Thursday, July 1, 2010

Song366_When We Meet Again (FINAL DAY!)

Today was the final day of this project. It's bitter-sweet, for sure. In fact, it still hasn't hit me completely. I was excited yesterday about crossing the finish line today, but I listened to the final version of today's song while I was packing all my guitars away...and it made me sad. Carly and I are moving, so Threebynine(TM) recording studio will be relocating also. I've already packed a large portion of the studio (mics, stands, guitars, cables, drums, etc) looks pretty empty already.

I took a pay cut this past year, and I (we) made some other sacrifices in order to make this project possible. I continued working my job throughout this project, but my job was only 30 percent of my week (about 15-20 hours/week), and 70 percent being music (about 40 hours/week). Now, unless someone is willing to pay me a fair salary to continue recording, my focus will shift back to 90 percent work and 10 percent music. Anyone? Anyone?

I'm very excited about the prospect of forming a band to play a few songs from this project. The 6 people that I've contacted have already expressed interest, so I'll let you know if it works out.

Thanks for your interest and support! If you haven't already, please join the Mailing List at to get updates on future projects.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Song365_Silent Fiction

Today's song completes ONE YEAR of writing, recording, mixing, and publishing a new song every day. I'll be recording one more song tomorrow (since it's better to run "through" the finish line and not "to" the finish line), so the final album of this project will be available tomorrow evening at

Today's instrumental took about 3 hours to complete and it's 8-10 tracks (including: drums, bass guitar, 3 electric guitars, and a variety of synth sounds). I set the 'click' to 140bpm, and then I created 4 different chord progressions (1=E-F, 2=E-G#m-B-E, 3-B7-E, and 4=A, E, B7-E). Each section repeats a few times then moves on to something else...not much repetition.

By the way, my wife (Carly) is having an art show at the Starbucks in Colleyville this weekend (near the intersection at Precinct Line Rd and Hwy 26). She's a great photographer, designer, artist, etc, and she'll be displaying about 20 framed photos of flowers/nature. You can see some of her photos at

One more day.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Song364_Into the Light

I started this project on July 1, 2009 (a Wednesday). Each album in this project contains 7 songs...the product of a new song every day from each Wednesday to the following Tuesday. Anyway, today is Tuesday, but there will be no album released today. I've decided to wait a few extra days and release the final album on Thursday. It will be the only album in this project with 9 songs.

I got another late start on today's song. I had Freehand projects (also on deadlines) that kept me busy until 1730. I ate dinner, napped for an hour, and I started this recording session at 2150...cutting it pretty close. I chose to start with the electric guitar, set the 'click' to 80bpm, and I recorded a few simple progressions. I got this track recorded in one take all the way through (First Section=C#m-D-A, Transition=D-E, Second Section=D#m-E-B, Transition=E-F#). Next, I added drums, bass guitar, two additional electric guitars, tambourine, and a string section. I also added a few vocal tracks (each one recorded in 2 takes because of time constraints). I edited each track as I recorded it, so it was close to ready when the final track was recorded (around 2311). I got this one uploaded at 2340.

I heard today that a company in Washington now makes bacon flavored vodka. Genius! I've had a chocolate bar with bacon strips in it...excellent.

Tomorrow's song will complete one full year of writing, recording, mixing, and publishing a new song every day!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Song363_Start at the Ending

I started writing this song around 2100...recording drums (96bpm), then bass guitar, then 3 electric guitars (in that order). Additionally, there are 4 synth tracks. The initial guitar progression is kind of strange...though I guess I should blame that on the bass player (Intro=F#-E-B-A, Center=A-E-D#m-B). The other two guitars don't exactly play the same chords, but it somehow fits...kind of. The dissonance is purposeful, and I like how the melodies work for and against each other at different times. I completed this song at 2300, but I wasn't happy with the levels on the first mix. The second attempt worked much better...done at 2322.

Only 3 days left...


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Song362_Line of Sight

I started today's song around 1900, and I wrote and recorded the 3 electric guitars first (130bpm). This is a very simple chord progressions...just 'A' and 'G,' but hopefully the combination of rhythms and the way the layers are applied (and removed) make this one interesting. The next instrument that I added was the bass guitar, followed by drums, tambourine, and 3 synth tracks (about 10 tracks total). I completed this one around 2205.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Song361_Under the Surface

Friend/guitarist, Thiago Silva, joined me for today's recording session. This was his 3rd time to help during the past year. We have similar styles, but we excel in different areas, so it's fun collaborating. We scheduled today's session for 1000 to 1400, but I decided to lay the foundation before he got here...thinking that it would allow more time for him to experiment on the guitar while he was here. I structured the session into 3 main parts...starting with drums. The first two sections were recorded at 60bpm, and the ending (which is like a second song in the same key) is set to 120bpm. After arranging the drums I added bass guitar (first part=A-E, second part=A-Bm-C#m-D-E, ending=C#m-D-E-A), did some minor editing, and then Thiago arrived.

I gave Thiago a brief overview of the session, and before I could even get his track ready he was playing along. We tackled one section at a time. The opening has 2 main electric guitar parts (panned to opposite sides of the stereo-field), and the ending has 3 main parts. (All of the guitars today were recorded spontaneously by Thiago). I added a few vocal tracks to the end section that mirror the guitar solo. We also decided to add an organ to the intro, which made that section smoother and fuller. The mix came together in one try, and we finalized this song at 1355!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Song360_Congratulatory Kisses

I started today's recording session around 1230...right after completing a video project for a client, and just before a late lunch of chicken and couscous. I approached today's song different than usual. The first 3 tracks that I recorded were synth (one repetitive sequence that also contains a solo trumpet, one string section, and another synth sequence). Next, I added a few different drum rhythms, followed by the bass guitar (which mostly plays E-A in various rhythms). I also added 2 electric guitars that add single-noted melodies in contrast to one another. None of these (12 or so) tracks are great on their own, but I like the way they combine and evolve throughout the song. I completed this one at 1528.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Song359_Signal Exchange

Today's instrumental was written on the electric guitar. I strummed a simple progression (verse=G-D-C-D, change=Em-D-C) using a guitar effect with lots of reverb and delay. I chose 60bpm, but I recorded most of the tracks to 120bpm...just because there was too much time between 'clicks' at 60bpm (too hard to anticipate changes or keep steady rhythm). Next, I added a simple drum sequence, followed by bass guitar. I also added: 2 additional electric guitars (picking solo notes), cymbal swells, a tambourine, a string section, a choir section, and a solo violin. I spent about 3.5 hours (at various times throughout the day) writing and recording this song.

I've been doing some marketing work for a Christian organization that is starting a live Internet broadcast. They already have a number of authors, speakers, etc that are willing to be guests, but they have asked me to be the very first guest. The first week of shows will be pre-recorded so we can work out any technical issues in private, but then it will move to a live format with a consistent broadcast time the following week. We're recording this coming Monday. I'll post a link when I know when/where it will be shown.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Song358_Check the Mic

Today's song begins a new album, Week52_Final Transmission. This will be the only album in this project to have 9 songs (instead of 7), since I've decided to record for "one year and one day" (i.e. 366 consecutive days). In some ways this album has been the toughest one to approach. I've been having lots of "last-minute" ideas and desires for this project, but it can't last forever. Each album has required me to choose: song titles, album titles, lyrical themes, musical styles, groupings of instruments, etc, and hopefully all of these decisions each week combine to form one cohesive album. It's already 1000, but I'm still making the final decisions. I have about an hour to think it over (while I change the strings on 4 guitars).

