Idea(s) for next musical project

Now that I have taken a couple of months “off” after FAWM in February, I’m thinking about my next musical/recording project, and have a couple of possible directions I could pursue (either one, or more than one “in sequence”).

The current “front-runner” concept, is for me to do what I always had in mind to do after both FAWM 2013, and 50/90 last summer, but never got around to it: to take the “best” 10-12 songs from my output during both those songwriting challenges, and rework them where needed (new/revised music/lyrics; re-record parts which require improvement; remixing; etc.), into more of a “proper” album of songs instead of a batch of hastily-dashed-down demos (which, to be honest, the 50/90 and FAWM material is).

I suppose the “model” from my perspective, is an album like “Aerial Pandemonium Ballet”, Harry Nilsson‘s 1971 collection of radical re-fashionings of his 1967-68 output. For that album, Nilsson pretty well did what I described above—he took a selection of tracks from his first two albums (“Pandemonium Shadow Show” (1967) and “Aerial Ballet” (1968)), and added new vocals to some, whilst remixing and re-editing others. The results didn’t please all his fans, but I think at least some of the APB tracks improved on the originals (“One”, to my ears, has a more pleasing mix than the 1968 version).

I have a shortlist of songs from 50/90 2012 and FAWM 2013 that I would want to work on, and have been experimenting with a couple already, such as this complete remake of “Out Of The Clouds” from 50/90:

That said, however, I am in two minds as to whether to spend time working on new versions of “old” material, even though I think the better songs would benefit from being presented less sloppily. Other ideas I have thought of for my next writing/recording project include an EP (or even a full album) with a loose uniting theme of “summer” (and I even have a working title for it which I wouldn’t like to waste!), and a set of new songs which I mostly haven’t written yet.

Of course, I could work on some or all the above over time, but I know two things:

  • whatever option(s) I choose, I want to record at least one collection of songs in 2013 which isn’t a set of hastily-dashed-off demos—I want the performances to sound as good as I can make them, and to take time to do this; and
  • due to other commitments, I don’t have a great deal of time to spend on recording at the moment, so whatever I work on, I’d like it to “count”.

My current thinking, is to work on some of the “remake” material—perhaps four-to-six songs—and see how they turn out. If I think it’s “working”, I would then turn to the four-or-so remaining songs on the shortlist, and aim to complete an album from them. Some songs would be complete re-recordings; others would probably be the 50/90 or FAWM originals with some re-recording of parts (esp. vocals), whilst still others might simply need a proper remix.

In the midst of all this, I would still like to go ahead with the “summer songs” concept, even if it only turns out to be an EP or “mini-album” in the end. (Perhaps I’m thinking too much about all this, and should just get on with the recording…!)

(By the way, or anyone wondering: I think it’s very unlikely that I’ll participate in 50/90 this year, purely because I feel I can’t devote the sustained level of time and commitment it demanded in 2012. I have no regrets about taking part then (indeed, I wouldn’t have the songs I wrote during 50/90, if I hadn’t participated), and will probably be back for FAWM in 2014, but I’m afraid 50/90 this year will have to do without me. Besides, I really want to do some “proper” recording in 2013, and I’ll need the time for that!)

So, if anyone has thoughts on any of the above, please feel free to drop me a line here or via my Twitter feed, and I’ll do my best to engage…

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