Archive for the ‘creepy’ Category

hail santa

December 19, 2007

welcome back weary ears. this week i present you with one of my christmas time treats, called “all hail santa” as well as a re-take of last weeks song “shiny sun earth consciousness” which i think has been improved on a couple of counts.

THING ONE: the re-take (see this entry for more)

new words and vocals! i wrote these with an actual theme and content. serious stuff team. LISTEN TO IT HERE “shiny sun earth consciousness 3

the new words speak of drunk’ness, relativism, and mind control. let me know if you want any more details than that. i’ll let you sort out the meaning from there. 🙂

THING TWO: “hail santa” (click for mp3000)

this is a praise song to the righteous and gracious Saint Nick (not to be confused with St. Nicholas – third century saint).

it’s a joke/commentary about how Santa has taken the place of Christ. i paint Santa as a divinity that people worship. i think it’s creepy.

i hope you think it’s creepy too. 🙂

merry christmas everyone. next week i’ll be in jefferson city MO, but tune in, cause i’ll have a new track for ya’ll within the week. i’ll either post it this coming weekend, or the one following.

also, i wrote/arranged a song for this years Elephant Hug Christmas compilation, that came out just this week! check it out at www.elephanthug.com (i’m the first track on there). you can also check out previous Elephant Hug and Steinmeier tunes on the site.

also, i’ll be celebrating ONE WHOLE YEAR of song-of-the-week-time the first week of january. i’m pretty happy with that. it’s been super fun.

thanks for listening as always.

love,

jonny songatron

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happy halloween

November 1, 2007

hey lovelies.

happy halloween

jonny is up to his ears right now, getting ready for the detholz “jukebox of the dead” show tonight, and the mucca pazza headline performance immediately following! jonny just found out the show sold out, which is super for him, and for YOU if you have a ticket. he’s also performing in a couple of scenes this weekend for Suzan Lori-Parks “365 Days/365 Plays” at “the side project” in Chicago, and also been busy getting used to speaking of himself in the third person.

SO…he was wracking what’s left of his fragile left brain for this weeks song of the week…and came up with “Happy Halloween,” a semi-scary and mostly just weird atmosphere/score track. jon always has fun playing with atmospheres and sound effects, and he told me earlier today that he had fun with this too, and that he’s me.

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also, as a bonus track blog exclusive, he’s including a song that he wrote for the Maplewood Halloween Party last saturday, that was played right after MJ’s “thriller” in the dance mix. HEAR it HERE —-> “Mass Hysteria

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thanks for listening as always!

everyone have a safe and happy halloween.

j

the wind dance of satin nightingales

October 25, 2007

welcome back weary travelers! for this weeks tune, i have traveled to the Peruvian high Andes with Frenchmen dressed as Inca kings and toting cigarette holders and 50 year old cognac.

the wind dance of satin nightingales” is steiny’s first real attempt at “exotica”, inspired in part by the halloween party here at maplewood on saturday night. i have heard many of these tunes in my roommate stevies magical party mixes, and finally got inspired on saturday to write in the style.

the instrumentation is as follows:

two pandero’s (small frame drum)

tambourine

shaker

drumset toms

percussion

upright bass

guitar (tremolo)

piano(s)

cellos

xylophone

misc. jungle ambiance and bird calls

some french guy (from a french language program)

jon steiny vocals

rachel steiny vocals

EVERYONE GIVE IT UP FOR RACHEL STEINMEIER! rachel came in just today and whipped out some magical vocal lines, some composed and some improvised. i told her to go for “kermit the frog sings opera” and she rocked it. in case ya’ll don’t know, my sister is a talented and trained vocalist, with a great ear and great range, and will also be appearing in the Detholz – Jukebox of the Dead show halloween night! NEXT WEEK!

well, not sure what else to say about this tune. i’m pretty happy with it. i hope you get transported to a mysterious place (but don’t freak out).

thanks for listening!

j

p.s. a barrel of laughs for anyone who can translate the french

p.p.s mailing list is here

famous people

August 16, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. i’m kind of excited about this weeks song. i had fun playing with guitary stuff, and with the character of this rocker. it’s called “famous people” (click to open or download).

well. this guy started with an entire drum track, and was a far cheezier animal in my head at first. once i started playing with guitar and bass parts, my aesthetic changed. my ear was drawn more toward eastern mystery macho for some reason. and so it goes. i’m pretty happy with where it ended up though, especially the “chorus,” the repetative spoken part with octave guitars/bass and sort of cliche guitar melody.

