Music

Track Notes Vol. 1.3

Welcome to another edition of Track Notes, wherein I talk about some songs in greater detail than usual.

Another Empty Hour In Every Day

You are finally free of that one tedious daily appointment that you so dreaded each day. But you have nothing to fill the time with, it seems. Do you look upon this with joy or with dread? Do you rush to find new activities, or take the time for what it is? Whatever you decide, the day still lies ahead, waiting for you.

This is an instance where title and music came together from separate spheres but fit so perfectly together that I couldn’t have planned it that well. The title is actually inspired by a scene in the Vernor Vinge book “Rainbows End” where the main character completes an intensive medical rehabilitation program. He then finds himself with more free time, but nothing worth filling it with. That in turn got me wondering, what would I do if I had more free time, like I always wish I had? It’s entirely probable that I and many others would simply expand everything else to fill that time. Perhaps that time instead should be savored.

Open To Suggestions

What do you want to do today?

Me? I dunno.

This track began its life as simple background filler music at church one night, while a survey was being passed around for people to fill out. I asked a friend to join my piano wanderings on the congas, and this little song was born. The whole time, it felt like it needed a melody instrument atop it, so when it came time to record it I added a simple guitar line to complete the recording. A little serendipitous effects processing gave the song exactly what it needed. This song also features the debut of live percussion on a Psycliq recording, courtesy of a borrowed Korg Wavedrum. It is truly a remarkable instrument, one that I hope to be able to add to my permanent arsenal someday.

By Pint and Pound

Come one, come all! And come quickly, for there is much to see. The Market is here this day, and it forever pulses with the beat of a thousand hearts set sail on a thousand ships from worlds you could hardly imagine, named in foreign tongues you cannot pronounce.

Yes yes, everything is for sale here! Blood and flesh by the pint and the pound, respectively– yours today! If the price is right, of course.

This folksy blues number started out its life as a very simple chord progression and melody combination that quickly took on a life of its own once I let it. Originally dubbed “Launch” (and available as such on the limited edition Preliminary Results digital album), the song was renamed “Blood And Flesh By Pint and Pound” once I started to flesh it out. No pun intended, I swear. Regardless, that all seemed a bit too gruesome, so “By Pint and Pound” it became, with the above story snippet of the market scene (inspired by the Floating Market in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere series) to fill things out. This song also marks another appearance by the Wavedrum in addition to being the debut of another new instrument for a Psycliq project: an acoustic guitar. Is the future of Psycliq made of wood and skins?

Dustwood

A lonely stop on the side of a dry and forgotten highway. The road stretches off into the distance in either direction and shows no sign of wavering around any obstacle, visible or otherwise. Strangely enough, you are far from alone here; but it is clear that you are not nearly cracked by the sun enough to fit in.

“You must be new in town. Pull up a seat, son.”

Ever since I first penned this blues track, I felt it really wanted to be road music in a film, played over a dusty and forgotten local watering hole. An old cowboy town, perhaps, but one where pickup trucks and motorcycles were preferred over horses. I had a hard time mixing this song, for some reason or another. I just couldn’t quite get the different themes to stand out without smashing over each other. Also had issues with the ending, and didn’t get that to work until nearly the last minute. I think I finally got it all to fit appropriately, though it’s times like this that have made me really wish I could work with a producer and mixing engineer. Maybe when I’m rich and famous someday, right? Interestingly, the electric guitar sounds in this are all from the Silvertone. Man, that thing is versatile.

 

Stay tuned for the last and final volume of my notes for Results Not Typical. I promise that I’ll try not to let it take quite so many weeks in between this time.

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Production

An Inadvertent Time Warp

This evening, I was able to grab a little time in the studio to work on some stuff, and I found myself pulling out my trusty old Silvertone guitar and the shiny still-on-loan-but-I-promise-I’ll-give-it-back-sometime wavedrum and did some tracking and overdubbing for “Open To Suggestions”. This song started its life when I was asked to “just go play something on the piano for background music” in church one night. I just began noodling around and this neat lilting cadence came out. A friend joined me on the conga to add some structure to the rhythm, and things came together pretty quickly there. Back in my home studio, I was able to transcribe the piano parts from memory, and the wavedrum filled in nicely with a pair of percussion sounds to round things out.  I’m still not a very good drummer, but that’s OK for now.

Also when recording it here, I very quickly realized that it needed some kind of melody countering things over the top. This is something that electric guitars are very good at. So out came the big red beast and the little green Tube Screamer, and away I went. I was liking where things were headed, but something was missing about the guitar’s sound. Now, I’m really not much of a tone-head. I flail at knobs and settings on amps and pedals with no idea what I’m looking for, hoping that eventually something useful will come out. On a whim, I threw a flanger effect onto the guitar channel. That’s when something weird happened.

The song instantly turned into something from the early 1970’s. I’m not sure how it happened, but it went from being modern to retro as quickly as I flipped a switch. Mind you, the rest of the song that I’d been working on didn’t change at all prior to this. And in my opinion, this jump is just what it needed to find its home.

This may also be a sign that I’m turning into an old guy and starting to make old guy rock. We’ll just have to see how that one turns out.