Random Note: My friend of 20(+) years, Adam, has asked me to officiate his wedding later this year. I'm honored that they asked, so of course I'm going to do it. They currently live in California, and they've decided to have two ceremonies...I'll officiate the Texas version. The state of Texas allows three types of people to legally conduct marriage ceremonies: 1) ordained ministers, 2) judges, and 3) those authorized by their religion. Anyone can legally become an "ordained minister" online (it's simple and free), but the catch is that you have to be willing to be affiliated with those groups. One of the most common sites states "We are all children of the same universe" and makes you promise to "do only that which is right" (though what's "right" is never discussed). It's almost like a group of anarchists nominating you to be president. No thanks. The funny thing is that there have been lots of problems in the past with "unofficial" officiators conducting weddings. So, now "the Texas Family Code provides that if you believe the person is authorized, the marriage is valid even if the person officiating the ceremony was not authorized." That's hilarious.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Song357_Three Fifty-Seven

Today's song was completely written, recorded, mixed, and uploaded within one hour! That is a new record for me. This instrumental completes another album, Week51_Won, which will be available for sale later today at

I worked on Freehand projects today until 1500, and then I took a break and ran 5 miles. It was pretty hot outside. I got back around 1600, ate 2 hard-boiled eggs and fell asleep on the couch until 1700. This song was recorded from 1700 until 1755, and it consists of: drums, bass guitar, 2 electric guitars, and one string section (only 5 tracks). Now it's time to design this week's album cover.

Tomorrow begins the final week of recording for this project. If you have any last-minute requests or suggestions, then let me know now.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Song356_Perfect Silence

I started today's song by structuring the rhythm section (100bpm): synth sequence, drums, and bass guitar. Next, I added the 2 electric guitars, an extra synth sound to the second half, and I added some congas to the fade-out. This song has 8 tracks, and it took about 3.5 hours to write, record, and mix. I wasn't able to start until 1700 because of other work obligations, but it's only 2035 now. Plenty of time to run, eat dinner, design the album cover for Week #51 (due tomorrow), watch a movie, feed the rabbits their mandatory midnight snack, sleep...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Song355_The Rise

Today's song is another random instrumental that started with a few electric guitar parts. I chose a key, hit 'record,' and just played for about 4 minutes (124bpm). I touched on all 3 of the major sections of this song within that take, so I honed in on the parts that I liked, and then re-recorded them one-by-one. I added a few drum sequences, and then the bass guitar. I left room for a second electric guitar, but I wanted to get the foundational elements in place first. The second electric guitar (on the opposite side of the stereo-field) is a combination of picking and strumming that compliments the main part. I also added a string section and a synth sequence. I had to 'bounce' this file twice to get the Mastering process right, but I like the end results.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Song354_Facing Forward

This past week was very busy, and I ended up working 4 or 5 nights until midnight. Today is Saturday, so I took a relaxed approach to recording today...opting not to start this session until late in the day. Earlier today I had an hour-long appointment with a "wellness specialist." It was a combination of Chiropractic manipulation, deep tissue message, and acupressure. It was great and much needed. Next, Carly and I went to look at motorcycles (for me). I'm not getting one immediately, but I have a friend that works at a KTM shop, so it was fun to look. KTM has a nice variety of street bikes (my favorite is the 990 Super Duke...all black). Anyway, we got home around 1600, loaded our bikes (the kind you pedal), and rode 20-miles at Legacy Park (1:11:35). I finally started recording after dinner (around 2100). Today actually felt like a day off.

I started today's song by layering a few synth tracks and then adding a drum sequence (90bpm). This set a mood that was easy to elaborate on with electric guitar(s). I also added bass guitar and tambourine...making this song around 8-10 tracks. I completed recording around 2300, edited, mixed, and finalized this instrumental at 2344. Another song complete.


Friday, June 18, 2010


I woke up at 0700, mowed the yard, and then I had to prepare for a meeting. The meeting lasted over 2 hour and a half longer than I expected, but I got 4 new projects for Freehand Productions (web design and audio/video). I worked until 1700, ran 3 miles, ate a quick dinner, and started today's song at 1810. We have 12-15 guests coming over at 1900! Yes, it's Game Night at the Otto home.

It's 1850 right now, and I already have 2 electric guitars, bass guitar, and one drum track in place. I plan on adding more tracks sporadically throughout the night. Today's song will be ready sometime before midnight.


Thursday, June 17, 2010


Today's song is an instrumental that began with the main electric guitar (Intro=Am-C-Em-D, Center=C-D). Additionally, I added: bass guitar, cymbal swells, xylophone, 2 electric guitars (panned to opposite sides of the stereo-field), and 3-4 synth tracks. I worked on today's song in 2-3 sittings that totaled about 3 hours.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Well, it's 2356...a little too close to the daily deadline. This song was "finished" when I realized that it was 2300. At that point I stopped recording, edited the 6 tracks I had recorded, mixed, mastered, and bounced it into a "WAV" file (which I then converted into an MP3 file). Anyway, today's song is the first song on the newest album, Week51_Won.

I worked on a few design projects today until 1700, ran 5 miles (I think it was over 100 degrees), woke up on the couch at 2040, and then I recorded from 2145 until 2345). There are other things that I could've done to enhance this song, but I simply ran out of time. It's wasn't originally structured to be an instrumental (until I chopped it up at the end), but I like the contrast of the 2 electric guitars and the solid, balanced mix that these tracks produced.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Song350_Another Eden

Today's song completes another album, Week50_The Other Side. It will be available for sale within the hour at

Today's instrumental is a 10-track song that consists of: 2 drum sequences, tambourine, synth bass (though it sounds like a guitar), 3 electric guitars, piano, a synth pad that sounds like a ghost (in the center section), and a synth violin (in the final section). This song has 3 major sections (90bpm): Intro=C-F, Center=G-F, Ending=Em-D. I had other work to do until 1700, and I trashed everything that I recorded from 1700 until 1800. This song is the product of my efforts from 2000 to 2220. I didn't have the album cover designed yet either, but fortunately Carly saved the day. She created this week's artwork while I recorded today's song. Bravo, Senorita.

