Last week I discovered that Gary Numan had released a new album this past October.  It’s titled Splinter: Songs From A Broken Mind.  I haven’t been following Gary since his early work so I gave it a listen.  Wow!  I was really impressed.  At first listen you’re ready to say Gary Numan has a Nine Inch Nails influence.  Historically though, I feel it’s the other way around.

Now the fact that NIN guitarist Robert Fink plays on the album may further the NIN influence theory…. but I digress.

Anyway, I really love the track titled Love Hurt Bleed.  I sat down at my synthesizer and after a few minutes was playing the backing synth bass track.  After that I decided to try to put the track down on tape (disc, whatever).

Before trying to lay down a copy of the album track I thought I’d look for a live version.  Watching it done live shows you how the musicians actually play a song, how many instruments are required and how it can be arranged for a real-world performance.  With an album version you never quite know what’s going on.  I found the KEXP broadcast of his live performance of the song and worked on that arrangement.

My workflow process was sort of bass-ackward.  At first I employed my usual “cheat”;  I played along to the track while recording each instrument.  This has worked ok in the past, however, there is a certain lack of flow in the music when recorded this way.   This time I broke out the old metronome and recorded each track outside of the backing track.  I think the result was better timing and more continuity.

With the click-track as my drummer I laid down the synth tracks first.  The raw bass synth was done by tweaking the Prawg Rawk preset on Native Instruments Monark soft-synth.  The lead synth during the chorus is the outstanding free VST plugin Synth1.  I didn’t want to make this project too complex so I stuck with my two favourite software synthesizers.

After these tracks were down I moved to the bass guitar.  The first thing I noticed was that the E string on the bass was tuned to D.  No problem.  I recorded the track on my Fender Jazz running through my new favourite toy; an Electro Harmonix Deluxe Bass Big Muff PI (wow, what a mouthful).  This little distortion dream gave me two outputs.  Wet and Dry.  I recorded each and mixed them together for the final mix.

Next came the drums.  I liked the pattern used in the live arrangement so I based my track on that.  I stuck to the Kick and Snare drums but used tons of cymbals, particularly splash cymbals.  I recorded with a pair of AKG C1000S overheads, an AKG D112 on the kick and a Shure SM57 each on the snare and hi-hat.  I recorded on my Gretsch Renown Maple kit.

Next my nemesis; the guitar.  I’m still a very weak guitar player and wasn’t sure how to approach this.  My first thought was just to record the guitar parts through my keyboard and Guitar Rig by Native Instruments.  I didn’t like that idea though.  Too artificial.  I thought of calling a guitar playing buddy (John my Fizzbin bandmate came to mind first) but I live out of the way and wanted the project completed inside of 24 hours.

I first laid down the track in the third verse where everything but the synthesizer dies out during the vocal.  The guitar riff has an arabic flavour to it which I accented with some Guitar Rig delays and reverb.

Next I laid down the lead riff which runs just before the vocal.  Running from my Strat through an MXR ’78 Badass Distortion into the mixing desk I got an nice raunchy sound.  I further crunched it up with Guitar Rig and a nice cabinet.  Because I haven’t been playing much I have difficulty transitioning from chord to chord.  To solve this problem  I recorded each chord, D, C and G, separately then mixed them together.  The result seems to work ok.

Finally I laid down the vocal track.  Rather than use my TC-Helicon Voiceworks for the final track I ran the vocals through a few effects in Guitar Rig.  I use a couple of EQs, some Compression and Reverb.  That’s it.

The project was mixed down in Reaper by Cockos.  I really enjoy working with this DAW.  Although I’ve learned a tons about it, I still haven’t scratched the surface of it’s capabilities.

So there you have it.  My execution of Love Hurt Bleed.  I hope you enjoy it.

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