier.

14 Jun 07__________________________________________________________GPE

     I echo the sentiments of Komrade Christov. We nailed down some trackage last night, and when we brought in Richie's track, they just lined up perfect. Dog, it feels good to hammer something out and be done with it. Having the extra people in the studio also adds to the energy, and makes you push yourself even further.

     Now, to complete this one and groove on out to the next.


06.13.2007 (CJW)

Finally... Actual bytes captured in the digital ether for posterity. Tonight Dr. Evil and I parlayed some trackage for Through Those Eyes. Feels good to actualy experience some PROGRESS! I have only myself to blame for my lack of it. Life gets in the way sometimes, and we all have to strike a balance with our all of our obligations that constantly pull us in different trajectories. My thanks to our two resident brothers Alvari, for providing much appreciated analog timekeeping, providing us with those anchors through which we could navigate the seemingly random chaos. Hopefully more on Friday. Git 'er done...

7 Jun 07___________________________________________________________GPE

     Well, yet again I re-recorded portions of TTE last night. It never ceases to crack me up when I notice all of these minute changes to our songs that only occur during the recording process. You're doing your part, hear what someone else is doing notally, and then scratch your head...but if I'm playing an Eb, and he's pushing a G there...hold the press, whadda doing over there?

     At least we're making progress. The recent months preceeding the Avalon show up to today have presented many life challenges for most of us, anguish and loss or dread has been way too high on the meter around here. The honest truth is the music sometimes has provided the only respite for us during these times, and without it I shudder to think what condition we would be in.

     It's back into the breach again tonight, with the assistance of Thumper and Komrade Christov. We'll hopefully polish off the remains of TTE.

21 May 07_________________________________________________________GPE

     Got into the Playhouse on Saturday, and we laid down some righteous tracks from the throat-meister, Ebola. Somewhere along the way, Guinea Pig Evil came in with some backing harmonies from left field, and after Ebola left, Paul and I got busy putting down some "on-the-fly" representations of where we'll be taking them. They're subtle, but oh-so-dark-and-twisted, and compliment the theme of the song perfectly.

     We're trying to get this one in and done, so we can get it out to Atlanta in time for the ProgPower sampler. This will be our second outing on the sampler, and hopefully this time it'll be enough to get us an invitation.

     GPE & the Komrade will be getting together to get our sync down later in the week, and I'll be getting all of my finished tracks back in .wav format, so I can import them into Reason, and do all of my magic from here, within that lovely program that holds the key to the thread of sanity I still possess.


04.11.2007 (CJW)

I've finally begun my recording sessions! I love recording, but I also hate recording. It can be humbling, frustrating, and exhiliarating all at the same time. I'll keep you all posted as progress is made.

29 Jan 06_________________________________________________________GPE

     In the playhouse right now, listening to the drums on the various takes of part I and II of NTYG. The final decisions will be made soon, and hopefully they'll coincide with what I've already recorded, reference-wise anyway. It's always enlightening to listen to the other instruments solo, there's so much more appreciation of the controlled epileptic fits we each go through making this music. There's nowhere to hide, and I have to admit, there's not much need for it.

     See, I'm envious of those of you who can appreciate the nuances of a piece of music, without having that fail safe mechanism and knee-jerk reaction jump into the listening. I can achieve it with other bands music easily, as *My Brain* doesn't have to remember exactly *what* I'm playing, ghosting the moves on the neural canvas without the physical response. When I listen to other bands, an entirely different part of my brain (what's left of it anyway) engages, trying to figure out what technique, what timbre, what emulation, and what it evokes. Mostly it's just for the sheer appreciation and awe that music can inspire in me, and, since you're reading this, you.

     We've come a long way as a band. It's taken the better part of 13 years, starting the Timeline when I joined "Call to Arms" as the point of reference. Lots of people have moved through, leaving behind their mark. But where we stand now, with the bulk of the music having been written by the current lineup, is worlds apart from the last silicon outing. This is not something we *have* to get behind us. This is NOW, and something we want to do, right here, right now.

     That's it for the night. We're on our way, and revving that mofo for the shows!

