Sunday, July 29, 2018

Follow the Muse

Saturday, July 28, 2018 allowed a new song’s creation. This came about toward the end of my normal morning routine. I’d completed a morning review of the credible news that I prefer from the traditional sources provided on the internet. Weekends usually offer less viable news, thus the time it took to review the content, seemed brief. Living in my mind, forming thoughts that can formulate plans where none may prioritize my action for a day, or better stated as living in the moment, is the methodology I regularly utilize and prefer.

Having done this, while drinking my usual dose of strong coffee to wipe away the lingering slumber of night and sleep, a decision as to what to do next entered my thoughts. The possibilities are truly endless, yet I am rather set in habitual patterns, where mornings and plans come together. Because I seldom plan what I’ll do with days, the habits come into play quite often. This day followed that course for a short time after completing the news review. I then turned toward listening to the prerecorded music of others, of my own choosing. It is seldom that I allow the choices of others (radio etc.) to determine what I’ll allow to fill my space, as I prefer making my own choices as to what may influence my day, because sometimes doing so will alter its mood. For me, music can sometimes strongly influence and temper how my day evolves.

The previous evening I had chosen a course, deciding to learn another song, written and performed originally by Bob Dylan, "Just Like a Woman." I had been inspired by viewing the dvd, "A Concert for Bangladesh," where as, having seen Bob’s rendition with the group on hand for that occasion, I paused the player, to learn the song for myself. In doing so that evening, I had called up the song from his album "Blond on Blond," to my media player in order to review its original form and to study its structure. Unknowingly, this sequence of events set up the circumstances that allowed this new song’s creation the following morning.

Thus after completing the news review that morning, I opened my preferred media player, Amarok. It had in its memory the single song " Just Like a Woman" retained in its playlist from that previous nights application. Seeing this, the thought to again fill the room with the presence of Bob’s recordings, yet wishing to add to the play list, I called up a new songlist of Dylan recordings, including the album "Modern Times." The media player went through many songs while I prepared and ate a breakfast, when I again found myself sitting here listening, the track "Thunder on the Mountain," was playing when, near the end of said track, a trigger in thought occurred. In an instant, this caused me to shut down the music, to open a word processor and I let words begin forming in my head, typing them into the computer.

I began writing out the words that came to mind. In those moments, I followed the slate of inspiration. It lacked any preconceived idea as to what might form. The only thing I understood in those moments, were that those words "thunder on the mountain," separate, standing alone, hold a somewhat iconic theme for me. It is sourced in my own life’s experience. I have experienced lightening and its thunder on mountains well above timberline. At that time being there in that situation provided a potent experience that conjured up survival instinct, leaving an altered sense of awe in its wake. Even so I lacked a desire to express that situation in any way. Also, in thought was my desire to remain fully separated from either the words or expression I’d just heard in Bob’s song. I wrote out lines, a full verse worth of them, then paused to review and alter them. At present, memory has little recall as to the content of those lines. I knew that I wanted to shape an idea that could express a personal core value in regard to our shared environment, that which we all in some way share commonly, this earth and foremost, the alarming trends that I notice.

Upon editing those first few lines, a shape and direction began to jell. I have heard thunder and have noted in its presence what could be termed as anger or in this instance, rage. It could be that the human response to the immediacy of lightening and its associated thunder, is what caused ancient humans to consider the existence of there being something much more powerful than they. Knowing nothing of the physical forces displayed during these weather events, I suppose the alarm of being in its presence was the cause for what is now known as a God. However; this is not my point, nor is the content of what came there after in my writing. The first line evolved then, into, "I’ve heard that the thunder, has to loose its rage." In this case the word rage might be a reflection on my own reaction to being in its presence in high elevation places, where the threat of lightening’s force, I personally recognized as, immense. With this alteration and some others in those initial lines of verse, a direction for the song took hold. Even so, I was without any clear intension as to the sought destination of their collective expression. The first line here (although unknown at the time) is used only as texture for what was to be this vignette of words, that in the moment of conception possessed no music or even a hint there in.

Now for certain, there is no deliberate "other person," in the words of this lyric. It is my understanding of the importance of interpersonal relationships, which brings another person into the story. I believe doing so provides a place that others may be drawn into, as we humans instinctively associate ourselves as being, a part of the whole. And with this comes an understanding of our own mortality, a condition that in my own aging, tends to hold a distinct significance. We will all eventually pass from what we know as living, and go on to what ever comes there after, something or nothing. Since I neither know the answer to that unstated question, or possess desire to instill it into this song, I have simply referenced it via the imagery in, we may "feel age."

