I got the biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs for Christmas. I was hoping for some insight on how to be a creative thinker but it’s actually a pretty depressing read and there is little in the way that Jobs is portrayed that I’d want to emulate.
But in one passage Steve talked about the moment in the development of every great Apple product where they realised something was wrong and felt the temptation to just ignore the alarm bells and plough on regardless. But in each instance they ‘hit the rewind button’, missing deadlines and delaying launches to fix it, and in doing so lifted the product to the next level.
I’ve hit 3 such points that I can identify during the recording of the Let’s Build An Airport EP. First, after getting the mix I realised Brother Bull dragged towards the end. I felt tempted to say “never mind, it’s just the weakest song on the record” but I realised that cutting a verse and chorus (something I’d been fighting ever since I wrote the song) made it move along at a much more satisfying clip. I did a mock up of the edit in Garageband and then Mark my producer did it for real. I lost some cool xylophone and steel drum moments but gained a tighter final track.
Next a cello part wasn’t working. Tuning wise, tonally and it lacked expression. Rerecording the part helped, but not enough. I’d run out of ideas and we ran off mixes with and without the part. But then Mark started copying over snippets of violin and viola from other parts of the song and layering them. The section of the song is really striking now thanks to string parts that I never would have composed.
Finally one little cluster of pitchy notes at the end of the record, almost inaudible when mixed is now sadly very noticeable now the track are mastered. To fix them means going back a step and remixing that portion of the song, then adding it into the mastered track and remastering. But I’m hopeful, like the previous examples that the whole track will end up noticeably stronger.