Archive for the ‘composer’ Category

freaks of nurture

July 9, 2008

hi friends! thanks for tuning in!

Freaks of Nurture

“freaks of nurture” is a poppy little romp through my last few weeks, and simultaneously through years of field work in the area of relationships and human interaction.

MUSIC

this was another song written from the “guitar.” this is often a good bet for me, if i give it time and enjoy playing the instrument. as a keyboard player and drummer, the guitar is both a nice break and an environment with welcome limits. the verse section of this song is a testament to that: very simple and melody driven. the “chorus” has a “strange change” that i think helps get its’ point across, even though the “nothing new under the sun” theory still applies.

for the geeks: i go to the the four chord for the chorus, but make it it IV, IV/I, #IV. what the hell?.

also for the geeks, or anyone who feels like singing along, the melodies in the verse and chorus start exactly the same way…with the same four notes, but in different keys! yay!! this is one of those “continuity” issues that i was really happy with.

after writing the core of the song on my back porch with guitar and voice and verse one lyrics (and coffee), i went to Ableton Live and laid down the fake drums and keyboard parts. i was going for simple, synthy, and a bit funny. i then added guitar, bass, and background vocals that were vaguely in my head from early on, but as usual, came together during the recording process.

WORDS (also known as “lyrics”)

whew…ok…well. this is another song in the “serious” category, which i’m getting increasingly comfortable with for some reason. while it’s understandably vague (i think), it stems from a short list of things:

1. the maplympics (july 4th weekend of events here)

2. girls

3. human nature, social verses innate

4. a funny compound plural noun coined years ago by my friend, steve williamson: “freaks of nurture”

5. a couple of recent dates i’ve had.

woah. dates? i won’t get into it here. but let’s say that i know some lovely people. this song isn’t “about” anyone but me ultimately, but touches on some of my “romantic” relationships, and the conflict and joy therein. in this song, it’s something that reminds me of how wonderfully humans are made (creationist theory), and how interesting and tricky it can be to operate as one (inherently).

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thanks for listening! if you’d you find me interesting enough to send you updates about “song of the week” postings, please click HERE for the mailing list.

if you don’t, thanks for your patience.

j

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floyd goes to the open mic

June 5, 2008

episode four:

floyd’s really nervous about going to open mic night.  he’s got some songs he’s been dying to try out live, but he’s nervous that they won’t go over well, and generally has a hard time with social scenes.

listen, and see how it goes.

ABOUT:

this was another experiement for me, initially to find a way to combine a lots of instruments without maxing out my computer completely.  i ended up with a lot of instruments, all generally playing minimal parts.  i wanted lots of different color’s, and wanted to play with more instruments than i have been.  so i started a session of about 5 or 6 orchestral instruments or sections, then 5 or 6 more in another file, and so on, until i had about 4 sessions going, that all got mixed into the final live recordings.  the last step (live stuff) was the melodica, some sound effects, guitar and vocals, and mixing the end to sound cinematic, with volume and panning choices.  considering the number of things going on, and time it took, it feels very short to me now, but hopefully effective.  let me know what you think!  this was also fun, because it started without any clear idea, just sound and idea searching.  the one thing i wanted was the sneaky/creapy/pensive thing, which influenced some of the instrument and note choices.  the entire openning of the piece takes place inside floyd’s head, until he gets out of his head and into a bar at the end of the piece, and makes his decision on the “open mic” experience.

thanks for listening!

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and see detholz, baby teeth, danny black, and dj bobby conn at hideout this saturday night for a benefit for lena yohey’s trip to Nepal this Fall!  http://tmt.detholz.com/yohey-fest.jpg

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.

theme one

November 27, 2007

welcome back.

i call this one “theme one” (click to listen) because i think of it as the first of a specific collection of “film music with no film.” i wrote it this weekend at my parents place in Missouri, on their piano, in a food coma.

i’ve been getting more and more focused on writing for picture, and at times when no picture is readily available, i’ve written a few things to mental pictures. this pieces mental picture isn’t as specific as some, but i think it leads the minds eye in a certain direction. while i was writing in MO, i started transitioning into entirely different music at the end of the piece, but in this case, chose and recorded and ending to it. in said film, it probably wouldn’t end the way it does in this case.  i dunno.

