Mudcat Café message #3268502 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #141927   Message #3268502
Posted By: Phil Edwards
04-Dec-11 - 06:02 PM
Thread Name: My recording project (52 folk songs)
Subject: My recording project
Three months ago I started the 52 Folk Songs project. This was to be a Web site where I posted up a folk song a week, together with a few other songs I felt like recording along the way.

Thirteen weeks, in, I've put up 34 songs (22 of them traditional). And what have I learned so far?

A few things. Firstly, my voice sounds very different when recorded. Very very very different. Obviously I knew this already, but spending a lot of time with my recorded voice has really brought it home to me. Lots of takes, lots of close listening, and you start hearing a voice that's very different from what you thought you were producing. Sometimes I think "that's me, that is"; sometimes I find myself thinking "maybe I need to work on this singing lark". (Those takes don't generally end up being uploaded.) Chastening, but it makes me work harder.

A more pleasant surprise has been the discovery that singing with a backing can be an awful lot of fun, even if you're laying down the two tracks separately. I'm a big fan of drones (which I never thought I'd get into), and I'm gradually teaching myself chords (starting with first/fifth power-chords and moving on to whatever sounds good on top of that). Vocal harmonies are the next frontier.

Then there's the public reception of the project, which Bandcamp enables me to track in great detail. I'm driven to the reluctant conclusion that uploading home recordings to a Web site is not going to enable me to give up my day job. Actually I knew that already, but I am getting the impression that the appeal of 52fs is quite selective, as they said about Spinal Tap. I wonder how good a place the Web is to build a profile, for those of us who aren't really startlingly talented, photogenic, lucky or all three; I suspect that there's just too much music out there for a single project like this to make much of a splash. (Or maybe it's a slow-burning splash; there have definitely been more plays per day per track of the songs on the second virtual album than the ones on its predecessor. We shall see.)

But in any case, it's a great hobby. Even if I were the only audience - which I'm not, although for a couple of tracks it's a close thing - 52fs is proving to be an incredibly enjoyable and absorbing project; I'm learning all the things about music I've always vaguely thought I ought to know, as well as some unexpected but useful things about my singing.