February 17

I've been doing this since 2006 and I've learned that the best approach (for me) is to write, rehearse and settle on how I want to perform the songs before I even begin recording. I took the next two weeks off form work, I've got all my new NoonsToons written (words and music), I have a pretty good idea of the arrangements, and I even finished my label art! I'm going to work the songs all weekend and begin recording on Monday with the goal of recoding two songs a day. That's gives me a couple of days to mix and remix, post and pop the disk in the mail before the deadline. Cheers.

Mac McIntyre - today!

I'm going for today as the last guitar tracking day. Then I have to consider whether or not to do vocals or just leave it as an instrumental.

Still nowhere near putting an excerpt in the player.

Back to it...

Phase: influenced

First off, xinnian kuai le etc.

Second, I have a really rough demo on everything on the album. Thirteen songs. It's like the logo on the front page subliminally influenced me.

(Total length is only 27 minutes. It's ... about half and half whether I'll redo anything, properly or oppositely, but if so some of them should stretch out a little. 2-3 minute songs are normal for me, but the fact that the wordiest, grand finale track didn't even hit 2:00 irks me.)

Third and last, I'm thinking this is it for my doing RPM. My inability to get time and willpower to write and polish things in this particular part of the year is disheartening as fnck now that I've dabbled in mixing/production outside of RPM. And three years isn't a bad run. 

Demo #4: Palomino

Finally uploaded another demo, available in my profile player.

The ending is rough, and I need to expand it, but it's giving me a headache, so for now, I need to step away from it.

BTW one of you has already heard this, and she'll be happy to know that I took out the two parts she didn't like, even though it was tough to do -- it really does make the song better.

The Amish

My imaginary Amish friends just texted me, saying they plan to submit their own RPM Challenge album comprised of Theremin music.

I emailed them letting them know technically the Theremin is an electronic instrument, but they indicated theirs is butter-churner-powered. I imagine this must be breaking at least some of the laws of physics.


it's the weekend

Which means, two days of going hard. I'm gonna have to tweak some of the already posted tunes as I'm not thrilled with my rush job mixes.. and despite it's 9 minute run time, my o.c.d. is telling me that two sections of a friend to ghosts need to beslightly extended... beyond that, I may actually have a number of tracks finished and uploaded this weekend.

Wanna do one more tune now, a sorta memorial for the kids at Douglas... not something I usually do, but I graduated from there in 2000, so it's been bugging me, that I probably should.that was where I really started getting serious about music while ditching classes to smoke pot and jam at my friends garages throughout coral springs and parkland. We also had the finest assortment of 90s  goth chicks. God dammit, I miss those. Coincidentally, I wrote one tune specifically about the 90s breed of goth chicks. feeling my age now lol.

Recording Template + Songs 3 and 4 update

Well, I haven't been able to get much done past songs 1 and 2 yet, but I do have some half-assed demos of 3 and 4. Today I have both the opportunity AND the motivation to get a bit of work done, so I figured I'd streamline the process and establish a template for the rest of my recordings.

Songs 3 and 4 felt really finicky and un-concrete compared to 1 and 2, so I decided to create a template based on song 1. From this template I'll create a digital template file so I can immediately pre-load my DAW into this state.

Should make the rest of the month's work MUCH faster. Here's what my settings look like:


So hopefully with the application of this stuff, I'll have #3 and #4 posted later tonight! 3 is a reggae-pop-ish track and 4 is a weird pop track about aliens manipulating memories, inspired by the book Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer.


Day 16: All's Well That Ends Well

Well, I've finished all ten songs. I really like how it all turned out. Now I just have to make an album cover and determine the track order. This was a fun experience to take part in, but now that I finished it, I'm ready to get back to preparing for live performances that are coming up soon. So, I put away the DAW and pick up the guitar once again. The work of a troubadour is never done...


Cheesy Rock Anthem

As threatened, I have thrown together some cheesy chords and cheesy lyrics with a bunch of cheesy fake drum fills to create a Cheesy Rock Anthem. I have named it "Hit Me With A Pie" for no good reason.


empty nest

deleted all songs from player but they will be back soon remixed.

hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am 

woohoo !

A friend to ghosts..

Finally done with this mix.. sorta.. I'll probably tweak it more before official release...

-A friend to ghosts-

When you're talking to ghosts
Do you want to be dead too ?
Pale white girl dressed in black
won't you lift your veil

Draw a door on my wall and knock three times
I'll let the reverend know that your sound of mind
Trash that dreary memoir, ain't no reason to pout
I'll meet you in the attic where we'll lock the living out

In the hall she snapped a Polaroid
These apparitions caught on celluloid
Felt like the dead were dying
in this wasting derelict state
she's been haunting my attic since 1988

So alone
So utterly alone...

When you're dancing calypso
in your school girl uniform
We can conjure up Mephisto
with that Harry Belafonte song

I know I spend an awful lot of time
Down at Dante's brothel
But you're really nice, even to the worms
And I think you'd make a nice fuckin' model

So strange
How you can see right through the sheets
How you can see me

Honey don't jump off that bridge
Don't plummet

The afterlife has enough civil servants.





My approach this year is to make WAY more than I need and then pare down in the last run. 