From this point in the process, a contextual situation is created by the introduction of a commonly understood yet hypothetical location, that being, in the mountains. Now observations from the observer’s view begin to form, bringing the thunder back into play as a shared experience. The effect of our relationships in and on this planet are employed here through the use of imagery. I brought birds and the season of spring in at this point because both have the potential to be an influence and be influenced, in our lives.

A separate set of ideas is then introduced as a chorus. It acknowledges some the most basic things that make up our lives and the conditions which shape them, water, sun, the revolutions of our earth and time.

The song’s last two verses attempt to clearly bring the seasonal cycles in living here into play. Summers end, birds migrate, fall comes and the seasons change throughout our lives. Hopefully we can all find inspiration in living. For myself and so many others, singing is both a producer of happiness and of hope. Doing it by a campfire is even better!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Space Between

Listening and watching time go by while living life.  I realize it has been a long dry spell from writing here, yet within that lapse of time I have written a song.  I went as far as to begin writing a piece about that writing experience, that was then never completed.  Music remains high in my list of interests so I work at it every day for the most part.  There are days where I fail to touch an instrument though.  A couple of weeks ago life took me another direction with a dose of the flu bug.  I am still here! 

I have just begun playing and singing again post bug.  It seems I need more practice to stay and be in that magic space, than what used to be true.  The older brain seems to forget lyrics or even timing for moments.   In playing music, moments are all there is and we hope that it will flow smoothly, all while realizing the humanness of being.  Sometimes it works and sometimes, not so much. 

Last night I listened to some of my recordings still incomplete, just a review to jog the memory, seeing the names, hearing the various parts, and enjoying the experience.  It is somewhat exciting to hear some of these songs.  I am referring to songs that you have not heard.  Their representations are being created so that you may one day hear them, they are many and I can but hope I am able to complete this project.  Over this past fall and winter I experienced some very serious physical problems that forced me to stop playing the guitar for weeks at a time.  I made some changes to hopefully allow those neurological problems to fade away. 

Here in this room where I live most of my life, I am now again looking at what is only a very rough outline about writing the last song I wrote.  This song now has the name, Ode to Your Heart.  Now that I am looking back on the songwriting experience from such a long gap in time, that experience is rather blotted out, covered by the experiences since then.  January 18, 2018 was the day this song was created.  I must have had an unusual state of mind on this particular day, because, as this outline says, this song was deliberately written rather than it being a spontaneous response to impressions that come in thought, as though the universe is talking and I hear it, which leads to capturing those images, my normal way of writing.  For some time before this day, a period of maybe a couple of months, I had an idea about a song, yet without any type of structure at all.  It was the idea of using a womans name in a song.  The name I had concluded would have to be somewhat light, sweet, maybe lilting, I didn’t really know, the thought was one of more image than substance.   The character behind the name completely lacks meaning of any kind. By choice I decided that were this the name of a person I had any association with, ever, that name would be disqualified.  Thus on the day in question, the name came to me.  I should say a name that became the name used in this song.  Lilyan is the name. 

Soon after the name was realized, I came to the computer and began to write.  As is almost normal the song pretty much wrote itself.  I was present, aware and altering the words on the page.  They flowed smoothly into place.  I recall fighting with spelling the word, eerie.  Me and the dictionary in all of its forms, are less than good friends.  Yet I depend on spell check, for without that, you would not survive reading the attempted words.  The structure began as two verses and a chorus.  Actually these two parts seem to differ in apparent subject, while it is assumed that usages of the female name and the word 'she,' represent the same character.  After completion and review, I decided to begin this song with the chorus, then end it with the same.  I wrote this first, having previously just decided what the name would be.  I started with that word, Lilyan.  Lilyan, I found you, but then I changed that to: Lilyan, you found me, I was walking.  Actually here it does take the assumption I mentioned and voids that thought’s credibility entirely.  What wound up being the first line of verse, after several changes and shifting of its three and four word phrases, the verse evolved into, "I awoke the morning, sky an eerie dark, felt it crying, oo, oo, ooo..."  Yet I lack having an actual cognition of where that line came from, I mean the subject expressed.  Seemingly it has everything to do with the character speaking in first person.  The line sort of sets an overall tone which seems dark in nature.   Furthering the dark expression, I  stated  her to be missing, without any reference as to where or how this happened.  The expression then takes on the concern of those whom are affected by this missing status.   The second verse takes this expression deeper into this status of a missing person.   The song lacks any resolution to the conflicted, leaving the audience without any conclusion, then chorus repeats to close out the lyric.

