Archive for the ‘music’ 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).

————-

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

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.

j

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shiny sun earth consciousness

December 13, 2007

the song” (click it, i dare you)

this song is actually a couple of weeks old. i’m sorry. i know what you’re thinking…

“nice song of the week asshole, too bad it’s not weekly anymore, cheater. you should call this blog something more appropriate like ‘ jon steinmeier is a stupid idiot’ or something. maybe if you got off yer lazy ass, you could write a song a week.  people do that, you know. did you know that some people write a song a day? did you know that there was this playwright named suzan lori parks who wrote a play a day for a year? what are you doing? screwing around on myspace or something? you’re full of shit. stop living.”

and while you’re pretty much right, i have been busy doing other productive things, including song writing, just not for the song a week project. on any given week this year, there have been other songs that get written for one reason or another that don’t end up on the blog for one reason or another. so, if you do the math, i’m writing a song a week plus…i dunno how many…but plus. and so this weeks song was written in a week, if that helps. it was written this year. it was written within the last few weeks in fact. and it was written by me.

i wonder why i’m being so defensive.

sorry mom.

and sorry i said “asshole” and “ass” and “screwing” and “shit” and “math” in this entry.

love,

jon steinmeier

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:

voices

i’m so tired

fun park

hoolahoop

magic

(you can also stream them in order at www.jonsteinmeier.com)

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. 🙂

www.jonsteinmeier.com

beastern

August 29, 2007

hey kids! welcome back. whew…i’ve been writ’n a bunch a songs this week, the most recent of which is this guy…”beastern” (CLICK IT FOR MP3). this song is the “complex” part of a two song personal project i did this week called simple/complex. this is mostly in reference to melodic material, but carries over into arrangement as well.

after a conversation with mama steiny this week about the potential of running out of creative steam, she suggested that i write a simple song that just focuses on a strong melody. i liked this idea alot, and as i am prone to, started to think of it as a bigger project…LOGIC: if there’s a “simple”, there should be a “complex” and they should be released at the same time. whatever. “beastern” is the complex one of the set.

MUSICS

when i finished the basic bones of Our Universe (available at the detholz wordpress blog) i started playing with ideas for “beastern”, as a three or four part, single line, guitar vamp. i recorded roughly three minutes of these parts and added a drum track that eventually loops at different places and comes back to the original groove. i like the busy-ness and harmonic character of these parts, and kept them at the same root and parts for the entire run, as a drony “pedal” sort of base. i was considering writing lyrics with the melody, but decided against it initially. i used a melodica for the main melodic instrument, as i thought it fit the character (much like an accordian would) and because i have one kicking around. with that drony harmonic material, i needed a melody that was particularly “interesting” and starting playing AROUND the harmonic material of the accompaniment. the main scales that would be more or less diatonic to this accompaniment are A to A (white keys – or aeolian) and the same scale with a major THIRD (C#). i started the melody there, and then started adding F#’s and D#’s and resolving them to create an “outside” sort of tension in the melody. i think it created an odd, meandering character, but one that still resolves and gets back to it’s “home.” i made the main phrase 8 bars long before it repeated, but with two repeatable 4 bar phrases, that i broke up later (when the bass and vocals come in). then i split things up between melodica and guitar to give the ear breaks from the otherwise relentless melodica stuff. 🙂

WORDS?

i did end up singing a bit, cause i wanted the tone of the human voice to appear, to add more interest to the piece. once i taught myself to sing the melody, i used the beginning of the alphabet (see here) as the words, and wrote words similar to the sounds and pronunciations of the alphabet part:

IT’S EASILY
THE BEST C S I
JAY ATE A LEMON
DOPIE JEWELER CHEST

A BEE SEES ME
HE LEFT ME AND I
BECAME ELEVEN
O P TOOLER VEST

——————————

it’s a tongue twister!! TRY IT!

the next way that i decided to add interest was sort of cinematic. i used the alphabet idea and imagined someone seeing this song performed live and remembering to practice his alphabet. he steps outside the club for a second to hear himself, and goes through the alphabet once to make sure he’s still “got it,” and heads back inside for the end of the song.

i see this piece as an instrumental really, with the voice as one of the instruments, and the sounds (or words) as articulations. a fun way to write!

thanks for listening.

check out this weeks Special Exclusive Jon Steinmeier Song of the Week at http://detholz.wordpress.com

Welcome…

July 20, 2007

thanks for visiting. this site is dedicated to music that i’m writing and recording weekly, part of a personal “song of the week” project that i started in january 2007. i currently post a song a week (at least) at www.jonsteinmeier.com that i write and record. my plan on THIS site is to give some insight into what i’m writing and why, to open the floor for questions and comments about said writing, and even suggestions for subject matter, style, etc…requests. feel free to get involved. i hope you have a lovely time here.

thanks for visiting,

jonny