#rpm12 day 1: So far, so… good?

True to the spirit of RPM (I guess), I got things started last night at midnight. I think I succeeded in establishing my process for this year’s challenge: I recorded one complete piece of music, and now I am planning to set it aside and move on, recording another tonight.

On most of my albums, as soon as I finish recording a track, I begin fiddling endlessly with the mix and master, and I’m usually even already starting to nail down track sequence and titles for the final album.

This time I’m trying to exercise restraint. I did make a rough mixdown to listen to in iTunes, but I will leave all matters of final track selection, sequence, titles, and even mixing and mastering until I’ve recorded EVERYTHING and have a chance to step back and see how it all fits together.

The piece I recorded last night consists of 7 layers of increasingly chaotic Animoog synth tones, with a minimal, processed FunkBox beat bolted on to (barely) hold the proceedings together. It starts off deceptively serene, then quickly veers off into chaos, while still managing to be fairly listenable. I’m not, after all, making Metal Machine Music here. (Yes, Lou Reed’s 1975 is-it-a-joke-or-not album of industrial electronic minimalist noise is one of my favorite musical punching bags.)

So, I consider day 1 (or, more accurately, night 0) a success. I think.

One problem I have yet to resolve: most of the apps I’m recording with have stereo output, but the technique I’m using to capture sound from the iPhone into GarageBand on my Mac is mono. I’m using a 1/4-inch (mono) guitar patch cable, plugged into an 1/8-inch adapter, plugged into my iPhone’s headphone jack. The other end of the patch cable is plugged into my Behringer Guitar Link USB interface. It captures the sound well, but… mono. It’s not so bad with a piece of music like what I worked on last night, where I’m layering multiple tracks in GarageBand (so having mono input is slightly preferrable), but it’s not going to work for everything. I know some of these apps allow you to record directly within the app, so in some cases I might do that, and then just drop the resulting WAV files into GarageBand for further editing.