– 30 Days of Nowhere: London Calling – Notes

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London Phone Booth close-up by mezzoblue - click for flickr page!
Click to hear the song:
Thursday is geek day! If you want to know exactly how London Calling was gently coaxed out of my acoustic guitar to its glorious many-instrumented, multitracked, shiny pop destiny, the next nine paragraphs are for you.

Like most of the rest of the songs from the Days Between Stations EP, London Calling is really a one man band production – tracked and mixed in my modestly-appointed home studio.
Upside: you can work on music whenever you want! At midnight, even!
Downside: ability to converse with other humans slowly deteriorates.
Anyway, here’s the gear/methodology breakdown:
I have a dual 2.0Ghz G5 Mac, running LogicPro 8.1, which I use for all my recording. Everything on the track which actually went through the air before heading into the Dantean digital vortex of the computer (vocals, acoustic guitars) was tracked with a Rode NT-1 mic through a Presonus Eureka channel strip, with a Presonus Firebox handling the A/D conversion.
Electric guitars (1987 Fender Strat Plus) and bass (2005 OLP Music Man knockoff) were recorded direct, going through the Eureka to warm them up a bit (it actually makes a very nice direct box). Once inside the computer, I used Logic’s Guitar Amp Pro and Bass Amp amp simulators.
All of the keyboard parts were done with Logic’s included virtual keyboards, except for the piano, which I got from Garritan’s Personal Orchestra plugin – great piano! The drums were supplied by FXpansion’s BFD, which I really cannot say enough good things about.
Finally, the song was mixed entirely in the box, using Logic’s plugins when unavoidable, and a bunch of 3rd party stuff when available. These included:
– Universal Audio’s Pultec, LA-2A, Plate 140, and Fairchild emulations
– PSP Audio’s Vintage Warmer and Nitro (crazy monster plugin!)
If you made it this far, congratulations! You’re a production geek! But you probably already knew that. If you have any other questions about how this song was put together, email me.


2 thoughts on “– 30 Days of Nowhere: London Calling – Notes

  • I’d kind of like to be a music geek, but I just haven’t put in the time. I’d definitely, however, like to know what the hell you said up there. Do you have a layman’s version of how you made that song sound so $@*!% good?

  • What part of BFD/emulation/LA-2A/amp simulator/Dantean digital vortex didn’t you understand?
    Seriously, though, reading over that again, I can see how someone who doesn’t tweak compression ratios for fun might not get that much out of my description.
    What I meant to say was…
    * I have a computer at my house that I use to record music
    * On this song, I played each of the instruments – bass, guitar, piano, organ, etc. – and recorded them one at a time
    * I have various black magic devices in that computer that take the basic tones of those instruments and make them sound amazing. I muttered the required incantations as the new moon was rising and bang! There was the song in my iTunes!
    That’s basically what happened. I’m sensing that there’s some room between this version and the turbo-geek details for a more in-depth explanation, though – keep an eye on the main blog page for that.

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