This is what happens when I write and record two songs a week for a year.
The sky looks like it is bleeding diamonds
Smoke looks just like a thousand garlands
I'm trying to find the words you want to:
Hear me know 'cause I've heard all that I can stand
This is not what I had planned
- Nicole Atkins
I was shooting to break three songs out this week but that plan didn’t totally work out. I got two good ones out with The Sea and Cordelia, but going for number three I fell quite a bit short. I’m going to post it anyway, and any other mess ups that occur in the future in the new B-List category.
I was going for a heavier, more industrial version of The Sea, but it came out messy and lacking cohesion. There are some cool things I figured out how to do so I don’t consider it a failure at all. Actually I was more relieved then anything else when I decided to drop it. There are some cool chopped up pieces in the middle, and a couple cool drum patterns but none of it works together as a whole. Its mixed very, very loosely, just enough so its listenable.
The biggest gripe I had in the actual recording process was that I used the Washburn on all the guitar tracks. This guitar is great for rhythm but the truss rod and bridge both need heavy adjustment - soloing past the seventh fret is very frustrating. There is some rough action in the higher register and it is neither easy nor fun to play. I’m definitely going to have to work on that guitar before I record an entire song with it. But without further ado, here’s Collapse.
This song came out of listening to 80s pop songs for a couple of hours, specifically hearing Joy Division. It might be easy to miss, but the second chord progression reeks of Love Will Tear Us Apart. Also I’m not quite sure about this, but I kept thinking of The Fifth Element every time I played the intro line, maybe the Leeloo theme in the second to last scene (where Milla Jovovich tears up the super-evil-death-ball). Speaking of which, apparently Milla Jovovich released an album years ago called The Divine Comedy which also apparently got decent reviews. Hopefully writing it down will remind me to listen to it.
So, five guitar tracks total, all on the Peavey. Electric bass, a little synth stuff for background color. Three drums tracks. Its in D major (yes MAJOR), but ends at the very end in A major.
Now for something a little different. Much credit goes to State of Mind’s Sun King which I referenced liberally (the drum and bass). This time I started with the beat and chord progression heard in the beginning which was heavily influenced by that song. It grew into something much different after that with the weird solos and heavy guitars. I think starting with the beat first helped immensely, giving the song more structure than last week’s offerings. The piano/synth arpeggios came from a sweep picking lick I made up a little bit before starting the song proper and sound just a little bit like a certain theme from Final Fantasy XII.
I didn’t use any bass at all for this song, instead I relied on the three drums tracks and the detuned rhythm guitar for the low end. I used the yellow Washburn which is tuned to C# for the rhythms - it has a way thicker, darker sound than the Peavey. I used the Peavey for the leads in standard tuning. Also a synth through most of the song for the airy background sounds. Its in C# minor.
This song started off with the simple hybrid picked intro and got kind of out of hand after that. I doubled a lot of the guitar parts and doubled the main lead with a synth. I was shooting for a Ratatat kind of lead sound with that but it came out kind of harsh sounding. I’ll need to work on that. For the synth I had to tab out the solo which was easy enough, but it was far harder playing it than writing it. Each individual part is fine, the problem came trying to put it all together. I realized that I am really out of practice. I need to pull out the metronome for this stuff.
Its in E minor, a key which I’ve shied away from as its my default (It’s the metal key). I feel like this goes beyond what I normally do so no problem there. That’s what this is all about anyway. Peavey guitar, and my P-Bass knockoff, and Ableton Live drums.
Download Constant Silence
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This song started with the opening melody on the E and B strings and was built in order from there. Each section was built after the last without too much real arranging. I think it shows as the direction of the song is kind of muddled, but it allowed me to thing of things differently than how I normally write. The solos were written and then performed back to back to keep with this idea.
Its in B minor with the electric guitar and bass doing everything besides the percussion; no synths. There is a weird pick scrape thing going on between 2:30 and 3:00 with a phaser and distortion on that I thought was interesting. I’ll probably refine it in another song.
Download Lone Ranger
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I wrote and recorded this song for a video game trailer (of the same name) for class.
At first the ultraviolet light would be blocked by the dust cloud kicked by the collision. During the extended winter that follows most animals would become weaker, and more vulnerable as many animals depend on exposure to ultraviolet light to keep their biological protective mechanisms operational. When the ultraviolet spring arrives those animals and plants that had survived would have lost their resistance to ultraviolet radiation. Consequently the ultraviolet rays will penetrate far more deeply and with a greater intensity.
Its in D minor tuned to drop D. I used the Peavey, I didn’t have a bass with me and used the Peavey for that too, pitch shifting it down a step. That’s why the bass sounds muddy and lacks definition. The piano is a VST called MDA Piano.