Archive for September, 2007

berlin

September 25, 2007

berlin” (mp3)

THE WORD

this weeks song is my first since i got back from a trip to berlin. i wrote the basic idea and some lyrics while i was there, about being a tourist. about how truly great it is for ME to be there and see what I see and experience. it’s quite amazing to have ME there, i’m sure. i’m like james bond and stuff. and, being an american tourist, i ask a lot of really good questions and take a genuine interest in things that i see there that are AMAZING for ME to be near. i’m really awesome.

THE MUSIC

found some great “kraftwerkesque” drum sounds and started with the percussion part (intro). i’ve been listening to some music spun by german friend and DJ, Jonathan “Bacon” Johnson on a compilation called the “the brutal truth of Joe Johnson.” it’s an amazing mix of stuff, groove heavy, soundalicious, and generally awesome. my track is more “busy-bodied” and “electronic” in arrangement than this cd, but some of the sounds, tempo, feel are inspired by some of this listening.

i pretty happy with this one, but i never felt like:

A. i got the vocal take i wanted, and

B. am still churning out some similar ideas, including vocal writing and keyboard part writing. i LIKE these ideas, but they’re not super “original” or anything. being super “original” is not really the ultimate conscious goal, but i don’t have the same sort of response to my recent stuff that i do to stuff i hear elsewhere…stuff that comes from a different brain or brains. so, maybe that’s just the way it works. ๐Ÿ™‚

i DO like the energy of the tune and some of said part writing, and generally the way it “moves.”ย  in fact, i’m dancing writing now as i typw thia.

i hope you like the tune.

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i’ve created a mailing list page here: mailing list where you can sign up to get a weekly reminder when the new song gets posted here. i havn’t used this service before, so if you DO do it, let me know if it’s a pain or it’s annoying and i’ll tweak it or look elsewhere for another server.

thanks for listening!!

j

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die reise

September 19, 2007

GREETINGS FROM BERLIN! this weeks song is called “die reise” and iยดd like JONNY OF THE PAST to explain. over to you jonny:

11:05am (last week)

well kids! it’s week (whatever number) and by the time you read this i’ll be in berlin. that’s a city far away in a country called germany. very cool place. this weeks song was written JUST before the trip out here on wednesday sept. 12th…and actually, as i’m writing this first paragraph, it hasn’t been written yet. weird huh? how can i be talking about a song that does not yet exist?? although now that you’re reading this it does exist, or does it? well kids, i have (had) faith that this song (?) will get written today (last week).

i call(ed) it “die reise” because it’s german for “journey” or “voyage.”

TIME LAPSE———————————————————————–

12:33pm (last week)

ok. thanks to the yamaha SHS-10 and a good microphone i’ve now recorded and bounced “die riese.” it’s sort of a farewell song for the journey. to myself, with high hopes that everything will “be just fine” and that bla bla other things. (?)

you know what’d be fun for this tune? if YOU (mom, etc) submit your own lyrics that fit the melody (at least mostly) and i’ll re-record the song when i get back with said lyrics. it’s like co-writing!! community songwriting blog experimental experience!

to submit lyrics…just comment on this entry with said lyrics. if you wish to remain anonymous you can email me at jonsteinmeier@gmail.com with a “stage name,” or i’ll create one for you.

alright team…GO

thanks for listening.

j

(what time is it?)

certain things

September 10, 2007

welcome to another weekly update of the jon steinmeier “song a week” weekly blog weak week blog leek. this weeks song is for everyone, especially brad smith, who challenged me to get serious. THIS SONG IS SUPER SERIOUS. it’s called “certain things” (CLICK FOR MP3).

okay. this song came lyrics first, in eight stanza’s that had to be tweaked once the music was written. i was conscious of the lyrics as i wrote the piano/melodic parts but not specifically enough to write the music TO the lyrics. so, the lyrics (syllables per phrase, etc) had to be modified eventually to fit.