Form/Theme

A. the main theme is presented right at the top of the piece, heard in the high voice of the piano…playful but with a bit of a “trouble in paradise” idea.

B. transition material darkens the character a bit, then redeems/lightens (“ah” vocals) the character a bit. this section acknowledges that something mysterious/questionable is abound i think.

A1. the main theme in a new key with slight alterations – a back and forth of light and dark ideas…using a whole tone scale at the end to add escalating tension.

C. transition/truncated theme brightens things up a bit, quoting the theme and creating a nice little “V I” to the end section. a “V I” (five, one) is basically a way to set up a new resting place, or harmonic “home” for the ear. it’s like the “amen” at the end of a hymn, with two chords (five/one or four/one) that say “all-done” or “your home” to the ear.

D. new material – we arrive at this “home” and slow the pace down. the character is tired perhaps, or contemplative. this section goes back and forth between light and dark versions of itself, nodding to that conflict still existing (whatever that conflict is). then, maybe the character falls asleep.

what do you think?

YOUR MISSION, if you choose to be awesome:

come up with a short narrative for this piece and post it as a comment. i have ideas, but they’re pretty open. i’d LOVE to hear yours.

j

EVERYTHING IS PERFECT

October 16, 2007

well, not exactly. this song for example, is not perfect. but hey! welcome back to the weekly song a week for the weak songy song-time leek seekers song blog!

everything is perfect” is a three part diddy i wrote over the past week (give or take), and started with the idea to just make a guitar rocker.

PART ONE:

once i came up with the rhythmic idea (drums first), i looped it and added the crunchy, dissonant guitar chunks. i liked it because it was confusing and sporadic, but that’s a funny thing about writing and recording a song, that as you know it better it gets a little boring to you. this is part of the reason this openning is so short i guess. it also made sense to me to keep it short, cause it’s so noisy and high energy that it sounds like a scream in my memory, which i like. (“run-on”, sorry english buffs).

lyrically, this guy got pretty cheezy to me, but you should’ve heard the first version. 🙂 the “we’re gonna be ok!” shout chorus just made sense to me hearing that repeated “chorus” at the end. i was thinking teeny-power-emo-punk a little here in general. the openning is so convoluted rhythmically, that i found the straight ahead chorus to be a pretty satisfying break. so…”we’re gonna be ok” was easy, repetitive, common, and the lyrical break from the tense, worrisome “verse” lyrics before that, which are appropriately TENSE. in general, these are all general lyrical ideas, actually about some other characters that i neither am nor know. (man, i think my writing is really confusing right now, sorry). bascially, the lyrics were written by high school kids.

PART TWO:

i wanted this MADNESS to go in to something totally polar. i opted for a little organy sound (actually a sine wav) that reminded me of a not-so-memorable prelude or offertory in church. something that was relaxing and unobtrusive, to contrast the openning section. i thought of singing choiry reverbed four part over this, but decided to go “super stripped down simple style” for effect. i like this section a lot acutally, in the context of the whole piece. the calm after the storm.

PART THREE:

this part, started with the drums again, and i went for another pretty different character altogether. the electro element for one, the light and clean guitar parts, and the pitch shifted spoken parts i’m such a fan of these days. the joke of the piece is in this section, but it’s not actually the voices, although chipmunk steiny always makes me laugh. i was thinking of singing over this section as well, but ended up liking the little skit with “lucious” better, imagining who this weirdo is and why he’s in my room when i wake up and why that doesn’t seem to bother me at all. 🙂

but, i guess it’s because everything is perfect.

thanks for listening!

tune in next week for one of a couple of ideas:

1. a piano trio doing an original steiny JAZZ number

2. another boring pop song

3. some sound design

4. maybe something for strings

5. maybe a recording of me eating a burrito.

-j

p.s. the mailing list is here (updated weekly)

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