11/30/2009

Cinder Block Sleeper - new instrumental

Cinder Block Sleeper (an instrumental)

when i'm lying down looking out the window as the sun is coming up - or in the middle of the afternoon if i'm lucky - i think back to the days when i didn't have a bed. I had a hand-me-down mattress (an idea to make me shudder now) set on top of 4 planks of wood which were elevated off the ground - to give the impression of a bed because i didn't want to be that guy who only had a mattress on the floor - raised up with cinderblocks. There were spiders in there.

When the daylight slipped in through the 5 dollar blinds, streaking a path of orbiting dust across the carpet that must be under there somewhere, i was bound to be late for one of three jobs to pay for school or school itself.

I had so much going on in my head that I couldn't separate the subjects of my classes, my jobs and my music. I wrote an english report on Ms. Dalloway and stream of consciousness writing using calculus - and expanded the idea in Design Studios with clippings from old discards from the news stand - my place of employment - and lyrics to my new hot 4-track concept album recordings.

I think i was grasping at anything to make everything else seem important - something to make me forget that I was just a kid who couldn't pay for anything, couldn't keep his friends happy and only thought he was awesome because knew he never was. Every night reminded me of that. I was only a cinderblock sleeper. Some build houses out of them.

Now Ember - new instrumental

Now Ember (an instrumental)

The exhausting heat of contact
the burning friction of gravity
resting like a spent satellite.
The glow of each breath
the warmth of you.

9/07/2009

Empty Vessel

empty-vessel.mp3

An upright piano here sets up the chord structure. I used to write pieces on an upright that sounded a lot like this - back in high school and college - you know - before recording was easy and convenient.
The sound of that bass rolling up underneath a simple melody hits me hard; so what better way to launch a song about not knowing exactly who we are without each other.
I'm heavily (and obviously) influenced by Eno here. Eno's "Another Green World" and "Before and After Science" are keystones to my adult understanding of music. Referencing him here as the Next Stage (with the Farfisa and Synth) in the progress of the song sets the vector for telling a tale, i guess.
Lyrically, as with most of my stuff, you may interpret it as you wish.

Enjoy. Try placing it after "furlough" in a playlist.

-----------------Lyrics-------------
Stumbling over twenty thousand lines
Settling up on the closest meaning
To put an edge on emptiness inside
Filling up each time we breath.

So much dirt the stuff I'm made of
My temper has been fired to many times
Just to break at the stress of living
Fill me up and hold me tight

Spilling over the edge
an empty light
Am I gone or am i light?
Fill me up and hold me tight

---------------------

Interestingly enough, as I set to mix this down today, I wondered what a beat would sound like if it dropped in for the end chorus stuff. great idea right? whoah. that was crazy. the song's in 160bpm, so it was either going to be a wicked fast break beat or a laughable slow jam. Best to let the Bass pad keep the pace. I would certainly welcome a remix because it was, I admit, dancey and delicious - but it was a little of of my mark for this mix.

7/11/2009

another instrumental - hypnogogia I

Hypnogogia I

I woke up at 4:30 this morning with the sounds of the fans in the room making this particular drone sound that sounded like strings to me. chords shifted were shifting in and out around an A minor while this really strangely low in the mix (somewhere in the corner of the room under the night table? weird) repeating double bass was bowing in an E minor pattern. It really had me entranced, especially since i knew i was imagining it and it was a really unusual pattern.

So, i made it my goal today to translate that into something real - something that reflected my process of waking up this morning. I was lucky enough to remember the bass line.

All the strings here are Melotron, as are the pipe organ flutes. The grand is the same one that I used in Furlough.

I'm falling back in love with the idea of scoring films or even video games.