50 weeks complete...only 2 remaining.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Song349_Golden Roads

I started this song with the synth sound that you hear in the intro (played to a 'click' set to 100bpm). I actually recorded a few other guitar parts on top of this track with the intention of creating the entire song out of that initial part. But, when I picked up the guitar I was hearing much faster rhythms. I left the synth intro, but I deleted the other tracks (for dramatic effect). Then, I changed the session time-clock from 100bpm to 160bpm. (By the way, can anyone tell me how to change the tempo on just one section of a ProTools session? I've successfully changed the timing within sessions...from 4/4 to 3/4 then back to 4/4. I did this by highlighting the section that I wanted altered and then making the change in the shuttle window. This didn't work when I tried it with BPM.) The ending section is a mixture of 2 electric guitars, bass guitar, and drums. I enjoy creating (and playing) fast, unique strumming patterns, so I wrote two parts into this song. Each guitar is panned to opposite sides of the stereo-field. There are about 6 tracks in today's song, and it took a total of 3 hours.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


I started writing today's song at 1900, and I was pleased with how quickly it came together. I started by recording the main electric guitar (with a 'click' track set to 136bpm), and then I had the idea to record two additional electrics (each one panned to opposite sides of the stereo field). These 2 electrics, during the 'verse' (F-E-Am-C) and 'transition' sections (Am-C), have dueling patterns that alternate by strumming every other chord in the progression. The guitars in the 'chorus' section are 3 separate melodies that work in harmony. About 2.5 minutes into this song it changes abruptly. I added a completely different chord a different key. I've done this before, but I like unpredicted endings that make you forget how the song started. Next, I recorded the bass guitar, and then I edited these 4 tracks. I did all of this within the first hour.

I took a break for dinner and returned to this session at 2100. I added a few separate drum rhythms, tambourine, and cymbal swells. Also, I added 2 electric guitars playing single-note solos during 'transition' sections (I played the same solo twice...the second one starts a measure late...kind of like singing "Row Row Row Your Boat" in rounds). I only added one keyboard to this song since the guitars provide plenty of texture, volume, energy, etc.

Kristen stayed at our house this weekend to help Carly with a garage sale. She brought a xylophone with her (to sell). No one bought it, so I used it for today's song (thanks, Kristen!). That was the final track of the day. I completed this song around 2240, it's about 15-18 tracks, and it took just under 3 hours to write, record, and mix.

I got 4 hours of sleep last night, and 4 the night before. It's 2315 now...less than an hour from Day #349.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Song347_Plus One

Today's song is mostly guitar...2 electrics (with dueling, gritty strumming patterns), one electric guitar with lots of reverb/delay, and bass guitar. I also added drums and 3 synth tracks.

I didn't get to bed last night until 0130, and I was up at 0530 to help my wife and her friend set up for a garage sale. I didn't have to do much...except buy the donuts, so I was able to start recording around 0630. I recorded most of this song within a few hours, but I didn't come back to finish it until 2100. I added the last few tracks (synth), and I got this one uploaded around 2220.


Friday, June 11, 2010


I started today's song around 1000, and I wrote and recorded most of the guitars before adding any percussion (156bpm). I heard the vocal melodies while recording a few synth parts, so I wrote some lyrics and recorded the vocals before making final adjustments (like adding cymbal swells and a synth choir). I took a few breaks during this session, but I completed it by 1500.

LYRICS: "Feels like you've been away too long. Feels like I'm losing track of it all. (It's all that you wanted.) There isn't time for us to be afraid. No expectations for beyond the grave. There isn't time to pack your favorite things. Leaving Earth the way we came."


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Song345_The Crossing

Today's instrumental began with the electric guitar, but I quickly added some foundational elements (i.e. bass guitar and drums) before adding any synth melodies. There are a few main sections to this song, but I tried to incorporate different sounds and melodies to give the repetitive parts some variance.

I have 3 design projects going right now, so I worked until 1500 today. I took a quick break to eat some grits and peanut butter (not together), and then I started this recording session. I took another break for a bike ride and dinner with Carly, and I just completed this song. It's 2310, and I'm ready for bed.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Song344_The Other Side

I took a break last night around 1930, and Carly and I went out to celebrate another successful week of recording (steak and martini's at La Hacienda). Carly put the finishing touches on the album cover when we got back, I uploaded the album at 2320, and I sent out the email at 2355! I've already gotten a handful of responses to the album design for Week #49. The most common response was, "LMAO." I had to look that one up. It means I did good.

Today's song begins a new album, Week50_The Other Side. The melody of this song came to me while the computer was warming up, so I picked up the guitar and found chords to compliment the melody (G-D-Em). The first instrument that I recorded was a synth part that gave the song some structure and mood at the same time. Next, I added the foundational guitar (the 'washy' electric sound that's heavy with reverb and delay), and then I added the bass guitar. There are a variety of percussion sounds: two drum tracks, a stereo mic'ing of cymbal swells, tambourine, and sleigh bells. There are about 18-20 total tracks in this song.

LYRICS: "You will never win if you stop trying. You will never live if you're fearful of dying. I'll see you on the other side. A place beyond space and time."


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Today's song completes another album (and another week of recording). The newest album, Week49_Undercover, will be available later tonight at

Today's instrumental is only 6 tracks (drums, bass guitar, 2 electric guitars, and 2 synth sounds). I started by writing the initial electric guitar progression, which is two main sections (Part 1=Dm-A-A#-C, and Part 2=A#-D#-A-D-G#-C#-G-C).

The artwork for this week's album cover was fun to create. I usually make fun of friends and family when I play in Photoshop, but this time I chose to make fun of myself. My face hasn't appeared on many (any?) of the album covers so far, so it's especially ironic that I appear on this one. The photo is a self-portrait (taken a few nights ago), the background was inserted, and the tattoos were placed on my body one-by-one earlier today. If you know me, then you'll probably think this is funny. I realize that those who don't know me might see this and think that I'm scary and/or crazy, but I think that's kind of funny too.

I enjoyed this past week of creating music. I found a few new guitar tones that I'll be using again, I experimented with some unique chord progressions (and formations), and I overcame some mixing challenges that came up on a few songs.

Only 3 weeks remaining!


Monday, June 7, 2010

Song342_These Eyes

Today's song was created like most of the others this week. I started with the electric guitar (and a 'click' set to 122bpm). Today I actually recorded the 2nd electric guitar and the bass guitar before adding any drums. I took a 30-minute break to eat a few egg rolls and write some lyrics, and then I recorded the vocals (3 separate tracks). I decided not to add any synth sounds to this song...I like the rough edges and the intricacies of the two electric guitars. The final product is only 7 tracks, and it was written and recorded in about 4 hours.

LYRICS: "Perched above a city in ruins. A birds-eye-view of fresh destruction. Tell me how to accept this fate, and still live in the moment. It gets complicated, and I know you hate it. It's more than a reaction. Open your eyes, open your heart. Your broken heart and tainted mind. Qualify for a new start. It gets complicated, and I know you hate it. It's more than a reaction. Open your eyes, open your heart."



This blog site was undergoing some construction all day yesterday, so I was not able to post this information until today (one day late). This is the first time this has happened since I started this project. I hope you didn't think that I gave up, but if you're on the Mailing List you still got this song on the day it was written and recorded (yesterday).

I started this song around 1700. I wrote the main electric guitar part first, and then I added drums and bass guitar. I took a break for dinner, and I finally started writing lyrics around 2230. The lyrics were thrown together quickly (see below). Fortunately, I got the mix that I liked on the first try, and I completed this song around 2320.

LYRICS: "Too many lies. 'Seek and destroy' in action. Candles for eyes. A hollow mess on the inside. Too many times. Not enough speed and traction. Too many lies. The 'seek and destroy' in action. Deep inside, someone turned the switch 'on,' so here we go. Too many times. Driven to distraction. By too many lies. 'Seek and destroy' in action. Deep inside, someone turned the switch 'on,' so here we go."