26 Jan 06_____________________________________________________GPE

     Well, I managed to get some good trax the other night, pretty well finished up the 3rd movement of NTYG, and it felt really good. I'm really pleased with my performance, and this is a very personal song for me.

     Patricks kit is so clean, it blows me (and the Boyz) away. I get caught *listening* to the drums, and then forget where the hell I am, provoking sidelong glances and grins all around. But, I'm also not the only one getting hypnotized. You'll be able to hear what I'm talking about if you can make it out to BARFEST & the warm up show in March. There's so much hole now, you could drive a truck through it. There's nowhere to hide, so time to tighten the delivery a few more notches, as nothing motivates you upward more than being the wavering edge of timing. Thanks Patrick, you've inspired me forward yet again.

     And, by the way, you're going to be as old as me, so keep chewing the Leather Cheerio !

23 Jan 06__________________________________________________________GPE

     It's been a while since I've managed to get anything tracked. Tonight will end that dry spell, and get things rolling again. The focus tonight will be "Now that you're gone" and I'm hoping for some major progress. TTE will have to wait, as I'm going to work with the SBFs' tracks which have yet to be imported. But it's coming down the pike soon, so I'm relegating it to the 'later file.

     We've still got a hell of a lot of work to get finished, and add to that the fact that we're rehearsing for our shows, so things are quite busy around the Timeline camp. But everything in its time, as they say. I'll update later when I've actually got some bytes in the bucket.

29 Dec 06__________________________________________________________GPE

     Well, it's officially done....  the drum tracks anyway. Patrick has completed picking out his drum tracks, so tonight will be the final night that the beloved Red Yamaha Kit will be beaten for a while. The transition to the Roland V-drums starts this weekend. So, we've passed two milestones, the end of drum recording, and the changing of the guard with respect to the technology behind the kit. No more analog skins, it's all in the digital domain now.     This will make rehearsing and recording so much easier now, as there will be no acoustic "bleed" from the studio, and we can play through the night without regard to impinging on anyone's sleep. I'm hoping to lay a few more tracks before I wander off across the US for a week or so. I'm hoping there is some good progress made by the string benders in my absence. We're shooting for completion before the (soon to be announced) shows coming up next year.     We've definitely turned the corner, and now can concentrate on the "where do we go from here" in the evolution of our sound. I honestly can't say where we're heading, there's still so much work to be done on the current recording of Epoch.  But at least we're realtime with our evolution, no more waiting to secure the back-catalog. Time is now on the side of Timeline.

19 Dec 06__________________________________________________________GPE

     Well, I've finished yet another fruitful recording session. However, I have found tonight that the trait I spoke of as being an ally has now become an enemy. Recording in the snippets the way I am, I can't get properly warmed up for the frantic parts. And on TTE, that's all that's left. Shiiiiiite.

     So I've decided that I'll get the takes on those parts after a regular rehearsal, or jam. That way, I'll be 'smokin' hot and ready to track them. I did begin on part II of "Now that you're gone", and it went well. This tune pretty much wraps every emotion that I've ever felt, and brings them out in their best reflections. The moods and edges, the peaks and valleys, they're all here, tidily packaged into a 25 minute musical journey.

     The Bolero is the switch, the turning point, and man oh man is this thing spacious and huge...to my ear very Alan Parsonesque...subtle drums, decaying piano with guitar harmonics overtoning, and the heavy rumble of the Bass.....tasty goodness. There's nothing to my mind that evokes more empathy than the sound of a somber piano chord slowly fading into oblivion. It moves you in the right direction.

     This song has all of the queues you will need to transit the 5 stages of grief, laid out in an aural manner. And, every year there is another notch put into the category of who it's for. It's for anyone who's watched another slip out because of a rebelling body, cellular chaos extinguishing yet another light in our lives, relegating them to the stuff of memories.


18 Dec 06________________________________________________________GPE

     Comrade Christov made progress with his gear, alright. But there were some things that didn't go, so the boyz must return to the woodshed and RTFM!, that's right, Read the Freaking Manual. Meanwhile, I was able to *bang* out most of the rest of TTE, only a few pieces left to go. My style of playing lends to the easy progress made during the recording, as I tend to have multiple patches and keyboards queued for any particular song, and bounce between them. So I can go at it in little segments, without worrying about having to redo huge chunks. Again, everything that's on the recording is what you will hear in the live performance, as I eschew a practice of putting down only what's physically possible.

