Friday, June 25, 2010

Existences (2001-2010)

I wrote this in October of 2001 as a poem of sorts, but then I started making some music right after I wrote it, and they kind of managed to blend together well. The world had started its real chaos at 9/11, and it seems to be even more in chaos now, so it seemed fitting for me to finally try and bring this to fruition.

The song lyrics have been re-written and written back, edited and then re-edited, rearranged...then rearranged some more. I even posted it on Facebook as a poem back in '09 at some point. I eventually found the original song (minus 3 important samples)...beefed up some of the samples and added to it while still paying homage to my earlier days of music; since the original music was made in 2001, I used a lot of my older samples which featured in my tracks from that time period.

The voice processor I borrowed for a bit helped for me to finally put an aural sense of how I was feeling into my voice. Thank you, Steve. :)

Listening to it now, I can't believe these words and this music came out of me. It's eerie as to how much it speaks. One particular verse...the first one I wrote...seems strangely apt at this point in our Saskatchewan season. And this is now a clear reflection of how my feelings about this world and its people have culminated inside of me:

When I open my eyes I can't help but see
the grey clouds scattered over the crowds,
covering their minds,
leaving them blind
to the colors that should flutter right through their eyes, I find
that the hardest part about watching it all is standing back and waiting for everything to fall

The city's quiet and the breathing within
creates a solitary comfort that crawls beneath my skin
Well I know it's been painfully slow,
but we're ready to get up and find that faint glimmer of hope
It'll be quite a journey...

And if it weren't for the time it takes
to get it all in one place,
We would've done the same thing a long time ago
but you know,
some things can wait and now it's getting pretty late anyway I'm sorry I gotta go
And I was having so much fun here...

Well you know I try to keep it alive,
but sometimes I can't take anymore; I gotta get up and fight
But this time I've a right to survive,
please bring in all the colors
and place them right in front of my eyes,
let em float in my head awhile

This is so surreal,
'Cause it's kinda hard to pinpoint
exactly how I feel, oh well
I wanna lay down and bask in some
everlasting sunshine...

When I close my eyes I can't help but see
what may come of all the rain that has
washed away the sunshine,
leaving blue puddles
and a splash of yellow to mark the time, I find
that the hardest part about being alive is standing underneath the clouds just waiting for the end of time

My head hurts and it's hard to see
but I've a mind to unwind with humility, just
step into the sunshine...
Step into the sunshine,
and into reality

And if it weren't for the horrible ways
we live day to day
We've would've won this game a long time ago
but you know
what else can we say? Our words are getting in the way, good day I'm sorry we gotta go
Really wish we could've stayed...

This is so surreal,
'Cause it's kinda hard to pinpoint
exactly what is real, oh well
Let's just lay down and bask in this
little bit of sunshine...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music madness!

I just counted the projects I have on the go. I currently have:

6 songs with lyrics
2 songs minus lyrics
2 cover songs
1 song I'm working on with another musician
3 edits (or remixes, if you prefer that term...although I hardly think adding a beat to an oldie counts as a remix)

These are all in varying stages of the process, and it's becoming difficult to focus on just one thing. For instance, one of my songs just needs a couple lyrics re-recorded, before going through the whole mixdown process again. Another just needs to be mixed and mastered. So why am I procrastinating so much?

1. The more lyrical side of me is a side that only a couple people in my life have seen. Some of these songs were written over a decade ago, most far more recently; either way they are symbolic of me basically pouring out my heart, my hurt, my unrequited loves, my anger, and most of all my loneliness out to the world for all to hear. Some are about specific people in my life that I know will hear them. Even though they're still fairly ambiguous to anyone who wasn't in the loop, I still have to wonder if the person it was about will hear it and wonder if it's about them. Not quite sure if I'm ready for all that, even though I also believe it's long past due.

2. Time. Time, time, time! I work a full-time job with some shifts that don't leave me much chance for working on stuff when I'm home. Plus, I need to have a life outside of music and work. Unfortunately, this life tends to take over most of my free time. In fact, I just realized I'm going to be SUPER busy for the next month, with a trip to Calgary next weekend followed by a trip to Regina the week after for a concert, then Ness Creek Music Festival, then a trip to Edmonton. Whew! That, and more basic human functions such as sleeping and eating kinda take up too much time.

