Best Laid Plans

If you were to catch someone in the most raw, primal, base level of their soul, you'll find a naked, unadorned fear of being alone. We're all afraid of going through our lives siloed, channeled, and shuttled away from others, afraid of not being understood, afraid of dying alone. This song is an admission of that fear.

This is another stream-of-consciousness track with beautiful consequences. It's one of my older tracks, recorded in one take in 2002, completely off the cuff; the beauty is in the polish. With a borrowed MIDI controller, I hammered this out using a sequencer to record and a Yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth with a simple CCPad patch. Since the softsynth had a half-second latency between key down and sound output, I had no choice but to play lazy chords. Once I stumbled upon a nice, lush, pretty chord progression while noodling, I knew I had to press Record. What I played back afterwards was nice, but when I layered a detuned piano sound on top, my heart melted. It haunted me. I knew I had done something right.

A few days later, I recorded some vocals for it over the phone for that nice crackly sound. The lyrics presented here aren't the original spoken words; the originals were recorded ad-lib and ended up being too bashfully personal for me to comfortably share the song with others. So I sat on it for years.

I decided I needed to do something about that.

Since the original recording was made with the softsynth with low-quality audio gear, I knew that in order to maintain the flavor and soul of the original noisy recording, I had to re-use the softsynth but record the audio with modern equipment and manipulate it to get that sound back. A fistful of technical problems later, I finally got the sound right. What you hear is hours of tweaking, clarifying, adding quantization noise, manipulating the effects, and re-recording new lyrics. I'm happy with it, and I hope you like it too.

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