How do you decide song order?

Curious how people handle the song order on an album.

Do you group similar sounding songs together?

Do you put the hard hitting stuff up front and the more chill arrangements in the back?

Do you have peaks and valleys?

Do you play jigsaw with the chords/scales between songs?

mixing... ugh.

I usually like to mix, but when there's a time limit, it sucks. Still, unthwarted, I push forward.

Each tune has roughly 6-7 tracks of guitars , 2 bass, about 4 vocals, and although sequenced, kick, snare, toms, hats and overheads all have their own tracks as well, which are routed to their own bus sub mix tracks, and further processed with compressors, limiters and eq..


My cpu likely hates me right now, as I'm running ozone on almost every track, trash for guitar sims, sonitus compressor on nearly everything, as well, waves L2, rvox, deesser, xnoise (comes in handy if you never bothered to get an interface) dsound delay, and sonitus reverb all over the place.

gonna start uploading the final mixes as soon possible..

The bullshit, is that I was in the middle of recording another album before I decided on a whim to do this, so once this album's finished, I still have to wrap up what will officially be the final cats album, before I can take a vacation from all this noisemaking and clear my head.



Wait, what?!? Meant to Be

I have found myself with an empty house and two to three hours of that status.

The gods must be crazy. 

If y'all's behave yourselves, I will post what comes out of this found block of loudness time.

Rock on babies, rock on.


Do not be intimidated by the progress of others

I have been pretty hard on myself about my lack of progress lately. Obviously at this point I was hoping to be more than 50% done.

The GF asked how I was doing and I told her "I have about 4 songs 70% done"

I was expecting a response like "well, you can catch up" but instead she said...

"Wow! 4 songs almost done! Amazing!"

While we see blog posts about people sliding into home base, its important to note that we really shouldn't be comparing progress like its a 1:1 thing.

Everyone is working on different stuff @ different workflows. For some of us, the challenge is easy, for others its actually a challenge. We have lots of time left in February. At least a whole other weekend!

Do not be intimidated by the progress of others.

"Places and Spaces"

I knew I would be on vacation for a week so instead of bugging out on rpm , why not incorporate the concept? Being a one-take-no overdub improv album, production was stupid simple, so there's that. 

On Feb.1 I took my National resonator guitar down to the Serra sculpture "Vortex" at the Fort Worth MOMA, a place I love and the acoustic qualities inside are like no other. As it turned out, it was a live recording, as there were bystanders present who very much responded to the music, always encouraging. I hadn't intended to busk but I walked away with $13!, and some kind comments. The four Vortex tracks on the album are presented semi-raw with a little compression and eq, but there was no reverb or delay added, so you can hear the natural acoustic qualities inside the structure. 

The remaining six tracks were recorded in or near a hotel room in Terlingua, Tx., a little town out somewhere in the middle of nowhere in the high desert of west Texas, Big Bend country. Coyotes howling outside our door every night, which was also captured. 

Here 'tis




Been taking a break from the sounds of RPM so I can edit with some "fresh" ears...Today before and after work I will take a listen to both pieces.  Instead of editing music I've been working on the artwork for the cd.  At the beginning of this I started a painting as well as some new "music".  The painting inspired the music and as the process has gone along they have inspired each other.

Mac McIntyre Demo the 1st

Rough and I mean rough mix excerpt from the great work!

Just the first six minutes - no eq, and volume balances are all out... but you'll get the idea.

The backbone of this track comes from a failed rpm back in 2012... now reinvigorated!




Is it just me, or is there no information on the site about sending the completed CD to RPM?  I mean, do you even mail it in? Could someone direct me to where this information is on the site? Thanks.


vox fractus

My lingering flu/cold has made it hard to put down any vocals, but, on the positive side, it is forcing me to work on all the tedious stuff.

And there is a shit-tonne of tedious stuff...

I'm also learning about recording, in Sonar, specifically. I've actually never used the solo function before. Wow. Like, anti-mute. Amazing.