I really should have taken the time to write this out when that described here in was fresh in real time.  So it goes.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A New Song About Songs

Very odd circumstances can sometimes culminate in the creation of new songs. I had one of those experiences a while back. It was late morning, following breakfast, with the lingering of a kitchen mess drawing my attention toward clean-up, that I now note as the beginning of this unfolding. The house was still, in the quiet after going through the morning’s ‘catching up’ on the supposed news. Outside the wildfire smoke was intense enough that the windows were all closed up for my intension to keep the concentration of particulate out, increasing the silence within. I thought to change the ambiance by adding some music to sooth my mind as I began the task ahead. Turning on my computer’s music reproduction software, I contemplated the play-list displayed, a remnant of yesterday’s listening to old Neil Young albums. In that moment with the last two tunes of his Zuma album (from 1975) cued up and waiting while my desire wanted something different, yet these two songs could play without disrupting my mood. Still the task in the kitchen required greater duration of time than these two songs could cover, but what to set forth? I wanted something different, something other than playing through the set order of recorded albums. My usual method for selecting a play list is, calling up artists, looking through album names, then choosing among the albums in the data base. Instead of following this procedure, I chose to enter words into the search box. Happenstance guided what followed, in the search box, I typed the words, “hard times.” The database parsed out 11 artist names, in the ordered list containing those two words. I added the titles to the play list, clicked the play button, then back to the kitchen to begin washing the dishes.

With this musical set list now filling the space, I began the dish washing process. At least three days of dishes had accumulated since the last washing, yet the quantity was minimal. I waited for the sink to fill, adding the liquid soap, placing the neatly arranged bowls into the steamy water, while noting the music that set the mood, pleasant in its familiarity. That washing, rinsing, and placing of clean tableware into the drainer began in its normal manner as the second song, the last track of Zuma began. I’d not listened to this in years, it sounded like CSN&Y (I later looked into this to find that all of those guys participated in the recording). My thoughts flipped about, influenced by the music and the activity. As the name themed song titles progressed, my thoughts swayed to the influence, the singing of songs about hard times. By the time the list had tracked through and to Woody Guthrie’s song, "Hard Times," I began considering that all these songs are derived out of the historically hard times that these authors had lived through, or at least knew something of. With the influences of these various hard time themes reflecting in my thoughts, combined with my own ever present quest of creating new songs, I began considering a tale based in songs about hard times. The Guthrie song, being one from the Library of Congress Recording sessions, includes a conversational narrative portion of some duration. It was during this narrative that my mind skipped past the spoken, allowing a phrase of my own to build about songs of hard times. Looking back now, it seems as tho, Woody’s statement about the many songs he knew about hard times, must have influenced my trajectory of thought. So many songs about hard times. I’d just listened to many other songs with the theme, hard times. Everybody’s singing songs about hard times. All these people sang songs of hard times, so why not write a song about a few people who wrote songs about hard times, inclusive of something specific to their author. With the dish washing completed, I moved back to the computer to write out the idea.

Since I had concluded this topic viable for a song, I set upon writing the theme. I immediately wrote what is a sort of chorus, having six lines specific to the general theme, singing songs about hard times, then I went back to the music program to revisit the individual songs that sparked the idea. I began with Woody Guthrie, to derive the respective theme expressed in the song. There in I wrote a verse having to do with Mr. Guthrie. I went down the play-list revisiting all the tunes and researching to discover the author whom wrote these songs, rather than the recording artist listened to, for clarity in addressing who actually created the themes I'd been experiencing. From that point on, the process was quite simple, mechanical really, although it was inspired of my own passion.

Now, in reflection, I realize that this song came about through my deliberate attempt to write a song. This is a different methodology from the usual method I employ. More often than not, my own experience in creating songs has shown up through what I consider as the song finding me, or the universe gave it out, allowing me to catch it due to being receptive, which is not what happened during this song's creation. It worked out rather quickly, the writing and then establishing a musical theme that could support the lyrics. In truth, I believe I have found better songs through listening to that which is offered by the universe, than what this song amounts to. Even so, this was another song writing experience.

