machinery” is this weeks trek into “song writing,” as well as working with HORN samples. this was a fun one. i’m pretty happy with it, although i could see myself re-writing the lyrics at some point. i like them well enough, but i feel like i never got that “thing” that i wanted, content-wise.


let’s start there. my subconscious loves to throw in some combination of days or weeks of real life material that i’ve been compiling, without letting me know about it before hand and just seeing if it works together in one way or another. in this case there was an interesting level of “meaning” that appeared to me after they were all written. the goal in writing them was more sound and imagery than meaning, but i ended up connecting a couple of dots in my head after listening to the “final” take.

1 . the smoking a cigarette imagery is just something i generally like, and in this case everytime it happens, it’s the context in which the character (me) gets contemplative…having a smoke and thinking on something.

2. references to motorcycles i think came in part from my friend nadia, who bought one this year, in part from the image of freedom associated with them, and i just loved the idea of jumping on one and leaving your “past” behind you. cinematically of course.

3. the reference to a heart attack is also something connected to adulthood, and maybe therefor “freedom” to me. although, i don’t consider this song to be ABOUT “freedom.” if anything, it’s about how a machine is supposed to operate verses how real life operates, and how sometimes the machine idea is really exciting to me in my “productive” states, and looking at a community of people as some sort of intelligent, organic machine. i love it. i have no idea if this makes sense. the heart attack though, is a personal concern of mine, for one reason or another. as is being “mean”, like in that same, first verse.

4. masks are probably a reference to a recent short play i did with sharon lanza, where we both wore masks and slowly (and brilliantly i might add) removed them throughout the show. but, as in the case of the play i think, the masks are symbolic of people’s “masks.” really though, in the context of this song, i think it’s a nod to how it doesn’t make sense, how we operate like machinery sometimes cause that’s what we know, or because we’re being task oriented and “productive.” we’re machinery in a different sense now. not really conscious of why we’re doing what we’re doing, but doing it nonetheless.  and that’s not always bad…it just is, sometimes.
man…i’m floating away into drug induced art philosphy or something here…

WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT…is loving creating things…and understanding that sometimes the “control” you have over what you create is limited, for any number of reasons, but that this can be a brilliant thing for the work, and for you (me) as a thinking person.

(sorry about all that – i just got abducted by aliens and they uploaded some sort of “artist statement” into my fragile brain to see if it made me hungry)



hip-hoppy dance beat – awesome

two basses, one midi, and one real, with an octave pedal for SUPER LOW time – awesome

rhodes – awesome

guitar – real, and key for the character

HORNS – ok, this was really the fun of it for me. i used different samples recorded at different times by different people, and worked them into hooks and hits, and tried to make them sound like one horn section. i think this worked for the most part, but if you listen closely enough, you can probably tell they’re all a little different (maybe i should keep my mouth shut). but this was really fun.

put your hands in the air.

thanks for listening!


mailing list is here

9 Responses to “machinery”

  1. Jim Says:

    Excellent horn section break down. It’s too fleeting, but in a good way. I wish it was longer, but that would probably spoil it.

  2. jon steinmeier Says:

    thanks jim!

  3. Jim Says:

    It sounds like there are a lot of similarities between this melody and the melody in Hot Air Balloon. At least a lot of the same movement and style vocal-wise. Was this premeditated?

  4. jon steinmeier Says:

    totally premeditated. when i come up with something i like, i milk for all it’s worth and consider it a theme, or “lite motif” and roll with it. i create whole records with it.

    i almost used the hot air balloon lyrics on this one too. just to save myself some time.

    actually, no. not intentional. just recyclatory writing. 🙂

    bad steiny.

  5. Mama Steiny Says:

    Well this is just fun!!! There are times Jonathan, when I am not sure I am bright enough to capture the depth of your mind. I’m sure you can’t imagine anyone saying that about you, but alot of what you write is a result of a very intelligent, truth seeking, wildly observant person with a gift to bring others along for the ride. Thanks for the many wonderful experiences you give so many.

    By the way, using a theme more than one time is actually a brilliant way of capturing a listener to listen to something new that you want to share. We all enjoy the familiar sometimes. When we find something we like, we tend to purchase it in every color.

    One other thing, I haven’t mentioned lately. Your vocals are awesome!!!!

    lots of hugs

  6. jon steinmeier Says:

    thanks ma. yeah, i’m with you on the theme idea.

    i used to write far more thematically i think. in the college years.TM

    thanks on the vocals too! grandpa’s voice lesson over thanksgiving helped a lot actually. 🙂

  7. jon steinmeier Says:

    also, i’m not writing lyrics over your head by any stretch.

    what sounds “smart” is often just vague or mis-directed. the opposite in fact. 🙂

  8. Mama Steiny Says:

    Whatever!! I don’t think so!! You are amazingly observant and insightful and your attempts to communicate will become increasingly more articulate and sophisticated. If you were to write your observations and insights out in prose first, you would see your thoughts organized. Your music knowledge and proficiency give you the freedom to create. In the same way, your thoughts and insights need structure and practice. Just a thought.


  9. jon steinmeier Says:

    well, i appreciate that. thanks ma.

    and i agree, a little structure and practice would benefit said thoughts and insights.

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