21 Mar 13
Mid-week musical update, this track unearthed from the Global Gravity Feed catalog unreleased unearthed and remastered for your listening pleasure.
19 Feb 13
”Where We Go”
This song has quite a long story. I began working on it while on tour with The Acting Company in 2007 where I collaborated with Cellist Debbie Friedman in between shows with my mobile recording rig on the tour bus. Returning to Brooklyn, I flushed out the string parts with Violinist Jaime Marcello. Drums were recorded sometime in 2008 and slowly a song that had started out entirely digital and programmed was beginning to take a larger, livelier shape.
I originally wrote the lyrics to try and convey a the technological and mechanistic overload that I was feeling in New York City. I was commuting daily to Manhattan from Sheepshead bay, Brooklyn in race where everyone seemed to be moving so fast, but where I felt little progression our society on a whole was being made. I always had it in mind that a female would sing the vocals, and when I began working with Elvira K I petitioned the track to her. After struggling through a few sessions we realized that the voice of the song wasn’t her’s.
A year later with Abstract Rhythm in full swing. I was out with my partner Andrew attending a performance by Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra where I was able to see Natalie John fronting the 18 peice group. I immediately approached her after the show and ask if she would give “Where we go” a try, to which she agreed!
Natalie’s vocals were recorded with an AEA R84 Ribbon mic. She was able to work quickly with the guide vocals from Elvira and I believe we knocked out the takes in 2 days.
This track was an exercise in mixing with almost all of the elements recorded separately and in different locations. I ended up bringing Debbie Friedman back to the studio 3 years later to flush out and replace her original cello recordings from the tourbus. I also enlisted Jeffrey Young to play unison on top of the parts that Jaime had recorded earlier in an early string quartet -type experiment which was recorded WAY more difficult than it needed to be. This track was my first time arranging for strings, which was a learning process as well. I originally had used a sampled trumpet solo recorded by Ben Syversen at his apartment in Cambridge, MA sometime in 2008. Ben moved to Brooklyn sometime thereafter and I was able to get him into Abstract Rhythm to put some finishing touches on his part. I really like the presence ben has on this song and the harmonies that developed between his horn and Natalie.
All and all this track proved to be the introduction for me into a new style of live / electronic hybrid production made possible by the many excellent musical connections gathered in New York city.
[info_popup pop_title='Where We Go - Lyrics' message='PASTE THE MAIN TEXT HERE' Lyrics[/info_popup]
Original Release Date: 02-01-2010
Natalie John – Vocals
Andrew McLean – Drums, Percussion
Debbie Friedman – Cello
Jaime Marcello – Violin
Jeffrey Young – Violin
Ben Syversen – Trumpet
DJ Baked Potato – Production
Brendan James – Background Vocals
Mixed By Brendan James at Abstract Rhythm Studio Brooklyn, NY
09 Feb 13
“The Chance To Choose”
Originally Recorded 2009 for the Strange Places Record this track was never released. I was very pleased with how the string arrangements came out as well as the instrumentation on this track.
Vocals: Brendan James
Drums: Andrew McLean
Violin: Jeffrey Young
Cello: Yoed Nir
Mixed By Brendan James at Abstract Rhythm Brooklyn, NY
Strings Recorded 10/15/2008
you gotta make that choice alone my friend
make it on your own
there are many influences who want to get in
you gotta take it on your own
We earn a fraction of our wage,
they make sure they always get paid
the elders look back on the days
to find their dreams have long escaped
we get caught an our mistakes.. we’re coalescing
(your gonna break)
we make decisions based on faith
so we’re always guessin’
we get round up in the cage of superstition
the impostor of our race is a war-religion
(you can’t tame)
Why take the chance to choose
when you know who’s gonna loose?
and, why make the choice when you
are easily confused my friend
you got to choose your own and go your way my friend
no you made your choice alone long ways ago
not what you’ve borrowed
your own, your own!
01 Feb 13
“Talk to Me” (extended mix)
Another featured song off the Global Gravity Feed project. This track was started in the Jamaica Plain Basement Studio sometime in 2004. In this collaboration between myself and fellow NEIA allum Roldy Cezaire we enlisted the help of bassist Josh Oliver who came up with the funky bassline which was pretty central to the song. My Roommate Ryan Coughlin laid down the light acoustic guitar riffs. Giros and shakers courteousy of yours truly as was my percussion technique at the time.
I resurrected this track in 2007 after moving to Brooklyn, NY. I was never satisfied with the lack of lyrical content (Roldy and I were never able to come up with any verses) and I hired the sexist BK rapper I knew - Tense D to lay down a verse. “Frozen out in Aspen” .. loved it.
