put me down

 

Words and Music by James Ozenne, June 1997

Recorded and Produced by James Ozenne, September 1998

Song and Recording Notes:

 

Put Me Down is by far the most complex, in every respect, of all the songs on this CD.  I consider it to be the centerpiece of the collection.  I wrote this entire song in my hotel room in Mexico City while I was there alone on a business trip in 1997, coming up with the basic structure and concept of the music and nearly all of the lyrics, so I suppose the subject matter is about things I was thinking of  at the time.

 

Rhythm plays a central role in this song. The tempo fluctuates throughout, and the center intstrumental section and outro each feature rhythmical ideas.  Furthermore, the way the harmonic rhythm fits with the rhythm of the lyrics during the verse is a little unusual.  I did focus on the percussion sounds in the recording, which are more subtly performed than on most of the other tracks.

 

The changing tempos actually turned out to cause a lot of trouble in recording.  I first recorded myself playing the piece on guitar, allowing myself to speed up and slow down at the places I had decide on, but then I went through and checked how fast I had played each section.  I then programmed all these tempo changes into the computer, giving me a click track to follow that sped up and slowed down as I had done.  One problem with having changing tempos is that it becomes more difficult to work with recorded sound.  For instance, often if I make an error in recording the rhythm guitar on one verse, I can go to the corresponding part in a different verse and graft a correctly-played segment onto the spot where I messed up.  This is prohibitively difficult if the tempos from the two sections are not exactly the same.  Also, if I decide after already laying down some audio tracks that I want to change the acceleration or deceleration, I get other technical problems.

 

One significant mistake I made in the recording, which I didn't notice until after I had done the final mix, was allowing the click track to bleed onto the vocal, most noticeably during the second verse.  I think it was a very low sound that I wasn't noticing, but I think in the process of the final mixdown, I cranked up the compression on that track pretty high, which made it pretty noticeable in the final.  Somehow I didn't notice it until it was too late.  I'm using a click track at that point because the rhythm is otherwise conveyed only by the guitar.  Sometimes, though, I don't want to turn up the guitar too loud in my monitor headphones because it makes it difficult to hear my own voice, so the click track helps keep me locked onto the beat, and in this case it bled onto the microphone and onto the vocal track.  :(

 

Other things you might notice in the recording:

    Please listen to the intro -- I have a sort of blowing wind sound along with a dark woodwind-sounding synth patch playing a four-chord progression, soon joined by the rhythm guitar.  This is supposed to evoke a kind of nocturnal scene.  I did score the woodwind-sounding instruments differently each time through the progression.

    In the next section (at :35) you hear one of the main themes, which is a thick guitar texture behind a guitar pick pattern that was the first thing I came up with in writing the music.

    In the first verse (1:05), you may notice that the rhythm guitar consists of two takes, one of which is playing a very dry strum, positioned in the left channel.

    Perhaps I went overboard on the middle instrumental section (3:44).  The chord progression is the one from the intro, but the rhythm is rather unusual: each chord lasts from 2 to 7 eighth notes, in a pattern that repeats.   The howling sounds in the background are made from several different takes with a guitar and volume pedal.

    The last verse (4:48) is my favorite.  There's a far away sounding backup vocal that chimes in at the ends of some lines.  Also, listen to the muted sounding arpeggio figure played in the guitar on the left channel.  In the second half of the verse, the guitar in that same spot plays a kind of whiny accompaniment that I like quite a bit.

    At the outro (6:15), listen to the guitar on the left -- it plays a little pattern that I think is cool.  The rhythm is a new experiment -- the pattern repeats every 14 beats.

 

The instrumentation on this recording consists of synth bass, synth drums, numerous synth sound effects and patches, many tracks of electric guitar, backup vocal (in the last verse only), and lead vocal.

 

 

PUT ME DOWN

You're not in time

To set me straight, although you

Put me on the line

And I still care

And I can't find my love anywhere

 

Hoping to see

Just what your eyes have in store for me

Maybe

They'll pick me up and drag me down

Or pull me back to you

Or push me all around

Maybe no

 

Put me

Put me down

 

I'm trying to read

The only words I see say

You're the one I need

So I try to sleep

Inside my eyelids I see pictures of you deep

 

I need you alone

I see you here inside this world of my own

And I can't get you back

Or get away

Or make a change that gets me through another day

No, no

 

Put me

Put me down

 

You shouldn't try

To make me feel too different

You're not in time

To reach inside

And think you know just what I know

And what I am

 

I need you alone

I see you here inside this world of my own

And I can't get you back

Or get away

Or make a change that gets me through another day

No, no

 

Put me

Put me down

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