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Tell me

A 4-track cassette collaboration

Approximate reading time: 2 minutes

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Liner Notes

This is tape 5 from the "annual 4-track cassette challenge"[archived]:

  1. @zecoop[archived] (electric guitar)
  2. @drivelmonk (synth)
  3. @guatecoop (drums)
  4. @elesimo[archived] (bass, vocals, lyrics)

@elesimo[archived]: I received the tape only on March 1st, due to delays in the mail because of weather and other shenanigans. The tape had guitar, synth and drums, leaving for me the 4th track with the click.

I felt that the song was missing a bass, as well as vocals, so I decided that I had to bounce the existing tracks in order to make some space. Since I wanted to have the guitar and the synth separate in the stereo field I mixed the 3 existing tracks down to 2: guitar and half-volume drums on track 4, and synth and half-volume drums on track 1. This way I could pan each track to a side and keep the drums in the middle at the same level.

Once I had 2 open tracks (2 and 3) I recorded the bass on track 2 during the weekend, and today I recorded vocals on track 3. I wanted to do the mix on the 4-track instead of using a computer, so I used the Empress ZOIA to add compression to vocals and a room reverb to everything, recording directly to a Zoom recorder.

I really like how it turned out! Bass and vocals are definitely out of my comfort zone, but I think the bass tied up everything together and I really like the lyrics.

Lyrics

[verse 1]
It’s just another day
Painting the sky of gray
Shades of sadness and regret

As I stand by myself
An empty bookshelf
Where our stories met

Oh, I’ve seen this rain
Oh, I’ve felt this pain
I know It’s not over yet

I’m rolling on the dirt
I’m trying to stay alert
Trying to forget

[verse 2]
Is this the only way?
Where did things go astray?
Why did it end so soon?

I look up to the sky
I keep my spirits high
Trying to attune

I had so simple dreams
I had it all it seems
I was going to the moon

And now I lost it all
I’m diving in free fall
The world is out of tune

[chorus 1]
So tell me of all the thing you miss
Is there some space for us?
I can move on if I know that
You’re alright

So tell me of all the things we did
Were there good things
Thing to show
We did right?

[verse 3]
And when I think of you
And all we both went through
There’s so much to see

Not everything was bad
Not everyone was sad
I think that you’ll agree

I focus on the good
I did the best I could
As good as I could be

I carry that with love
It’s what stays above
The memories of you and me

[chorus 2]
So tell me if you could go back in time
Would you change our story darling
Make it different
Shed some light?

So tell me of all the thing you miss
Is there space for some of us?
I can move on if I know that
You’re alright

So tell me of all the things we did
Were there good things
Thing to show
We did right

[verse 4]
It’s just another day
Painting the sky of gray
Shades of sadness and regret

Oh, I’ve seen this rain
Oh, I’ve felt this pain
I know It’s not over yet

And I stand by myself
An empty bookshelf
Where our stories met

I’m rolling on the dirt
I’m trying to stay alert
Trying to forget

Comments

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burrsettles's avatar
burrsettles replied on FAWM on 2021-03-10:

Oooh old-school mixdown! It's so cool how the one-direction song structure of these constrain what kinds of lyrical lines you can write, I think this one works out well. The bass is definitely a good addition. I do wish the the drums and synths managed to come out a little clearer in the final mix, but this is one of the charms of all 4-track production! 😀

nancyrost's avatar
nancyrost replied on FAWM on 2021-03-10:

Right with the opening guitar riff I am captivated. So ominous, love the use of space there. A treat to hear @elesimo singing! I like the lyric, too, particularly the empty bookshelf image. And that synth adds a cool atmosphere in the high range. Rhythm section is solid underpinning, and really sounds like you're playing in the same room.

zecoop's avatar
zecoop[archived] replied on FAWM on 2021-03-10:

I really like the lyric story that you've got here. Really thought provoking. I like how we've got the whole band now too! Well done with the bounce and mixing too - I always chicken out on mixing out of the tape player. Nice additions everyone! 😀

metalfoot's avatar
metalfoot replied on FAWM on 2021-03-10:

Great work with the 4-way collab-- kind of a power team here! Great sounds by all and a dark and searching sort of lyric to top it all off.

vomvorton's avatar
vomvorton replied on FAWM on 2021-03-24:

Love this lyric and vocal delivery! Another victory for the four-track challenge making @elesimo sing, haha. The classic four-track mix tricks are cool, I had never thought about mixing the drums in that way. The final result is full of character, great stuff.

yarimurray's avatar
yarimurray replied on FAWM on 2021-03-31:

Great job and extra kudos for mixing it old school! Really cool vibe and the full band sound works well for this. Nice!

tunecat's avatar
tunecat replied on FAWM on 2021-04-07:

Love @zecoop's guitar - great sound great chord to start... Just reading the liner notes.. I think you can definitely pat yourself on the back for your part of the process. The bass is great, the sound is about right, (I'm listening a second time .. .. but want to focus on the synth this time) the vocal delivery is characterful, and melodic choices not obvious. Lyrics cool. Drums and synth just tight and work lovely job people!!