Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – keyboard tracks

The first stage of this project involved recording my improvisations on the grand piano at Christ Lutheran Church. In preparation for this I had divided up the Lord’s Prayer into various petitions and assigned different keys to the different parts. Late at night (to reduce the problem of traffic noise) I set up my DAT machine (Digital Audio Tape) and some mics. For each song I began by prayerfully reflecting on the words for that specific petition in the Lord’s Prayer – then when I felt inspired I played. The piano parts just flowed out of me and within a couple of hours I had completed all the basic tracks for this project.

The next part of the project was to record the pipe organ in the chapel of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon. I became quite familiar with this small pipe organ (8 ranks) during my years of study at the seminary. At that time I didn’t have the equipment to allow for portable multitrack digital recording, so I did a crude work-around. I put the piano tracks on a CD with a click count off before each song. One afternoon I set up my DAT machine and mics in the chapel of the Seminary. The spring semester was over, so there weren’t many people around to have to worry about interruptions.

Wearing headphones, I listened to the piano tracks on the CD (using a portable CD player). At the beginning of each track I would clap along with the opening clicks, then improvise the pipe organ tracks as the piano tracks played. This went relatively smoothly and at the end of the afternoon I had pipe organ tracks for each of the pieces.

Back home, in my basement studio, I added the organ tracks to the piano tracks, lining up the clicks and claps at the beginning of each piece as a crude way of syncing the tracks. While it wasn’t ideal, it was workable and I now had a solid basis for the whole project. The next was to add vocals… more about that in the next post.