At last the doom waltz has produced lyrics, and can be titled. My son had suggested that the song was reminiscent of rolling waves, and so I went with a shipwreck theme, entitled "All Washed Clean." I'm working on the verses now, and the chorus is fairly well set. I've been using the loopers in Ableton Live to back myself and they lend themselves well to rounds, so that's where I went. Row, row, row that boat. This project is just rolling out naturally, as I like them to. When this happens, it's easy to get lost in creation.
The downside is torturing the family. Composing using the methods that I do, and often in our living spaces or driving down the road is already a repetitive prospect, but add to that the loops. And playing them over and over until the sequences become polished. And a round. I'm getting some idea why many songwriters like to shut themselves away from the world to create new music.
I've updated my soundcloud page, and my music page here with Foyet Memories, an improvisation from the other day. It is a single live take, using clips in Ableton Live to create loops of varied length.
Thanks again for reading and listening.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Last night's session went very well.
I've got my basic arrangement down for The Fat Lady of Limbourg, which will be a fairly faithful tribute to the original. I'm finding the basses in Ableton inadequate, but the SH-201 makes a sweet synth-bass. A very simple and repetitive bass line, and the simple basis of the percussion are set, and next I'll drag out the JV-35 for some sax.
The still unnamed doom waltz, file-named grainloop, is really starting to gel. Lyrical content would be nice, but as it is I can still vocalize along nicely.
The JV-35 could be a good way to provide some voice power without extra processor load, and I'm thinking of new configurations. Drat. I've been enjoying a small setup with big power for some time now, and like the idea that I don't have a bank of keys in front of my head. Perhaps I should place the JV-35 at a right angle, and in a sitting position so that I can sit and play as necessary. Besides, many of the natural tones are better on the JV-35 than in Ableton. It doesn't have a good Rhodes sound, but Ableton does have a good one.
Listening: Brian Eno's Before and After Science
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I spent several sessions with the gear this week, often just practicing technical skills, but also working on a couple of things for a developing set of songs.
Softly has not changed much in weeks, but I'm sure I'll be going over the drum programming. Other than that it's pretty well set, and I really like the monster's sound effects. It's a little horror story.
The next piece is still untitled, and the vocals are merely vowels at this point. It's a simple waltz, with a great distorted and warm/fuzzy bass created from the SH-201 Supersaws with distortion. On top of that and the drums, which I had fun programming then adding a random MIDI effect for variation. I sing and play a grainy distorted tone under a nice biting synth lead, another saw tone. The project is currently named "grainloop".
I've been throwing around a lot of little things in 3/4 lately, and would like to put something together for a friend to do a drum track to in that vein. Of course all I'd need to do is record other stuff for the song in the prior paragraph and send it over, but I really like those random drums for that piece. I'm sure I'll be getting something new out soon.
I've been throwing in a cover for a little fun, and have settled on Brian Eno's The Fat Lady of Limborg. It's a joy to cover this kind of material in that you can do so much to it. I don't like to do a faithful cover, but want to put my own spin on it. This song is great for that.
There's always those little tunes that I've been playing for years that I rip out, but they don't have any vocals. At least not yet. I want to be singing much more than in the past, so I haven't been considering using them. As I improve as a player, I can devote more concentration on singing, so that may change as well. I'm humming on at least two of them already.
Incrementally things improve in life, so incrementally the set can grow. I like this trend, and hope it continues.
Listening: Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy)
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Long hours of improvisation with piano and saw tones have been experienced recently. Scales become progressions, progressions slip into melodies, moods playing about freely. It's a joy to sit and play, and that's what I've been shooting for lately.
I've got Softly in a place to leave it for a while as I work on other things. My latest is some kind of Doom Waltz, a 3/4 beast with a random drum track that seems to herald the end of things. I must work on this one some more.
Listening David Bowie's Heathen
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Some good work in looping configurations were done yesterday in Ableton Live 9, using a grand piano and some saw tones. I like that the loop lengths can be different in each take. That gives me a lot of variation due to shifting sync between loops, a very cool effect indeed. I'm still getting used to this since my last looper was a pedal, and the length, although very long, was always the same. I'll be able to anticipate more after working with it for some time. My main concern is finding levels, as I'm still tending to mix the pieces a little too low. I've reserved a couple of tracks for vocals, but haven't used them as of yet.
I continue to relax and play in a sitting position, but anticipate a standing configuration again soon. It's just easier to do vocals, due to mic placement.
Listening: Lou Reed's Berlin RIP, Lou.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
We are settling into new digs, with mundane life dominating existence. I'm taking classes at night while working during the day and trying to organize our chattel simultaneously. This hasn't left a lot of time for playing.
However, it is easier to get to the instrument now. I've only set up twice since the move, taking it down once to lower it to a sitting configuration. I've been tired enough lately that I need to sit sometimes or stop playing. I'll probably put it back to the standing configuration soon enough, but it's helpful right now to play sitting.
I spent an hour yesterday just playing a grand piano with a nice supersaw behind it. I was hoping to get out a Halloween version of Softly for you, but there's still a lot to be done before giving you a taste. Work continues on it.
Listening: St. Vincent's Marry Me
Friday, October 4, 2013
Typically, when I get up early, which is often, I often plug in the headphones and sit down with a cup of coffee and write a journal post, like today. However, as I work on more and more projects in the DAW, it's very easy to just load it up, and write music instead. This makes me often want to work on music rather than journaling, hence a lighter load on the blog of late.
I'm just starting to gain my first level of real understanding and integration with the DAW, but it's showing me that there is still much more to learn. My approach to it is changing less, as I develop procedures for setting up new sets, using the ins and outs, and general patching.
I enjoy the resources available at the press of a silent key, or bump of the slider. I enjoy the instant adaptability of the whole of the DAW integrated with my equipment. It's a sound processor like no other that I've ever used and also has every MIDI advantage that I've enjoyed for ages. Surely this integrates the board with the instrument, and does it on the fly as well.
Listening Brian Eno's Before and After Science