In THIS World

BuildingTwo years since I posted last? Hmph. :/

This somewhat creepy piece was inspired by my son who, out of the blue, from the back seat of a quiet car said “In THIS world, the clocks on THAT building, are NOT going crazy” referring to a building we were passing that had multiple clocks on it.

After we finished laughing at the unexpected absurdity of our son, I started thinking of what it must be like to be so young, when every experience is novel. What is it like to be able to look at things without the experience to know what things are supposed to look like and what they’re supposed to do. If trees started spinning in the ground or it rained light bulbs, to him it would just be something that happens. To him it’s just as reasonable to comment that that a bunch of clocks are spinning wildly as it is to notice and comment that they are behaving just as clocks do.

In this piece the occasional scratching, clicking and creaking sounds are the clocks and other mechanalia, everything else is everything else and the part of Declan is played by the piano.

Happy Listening

 

 

 

 

Comment

Comments (1)

Permalink

It’s a Wonderful Lie

It's a Wonderful Lie

A year since I posted last? I’ve worked on a lot of stuff, I just can’t finish anything.

This track is a little different than most of the tracks on this site in that it is a collaboration I did quite some time ago with some guys from Twinsburg. I recently dusted it off,  added more guitar, redid the bass and drum sounds and added some samples.

It has a lyric of sorts. Originally it was intended as a placeholder line that would be replaced with real lyrics at some point. I think it was recorded with some cheap gaming mic. After working with the file for a while I came to like it as is. And so I kept the throwaway line.

Happy Listening

 

 

Podcast

Comments (0)

Permalink

What a Wonderful World

I predict I’ll revisit this in the future. It’s existed on my hard drive, in one form or another for probably over 10 years.  It started long ago when I was playing with some text to speech software. I saw in the help file that there were special codes you could embed in the text to make the software sing.  So I started playing with the lyrics to this song.

Right away I liked the sound and the sinister feeling of hearing a computer singing about how wonderful it found the world.

Over time I tried different arrangements but none of them really fit the feel of the vocals. Neither does this one but it’s the closest.

Produced in Sonar X1 and Reason 6. There’s a couple of chunky guitar guitar tracks and everything else is synthed.

Happy Listening

 

 

 

Comment
Podcast

Comments (0)

Permalink

Unpleasant Gum

It’s been some time but don’t assume that this one must be really good because, look how much time it took.  Unfortunately the amount of time spent and how good the results are don’t always coincide.  I said “Unfortunately” but it just occurred to me that if spending more time always made things better, why would I ever finish anything?

Truth is it’s just hard to find the time and when I have a germ I really like, as I did with this one, and it won’t just become a song… well it takes a while.

So here it is.  A couple tracks of real guitar packed with generous helpings of digital icing.  I made extensive use of a plug in called Cheese Machine to generate some of the sounds.  I just thought it sounded cool.

That’s it.  It took 8 months and I hope you’ll spend 8 months listening to it.

Happy Listening: Unpleasant Gum

Comment

Comments (0)

Permalink

Fantastic Funeral Farce

This one is built almost entirely from samples I found on a CD that came with some music magazine.  I don’t remember which one.  Browsing the disk I was immediately struck with a couple of unique sounding drum samples.  I arranged them, and looped them.  Then I dropped on a few organ samples and I liked what I heard.

A couple of guitar tracks, a midi piano and a few more samples for salt and it was just about done.

It just needed some low frequency stuff.  Rather than add bass I tried just adding noise.  Some very deep rumbly samples which round out the lows towards the end of the piece.

It’s a short one, much like this post.

Happy Listening: Fantastic_Funeral_Farce

Comment

Comments (1)

Permalink

I Pulled That Thing Off My Head (Now It’s Bleeding)

HeadMy new years resolution?  Complete one song in 2010.  Done!

In the lengthy break between the last song and this one I got a new job and a baby and I don’t have the control over my time that I used to.  Anyway, enough about important stuff.

Also since last post I got a copy of Propellerhead’s new audio recording software called Record.   It integrates with Reason which was a favorite of mine and now together it might supplant Sonar as my go-to music production app.  I always thought Reason had the best synths and sound processing capabilities.  It’s only weakness was the inability to record audio and as a guitar player that was a big problem.

Now the problem is solved and the only thing I’ve found I’ve missed from Sonar is the ability to use a different device for input than I’m using for output.

With all that said there’s very little actual recorded audio in this track.  There was almost none.  As I was working on it I kept trying to add a guitar here and there but no matter how I tried to integrate it it always sounded worse than without.  Finally, I did the least imaginative thing I could do, I added a GUITAR SOLO!  so rad.

One last thing, this piece has some pretty deep bass on it so please don’t listen to it on a laptop.  Use headphones at least – or even a real stereo, if you have one.

Happy Listening

Comment

Comments (0)

Permalink

Things Get Bitter

And here’s the one for July.

A schizophrenic piece.  I apparently did not know if I wanted something light or dark so I ended up with something that went back and forth for 4 and an half minutes until I decided to just end the discussion with a short reprise of the initial riff giving it a kind of shave-and-a-haircut sudden ending.

Then I couldn’t bring myself to post it.

