Archive for the ‘dream’ Category

floyd sleeps in

June 18, 2008

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Floyd Sleeps in

welcome back friends! i’m staying on the floyd-ferry for the time being, and in this episode, he sleeps in a bit late. “snoozes” if you will. this track is a mix of orchestral instruments and environmental sounds, some of which are INSIDE floyds half-awake dream, some of which are outside, in the real world.

i see this entire floyd series as “music for film with no film”, and as always, would love to hear anyones interpretation of this one, or any of them for that matter. any images or ideas they inspire. if they don’t, that’s good to know too. 🙂

it’s funny, i end up with some pretty specific ideas after each of these, and many of them have to do with WHERE things are happening.  what the room looks like for example.  where the window is.  things like that.

next week, i may get more into a full on dream floyd has. stay tuned!

as always, thanks for listening, and come out to Stan Mansion this thursday night for Mucca Pazza’s cd release show, also featuring Chandeliers and Baby Teeth! it’ll be a raucous night fer sure.



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.


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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)



drumset toms


upright bass

guitar (tremolo)




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!


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

p.p.s mailing list is here


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


October 2, 2007

mikey” (click for mp3)

welcome back to the jon steinmeier song a week super blog blitzkrieg. this weeks song, “mikey”, is a fun little electro dance sci-fi cinema sound scape.

i felt like doing a little semi-programmatic thingy this week, and play a bit with sounds and atmospheres. i get into this zone sometimes, inspired in part by sounds that i find. in this case, i’m using some of the same “kraftwerkesque” drum sounds from last weeks song “berlin” but in a more instrumental way, and playing more with atmospheric samples.

i like that the piece is a bit ADD, and moves from idea to idea and back in a pretty short space. and it’s a different sort of “composition” that i’ve gotten into a lot in the past year or so, getting away from chord changes and song forms a bit.

it’s also the sort of piece that i imagine a video with, as the main focus of the piece. in that sense, consider it “unfinished” until one of you brilliant videographers wants to take a stab at it. let me know! i can pay you in hugs.

thanks for listening!


grease machine

August 22, 2007

hey kids! welcome to this weeks episode of the “song of week” mini-drama magic show super series. “grease machine” is a new song that i wrote on my back porch and recorded in my imagination. the nice thing about my imagination in this case, was that it took me into the future (2112 or so) where it’s possible to merely imagine things, like sound recordings, into existence. really convenient.


this was another of a few recent posts that i wrote on the guitar, something i don’t do that often these days. i rather like it though (the guitar), and in this case, had a lovely time on my back porch with guitar, pen, paper, coffee, and cigarettes. made an afternoon out of it.

i’ve been thinking about form lately, most recently about a conversation with jeff thomas about the writing of mark messing (mucca pazza), someone i’ve admired for years, as a writer, player, and human. jeff noted that some of mark’s forms are set up in an A B A C A D A E etc…format. “A” being the main idea (chorus, hook, theme, refrain, whatever) and the others being various developments of the idea. i really like this approach to form, almost in a theme and variations sort of way. it keeps the piece moving in potentially new directions within the confines of “theme,” something i find to be truly satisfying. i was at least conscious of this approach in writing “grease machine,” as someone who recently gets trapped in ABABABABA sorts of forms. so, i expanded my horizons a bit. i ended up with an A B C D A B C D E F A form. i used a rhythmic motive of groups of two (over three for the most part) as one way to keep it all together. i think you’ll hear what i’m talking about…but let me know if you don’t and i’ll give you min/sec examples. from the beginning, you can listen for repeated groups of TWO, and you’ll probably hear what i’m talking about. a little thing, that i think goes a long way in keeping the tune together.

i also played with time alot in this tune, mostly marrying the rhythm to two things:

1.that two over three idea, and

2.the lyrics.

the two over three idea came from the openning guitar part, the first thing i wrote. i liked it enough to make a theme out of the idea, and off we go…

i continued to use these groupings of two’s throughout the piece though, in the B, D, E, and F sections. the C section stands out because it hangs on long notes, and doesn’t adhere to this otherwise relentless grouping, in the same way that the beginning of the E section does…sort of serving as a “bridge” in the song. bla bla bla…

other rhythmic play that i had fun with was the frequency of chord changes in the “chorus” or D section of the tune (“i’ve been swallowed by the grease machine“). there are three chords in this section that repeat in order over phrases of four…so, you end up with a vocal pattern that repeats in twos and four’s, and guitar parts that repeat in three’s. i find that this actually makes the guitar part SOUND like a longer phrase than the vocal part, when it’s actually shorter (oddly enough). what do you think?


alrighty, enough nonsensical gibberish. oh…wait. no, there’s more. the lyrics of this tune (again) come mostly from the steiny subconscious super computer, designed in 1978 and developed more fully over the past 29 years as technology became available to “us.”

the first part is a play on words between english and german…ultimately blending together the word for toilet (bathroom) and merchantile. this finding took my imagination to a place i’ve been in the past couple of years a few times. that place where you’re on tour with a band, and have to use a bathroom somewhere, whether you’re allowed to or not. whether you’re a patron or not. in this situation, i’ve had to (a couple of times) be quick and/or sneaky to get the job done, or (in a couple of cases) get scolded by an employee of said establishment. so, naturally, in my mind, the Das BaditzimMer-chantile exchange on main had a lovely bathroom, if you could get in and out with getting into trouble, or being swallowed by a gigantic grease robot. if you really want more meaning out of this song, you’ll appreciate the E (bridge) section, where i too express the desire for meaning, even questioning why it’s “meaning i want.” an excellent question for the philosophers in the audience.

i thought today, about things that this song COULD be about…and again, came up with a couple of good ideas, but yea…it’s a sound and picture game to me on this one. it’s all a part of the aesthetic. the character of the tune.

any questions?




as always, thanks for listening. 🙂