afc update 02.10.18

finished drums, started on bass, i think i'm gonna play the fretless on everything, the strings need to be changed, but i kinda like the no tone fretless sound.

in other news, my wife got me sick.  boo me.

One of those days

It's one of those days where instead of working on things efficiently, I choose to listen to one part of an in-progress song over and over again, hoping some new idea just jumps out at me.

It'd be nice if that happened, but it'd be nicer if I could keep focused and hammer out another track today.

Day 10: Mellotrondramatic

I've got the recordings done on three songs so far. I'm hoping to knock out the rest by the end of the weekend so I can concentrate on doing vocals over next week. 

This album is shaping up into some sort of acoustic/electro/psych kind of trip. The synths really add another dimension to what would otherwise be straight forward singer/songwriter songs. It's got flavors of late 90's Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and 70's stuff like America and CSNY. Interesting stuff (to me) so far...


That second weekend

That second weekend in February is always guaranteed to induce some minor panic: is it really the 10th today?!

I've got two tracks more or less done (subject to a couple of small changes in the mixing): "the new technology" is a kind of boards of canada alike loopy thing and "precipitate b" is a short guitar jam with drums which are a bit hip-hoppy (but in 9/4, just to be difficult).

I've got 4 longer songs in the works but it's slow going, hopefully I can make some progress this weekend...

Deadlines? What Are Deadlines?

We all have our own methods of tackling a song, and I'm sure it can even vary from tune to tune. I will say, some of my most organized, immersive songwriting has happened in the past 9 days. I set a goal to get all 10 songs (plus a sweet bass line that could be hammered into an instrumental should one of my other originals goes south) arranged in Reason, plus have all my sounds, tones and synths dialed up and ready for tracking all in seven days. Then I promptly blew that deadline.

Ehh, who cares, right? I'm learning new things at a steady pace and solving problems I didn't even know I was about to have; tonight was the first time I learned how to make a substantial tempo change in the middle of a song (115 bpm up to 225). It's going to be an epic. Probably. Or something that'll drive me to madness over the next 20+ days.

I'm having fun. I hope you're having fun. Onward!

Phase: gunjumping

I just finished writing what I can only think of as a culmination track for the entire album. I think it rambles around to something from every other song, including the two I haven't actually done full lyrics for yet. (So I guess I'll do those this weekend. I'm committed?)

And that makes this more of an ALBUM than I've really done before, ever. I've been trying to keep certain themes going through it, and ideally it'll have three "acts" of songs, each made a little differently from the others, and broken up by weird improvised barely-musical interludes ... the whole thing is weird. And more than a little overreaching, doomed to be an embarrassment, etc.

So that's how I'm keeping it interesting, I guess.

I have so much work

I have so much work. I hav e so much work. I have soooo much work. The work I have so much of it.


Of course I have so much work. I have have have have so much work. I hav e so much work. I have so much work.


I have so much work.


One down...

And we're off...

A little extra commitment saw through the first demo. Still need to go back and actually record the thing, but it's arranged and ready. That's a step in the right direction. As the pieces come together, I'll start getting really fired up.

Next, song 2. Something shorter and verse-chorus, methinks. Slow and pretty? Good contrast from the heaviness of the first tune.

Still, I'm under the wire. Maybe that's right where I need to be.

5 Most Useful Music Resources I've Run Into In the Past 5 years

It just occurred to me that instead of giving out unsolicited advice, you might fare better hearing things from the people that I learned from. Here's the resources I've recommended the most to other digital musicians. 


1. Micheal White Fundamentals of Mixing Course

This is a daunting amount of info. Literally a college semester's worth of mixing classes for free on Youtube from a pro that mixed some of Whitney Houston's best albums. He's awesome and this has been my #1 mixing resource by far. The automation section by itself is very useful & the philosophical discussions at the beginning of the course are great as well. 


2. The Art Of Mixing

This is a whacky instructional video from the 80s on mixing. Really good way to conceptualize what each tool does in the mix. It equates sound into space in a way that helped me understand the basic tools (pan, volume, eq, compression.) This video is a short framework & it's a more striped back explanation of the concepts in the first playlist. 


3. Intro to Synthesis Pt 1 - 3

Another whacky 80s instructional vid. The most straightforward and universally applicable sound design course I've found. It might not give you the specific technique to make the synth you have in your head, but it will teach you how to recreate any synth sound so that making that specific sound yourself becomes easier. Great vids & will help you work any synth or virtual instrument you might be using more effectively. 


4. Building Blocks of Music Theory

This is the most recent addition to my list. I've been posting this everywhere because it helped me learn a lot of theory concepts very quickly. I was definitely one of those guys that put off learning theory for far too long. It really does help as much as everyone tells you it will. And this series is great because it will teach you the basics within ~45 minutes of instruction, a crazy feat by any teacher. 


5. Why do your recordings sound like ass?

This one is a little different because it's a collection of forum posts. This guy called yep is dropping pearly knowledge gems in this old message board. This one took me the longest to get through, but it gave me a bunch of ideas that changed the way I thought about recording & mixing. One example is his breakdown of "Son of a Preacher Man" in the later pages, where he points out that the vocal reverb was panned right. I've been bringing panned reverb into my mixes since then. It's good stuff. Reading through the forum is a little inconvenient, but I'd say it's worth the effort. 


Youtube is such an excellent way of learning. Super grateful that was available so I could learn these things myself. These resources didn't give me fish, they taught me how to fish. And for that I'm super grateful. 


Hope these help you as well. Let me know if you have any resources you' consider as useful as these. I might add more on in another blog if I find something between now and the end of the challenge. Until next time. 