7/09/2009

Furlough

furlough
this is an instrumental piece.
i have a new addition to my arsenal, which has the best acoustic grand i've ever heard, except for the Steinway in Fountain Street Church... which i think may have been the last "real" piano that i really put my heart into playing. Now, i'm playing an emulator, but it's got full polyphony and every note and action is sampled. it's amazing. I wrote this piece on it to try to wake up that part of my brain again. In High School, i used to play the upright in the cafetorium all the time. I'm only just now remembering that i had written a nice bunch of songs like this. I wish i remembered how they went... I will just have to write new ones. The title, furlough is from the day off i took - a N.C. state employee furlough day. I had between July 1 and December to take it, so i figured i'd take it now before they take it away or realize that they are not supposed to PAY for furlough leave (the gov messed this one up, i think). I also spent the day re-writing a chorus for a Magic Babies song that was tragically going to be scrapped because of the lazy predictable chorus. I hope i did better - I've at least regenerated interest in it again. Enjoy the mp3 up there. sorry about the volume, i haven't figured out how to compress the piano yet (at least i don't have to worry about placing microphones!). oh yeah. the synthy bits at the tail end are there because i might extend this into a longer set. who knows.

6/03/2009

not so bloggy of late

i think maybe facebook ate my blognocity. ...that and other non-computerized social and marketing ventures. My Wife has opened a store with her sisters. That was a lot of work to get off the ground and it's still taking some of my spare time... although i'm not spending as much time on it as i should - i'm trying to not be involved because it's really not my store and i don't want to turn into a control freak over trivial things like how the logo is used and which typefaces go on the tiniest insignificant tags - i would drive myself and my sisters-in-law crazy (i already drive my wife crazy). musically, mostly the magic babies and related adventures, i.e. broken wurlitzer, borrowed replacements, returned replacements, new borrows, then my own damn replacement that is the best freaking set of keys ever. I haven't had a proper keyboard for 14 years (at last estimate) when the last one was stolen. I've been spending a lot of time figuring out how to work it right and just enjoying playing what sounds and feels like a real steinway grand. I'm only two cables away from recording it, but i'd have to stop playing in order to plug it in. Another recent acquisition has been a MIDI controller so i can bring the funk with Poles Apart and Onlooker. I need to program a template for all the knobs to control fruity loops. that's been fun, but i tend to get distracted with twisting EQs and filters, so i don't get much done. Roy and Travis can attest to this twisting "problem" of mine. I used to ruin plenty of listening parties by slowly fading the EQ bands of their stereo up and down. I used to do it in the car, too - danger danger! Also reading a lot. Can't seem to read enough or fast enough lately. will work on that. out.

Having Done Read It

Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoir Funny Misshapen Body: A Memoir by Jeffrey Brown

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved each and every panel, beat and nuance of this book. I look for his books at every visit to the comic shop. I got lucky this time. I win. Boy do I ever. Perfect (ironically) read. Recommend.

Full Disclosure: Jeff and I went to the same high school. Seeing my old math teacher's obnoxious mustache again was a treat! Thanks, Jeff!

View all my reviews.

5/20/2009

shark!

I was cleaning up my documents folder today and found  my illustrator file for my wife's halloween costume last year. She wanted to be Jaws, so based on the costume in the movie Eagle vs. Shark, I whipped up this diagram of how i thought (with my very limited sewing skills) one might assemble a shark costume. I thought it was cute, so here it is.

5/03/2009

Close - River of Blood - demo

For posterity:
Vince and I (the "acoustic" duo known - limitedly - as Close) are going to start recording again. Here is a song i've been working on. The chord structure is solid - i just need to practice it to get it more fluid. There are lots of open chords picked in odd positions. Lyrically, I've got the first two verses as heard here:
http://www.bsidedesign.com/blogger/audio/river-of-blood-demo-050309(short).mp3
and yes, i am beat boxing. i had some wine.

It tasted slightly of blood
and bitter consent
laying my head in this river of love
I let go
again

Betting the odds on a bed
and a long ride home
the tickets aren't cheap [awkward phrasing on the recording here - must fix it]
but they're going for free
just let go.
the last verse is something like this[not heard on the recording for the sake of not having to listen to me mumble over uncertain chorus]:
You heard me call your name
when they called my number
Honey, I'm sorry. I'm not coming home from this war.
The idea or image i have in my head is of someone who keeps getting shot in battle in order to get sent home to his (or her, i guess) love, no matter the risks... only to have it not work out with the inevitable head shot. or IED.

Inspired (thus far) by Alan Alda in M*A*S*H.