Friday, May 12, 2017

(Ben Bullington) The Friend I Knew But Never Had II

The song “(BenBullington) The Friend I Knew But Never Had,” has been recorded. I posted it on my website, yesterday. Now I am getting around to writing this. It has been a pretty good experience learning this song then recording it. Learning the recording equipment has been a kick too, so many possibilities. The following is quite evident if listened to with headphones. In this mix, , I separated the vocals totally. Then through the duration of the chorus, the vocal parts gradually switch sides, fully. For me this is a complete learning process that is fun in itself. During this enjoyable time, I am fulfilling my other goal, recording all the music I’ve written. Playing those 40 year old songs again is in itself a tour down memory lane, through the times in life and living it, with that occasional intersection with the muse. So if you find interest in song, this song in particular, click on that link above, as always on the Internet, the choice is yours to make.

Friday, March 3, 2017

(Ben Bullington) The Friend I Knew But Never Had

(Ben Bullington) The Friend I Knew But Never Had

Today is days after the creation of another new song. Time seems to fly you know?  In this song writing experience, when reflecting on it, I can say it to be typical of writing songs, that being, it is always different!   The circumstances that surround the idea, and its sprouting into becoming a song, well they are unique to themselves, drawing from days now years ago, a time with a friend to watch good musicians play their own tunes.  I saw Merle Haggard that weekend.  The “Red Ants Pants Music Festival” If you go check it out, I'm pretty sure you will have a good time.  Really I am not here to talk about or promote the festival, because unlike the festival, this song is that which I did show up to write about, this song seems pretty darn good to me.  There is a very odd circumstance to tell here,  a connection between this song and the music festival.  On the morning that this song came, I'd received the mailing list announcement from the Red Ants Pants Foundation, telling about the upcoming summer show.  And it really is only some circumstance which led me to write this song.

Those years ago when I attended the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, one of the artists showcased was one Ben Bullington.  He was a gifted guitarist, singer, and song writer.  Since my introduction to Ben at the Festival, I did a simple search on that YouTube and found many very good samples of Ben and his music.   In there, I'd found one video that I especially appreciate, maybe because of my own, smidgen of a connection to the actual place, but the song and the setting with which the video contained it, has a memory that lingers still.   I found and turned on that video, that morning, after receiving the e-mail from the Red Ants Pants Foundation, to again view its content.  It was just the same as it was the last time I saw it. :)  Ben's song, White Sulphur Springs, beautiful to my ear.  Now Ben, he passed away a year or more ago, so I cherish the memories.  After its conclusion the song idea in words began to form.

With the recognition of what I wrote above, I then contemplated an idea which was forming.  The idea having to do with an abstraction about how we, as humans can be personally impacted by music, by songs, their lyric, or some of the lines there in.  None the less, it is seemingly quite a phenomenon that humans can form bonds in that manner, yet there it is, we do, it is real.  I think myself in some ways have felt as though I knew some songwriters through their music.  They were like friends, in that abstract way.  The lyrics formed up in acknowledgement of that friend like situation which comes up with individuals and song writers, or maybe it is just me, hummm?? Friends that we never had came as a line.  Well I wrote four line stanzas, three of them, then tried another but the words didn't line up really, a line showed up yet it was incomplete.  I passed it by, although, I left it on the page, I then wrote I believe two more sets of stanzas, before I actually stopped to read what was there.  I looked at it knowing, its intent.

The content seemed a mess, yet there was a theme, based in the memory described above.  With the mouse I high-lite the third paragraph, grabbed and dropped it at the top, then moved what had previously been first putting it third.  Now the idea was clear, the song is about songs.  Its about what songs can show or do.  Songs are unique in that way pointing out a very specific topic.  It's powerful art.