And punching in! I know. Basic stuff. And quantizing a drum track. And envelopes. 

And listening intently! Like sampling beer with your brain, not just your mouth.

I just find it so crazy that all these people are spending so much time on this challenge when the result is just the satisfaction of finishing, or trying to finish. It is nuts! 

I have one song that is in "hell". It is kind of klezmary. And I stole this french dude's voice from a French learning DVD. And it sounds like a seizure. Definition of insanity... trying all the stupid options and hoping for a better result. 

But, this exactly where I want to be. How sad is that.

Lyrics - Why/How I Try To Keep the Audience In Mind

So this is sort of a procrastination blog as I work on more mixdowns. Mixing is one of those things that sometimes takes a little more force in initiating on my part. That said, progress is good and I expect to finish on time. 


But what I wanted to talk about today is lyrics. 

I've found that I've gotten a little better at lyrics and I have a bit of a story as to how I got to that point. 

At some point in the future, my now-unborn children will probably find out that I used to be a Soundcloud rapper. I doubt that will have the meaning it has now then, but it's something I used to do. (& I'm assuming some crazy privacy destroying robots will reveal to them every fact about their dad.)

But I hope they don't cringe as hard as I do admitting it. I wasn't really talking about the things most Soundcloud rappers seem to. I wasn't really fronting like I had money, any sort of success really, & I didn't put on a violent front. I knew those things would be seen through easily. It wasn't really me. 


But, I made a greater sin almost, imitating my heros too closely. I got into rap because of a hero of mine; a rapper called milo. He immediately struck me as great when I heard him. He raps about things like existential crisis & growing up not fitting in (he grew up black in Maine, I grew up white in a 98% Hispanic school.) But above all his rap was truly poetry. That's what I liked about it. And having been inspired by other poets like Allen Ginsberg & Bukowkski, I started to rap in that vein. Half copying milo & half copying Ginsberg.


The results were strange and not very appealing to most listeners. My lyrics were sacred to me. My songs were about me specifically. And because of that, I didn't ever invite any listeners in. 


It took me a long time to realize this. I'm thankful for having done so. It seems that most of these scoffed-at Soundcloud rappers don't have and will never get the sort of self awareness that turned me away from that. And that's unfortunate. With this RPM challenge blog I've sort of surprised myself at how poppy I can write lyrics. I'm not sure they'll connect with any particular listener. 


A man called Ralph Murphy taught me a lot about lyrics. He said that musical artists are ultimately mostly dysfunctional. He said that artists do what any dysfunctional person would do when given a platform; whine, complain, & blame their situation. That struck a chord with me. It was something that definitely turned the mirror on what I had been putting out on Soundcloud. His lectures taught me a lot about how to connect with an audience (a skill I will continue to work on.) But more importantly they taught me why. He taught me a rule that all great songs follow: A song shouldn't be about the person singing it, it should be about the listener. 


If you'd like you can check out a Ralph Murphy lecture here. I hope he's as useful a resource to you as he is to me.

It's 3am

It's 3am, there's too much noise, don't you people ever want to go to bed?

Great lyric, wish I wrote it. My fake record label is 3am Productions, and it is 3am as I type this, so look! A bunch of unrelated things I am insinuating are related. I should run for office as the candidate for the BS party. I have troves of BS; just in case you were short some and needed a replenishment. 

Is it really 2018 already? Been a very challenging month, a sad month, and a busy month. It's probably the most manic February I have ever experienced. But I have ideas, and parts, and various things, and eventually I'll have a record. Decided to do a Mayors' piece the other day, a couple of hours of stupidity on tape; just to clear some cobwebs. Then I did some work this evening, and I plan on burning some vaca time on the 27th and 28th and just pounding most of it out then.

