Lighter Shade of Pink

Time and Space

While hard rock guitars dominate the surround production for “Crush,” Lighter Shade of Pink conversely focuses on a single, clean-sounding guitar, calling on lush-sounding reverb and delay effects to create an immersive home theater audio experience. The melodic intent for LSOP was to create a sparse-sounding piece of music with plenty of “holes” in the melody specifically to allow production effects the opportunity to create a subtle, yet immersive three-dimensional bloom of reverb.

Once a basic melody was in place, it was pretty easy to add the reverb and delay effects necessary to produce the sound I was seeking to hear. The hard part was figuring out where to go in terms of developing the music into a full-fledged arrangement. Although the original production concept for LSOP called on simplified instrumentation, it quickly became clear that this track could become a real sleepy-time number without some dramatic contrast. Cue the rock drums and harmony lead guitars! Ahhh. Much better! The atmospheric-like verse sections get to actually go somewhere AND I get to play around with stacking guitar tracks in surround again!

Lighter Shade of Pink session session art

Backwards Guitar and A Happy Accident

Aside from the echo effects, one of the prominent surround production highlights includes the volume swell heard just prior to the first chorus. Unlike the large "orchestra" of guitars I specifically recorded for the intro of "Crush," this particular buildup was created by simply copying a later section of the chorus and flipping the track around backwards in the computer to create the reverse guitar swell, beginning at 1:30. To give the reverse guitar ensemble a little extra kick, I overdubbed a gritty electric guitar with distortion, which gradually increases in volume while moving from the rear speakers to the front. More of a subtle sonic texture, this guitar part really doesn't kick in at full volume until it fully reaches the front speakers at the end of the crescendo, so listen closely and see if you can pick it out!

The lush surround reverb and delay (echo) effects made for quite an inspirational setting in my studio control room for playing guitar, so I arranged the backing tracks to play an extended outro where I could have a bit of fun stretching my fingers with a bit of self-indulgent soloing. I improvised a couple of rough passes just so I could listen back to the leads in context and get a feel for if a guitar solo would even be appropriate for the track. Unhappy with the results, I was about to scrap the idea of even including a solo when, on a whim, I enabled both tracks at the same time simply out of curiosity to hear what it would sound like. Upon doing so, I panned the two guitars opposite each other between the front and rear speakers and immediately envisioned two guitarists on distant hilltops communicating to each other via electric guitars.

Cover Art

The cover art for Lighter Shade of Pink is a composite image, featuring a mid-day sky shot taken on my iPhone and mixed with a NASA moon image, manipulated to appear as though we’re on a foreign planet, whose sun is about to explode.

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