Things are looking up. With some advice from Daniel of Windmill, I've decluttered the sound of a couple of tracks. An understanding of compression is gradually dawning, and the ability to hear the difference also, but more gradually.
Daniel's remixed two tracks, one of which isn't there yet, but one – I Started A Fire – was sounding so good it got me into the car to drive over to his place last night and re-record acoustic guitar tracks. Having done that we wondered whether a different approach to the singing might improve it and I did a couple of takes. I also tried one with some different lyrics, an idea which had occured to me in the car on the way over, but which was the third approach I've tried to the song (the original being – singer talking directly to lost lover, 'I' to 'You'; the second was singer describes the whole story happening to someone else 'you did this, you did that'; the new approach is singer telling his story to friends, so the lover becomes 'she'.)
We went through a few of these – close, intimate voices vs more detached 'ironic' voices – and came back to an approximation of the original 'intimate' tone, but with the new lyrics and recorded on a better mic.
It was such a pleasure to do because (a) I had someone to knock ideas around with, (b) I had someone to say 'You could sing that better.' and (c) I didn't have to start in a technology-induced grumpy mood.
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The deadline's fast approaching but, well, I didn't say how many tracks would be on the album, did I?