So far so good. I have 18 tracks (down from 32 rough ideas and sketches) and by the time I get down to 10 I should only have the good ideas left.


Now...how to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

The Snare Drum incident

I was adding some brushed snare the other night to a track in the basement. It was about ten pm, so I was on the later side to be doing it. Admittedly I was in the wrong.


After about 30 seconds, my neighbor storms down to the cellar (we live in a duplex) and she proceeds to punch the wall hard enough to open a magnetically sealed cabinet hanging on the wall and almost knock a few frames off.


While neighborly etiquette is clearly not a strong suit on either side of the wall here, I really wish the mic picked up the mighty punch. That'd be a great kick sample.


My cutoff is now 9:30 pm, and no more drums.

Day 15: 3 down, 7 to go...

I finished the vocals on three songs yesterday. I'm going to try to knock out the rest today. Then, on to mixing. I find mixing to be the most frustrating part of the process. I know where I'm lacking, but I'm just not sure if anything I do will help me get better. Well, I'll just do what I can, the best I can. It'll all work out in the end...


Thumb thing wrong

I spent last night whanging barre chords and playing bass for my Cheesy Rock Anthem (working title). My thumb is not happy about this...arthritis flare-up :O

Mac McIntyre - Good grief...

It's evolving!

I thought a few days ago, that I had reached guitar tracking time. Not quite, I managed one small section of my 35 minute behemoth of a track, after I'd realised there was a lot of gaps to be filled with synth/ambience/percussion.

However, I'm ready to plug another strat in and get on with it today.

We shall see how it plays out!

... and stop pressuring me... oh wait a mo' it's just me doing the pressuring!


Remind me why am I doing this?

I was so excited when I heard about this challenge a month ago. I hadn't been writing much lately and it was a chance to hunker down and get some bits and bytes into the ole crackbox. 

I was doing well. And luckily(?), I got the flu and HAD to stay home from work and fiddle (not literally) and get some recording done. 

I got half way through my task list and then hit a wall of resistance. I wasn't exercising. I wasn't practicing. My fridge contents were questionable. I was just staring at waveforms for hours and pretending I could play decent bass on my synth.

The remedy was to take a few days off. Leave it. And not worry about perfection. And just start posting rough tracks so I could feel a sense of accomplishment rather than wait for the glorious end.


I'm in a better place now.

why is 10 afraid of 7 ?

Because 7 8 9

I've had some crazy technical problems but am managing to get out 2 more tunes.

May go back to re-sing some earlier ones..or not..who knows ?

Glad there's still time left but happy I'm far enough along to call it an album either way it goes from here.

Cheers fellow humans !



Your Songwriting Process?

Hi there,

Look at me even using the word 'process' when it comes to songwriting. For so often writing songs has been such a random mix of inspiration and frustration for me. Because of the tight deadlines in this challenge (and for me, the world's slowest songwriter, these deadlines are scary) I have really had to think about my 'process'.

In the past I'd get a few ideas down and then get a bit stuck, after which I'd either start on a new idea or give up for another day. I don't have that luxury now - although I do have a few songs on the boil at one time in case one hits a wall.

I'd love to hear what your processes are, if you have them?

So now I do have one and it goes like this: I think of a theme I'd like to write about and pour out the lyrical ideas on the page - sometimes I try some rough rhyming lines if they come naturally, sometimes not. I'll do some Googling of the idea to get more inspiration, especially Google Images, trying to include as many senses as I can.

I'll play around on the keyboard until I have some chords I like. Then I'll open my DAW (I use Mixcraft, which I love). I'll find or make a drum loop to use as a guide. Then I'll play a bassline over that. After that I'll find a sound on the keyboard and play pads and maybe some lines. Once I have something I'm vaguely happy with, I'll sing in some melody ideas, mostly nonsensical, but looking at my rough lyrics as I go.

At this point I might get a cup of tea or switch to another song because I need space in order to hear those ideas with fresh ears.

I'll go back to the song and cut and paste any good melody ideas into a new track.

Then comes the most laborious part for me. Assuming I have a melody line for the whole song now, I'll marry up the lyrics and write some new ones and try to make it all fit. Phew, I'm tired just reading about that - and then of course I have to record the thing, add harmonies, do a rough mix etc.

Anyway, I'm recording Song number 5 now - I just needed a little break again so I can listen to the vocal takes with fresh ears.

I'll head back to the grindstone now and hopefully I'll have Number 5, 'You Crossed my Mind' up in an hour or so. I'd love you to listen to any of my songs and leave your comments?






Day 15: The Rossini Maneuver

When Rossini as commissioned to write Barber of Seville in just 48 hours, he had to take desperate measures:  He turned to his scrap pile -- his unfinished works, his needs-lot-of-work works, and his just plain not good enough for prime time works -- and hammered them out until he had one of the most celebrated operas in history.

The story may be apocryphal, but I think it holds a grain of truth for us all:  Just because something you did sucked too hard to finish, that doesn't mean that you can't in some way ... desuckify the damn thing.

You know what I mean.

This occurred to me as I came across a melody I concocted ten years ago and put it in a crappy package.  I'm currently in the process of polishing all the turd off it, and may have it ready to upload tomorrow. 

Anybody else resorting to these measures?