Archive for the ‘electronics’ Category

0439

March 23, 2009

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).

thanks for listening!

http://www.jonsteinmeier.com

j

let’s go sailing

August 28, 2008

aka “pure american water”

aka “p.a.w.”

aka “sail away”

aka “little ponies”

———-

music

the main goal of this one ended up being melodic material, and i basically wrote in this order:

1. main beat

2. chorus section chords

3. chorus section melody

4. other synth parts

5. guitar parts, which gave the verse section harmonic clarity

6. verse melody and all lyrics

not an unusual or particularly interesting writing order or scenario, but it was nice to get back into focusing on “melody over chords,” and chords which are mostly inside but go “outside” just a bit.

the words speak of a dream to one day be able to sail into another magical world where freedom is free and all cares are cut off by the magical sunshine and we’re all ponies.

thanks for listening!

j

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

a bird

July 3, 2008

“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. 🙂

words

ridiculous

music

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. 🙂

j

in the cans

April 24, 2008

hello faithful readers/listeners. thanks for stopping by!

this weeks song, “in the cans” (mp3), centers loosely around my Christian faith, the commandments, death, and wanting to KNOW things that ultimately require FAITH because we they’re not provable. it’s an old dilemma for me, and an old one for humans in general i rekon. i don’t think i bring any fresh insight to this necessarily, but it’s been on my mind.

MUSIC

guitar, bass, drums, a coupla synths, and strings. the strings are new samples i’ve been working with, trying to get to sound realistic, which is tough. they’re a little fake in this one too, but i’m excited about figuring out ways to make ’em more believable. this music was written primarily from the piano, which often, for me, means that it moves around a fair amount harmonically.

LYRICS

i used a recording session as my backdrop or metaphor this time, which was fun. the main idea is that the process of learning how to live is similar to making music. the trial and error, the listening (through headphones in this case), copying others, and making mistakes on your way to a salvageable or even excellent take or idea. your guidance can be other stuff you’ve heard, friends who listen to your drafts, and rules for harmony, rhythm, line, etc. all the while though, there’s something you can’t explain about what you like. what sounds good or feels right.

emerge and see

March 3, 2008

get it? play on words. thanks.

emerge and see” (mp3)

welcome back! this weeks song fits into the “serious” category of my songwriting, and is basically about age and knowledge. i wrote music first again, which is more often than not my route these days. MUSICALLY i was inspired in part by the latest Radiohead album, “in rainbows” and sought after interesting electro sounds, a couple of long melodic lines, and a 5/4 beat. i can’t say that i based it specifically on a Radiohead sound or technique, but that listening to the record for the first time inspired me to write. it was fun to play with the 5/4 beat, and play AROUND it with the vocal, keyboard part, and the noisy “chorus” section, which is in 6/4 over the 5/4 drumbeat. also, again, i went for a fun “common tone” element here, where the keyboard (rhodes) plays a steadily repeated C throughout the verse of the tune. i realize i may be overusing this bit, but i still find it to be pretty satisfying. the END section also does some of this common tone business for a while, and was written as a proper “bridge,” but ended up going and going and ending the song. i like ending with different material, or a new section, and never necessarily revisiting the original material, partly to keep thing interesting, partly as the next part in the story, and i think it can create a nice feeling of foward movement, during or after the fact. also, this end section’s LYRICS and vocal melody were improvised, as apposed to the composed and tweaked first half of the piece. i get really excited about this when it works. just hitting record and going for it, even if it’s just a scratch and gets some ideas down. in this case, i kept my original improvised take of the end, and then doubled it with another singy steiny. fun! another example of improvised lyrics is “idiosync“, which is available at www.jonsteinmeier.com from a few months ago.

ok…here are the lyrics:

EMERGE AND SEE

by the time you’re old enough to read this
you’ll know what you missed
you’ll know what you failed to recognize as total bliss

worry wakes the weary
makes the metal grind

hurry shakes the sleepers
anger makes men
takes the shape of wondering

takes the shape of paper planes
flattened out by time

slow down
slowly
i can’t see
slow down
slowly
i can hardly breath
slowly
slowly

and if i fall down on my face
i’ll slowly rise up to the sky
i don’t know why

but it’s nice to know
where i’m going to go
sometime

———-

i think this one speaks for itself for the most part, topically. but it’s basically a mourning of the feeling that youth is replaced by wisdom as we grow old. the “if i had known then what i know now” trouble, as well as a “well, still, i don’t know jack, i just know that the more i figure out the more i realize that i’m dying” sort of feeling. sounds pretty dark, but i don’t think of it entirely that way. it’s one of those things that you understand, but wish were different somehow, maybe. also, the end lyrics (the improvised ones) i think are really about not understanding things, and just appreciating them, and appreciating somehow that you don’t get it.

bla bla bla…thanks for listening.

have a good week!

j

beautiful ideas

November 22, 2007

happy thanksgiving. 🙂

this weeks “song of the week nuclear laser beam audio assault spelling-bee bomb” submission is called “beautiful ideas.” (click for mp3)

THE STORY

firstly: this is a serious song. i jot down lyrical and content ideas all the time, on a piece of paper, or as a notepad doc. most of the serious ones get stuck on the shelf for one reason or another, but this one made it out. it’s about real life relationship stuff, stuff that’s been on my mind, stuff that…bla bla bla, a girl. tricky stuff though. i really don’t want to get too far into it because the person actually exists (human), and while the lyrics are (in my mind) complimentary, it’s a weird thing to have a song (or songs) written about you and talked about in this sort of environment. that being said, they are actually more ABOUT me (or sandwiches) in the context of this relationship. THAT being said, i will post the lyrics below…

WORDS:

foreheads speak a thousand words
but whatever happened to these birds
pretty eyes would never lie
but i might if allowed the time

fingers ran along my arms
charms often become alarms

history is bleeding now
wherever circumstance allows
beautiful ideas float
but water’s leaking in the boat

dinner plates of bread and cheese
never create memories

unless the best remembrance
is hope for hostesses company
unless you want them to
it’s up to you, it’s up to you

mother takes a spill
i’ll just take another pill

fantasy is duty free
all i think about is me

THE STORY: part two AND music

what kind of weird title is that?

i recently watched “stranger than fiction” with will ferrell, dustin hoffman, etc, and loved it. i loved that fantasy met reality in such a matter of fact way; with such a disconnect from the notion of absurdity. also, it’s a writers movie, and left me with a real desire to create a character and an atmosphere in a song. in a serious light though. i started into a song about a character i created dealing with one particular issue, and reminding myself a bit (in approach, not skill) of sufjan stevens, and the way he talks about john wayne gacy, jr on the Illinois record. BIG fan of that song. the lyrics i came up with are for another song perhaps, but i also came up with these, trying to combine the inspiration to get serious and things that i’ve been thinking about lately on a personal level.

musically, i wanted it to be “pretty”, perhaps a bit melancholy, but not sad. it’s really not. i think the main problem i have with the lyrics is that i’m not sure they express the “smile” that i was trying to combine with the “frown” on this one. well, i’m not sure about that. it’s late and i’ve heard it too many times to be objective anymore. but, the song isn’t supposed to be heavy per say, but prolly is a bit.

GENERAL NOTES

i like you. happy thanksgiving’s to all, and safe travles this weekend.

tune in next week for a song about chicken, written by a ham, recorded live from inside a turkey.

thanks for listening.

j

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