Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chapter 19: Let's Just Get Along

          …one of my all-time favorite SIDzCarbonatedMilk songs. For me, this one has it all. It's a sound-test composition, combining Electronica, World Beat, Jazz piano and trumpet solos, my first recording with adult Sarah Jjira H., of my favorite glossolalia lyric interpretations, and plenty o’ sound f/x.

          I've made mentioned of my gear-lust being chemically-controlled by plug-ins. Well when I got my grubby little figurative hands on all the freebies out there in the cyber-alleys, I would stuff my hard-drives with them.

          The patch that was this song’s song-seed was a simple sawtooth patch—fifth-latch lagged with glissando. It was the right sound at the right creative spurt. As I often do when I program a patch or (as in this case) find an interesting one, I will mount the specimen as a rendered sequence. I later came across this patch and was inspired to sing a melody line to it. It remained in that embryonic state for a few years―until I gained the creative energy to finish the lyric.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chapter 18: After Piano Liaisons

      When I was a little boy, it was our family’s Sunday routine to drive over fifty miles to attend church, and after services were over (at which point I'd most sincerely thank God) we'd head back home—stopping halfway to visit my maternal grandmother in Indianola.  Truly, this is when I learned what it was to be mind-numbingly bored.

     I was the last-chance child of parents pushing forty.  My youngest cousin was an adult.  So after going over the river and through the snow, my only playmate was an old upright piano.  The combination of bored handsy child and unsupervised access to grinning yellowed ivory yielded dissonant clusters and anti-melodies that eventually prodded mater and pater to have me take piano lessons.  …to at least lessen the blows' impact.

     What I remember about those piano lessons is that—especially in the warm late spring, summer, and early autumn—it felt like I was in prison.  Every time I would hear through my practice room window gleeful screams of laughter or hear the dull refracted thump of a basketball, the keys would become all the more resistant to my touch.  Soon after, it was more about lasting through the remaining hour-long minutes left to do on my stretch.

     After serving a three-year term, I pled my case before the parole board (a.k.a. my father).  Recidivism being what it is, by my sophomore year in college, I found myself back inside—this time serving a life sentence. …we are talking music, right?

     This song is one I composed while watching a DVD of A&E's "Napoleon" miniseries.  I had entertained releasing an entire album of piano sketches like "…Liaisons".  On SIDzCarbonatedMilk I: "Please Don't Harmonica", I felt it needed something soft and relaxing to serve as a cerebral fingerbowl—after all the booming and occasional frenetic weirdness.  I concluded the 17 song project with an acoustic piano piece titled "Last Stop Su's"—based on a more than amorous short story I wrote about my wife being the last stop on my delivery route.  [Note:  I later realized that the actual "Last Stop Su's" was a different song all together, but I liked the title at that position on the playlist, so I switched titles.]

This one serves as dramatic relief, or maybe a Funk-napkin of sorts.  Uhh…you got a little something…there.  There.  You got it…much better.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chapter 17: Tempted and Tested

          Here's one that Jack and I wrote together in record time. It was one of those inventions mothered by an opportune necessity to place a song on an album of promised prominence that was already in production. [Hint: it involved Jack's niece and a son of a Detroit Motown™ Temptation in L.A.]   It is the fourth and final entry in the “Well Ain’t She Suite” series.

          This was 1998. I had moved operations from Avery Street [in (Detroit Tiger Hall-of-Famer) Ty Cobb's old neighborhood] to Clinton Township—a Met-DET suburb near its northeastern extremes. Ask anyone who was around in the Avery studio [S. A. S. Productions] and they'll tell you we left a lot of good memories…fortunately, we still have most of the music in one format or another. [Note: Look for the release in the medium-near future of some of the best of this on a release titled "The Avery Tapes".]

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chapter 16: I'm Faithful

         I wrote "I'm Faithful" in 1990, with no idea of where I might place it.  It is the third entry in this 4-part series.  All my connections were R&B or Jazz.  And this post-New Wave club piece was going to take loads of dough, dropping wax, and greasing palms to do something independently of the majors.  I had watched one of my collaborators (Herschell Masten; White Limousine) dole out big funds doing such.  At the time, buying food and keeping a roof over my family's heads was my other choice of investment.  Aside from the monetary logistics, this was best launched as a Pop thing.  I didn't know anyone with the voice capable of conveying the feel without sounding wannabe.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chapter 15: What’s It Gonna Take?

…is the second entry in the “Well Ain’t She Suite”.  It is yet another one of those test-songs of which I so often have made mention.  I’ve a tech-stuff addiction.  I salivate gazing at all the naked knobs on display in Vintage King® advert-inserts in my voluminous trade periodicals. …techno-porn for the gear-lustful.  I’ve managed to control it with plug-ins-patches; it’s music gear methadone.  I’ve had to ramp up my dosages with DSP accelerators like UAD-1, UAD-2, the Scope-Platform (now my Plugiator), T. C. Electronic’s Powercore, and Korg Oasys PCI.  While auditioning a modeled electric rigged guitar on the latter, I came up with this very convincing application of a riff.  The words and melody immediately followed.  However, I could never seem to build upon it enough to compose a radio playable length. It was shelved for several years.