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song340_Names and Faces

This song started with a drum rhythm, and then I recorded the bass guitar parts (in sections). This instrumental is structured into a few main sections, and there is one electric guitar that plays throughout (another electric guitar plays occasionally on the opposite side of the stereo-field). Additionally, there are 3-5 synth tracks (a string section, a choir, etc).


Friday, June 4, 2010


Today's song is an instrumental with only 5 tracks: drums (x2), bass guitar, and 2 electric guitars. I built this song into 3-4 main sections. It evolves as it goes...doesn't repeat previous sections. So far, I really like the style and tone of this week's music. Also, sessions like these (with common pre-sets and common instruments from day to day) allow me to find trends with the EQ/mixing. I like how this combination of instruments sound together.


Thursday, June 3, 2010


This song came together quickly. I followed a similar process that I used yesterday, which has proven to work a few times in the past. There are about 8-12 tracks...a good variety of tones and textures that combine for a good final mix. I started by finding a tempo and chord progression on the electric guitar, layered a few drum rhythms, and then I recorded the main electric guitar part (Chorus=E-B-A, Verse=C#m-B-A-E, Transition=B7, Ending=Am-Em-C). Next, I added bass guitar, another electric guitar, and 2 synth tracks (the ghost-like sound was added to correlate with today's topic: secret drone attacks). I had about 3 hours invested in the song at this point, so I took a 30-minute break, ate some tuna, and I wrote a few lyrics.

The lyrics today are in response to a few recent news stories involving US drone attacks. (This one by David S. Cloud of the Chicago Tribune) "The escalating campaign of CIA drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan has made the United States 'the most prolific user of targeted killings' in the world today, according to a U.N. official who said the spy agency should not be in charge of the program." Philip Alston, the United Nations' special investigator "criticized the U.S. for asserting 'an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe.'" However, "the U.S. does not officially acknowledge the CIA drone strikes, much of the report (by the U.N.) was dismissed by Obama administration officials." CIA spokesman, Paul Gimigliano, said, "Without discussing or confirming any specific action, this agency's operations are, of course, designed to be lawful and are subject to close oversight within our government."

The other recent news story (taken from The New York Times) is in reference to an American-born citizen recently put on the CIA kill list by the Obama administration. "The notion that the government can, in affect, execute one of its own citizens far from a combat zone, with no judicial process and based on secret intelligence, makes some legal authorities deeply uneasy." Mr. Tierney, chairman of a House subcommittee on national security says that it "certainly raises the question of what rights a citizen has and what steps must be taken before he's put on the list." The same article also states that "Counter terrorism officials say the drone missile strikes have proved to be an extraordinarily successful weapon against militants in the tribal areas. By their count, the missiles have killed more than 500 militants since 2008, and a few dozen nearby civilians."

LYRICS: "Maybe it's best we don't know. Knowing makes us targets, more work for secret drones. Who's in control of the drones? What if the 'bad guys' hide places we can't go?"


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Today's song begins a new album, Week49_Undercover. This album will be upbeat, rough/edgy, slightly dark (in a fun way), and guitar-heavy.

I started this song by layering a few drum rhythms (120bpm), and then I recorded the main electric guitar. Bass guitar was next...followed by another electric guitar and 2 synths. To me, this song deals with self-absorption, arrogance, and the inner voices that we do our best to ignore.

LYRICS: "The subtle winds that blow, sending us off course. A gentle hand can still strike with deadly force. Candor is a condor. Constantly. Defender. Fight! Your unsaved soul will follow you all the way to Hell, where the sign over the door says, "Welcome and farewell." Candor is a condor. Constantly. Defender. Fight! Just in time we pull up to the station for some fuel and milk. Energy for car and man. Strength for each's inner-self. Onward down the road we go, chasing dreams of pride and wealth. Potholes in the superhighways. Detours fixed to every route. Your one and only is defender of the one and only human race."


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Song336_Invisible Boudaries

Today's song completes recording for Week #48. Today is also the first day of June, which is the final month of this project. Every song is free this month for those on the Mailing List (sign up at Also, I have some unique plans for this month that include: a full week of live recordings with Brandon Steach on drums, a rare look at my (seldom seen) tattoos will be featured in upcoming artwork, and I am forming an all-star kazoo choir for the final day of recording.

I wrote and recorded today's instrumental in under 3 hours. I had a work meeting earlier today, completed some web design work for a client (that builds elaborate structures using reclaimed lumber), ran 3 miles (it's starting to feel like summer in Texas), ate dinner, designed this week's album cover, then finally started this song around 2133.

The newest album, Worldwide, will be available within the hour at


Monday, May 31, 2010

Song335_The Spaces Between

Today's song is an instrumental that has two main sections. Each section has its own set of drum rhythms, which I built and arranged first (134bpm). Next, I added bass guitar followed by 2 electric guitars and 2 synth tracks. I worked on this song from 0900 until 1100, then I took a long break. It's Memorial Day, so my wife and I went for a 20-mile bike ride at Legacy Park. I came back to the song around 1820 and finished just before 2000 (about 3.5 hours total).

Tomorrow begins the final month of recording for this project! Every song in June will be free if you're on the Mailing List. Join at


Sunday, May 30, 2010


I wrote today's song on the electric guitar (while recording), and then I added bass guitar, drums, another electric guitar, and 4 synth tracks (in that order). It's Sunday. I worked on this song from 0900 until 1200, took a break for lunch, and completed it around 1330.

Tomorrow's song is the final song of the month. And, next month is the final month of this project. Crazy. All music will be free next month to those on the OTTO mailing list. You can add your name to this list at

On my way to run stairs at the local stadium...


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Song333_Sudden Illumination

I started this instrumental by layering drum sequences (150bpm), and then I added the bass guitar in sections. This was a solid foundation. I decided to add 2 electric guitars before adding any synth tracks. I edited a few versions of this song, but this is the version that was left standing when the music stopped. I started around 1350, but I took a long break for dinner (and I got new running shoes). I completed it around 2320...moments from a new day.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Song332_In The Open

I wasn't able to start today's song until 2000, but I still managed to complete it before midnight. I'm doing some marketing work for an organization that sponsors missionaries in Fiji. We met earlier today, and they needed a few web design features created by tomorrow (for an upcoming event on the island). I am doing a family portrait tomorrow (and recording), so I devoted a good chunk today to this project, which went very well.

Anyway, I started this song by finding some rhythms and chords on the electric guitar. The progression that I found was in 3/4 time, so I recorded it and started searching for percussion, but I wasn't happy with how the tempo, strumming pattern, and drums were combining. The initial tracks are critical (like the foundation is to a house), so I started over. This used up some time, but it was worth it in the long run. I switched to 4/4 timing, changed the tempo (from 80bpm to 100bpm), and got it down in a few takes. Next, I added drums and then bass guitar. The next guitar that I added is featured in the 'Chorus' sections only, and it's a series of octave notes that create a contrasting melody with the other guitars. Next, I added an e-bow part (i.e. "electric bow"), a picking guitar, a string section, and a female synth choir (featured in the 'Bridge' section only). This layout and tune of this song would've worked well with vocals, but I ran out of time. I still like it as an instrumental.


