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Album 3 - "The Flat White Album" (2020)


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After releasing Album 2 (Prescient) at the end of 2015, followed by an intense music video production phase, I felt creatively exhausted and mentally spun out. 

 

However, there were two events that helped kickstart the thought of doing a solo album:

  1. I scored a short film for a Film Festival competition, and
  2. I recorded, arranged and produced a song written and performed by my nephew who visited us from the UK

These two projects seemed to get my mojo back, and soon I felt some renewed pleasure from playing guitar and piano again.

 

So 2016 saw a few songs start to take shape.  Also, by then into my mid-60s and aware that this album could well be my ‘last gasp’, I began to resurrect some bits and pieces that I'd created in the past, but never written down or recorded. 

 

Now, quietly confident with my basic home-production skills, I felt unconstrained. All options were on the table as I was going into this without any collaborator.  There was now no-one to worry about keeping on-side but, on the flip side, there would be no-one to save me from bad choices and excesses.  It would be the ultimate step in vulnerability, completely exposing myself to criticism as everything would be down to me:  writing, arrangement, recording, editing, mixing, track order, mastering.

 

While new music had begun to bubble up, I was hard pressed to come up with sufficient lyrics that withstood repeated reading.  By late 2016, I had perhaps 5 completed songs, plus 5 'tunes' that required lyrics, so I messaged family and friends to see if they had any ideas or poems that might help.

 

In early 2017, my family had a two-week holiday in Sri Lanka.  Each morning around dawn, overlooking the pounding Indian Ocean surf and with no-one else around, I would sit with a coffee, pad of paper, pencil, MP3s in earbuds, tiny printouts of the dozen poems people had sent me ... and just manually work through options.  I eventually used 4 poems as inspiration for new lyrics. 

 

Returning to Australia saw me refining the existing songs and continually adding more ... the lyric logjam had been broken.  As the track number got above 24, I decided to cap the project at 30 ... the same number of tracks on the “The Beatles” (aka the “White Album”).  I wasn't going to record anything until the writing had stopped.  I kept refining every song/instrumental acoustically at the kitchen table, a word/phrase here, a chord change there, the melody, until each was complete in terms of chords, lyrics, and structure. I began laying down some simple guitar/vocal demos in Pro Tools mid 2018, nailing the keys and tempos. 

 

I didn’t intend to start to start recording in earnest until at least March 2019 when the peak summer heat had subsided ... my 'studio' is my Study, an ordinary room with a large window and untreated walls, which gets uncomfortably hot in summer.  In December 2018 I came off my motorbike on a corner at high speed.  The machine was a complete write-off but, luckily, my body landing on grass, and I walked away with just cuts, bruises, and a swollen hand.  The injuries healed within three months: I was extremely lucky both for my overall well-being and also being left physically able to perform and complete the album. WHEW! 😵

 

The songbook is large due to the number of tracks, but also an extensive “Making Of” section which details the writing process, my studio set-up, the production process, and some specific notes on each track.

 

Any questions ... please ask.

 

 

Box Vol 3c - The Flat White Album 'Making of' Story.pdf Box Vol 3a - The Flat White Album Songbook.pdf

Edited by GregB
typos

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