I came to a halt at this point.  There were words forming up, they had that needed characteristic of meter, yet no music.  Through my own experience, it is seldom that I can continue writing words before having touched an instrument with a definite inspiration, but I had nothing.  It has happened previously, coming to a point where the muse seems to have fled the room.  In the past some songs I've stopped entirely, they still await their due completion, the song intended, but the song must contain it's initial inspiration to continue.  So I am stopped, I have thoughts of being influenced by the music of Ben's song, because it was the last thing I had experienced prior to the muse's stream, the stream I was following until now when away it went.  I had the '62 Gibson J-45 in my hand, its scarred face a unique portrait of its history, leaving cracks and a missing chip of spruce near where the sound hole nears the fingerboard on the upper front bout.  It's character, the injuries that happen.  Its sound comes out sweetly when finger-tips strike them just right.   A rhythm formed, as did the question of suitability for the lyrics on the computer screen.  Actually that particular rhythm sounded like something else, at least in a way, no I say, no!  More tries, left me feeling that I'm being forceful rather than flowing.  Maybe the muse is really gone?  Then it came together, just as suddenly as the words, voice engaged, struggling to read the computer screen.  I stopped adjusting the lyrics, larger, to large to fit in one desktop window, so I opened a new document, placed it beside the window of lyrics, copy and pasting the lyrics in the fresh window, then scrolling the second window to show the words hidden in that lower left, below the window's size limit.  Now with large sized letters I could read the words as best as I am able and back to the guitar and its fine sound with finger tips, but no, a pick will sound different, and a pick took the task.  I'd found a rhythm and a chord progression in C Major.  It is a long time since I've written a song in C.  It started coming together, but the tongue brain interface and alignment with the lyric in the cadence, as it often does, seemed like singing tongue twisters.  I believe this is a tempo issue, where a quick tempo rhythm forces the mouth to go faster and in strange ways while their order remains unknown in the brain.  And as normal for me when dealing with the unfamiliar, I tend to speed up, which makes the difficulty more of a struggle.  I had found this song, it was coming home.  I sang the first verse, then again, then the second a couple of times, struggling to form the words.  I could tell this was going to be one of those hard ones to learn.  I got through these first three verses to decide that the incomplete line I'd previously abandon, could form up a chorus, and I shifted the rhythm up a 4th to the F forming a chorus.  It was too short, being but two phrases, “the starry eyed, the story spun.”  The writer and the story he'd told.   Then a different kind of idea came, from looking above seeing a line already written.  Paste, instant gratification, it was a tie, connecting an earlier thought, that could become a theme.  I sang that a couple of times, still too short?  I left it again, to sing the next sets of lines.  The upper half of the song shows a distinct subject  of what songs bring in messages, if any.  I mean there are no real rules. This song says it is about songs by declaring, “Songs are sung,” also saying “songs are made.”  The point bing that songs can do things to people, they stir up emotion of all kinds.  It is also saying that the author of a song is significant to the songs point of view.  The second half of the song, I say half although the second part is more lengthy than the first, the song shifts to the observer of songs, the point of view being the listener, having recognized a song as meaningful.  The song then concludes by recognizing that Ben has died and that his death has its own impact on individuals.  I know his death had a noted twitch in me, back when I heard of it.  That is why I gave the song it's oddly formed name: (Ben Bullington) The Friend I Knew But Never Had.  I have experience this situation with Ben, and now it is this song.  So Ben, I guess this song is for you, RIP.

In this moment, I've no idea when this song will have it's own recording completion. It could be days, or weeks. or month, even years away, if ever.  The song referred to in the previous post is of a song that awaited recording for a year and a half.  When it is finished, I'll make notice. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

In This World So Blue (II)

It is now nearing on 2 years since I wrote the song “In This World So Blue,” followed by writing the post here in regards to writing the song In This World So Blue - May15, 2015.  Shortly after writing this song, I became involved in a different recording project.  The new project is to record all of the songs I have written in this life.  And thus I put the song down for a year, or more.  A couple of weeks ago, the big project attracted this song.

I had no clear reason behind selecting this song to record as the next one that gets started, other than it came to mind to do so.  It came up as an inspired impulse.  I almost always begin a new recording by recording a rough draft with acoustic guitar beside my vocal.  When I begin a recording project, I use separate tracks for capturing these parts, a helpful tool as the audio tracks begin to shape the eventual complete recording.  Tempo is also critical, so usually I employ a metronome to follow during that initial recording.  In recent months I've been learning how to simulate drum sounds using software.  It took me months to figure out drumming and where drums intersect with the time line.  Threw-out my past, I'd by-passed thinking critically about the technical side of drumming, where beats, off beats, etc., fit on the time line, in a measured musical format.  I am not a drummer and have never wanted to drum.  In the physical world my rhythm is too imperfect to be a drummer, which had formed my lack of understanding as to the technical side of playing drums.  While in the process of learning Hydrogen, drumming software, I was shocked to discover this technical side of drumming.  Drums as compared to the melodic instruments requires a very different set of rules, either imagined or real.  I've yet to see musical score for drums, thus my thoughts about what it would actually look like, where on the time line beats are placed to form a good syncopated rhythm, and similarly which symbol should be selected to create complement to the tune.  Since I had no idea about drumming it took me quite a long time, months to figure it out well enough to apply it or think myself competent enough to create this more complete rhythm section in my recordings.  Having gone through this process with several songs now, I decided that with this song, I'd add the drum track early in the process, and follow that up with a bass track, before I attempted to create the audio tracks to be used in the final mix.

