The Space Animals did a mini review of all the songs we've recorded in the
last year and a half. Our current CD (#4!) has a lot more harp, with a lot
more experimentation. The tone is fine (always can be better), the harp work
competent, but it starts to get boring after a few songs.
Here's a few things we've tried to make the harp a little more listenable:
On one song I switched harps, playing a little 3rd position and a little 2nd
position to give it a little different flavor.
On one song we changed keys during the bridge so again I'm switching
positions, same harp but in 2nd and 1st position.
One one song we took the guitar and harp played traditionally and cut and
pasted the riffs in the Acid program, threw in all sorts of electronic horns
I put chromatic harp on one song.
We wrote a song specifically in D minor specifically so I could play
chromatic on it, but it sounds fine without it so I may leave it be.
I wrote a song one the piano and wrote the melody on the harp. We lay down
the harp track, but later Steve lay down a guitar track with a totally
different feel-he got out the old Gibson RD guitar with the DiMarzio super
distortion pickups and the old Cream Machine preamp and did his best spandex
big hair guitar solo. Gives a totally different, better interpretation to
the song. That's what's fun about collaboration.We're going to cut the harp
to bare bones on this one, maybe even cut it out entirely.
One tune goes at a whopping 180 beats per minute.
One song we put the mic up so I could record scratch vocals while playing
harp. Felt a lot better for some reason, that's how I usually play so maybe
that's part of it. We played a Sonny Terry/Lightning Hopkins kind of a song,
with a little John Lee Hooker and Joey Ramone thrown in.
Practice, practice, practice. Every new technique can add expressiveness,
can liven up the tune. Right now I'm working hard on tongue blocking because
it opens up a different way of playing, and I'm working on my fast high runs
(I can do speed, I'm trying for taste). I can get a good distorted sound, so
I'm working on clear, clean sounds so I can mix and match.
Harp can be a lot of fun, but it can be real frustrating.
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