Forced Session. Break.

Last night, I really was not in the mood to do RPM at all, but basically forced myself through it.

I took to Google random number generator and picked 2 songs to work on.

The first one (working title) "Maths Haiku" is up on the demo player.

Its basically the Maths module kinda doing a krell type patch with some feedbacky delays and some other stuff. All modular and field recordings.

I kinda get a vibe of like walking through a Japanese temple with like a vortex of chaos whiriling all around.


The second song I worked on hurt a lot more. Working title - "Eloquaos" keeps shifting between genres and moods. I kinda had the mindset like "ok i need a pad, I'll add a pad, and if it sucks I'll change it later" .. ended up changing everything multiple times before giving up for the night around 1amish.

That being said I will do no RPM work tonight to make sure my GF feels loved and also because I need sleep.

Pushing Boundaries

One of the coolest things about a project like this is that it forces you out of your comfort zone.

Little over the halfway mark now, with 4 songs complete, and two in-progress. As I try to keep things fresh, I find myself pushing into styles that I generally don't dabble with in electronic music. The current track I'm working on has a hint of jazz fusion in the lead. I've always been a huge fan of that style, and I'm super excited to move further into other genres and styles as the challenge continues.

productive at work? you bet!

ok, maybe my actual WORK work wasn't so productive, but i wrote 3 more lyrics yesterday! got home from work & banged out 3 drum tracks, then piccolo bass tracks, then fretless bass. currently, i'm up to 13 songs that all need vocals & mixing and we're not even halfway. i think i can....

'Bout freaking time

FINALLY got a song where it's presentable and ready to go into my player.  Only took me half the month!  

Don't worry, I've been working on other songs too, but tonight I decided I needed to GET ONE OF THE FREAKING THINGS finished.

So yeah.

So there it is.

(Fun fact:  We binged the first four episodes of the Starz original series Counterpart, thus the title of the song.  I highly recommend the series, if you've got Starz on your cable.) 


Album done

Ok looks like I have one album completed. With the recordings I made with the resonator in the Richard Serra sculpture Vortex and the noodling I did down in Terlingua last week, a nice theme developed, “Places and Spaces”. Ambient acoustic guitar improvs inspired by the environment, location they were recorded in.


Next up, a Breaking Light album.


Happy Fat Tuesday!  I am tired - but not from RPM; I have a contract design job that is preempting RPM this week.  So, I may finish a song or two. It just having a blast.  Hard to believe the month is half over already!

Holding notes

The fourth track is up in the player.  It's funny how a song can be written one way, and then it insists on being sung another.  I didn't expect to be holding a couple of notes for five seconds or so, but that's what the friggin' song wanted.




I never should’ve wrote that letter

And thrown it off into the sea

It’s never gonna get any better

And now it’s so easy to see

It never was meant to be


I never should’ve grabbed that bottle

But man it’s so easy to do

I never should’ve run to the water

With everything I wanted to do

And say to you


Funny how the ocean feels like going home

All the more when you’re alone


I guess I should’ve known that letter

Would tumble up onto the sand

And all the ways I tried to forget her

Would find their way into your hands

Like it was the plan


Funny how the ocean has a mind of its own

All the more when you’re alone



Finally. Not Finale.

The tenth demo has borne fruit! I've been recording different setups in a new place, trying to find something that works with traffic and chimney noise. Can't use my beloved Yeti mic so I am down to the SM58 and a (hush) electric guitar amp mic'd. Starting to find a banjo part - I think it has pretensions of a bass part which is confusticating. Oh and my voice is shot already!


Song written and recorded today. All the other stuff so far is just like reminders, but I am so happy to have something that is listenable, finally. I am risking a late-night mix upload!

Sweet dreams everyone!


William Butler Yeats

What will RPM Santa bring me?

I have no idea what this year’s album will be. Not a negative or positive, but a legitimate unknown. I’m recording parts, but not really listening much. It could all be a glorious mess or it could be a pleasant surprise. 

Past years I went in with a concept or feeling that I tried to achieve. This is the first year where it is such a mystery. I really won’t begin to know for another week, if not until the 28th, aka RPM Christmas.


D13: Many short songs requires many different ideas

Done some vocal re-takes today. Realized I recorded one song in such a high key that it's difficult to sing but somehow I managed to do it. Wouldn't have been able last year, but I've learned a little bit of singing technique during the year.

Started to record one new song today. Making ten short songs is practical in one way but the downside is that if you don't want them all be too similar, you have to really find some inspiration to get the last songs done. Today's new song got a little bit of country-ish feel. That came accidentally, but it's cool to have something special - an identity - for each song.

Unnecessary Freak Out

Why do I always do this to myself?  Every friggin' year it's the same thing.  I get to Valentine's Day and if I'm not mixing I start to lose my freakin' mind.

Want to venture a guess how many times I've been in mixing mode by Valentine's Day?  I've managed to finish RPM (and FAWM) on time every year since 2012, and the four years before that were failed attempts.  So this is my 11th attempt.  How many times was I mixing by February 14th.  The answer?  NONE!  NEVER!  NOT ONE TIME!

Yet here I sit in freak out city, paranoid as can be that I'm not going to finish on time.  I've got 14 songs in the works and 13 have the full rhythm section already recorded.  

Why can't I relax?  Why can't I calm down?  I've got this.  Hell, I'm probably working faster this year than most past years.  Why can't I just get over myself?


(on a side note, I have a Google document where I write down ideas for lyrics and song titles and anything that comes to mind that isn't specifically music.  Unnecessary Freak Out is getting added to that doc.)