In general, the methodology I use in recording, as I do with most of life, is free form, living in the moment, following the inspiration at hand.  I'll often start a song's recording process, then leave it for extended periods of time to come back to later, when an inspiration takes me there.  This freedom allows what feels good in the moment to take precedent.  If for example, I attempt using a schedule, the muse seems to retreat and the project becomes forced, rather than inspired.  The other side of that is that were I to focus on one song only, from its first track through to completion, it can sometimes narrow my view of music temporarily, by disallowing practice of other songs, in favor of the song of the day.  Yet with, “In This World So Blue,” the process went with an unusual ease.  It took me several evenings creating the rhythm section of the tune.  With this method of making recordings, one person doing it all, it is a different approach than it is when working with a musical group of personnel to try creating a similar result.  The process is rather new to me and I have to create my own methodology, having no peers to work with, within the process.  One of the most missed aspects of this is the limit of ideas within any individual.  Working with others brings with it, a broader background of experience to reach into during the creative process. 

When I create the rhythm parts, I follow along with the rough draft recording, writing out the midi track note by note within the software interface (piano-roll), for the bass, while the drum track uses an entirely different interface style that captures short patterns that can be repeated at will.  When creating bass tracks, I generally write out the entire track note for note, rather than creating patterned pieces that could be used in a, copy and paste method, to form the whole.  The pattern method offered in the drumming software, uses a limited time length system, with each pattern being equivalent to a single measure in music.  I use Ardour (audio multi-track recording software) to create my music recordings.  Ardour's  midi system offers the user to choose the duration of each segment or pattern if one wishes to use a pattern type method to input a complete track.  I finished the rhythm section then recorded the vocal track, followed by a rhythm guitar track and finally a lead guitar track.  It took some time with my limited abilities, a lot of do-overs, and punch out sections.  I then used the automation portion of Ardour to edit the final mix.   This is a really powerful tool that assists to keep the sound levels of the individual tracks to be at their preferred level, throughout the recording's duration.  Being an imperfect musician, I am seldom, if ever perfect in my presentation, volume levels very slightly in different sections of the tracks of captured audio.  The automation is designed to adjust these variations in the volume for the final output. 

I think I created a good overall feel and sound with this song.  You can listen to it yourself if you wish.  I allow those who desire to experience my art the opportunity to do so.  Go to the website and see for yourself.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Another October Day

Another October Day

I continue to work with the music although creating new material has not occurred for what seems an extended period of time.  Without creating new stuff, there is plenty left to do in the recording efforts I am intending.  Most days I work at it in some way how ever abstract it may seem.  Learning how to use the software remains a big part of the recording process, an obstacle in many ways.  Yet I am making progress.

Lately the bigger part of the learning process remains with drumming or drum imitation.  I am no drummer, never have been, nor do I believe I want to become one.  Still musically, with the type of music I have written and work with, as a whole, without drumming included, the overall sound produced reflects as half baked, incomplete.  So I continue learning the software of choice, or at least of known choice.  I admit that ignorance plays a large roll in the choices available to me, because of the isolated existence I live.  Hydrogen is the software I have been dealing with to make drum sounds that can complement my musical output.  I would much prefer having a real drummer which would allow having little personal effort where drumming is concerned, but a person who could fill that roll remains unknown to me.  Hydrogen then has taken on a really unwanted importance in the process.  I have been spending a lot of time tinkering with the program trying to figure out an ease to the methodology required in making this software work, producing complementary rhythms suited to the music I am attempting to achieve.  Some days it falls into place, and other days it seems quite a struggle for me to create suitable rhythms that will match the themes intended.  I don't know why?

