So I thought a good way to revive last year’s “Audio Archives” series would be to do it with a bang: two posts in a row about Honey White’s studio album How Far is the Fall. Since I’ve written lots about it before, I thought it would be fun to post the initial takes of everything we did, warts and all. We overdubbed later, of course, but this stuff would be from the original July 30-August 1 session at Take Root in S.F. with Jon Mayer at the helm. I’ve already written about this album a lot, so I figured that a new way to look at it would be via our post-mortem notes that were exchanged by band members after the session. Mostly it was me and Brian doing the writing, so this week you get to see my notes (from 8/16/04), and Brian’s (from 8/29) on the relevant songs. I’ll put the audio up first, though, so you can play and then read:

Dead Man
Take 5: Brian might want to overdub guitar at 2:22. Or overdub feedback? Good take overall.

Mercy Rule
Take 1: Minor tempo variations throughout. Missing Bryn’s whammy bar before bass solo (take from 4:11?). Keir omitted bass F note at 4:00 (overdub or cut&paste). Bryn’s guitar sounds out of tune? Take 2: Keir omitted bass double A notes at 0:12 (overdub or cut&paste). Drums a little tentative at 3:48. Breakdown at 4:08 (before Bryn’s solo) a little too empty. One of Bryn’s strings sounds out of tune (does that matter)? Overall a good take, maybe the best one. Take 3: This is the one where Billy & I got lost. Brian’s first solo is totally different- just saying. Rhythm section takes off around 3:12. Brian’s solo a bit sharp at 4:16. Bryn’s solo kinda goofy. Wrong bass notes by Keir at 5:29.

Sweet Oblivion
Take 1: Strong beginning from Brian. Bryn sings loud. Keir’s bass lines are irregular. Weird bass notes at 1:46. Brian guitar slip at 2:07. Drums hiccup at 3:23. Brian falls out 3:26-3:30. Billy keeps going at 4:30 but should have stopped. Brian sounds tentative during instrumental. Small gap at 6:26. Good last G chord. Take 2: Ok start. Bryn vocals much better. Keir’s bass still irregular. Billy a little fast with fill at 2:28. Bryn’s has hanging “if” at 2:30. Small gap at 2:53 before Bryn’s solo. Good replacement fill at 3:31. Bass is overplayed. Excellent breakdown at 4:35. Excessive bass swagger throughout instrumental break especially at 6:20. Weird fill at 6:22. Way too loud bass note at 6:33. Gap is too big after it. Another weird fill at 7:22. Great last G chord. This is the “dude Brian that was fucking awesome” take. Take 3: Another ok/good start. Fill a little off at 1:53 but actually up to that point the take is flawless. Bass hits A instead of E at 2:05. Drums hesitant at 2:53 right before Bryn’s solo. Bass drum a fraction off at 3:29. Double check to find Bryn’s best solo before he does any overdubs. Drums in too early at 4:03 (it’s a snare, around “into sweet oblivion”) right before the first chorus (replace w/same part from take 2). Another bass drum off a fraction at 4:30. Still, this is a good ending and Billy’s best ending before the break of all 3 takes. Brian’s tone is perfect during the instrumental. Sweet, sweet phrase from him at 5:48. Fluffed bass notes at 6:14. Another gap starts at 6:28 but it’s covered well. The instrumental section is kinda shaky but overall I think this is probably the best take.

Let Go
Take 1: Bad bass note at 1:03. Another at 1:34. Bryn’s chord at the end could be a little stronger and there are a frew minor tempo fluctuations (though they don’t throw anything off) but that’s about it. Good, good take. Take 2: One of Bryn’s strings is a little out of tune for the whole take. This take has some samples on it and the big snare on a few just for show. Bryn’s singing is a bit stronger in places. Tremolo falls out of time at 2:04 but resolves quickly. Bad bass at 4:26. More at 4:57 (the bad note which I played 2 more times to try and make it better). Not a bad take but not as good as the first.

Keep Moving
Take 1: A little disjointed when we come in at :20. Bryn flubs a note at :31. Brian’s echo is a little fast. Rhythm section’s a little outta sync again at 1:48. Again at 2:56. Bass note hits A instead of D at 3:16. Brian’s bend at 4:04 is sharp. Bass notes fall a little flat in last vocal chorus. Great falloff and buildup to last instrumental chorus. Bryn’s 3 quiet notes at the end are good. Take 2: Much better rhythm section in this one’s beginning. All through too – it’s the hi-hat or ride that helps. Big snare too. Bass misses A note at 1:39. Bass cuts out a little early at end of last vocal chorus. Out of tune? Snare echos work well. Good comeback here too for the last instrumental chorus. Bass a bit off on very last inst chor bar but it might be passable. Bryn’s last 3 notes are not as good as the first take, but this is probably the better of the 2.

And here are Brian’s thoughts on the same stuff:

Reading through your notes right now, Keir, I remember a lot of what you’re talking about. There’s one part of Oblivion take 2, however, that I don’t: “Excessive bass swagger throughout instrumental break especially at 6:20. Way too loud bass note at 6:33.” Man, I don’t know what you were doing there, but I’m dying to put on the recording and find out. I wasn’t aware bass swagger could get excessive, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

Mercy Rule
Guitars not so good on take 1, don’t complement each other well on take 3
My rhythm guitar during the chorus of all takes sounds kind of lame
Comeback for instrumental part is good initially on 2nd take
Neither comeback is very good on 3rd take

Take 3 solos:
My 1st solo good except for 4th bar
My 1st 2nd solo hilarious
My 2nd 2nd solo starts well
Bryn’s 1st solo is cool
Bryn’s 2nd solo is not so cool (flanger)
Background guitar/keys would sound good as padding behind Bryn’s solo

Let Go (take 1)
Rhythm trouble at :50
Bad bass note at 1:05
Treble on my guitar takes off
Rhythm off when verse two begins
My guitar tone on higher notes lacks fuzz (see live version)
Bad notes on my guitar at 4:10, and at end
Rhythm off at ~ 4:25

Let Go (take 2)
Vocals off at beginning
Rhythm even farther off when verse two begins
My guitar tone is better but still not full enough
On parts of both takes, vocals and guitar don’t quite match in pitch
Rhythm is off at ~ 3:50
Bad note on my guitar at 4:10, again at end
Weird bass note somewhere around 4:25
Last verse falls off a bit

Second half next week…