Impossible

“Impossible” is a continuation of a story started in my previous song (  http://slidamusic.com/blog/inescapable-entropy/ ). “Entropy” had such a specific subject matter and was pretty dramatic,   with the singer was becoming increasingly unglued by the end, vowing to “turn back time” in some way.  “Impossible” is the protagonist(?) , having more or less gone completely mad, actually attempting to build some sort of “time reversal” machine. The song itself is meant to represent the machine and is an attempt to put the listener into a weird, underground laboratory, listening to this mad scientist rant while he works on this strange contraption.

When I started I only had one lyrical line, and the idea of having some sort of oscillating sound going throughout the whole song, which I spent some time trying to get right. It is an unnaturally low, looped,  flute sound. From there it was one of those creations that just seems to grow by itself. My vocal performance was a spontaneous reaction to how the song sounded. I spent a lot of time on the guitar solos, because I couldn’t get them right, because I am not much of a guitar player. However, the frustration of having to do them over and over actually ended up serving the song perfectly as it caused them to evolve, and injected them with emotion that fit with the song.

Really, a very fortuitous creation. When I am able to make things like this, it causes me to question where creativity actually comes from. It feels weird to take credit for making it, like taking credit for winning the lottery when all I did was buy a ticket.

Inescapable Entropy

This is a song inspired by someone I followed on Twitter who stopped existing rather suddenly. Twitter is one of many online social networks, but to me it is in a category by itself. It’s 140-character format and informality allows for a much broader range of possible connections and is really… fluid, I think,  is a word for it.

I’ve been on Twitter for over 4 years now, and it’s been quite a while since I have actively sought to follow new people, or to grow my follower count. I generally follow people back that follow me, but I don’t do much following on my own anymore. However, a few months ago, someone I had been following for a long time recommended following their brother, and I did. It’s fun following new people actually, I just tend to forget that. This person then mentioned me in a “Follow Friday” post along with some other people who followed him as a result of his brother’s recommendation. What I generally do if I am mentioned that way, is to check out the other people who are mentioned along with me, and follow them if they seem agreeable. So I did this, and almost immediately forgot that I had. Some of them, or all of them followed me back eventually. “Oh yeah, that’s one of those new people I followed.”

Since Twitter ruined Tweetdeck, my preferred way of reading Twitter, I have switched to HootSuite to do so, and I don’t like the format as much, and as a result I pay a great deal more attention to my fairly small “Follow Friday” list of tweeps than I do to my overall timeline, which includes 1300 accounts. Because of this, I haven’t been doing a very good job of learning what my newer followers are about, and that was the case with this new bunch. One of this new bunch, that went by the handle ArcticPizzas, followed me back and favorited a couple of my tweets. Favoriting a tweet is a kind of quiet interaction that is available on Twitter.  I remembered being a little confused by the account when I looked at it. It described itself as “Twitter’s favorite pizza bot”, and there was a picture of a girl from an unusual angle, as if a hamster took the photograph or something.

Further examination revealed that ArcticPizzas was an Australian girl named ‘Alexa’ who was the  equivalent of an American high school senior. I am a bit on the old side to be getting  chummy with teen girls on the internet, but I thought that since she was paying attention to my tweets that I should make a point to pay attention to her and see who she was, and added her to my Follow Friday list.

This list is not particularly large, and the time I pay the most attention to it is during the week before I go to work in the afternoon. I generally check in around 9:30 in the AM, and keep general track of it throughout the next few hours, which is really easy, because there is not a huge volume of tweets coming from my Follow Friday group. There are people that are at work(US and Canada), and some people who have just gotten off work(in the UK/Europe).  ArcticPizzas was up late(in Australia), and tweeting in the morning when I got on.

There has perhaps been no time in my life when teen girls were not akin to space aliens to me, but I’d say at this time, being pretty far removed from my teen years myself, the tweets of this teen girl amongst adults were pretty interesting/confusing( the reason I like twitter so much is the experience of other peoples minds and thoughts, it’s surprisingly vivid). I became quite fond of ArcticPizzas, and enjoyed thinking about her future. She was about to go to college and have what would probably be the most interesting, exciting years of her life, and she had no real idea how cool it was going to be, as she stared at her phone and tweeted about pizza. Thinking about this somehow filled me with these mostly forgotten feelings, like ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’. I was glad that I sort of knew her, and that, in a small twitterish way, I would get glimpses of her exciting, unfolding future.

