Category Archives: Songs

25 / 13 / 26

Here’s the story of a band…

I remember writing a song with a friend of mine was when I was 8 or 9 years old; it was called “Red Whiskey and Wine”. I don’t remember anything about it but the title. I couldn’t play any instrument then, and I never could sing. At the time I didn’t know that should be an issue.

In college, I started to learn guitar. Shortly after that, I bought a used 4-track cassette recorder and my roommate Mike and I started making songs with it. We weren’t sitting down and crafting songs, or planning parts or anything like that. Mostly, we performed them onto tape. I had a sampler, a couple of effects pedals. I bought a drum machine. We figured out how to get sounds from my CD player into the effects pedals. I found an ancient cassette dictation microphone. And we were off! We were into very noisy music at the time (‘industrial’ stuff, plus Sonic Youth, Dino Jr, Swirlies, My Bloody Valentine, etc.) and we wanted to make songs like that. Whatever was in reach that could make a noise was likely to get used. We didn’t think our lack of training or ability should be much of a problem. We had eons of free time and a lot of beer.

One of the first songs we recorded was called “Carcass”. It’s built around the drum machine playing through a distortion pedal, with some fuzzy/flanged guitar for spice and Mike reading a passage from a book he’d been assigned to read for a literature class – it was something about a hunter shooting things in a forest. The microphone was plugged into the sampler then into a flanger. And while he was reading, I was twisting knobs and pushing buttons. The effect is a swirling mess, and you can’t really make out anything he says except for an isolated phrase here and there. But one of those phrases is “smaller animals”. We were so thrilled about the way it got captured and repeated in the song, that we decided to make it the name of the band.

Now, to the present…

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Beach

While I was at the beach, back in September, I took a little alone time and recorded this happy little song on my iPhone. It’s called “Beach”.

Garageband is a pretty awesome app, especially for free. And the recording quality of the iPhone’s mic is surprisingly good, given that this is just me playing with the iPhone sitting on the couch next to me. iPhone can’t help with musicianship or songwriting ability, sadly.

And then there’s Steve Lacy.

How The Internet's Steve Lacy Makes Hits With His Phone | WIRED

New Instrument

Behold the Akai LPK25!

It’s a MIDI controller; in response to user input, it generates MIDI signals for other devices to use. This one sends its signals down a USB cable into a computer. And that’s all it does – it makes no sounds of its own. It exists to tell other things to make sounds: things like a copy of Cakewalk Music Creator, for example.

I can’t play piano, but I’m going to learn enough to amuse myself. Here’s one of my first attempts.

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All of the sounds here are from the software-based synthesizers that come with Cakewalk. Technology is amazing.

I’m still shit for coming up with chords on the fly, but I can pick my way around a scale once I map out the notes.

Amusement achieved !

Field

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Artist’s Statement

By exposing the flatness and debating the topsoil, “field” removes all ambiguity from the geography and indeed sows seeds of quiescence where later flowers of combinatorial analyses will wilt in the sun. Through this fluoridation and catechism, the uniquely rotund and confloundering ministrations embolden the frisson (and at what expense!) of a single guitar talking to itself across time. And realizing this, then we look down. We have come to the stream running through the middle which is the hydration and the sewer and the catheter, the mouth, the blood, the rectal dispensation, and dipping our naive toes two by two into the muck, we discover the leeches, the manifold rotifers and the pastoral pleasure of “field”.

Somn


Sleepy adventures in A harmonic minor.

|-----------------------------
|-----------------------------
|------------------------1---2
|------------0---2---3--------
|0---2---3--------------------
|-----------------------------
  Caug       Bb5           F         E          Am
|----------------------------------------------------------
|----------------------------------------------------------
|-------------------------------10---------9---------------
|-----7----------9-10-9------10---------9-----------7---7--
|---7---7------8-----------8---------7------------7---7----
|-8----------7----------------------------------5----------

Start Your iPods

Random three, described.

  1. Guided By Voices – Motor Away. A great band. This song is one of many on its album which make you think that these guys can toss out these ridiculously great pop songs which would all be top-40 hits in a sane and just world. Except that they’ve recorded the songs to sound as radio-unfriendly as possible, because Fuck The System! or Artistic Vision! something, so they linger in obscurity by their own choice because Gimmie Indie Rock! or whatever. But then, their later albums are as slick as possible (produced by people like Ric Ocasek!), and the songs just as good; and the albums went nowhere.
  2. Sonic Youth – The Sprawl. The “Sprawl”? No. This will always be the “Come on down to the store” song.
  3. The Men – Oscillation. A nice indie rock jam. Reminds me of early Feelies, or Yo La Tengo, or even fieldfresh.

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Play along, if you dare.

Stars Falling On NC

Here’s a longer series of star pix. This was taken over multiple nights, with different lenses and exposure times. All stitched together…

Song is “Even The Simplest Things”.

The video is actually in HD, and does look better in hi-res, full-screen.