Thursday, May 27, 2010


The music for this song was written in about 3 hours. I started by layering some drum rhythms, and then I created the foundational electric guitar part (that opens the song). Next, I added bass guitar, 2 additional electric guitars, and 2 synth tracks. I took a 2-3 hour break so I could get other work done. When I came back I edited, mixed, and then wrote and recorded the vocals. Before writing the lyrics I sang a variety of melodies into a digital voice-recorder (while the song played in the background). This gave me an idea of how many words I needed. The lyrics were written while eating chicken and peas, and a few of the parts I only sang 1-2 times. I completed the final mix around 1800, so I probably spent around 4.5 hours writing and recording today's (12-track) song.

LYRICS: "Where the wind blows, and things grow in silence. Cut it down low. Kill the tree to save the house. Stranded on the edge of time. Base camp is set, traps are baited, we're transmitting worldwide. As wars go on, nothing is won."


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Song330_Late Inning Rally

Today's song begins a new album, Week48_Worldwide. I wrote this one on the electric guitar, using a clean/gritty hybrid pre-set (so there's clarity and strength in the notes). Once I decided on a tempo (100bpm) and a chord progression I quickly put some 'scratch' drums in place to assist with the timing of the bass guitar. The initial guitar part inspired a bass line, so I recorded that track before finalizing any drum rhythms (which is somewhat backwards). Next, I added: drums, tambourine, and 2 additional electric guitars. I really like the way the 3 guitars harmonize, so I decided not to add anything else (such as synth/keys) that could potentially mask this feature. At this point I went ahead and edited and mixed the song, took a long break for dinner, and returned around 2130 to create lyrics and melodies. I completed this one in the final hour...2335.

LYRICS: "You were never one for superstitions. You had never thought to save your soul. Here they go again around the bases. Here we go again with the same old same old. Late inning rally uprise under lights. See how the champs were taken by surprise. Don't be mistaken. We can't just take this. Fight till you win it. There's too much on the line."


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Today's song completes another week of recording. The newest album, Week47_Giant Blind Spots, will be available for sale later today at

Today's song is an 8-track instrumental that consists of: drums, percussive tics, bass guitar, an electric guitar strumming chords (First section=Bm-C-G-D, Second section=Em-C-G-D), 3 electric guitars picking solo notes, and one synth part that appears in the center section only. I wrote the chord progression in 10-minutes, recorded the initial guitar in one take, and the rest fell into place within 2 hours. This is good because I still have to create the album cover, update the website, create the weekly email/links, prepare for tomorrow's song (which begins a new album), eat lunch, mow the yard, run, work on a web design project, buy a new drawing pen, feed the rabbits, etc.

Only 5 weeks remaining!


Monday, May 24, 2010


The initial guitar track for this song was captured in one take from start to finish (without much preparation). A few of these changes were written during the recording process...fortunately I remembered to repeat them later in the song. Next, I added bass guitar and then drums. I layered 4 additional guitar tracks and then I edited, mixed, and mastered. I started this song around 1000 and it was completed by 1300.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Song327_Stuck in Motion

Today's song is a 7-track instrumental....drums, bass guitar, and 5 tracks of electric guitar. One of the guitars is being played with an e-bow (i.e. "electronic bow"), which provides some extra volume, intensity, and cohesiveness. I started writing this song around 0900, and I had it completed by 1217. It's Sunday, sunny, and I'm going for a long trail run.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Song326_Feels Like Stereo

Today's song, another instrumental, is a linear progression in the key of 'C.' There are about 18-tracks total, but they were layered and edited to purposefully create different moods, levels of intensity, textures, volumes, etc. I tried to keep it interesting, since there's not much change in the chord progression.

It's Saturday, and it's nice to have the song completed at a reasonable hour (it's 1320). Carly and I are going for a long bike ride.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Song325_Chain Reactions

Today's song is actually two different instrumentals (in the same key) pieced together within the same recording session. There are about 12-tracks per song for a total of about 22-24 tracks. Only 2 of these tracks appear in both songs. I wrote the initial parts using synth and electronic drums, and then I added the synth bass. There are 4 electric guitars and a host of other synth sounds and noises. The main challenge today was mixing two separate songs while trying to maintain a consistent E.Q./level throughout.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Song324_Scratching the Surface

Today's song, another instrumental, in an 8-track recording that I wrote in about 4 hours. I started by playing the initial electric guitar progression with a 'click' track (128bpm), and then I recorded the bass guitar. Next, I added drums, e-bow guitar, and a few synth tracks.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Song323_Giant Blind Spots

Wow...I finished this song with only 2-minutes to spare (uploaded and emailed it at 2358)! I don't like working that close to a deadline, but I had a busy day at work...then I ran far, ate late, fell asleep for an hour, and didn't get started on today's song until 2150.

Today's song begins a new album, Week47_Giant Blind Spots.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Song322_Atoms in Harmony

Today's song completes another week of recording. The newest album, Week46_Atoms in Harmony, will be available later tonight at

The artwork for this week's album design is a freehand ink-drawing that I did a few nights ago. I didn't have a plan...just started making a ball of circles on a blank sheet of paper, and 2 hours later the entire page was inked. I scanned this drawing and added color in Photoshop.

I realized (before staring today's song) that I like the music that I wrote this week more than I like the lyrics/vocals, so I decided to create another instrumental today. This album has been heavy with guitars, and I enjoy building songs with this instrument.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I was able to write and record today's song, an 8-track instrumental, in 2 hours. I got a late start, so I took a simple approach to writing this that worked even better than expected. I started by selecting, editing, and altering 3 different drum sequences. Next, I recorded the bass guitar, which provided a solid foundation for layering guitars. There are 4 separate electric guitar tracks...each with a different pre-set. I like the combination of sounds, notes, textures, I decided not to add any synth tracks.

Even though this song came together quickly, I had some trouble with the final Mastering process (which took an additional 1.5 hours). I made slight adjustments to frequency levels and overall levels multiple times, but I was having trouble getting the overall levels raised without over-emphasizing certain frequencies. The compression plug-ins were doing their job too well, and the clarity was compromised from trying to get a strong overall volume. I think I found a balance. I want each song to be loud, yet 'clipping' (i.e. too much signal which causes an unwanted 'digital distortion') is unacceptable. Also, I try to have variance in the volume. If the entire song is loud then it reduces the dramatic effect of the purposeful 'ups-and-downs.' I like that music is artistic AND scientific. I like that I still have room to grow in both areas.

Tomorrow's song will complete the next album, Week46_Atoms in Harmony. I spent a few hours last night drawing this week's album design, and I should have everything posted by mid-afternoon tomorrow (Tuesday).


Sunday, May 16, 2010


Today's song is similar to yesterday's. It has a dark, low-fidelity sound, but it also has abrupt changes in the progressions as well as the overall mood. I started this session with a series of drum sequences, and then I added the main electric guitar that plays throughout the song. I like the gritty/clean sound of the main guitar. Next, I added bass guitar and 2 additional electric guitars. There are also 4-5 synth tracks and 4 vocal tracks. Today's song took about 5 hours to write and record.

