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Recording "The Bed That Froze" (reposted from Facebook)



Because the latest EP is largely acoustic, the recording was a much less formal affair. Much of what was necessary could be done at my home studio. That was certainly the case with "The Bed That Froze." I recorded piano and strings at home with a quick vocal pilot. Actually, for as short time as it took to create the strings part, I am fairly amazed at how well they sound -- particularly the pizzicato strings in the second verse, which add a ton of tension to that particular passage and move the song into a new chapter or act; likewise the falling embers synth in the middle bridge create an amazing ambience and sudden pause before the final build up.


At the time I wrote it, I imagined nothing but piano, strings, and acoustic guitar. (Tom supplied the guitar -- the task was a fairly easy one for him.) Where I was surprised and grateful, though, was in Paul's contributions of percussion. I heard no percussion in the song at all when I wrote it. I fancied it a chamber piece: Duncan Sheik but softer. Paul added this cajon bit (which we ran through a processor to add depth and reverb) and then built some additional colouring on top of that, after which suddenly the song had a bite to it I'd not anticipated. Really, Paul made it a new song.


Lead vocals were added in Jankland Studios, if memory serves, because by the time I was ready to layer, my voice had undergone the loss of another nodule and could move with more fluidity than it could when I was doing the pilot vocal. Steve Jankowski managed to coax a final vocal out of me within three takes while Paul was drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette to warm up for his drum bits on other tracks. Harmony vocals were added at home. I had hoped to get Barb Gurskey to use my harmonies as a pilot track and put her in there, thinking that the boy/girl dynamic suited the narrative, but as much as she loved it ("This sounds like Marc Cohn!"), there simply wasn't the time.


Because Jacque wasn't able to get to my home studio to record the bass, that's actually me playing bass. Except not really, because it's a synth bass I did through the keyboard. Awww, snap!


Don't forget to pre-order your copy of the HOTEL BY THE RIVER EP at iTunes so you can wake up to it in your iTunes library Friday morning!

THE BED THAT BURNED:

It's so dry: It's a tinderbox. He watches the door. Nobody knocks.

Nobody comes. Nobody calls. He can hear the static within the walls.

This winter deadness,

This frozen flame and the forgotten reasons she took his name.

They'll gasp for air when the smoke settles

Around the bed that froze while the house burnt down.

She's impassive, an inscrutable lock, no more expression than the face of a clock.

An inconsonant longing she can't name or define only grows stronger with the passage of time.

This winter deadness,

This frozen flame and the forgotten reasons she took his name.

They'll gasp for air when the smoke settles

Around the bed that froze while the house burnt down.

They're fossilized in carbon, shivering in the dark, entombed it seems for all time

And all for want of a spark to set them free.

This winter deadness,

This frozen flame and the forgotten reasons she took his name.

They'll gasp for air when the smoke settles

Around the bed that froze while the house burnt down.