Categories
Music

A Chop off the Old Block

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.

Album cover showing a hand chopper, part of a torn $20 bill, and doll parts on a old wooden table.

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.

Wooden board from the bottom of the Constellation ship, with the numbers 11, 10, and 9 painted on them.

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.

my drum set in on a riser.

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.

A man in the far distance talking to a waiter in a restaurant.

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 cheap, broken gold buckle on a side walk.

Salty

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.

A pair of feet in black thong sandals above the word Salty

Cards of Marseilles

A gal holding a cello

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.

Me, playing a cello
and black and white illustration of a man pricing meat.

A risible scene of lovemaking

my drum set, seen from below

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.

A 1950's era black and white advertisement of two women watching a TV.

Conclusion

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.

  1. I was being selfish.
  2. The ideas might have been great, but most certainly would have been made better by the collaboration of my bandmates.
  3. 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.

Categories
Music

The Old San Juan (album release)

Album Cover showing the bottom half of an elderly man sitting in a cafe

All of the material on the first track of this release was recorded on an iPhone between 4/22/2022 and 4/30/2022 in Puerto Rico, with the exception of a guitar loop that was recorded in Baltimore on 4/22/2022. I brought the loop to work on with my iPad, and included it in this audio postcard as it felt like part of the trip to me.

The source material includes:

  • various vendors selling beer and food
  • a walk through Ponce
  • a distressed stray dog
  • street performers
  • the Atlantic Ocean at Castillo San Cristóbal
  • invisible frogs
  • a fellow traveler who snored continuously during a trip to the rain forest

Also included on this release is sound experiment no. 15.

Not a very thick album, but it conveys memory and feelings of the trip.

Categories
Music

Music to Hear Blindfolded, Vol.1

I’ve got some cassettes available from Scientifically Sound Records! This release is called “Music to Hear Blindfolded, vol. 1,” and it evolved from my “write music everyday” challenge for 2021.

Cover of "Music to hear blindfolded, vol 1," which shows a woman's legs propped up on a hotel wall.

This music and sound on this cassette is intended to inspire and/or accompany film and animation. Some of the audio was used in my videos.

Approximately 40 minutes in length, the tape is a mix of musique concrète, found audio, loops, and stuff I recorded at the Theoretical Audio Laboratory.

This will not be available on Bandcamp, and this will be a very limited release. All tapes are signed by me.

Volume 2 is in the works.

Cassette tapes on a table - Music to hear blindfolded vol. 1