MUSIC

i’m a big fan of doubling. i do this with guitar and bass on this tune, as well as vocals. i even have the bass guitar rhythm following the kick drum pretty closely thoughout, something that i think really keeps a tune “tite” in a specifically “tite” feeling way. the bass part of this tune actually came first (second…after drums). i like the the mean little metally sounding lick of the verse, and was imagining AB-ing it with the vocals, guitar lick – vocal line – guitar lick – vocal line – etc, though i wasn’t sure yet what the vocal line would be, musically speaking. i ended up speaking that vocal line after trying a couple of singy parts that just weren’t work’n for me. speaking with some level of urgency seemed to fit the meany dark character of the verse guitar/bass parts than singing did, to my ear.

the idea of the little B section that happens after these verses was to lighten the mood a little, probably residual material from the cheezy original concept i had (albeit vague). it made sense to me to sing this section (in parts too), as the character is lighter and less funky.

the “chorus” or C section is my favorite of these main three. the bass and guitar double was the first idea here. repetitive, a little funky, driving. a character that you hear when the guys in the movie are heading out to do macho things and tensions are high. here, i’ve got bass and two clean guitars doubling the riff, and the octavy distorted guitar playing the eastern sounding single line dealy. really fun character.

the last section of the piece builds over four sections. the drums change slightly in every “section” here, and guitars generally don’t. they loop four different lines, designed to be a little off kilter and to “move” well, or be rhythmically driving. the big distorty line does this by being relentlessly steady eight notes that change keys and chords. bass follows the kick drum (generally) again, another guitar (clean) a short loop around one of the rhythmic themes of the tune, and another plays a more melodic part here, but with an intentionally groovy rhythmic pattern of twos over groups of three. you could think of this like “one, e…a, two…and, a…” based on at “one, e, and, a” four count. i thought about playing even more with rhythm here, firstly trying to mess with triplets over the eighth notes, but found it too be too complicated for how not-so-cool it sounded. i think this (as weird as it is) makes a lot more sense to the ear. it’s tense sounding, and “complicated” but it still moves foward. it flows. to me at least. i guess that’s part of the question. i feel like these things are happening, but really it’s just that these were the intentions of or motivations for the part writing decisions…not to say that they’re affective. 🙂

WORDS

well, what do YOU think the words are about? they’re a bit convoluted, but there are some strains of theme in there that i think ended up making some sense in a strange way. these were written with a stronger focus on character and sound than “meaning” or “subject.” but, i think that my subconscious created some consistencies that work pretty well. i felt, by the end of recording the vocals, that it started to make some sense (not the original intention). in this case TITLE came first, then rhythmic and melodic ideas for the three sections, and then words, A to B to C. i recording myself riffing over these sections with jibberish, which i often do, to get the rhythmic and melodic ideas down. then i added in texts that worked with those melodic constraints, and fit the character that i was hearing.

so, any ideas what it’s about? don’t think of “about” in terms of narrative, but more in terms of character, context, imagery, etc…but i’d be interested to hear what people’s take on subject matter are on this. i have ideas, but i usually consider this sort of thing a “no wrong answers” deal. i love hearing what something sounds like through some elses ears and processing system. here are the letters:

he’s com’n round the bend
make sure it’s ready to go
he’s wearing davidoff
and a face like jonny joe

famous eyeballs long flowy lines
famous pitfalls help me unwind

LIGHT IT I LIKE IT I FEEL IT IN MY EYELID
I’D EAT IT FOR BREAKFAST ON MY YELLOW BRICK LAWN
I HATE IT FILET IT I KNOW IT’S THE JUST WAY IT
LOOKS UP ON THE TELEVISION SCREEN IN MY DREAM..AH AH AH

