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Brendan James

Posts tagged with ‘Strings’

Where We Go Ft. Natalie John (audio)


 ”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 MarcelloDrums 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

The Chance to Choose (audio)



“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

Make The Choice – Lyrics