Although it seemed like an ending it also seemed artificial and forced.  A “thank god it was all just a dream” ending.  So for a week I hoped I’d come up with something better, without making it longer, and I couldn’t.  So I removed the reprise and let it just end where it ended.

Why doesn’t art just do what you want it to do?

This was done entirely in Reason 4.  Used sampled and synthesized strings, sampled piano, and some xylophone-like sound I came up with on the new Thor module.

And with that, I’m back on schedule.

Happy Listening: things get bitter

Podcast

Comments (0)

Permalink

All the Rectangular Rooms

Did you miss me?

I couldn’t make it through the whole year on schedule but I’m catching up.  Here is my song for June and it’s already August.  Most of the summer is behind me.  And behind you too.

Most of June I was in Job search mode and although I’m not yet fully employed I’m at least bringing in SOME money and some money is better than no money.  Can you hear my desperation in the music?

The germ for this piece sat around for quite a while on my hard drive and was worked on in several versions of Cakewalk Sonar.  It was just the main piano riff and final guitar solo which had this sound of staring out a window.  I’ve finally filled it out with drums, accordian, more guitar and synth.  That’s what’s so great about having this blog, it forces me to, occasionally, get focused and give these snippets their due.

Rendered entirely in Sonar 7 it features 2 real guitar tracks along with a handful of sampled instruments.

Happy Listening:all the rectangular rooms

Comment

Comments (2)

Permalink

Bones

skullI thought having been laid off would give me a lot of time to work on music. Turns out looking for a job can take as much time as having a job.

Speaking of being laid off.  It didn’t inspire the grim title or picture accompanying this tune.  It was named Bones when it was just a minute long music file languishing on my hard drive, forgotten, until I came across it – as an archaeologist might, searching for inspiration for my song for May.

Why it was called Bones I don’t really remember.  Maybe the clanky sounds of the primary instrument sounded like bones to me.  Now it sounds more like one of those African thumb pianos.  Or more accurately, an ensemble of African thumb pianos.  The music itself is not particularly grim or creepy.

This piece was produced entirely within Reason 4.0 and contains no real instruments.  100% artificial ingredients with fillers and preservatives…. Although I think the main instrument sounds pretty natural.

Happy Listening: bones

Podcast

Comments (1)

Permalink

Anything but Bored

301401938_3b4fec41f8_m This is a tale of good equipment gone bad.

I was actually working on this piece for last month and couldn’t get it done.  I thought for sure I’d be able to finish it this month.  Then my POD xt Live crapped out.  It still worked but I swore there was something wrong with it.  The tones were all different.  I thought it might have been the guitar because all the tones sounded like I had rolled back the volume knob about 1/4 of the way.  If you play electric guitar you know just what I’m talking about.  It wasn’t the guitar though because my older POD sounded fine and so did one of my stand alone pedals.

I messed around with this problem for days which means days of lost recording time.

Line 6 had come out with a new version, the POD X3 Live and I had been thinking of upgrading so I thought now would be the time.  I bought one at the local Sam Ash because I didn’t want to wait for shipping.  I got it home, plugged it in, and started playing through the default preset and the sound cut out in a few seconds.  I changed to a different preset and the sound returned – for a few more seconds.  Turns out many of the presets, particularly the high gain ones, would only play for a few seconds at a time.

I went to the Line 6 support forum and I was not alone.  Apparently a small number of users were having this very problem and Line 6 claimed to have difficulty recreating the problem.  Buying locally saved me triple time  though in that I didn’t have to ship the defective product back, but I did have to wait for the weekend before I could make the trip back – more wasted time.

At the Sam Ash I told them what the problem was and they said they had another one in back if I wanted to exchange it.  I was afraid they all have that problem so I said I would if they’d let me play it in store for a while, which they did.

This one seemed fine.  I took it home and played through it for a while trying all the most ridiculously high gain and distorted configurations I could think of to cause it to shut off and it didn’t.

Problem solved?  Not really.

I had a song about 3/4 recorded with the old POD and now I had a new POD and it sounded different and not a lot of time to tweak.

I selected some similar tones and decided to re-record all the guitar parts, but, since I’m not all that good, I couldn’t out do some of the performances I had already gotten down, particularly in the time remaining.

So, I pieced this together from stuff I had already recorded and new stuff I could get recorded before the end of the month.  It sounds like an audio collage of guitar tones.

Also this piece does not have the fit and finish of some of the other pieces I’ve done here because of all the technical glitches.  The drums and bass are more repetitive than I’d like and the piece more falls apart rather than ends.  But that’s what I got.

The piece itself was started from a short melody I recorded in a hurry over a year ago.  Now’s a great time to release it because it feels like I feel every spring when I start to anticipate the summer and getting to open the windows and wear shorts and put the top down on the car and sit on a patio with drinks in sun.  It’s the upbeat piece I promised last month when I delivered that down beat piece.

It’s a basic rock band setup guitar-bass-drums.  Of course only the guitars are real.  I set a new length record for this site, just over 5 minutes.  I think that’s a little long for a song generally but I just couldn’t find a part I wanted to cut.

Happy Listening: Anything but Bored

Podcast

Comments (0)

Permalink