Week Two

The past week centred primarily on vocal writing. My process for writing words is usually to record an instrumental I like, then sing along to the audio until something starts to coagulate into a word, then I write, then I record the songs for real once they have been solidified, fleshing it out from there. 

I am finding it hard to find my voice. This is the first recording project I've done since I quit drinking 6 months ago, after 10 years of alcoholism. I am finding this whole process very uncomfortable, which is odd considering music is basically the only thing I've ever loved. However, like many alcoholics, I lost sight of how much drinking had become a part of my creative process. It feels very weird to sing and try to get in touch with that side of my brain without alcohol. We spend so much of our lives wound up, trying to act normal. A good vocal performance should be anything but normal. Without that lubricant, it's not as easy to pull that energy out of me. It just takes more focus.

I have a few instrumentals left that I really like that I have yet to find suitable vocals for, so I bounced out the songs I have vocals for, and peppered the incomplete ones throughout the track list on my phone. I'm gonna go for a coffee walk right now and listen to the "album" to see if the proximity of the half-done ones to more complete vocals will give me some perspective on what kind of thing the album is lacking and give me some direction.


Going Mental

Why do we make ourselves crazy every February?

Our families learn to hate us, or just avoid us altogether, our neighbors are disgusted with the incessant racket, and our employers are aggravated that we can't focus on their meaningless crap because we've been up all night working on our OWN meaningless crap.

One day we'll all be dead, and RPM will probably delete all our files.


Is it time to go home yet?


Drop a name

There is nothing that beats your own confidence and certainly you do not need any one else to validate you.

But still, it feels really nice when someone else appreciates your work. So go and make someone else’s day, listen to some demos and let the ones that you like know that you like their efforts – either private message or urge others to check out the stuff you heard in the forums.


And besides I am finding the more people that I check out and comment on, the more that reciprocate. Not the driving force here, just a really nice side effect.

what would you do with a dead hooker you found in the woods ?

Working on my last tune, entitled .. dead hooker in the woods.

So far, the plot involves drinking beer in the woods and happening upon a dead hooker.. the narrator takes her home, cleans her up and does her hair up like Elvira and props her up at the dinner table ,while they (he) has a deep meaningful (even if onesided) conversation about  his feelings... over red wine, candlelight and smooth jazz.

But that's as far as I got. I need to advance the story somewhat for at least another verse or two.  any ideas what else, besides talk about feelings over wine and candlelight one might do with a rotting dead hooker found in the woods ?

Album taking shape, but we need a name.

So, instead of embarking on this project myself this year, I'm doing it with one of my band.

  We are a progressive stoner rock trio tuned down to A standard. I play a Hagstrom semi-hollow Viking Baritone in this one.

We're laying down a jam that moves through 3 "songs" and connects them with a lot of spacey jamming. We plan to add synth and samples and other instruments after we get the take that we like. 

 We're recording on a cassette 4-track and then mixing to my laptop.

Our band has been together for almost a year now and we have no name still. Any suggestions?

We're big fans of Twin Peaks and some far-out sci-fi related conspiracy theories. We hated The Last Jedi. 

The Doldrums

I really haven't accomplished much the last few days. Somehow I think this is typical of my RPM experience, a fast start, a fevered finish, and a drag in the middle of the month.

It is literally impossible to record when I have nothing to record, so I am just poking listlessly at the tracks I've done already.

Lucky Day 13: The world takes shape...

Even though I've been working a bit slower than I thought I would, the overall shape of the album is something I think I'll be proud of in the end. I'm liking the juxtaposition of my acoustic elements against the synths and drum machines.

A lot of these songs have a personal element that was missing from some of my previous work. Many of the songs I've written have been more of experiments in style and sound, rather than some sort of expression or statement. That's not to say my other songs mean nothing to me, far from it. It's just that I rarely set out to express my emotions through music. My feelings and emotions end up coming through anyway, but it has always been more of a stream of consciousness sort of way of writing lyrics. I suppose, this isn't really that different.  These songs just feel more intimate to me in a way. I wrote all of these songs on my acoustic guitar in completion, rather than one part at a time and doing the lyrics at the end. But, I guess, it's all really the same, I just wrote these songs out of my usual order. It's weird to break it down and analyze the process, I'm always surprised by what I find. 

Moving on...


100% done with first mix / Some ideas on automation that might be helpful

How much is enough automation?


Probably about this much


Just kind of showing off, I think this mix is dope. Hopefully I'll budget my time such that I'll be able to put this level of detail onto all the tracks.


I've written/produced 4/5 of the songs. Gonna have to get back with the scheduling most likely, but I'm committed. 


So for anyone interested on this mix I automated


-PanPot on most every track

-Cutoff filters on a bunch of the tracks

-Volume on all the tracks (I do this in a seperate session)


I think automation is really great for bringing mixes to life. So often I hear a DIY guy dropping a great song, better composed than something I'd do, but the mix is just super flat and boring. Not much movement, not much going on. Don't be those guys. Not putting in the extra time on the mix is kind of like letting your song drop out of school in the 10th grade, it would just have been a little better off had it stuck in and got that diploma. 


Dislocated Joint

Dislocated? or maybe misplaced... hmm...

Well, here's what took most of the music time I had today, messing with this and trying to decide whether it fit together or not... I'm still not sure. 

I wanted to try having a synthy lead arpeggiator contrasted with a non-synthy bassline, and this is what came about... 

Dislocated Joint

As always, comments/critiques/etc. welcome.