WORDS

if i were to say what this song “is about” i would say it’s about taking comfort in knowing that while you don’t know as much as you’d like to (in general), no one else does either. i’ve found that we generally say a lot of stupid things when we pretend to know what we’re talking about and don’t. opinion is inevitable and crucial, but we have a natural desire to KNOW, and often jump the gun by assuming (or acting like) we DO know. this is vague i know, but it’s true i think in a very general to specific sense.

that being said…i love the peace of mind that comes with understanding how little i know as an individual, and the learning that can actually happen when i keep my mouth shut and pay attention. the things in life that we often learn aren’t the things that we’re seeking out. they sometimes come to us in that process toward some other knowledge, like learning (the hard way) that you’re clingy, or that you still see yourself as the fat kid with glasses that you were in 7th grade, or figuring out why you care about that, or having political and/or religious opinions and why…

i reference “checking out the humans” in a sort of “we’re all in this together” sort of way. just to say that everyone has more questions than they let on. and “there’s an amazing level of relax, that comes with checking back” is a key line in the song for me. it’s the first line i wrote, basically as a reminder that we can learn from our own and other people’s triumphs and failures, and relax in the idea that we’re not gonna figure it all out. it’s ok not to know everything. ๐Ÿ™‚

as i sing/read the lyrics i find other little ideas (in the same realm) that make sense to me…which is funny and maybe ironic, cause the “meaning” behind the lyrics is something that has evolved a little bit as i read ’em. not to say that they’re lofty by any stretch, but that as i write some bits of my subconscious show up and i have to decipher them later.

MUSIC

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music

so, writing from the piano, i wrote the A section (certain things are certain) first and liked the character of the Major 6 chord to the diminished chord and looped it. the B wanders a little harmonically (still just two chords though) and made sense with the A so i dug it. i end that section with a FIVE chord (sorry for the harmony talk…hopefully interesting to someone) and had the idea for the intro of the song…just lingering on the five (sol) as a single note. it makes your ear thing that it’s one when it’s the first thing presented to you, so when the full A section comes in it’s like you’ve been tricked, but that note (Five) is still IN the ONE of the A section. ๐Ÿ™‚ baaaaaaaaaa sjdklfa;jsdkfl;ajsdklf;jaslkdf;ajsdf. i do the same thing with the bridge, where the chords meander all over the place and end up on a chord (a NEW chord) that has the same single not from the beginning in it…which then repeats just like the intro. again, you’re ear (in theory) has been directed to a different harmonic “home” and will (hopefully) be surprised again to hear the A section return. so, again, you think you know where the one is, but you could be wrong…get it? like the lyrics. get it? yeah? ha! woo…

what do ya’ll think?

thanks for listening.

for the shorties

September 5, 2007

well, i’m not sure what to say about this week. i ran into MAJOR writers block for a few days, and was busy with the wedding of dear friends, and an awesome (and busy) weekend all around. so…what i came up with in between wacky time and creative stand-still was a series of five really short (and not very interesting) pieces for 5 or so vocalists. call me lazy, but i decided not to track with any “instruments” this week. no midi, no mic placement, plugging and unplugging etc…i also wrote as i recorded, and didn’t do much for multiple takes, which i think becomes evident at some point. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ in the same breath, there are some moments (mistakes and all) that i rather like, partly because they’re real, and/or screwy. AND…writing for all voices is really fun, and not what i’ve been doing recently, so i wanted to expand the palate a little.

bla bla bla here are the mp3’s:

voices

i’m so tired

fun park

hoolahoop

magic

(you can also stream them in order at www.jonsteinmeier.com)

i sort of feel like apologizing for throwing together some A’s and B’s and improvizing and/or writing goofy lyrics, but i won’t. one of the things about the “song a week” project is that it can be a look into my subconscious, and part of the idea/fun of it is to see what i come up with and then to look back and think about why. this is mostly a selfish endeavor after all; one that is based in part on what state i’m in at the time…in this case, borderline coma. that being said, i think there are some funny moments in here, that to me were worth posting (not everything gets posted). regardless, i hope you enjoy them for one reason or another.

disclaimers abound. ๐Ÿ™‚

www.jonsteinmeier.com