Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pocketses?

Pocket. The word is now a verb in the audio world, meaning to "place a sloppy or loose performance in time". In my case (although all of my playing could be more in the pocket), it refers to a different intro that I came up with for one of the songs on the new record.

It was supposed to be an unaccompanied, atempo introduction with the band entering on the downbeat. I did not like the way the random tempo was making the rest of the song sound off. I think the ear locks into a tempo at the beginning and a noticeable groove shift is judged to be "wrong" even though the intro itself might be at fault.

What I want to do with it now is have the intro stand alone. The last chord rings out for two bars, so I can tack the song on afterwards and the time gap between seems to erase the memory of the intro's tempo. I previously added some harmony slide guitar diads (ala George Harrison) underneath the Wurlitzer solo (courtesy of Michael Webb).

I figured these slide licks would sound great as pickups to the tune proper, so I copied them and moved them to follow the ringing intro chord and lead to the tonic downbeat. But... they occur on the "1" of the solo section and I need them to start on the "and" of "4", with the destination note of the slide being the "1" of the tune's downbeat. They don't fit.

Enter Pro Tools 8 and Elastic Audio. You can specify the amount of time you want a piece of audio to take up, and place it in the track already stretched to fit. Amazing, but I don't know how to do it very well.

Enter Mark Dobson, famous engineer with better things to do, no doubt. He has, however, graciously agreed to help, so sometime this week (hopefully) I will get a master class in PT pocketing, and another track of the album will be very near completion.

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