Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It is also not easy to be Purple.

Just uploaded my Purple Frog backing track.

For whatever reason, as soon as I heard we were starting up again, I became determined to write a J-Pop track. Well, not J-Pop exactly, as I looked up some J-Pop and it sounds nothing like what I did. I've just been playing a lot of Sonic the Hedgehog, and wanted to do something like THAT. I especially loved the music in Sonic's all about speed but it's very colorful at the same time (also why I picked a "colorful" animal). I've always been a fan of those really cheesy high-pitched bells that are all over Japanese game music. They also usually have hyper-quantized, hyper-produced drums, so that's what I tried to start with.

I really tried to spend some more time mixing this one than usual, but I'm not sure how much it shows. I just can't seem to push my recordings over the edge into "pro" territory...there's always something missing that I can't put my finger on. I am definitely still improving but...slowly. It doesn't help that I usually choose very dense genres rather than just focusing on a couple instruments...maybe that will be the plan for next time.

Anyways, hope you all enjoy the track!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's not easy being Green (Sea Turtle)

I've had a sort of stop/start time of it with my backing track project on the theme of the Green Sea Turtle. I'd wanted a heavily layered fiddly acoustic guitar track, but I found that it has been difficult recording acoustic guitar in my setup. I had only a USB condenser microphone on a desktop base with no way to mount it on a stand (nor did I have a stand, in fact). Playing to a microphone sitting on a table is really tricky. It's hard to get comfortable; therefore, I found the performance lacking. The difficulties really slowed me down and made me reluctant to get stuck in.

As a result of this, I decided to add more electric parts than I had planned on at the start. This changed the feel a bit but worked wonders for jump starting the project again. Then last weekend I went to a music shop and bought the bits I really needed for successful acoustic guitar tracking. I actually bought a new condenser mic (analog) and an audio interface to run it through. And I bought a boom stand to hang it from. Big improvement. Another neat little device I purchased is a monophonic pitch to MIDI converter. I've used it to play a realistic sounding upright bass part with my electric guitar as controller. I will be using this quite a lot in the future.

We're in the home stretch now. There's a bit more recording I need to do. Just little bits and pieces. Mainly I just have to get the production in shape. It's sounding good. As I was first coming up with ideas for this piece I made a couple of videos, which you can find embedded below. I intend to make another when this is finished showing the production environment at work. Looking forward to the end product.

Friday, July 8, 2011


I've been writing and rehearsing my tune for a few weeks now and have recorded it a number of times in different styles but it's finished up as an unedited live performance of solo piano. I might do a few more takes and try and introduce a few more dynamics into the performance. I like the idea of the music being unaltered by the vocal recipient and potentially even challenging the vocalist to do a single vocal line in an unedited take as well? There are imperfections in my performance but I like that. This way the finished the piece would be like a live duet. Just an idea, I had fun approaching this track with a live feel in mind, might be nice to take the concept further.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A trip to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago yesterday has inspired me to

write a bit about my selected species, Latimeria chalumnae, also known as the Coelacanth.

Although not as pretty to look at as some of the other endangered species posted on here, the Coelacanth has a rich and exciting history. The first living specimen was discovered in 1938, and up until that time they were thought to have gone extinct about 65 million years ago with the dinosaurs. It is highly debated, but many researchers believe the Coelacanth to be the closest living link between fish and land-walking creatures.

Still no idea what style of song I'm going to go for here, but there is a lot of songwriting potential in this animal, for sure...

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Purple Frog

"The sole surviving member of an ancient group of amphibians that evolved some 130 million years ago, the discovery of the purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) has been described as a ‘once-in-a-century find’ (3) (4). This frog has a highly distinctive and somewhat comical appearance, with a hugely bloated body and short, stout limbs (2) (5)."

Arguably purple, arguably a frog, definitely a weird-ass animal who needs a theme song.