Sunday, February 7, 2010

Song Fu 6, Round 1

My entry is here. I guess maybe you'd call it nerdcore -- I'm a big fan of MC Frontalot -- but it is also inspired, perhaps, by They Might Be Giants songs about science. Given that I'm mostly a guitarist, my first impulse was to grab my guitar, but I decided I wanted to try something different, and so didn't compose on the guitar at all, but started with the lyric and percussion, then added a melody for the choruses in Apple Logic.

I started off with a different lyric and completely different song, which sounded like a mournful, slow early Peter Gabriel track. I decided partway into that one that it wasn't really doing it for me, and fortunately this lyric popped into my head as fast as I could write it down. It got a rewrite, but there isn't a lot of time in Song Fu for rewrites, especially after I had abandoned one concept already -- you've got to freeze your ideas in the form of real tracks quite quickly.

Joe "Covenant" Lamb was kind enough to sing a vocal track for me, which I then mixed with my vocals.

Given the realities of life with a day job and small children, I only really had one afternoon to record vocals, although I was able to get a few hours in the evenings earlier in the week to work on the lyrics, MIDI instruments, and bass and guitar parts. It just so happens I've had a sore throat for a couple of weeks now, but I did the best I could, given that I was rapidly running out of time.

Despite all this, I'm quite pleased with it -- it came out better than I was expecting. I was concerned that I would just freeze up solid and draw a blank, given that I've never recorded an original song before (aside from some instrumental improvisations), and I don't really know a lot about writing melodies and accompaniment parts.

There's a video to go with it.

I'm playing the Steinberger Synapse 5-string fretless bass and the Squier Super-Sonic on this track. It's more-or-less in the key of G. If you're a guitarist, you may be wondering what I'm playing in that "rain" harmonic riff. It's a little cheat. For that riff, the Super-sonic is tuned to an open E7 chord. Then, I have a capo on the 3rd fret to make it an open G7. The harmonics are then all octave harmonics at the 15th fret. To make this sound right, you have to tune the guitar very carefully after the capo is applied.

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