Tracking the guide takes for “Pretty Saro”

Whew – as I write this, it’s about half way through what I hope to be my work day on Feb. 11th, and I’ve just put the final scratch track to bed. I’ve got bounces of all 10 tracks queued up in REAPER for some critical listening, to make some notes before I get into tracking “for real.” That leaves me with 17 days and change, to arrange the songs, record all the parts, do the mixes and put together a final master. I like those odds.

Today, I’m going to write about my approach for recording scratch takes, what I hope to do with them, and why I thought it was a good idea to spend the first third of the RPM Challenge recording parts that I more or less intend to abandon.

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Since the start of February, I’ve been spending just about as much time and energy as I can muster working on a project for the Trent Radio RPM Challenge. If you’re not familiar, the RPM Challenge is an exercise in rapid music production, where participants aim to make a full-length album of new music, start to finish, in the month of February.

I’m no newbie when it comes to music production, but apart from a few tracks here and there, all the recordings I’ve made have been group efforts – most significantly, with someone else (usually Michael Grundy at Leadfoot Studio) sitting in the engineer’s chair doing all of the heavy lifting on the tech side.

My main goal for this month, then, is to test drive both the home recording setup I’ve put together, and an approach for working on my solo projects. For the rest of February, I’ll be blogging about my progress, the techniques I’m developing, and the challenges along the way.

For now, I’ll briefly outline the project I’m envisioning, and the equipment & software I’m using.

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Originally aired December 12, 2012 on Trent Radio.

Discussing the pending end of the world, how working people should respond, and the class structures amongst aliens, zombies, werewolves and other sundry apocalyptic beasts.


  • Singing Through the Hard Times, Zombie Edition (apologies to Utah Phillips)
  • We Will All Go Together When We Go (Tom Lehrer)
  • Christmas At Ground Zero (Weird Al Yankovic)
  • Sheep And Goats, Alien Overlord Edition (apologies to Mike Quarke)

Originally aired November 19, 2012 on Trent Radio.

“Israel vs. Palestine” vs. peace and human dignity.

Pre-empted my planned program after the shooting started in Gaza on the 14th. Managed to go for 15 minutes before actually getting to the songs I planned, that must be some sort of record.


Correction: I stated on air that, of the eight authors of the Gaza Youth’s Manifesto for Change, 7 had received scholarships in America but were denied permission by Israel to leave Gaza to study. In fact, this was the case for only one of the eight authors.