he’s got a lobster in his hand
he’s made of butter and sand
that’s not our man
we’ve been had…we’ve been had

famous eyeballs long flowy lines
famous pitfalls help me unwind

LIGHT IT I LIKE IT I FEEL IT IN MY EYELID
I’D EAT IT FOR DINNER ON MY ORANGE-WHIP PLATES
I HATE IT JUST ATE IT I KNOW I’VE GOTTA SAY IT’S
GONNA BE A LONG LONG NIGHT…

BUT IF YOU EXIST TO QUALIFY MY SEA-DO
I’LL TAKE YOU TO FAKE VIEWS OF CARAMELLA LIGHTS
YOU’LL LOVE IT BLACK GLOVE IT RUB IT ON MY TUB IT’S
THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES ME LATE…AH AH AH

eh?

thanks for listening/reading.

j

carnival candy

August 8, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. this weeks song is called “carnival candy.”

it’s a piece inspired by the classic creepy circus idea, an old favorite. i’m not sure what specifically inspired me to write this in the last week, but it’s a character that i love to play with in general. it’s creepy, a bit off kilter harmonically, and kinda funny to me. i love the energy, and the scene it sets in my mind’s eye. a lot of the stuff i wrote for my college senior recital fit into this “circusy” category. it’s just something i dive into pretty easily for some reason.

WARNING: if you’re deathly afraid of clowns, don’t think about scary clowns while listening to this piece. also, if you’re deathly afraid of pianos, don’t notice that there’s a piano in the song while you listen.

this tune started with the bass line entirely, from front to back. the repeated pattern consists of an octave and a minor sixth (key of c – C and Aflat) that changes roots throughout, from c and back to c. the rhythm of the bass line is key to the “movement” and energy of piece. the idea is for it to sound like you (or some character) is moving in some direction, with some level urgency, or just that something “busy” is happening. someone is up to no good. i also used the even more repetitive percussion parts to lend to this movement, but i didn’t want them to get too big, for fear of going from sneaky and mischievous to a godzilla sort of creepiness. they’re all basically percussion “toys,” or tiny noise makers and bells. blabeebla.

so, piano gets melody AND bassline in this one. i filled some space with the pipe organ sound in the background, holding diminished chords to add to the tension and fit in with the harmonically off kilter piano material. and then i added the churchy chime in the background…another classically creepy and ironically devious gesture i think.

finally, i added a melodica and vocals in unison with a counter melody, as the form is bascially a big A A, and gets otherwise boring the second time around. i like this form though. same material TWICE, with new layers the second time around, or progressively thicker as you go, over the same base. there’s a lot you can do with whatever that first idea is. tons actually. and sticking to it as the basis for the piece is not only a good exercise, but also helps hold the piece together from point A to point B. SO, melodica, vocals, and…extra percussion. hm…what is that extra percussion that comes in half way through? any ideas team?

(insert Jeapordy music here)

what is: jonny’s chest?

that’s right!

for extra rhythm in the second half of the tune, i just played drummy stuff on my bare chest with my bear hands. not that many people have bear hands at their disposal, but i was lucky enough to find some at a garage sale last year in hammond indiana.

and…last and least: i wanted to play with this some protools effects (i know, not necessarily a good reason to write something) so i recorded myself saying “ice cream” repeatedly and added a funky time bender to it at the end of the piece. it’s sort of like the punchline to the joke to me. the moment where you realize that it IS a goofy piece, and i know it too. almost like the creepy circus has turned into a mere backdrop for sugary goodies. not so scary anymore, eh? it also fit into the “carnival candy” title, which i came up with before any of the writing really happened.

ok…boring. i know that’s way more material than anyone wanted to know about this tune, but that was basically the thought process for it. i’m pretty happy with it. i think that it sets a mood. i like that it’s light in step but dark in demeanor.

what do YOU think?

thanks for listening.

j