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14 January 2012

EGBDF - The Album - Searcher's Goal

Today I'll hit song number five from my multi-selling smash-hit mini-album EGBDF. There's a little more lyric insight on this song as well as some sure-to-be-mind-boggling recording techniquery here.

Searcher's Goal

"Searcher's Goal" has some lyrics that I was really proud of, but I'm not sure they came across with any straightforward meaning:

With sights ahead,
I feel the eyes staring from behind.
Arms embrace what I despise,
Reaching for what I can't find.

This is the sensation of feeling like everyone is watching, and you make a big, huge mistake; something you know you shouldn't do but you do it anyway for whatever reason. Kinda like what Paul said he had a tendency to lean toward in Romans 7:15. "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate." (Read it in context to understand all of what he was saying.)

The second verse says this:

If choice is black and white,
It seems I fall into the gray.
Impressions say a thousand things,
Stepping on the words I say.

Again, this is about wrestling with right and wrong, and no matter what I profess with my mouth -- who I say I am -- actions speak louder than words.

The narration in the next section contained a phrase from my favorite work of fiction, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", read by Michael York, the relevant part being, "'What is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'" It doesn't have a whole lot of relevance to verse two of the song, but it's the first phrase I thought of that wasn't as hackneyed as "A picture is worth a thousand words" (which was a theme in verse two).

Having discovered that "the searcher's goal lives inside" -- Christ in me, the hope of glory -- verse three should be self-explanatory and much more immediately understandable than the other verses.

Instruments used:
Look back at the notes on "The Answer Song" and "Dedication" to find out what "axes" were used. I had the same drum setup that I used on "Dedication" (remember, I only used the Roland R-5 on "The Answer Song").

The single keyboard chord in the song comes on the last note of the song. I used my Rhodes 660 for that.

Recording gear:
This song was also recorded at my friend Paul Proffit's living room studio, so the recording gear list is identical to that of the two aforementioned songs.

Production notes:
I don't know if anyone has noticed, but the only words in the song that don't have stacked harmonies on them (I think) are "the searcher's goal" -- the title of the song. It wasn't by design, but I remember listening to it and at some point that dawned on me.

Instrumentally, I believe my favorite part in the song is the little break before the chorus where there's only bass, kick drum, and a snare hit. That's my King's X part of the song. (Heh...)

I originally wrote and recorded completely different lyrics for this tune. The chorus was terrible, but I was just trying to flesh out ideas at that point. It had long, drawn-out phrases and started with the word "I." The sweeping reverse sound at the beginning of each chorus is a leftover of that recording. Let me 'splain...

I learned a secret and thought I was among the elite. You could flip the reel backward on the recorder, put reverb on something, and record the reverb. When you flipped the reel over and played it forward, you'd have... wait for it... reverse reverb! That's what I did with the old vocal track and left it on the final mix. That's the sweeping sound you hear at the beginning of each chorus. Took a good 30 minutes or more to get everything just right.

Today that would take about two minutes and a few clicks. If you hose it up? Hit to Ctrl-Z to undo it. It was good to engineer in the days before digital recording. Ah, the glory days of razor blades and splicing blocks...


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