3. Lack of focus. I'll start working on something, get bored with it (or just tired of listening to it over and over again), then start working on something else until I'm completely drained. Then I just end up listening to all my old music just for fun. Or I'll write another song that I really want to get in the can while the lid's still open. Or I'll just do something else all together. These song projects are in addition to various other creative endeavors I'm on. I'm also working on a screenplay, a novel, a book, and various graphic projects.

4. My computer is 7 years old. And it's slooooow. I can make an entire song in a few hours if I chose to do so, but the mixdown and mastering process I currently use takes roughly 3 hours just to begin. I was hoping to get a new computer a few months ago, but I'm worried that in doing so I might lose some of the programs I currently use due to compatibility issues. With so much on the go right now, I don't want that to be an issue.

5. I'm my own worst critic AND a perfectionist. That's the biggest problem. I could make an entire song in a few hours, but then I sometimes spend anywhere from a week to a few months tweaking it, trying to make it sound better, etc. It's worse with the vocal tracks, since my voice is essentially another instrument and there are far too many possibilities with it. Sometimes I have to keep a checklist on stuff I want to change or that needs changing. This also ties in with #4: sometimes I'll have 'finished' a track, only to find the bassline is a bit off-key on one thing, or I don't like the kick or the hat. This usually calls for me to go back to step one and change, then start the process all over again. This also usually ends up with me deciding enough's enough...and leave it for a while.

6. What I like to call internet ADD. I get sidetracked all too easily by Facebook, email, and pretty much everything on the web (like this blog, for instance).

It's like looking at a huge mess and knowing that it needs to be cleaned up and tidied and put away, but not even knowing where to begin. Where is that clone machine when you need it?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Might As Well (2009)

Originally written in January of 2009, this came to me one cold night whilst pouring my last glass of wine for the evening. First two lines, then the rest followed; basically just a song about being lonely and wavering between wishing someone was there with me, and wallowing in my lonliness. I created the music for it that night...then sat on it forever.

The problem was that I recorded the vocals with a cheap mic, and somehow added some crazy FX to it that highlighted the nuances of dirty line-noise in such a way that it sounded pretty good. But I wanted it to sound better. I re-recorded my voice, then added some verb and retro-eq to the main vocal. Backing vocals were redone, with simple verb and delay. Still doesn't quite come close to the original, but good enough I suppose. :) However, it was quite the process.

The music was made using a combination of FL (for drums and sequencing), and Ableton for synth composing and sequencing (which are barely present in this minimal little tune). I also cut up the vocals and placed them into FL to render since those crazy FX were being utilized that way. Finally, each track was rendered seperately and brought into Acid to add compression and panning and all kinds of other fun stuff, then into Wavelab to place the vocals and add more FX. The vocal tracks were then rendered seperately and brought back into Acid and mixed down along with the original song.

Although I'm still not 100% 'happy' with it, I like it enough to let you finally have a listen. Seeing as I've been listening to it for the last year and a half, I figured it's time to move it on. I hope you enjoy it.

Might as well drink the rest of this wine,
I'm here all by myself again
No other way to kill the time,
No other way to see that this night ends

Oh, you...
The way you're wrapped around my head
Oh, you...
I'd rather be here alone instead
Of wondering,
Guessing what this life will bring
Keeping a record of my dreams...

Might as well listen to the clock
The maddening tick of time unspent,
No other way to fill me up,
No other way to see that this life's meant...

Oh, you...
The way you're wrapped around my head
Oh, you...
I'd rather be here alone instead
Of wondering,
Guessing what this life will bring
Keeping a record of my dreams...

Might as well climb in bed right now
Maybe tomorrow I'll see another way
No other way to let life unfold,
A few more hours to seize another day

Oh, you...
The way you're wrapped around my head
Oh, you...
I'd rather be here alone instead
Of wondering,
Guessing what this life will bring
Keeping a record of my dreams...