LYRICS: "Brace for the troubles on the rise. Brace for the waters rollin' in high. Brace for the weather, the winds, the fire. Brace for the worst, earth is on the decline. Brace for the impact of your new metal outfit. Brace for the whiplash as reality shakes it. My pants are full of ants. It's time to get things started. But, you're all I want, and you're all I need."

PS: Kroger is having a 7-day "Meat Mania" sale. I guess that's better than an "Expired Meat Give-Away," but it made me laugh when I thought of the graphic artist having to find clip-art to coincide with the 12ft meat-themed banner.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Song319_Future Human

Today's song is a little odd...low-fi, somewhat dissonant, often abrupt, slightly sloppy (in a precise way), and full of interesting nonsense. I started this recording session by layering a series of drum sequences (130bpm), and then I wrote/recorded 3 electric guitar tracks...followed by the bass guitar. There is only one synth track in today's song, and it only appears at the end of the song. I was able to complete the music for this song (8-tracks) in under 3 hours. I spent an additional hour writing lyrics and recording the vocals.

LYRICS: "Here comes the final invasion. Don't show fear to their faces. Ride through the enemy-soaked lines. Howl at the gods past the bloody skies. Here comes the real-life 'Death Star,' (and) The Maker's son to save the whole world. The need grows for robot appendages, and bullet-proof men with invisible outfits. No need to talk things over. Bullets carry out their orders. Break through the enemy-soaked lines. Howl at the gods past the bloody skies. Send in the New World Order. One throne, and no more borders. Lend all your helping hands. Live for the future human. There's not just one, there's everyone. One-in-a-million, just like you."


Friday, May 14, 2010

Song318_A Blind Eye

The chord structuring of today's song was created on the electric guitar...4 individual sections that only appear once each. Next, I created a series of drum sequences (118bpm), and then I added bass guitar. I also added 3 additional guitars and 2 vocal tracks, but there are no keys in today's song. This (10-track) song took about 4 hours to write, record, and mix.

LYRICS: "You started running from your problems, and ended right back where you started. Though everyone else saw it coming, what we don't know is sure to hurt us."


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Song317_Seconds Like Hours

I started today's song by layering 4-5 guitar progressions (100bpm), and then I added drums and bass (in that order). This song has two main sections, 12-14 tracks, and it took about 4.5 hours to write and record.

LYRICS: "You're lashing out. You unfed, rabid animal. Your blood runs hot. Bad genes, standard issue. Take your time before it takes you. You try to talk like a foreign action hero. You'd have better luck pretending to star in a cartoon. Take your time before it takes you. Place your hand on the open flame, and watch seconds become hours. Hold your questions until the very end...when there's no time for answers."

PS: There was a full-grown fox in our front yard this morning...impressive creature.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Song316_The Things We've Lost

I got some great news earlier first sales report for songs (from this project) played on satellite radio stations last month. They told me they have only gone through a portion of the (250+) songs that I sent them, but I had about 15 songs play on stations across the nation (a total of just under 200 plays in about 3 weeks). About 30 of those plays were from subscribers in the Dallas area...some are businesses, which means there's a chance for me to hear my music while at a restaurant or while walking through the mall. That would be interesting.

Today's song was written and recorded with long-time friend, Adam Smith ( We started by creating drum sequences in 3 main sections, then we took turns adding guitar parts until there was a foundation of chord progressions throughout the song. Next, I added bass guitar. We each added a few more guitar parts, then Adam wrote/sang the only vocals in today's song. We started this song around 1330, Adam left around 1730, and I had it completed by 2100. I took a break for dinner, so this (28-track) song took around 6.5 hours to write and record.

By the way, today's song begins a new album, Week46_Atoms in Harmony. Last week's album, Week45_Magnification, is now available at


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Today's song, Song315_Congratulations, completes another album (Week45_Magnification). The newest album will be available later today ($5) at

I just completed the artwork for this week's album. I decided last week that I'd do some form of freehand artwork for the remaining (8) albums, but I didn't have any specific ideas at that time. This idea came to me a few days ago. In effort to create a relationship between the artwork and this week's title (Magnification), I decided to do an ink drawing of a detailed (yet fictional) bug. The drawing below took about 1-2 erasers, no drawing or photo to mimick, and no "do-overs." I had borrowed a magnifying glass from Carly's parent's, so I set it up about 4-8 inches above the drawing and took a series of photos...experimenting with the depth-of-focus and the framing of the drawing within the enlarged area. It was fun, and I like the results.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Song314_Above the Lights

Today's song, another instrumental, was written primarily on the electric guitar. After adding a few foundational guitar tracks I added 3 separate drum sequences, bass guitar, and one synth sequence (which plays in the background throughout the song).

Tomorrow's song will be the final song on the upcoming album, Week45_Magnification. I've decided to create the remaining (8) album covers using some form of freehand artwork. This week's drawing is still in the early stages, but I'll have it ready before tomorrow evening.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Song313_The Plan

Today's song is an instrumental. I didn't start writing this song until 2030, but I had it completed by 2300 (around 2.5 hrs total). I like how it turned out. I'm not sure that I would've done anything else to this song even if there had been more time to work on it.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


Today's song evolved in an unusual way. I wrote the foundational part on the electric guitar (with a 'click' set to 90bpm). Next, I added 4 additional electric guitars before recording the drums and bass. I also added cymbals, tambourine, and 4-5 synths. I worked on this song in 2-3 sittings, but it took a combined time of about 4 hours to write and record.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Song311_For Forever

I woke up at 0500 today, ate breakfast, played Super Mario Bros until 0630 (on my original Nintendo set), mowed and weedeated commercial properties in Ft. Worth until 1230, slept for 2 hours, and then started writing today's song. I created the foundation by strumming chord progressions on the electric guitar (set to a 'click' at 134bpm). Next, I recorded the second electric guitar which is slightly more distorted. For this part I played the same chords but lower on the neck of the guitar...and sometimes in 'open' or altered formations. Then, I recorded the bass guitar. I liked the rough and gritty sound of these 3 instruments without any drums, keys, vocals, etc. I kept a few sections of the songs without any drums, but I thought about these 3 tracks being the only instruments in the entire song. I wrote and recorded the vocals before adding any keys. I did this by experimenting with melodies while the record button was enabled. From there, I wrote a few lyrics and gave each part a few tries (by now it was after 2200). Carly, my wife, sings in the 'chorus' sections. I added 3-4 synth tracks to add texture and contrast to each of the sections.

I completed today's song at 2348.

LYRICS: "I know that the future is just seconds away, but you're that habit I just can't break. Come on, be mine. From the depths, hold on. For forever."


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Song310_You Keep My Heart

I woke up today at 0530, shoveled and spread mulch (at a 2.5 million-dollar home in Vaquero) from 0730 until 1300, slept for an hour, and then I started writing today's song. I took a similar approach to yesterday's song...sat with the acoustic for 20-30 minutes constructing chord progressions and melodies before doing any recording. This song has about 24 tracks (written, recorded and mixed in about 6.5hrs)...including 2 of my wife singing on the 'Chorus' sections. Once again, I didn't have my vocals completed until late in the day (around 2230), so she only had 30-minutes to learn and sing her part. Once she had a few takes that we liked (after only 5-6 tries) I got busy editing and mixing. I was able to mix the entire song in about 30-minutes...completing it around 2350! I'm up at 0500 tomorrow...better sleep fast.

