Production Log: Know Mercy

This song is my “inspired by” take on Glenn Cashman’s “No Mercy”.  As I wrote previously, I had originally used the name “Know Mercy” while working up the cover version, but changed it back after talking with Glenn. I also was not aware that Glenn’s tune was “inspired by” the Joe Zawinul tune “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”. That gave me the idea to do my own “inspired by” take.

  1. Composition – of course, the original melody had to be completely abandoned, however, the chord progression did not as it was already “reharmonized” underneath that melody. I revamped and expanded it though to enhance my favorite changes. After the chords were in place, finding a new melody was mainly a matter of playing over the progression until I heard things I liked and trying to avoid the original phrases as much as possible. Finally, I added a harmony part using a D4 flute under the G4 lead.
  2. Arrangement – I pretty much followed the arrangement of the cover version, using the same styles and order in Band in a Box. I added a break after the two solo choruses (D4 first then G4) before going back to the head, but other than that, it’s the same sequence: intro, head, solo, solo, head, tag. Inside Reason, I kept all the same instrument patches.
  3. Recording – the Eb cuatro uke and flutes went easier this time after having done the cover and since the MIDI instruments were almost entirely mixed already from the cover session. The biggest challenge was the Bb reentrant uke. This added a nice contrasting part to the cover version, but I could not get it to fit here. I took several swings at it and not a few hours between writing, playing, and editing, but it always just sounded busy and took away from the other parts. In the end, I just gave up on it and only kept a few bits, mostly the maj7 chord at the end of each chorus. I think it was the addition of the harmony flute part that spoiled the second uke part, but that was a good trade overall.
  4. Mixing/mastering – this followed directly from the cover version. I had turned off the main buss effects while tracking and editing the new acoustic parts. After fine tuning levels of those to fit with the MIDI instruments, the main buss effects were turned back on, and it was pretty much done.
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