Now a couple of nights ago I decided to take on a new recording of an older tune I wrote back in the mid to late 1990's.  I had previously attempted to record this song yet the syncopation in the rhythm is such that I was unable to determine the tempo.  I realized a couple of months ago, through teaching the song to my associate, that this situation comes of how I have played the piece solo, having to incorporate a dominant theme sourced in the songs essence.  In order to create this feel while playing the piece solo, I had to play a syncopated part which distorted what I thought or otherwise perceived as part of the rhythm, when in fact the playing of this syncopated part actually altered my perception of what the beat was actually doing.  It was actually an illusion, imposed by the way I was playing the piece when doing it solo.  When teaching this tune to the bassist, the way I played the song could be altered by allowing the bass to take the syncopated part, while I held to the basic continuous rhythm.  The two parts individually create the essence I had envisioned when I wrote the piece.  Having played it so many times by myself, the habitual nature of doing so prevented my brain from finding the separation of these individual parts.  It is an odd situation to attempt writing out with clarity.  Still, having finally determined that this syncopated riff distorted my sense of timing, I have been able to determine the tempo, I successfully made a draft recording of the song Wednesday night late. The process went along very smoothly, with its parts coming together in the digital world with a remarkable ease.  

My process of taking the idea and converting it into an audio file that reflects the essence of the idea rarely follows a given course, like taking steps 1, 2, 3, 4, … end.  This could be a demonstration of my ignorance, yet having no education or friends that show me a methodology, I am forced to make up my own methodology.  Generally step one is to determine the Tempo, followed by the Time signature.  After those are determined and input into the computer's software, in this instance "Ardour," (thanks and a shout out to the Ardour team), there are several options as to where to continue.  In this particular case, I chose to use the metronome of Ardour as a guide and with two tracks engaged, I recorded a guitar and a vocal track as rough drafts for a starting reference point.  After this is accomplished, I use this as a guide to facilitate creating an audio recording to share.  With the basic outlined in the rough recording, I can then create a solid midi bass track and a drum track, the order with which this is accomplished I decide arbitrarily.  Generally I will write out the bass line first, but in this case I decided to do the drumming first.  I chose to make it really simple in this instance, just a bass drum with snare and a riding symbol that expresses a basic beat.  Because it is software, the result can always be altered later if so desired.  I was quickly pleased with the simplistic rhythm I created, and leaving it simple for a start provided what I desired as an initial beat track that can hold the song in place as I worked through the process.  Having a basic drum track and the rough audio tracks, left the bass track to work up in midi.  Having played the song with only guitar for many years, I found it rather easy to write out the bass line and assign it an instrument representative, in this case acoustic bass.  

Having the basic tracks of the song now completed the first review with these 4 tracks hit me as quite satisfactory to hear.  However there was a noted error in the construction of the ending that required a rather involved redo of the bass and the drum tracks.  This issue was dealt with, creating the desired result.  The process also revealed some tempo drift in these rough audio tracks. This is common for me when using this method.  The metronome is a very good tool, yet it can and is easily overpowered when playing a rhythm beside it. Because of this and my own lack of ability in playing real instruments with absolute proficiency, I expect to redo the initial rough audio tracks. This is the next step in my process, recording solid audio tracks of instrument(s) and vocal part(s).  To facilitate the audio recordings, I rehearsed the guitar and vocal parts several times, beside the drum and bass tracks, ingraining the nuances of the various sections both lyrically and with the acoustic guitar.  I had chosen the Taylor guitar for this recording, its sound is quite exceptional, and it offers the opportunity to use two input methodologies, the analog and its internal electronics, separately.  I can recognize these two tracks as different when switching between the two sources, yet I have no real preference, nor have I determine which interface provides the better sound.  They are both good.  Having gone through these dress runs a few times I decided to make the recordings for these two parts simultaneously, knowing that I can always re-do them individually if I choose.  To my surprise The recording of these two parts came in one try with but one error in the lyric that required an edit.  I have experienced this process as troubling at times in the past.  It was easy to redo the vocal error with the punch-out capability of the software.  By the time these final audio input tracks were completed, the time was late, and I shut down the studio for the night.

The following morning shortly after happy coffee time was complete for another day, I found myself reviewing the previous night's work.  The audio recordings I judged to be very satisfactory, while noticing some conflict with both the bass and the drum tracks.  I spent a couple of hours editing those tracks.  The drum track especially needed work, it being simple actually created a very desirable result, but there were some sections that I thought wanted some emphasis with symbols.  That and the chorus sections were wanting of some variation from the main verse sections.  I did all I thought I wanted (for the time being) then went on to a different activity.  I have not yet released the recording,  because I want to get away from it for a while with a hope that a revisit later will bring some clarity to my judgment as to the songs essence.