Archive for the ‘synth’ 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

Advertisements

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

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

rhinos

December 4, 2007

rhinos” (mp3)

welcome back mom. this week’s song is about the future. it’s a terrifying look into what many people say will be the end of mankind as we know it. it’s not global warming, it’s not terrorism, it’s not even the New World Order in the way we commonly think of it now. not even the elite world leaders that we fear today,with their bulletproof limos and their elaborate plans for world domination will be able to overcome giant robotic rhinoceri.

MUSIC

awesome

WORDS

written and performed while drunk on whiskey at 11:30pm last saturday night

NOTES

the future is a scary place. i’ve been there. horned animals aren’t the only worries we’ll have, trust me. i can’t get into it right now. but i’ll be posting incremental updates on the terrifying truths of “the future” in the comming weeks.

for christmas.

love,

jon steinmeier

p.s. sign the mailing list for weekly updates

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

hot air balloon

July 28, 2007

hey kids!

hot air balloon” is a song about romance, air travel, aliens, survival, and cheeseburgers.

a friend of mine and i were talking recently about taking a hot air balloon trip, in jest. it got me thinking, and really liked the image of being on your way somewhere, but fascinated by your surroundings all the way there. being simultaneously excited about where you’re going and your immediate “place,” or “journey.”

the song ended up being mostly about discovery; some possible, some actual, some fantastic, some personal. for example, the idea of aliens and magic carpets are fantastic (to me), but the discovery of “theory’s i would make it through” are both actual and possible. in this case, all of these discoveries take place in the context of a hot air balloon trip.

explaining “what a song is about” is always a little tricky to me. this is a good example of me writing with actual meaning, about REAL things (as apposed to other recent rambles) but it’s set in a fantastic, UNREAL environment, much like the connection between dreams and personal reality.

any questions? 🙂

here are lyrics, with some original (optional) lines in parenthesis:

pack light cause we’re low on space
in this place high above my little home (the clouds of doubt)
focus hard cause we might just face
a storm or angry aliens supergnomes (when we get out)

i love you up so high in the sky
i love that you brought some apple pie
i love it when you pull the string
i hear it my scull for at least a week-ling

i had a conversation with a magic carpet
it told me everything i ever said i knew (thought i always i knew)

i saw you in a hot air balloon ah yeah

pack a lighter for a cigarette break
on the way across that ocean that we’ve heard about
pack a camera cause there might be a lake
on a clowd, out in space, near the in-and-out (when we get out)

i love you on the balcony
i’d never throw you out into the sea
i love it when you pull the string
i hear it in my scull like a telephone ring

AND I CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM HERE

i had a conversation with an angry alien
it told me names of theory’s i would make it through

i saw you in a hot air balloon ah yeah

LOON…BALLOON…BALLOON…BALLOONY BALLOON

it’s like magic
in my hot air balloon
paper plastic
i’m glad i’m here with you

AND I CAN SEE EVERYTHING FROM HERE

i want to tell you all about my time in prison
but we’re so high up in the sky i wouldn’t dare
i want to arm-wrestle the alien invention
but i’m preoccupied with flying through the air