Archive for the ‘human body noises’ Category

for the shorties

September 5, 2007

well, i’m not sure what to say about this week. i ran into MAJOR writers block for a few days, and was busy with the wedding of dear friends, and an awesome (and busy) weekend all around. so…what i came up with in between wacky time and creative stand-still was a series of five really short (and not very interesting) pieces for 5 or so vocalists. call me lazy, but i decided not to track with any “instruments” this week. no midi, no mic placement, plugging and unplugging etc…i also wrote as i recorded, and didn’t do much for multiple takes, which i think becomes evident at some point. 😦 in the same breath, there are some moments (mistakes and all) that i rather like, partly because they’re real, and/or screwy. AND…writing for all voices is really fun, and not what i’ve been doing recently, so i wanted to expand the palate a little.

bla bla bla here are the mp3’s:


i’m so tired

fun park



(you can also stream them in order at

i sort of feel like apologizing for throwing together some A’s and B’s and improvizing and/or writing goofy lyrics, but i won’t. one of the things about the “song a week” project is that it can be a look into my subconscious, and part of the idea/fun of it is to see what i come up with and then to look back and think about why. this is mostly a selfish endeavor after all; one that is based in part on what state i’m in at the time…in this case, borderline coma. that being said, i think there are some funny moments in here, that to me were worth posting (not everything gets posted). regardless, i hope you enjoy them for one reason or another.

disclaimers abound. 🙂

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.