Music, musings and more from the mind of Ben Averch.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fortune Cookie



Hi all,

Well at long last, the new album is approaching the final stages. Some major milestones: I've decided on a title, "Fortune Cookie", after living with some less-than-wonderful working titles for a long time. Not a lot of deep meaning there, but a fun title and sometimes that's all you need.

I've added three older songs to the record, re-recording "Fortune Cookie" (currently the opener), "You Won't Be Owing Me", a slow, grinder with a big solo section, and "Something to Revolve Around", one of my very best songs and a definitive tune to close out the record. Each of these three songs were written about 15 years ago, so it's kind of interesting and fun to see how it feels to revisit some older songs and make them new again.

The upside to re-doing older songs (or in the case of "You Won't Be Owing Me", recording an old song for the very first time), it's faster than sitting there trying to write a new song. The downside is, once the back catalog of old treasures has been depleted, there's no going back!

So it is. Some seemingly difficult decisions have made themselves pretty easy over the last week, such as which tracks to leave off the record. "Start at the Beginning", while I love it dearly, I think it's safe to say was just too long at 15 songs and 62 minutes. I arrived at the same 15 songs after the last 22 months of working on this project, and have decided (for now) to move the following songs into bonus tracks: "The Brightness" (despite a super fun solo), "In the Valley" (also a fun solo!), "Don't Keep on Waiting" (this one I was told I sounded like Kermit the Frog so that's reason enough), and "Moment of Peace" which is a pretty fun one-minute instrumental.

Now, I can't say that I'm really almost done, because "One and the Same" basically sounds like total mush to me, and I guess I've never really been happy with how it sounds, ever since I recorded it way back at the beginning of what has now become the "Fortune Cookie Sessions". So, re-doing this is what I have decided to do. This will hopefully come together nicely and I think I should be able to knock this out this upcoming weekend.

Not to get ahead of myself, but the next page in the manual says to make the artwork, do the liner notes and figure out what to do in terms of packaging. Despite the CD going the way of the sabertooth tiger, I'll still do a pressing because that's how I feel like I actually made something and saw it through to completion. It's just an old school mentality over here. This time, I'll work up a nice cover and liner notes either myself or in collaboration with someone.

And of course, mastering! I'm excited to get the chance to work again with John McCaig at panicStudios in Seattle. John's already given me some great feedback on the mixes (something like "these are too loud"!) which is terrific since I can kinda get tunnel vision and having any neutral observer feeding back is hugely helpful.

So, it'll only get better from here. Hopefully "One and the Same" redux turns out great and lives up to my expectation for that song. Hmm, maybe "One and the Same" is a better title than "Fortune Cookie"...nah!

Anyway the main impression that I get listening back to this record is that it is a pretty hard driving record with a lot of texture and vitality to it. It's mostly relationship songs (like any of a zillion other records), but I hope that these come across with a kind of maturity or at least perspective that's unique (and hopefully people can understand it). But at any rate, the music can just wash over you like a stream and forget about that guy yelping, and that's fine too.

I'm looking forward to putting the finishing touches together and seeing this through to its completion...so I can start another record!

This time, my brother Mike and I will be working on a collaboration record, which we have done on and off over the last several years, doing a song here and there. But this time we are pretty jazzed about doing a collection of material. So that's something I look forward to doing once "Fortune Cookie" is complete.

So, stay tuned for more rock in your future!

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