And for those of you who don't like variety, there's variety.

Darn it. Too many distractions this evening to compose.

The Celtics are playing Indiana, and there's a Ring Of Honor wrestling card on.

Must stay focused .. Must stay focused ..

Hey, a squirrel! (wandering off)

Andy Samford - Ok, so i'm done.

Ok, after listening to the album, i've decided that Fakin' It actually doesn't fit in at all, and in fact, something I rarely do, I'm going to shelve that song and start over with it. The chorus is great, but the verses need work, and I figured out today that the riff in the verse is lifted directly from a song from my RPM 2014 album, and it would diminish both songs by making a reappearance......   so.... back to the drawing board on that one, it needs to percolate a bit more.... 

but what that leaves me with is 11 songs that run 45 minutes and 45 seconds and I like when numbers do cool things like that, and the 11 songs work great together and my first attempt at a sequence nailed it......   so i'm calling it done. 

still don't have a name. but here's the track order: 

01. Electric Glowing Night

02. Sinking Ship

03. Am I Out Of My Mind Again

04. Madness Lurks

05. Phoenix

06. The Stars Are On My Side

07. Search Your Feelings

08. Away In The Rays

09. Hazy Daze

10. Seeking Shelter

11. Fade To Green


on Saturday I begin a 3 day challenge with two guys I've worked with separately, but never all together.  We have the next 3 Saturdays to write and record an album.  So I'm gonna figure out a way to create some RPM stress one way or another damnit!  



Anyone know what final submission looks like this year?

Please -- I am NOWHERE near being done with my tunes --- but when I AM done, I'd love to know where to upload / send or other...??? :)

02.09.2018; Day 9

I have taken the last two days off, sort of.  I did record a little improvisation on my small guitar but that's about it.  I sat around and listened to music and did some visual art instead:

1.  Sun Ra

2.  Albert Ayler

3.  Keith Rowe

A little break from the work was needed.  I was getting to the point to where I couldn't tell if I liked what I was doing.  I even contemplated scraping it all. 

Today, I will do some editing and some field recordings.  

AFC update 02.09.18

no news is good news, I started getting levels and what what on the drums last night but had a tad too much to drink to accomplish anything.  I messed up some sounds and got lost in the Logic and before I knew it, I was shutting stuff off and going back to BOTW.  anyways, Wilsun is going to sing for me, so that's one thing out of the way, woot.

in other news, I bought my plane tickets to the part, rental car, working on hotels later, and then this trip is official, you know.  I wish I'd have come out when Tess made the trip, that would have been a blast.

Leapt without looking

I find myself out of my league, here. I’m a singer, not an instrumentalist. 

Did I research anything about this challenge before diving in? Noooo. Do I know how to mix layers of sound to create a complete song? Not yet. The challenge was to get working on creations, right?! Well, that’s what I’m doing. Competing with no one but my yesterday’s self.

So far, the songs I’ve heard others post are really well done! 

I’m on song 4 now. Working out the framework one at a time; the melodies, lyrics, and basic chords are coming along. My goal is to get them down, then tinker with them & practice. Only then will I record & post them, no matter that they’ll still be rather basic. 

Wowsa, I can’t help but laugh at myself for joining in, so under-prepared. Ah well. Perhaps I’m not the only one. It’s a very absorbing kind of fun.

Third of the month gone!

we had our first band session last nightand it went as expected. i was pretty hopeful we would get three tracks done but the switching over from Ableton intro/podfarm at my house to Garageband direct-in at our practice space created lots of "first time of the year hick ups". My drum track i built imported flawlessly. There were virtual rigs to build on Garageband and room sounds to sort. We always have recorded everything live including drums. So this is taking a little getting used to. If someone messes up, they can just start over or splice in a good part. No leaking. its great. the whole band going at one creates a great natural feel but if one guy messes up he stops the song and we all start can wreck you after a while.Also... Alex Moody sent me a couple toons last summer and im using February to flush them out. i posted the first demo in our player today.  

rain in the forecast!

we here in South Carolina have a rainy weekend ahead - know what that means? of course you do! a full weekend ahead of recording! yesss! heck, i might get the whole thing done before monday!

so far i've written 15 sets of lyrics and matched up 5 of them with musical ideas. some of my song titles this year:

one way man at a four way stop

the log

it's gonna be a long one


burn off the fog

and my favorite...

Wordy McWordpants


ok, back to work! :D

Day 9: Moving right along

I managed to finish recording the first song, minus vocals and get most of the next one fleshed out. For the next few days, that's the plan. Onward and upward...


Mac McIntyre - Guts!

I think I've done enough tracking on my ridiculously long 35+ minute track to start looking at guitar parts. Phew!

The basic drum, bass tracking always wears me down, because I insist that it has to be 'interesting' enough for me to want to build up melodies over.

The nature of the way I'm building this monster makes it next to impossible to put work in progress tracks into my player.

I'll try and do an excerpt in the next few days for those of you who are interested.

 ...and that is all for now

Finishing up Song 3 and learning mixing techniques

This is my first "official" RPM! I started on the 1st of the month, and have been working frantically ever since on two projects; a video game styled OST (this project!) and a punk band with some friends. It's going to be a busy month.

Today I worked on polishing the 3rd track for the video game styled OST. I have not yet decided a title, but as I write the story to go with it I'm certain that will become more clear.

The greatest challenge I've faced so far has for sure been eqing and mixing my songs. I've never actually done mixing before, despite having a fair amount of experience in different DAWs. I really have no idea what I'm doing, but thankfully watching some YT tutorials and advice from friends have given me a decent grasp on how to get the basics down.