Archive for July, 2007

hot air balloon

July 28, 2007

hey kids!

hot air balloon” is a song about romance, air travel, aliens, survival, and cheeseburgers.

a friend of mine and i were talking recently about taking a hot air balloon trip, in jest. it got me thinking, and really liked the image of being on your way somewhere, but fascinated by your surroundings all the way there. being simultaneously excited about where you’re going and your immediate “place,” or “journey.”

the song ended up being mostly about discovery; some possible, some actual, some fantastic, some personal. for example, the idea of aliens and magic carpets are fantastic (to me), but the discovery of “theory’s i would make it through” are both actual and possible. in this case, all of these discoveries take place in the context of a hot air balloon trip.

explaining “what a song is about” is always a little tricky to me. this is a good example of me writing with actual meaning, about REAL things (as apposed to other recent rambles) but it’s set in a fantastic, UNREAL environment, much like the connection between dreams and personal reality.

any questions? 🙂

here are lyrics, with some original (optional) lines in parenthesis:

pack light cause we’re low on space
in this place high above my little home (the clouds of doubt)
focus hard cause we might just face
a storm or angry aliens supergnomes (when we get out)

i love you up so high in the sky
i love that you brought some apple pie
i love it when you pull the string
i hear it my scull for at least a week-ling

i had a conversation with a magic carpet
it told me everything i ever said i knew (thought i always i knew)

i saw you in a hot air balloon ah yeah

pack a lighter for a cigarette break
on the way across that ocean that we’ve heard about
pack a camera cause there might be a lake
on a clowd, out in space, near the in-and-out (when we get out)

i love you on the balcony
i’d never throw you out into the sea
i love it when you pull the string
i hear it in my scull like a telephone ring

AND I CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM HERE

i had a conversation with an angry alien
it told me names of theory’s i would make it through

i saw you in a hot air balloon ah yeah

LOON…BALLOON…BALLOON…BALLOONY BALLOON

it’s like magic
in my hot air balloon
paper plastic
i’m glad i’m here with you

AND I CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM HERE

i want to tell you all about my time in prison
but we’re so high up in the sky i wouldn’t dare
i want to arm-wrestle the alien invention
but i’m preoccupied with flying through the air

take flight

July 21, 2007

alrighty…the first “orchestral” installment of the jon steinmeier awesome wordpress music funtime blog machineTM is called “take flight.” (click it!)

my roommate lena and i recently watched CRIMSON TIDE staring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington, a big submarine, right and wrong, duty, and appropriately tense and somehow strangely patriotic feeling music. i started writing something jolly and orchestral a day later (or maybe that day) starting with the cello line in the intro, thinking very baroque/classically, when my subconscious started to bring in this american blockbuster action drama character and the bass and percussion parts started to develop. i think the ascending (sort of triumphant) trumpet line came next. so, i went with this idea…and got a little more tense (action) and a little more concerned (drama) with this two part horn line part that shows up about half way through…all building to what i think is the interesting part of the piece, the big, loud, somewhat dissonant transition back into the openning material…bla bla bla.

CRIMSON TIDE! ACTION DRAMA AMERICA SONOR AUTHENTIFICATION VERIFICATION DUTY DISSENT LOYALTY RUDDERS HORSES MUTINY WAR.

underwater.

bohemian stove

July 21, 2007

hey kids! thanks for tuning in. “bohemian stove” is a goofy dance song. shake yer money maker!

i might do another version of this one, cause my performance is a little awkard at times, but i kinda like that about it too. so i’m not sure. i wrote a lot of words for this one, and tried to fit a fair number of them into a pretty small space in time. 🙂

i’ve been doing a lot of these tunes recently, honing my MC skillz. it’s been fun, in part because of the rhythmic game of it, but also because hearing myself do it is very funny to me. a friend of mine (micah barber!) came up with a funny rapstar alias, MC Def G…or M CDEFG. alphabetastic! so, for the time being, i think of this rapstar alias as that MC character.

so, what does MC Def G rap about? well, generally, def g get’s a little idea and then tangents on into oblivion. part of the idea with this character is to deliver lines with some level of urgency or importance, but to actually be saying little to nothing of any real substance. again, something i think is funny. there’s another one on jonsteinmeier.com called “the curl” that’s in the same vein. it somehow digresses into something about finding cheez in outerspace. NOT the original idea. 🙂 speaking of outerspace, and inspiration for a couple of the bohemian stove lines is Dr. Octagon, who i cannot recommend highly enough. i specifically recommend the Dr. Octagonecologist album.

counterweight

July 21, 2007

alrighty team. here’s the first steiny new music blog! zowie. “counterweight” is a two part fugue for piano. i didn’t stick to the fugue criteria strickly, but used it as a road map, or inspiration for the piece. for example, the openning few bars of the right hand part (the higher of the two voices) is the theme, actually in a theme A and theme B sort of way over the first eight bars. the second voice (left hand, lower register) begins the theme one beat after the right had starts, creating a canon for a few beats, but then veering from that into a combination of accompaniment and counterpoint.

ok…here’s the idea. that main theme shows up throughout the piece, in both voices at different times. but i also cut up the theme into it’s smaller ideas, such as the ONE E AND (du du du) rhythm that appears throughout, my idea being to base everything in the piece directly or indirectly on those first few bars. you might have a listen and try to find all the places where said theme appears, sometimes in the way it was originally presented and sometimes a little screwy…speaking of which, part of the fun i had with this one was making the original thematic material go “outside” the key a little (why it sounds a little weird, or dissonant) and making the variations or mutations of this theme get even more dissonant, or “outside.” to get a better idea, you could play a theme on the piano on all white keys (maybe starting on C), and at some point, throw a few consecutive black keys in the mix and notice that the whole thing feels like it’s gotten a little jekyll and hydeee. 🙂

along the lines of the fugue, what i did was present a short version of the theme (first couple of bars) starting in different keys throughout the piece, firstly at the FIFTH of the original key. later, it shows up at the original ONE again, but the intervals are all EXPANDED (bigger jumps), and then it shows up in the left hand at the minor 7th of the orginal key, then the original again in the RH, then the minor 7th again, then the 4th of the key, and then i just sort of wrote my way out, using rhythms and harmonic ideas from the previous material.

ack…sorry. what i hope you would do with anything like this (especially the bach inventions) is just listen for that “theme” or main idea from the beginning of the piece and see if you can hear it appearing elsewhere in the piece, even if it’s just “close” and not exactly the same.

fun.

thanks for listening.

Welcome…

July 20, 2007

thanks for visiting. this site is dedicated to music that i’m writing and recording weekly, part of a personal “song of the week” project that i started in january 2007. i currently post a song a week (at least) at www.jonsteinmeier.com that i write and record. my plan on THIS site is to give some insight into what i’m writing and why, to open the floor for questions and comments about said writing, and even suggestions for subject matter, style, etc…requests. feel free to get involved. i hope you have a lovely time here.

thanks for visiting,

jonny