Thursday, February 24, 2011


In an effort to put up one last thing before I went away I made a rough take into a final. One mic records guitar and vocal, and a few cuts and pastes were necessary to make the measures come out right in the end.
You'd never believe the way I came up with this song. It was after mixing a great martini, one that in my mind was as close to perfection as could be. Hard to believe, but true.
So forget about listening to the song and make one of your own:
2 measures Hendrick's gin
1/3 measure Dolin's dry vermouth
half a drop of orange bitters. Seriously, as little as you can add.
Serve with olive - don't use a blue cheese or jalapeno stuffed one this time.

I think I have also made a discovery that vermouth doesn't mix well with vodka. I don't drink vodka martinis myself, but I think the reason for the whole nonsensical "very dry martini" notion is that vermouth doesn't settle in with vodka at all. Most vodka martini drinkers just want a cold glass of vodka and a free pair of olives anyway.
A dry martini is one made with dry vermouth. A sweet martini would be made with sweet red vermouth, but I've never seen anybody make one. "Very dry" is meaningless.

Postscript: after writing this entry there is now an add for olives on my blog page! Those clever folks at Google - they work fast.


I think it's funny that the most noticeable thing about this tune is the weird drum track, since that was an afterthought. It's just an 808 loop, but at the last moment I put some filter effect on it to get the final sound.
The guitars are heavily effected as well. I had a melodic guitar part as well but the sound field was getting crowded so I left it out. So: two acoustic guitar tracks, one drum loop. I tried to add bass but since I hadn't conceived of any harmonic structure in the guitars it proved impossible.

Hard Fall

This song had a funny evolution. I began with an early (pre-psychedelia) sixties pop feel, with that I-IV-I cadence which is impossible to describe in words but I could hum it for you and you'd know exactly what I mean.
Then as I started to meld the words to the song I decided I wanted it to sound like The Clash were performing it. So I learned I can't sing like Joe Strummer, not by a long shot, but I'm even worse at trying to sound like Mick Jones doing backing vocals. I had to bury that in the mix because it just didn't work, which was a shame because I liked it in concept.
I wrote the words moments after falling pretty hard while skateboarding. As I lay there in the driveway clutching my leg in agony I thought "Hm, this could be the subject of a song". And indeed I did break my calcaneous back in August and now have a fine plate in my foot to show for it.
There's a metaphorical verse as well, plus a bridge, but I didn't have time to cut and paste to lengthen the song so I kept it to two verses.
The only technical details to note on this song is that I used Driskill #12 (the more trebly guitar) and the Redwood Chapin Hawk (the mellower rhythm guitar).

New Table

I looked through some lyric fragments I had from past years and found these words.

They are:

I’m not exactly thrilled 
They’re gonna raise my taxes
I feel like I pay my share
Some people believe
We’re in a brave new world now
Honestly I don’t care
I’m just a self-serving ass
Not invited to the new table
I am sarcastic and crass
Critical whenever I’m able  
I don’t like the state
Of music sports or the movies
Celebrity magazines   
Every day it’s dumbed down
Drinking vodka martinis 
On a trampoline

I must have come up with them during the last political campaign. Not being at all politically aligned myself I haven't had a strong opinion on elections for ages now but when a candidate's campaign seems to consistently proclaim "I am going to do nothing that benefits you and harm you in any way I can, Peter," I do get just a tiny bit disturbed - I feel just a bit left out, you know? So there's that floating around in the song, plus all the ways I could think of someone else might criticize me, accurately or not, and then some complaining thrown in for good measure. It's meant to sound obnoxiously self-pitying and snotty at the same time.
Melodically I put in a few touches inspired by John Lennon. I have no idea what it ends up sounding like once filtered through my synaptic processes.


The month is nearly over, and I had to exit the project midway after putting up only a few songs. Oh well.
Here's what did end up on the site:
You're About - would have been put up with a vocal track but I didn't realize till it was too late that I had no microphones in the house. Yes, that means everything else was recorded direct.
This time round I decided to give up completely on recording quality if I was to have any hope of completing anything, so no amps, no microphones, just plug into the computer and go.
That said, I was happy with the way You're About sounded. The single-take dissonant guitar line fit just right, somehow.