          Building The Mμne-Pi Parables song list, I had added “I’m Faithful” as an follow up answer to the musical question posed in “Lies”.  Then I remembered “What’s It Gonna Take”; the lyrics work in, added to and fortified the story arc.  And soul of wit that its brevity is, it serves well as an interlude because of its short length.

What’s it gonna take to make you change your mind?
…all the things I’ve been telling you,
You think is just a line
But these times will be behind you soon

What’s it gonna take to make the truth divine?
Is it all about the signs?

You want to look no further than your eyes

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chapter 14: Lies

This is the first chapter in a 4-part series within a series ably authored by an abstruse riddler wrapped in an enigma while using his zillion-piece white sand puzzle box as a maraca.

This song series, codenamed "Well Ain't She-Suite", is a mini-musical melodrama about betrayal, mistrust, denial, and finally contrition.

In November 2008 (at the Mμne’s onset)—when I played "That Said" [see Chapter 3] over the phone for my firstborn:  Maceo, he commented, "Pops…doing it old school."  It was my intent to produce that late 2008 composition with a funky 70's feel.  "Lies" is different, and is probably early old school…maybe pre-school, for that matter.

It has been my observation that popular music has a twenty-five to thirty year turnover cycle.  Think of all the Beatles Sgt. Pepper-esque affectations in the past few years. …as well as Coldplay's Viva La Vida-tour garb in 2008.  Late last century (in the nineties), Rap performers and producers began utilizing P-Funk elements in their products, and the term and concept of old school became the new thing all over again.  Where I grew up, the best dances were held in a building that was literally literally an old one-room schoolhouse, so old school even means a different thing to me.

"Lies" is a pre-school groove stylistically, as it has that 1987 Minneapolis music-heyday feel that hasn't quite yet rolled up in the chamber.  The thing about "Lies" is that it was actually written and produced in 1987, and is current for that time.

…the Second Coming of Motown?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chapter 13: Cancer

Cancer” will return after these messages.

Chuck-D says, "Welcome to the Thunderdome" (a cinematic reference to a post-apocalyptic gladiatorial arena/abattoir…a people's court of death); well we say, "Welcome to the thump-a-dome!” …like You could have had a V-8. …candy-coating on conventional commercial confections causing cranial cavities?  Nine out of ten thinkists agree that brushing your brain thrice a day with new improved daily SIDzCarboDent will fortify your logic-enamel and lead to better check-ups from the neck up.  Let your mind smile awhile while you stave off the bile of wiles. …in your dairy case.

The Technical Account
After fastidiously filling my thoroughbred synth-stables with breeds the likes of Korg®, Arp®, Yamaha®, and Sequential Circuits®, I had laid out $1,800.00 for a [cue "Psycho" minor second string stabs]…
Casio. [gasp!]

Collective Incredulity
A Casio?  Wait a minute… You paid almost two grand for a [urp!] Casio? …beginners' keyboard with instrument icons and low-grade built-in speakers?  Believe it or don't …once upon a time, Casio—the dollar, ninety-nine keyboard king—was in the professional keyboard biz.

Full disclosure moment:
There was a time when—shamefully—I read “Keyboard” magazine more frequently than I would read the Bible (the fact notwithstanding that “Keyboard” at that time was a keyboardist’s-bible); now I hardly ever read “Keyboard.” [PTL!] I receive so many free pro-mag subscriptions that it makes little cents-sense to pay for effectively redundant information.

Okay. Back to our story…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chapter 12: Da Hark-Side of the Mμne

Our music product, as opposed (though not necessarily juxtaposed) to Jazz Fusion—discussed in the last chapter, might be described as Idiomatic Fission.  Instead of merely fusing idiomatic slants, we endeavored to generate imaginative power by categorically splitting music and cinematic idioms.

As I have stated, as well as having been a Funk maven and admirer of Clintonian P-Funk growing up in the seventies, I had the pleasure of working with and learning from George Clinton in the studio.  During my pure civilian spectator days…uh, do not attempt to adjust your ready-o, there is nothing wrong.  We have taken control as to bring you this special show… MAKE MY FUNK THE P-FUNK.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chapter 11: Enter Mission: D.E.A. Dass in

"…Didn't Know He was Carrion"

And yet again, we arrive at another SIDzCarbonatedMilk™ test song.  This one came about as a result of my auditioning a few Native Instruments® plug-ins that are very rarely implemented by me.           …namely:  Intakt™ and Reaktor™.  This stylized "60's action soundtrack" tribute-groove started with a thin squeaky guitar construction set and drum loops played from the former.

"Enter Mission—D.E.A. Dass in ‘…Carrion’” has long been one of my favorite orphan song puppies—yelping desperately at prospects as they stroll by…its figurative wet nose pressed against the cold glass of the pet store front display window…
wanting only a permanent loving play-list-home. [sigh…they’re just so cute at that age.]