This song was originally programmed in Digital Performer (v.4?) using a variety of software instruments. I tightened up the drums which were all programmed in Intakt moving the patch over to Kontakt and Cubase in 2007. The final mix of the song was done in Cubase sometime in 2010 at Abstract Rhythm Studio Brooklyn, NY. This is the first time that I have released the full version of “Talk to me” with the extended ”shoo bop” ending with vocals by an early Brendan James.
Vocals – Roldy Cezaire
Rap – Tense D
Bass – Josh Oliver
Guitar – Ryan Coughlin
Horns- Ben Syversen
Programming // Keys // Additional Vocals – Brendan James
© 2008 Baked Potato Music
10 Jan 13
“Can I See You Again” Explained
This was one of my first projects I worked on after moving to New York City.I teamed up with, then 19 year old Estonian model / singer Elvira K who had a strange affinity for R&B and soul music.
For this song I kept the production pretty basic focusing on the fender Rhodes even using the lower register of the instrument for the bass line. I attempted to play guitar but only got in a “soul slide” so that’s all I used. The Guiro, and strings were inspired by “Playing Your Game Baby“ by Barry white. Lyrical content more on the Stevie Wonder Side of things. I recorded the track in a Greenpoint studio / rehearsal space that I was sharing at the time, located a solid hour bike ride from my apartment in Sheepshead bay brooklyn.
This was the first time that I worked with drummer Andrew McLean, who replaced my programmed drums with a reserved and perfectly pocketed hip-hop groove. I believe the same day we recorded the drums for another project, “Where We Go” which was originally going to be elvira’s tune as well.
We tracked the vocals for “Can I see you again” over a period of about a month layering Elvira’s multiple harmonies and working on the lyrics. We recorded the song line-by line to work out the phonics and rhymes and replaced the verses with live takes towards the end of the process. This was the first song elvira ever wrote.
A few months later I went up to boston with my mobile recording rig and got Ben Syversen to lay down a trumpet solo for this and the “where we go” track.
Written By B. James and Elvira K
all instruments by Brendan James
Drums – Andrew McLean
Trumpet – Ben Syversen
© 2008 Baked Potato Music
09 Jan 13
This was a small artist production project I did when I lived in Boston with for an artist named Beth Chandler – Circa 2006
Beth, a native of the Northeast considers herself “first and foremost a Poet”,
BC – “All of my songwriting begins as poetry…all of which are inspired by emotional situations I’m facing. Most of my lyrics revolve around love relationships gone wrong, which is pretty common I’m sure!”
With lyricism as the stronghold, the music fell into a position of respective ambience, a genre DJ Bak(ed P)otato knows well:
BP – “With (Apparent Concern), Beth and I both found ourselves focusing more on the lyrical content than the beats themselves. We would have sessions where we would be spend all of the time just writing, trying to come up with ways to best express ideas that we both held, and knew every body else had felt but couldn’t voice. In working on the musical content I always gave Beth the center of attention, dealing with sounds thatt were more ambient, full and lush.”
oh, this is chill right here…
jhene aiko f/ kendrick lamar & hope
An interview with one of my favorite recording engineer / producers behind the artist 4hero, it’s a little dated but a lot of the topics are relovent including a discussion on new music styles and the speed of media dissemination has changed since the advent of the internet.
Categories : Nuwave, Broken / NuJazz Drum & Bass, Jazz, 4hero
This Past week or so I endulged in my vinyl addiction by purchasing the following albums:
Today I took the opportunity to buy Lizzy Parks album of the same name “Raise the Roof” (2008). I am used to Lizzy’s sound from the Tru thoughts Shapes series: http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk/releases/Various/shapes-1002 and her style is HEAVY: light and lush vocal harmonies, brilliant horn and string arrangements, pristine production. In short: right up my ally; I love it!
This album is very pleasing on the ears, her voice is light and very present and the style drifts from laid back to downright banging through the use of a very live and natural recording and mix. Man they do Jazz right in the U.K!
When a female vocalist captivates me I fall in LOVE. Catch me listening through an entire album and the joy usually fades by the end, I don’t know, it’s just hard to listen to the same voice for 60 minutes you know? Lizzy’s voice is different, she’s calm, never overpowering, possessing a prowess that cuts through dense passages even at low volume. The album is paces brilliantly building and dissolving in waves of misty jazz euphoria, it is both dark and extremely positive. The strength of lizzy’s voice lies in the simple airiness of her note delivery, with just enough jazz chops and range to make it interesting.