Alas. It’s looking like 2024 is the year I won’t finish the RPM challenge. I did lay down drum tracks, and I came up with a new song that I like. I have ideas for others, but I did not spend the time getting the material worked out, nor recorded well.
I got Logic working, so that’s something.
I might finish some experimental things tonight, but I won’t release them on Bandcamp for the RPM challenge, because I told myself I didn’t want to do that this year.
Do I feel bad? Not at all. There’s always March!
At the very last moment, I joined a creative writing workshop at the University of Baltimore, and that has captured my attention. That’s not meant to be an excuse. Between that class, my own teaching, my wedding, and shinky dinks, I haven’t made time to record.
So, unless I pull out some miraculous tracks this evening, I’m throwing in the towel on RPM24.
I found the luthier “Brooklyn Fretworks” on Instagram. Chip posted about modifying a “lawsuit” Ibanez into a black beauty 3 humbucker model, and I was impressed by his willingness to do that job. I was delighted to see it’s the Baltimore neighborhood of Brooklyn, and not NYC.
I took the Shillelagh to him for a couple of modifications, namely the volume pot had gone bad. Chip fixed this, and then I went back with my Squier Bass vi.
The Shillelagh is performing as designed!
Getting the Bass VI seaworthy was a bit more involved. I had picked it up with the hopes of having it be my main bass in Coastguard, but it’s taken me this long to complete the mods. I recorded a few things with it, and knew this model will work for me.
I had read a bunch of posts about modifications to the Squier Bass VI that could potentially bring it up to rival the Fender Bass VI.
I finished the RPM challenge again. As mentioned previously, I set out to write and produce five songs for an Ep. I was aiming for five instrumental guitar based songs, and I have ideas for them. I have ideas for 10+ instrumental guitar based songs, in fact. But I’m lacking time to do them justice. I’m teaching two courses at two different universities, and so, I decided to follow a looser approach, and improvise.
I’ve enjoyed this one very much. The cover is a photo I took in Cape Cod at a flea market. I walked up to a vendor’s table, and this little display was set out exactly as I’m presenting it.
I also made covers for the individual tracks.
Constellation/XYZ – ABC
Beverly and I were walking along the inner harbor on a very cold February morning, looking for somewhere to get coffee. I recorded this on the walk, paused my recording while we got coffee, and resumed recording to capture XYZ – ABC.
I will never say I told you so
BGE has hired contractors to dig up all the roads in our neighborhood, and also move our gas meters outside of the house. I had to quickly dismantle the Theoretical Audio Laboratory to accommodate employees of Pipeline Solutions desire to track a great deal of mud through my home. It was a huge relief to have them out of the house, and when I set up some drums again, I recorded these parts.
One night, I played a Bass VI and improvised the string parts on this track. The next day, I set out to lay down drum tracks for a different song, and wondered what these two parts would sound like together.
I will never say I told you so is what these two parts sound like together.
A Pie for Grackles
I was “taking my exercise” one day and heard someone playing an out of tune, warbly piano. As I paused to capture this recording, a car drove past me and parked a block away. I was happy that I captured enough piano to make a loop, and then found the passing car to be interesting, too.
I got the photo one night while Beverly and I were out on a date. It struck me that the people across the room might be having grackle pie, and/or might be grackles themselves.
Where to be
I made about an hour of recordings one night – 7 tracks in all – two of which will end up in films, and then this one, which is the sweetest of them all. More straightforward, it reminds me of a part of Baltimore that I may have once visited.
The cover is a continuation of Found and Chosen. As much as I’d like to stop, I keep finding discarded treasures on sidewalks.
A favorite among faves, this drum loops sits squarely under a recording of BGE’s favorite road warriors, busily ruining the streets around here.
The image is from a 1950’s era advertisement, and while I’m a sucker for those sandals, it was the text that inspired this image become the cover for this track.
Cards of Marseilles
I had a sleepover with my lovely daughter this month, and we got some recording in. One this track, I got to play her cello, and she manipulated her Line6 DL4 MkII delay pedal.
A risible scene of lovemaking
This was the first track I made for RPM2023. I set my iPhone on the floor under my drums and it just happened. I’ve made some backing tracks from this for the aforementioned instrumental guitar album.
As always, I’m grateful to have participated in this cool challenge, and I’m always better for having done so. I recommend it to everyone who writes music.
I gave a lecture on inspiration and where to find ideas last week. I told my students the following:
Ideas are a form of creative currency that must be spent. They do not earn interest if hoarded.
Mr. Jim, Introduction to Animation, ART341
I remember when I was in my 20’s and the drummer for several original bands, I’d come up with ideas for songs that I kept to myself. Maybe I envisioned myself playing guitar on them. For a few, I remember thinking they were like shiny treasure that I needed to keep safe. That these ideas were soooo good, I needed to do something with them myself.
That was wrong thinking, for several reasons.
I was being selfish.
The ideas might have been great, but most certainly would have been made better by the collaboration of my bandmates.
Those ideas never saw the light of day, all because of this thinking!
I wish I had shared those ideas now. I would love to know where Guppy (of Bazooka Joe) or Christoph Green (of Honeypump) would have taken them. They were both fantastic song writers, and much better guitarists than I.
Ideas are not personal property. They cannot be copyrighted or trademarked. They are useless unless executed. Statistically speaking, if you don’t do it, someone else will!
So, I spent a few ideas this month, and you know what? By doing so, I doubled the amount of ideas I had, and have even more recording to do. I think that’s part of where ideas come from.