This all happened in the month of May. In June, I lost track of Twitter a bit, and ArcticPizzas wasn’t staying up late and tweeting during the time I was on. Now, in 3D life, I have an old friend who is very sick, and on the 8th of June I helped him move into a new apartment. He was doing pretty badly that day, and had been looking progressively worse throughout the last couple of months. On the 10th of June, he went into the hospital. He’s been in an out of the hospital a lot in the last year, and I stopped reacting to it at some point, as it was usually nothing(he is understandably suffering from a lot of anxiety, I don’t know how I would react to this thing myself, so I can’t really pass judgement on it). My assessment of this latest trip was that he hadn’t been taking care of his diabetes, and he just needed to eat right and get his blood sugar under control and he’d be fine, relatively speaking. I resolved to get on his ass about his diet when he got out.  On the 12th of June, our mutual friend called me late at night to tell me that he wasn’t going to make it. The fact that we knew this was coming did not make the news any easier. So I’m kind of a mess for the rest of the week. In spending the day at the hospital on Sunday, I learn that he is not going to die(soon). So that’s great!  This would be the second time mourning his death that he pulled out of it. What a crazy rubberbanding of feelings that is.

The following weekend he is out of the hospital, and I spend my 3rd consecutive weekend doing Mike-related activities. I’d been kind of reeling all throughout the month of June so far, between Mike and  two crazy dental appointments and the heat, etc, my ADD addled mind had about all it could handle. It was not until the final weekend of June, and through the Fourth of July that my mind got the quiet and reflection time it needs to assess where I’m at.

On the 6th of July, after spending a couple of low key days with my family,  I wake up, have my coffee, and think about ArcticPizzas for the first time in a month, and realize that I haven’t seen her in my timeline for a while. If I notice tweeps have been absent for some time, I’ll sometimes take a peek at their timeline to see if everything is alright. So I typed her handle into search, which actually just brings up tweets that mentioned her, and I read a tweet that says something like “I can’t stop thinking about Alexa(@ArcticPizzas), Rest in Paradise!”  WHAT!!!???  Even though, rationally, I know this means she’s dead, what else would it mean, I manage to pretend like this was not true until I could verify it and find out what happened. It was not very easy to do, and I spent about an hour of searching around twitter until I found out what happened. What had happened is that, the same week that Mike went to the hospital and almost died, Alexa was in a serious car accident which put her in a coma. But she woke up the following weekend, and was on twitter! She really enjoyed twitter a lot, it seems.  But I missed that. And she shortly after died of a brain hemorrhage. The only thing I could have done was to say some encouraging things to her before she died, and I didn’t, because I wasn’t paying attention.

 

This song sums up how I felt about this horrible news better than any prose description of it, so I will let it speak for itself. It seems to me to be like the opening song of a musical about someone who becomes obsessed with trying to go back in time to reverse an event.

On A Windy Morning

 

 

After getting last month’s song done relatively early, this month’s is extra late, which was not how I was wanting it to work out.  This tune is a bit different, and in some ways a more difficult composition, but the delay is more life-related than anything, having had 4 out of the 6 weekends since my last release at least partially occupied. It didn’t really take me any longer than the other songs, I just had less time to work on it.

I am pretty excited about this one. I usually have some sort of huge misgiving after I release something, and that will probably happen with this too, but at the moment I am a proud parent. I considered last month’s song to be a bit of a breakthrough for me, and this one  continues down the path towards…  wherever it is I’m trying to get to. 😉

One of my goals in starting this song-a-month project was to familiarize myself to a much greater degree with the various tools that I can use to make music, and I decided at the outset of this song that I would use this app called the Moog Filtatron that I had purchased for my phone. The boop-boop-boop that runs through the first half of the song was created by using that app. Since I didn’t really know what I was doing, I just recorded that loop for a few minutes and started building the song around it. It was a bit challenging, as I couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate drums with it,  and it ended up with a fairly unique structure. This is exactly the sort of thing that I’m looking for! It is perhaps a bit too loose, tempo wise, but I do like to create things with a kind of gooey tempo, and I feel it lends itself to the kind of woozy psychedelia I want to create.

