I. 2018/19 Releases
10 Dec (updated Feb 2019) ··· New contemporary jazz tune. Small nitpick-fixes planned but acceptable demo quality. Current version 11 includes guitar solo over 2nd chorus and other small tweaks. Key: G. BPM: 90.
Pop-jazz tune in C minor. 90 BPM. Composed, arranged, recorded and produced July 9th–11th, 2018. MIDI sax now passable. 16–24 July: Simplified intro, brought drums forward, tightened up bass and guitar, dozens of other small fixes. This mix (11.0) is ready! Submitted to Broadjam on Aug. 1, 2018. Will be submitted to add'l music-placement services.
September 25 (begun May 2018 ~ see below) Rippingtons-style pop-jazz. Solid, close-to-pro mix (short of hiring a professional engineer). Key: F major. 94 BPM. version: 12.9
July 29 ⇢ August 19 ··· My nickname for my daughter when she was a young child. "There's my beautiful girl!" Now off to college, she's the last chick to leave the nest. This was my going-away gift. Key: Dmaj7/9. 66 BPM. version: 6.7 (8-Sept)
II. Seeds / In Progress
Updated May 14 & July 26 ··· A short proof-of-concept created in early April. Updates include replacing fake-sounding MIDI trumpet with guitar; improved drum track; adding multiple new guitar parts. Unfinished: needs proper arrangement, B/C sections, bridges, etc. Until then: July 26 ~ Put wah on solo guitars as a test. • Inspired by an instrumental jam played live by Bobby Caldwell's band as the singer sat on a tall stool basking in the groove*. That night the band featured saxophonist Andrew Neu. Video clip is Bobby's classic hit and includes footage of Neu (instrumental jam not in this video). Title is a reference to the James Gang's Funk #48 (1969) and Funk #49 (1970).
*Ideas captured in 2015 and 2017 via smart phone voice memo app. ;-)
updated July 16, 2018 ··· A repetitive ("lazy layering" technique) orphan chorus created on Sunday July 8. Remixed and cleaned up 1 week later. I put this on hold when I realized it was too similar in feel to the chorus in Riptide. There's still good stuff here so I'll rework it someday.
April 18, 2018 A fun headbanger. This proof-of-concept can be developed further - perhaps add a guitar solo? Three-quarters of the way through a cello adds depth underneath the synth bass followed by crunch synth bass that duplicates the cello (for a total of 3 bass parts ;-). Orig. title Not Quite AK was a reference to guitarist Andrey Korolev (13-Apr. entry below). Play this LOUD!
Weds: "take #19.9" includes quarter-note drum accents suggested by a friend, plus minor tweaks to the mix. now closer to action-movie theme potential ;-)
April 11, 2018 First attempt at a longer piece, something more than a quick-learning tool (following my initial 28 Feb. jumping in as a beginner to recording / arranging / producing). ▸ 19 July: Significant arrangement fixes and tweaks: 66 BPM tempo dragged; upped to 68. Replaced synth melody with sax. Re-tracked all guitars. Dozens of other mix fixes. Lots more planned for this – re-tracking bass, adding missing melody over B section, and more. 21 July: Finally able to EQ a richer, more natural-sounding Alto tone. Improved synths. Note to self: Please fix weird dissonance in overlapping bass notes!
III. Early Investigations · March 2018
These are first-time explorations and were mostly composed spontaneously, at the time of tracking. Some are fragments; some are a little more complete. No pre-recorded loops or snippets; part of the fun is getting to play every instrument, except drums which I enjoy programming/arranging. Pro musicians would of course be hired to record tunes that are to be fully produced.
IV. Other things
Updated May 23, 2018. Originally recorded on 15 March as "Synths Test" while learning LPX.
Recorded April 18, 2018, added to this page the following day ··· Composed 22 years ago for my old friend Tim in York, UK. Written in Bedford, MA on my grandmother's baby grand piano. The basic concept and chord progression were captured on an old-school cassette recorder on April 9, 1996. Less than 40% complete, this employed "lazy track layering"* to create a rough demo for quick evaluation of a decades-old idea.
*Lazy Track Layering is duplicating a piano, synth, or other keyboard track to add a new keyboard part, instead of playing the new part live. It's a quick-and-dirty method of building up layers so a piece of music can be evaluated and critiqued immediately. Lazy tracks are re-recorded later to retain a human feel.
April 13, 2018 First test live mic-ing guitar (until now guitars were recorded direct into LPX). My Line6 M13 is having technical issues so I used the Zenkudo (set to Dumble of course ;-) to get the tone and played the 335, obviously. Earlier in the day I had listened to Russian virtuoso Andrey Korolev playing a sweet root-to-relative-minor thing, which is why this simple, repetitive throwaway also begins with similar chord changes. It highlights the guitar melody in a tribute to Mr. Carlton, one of my guitar heroes.
June / July 2018 ··· A very simple repeating figure created as 3 tracks: piano, bass, drums. Added sax test on 16-July-18 — learning how to make MIDI sax sound more realistic.
July 17, 2018 ··· First beat test, sung into smart phone as a voice memo 16 July, 2018. Created in LPX the following day. A little too fast and frenetic at 94 BPM, it's been slowed to a nice, crisp 92 BPM.
July 18, 2018 ··· A bass line that came to me randomly after dinner on Tues. 17 July, 2018 and kind of demanded to be recorded. (This version is just a tad fast at 87 BPM; the current LPX project seems better/more relaxed at 86 BPM.)
July 24–25 ··· A simple repetitive groove in the key of G. 104 BPM. From a July 18 smart phone voice memo.
below: Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 direct input box, Beyerdynamic open-back headphones (for mixing)