Sunday, October 14, 2007

Baby, Be Quiet

So I had to skip a week of SONGFIGHT thanks to school, but here I am, back on the charts. This is a particularly interesting entry because it actually has an organizing theme behind it. I was trying to think of good ways to use the title and suddenly Anne Frank and the holocaust popped into my head *pop!* Well here we are, a song from the perspective of Anne Frank's parents. Keep in mind that I tried very hard not to focus on the negative parts of the situation, like being stuck in an apartment for years. Instead I thought, "Hey, All of the other Jews are getting sent off to 'work camp' but they're just chillin' out, safe in and sound in their secret fort." Pretty awesome if you ask me. Sure they were eventually betrayed and sent to a concentration camp whereupon they all died, but for at least a little while, I bet they felt something like this...


Monday, October 1, 2007

I'M a crummy webmaster AMAZING.



So if you haven't noticed. I've replaced all of the esnips mp3 players with a smaller, better looking, easier to modify one that has no ads and will never "label my content as inappropriate." The problem now is that I'm not quite the whiz at flash and javascript that I'd like to be so they don't always function as planned. I have had about 2 days worth of experience so work with me here. I AM TOTALLY FRIGGIN' AWESOME. If you want to listen to a song, click the gray player at the bottom of the posts. It may take a second to load the song, but it should start playing without any further provocation. I've been having trouble preventing them from starting on their own when you move the mouse over top of them. If you're trying to read and one starts playing, that's probably what happened. Just push the stop square and turn the other cheek. I'll get this figured out eventually I swear! Also, I forgot to put download links. I'll get that worked out too. HAVE I MENTIONED HOW AWESOME I AM?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How much will you give me?

I enjoyed making A Friendly Reminder so much that I decided to go hard rock for the second SONGFIGHT! in a row. There are a few minor problems here such as the vocals in the verse being a little muddy, but I feel like this song really turned out how I wanted it to. It has all the elements that a good 80's hair metal track should, including outrageous screams and a violent solo that I couldn't believe was coming out of my guitar. I think a lot of that came from the atmosphere at the time. I literally put on some aviators and stood in front of a mirror with a fan blowing in my face while I was playing. I can only imagine what it's like to do that in front of 1000 people. Turn up your volume and rock out at the half-time section for maximum effect. The lyrics for this came right out of my mouth at full speed. I had the whole song written in fifteen minutes. There is an explicit section of shouting to which I'm cautious about attaching my name at this point in my career but it really fits the mood. I made a radio edit version, which plays first, just in case you aren't interested in hearing me violently swear at you. Otherwise push next. I'm learning a lot more about the ever-important production stage of songwriting. I think it shows in the bass and drum sequencing for this song, both of which are more involved than anything I've made to date. This song is a solid rocker and if you can get past the muddy sound in certain places (I'm still learning how to EQ properly) then it's a lot of fun. I'll put up the song art when it's posted over at SF!


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

That's a cute hat!

So, after much debate I've decided to put this back up because, after all, I made it. It was intended to poke fun at a friend of mine from work who is an aspiring waif and fashion connoisseur. He was flipping through Esquire and actually said to me, "Check out this jacket. That shit is cute, Homie." From there I pretty much had no choice but to write a song. I'm pleased with where it turns pseudo Prince in the chorus, the whole idea worked out pretty well. It was alarming to discover how similar it is to Liam's "Kelly - Let Me Borrow That Top" but I still feel like this turned out better than his did. That's not to say I don't enjoy the video, Kelly is a great invention. Call this a revisited idea or whatever you will, but I've had too much positive feedback on this song to not post it. Besides, it's too cute!


Monday, September 17, 2007

A Friendly Reminder

This is more or less about getting out there and doing what you want to do. The idea being that no one lives your life but you and when it's over that's it. Don't be afraid of what people think because they're just people and are no more qualified to live a life than you are. It ended up being racially lopsided, but that was accidental. I'd like to add more to this, it's a complete idea but not a complete song. I'm thinking perhaps a verse about an old man and woman watching the kids dancing and reflecting on their own choices. The organ solo is a little long and could be helped by another verse or bridge as well. Hopefully I'll find the time to revisit this before I'm dead.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gear and Wishlist

I had two or three people ask me about the "equipment" that I use in my "home studio" so I thought I'd do a little writeup on it. First, lets start by saying that I am playing all of the instruments except for the drums and bass, which are sequenced because I don't own them.

