In The Beginning
When I was 12 years old, I had been playing piano for 7 years and had taught myself guitar. But my favorite thing to do was to make home recordings of my guitar and voice and play them back while playing and singing harmony.
Fast forward a couple of decades – though I’ve now worked for years as an arranger, orchestrator, and composer, I still love making my own recordings to play and sing to – my virtual band.
A couple of years ago I had the idea that there must be many musicians and singers that want this experience as well. Karaoke is proof of that, and yet, Karaoke is made pretty much for the lead singer. Why can’t we have recordings that allow us to mute the bass guitar, or the middle vocal, or drums? Or any combination?
So I dreamed up TrackSlayer, a music website for singers, musicians and music lovers, where a user can load a song into an on-screen multi-channel mixer and dial in or out any vocal, any instrument, and play or sing along.
Finding Isolated Tracks
There are thousands of songs that I love. But I had to start somewhere. My favorite pop songs are the Beatles catalog. And that catalog still intrigues and delights musicians and singers throughout the world.
I’d love to have the original Beatles recordings and dial out John’s voice and sing with Paul. Or play the Harrison guitar parts myself, or sing the middle background vocal. And I’ve seen that many people are interested in obtaining those isolated tracks.
The problem is that a complete breakdown of these recording does not exist. Their earliest songs were recorded on 2-track. Starting with “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, the recordings were 4-track, and that format lasted even through the Sgt. Pepper era.
I’m impressed with the Mogg files (aka the audio files included in the Beatles Rock Band video game), where more of the instruments have been electronically extracted. But there is a compromise of the audio quality, and still there is not a complete separation of all instruments and vocals.
A typical example of the Rock Band Mogg files is “Ticket to Ride,” where all 3 guitars share one track. On “Drive My Car,” all 3 vocals share one track. The good news is that the bass and drums, for instance, might be separate. The bad news is that the guitars are still grouped together, as are the vocals.
The Dream Is Born
Because a complete breakdown of these recording does not exist, I’ve attempted to do the next best thing – make new recordings of my favorite songs, with complete instrumental and vocal separation.
I teamed up with the best musicians and singers – members of Beatlemania and other tribute bands (Lenie Colacino, Joe Pecorino, Jim Filgate) and studio musicians (Damien Bassman, Charlie Pillow, Alden Banta, David Peel) – and joined with world-class engineer Dave Darlington to re-create some of these songs. More about our recording sessions to come.
Now, after spending many months working on the project, we’re nearly ready to launch the TrackSlayer BETA Test. If you’d like to join in this most unique musical experience (there’s still time to sign up) head on over to TrackSlayer.com