365 DotU, Day 113 Feels Like A Natural Woman…

…whatever the hell that‘s supposed to mean!

No, I’m not covering that song.

Yes, I totally lied to you in the title. Suck it up and deal.

Yes, I was attempting to be just a wee bit clever.

No, I don’t care if you still want me to cover that song.

Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Today’s song is a part of an ongoing experiment with the condenser mic. I keep trying out different ways to capture vocals, to capture guitar sounds, to capture fiddle sounds, etc.. I plug things in to the mixer, I mess about with the EQ, I throw too much reverb on things, all that. I’m just trying to see what I can get. I really prefer, though, to have a sound that’s as natural as possible — I want the recording to feel like the music is immediate rather than filtered, at least for some songs. For others, I want things as wacky and artificial as possible. :) I should also mention that I have lately come to hate the sound of plugged-in electric/acoustic guitars with a passion.

Today’s attempt at “natural” is a cover of an awesome Amanda Palmer tune called The Point of it All. One reason I wanted to go natural with this song is because that’s pretty much the way she recorded it herself. If you listen to all of  “Who Killed Amanda Palmer,” you hear a recording in which the vocal and instruments are blended with a kind of brittle immediacy. You can hear every nuance of the flawed velvet of her voice, and the piano and string arrangements are subtly held together. There’s not a lot of fireworks in the mix — it’s elegant and present. Even big, loud songs like Leeds United remain immediate, a cool, live cabaret sound that works beautifully. While the sounds have occasionally been messed with a bit (check the vocal in Leeds United, for example), it’s not a sort of autotune-to-sameness thing. The recording engineer and mixer clearly decided to enhance the particular features of her voice instead of smoothing things out.

So I took a shot at something a little natural-ish. I honestly don’t quite know what’s best for my own voice, but this sort of thing gives me a place to start.

It’s a little bare and not quite as sweet with the guitar instead of piano and strings, but it’s still kind of neat. I muddled some lyrics, but my goal was to get the main guitar part and vocal laid down in one take, so I stopped as soon as I got through it and didn’t look back. I added the picked guitar on an additional track to capture the main piano riff.


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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