this is a track i made for 411God, a project that i compose music for weekly. this one was particular satisfying for me. prolly in a couple of weeks, you can hear the final version with the voice-over at http://www.411god.net/archive.php
i’ve been writing for this project for a little over a year now, and it’s been a great way to get lots of short ideas out and expand my pallate as i go. it’s essentially what’s replaced the “song a week” project for me. perhaps i’ll post some more of these favorites as i go. maybe weekly! i always appreciate the feedback and support of my friends, and it’s a nice way to review what i’m making and how things are progressing (or not).
i recently wrote a couple of pieces for a radio show called “sports spectrum.” the spots havn’t aired yet, and were due today (friday, sept. 19). they’re each 1min 30sec promos. when they air or are posted somewhere, i’ll try to send along a link. in the meantime, here’s the music! (imagine underneath a lovely male radio voice).
Sports Spectrum 1
Sports Spectrum 2
i was told to go for upbeat, Royksopp-esque, and to include sports sounds like “hut hut hike”, a whistle, cheering crowd, etc. i managed to find most of the samples i wanted, and included a lot of that stuff in the basic rhythm tracks for the pieces. i really liked the Royksopp stuff i found on youtube, and modeled a bit of my groove/feel after a couple of their tunes.
thanks for listening!
p.s. hideout block party this weekend. sunday – mucca pazza 4p (or so).
i bought a slide whistle in truckee california a week or two ago, and i have to say, it’s one of the most worthwhile investments i’ve made in a long long time. i suggest you get one, bring it to the next drunk’n hotel after-party you have, and quiz your friends on tv themes and pop melodies!
this weeks song is a strange, ambient sound design featuring said slide whistle (and a fare amount of reverb).
this is the sort of piece that you wanna sit back and relax to while you check your email or surf through other blogs. there’s a melody (sort of derived from an old hymn tune), but mostly the idea here was environmental. and mental. playing with long, strange sounds, and slow peeks and valleys. slow down.
i’ll be gone next week…so i rekon it’ll be another two weeks till you hear from me. i appologize. i have some “songs” on file so to speak, but probably won’t get a chance to record them in the next couple of days. until then, then…
“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.
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)
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).
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.
“A BIRD” (click below these words on the little arrow thingy)
eh…this was one of those weeks. i’m not gonna spend much time dogging my own composition, but this one ain’ exactly the mona lisa of songwriting. 🙂
sort of a three parter. the main electro-groove happens at the top, and again at the end as a more deviously minor version. section two is essentially a synth solo, which i did often a few years ago on sessions for “black gloves”, a collection i never released. i do love playing with synth sounds and improvizing ‘sound solos’ with ’em. it’s always suprising to see what sounds happen as you tweak nobs. section three is the accoustic guitar/drums bit. it’s so different musically, that i wanted to make the instrumentation completely different too.
i had some real trouble in mix land with this one, but if anyone else wants to take a stab at it, let me know. 🙂
SPEAKING OF WHICH!!!
i will soon release two remixes of “laughter carries far” made my Neil Arsently and Steve Niketopoulos. STAY TUNED! they’re great.
thanks for listening, as always. and happy independence day. 🙂
welcome back to the “song of the week jon steinmeier composition blog awesome”…or Sotwjscba!
this week i gave floyd a rest and got “funky.”
“VENUS” is one of those i’d put in the “serious” category lyrically, but not without some bits of irony and sarcasm. cause irony and sarcasm make you sound smart AND confident.
drums and bass were made first on this one. then other “percussion” sounds and noises. then perhaps that little sine wav line. all of the fundamental groove stuff. fake strings. a guitar doubling the synth bass that reminds me of cake (remember them?). real drums on top of the fake drums, which added some human feel, new sounds, and room noise!
my favorite part, musically, is probably the bridge keychange (about 2min 10sec in), where i used the second chord of the progression as the ROOT of the new key, but did it at the point WHEN the chord happens in the progression so you get a weird key and downbeat shift together. i like how different the bridge material feels, but it required some craftiness to get back to the original key and feel. i did it step by step: key first, then time (feel). it still ends up being a little suprising i think. and then…everything ends rather abruptly, because i’ve figured something out. DING! 🙂 i’m pretty happy with that stuff. what do ya’ll think? too weird? too repetative? bad melodies in the bridge?
these were really fun. i started out with a completely different vocal idea or two before getting to this fast and steady one. i approached it like hip hop word play, trying to get two or three rhymes in each line and use words that sounded good together over the basically steady eighth note. i also tried to annunciate so all of that would be understood. mom? i went through three quick drafts of lyrical ideas, all basically coming back to the same story. basically, it’s a song about dating (boring!), but moreso, a song about how i occasionally operate in that universe. i play a little with the “boys are from mars, girls are from venus” bit, but focused obviously on girls being from venus and how strange and wonderful they are. and strange. 🙂 what do ya’ll think? too busy? too obvious? bad lyrics in the bridge?
thanks for listening,
p.s. if you want to get weekly email updates about the song a week sign the MAILING LIST here or shoot me a message and i’ll add you. thanks!
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.
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.