So, now that February Album Writing Month (FAWM) 2013 (a challenge to write and record—from scratch—14 songs in the 28 days of February) is over, how do I think it went?
Quickly 🙂 Seriously, FAWM flew by this year, or perhaps it was all the other activities vying for my time and energy during the month! Still, it all feels like it went past in a bit of a blur, and I’m looking at the fourteen songs I submitted, wondering where on earth they all came from…
Compositionally, I think my songs have been a bit more serious (or at least, there have been fewer obviously humorous compositions) than 50/90 last year, particularly in the second half or so. I’m not quite certain why this should be; I don’t think I felt especially glum, though perhaps a largely grey February in England may have lowered the mood a bit.
It’s not that the songs were miserable or negative in my view—just somewhat on the “contemplative” side. I think my mood is often influenced by the weather, so perhaps a cold, grey month may have fed into my FAWM output. That said, there is still humour and even light to be found, even amidst the fog!
Style-wise, I see some continuity from my participation in the 2013 50/90 Challenge, in that I came up with songs in quite a few different genres:
- rock-ish (“Back On The Bus”, “Being Your Film”);
- pastiche synth-pop (“The Future (Isn’t What It Used To Be)“, “In The Corner At Parties“, “Nearly Run“);
- guitalele/ukulele-based numbers (“St Ives State Of Mind“, “Fiction“, “A Shady Spot“);
- “straight” solo guitar songs (“Before The War“, “Quick Song“, “With Snowdrops“, “An Anniversary Song“)
- dreamy, almost “ambient” pieces (“Alaska“, “Away With The Tide“)
On the technical side, I’m largely pleased by the results of my experiment, to record as much of the FAWM demos as possible on iOS devices (mostly, an iPhone 4S). Most were “tracked” entirely on an iDevice, with only a couple of songs receiving additional synth overdubs in Logic Pro on the Mac—however, the songs were all mixed, edited and mastered in Logic and/or Audacity.
I’m also pretty impressed with the state of iOS music software (apps) and hardware in early 2013. On the iThing app front, special mentions should go to:
- Audiobus (audio-routing app, for “piping” audio between compatible apps—e.g. output of a synth app into a recording app)
- Multitrack DAW and Garageband (multitrack recorders—MDAW in particular works brilliantly with Audiobus, at least on the iPhone 4S)
- FunkBox (vintage-themed programmable drum machine—I used this for lots of loops in songs)
- JamUp Pro XT (guitar/bass amp/FX-modelling suite—most of the electric guitars and bass went through this)
The two recording interfaces I used with the iPhone—TASCAM’s iU2 audio/MIDI box, and iM2 stereo condenser microphone—both acquitted themselves well, and I think with these two and the iPhone, I have a very usable portable recording setup.
So what next? I’m currently remixing the FAWM recordings, and hope to make them available as a download album in March, probably via my Bandcamp site. I’d also like to rework my best songs from the past year or two and re-record them as a proper album this year, though what “proper” will mean, will depend on what resources I can call upon. (Translated: unless I come by some more moolah, it’ll be another solo effort 😉 )
So, thanks to all of you for listening (and encouraging/commenting where you did!), and I’ll let you know when the album is available.