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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Global Unification!

Hi all,

Since the exciting news from yesterday regarding my collaboration with Sweetwood Guitar Company, I thought it would be a good time for a long overdue update in this space. It has been a very busy few months in the studio and another new album is shaping up for what is likely to be a Spring 2013 release. For this record, I am going the concept album route again, this time with a story about a (somewhat) futuristic totalitarian “Global Unified” government that uses surveillance drones and miniature listening machines to identify targets as part of an endless campaign to rid the world of potential threats to the globalist order. So, fun, light hearted stuff!

To write this, I’ve been taking some inspiration from the headlines and then imagining the logical conclusions of some of these frankly disturbing developments. Some of the hilarious titles include “Globalist Death Camp”, “Enemies List”, “If I Were a Drone”, “Secret Listening Machines”, and “You Won’t Feel a Thing”. These songs run the gamut from dark folk to Police-style smoothed out grooves to pretty blistering rock. So, as I have done with the last couple of records, there’s some variety inside the parameters of the styles I can execute.

Right now there are about 16 songs in various states of development – I’m borrowing the three finished songs from my “Roughshod Mentor” dark ambient project back for this record – these instrumental pieces will create some breathing space over the course of the album and hopefully create a unique listening experience. There aren’t a lot of rock albums that I have heard that have well executed ‘techno-ambient’ pieces in the middle. But, we will see if/how this idea works out.

I’ve been collaborating with Ed Becker of Eltmon Productions on the preliminary mixes and we are off to a good start. It’s always great to get another set of ears beyond my own to pull out some of the different nuances that are in the music and to help balance the instruments to create the perfect mix for the each song. A laborious process to be sure, but satisfying when the results are good! It is indeed enough work to do all the recording without having to mix it perfectly too. Help, then, is a good thing.

Speaking of good results working with Ed, last night I got to hear Ed’s mix of one of my older songs, “In My Sleep”. This sounded really excellent – warm and ‘vintagey’, a little reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac (must be the 8,000 plug-ins on the track!), and pretty much exactly what I was going for with that song. Ed also brought out the guitar solo a good bit and I am super stoked with the results. (Listening back to that, I kind of feel like a real guitar player, rather than a frustrated drummer trying to play guitar!)

So, Ed has some plans to release “In My Sleep” on his Eltmon Productions label which will be great. Since Bison’s “Space Evader” record was released on Cosmic Records back in 1996, I have released all of my own music (on my “Automatic Earth” label), with the one awesome exception of South Korean guitar genius Jeff Lee’s song “Footsteps in the Sand” where I played the backing instruments (this song was also released by Eltmon Productions). Jeff Lee plays guitar for the band Black Bag. Jeff is an absolutely great player and a terrific guy. Be sure to check his band out.

So, “In My Sleep” is sounding really great and it will be great to get some new material out (it has been two years since “Fortune Cookie”, craziness). I wrote this song when I was 17, so it is kind of a trip to hear it sounding so huge, here 20 years later. I also have to wrestle with the question of whether I was a better songwriter at 17 than I am at 37…but, this is a good problem to have I guess, since the song is sounding so good.

Back to the Sweetwood Guitar Company, I have to tell you that this new collaboration is extremely exciting for me. The guitar I’m playing is a “Comet” with a padouk/walnut top and it really just sustains notes for a shockingly long time. It sounds amazing through my Tonic Amps Vapour model. One issue is, I’ve already laid down about 8 million guitar tracks for the new record using my classic arsenal of instruments…so I will either need to create some space for the Comet or (more likely) just do a whole bunch of new songs where the Sweetwood guitar can really sing.

As it is, on one new song in particular, a heavy rock number called “Keep the Fires Lit”, the blend of the Sweetwood with the ‘large guitar manufacturer’ guitars sounds pretty damn huge. So, a lot of opportunities for great guitar sounds, which is always at the forefront of my mind.

On the technical front, I'm going to try out some different cables and maybe some reconfiguring of the studio to be sure that I'm capturing these tones as accurately as possible. So, stay tuned, there's a lot of good stuff happening, excited to share it with you.

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