Category Archives: Songs

YouTube Stardom Awaits

I went and posted most of my music-like sonic product to YouTube (as ‘full albums’).

[Link to playlist]

Now, I guess I just sit back and wait for the monetized clickthru engagements to make the Bitcoins start filling up my digital wallet? Am I an influencer? Sure. Let’s say I am.

A key point of the first chapter in David Byrne’s latest book (“How Music Works”) is that music is written with a view of the place it is to be performed and by whom it will be listened to.

In a sense, we work backward, either consciously or unconsciously, creating work that fits the venue available to us. That holds true for the other arts as well: pictures are created that fit and look good on white walls in galleries just as music is written that sounds good either in a dance club or a symphony hall (but probably not in both). In a sense, the space, the platform, and the software “makes” the art, the music, or whatever. After something succeeds, more venues of a similar size and shape are built to accommodate more production of the same. After a while the form of the work that predominates in these spaces is taken for granted — of course we mainly hear symphonies in symphony halls.

Which got me wondering. Where do I expect this stuff to be heard, do I even expect it to be heard? The answer is: it will be heard in my own headphones, once in a while. Sometimes I’ll send a CD of stuff to a particular friend who was part of it all when I started. Sometimes I’ll post it here. Sometimes I’ll play something for my wife. Mostly it goes unheard by anyone but me. And yet I keep on making it, because it’s fun to make.

So I’m posting it on YouTube because, even though it’s not something I do for other people, I want it to exist somewhere besides just F:\Smaller Animals\Albums\. To be maudlin, I want it to outlive me. And now it’s out there in the world, sharing space on YouTube with every other song ever written.

Demon & Demon v…6!


A day off = a new song.

Behold Demon (’cause it’s in D-minor-ish)


 

[Now on version 6! Drums have been reworked multiple times, room noise cleaned up, delays added here and there, finger-picked guitars emboldened, loud section beefed up with limiters]

The drums are lovingly hand-crafted MIDI. Everything else is: Telecaster+ → effects [Grand Orbiter, Spatial Delivery, Dirty Little Secret] → Princeton Reverb → mics [SM58 & P170] → Scarlett 2i2 → Reaper.

Here’s the original version:

Streetlight

One final new song. This is “Streetlight”, and features Harry and Emma on vocals.

 

The first part was recorded on an iPhone with a looper. The second part was recorded on the good old Boss BR600. The final sonic consumable was assembled in Reaper.

Cleptometry

From the upcoming smash album, “Princeton Studies”, here’s a smooth little tune of mine called “Cleptometry”.

It was performed and recorded live at a nightclub in fantastic downtown Groovesburg, NC! *

 
* – This is not true.

Drums and bass are lovingly-hand-crafted lines played by VSTis. Guitar and glockenspiel are real.

Harm

Here’s a mournful little tune I wrote:


 
This, and Something Else, are the big hit songs from an upcoming album of mine called “Princeton Studies”. In this case, it’s a study in slowness, the harmonic minor scale, and transitions via augmented chords to other keys (and back).

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