     Now, between the 'boards, the pedals, and the controllers, live performances for me turn into a complex game of "Twister", where either foot is holding down or otherwise manipulating a floor device, while both hands are engaged. Personal Origami taken to a new level. Not quite the epileptic flailing seizures our beloved skin pounder goes through regularly, but it's enough for me.

     I'm hoping that tonight I might be able finish off TTE, and get 'er done. If not, tomorrow.

12.16.2006 (CJW)

Last night Paul, GPE, and I were in the studio. Paul and I were experimenting with my rig's various I/O configurations, trying to determine the plusses and minuses of each process feeding ProTools my creative endeavors. Still more research and work to do, but the illumination emanating from the tunnel's coda is very near.

GPE squeezed in some more trackage for Through Those Eyes.


13 Dec 06________________________________________________________ GPE

     Well, I was able to get some of the tracks down for "Through those eyes" last night, but my execution was not up to the more challenging parts as I have become the victim of a Rampaging Rhinovirus. Yes, the nasty little bastard first hijacked my Tonsils, then worked his way north and south, the result being that I am now losing Gram + and Gram - lung tissue wherever I go.  And, there wasn't enough Jack left in the bottle to properly sterilize my throat, so we had to be content with the intro, the verse intro, the outro, and a touch of the verse. Should be able to knock it out Friday night, then I can move on to the next challenge, Nightfall. I am so MutherFreaking sick of playing that song, I will use blunt instruments on anyone who suggests we play it Thursday night.

     Tracking oblivion, GPE out.

12/13/06 Ebola

Hi Kids!!!! I would like to chime in by saying I have been waiting for my chance to record the vocals for what seems like an eternity. But now, it appears that I will be getting started before the end of the year. Now you will all get to hear what my influences truly consist of as 3 of these tracks have my contributions to the collaborative effort within the Timeline writing process. Have a great week and stay tuned!

12.07.2006 (CJW)

I can't wait to get started recording my parts. As GPE already noted, we've got 4 of the 5 drum tracks selected and now it's time for Rich, GPE, and me to do our thang. Rich has been experimenting with all sorts of recording techniques using our Line6 gear and I hope to take full advantage of his knowledge (heehee). Hey, why re-invent the wheel? Lately I've been trying to determine which guitars/preamps/cabinets to use on each song. Sometimes choice can be your friend and sometimes it can be your enemy. We're pretty excited about this second time around in the studio and hopefully you'll enjoy it, too.

7 Dec 06_________________________________________________________ GPE

     Paul, Patrick, Christov and myself are now listening to takes from the Epic, going through the final phase of the drum tracking, it's down to this tune. I've already recorded most of Premonition, and am ready for the next, baby. We've had a busy year getting this all together, so to be at the tracking stage for the instruments is a great relief. The way things are going, we'll have the Disc ready in time for the shows in SF in the spring.

     Oh, yeyahyeyah, there are going to be some shows. Nothing is nailed down at this point, but it looks to be one of the Bay Areas' first Prog Festival, leaning towards both ends of the spectrum. It's about freaking time something happened in the Bay. So, to be cryptic, there are local prog bands secured, and some from wayyyyyyyyyy down south (hopefully). When I can, we'll have the announcement and links on the main page, so stay tuned. (Patrick just gave me the finger, not quite sure why, but knowing that skin pounding freak the way I do, the answer is nothing at all.)

     This time is soooooo different from the previous recording, process included. Yeah, I'd like to say that we learned a lot throughout that process, and to quote the Who, "We won't get fooled again".

     Well, I going to get back into listen mode, add more as I can. Get ready, this is definitely one of those

                                                  "And now for something completely different"



4 Dec 06_________________________________________________________ GPE

     Well, we're on the way to laying tracks over Patrick's recently finished drum tracks. It's taken longer than anticipated, but sometimes you just have to wait for the good things. I've began tracking on Premonition, and this time things are going to open up and breathe, as the positioning of each instrument will be individually controlled and EQ'ed.

     There will be more updates as things move along, so keep checking back, there's more on the way.