LYRICS: "Don't miss it this time. Keep your eyes open wide. It's moving fast...always changing. Let's keep up this time around. You keep my heart on its toes."


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today's song begins a new album, Week45_Magnification. This week's album will have singing on every song (unlike last week...all instrumentals).

I started the day by changing the strings on my acoustic guitar, and then I spent about 20-minutes trying out different chord progressions, rhythms, and tempos. I had a general sound in mind for today's song, so I had a good idea of what instruments I wanted to use, but the chord progression was the missing link. Once I found a few things that I liked, I actually spent 15-20 minutes writing some lyrics. This approach is uncommon for me in this project. For about 80% of the songs I start by turning on the computer, and I write as I record. It works both ways, but I felt like I had solid direction before beginning this song, which helps in certain ways. This song contains: drums, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, distorted electric guitar, keys, slide guitar, electric guitar picking solo notes, and vocals...recorded in that order. Additionally, there are 4 tracks of vocals (18-20 total tracks in this song). Carly, my wife, sang on today's song. She had never done any formal recording until a few hundred songs ago, but we'll be experimenting with her voice all week...should be fun. Today was a challenge because she got home at 2000, I completed my vocals at 2010, and I had to leave at 2030. She sang her part about 6 times, and I kept the best 2 (for a natural stereo effect). I got home around 2245, and I completed the song at 2344. Close one. There are a few other things that I would've liked to do to this song, but I ran out of time.

LYRICS: "Who would've thought, it's not the act it's about the heart. The weakest opponent could win. The enemy hides out within. I've been waiting my whole life for someone like you. Now it's not mine, it's our life...since we said 'we do.' All the time...all the while. It's more of a feeling than a storybook formula. Two lovers falling fast in love, for sure."


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Today's song (Song308_Chosen) completes another week of recording. The newest album, Week44_Future Eras, will be available in a few hours at

I wrote today's song by layering a series of drum sequences, and then I recorded the bass guitar (first section=A-C-E, second section=A-G-F#m-F). Next, I added a few electric distorted, one using an e-bow, and one picking solo notes. Finally, I added 6-8 synth tracks.

Thanks, Carly, for designing this week's album cover!


Monday, May 3, 2010


Today's song is another instrumental, but I started this song in reverse order. First, I created the drum sequences, and then I wrote the bass guitar progressions (in the key of 'C' @ 80bpm). There are two other guitars in this clean picking electric, and one electric e-bow (with delay). It's the 6-8 tracks of synth that give this song depth and texture. This song is 14-16 tracks and it took about 3.5 hours to write, record, and mix.

Tomorrow's song will complete another album, Week44_Future Eras.


Sunday, May 2, 2010


Today's song is another instrumental that I wrote (primarily) on the electric guitar. I structured a few chord progressions (first section=D-G-D, second section=A-C-E-A, center section=C-A...C-D-A), and then I layered a variety of rhythms. Next, I added bass guitar followed by 5-6 synth tracks. I like the mood and progression of this song.

I didn't get much sleep last week, so I slept today until 1300...been a while since I've done that. I wrote this song in two separate sittings...1430-1630, and 1830-2030...about 4 hours total.


Saturday, May 1, 2010


Today's song was recorded in a unique and uncommon way (for me). I did not use a 'click' track (i.e. metronome) to record or edit this instrumental. (There's a synth sequence that has rhythm. It didn't line up with the click, but it was helpful to cue off this instrument.) Back when I recorded music using a 4-track cassette-tape machine this was standard. In fact, I had never used a 'click' track until I entered digital/computer-based recording. Of course, it has been a standard process since then, and it has it's benefits...particularly for an overdubbing, solo-recording-artist like me. Another thing that made today's recording process unique was the number of instruments that I was able to track in only one take (4 out of 7). So, I was able to write and record this instrumental in under 2 hours...including mixing and mastering. (For this project, it has typically taken 5-7 hours to write, record, and mix one song).

Earlier today I rode the North Shore trails at GV Lake (12 miles in 1:56:35). It's been a long week, so I'm going to celebrate the early completion of this song by taking a nap before the fight starts (Mayweather vs. Mosley).


Friday, April 30, 2010

Song304_Future Eras (10 months complete!)

Today, the final day of April 2010, completes my 10th month of consecutive recording for Also, this past month of music was FREE to everyone on the Mailing List...hope you enjoyed the music.

Today was similar to yesterday. I woke up at 0530, mowed yards until 1300, took a 1.5hr nap, ate some cottage cheese, and then started recording today's song. I found a synth sequence that sparked the idea for the strumming guitar (section 1=E-D, section 2=C-A, section 3=G-B). Next, I added bass guitar and an electric guitar (with tremolo) that picks single notes. I took about an hour editing and mixing these tracks, took a break for dinner (around 2000), and I came back to finish the song around 2100. I spent another 2 hours adding keys/synth, re-arranging and re-editing the percussion sections, and doing a final mix. I completed this song at 2329.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Song303_Voices of the System

Today was another long/busy day. I decided this song was "complete" when I noticed that it was after 2300...not because I was through working on it. This project dictates that each song is written and recorded within a 24hr period...even if I only have 6 hours to record on a particular day.

I woke up at 0530, mowed (overgrown) yards until 1400, took an hour nap, and starting writing today's song around 1530. I started this song by inserting a 'scratch' drum rhythm (100bpm), and then I wrote the guitar progressions on the distorted guitar (Verse=G-A#...G-A#-A, Chorus=G-F-C-G). Next, I added bass guitar and structured the percussion section. I decided not to get too involved with layering additional tracks until I had mapped out some vocal ideas. I spent over an hour trying different lyrics and melodies. I eventually kept 3 of these tracks, but I wasn't 100% happy with them, so I took a break, went to the gym, ate dinner, and I came back to the song around 2100. I 'muted' the vocals and layered 4-5 synth tracks in various places. These tracks gave the song lots of depth and texture, but they didn't fit the vocals as expected. I spent another 30-minutes editing and mixing, and then I realized that it was after 2300! The synth tracks gave me a few new vocal ideas, but there wasn't enough time to re-record vocals and still have the song uploaded by midnight. Fortunately I didn't even try because it took 4 tries to get the mix right. Today's song was uploaded with 10-minutes to spare.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today's song begins a new album, Week44_Future Eras.

I wrote this one by first recording a few chord progressions at 112bpm (first part=A-E-D-E, second part=A-F#m-Bm-E). Next, I added a ('scratch') drum track to assist with timing while recording the bass guitar. Then, I deleted the strumming guitar and recorded the two solo/melody guitars. There are also a few tracks of strings, but this song is only 7-8 tracks total.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today's song (Song301_Channels) is the final song on the newest album (Week43_Sense), which is now available for sale at

I went to sleep last night after midnight, woke at 0530, and mowed yards from 0700 to 1300. I started writing today's song around 1500, recorded until 1900, took a break to eat dinner, and returned to the song around 2100...completing it around 2250. I uploaded the song, updated the website, uploaded the new album to the online retail store, created the weekly email, backed-up the hard drives, etc, and I finalized another week of recording at 2344...just in time to prepare for another day/song.