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chapter 10: How Long Is Wrong?

The record of the recording of this record plays like a broken record.  Again, there I was, just minding my own business (shepherding plug-ins).  We wuz just fooling around, y’know?  One thing led to another; and here I find myself fettered with the responsibility of raising yet another brainchild. …another mouth-ed idea to feed yaz.

Earlier this year, I had added another UAD-2 card to Lake Gennesaret [<Luke5><] Studio PS—our SCM/Entejé home-lab.  For my purchase, I received a coupon for $500 to add any UAD plug-in.  There among the only offerings available not already in my possession were the Moog™ filter and their SSL™ emulations.  I run a dual platform DAW system in my studio; and while I had the Moog™ and SSL™ in forms of the Arturia™ Minimoog V® and Waves™’ SSL® Collection on my Intel Extreme PC respectively, it was nice to add these functions to the Mac UAD-ively.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chapter 9: Can I Fly Away with You?

This song starts with a smooth soft-touch Jazz guitar line that [you guessed it…probably] was one of those plug-in test patterns—to which faithful readers of the "…Mμne-Pi" blog must be well-accustomed by now.  What distinguishes this particular plug-in is that it was a freebie [I say was because, though the guitar pattern began with freeware, I bolstered it with a Vir2® "Guitar Legends"® acoustic guitar and I believe it was an NI Kontackt® 3 guitar sound along with it]…IK's Sampletank®-I demo.  I now own the “real” non-demo plug-in.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chapter 8b: (When Love Has) Gotcha

Among memories of living times with my father, etched indelibly on my mind is one of my father commenting favorably on my college band [Ebony Specktrum]'s style. He told me that he could envision our sound someday being known as the Delta Sound. It's doubtless that he meant that highly complimentary; but to my shame, back then there was nothing about the Mississippi Delta with which I wished to be associated.

I grew up on a culturally cosmopolitan island known to its inhabitants as Valley State—literally in the middle of a cotton patch. Outside our collegiate borders—wherein seemingly every Mr. or Mrs. I addressed owned a graduate degree (many of those doctorates, who would be addressed as "Dr.")—most of the basic aboriginal element with whom I had my dealings were imaginatively restricted within the generational bounds of their limited expectations. Other than athletics—where successes blooms sufficient enough in occurrence to be a legitimate hope, anyone spouting any other so-lofty expectations was certifiably SIDney.

Fast-forward eight years…

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chapter 8a: I’m the One

She wants an answer
She’s needs a man (who)’s her equal, but no sequel
To the last sir she turned away
Some think her moody
But, think…y’know she’s got her duty
To her heart and to those inside—SID March 4th, 1991

I have to admit, this one is among the favorites of my own lyric compositions. The answer/and sir rhyming scheme shows up every fifteen to twenty years—as evident in chapter 13’s “Cancer”. The light-hearted seemingly Pop-syrupy sentiment and melodic flow belies the staid “benevolent ultimatum” contained in inference in its text—ever gently conveying that at some point in time a choice must be made. Still, I imagine some may dismiss it as secular commerciality—perhaps superficially based on this song’s Pop style aspects. There is a definite structure reminiscent of The Corporation™ (Motown™ songwriting team) for early Jackson 5ive recordings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chapter 7: Setting A-SIDes

First, I would like to declare that getting back to work with Carl (J. Carl Robinson) was truly a highlight of producing "The Mμne-Pi Parables". Carl is one of those of my friends who—though I know there was some point in time he and I first met and became good friends, and prior to that we were unknown each to the other, still—it seems we've always been friends. His first recorded work with "SIDzCarbonatedMilk" was on "Startin' Over"[on "Please Don't Harmonica" lp: SCM-I]…a lyrical mix of Blues, Jazz, and Rock performed with a vocoded melody. I told him to give me "…a little B.B. King." He gave me that, but his own J. Carl vibe was phenomenal. The next SCM song with the J. Carl-touch was "Hysoeckarpris". As a composition, “Hysoe…” was a product of my having long exited the Jazz neophyte pupa stage to define what quintessentially is my piano-playing style—combined with a writing approach I developed arranging for big band. Here instead of B.B. King, I required Carl to be one-half of the Thundering Herd [see Woody Herman].

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chapters 5 - 6: "Settled and Due" / “In Time”

In these last days—seemingly so (based on oft occurring events in these last past days), there is conflict carving in its divisions among preaching proxy camp-captains. The three camps most easily characterized are: the "Repent ye evil sinners! The end is nigh!"-camp, the "Let's maximize our flock gathering by skipping all the scary talk, for now"-camp, and the "Rapture [or Wrap-chuckle!] What the flock are you talking about, you crazy spookies?"-camp. To be concerned with end times prophecy, doom, gloom, and hellfire…judging [which is to discern righteousness from damning sin based on Biblical truth] or not to be. That is the question.…whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slurs and errors of outrageous unrighteous fortune-hunters, or die to the challenge of unbridled deceptions, and by not opposing…end them none.