As strange as it turned out, it was very organic, I wasn’t making any conscious effort at strangeness, just a sort of intuitive set of decisions based on this kind of no man’s land I found myself in. It also inspired the lyrics, them being about moving forward with another person in a kind of pleasant uncertainty. The boop-boop-boop brought to mind unsure footsteps. Ideally, every song would have this unification of music and lyrics. 🙂 As with all of my songs so far this year, it is perhaps not quite complete in it’s current form, but I am feeling good about this one and am looking forward to working on
the next song, which needs to be quick so I don’t fall further behind! 🙂

Sun Blanket(song of the month)

This was a quick one. Quick ones almost always turn out the best. Unfortunately the only route towards a quick one is just to make things a lot, and a quick one will just pop up.  It might be something directly from the right hemisphere of the brain, which would normally have to explain things to the left side in order to execute it’s idea. It escapes before the analytical mind can start to criticize it and change its shape.

This short instrumental came about as an offshoot of the song that I was working on previously, which was something of a failure, but proved to be quite challenging, and if not a step up in quality, a step up in complexity and know-how. I had been experimenting with, and trying to reach competence with, slide guitar, and the chords of this song are all in the ‘D’ tuning which I play slide guitar in(D-A-D-F#-A-D). I thought I’d try to write a song in this tuning, and found the chords by using just one finger on one or more of the strings. After a couple of days of fiddling around a bit, I started picking the chords instead of strumming them, and I felt the result was so nice to listen to that maybe I would just make it an instrumental piece.

I recorded one go round of the chords and came up with another simple guitar part to go with it. I then decided that I wanted to repeat the passage and add more parts to it the second time. Essentially I had the entire song in a couple of days. I added a part using the Animoog app on my iPhone(which is quite awesome), and composed a synth string part. I had planned on adding several other parts to the second half of the song, my imagination was quite stimulated by this piece of music. But it turned out, by my judgment anyway, that the piece didn’t need any more parts, it was finished. Sitting on it for a week did not change how I felt about it. So up on the internet it went!

I have made more than one instrumental piece in my life, and none of them have titles. Since I already had an untitled piece up on Soundcloud, I though I should come up with a name for this one. Sun Blanket was a title I had, waiting for a song to go with it, and while this is not the type of song I had imagined for it, I though that it worked as a stand alone title, and also as part of this semi-narrative I’m semi-developing with these monthly songs.

This one has accumulated listens faster than any other track I have released, and I actually didn’t make much of an effort to draw attention to it. I feel like it turned out really good, but there is no way to know that before you listen to it, so I’m a little mystified as to its performance. Anyway, thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed the tune! 🙂

Song of the Month! Woo-hooo! Yaaaaaaay!

 

In an announcement that is certain to bring the Internet down to it’s knees, Slida’s Song of the Month is going live today! Free music from someone you’ve never heard of on the Internet! It’s unprecedented!

But seriously, I am finally in music making mode after a long hiatus, and the creation of at least one reasonably complete song a month is one of my goals for the year 2013. I have read a million times that announcing ones plans to do something will strengthen one’s resolve to do that thing, so I have decided to blog about it once a month as well, and make an attempt to draw attention to it for a weekend. I think that approach might work better if people were actually paying attention, but worth a shot(if you are paying attention and have actually read this far, you are super, super awesome).

One of my bigger issues with completing pieces of music, is that I never feel they are(and I’m pretty much always right) complete, and the specific kind of music I want to make normally doesn’t lend itself to quick completion. By vowing to release a song a month, I am essentially forcing myself to get one specific song into good enough shape to present to people every month, and also forcing myself to move on,for the time being, rather than constantly fiddling with it, until I can’t stand listening to it anymore and abandon it.

[more explanations redacted]

In true me fashion, this is the third different mix I’ve uploaded in the last 3 days. I call it an enhanced demo,as I would be working on this for at least another month, I imagine, if I hadn’t started doing this super exciting thing!