Producer’s Notes 9 – Paradise

Hi friends,

While the CDs of Year of the Nightingale are flying around the world into the mailboxes of the Kickstarter Supporters, Kelly is also on a journey around the world – She is currently on a multi-stop music trip to Tasmania via Boston and Qatar but she is still kindly sharing with us her Producer’s Notes while in transit. This post has some really lovely insights into both the recording process and the spirit of Year of the Nightingale. Thanks Kelly! Luke

Year of the Nightingale Producer’s Notes Vol. 9
by Kelly Snook

Song: Paradise (release date 17 March, 2017)
Words: The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh, Part 1, No 6
Key: G major
Meter: 4/4
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/ZmUAg0sQ5gA

I’m writing these notes into my phone as I sit so near the original Garden of Ridván (Paradise) that my heart aches for the fact that this is the closest I will probably ever get. As we flew down between Iran and Iraq, I watched as all the familiar cities from the history of the Bahá’í Faith appeared below me. Tehran and Shiraz, the cities of the Births of Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb, the Twin Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, off to the east. Baghdad and its Garden of Ridván to the west. I wonder if I will ever be permitted to visit these sacred places. So close – just 41,000 feet! But so far away.

Luckily we have another Garden of Paradise to visit – this song! It is lush and deep and full of beautiful sounds to explore, from the beautiful clusters and voicings in the Rhodes to the intricately layered cellos, the music reminds me of the way the gardens around Bahjí encircle it and the vocals stand so beautifully at the center like the Mansion and the Shrine side by side.

Recording with cellist Vyvienne Long

This song is one that features quite a lot of layering using a technique that I love, which involves a musician recording many individual lines, either improvised or coached, that are then sculpted, edited, and mixed to create complex textures and movement. In this song this layering technique was used with the Rhodes, the cellos, the trumpets, and a bit with the guitars. It is a lot of work to mix, but almost always worth the effort, we think! Some of the other songs to which you can listen for this technique are Seek No Other – saxes; Beauty – vocals and saxes; Healing – trumpets, pianos, and mandolin; Sign of Love – mbira and guitar harmonics; and Reckoning – saxes, guitar harmonics and violins.

Back in Paradise, I always imagined Diane’s voice surrounding Luke’s on both sides in this song. When she was able to go into a studio in LA and re-record the vocals on gorgeous microphones, we went a bit Diane-crazy and started doubling her voice everywhere on all the songs! We called this the “butter sandwich.” At one point we also tried doubling Luke’s voice, as well, which then created the “double butter sandwich.” However, in the end, we decided that we would keep just Diane’s butter sandwich special for this one song, so this is the only time it is featured. You hear it the second time through the Hidden Word, and it is especially buttery in headphones.

One more little note: this song was originally only half as long, and I found that to be unnecessarily cruel. So we doubled the length and added a wee breakdown in the middle, so now it’s one of the longest songs on the record. I think this is appropriate because of the importance of this Hidden Word in Luke’s process of investigating the Bahá’í Faith. Better to pay it a bit more attention and adorn it as beautifully as possible!

OK – I leave you now as I continue my journey on to Tasmania. Only one song remains! Thanks again for following along in this release process.

Direct YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/ZmUAg0sQ5gA

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