I didn't start today's session with any specific ideas. I set the metronome to 110bpm, found a guitar pre-set/tone that I liked (which almost sounds like a rotary organ), and I recorded the main strumming guitar progression first (first section=E-A, second section=F#-B). I like how each chord has it's own unique strumming pattern. Next, I structured the rhythm section. I found one drum sequence that fit the style I wanted, and I used that rhythm to write the bass guitar track. I also added 2 electric guitars (picking solo notes) and 2 synth tracks. I took a 20-minute break and wrote a half-page of lyrics, but I liked the textures and the combinations of instruments without vocals interfering.

Another album begins tomorrow.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Song300_Sleight of Hand


Today's song took a little over 5 hours to write/record. I had other work things going on so I started writing this one around 1400, and it was recorded in two sittings. I had the majority of the song complete by 1800, but I took a break to spend time with family and prepare for work tomorrow. I came back to the song around 2200, and I uploaded it around 2333.

Work projects have been slow this week, so starting tomorrow I've agreed to help a few friends mow yards for extra money. The three of us will be mowing 112 yards between tomorrow (Tuesday) and Friday.

A new album will be available tomorrow (Week43_Sense).

LYRICS: "I know it's strange. I know it's hard to explain. Never seen this before. A clever trick with mirrors and motion. Ugly and gray, the falling sky, the eminent downpour. Never seen this before. One switch that could turn off the whole world. Next time around let's stick together. This time around could be much better with one quick sleight of hand. Try harder today. Yesterday has already gone away. This 300th try is a formulaic attack on the airwaves. Next time around let's stick together. This time around could be much better with one quick sleight of hand."


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Song299_Signs of Life

I built today's song by first structuring the rhythm and bass sections (90bpm). The main chord progression was played on the keys using a classic organ tone. Next, I layered a variety of guitar melodies: one e-bow guitar, one distorted guitar picking solo notes (during the 'Chorus' mimics the e-bow melody on the opposite side of the stereo-field), one clean picking guitar (during the 'Verse' sections), and one choppy/muffled guitar hitting the main chords on each downbeat. Additionally, there are 4-5 synths and a piano track. The lyrics and melody were both last-minute, but they fit.

LYRICS: "Sometimes the chemicals misfire, but the heartbeat says you're alive. We are just bundles of nerves, but the heartbeat says you're alive. The sound of these thoughts of mine stays inside, but the heartbeat says I'm alive."

299 songs complete!


Saturday, April 24, 2010


I went flying with a friend today, so I didn't start today's song until 1500. We flew out of Northwest Regional Airport...the busiest uncontrolled (i.e. no tower) single-runway airport in the country. However, it wasn't that busy today due to high winds (19mph ground winds with gusts up to 25mph). We flew over Texas Motor Speedway, did a few touch-and-go's at Alliance Airport, and then came back. Good times! Thanks, Mike!

Today's song is an instrumental. I created the rhythm section first, which consists of 3 separate drum sequences (160bpm). I added synth bass next, which contains the main chord progressions. Next, I added the only electric guitar in today's song (part picking, part strumming). Additionally, there are about 8 synth tracks that provide the filling/icing. I tried to arranged the synth tracks so that different sounds play each time a section repeats. I completed and uploaded today's song around 1920.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Song297_Villains and Dinosaurs

A took a slightly different approach to writing today's song, and I had better results than the past few days (which were somewhat of a struggle). I'm not saying that I don't like the past few songs, but they were a challenge to write/record, and it was because I needed a more strategic approach. So, I built the rhythm section first today: drums (90bpm), bass guitar, and the fuzzy synth bass. I took about 30-minutes to write some lyrics and melodies, and then I spent the next hour recording the vocals. From there, it was easy (and fun) to fill in the blanks.

LYRICS: "Shipwrecked on a distant island. I'm stranded with the fallen. I'm surrounded by open waters, so I'm building a wooden submarine. Can you hear the voices say, 'Hey!'? Cool like a dinosaur. An interesting, irrelevant animal. A villain on holiday, looting as his god looks away. I'm cool like a dinosaur. An interesting, irrelevant animal. Can you hear the voices say...? Speechless, (like) a tree stump in the forest. I'm always sitting in 'standing room only.' Restless, (like) a once-each-decade comet. I'm building ancient melodies. Can you hear the voices say, 'Hey!'? Cool like a dinosaur. An interesting, irrelevant animal. A villain on holiday, looting as his god looks away. I'm cool like a dinosaur. An interesting irrelevant animal. Can you hear the voices say...?"


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Song296_Rise Up

The songwriting formula for this week is still taking shape, which was very evident today. I got home last night around 0010, so I recorded some foundational tracks for today's song until 0200. I continued work on this session for another few hours (after a long nap), but at 1300 I decided to start over. The second effort, which is today's song, also took some time before it starting taking shape. I came close to setting this session aside also, but there were a few tracks that changed my mind. At 2100 I was tired, I wrote and recorded the vocals in about 45-minutes, edited the final tracks, finalized the mix, adjusted the Master EQ and levels, and uploaded it by 2230.

LYRICS: "The traffic lights blink red at night. The open road's too short to speed. In the time it takes us... Others see the light, put on their wings and fly. Come on, rise up tonight. We were born for life. The earth and body will expire. The hour glass will run empty. In the time it takes us... Others see the light, put on their wings and fly. Come on, rise up tonight. We were born for life."


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Song295_Temperature Steady

Today's song begins a new album, Week43_Sense. By the way, it's not too late to join the Mailing List ( and receive every song this month for FREE.

The music this week will have a different formula than the past few weeks. The songs on this album will be more synth and rhythm based with simple melodies and off-beat lyrics. Today's song was step one in achieving this sound, but I think I can do better. This one is a 2-chord progression that has 2 main sections. It's fairly repetitive, but there are a variety of sounds (and hopefully enough rhythm) to keep the ears occupied. I was pressed for time today. I had a 5-hour window to write and record this (20-track) song.

Thanks to Brandon Arnold for helping me capture footage for a video idea that I am pursuing. He filmed me walking backwards as airplanes landed over my shoulder. I'll post the link when it's ready.

LYRICS: "I'm climate-friendly. Body temperature: Steady. A reward's been posted for the truth. 'Dead or alive.'"


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Today's song (Song294_Broken) completes another album (Week42_Common Denominators). The newest album, which consists of 7 songs plus original album artwork, will be available for sale later today at

I started today's song with a drum sequence, and then I layered the violins, electric guitar (picking along with the chords: Verse=C-Dm, Transition=Bm-A-G-A, Chorus=Am-G-C), and synth bass. I also added: 3 vocal tracks, 3 additional electric guitars, and 2 additional percussion tracks.

LYRICS: "I was far from hopeless, but strong winds buried my ship. I control the rudder, not winds or other factors. You are not alone. I'm broken, but for what it's worth it was worth it all."

I took about 1-2 hours early this morning to create the album cover for this week (Week #42). Everything is complete now, so I should have the new album uploaded and available within a few hours.