The only theme running through any of my ideas that excites me right now is urgency. That won't be the album title though, 'cause that just sounds lame. Maybe I could go for stupidly pretentious like "Lovely Cacophony and Her Sisters of Dissonance". (Oh! There's some BS for you)

Anyway, I need sleep. While my head is swimming with ideas, I am falling asleep during playbacks. So, I am going to curl up in one of these bags under my eyes and drift away to the lovely sounds of tinnitus. (Sounds like BS, though it's technically true)

See you in a few days. (Possibly BS)

Rock on babies, rock on. 




Bob Ross

Nearly all of these lyrics paraphrase or directly quote Bob Ross from The Joy of Painting.

Big Geek, Huh?

Big Geek, Huh? by Matt Ferrara

Topics this song covers: my comic book collection, multiclassed dwarves fighter/rogue/wizards, and my lack of fashion sense. 


Andy Samford - Project #2 Day #2

so we reached Saturday #2 with the new project....  

during the week i put together drum parts for the songs we wrote last Saturday, and did a couple of guitar things, but not much.... 

today we got to work on tracking, and for most songs recorded guitar, bass, and vocals live together. got the basics done for 10 tracks, and wrote a new 11th song because we needed an album closer. 

this week I will work on doing leads and some other guitar overdubs, then next Saturday we will do a final round of overdubs and get a mix together. 

the music is all falling in the hard rock/punk rock realm, with some synths thrown in here and there just to make it a little weird here and there. but we're mostly just rockin' out. fun stuff. 



2nd Demo

Oh man am I behind schedule! Here is my second tune with poorly played electronic drums which will hopefully be replaced with the real kit soon. It needs other bits and pieces but I'll save that for later.


The Acoustic Album continues

Hey everyone- just posted a newly finished almost final-final draft of "In Your Dress." 

The acoustic album continues, but obviously this song is a bit more fun and rockin'.

Just like most of my other RPM albums, this one will be a little all over the place, with the main overarching tie-together being the acoustic guitar or acoustic instruments (like piano).

I've got 10 sketches done, and more than half in a great state of finish. I'm ahead of the game mainly this year because I'm leaving for a trip to South Africa tomorrow for a week and a half! Essentially any tracking I need to finish in the studio tonight, and will finalize mixes on the plane and during the trip.

I get back on the 27th- EEK! 

Fingers crossed, it will be done and ready to fly by then.

Couldn't do it without this community. Cheers to everyone.

B "tella"





I broke down and had Lane Sullivan do some synth work for me this year. I swore I was not going to use him (not that we are not friends, I just wanted to keep Pianos off my record this year) Well then out of no where, after getting my stuff done, he goes and makes an entire record... Good for him I suppose. 

Karma Bite

Past the halfway point, I do have a fair amount of tracks started and should be able to finish the challenge as long as I keep up on it. 

I just uploaded "Karma Bite" - I needed a title and someone had used that phrase in something I read a minute ago. This is more straightforward than most of my track titling goes. 

This one's been hanging around in one form or another since the 4th, and I've spent a lot of time going over it and swapping out sounds and arrangements and whatnot. Still think it needs something over the top -- vocals/lyrics or a killer synth lead or something, but I need to stop working on it for a while, so I've put it out there for people to comment on and possibly volunteer voice and lyric services *grin* 

 Thanks for listening and reading my blogs!

The Calculus Affair's Totally Excellent Video

For a variety of reasons I have been pretty time-constrained this challenge; I've spent most of my time recording and not as much being virtually social. I have, however, taken an hour this Saturday morning to make this TOTALLY EXCLUSIVE peek into the world of The Calculus Affair. I humbly thank you for watching.


the Word made Flesh

Everything is made of words.  The way we understand is by naming. That which we can name we can come to possess.

We do not control the universe but can manipulate others' perceptions of it with words. This is known as ideology.


Ideologies create beliefs and beliefs are the antithesis of knowledge. Knowledge is gained through first hand experience.


None of this is real.


It is a construction and it is made of words.


There is no tree.


There is no forest.


-I am Pisŧöff