Archive for May, 2008

floyd gets about some business

May 28, 2008

firstly, two shows i’m doing this weekend:

1.  friday, may 28, with sad brad smith and friends, at Heart of Gold, 10p.  i’ll be playing drums, piano here and there, and bass guitar and melodica at the same time (it’s never been done before).

2.  saturday, may 29, mucca pazza plays Do-Division Street Fest at division and damen at 7pm.  http://www.do-divisionstreetfest.com/

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now, floyd: episode three

i actually just decided that this was a floyd episode, as i didn’t approach it as orchestrally or intentionally as the first two.  but, the melodica has sort of become my instrument of choice for floyd’s character, and, having bought a new melodica last week, i’ve been using it a lot.  this one was also an opportunity for me to play more with all live instruments, except for that fake honky tonk piano and a fake keyboard sound.  here’s the layout:

2 melodica’s

bass

drums

cowbell

conga’s

tamborine

piano sample

wurly sample

this track is interesting to me, but more repetative than the last couple.  for that i appologize (especially if it bores you)  but, the goals were as follows:

live drums – decent sounds, but i’m still working at figuring out how to get better live drum sounds.  this was not a total success.

live percussion – a success in this case, as i havn’t recorded a live three instrument (or more) percussion section in my little home studio.  worked pretty well i think

MELODICA! – my new melodica is pretty satisfying.  and i’m loving how expressive it is, as a wind instrument, but easy for me to play, as a keyboard instrument.  i also just love the character of it

eastern modal melodic work – this is a little vague, but by ear, i just used a lot of lowered 2nd’s and a couple of other little minory eastern sounding notes in my main scale for this piece.  i also went for some flourishes in the part that were characteristic to my ear.  this worked pretty well.  sort of, almost phrygian.

groove – i’ve been feeling like making something a bit “funky” (as the kids say now), and this was another influence on this piece.  the piece is really the product of a short “to-do list” of musical and sound ideas.  the way that they all came together isn’t exactly what i expected from any of them individually, but that’s part of the fun of it, i think.

thanks for listening, as always.

also, my interview and performance on chicago’s WBEZ 91.5 FM aired on monday night!  thanks to all that tuned in.  i’ll be posting clips from the show shortly!  so stay tuned!

j

clik hier fer thee maling Lyst

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floyd goes to the ball

May 21, 2008

click down there

this is the second of the “floyd” series, which is turning out to be a fun programmatic romp with a combination of sampled and real instruments. this one was written only days after the first episode, “floyd takes a walk”, posted last week, and in this episode, we find floyd at a ball or dance of sorts, again struggling in some endearing way. i imagine him trying to fit in socially, maybe even trying to dance, but generally failing at all turns. it’s the sort of party that would be great fun if you were someone else, he thinks, as he’s preoccupied with his own inabilities to function in such a social environment. but floyd strikes me, so far, as someone who keeps trying. this is part of his charm, and part of the thing that frustrates him so much.

musically, i used pizzicato strings for the basis of the waltz, and percussion that nods to a “falling down” idea; clumsy perhaps like floyd. there’s a toy a accordian in the first section of the piece that also feels very a little awkward or out of place playing single long notes at these same “crash” moments. the opening theme is in the oboes, a favorite of mine, but not as popular a solo instrument as, say, the violins or clarinets. the middle section of this piece is my favorite, where a solo violin takes the melody, and the atmosphere changes a bit. here, i think floyd starts to imagine himself as someone else, someone who’s smart and interesting and smooth and charming. he welcomes the attention. he proudly slides through the room like the sound of a single well played violin, and the underlying accompaniment changes with him. it becomes a little more hip. it moves a little better. grooves a little. it’s another, better, place. here, i used electric bass and drumkit, under organ and violin. the “back to reality” transition is me whistling over the organ, and a bit of the first theme, on the oboe again, before one final crash brings floyd back to awkward reality.

i’m hoping to overdub the solo violin part with a real violinist soon, which will help the piece a lot, some of the sounds i think are pretty believable, while that one is sort of an earsore i think.  once that happens, i’ll repost.  until then, sorry about some of the synthyness.

thanks for listening and reading! i hope to have another orchestration for this series soon. either way, tune in next week for more new material of some sort.

j

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floyd takes a walk

May 14, 2008

cause he needs to clear his head. but the head in question is plagued with regret and hopelessness. it’s noisy, and heavy, and just won’t leave his body. it rumbles like the breath of a 50 ft. tall monster drama queen.

“floyd takes a walk” is the first episode of a score for narrative i’m working on (what the hell?).  i’ve been feeling like taking on a bigger project lately, and getting away (for a bit) from the two section three chord drum-machine jams. and i love thinking in sets, or bigger collections. in this case, i’m writing themes for a specifically awkward, sad, lovable character who i’m calling floyd. it’s tough being floyd. he tries and he tries, but to little or no avail, so it seems. “narrative” may not be the word exactly, as i’m writing these and seeing where THEY take the character. music first, scene second. tune in next week for episode TWO! it’s already finished, but i’ll save it for next week.

thanks for listening! i hope this one gets your imaginative imagery going.

j

mailing list is here

mucca pazza at columbia college’s “manifest” this friday.

opus 32 in b major

May 11, 2008

click this sentence (for musics)

this is just a delightful little piece put together by myself and some mucca’s a week ago at rehearsals in denver, co.

in between real rehearsal time, a few of us started jamming on these two sections of material. the first is the comically smooth I to IV (C major to F major) “jam”, and the second is the “apocalyptic tri-tone terror jam.”TM we found this to be so funny when we were doing it, that we ended up playing through and improvising over this bit for roughly half an hour straight (reports on actual time vary). it escalated into vocalizing and horn playing and interrupting people talking and trying to maintain order. what fun.

upon returning from said denver trip, i recorded a longer version of the tune sans vocalization, and limited to drums, bass, guitar, and piano. i wanted to try to reproduce some of the hilarious “soloing” that we did in denver, and also test out some new mics. you can here this multi-tracked version HERE. i made it a point to give each instrument only one “take” (or try) when recording, to retain that improvised, spontaneous (even if it’s bad) feel.

the original rockers on the denver recording (the conception) are:

jeff thomas

dave ramey

george lawler

sam johnson

elanor leskiw, and

justin amolsch

what fun. ya’ll rock my socks.

dbs yeah

May 6, 2008

who’s ready for earth-shaking guitar solo’s and ground-breaking synth sounds!?!

dbs yeah” (mp3)

this is a song that david golan, brad smith, and i were jamming on a few weeks ago, and i figured i’d layer it up for this weeks (last weeks) song of the week.

this weeks song of the week is actually last weeks song of the week NOT because of time travel, but because of short marching band tours.  think about it!!

thanks for listening,

j

mailing list is here