Friday, December 4, 2009

Saturday Morning Ramblings...


Hello, fearless readers... all 2.3 of you...

I have some random thoughts bubbling this morning, and since I have some borrowed internet access, I can actually blog.

First off, I've decided to call the Eutoxita album currently in progress Trainwreck. It's a favorite term of mine, and I think it suits the rather mosaic format of the record. The pieces are mostly from various recordings I've done over the last year and a half, all spooged together under one banner. It's sort of like when a label releases a compilation album of their stable of artists--the results aren't going to sound particularly cohesive, more like scanning through stations or hitting "shuffle" on a multi-CD changer. (Remember CDs? I found it confounding enough to explain vinyl records--CDs now appear to be going the way of the buffalo. Sheesh...).

For example, the song "Walnut Hill" was written for the end-credits for my Arts Integration & You movie, and was intended to have that movie-end-credits celebratory vibe to it (not to mention in compliment to the lyrical content and song inspiration). As such, it is rather compressed-sounding, a la many pop records used in films (Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" comes to mind). Meanwhile, "Life Is Rushing By", "When I Was A Child", "Late Night Radio", and "When I Get Old" were written for an entirely different purpose, with different recording methods, essentially mixed as an EP that never got released. There will be... differences. I think, though, that the overall theme being autobiographical in nature, the album will still make sense. I am also working hard to have the track order flow as an album should (not that anybody really does it that way anymore, but I am a dinosaur, so...).

Ok... next thing (though strangely related)... In this blog and the one I do for My Father's Guns, I have written about loudness as a goal in mixing/mastering/producing/plooking out recordings. I have been driving myself crazy trying to make these projects competitive in volume without killing the dynamics and spirit of the music. In the end, I have decided that the competition just isn't worth it. I have remixed "Oasis" I can't tell you how many times in this pursuit and it's getting to the point where things are getting lost, so I'm going back a few steps. So... those of you who buy the CD will have to deal with it being less loud than the hyper-squashified crap they're selling you these days (see: and I do not wish my music to suffer a death magnetic.

Finally, I had the honor and privilege of engineering a recording for my brother the other night (Monday?). It's not done--we only had time to lay down the main acoustic guitar part--but it's already beautiful. For those of you not in the know, William was the lead guitarist in Turtlebone (Mercy Risin), Those Charming Deviationists, and a number of other bands, including being my co-conspirator in the ill-fated (but ahead of its time) Naked. The beauty and originality of his style is a much-needed affront to the blandness I hear both on radio and in clubs. Stay tuned for more on his project.

Back to Train Wreck, here is my preliminary track listing, with minor commentary:

1. "It Didn't Move, So I Ate It" - I wrote this one back in '93, never recorded it. Weird. Fits nowhere on the record but needs to be there... so I'm opening with it. Actually, the ending chords fade nicely into the intro chords of "Life Is Rushing By". I may move it to the half-way mark, in the vein of Yes's "Five Per Cent for Nothing" from Fragile (fitting, since--along with all things Zappa--that song informed the writing of "It Didn't Move, So I Ate It").

2."Life Is Rushing By"- First movement of my four-part cycle for the Arts in Human Development class at Walnut Hill. Tracks 2-4 are the full cycle and necessarily go together in the track order.

3. "When I Was A Child"
- I love this track. Acoustic drums, upright bass, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, lots of harmony vocals...

4. "Late Night Radio" - Like Jackson Browne? How about Fleetwood Mac? This whole development cycle represents my own human development using the framework established by Erik Erikson. For the arts aspect of it (ignoring the fact that it's, um, a bunch of songs...)I tried to style each song around the kind of stuff I was listening to at that stage, or at least stuff that was in vogue. For example, "Life Is Rushing By" is very atmospheric, very early Peter Gabriel/Pink Floyd, hopefully without being too derivative. I was born in 1972--get it? "Late Night Radio" reflects the confessional singer/songwriter period of the late '70s and early '80. Kinda fits the autobiographical theme, dontcha think?

5. "When I Get Old" - You'll have to wait for the CD. I think this is one of the best songs I have ever written.

6. "Oasis" - Yup. Written a lot about this one already.

7. "The Sky Can Fall" - I won't give you the personal side. It is, however, written all in haiku. The meter is in three, as there are three lines to a haiku. The chord structure, eventually manipulated to follow the muse, started out reflecting the five-seven-five syllable pattern that is the strict (though totally violable) structure of haiku.

8. "Walnut Hill" - Already mentioned. Recorded super-ghetto-style during a marathon production session to finish my movie in time to graduate my masters program. The drumbeats are a combination of HammerHead programming and samples from a Yamaha PSR-248 home keyboard. The swirly flute loop section also used the Yamaha. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, son...

9. etc., uh... Yeah, there are at least two more songs, probably three, but they are still in preproduction (i.e. being written). One is called "Punk Rock For Breakfast". Another is "A Darker Purpose", for which I am collaborating on the lyrics with my teenage son, as it was inspired by an imaginary CD he designed in art class. It will be fashioned in the dulcet tones of industrial metal. I am also considering the inclusion of a track I recorded way back in the day called "Calling Colin", a song I wrote and recorded for my nephew. There are only a couple of copies floating around and I really think it needs to see wider distribution.

That's all for today...

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