Epiphone Les Paul Classic Quilt Top in Wine Red, Cheap (free) Carlo Robelli acoustic, Gemeinhardt flute, King Super 20 tenor saxophone, Yamaha SY22 synthesizer, some harmonicas, a $5 jewharp, Line6 Toneport UX2, Shure bg 1.1 mic, FL Studio 5 Producer Ed., Sibelius 3, and Adobe Audition 2. I use an Onkyo home theatre amp with a pair of Hafler M5 studio monitors. It's working pretty well. I can't wait to get out of college and get some space to myself so I can set everything up in a way that's actually productive. The pictures are mix and match. I'm sure you can figure out what's what.

Of course, this is far from a complete setup. I'm still missing some essentials...

Things I still intend to buy:
Shure SM 57 dynamic mic, Audio Technica AT3035 condenser mic, Small diaphragm condenser, Yamaha RH5MA studio monitor headphones(Merci, Chelsea, de me les achet├ęs!!!), M-Audio EX-P midi expression pedal, and a Geddy Lee signature Fender Jazz Bass.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The History of My Broken Heart

This is the first of a series of songs created in a week or less for SONGFIGHT!. All they give you to start with is a title, in this case, The History of My Broken Heart. I didn't want to make the obvious trashy punker tune so I went to the other end of the spectrum. The vocals came out a little cheesier than I would have liked but it seems I'm a lounge singer at heart. This song (unlike the smash hit, Girls!) was not recorded with a decent condenser mic and it shows. I'm adding it to my list of gear to get..... which I'll be making after I finish this post. All I had at my disposal was a low-end Shure. I couldn't get rid of some of the fuzz because of it. I think I may have bitten off a little more than I can handle jumping into such a complicated genre. It's not like synth-pop where you can fudge whatever. Embellished chords, major sevenths and ninths etc. are a must. I did manage to learn some new guitar tricks, though. All's well that ends well.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Concertos for the Common Man

This is an older album; a collection of fine brass duets. I (arguably) learned how to play trumpet one day in highschool with Aaron (who can actually play) and started sight reading some pieces. I'm sure you'll be able to pick out my clear, shining tone beneath his screechy lead parts. All of these were done in one take. I must say I'm rather proud of having learned the fingerings so quickly. Even though it sounds discordant at times, most of the errors had to do with my lips and not my fingers.
(How do you control this @#$%&* thing!?).


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pokey [EP]

Wes, little b, and I formed a folk band in 2002. It was my first official musical enterprise. I had just started playing guitar which, like so many things, was given to me for free (Thanks again, Louie!). Wes had decided that he wanted play a pitched instrument and settled on the mandolin. Brian (little b at the time) learned the upright bass because his family had one in his living room and no one knew how to play it. I think this is how folk bands are supposed to start. We had a lot of fun but only played one gig... in Brian's backyard.... for his family... while they drank. The band was short-lived as we all went on to higher education. Tracks 1-4 are covers of folk arrangements from the Warner Bros. movie "A Mighty Wind". Track five is an original. The spoken word inserts were performed quite expertly by Brian. We called ourselves "Pokey".

These tracks are also quite quiet. Next time I update this I'll fix volumes...


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Put on your dancing shoes...

So this is number two. I just bought a Yamaha SY22 synth and couldn't restrain myself from jamming an 80's pop tune. I found myself leaning more and more towards David Bowie as I put down vocals. Mixing tracks together in a way that doesn't sound like ass cakes is significantly harder than I was ever aware of. Now I understand why you can spend your entire undergrad on this. The intro sax is really the only thing I mixed right. Thanks to Wes for an appearance in the chorus.


The Amberlake Sessions

I had originally named this album "Elementary Ballet" because I am an idiot. I have since reorganized a little and grouped these four songs into The Amberlake Sessions "Runnin' From the Po-Po" is the first song I've tried to make "the modern way" and is quite easily the best song in the pack. The percussion and bass were written/sequenced using Fruity Loops with a drumline buddy Wes (Norway) from back in highschool. It's about as old school as we could make it; got to pay one's dues and all. The breakdown in the middle was an exercise in sound effects but I'd say this came out well. After so many years of life on the streets, one finds the need to express themselves. "Anime Central", "Funk You, Bobsled Joe", and "Nailgun Abortion" were done with some other friends from highschool. I did the vocals, bass guitar and also the lead on "Nailgun". It sounds pretty rough but we did sample a real nailgun for authenticity. (Thanks Louie!)

The volume on these tracks is pretty low. I'll fix that the next time I have a half hour to kill.