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.

           As a singer I am okay when I have ample time to learn my parts—same goes for my more structured keyboard duties. Mostly I have to fit my vocal characterization to the lyric to set up my style. This one called for something professorial and didactic. With the incidentally African-esque rhythm about, I reflected upon Paul Simon's delivery on Graceland's "You Can Call Me Al".

          Another pleasurable aspect of this song was reuniting with SiloamPool and Linnon Wells. Siloam was one of the first people I met upon arriving in Detroit (to join her band: Mystic Voyage—who had placed a request for a keyboardist in a national musicians' referral service); to be exact, she was the third person I’d met. I'd taken their offer only because it led to Motown and the P-Funk Mothership (then cloaked as Thang, Inc. Records). The group turned out to be a waste of time, so I moved on to form another band. We had everything but a strong lead vocalist. The bass player knew of a guy named Lenny who he described as a guy who sounded like Stevie Wonder and was an amateur boxer. I was interested, appreciating both the works of Stevie Wonder and Mohamed Ali. Over the past thirty years, I've worked off and on with Linnon. Siloam came back into my life over a decade ago, during a chance encounter while in session with then-collaborator Paul Hill then of George Clinton's P-Funk Allstars. After the obligatory exchange of Don't I know you?'s, I began producing her demos—eventually leading up to her 2002 EP CD release: "The Colors of Black and White".

          She and Linnon are featured on background vocals—along with my daughter Sarah Jjira and John Holkeboer (whom I delight in describing as vocal particle board; he fills vocal track firmly and unobtrusively).

          For me, "Let's Just Get Along" is the musical equivalent of a sermon-turned-festival. It was fun to compose and produce, and is still much listening fun.

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