Sunday, January 31, 2010

Song215_Vanilla Camel

Today's song is the final song of January 2010, and this ends the FREE month of music (for those on the Mailing List). Next month starts my 8th consecutive month of recording.

I wanted today's song to be an upbeat instrumental...something I can listen to while I run or ride. I adjusted, edited and arranged 3-4 keyboard sequences, and then I added 3 sets of drums. The bass guitar and electric guitar are the only other instruments in this song. Pretty simple, but also moody and driving. Mission accomplished.

Last night I dreamt of lyrics for a new song. I kept waking up with new ideas...2-3 lines each time. I'm starting to sleep like a songwriter.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Song214_First Day As A Grown-Up

Today's song happened quickly. I sat down to write/record around noon, and I had all of the music completed by 1500. I knew that I wanted an upbeat song today, so I started the session with the 'click' set to 140, a strong kick drum, and an electric guitar (strumming). Once I recorded the main guitar I edited a rough layout of the entire song. This made it easier to add bass guitar, solo guitars, and a section of brass (2-3 tracks of trumpets and trombones). I took a break to enjoy a long painful run, then I went to a birthday party (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLAYKE AND HANNAH!). We got home around 2000, but I rested for about an hour. Anyway, I hadn't written any lyrics or melodies for this song yet, but I had a theme/title. I worked on a few different ideas for almost an hour, but I wasn't happy with the lyrics or the melody. The midnight deadline was getting closer. I almost re-arranged the song to be an instrumental, but it all came together (quickly) around 2310. Another day complete.

LYRICS: "There's no better way than to start with a party. Like your Debutante's Ball...a 'Southern girl's Bat Mitzvah.' We bought you ponies and puppies, and told you that you look old now. Girl, you're holding my heart, so hold onto my hand. It's your first day as a grown-up, and it's safe to say that you're old enough. Maybe one day you'll want to be young again, but life's kind of like that. There's no better crowd than clowns, family, and friends. And they all had a ball at your 'Southern girl's Bat Mitzvah.' Your face is glowing, and you don't want it to end. Girl, you're holding my heart, so hold onto my hand. It's your first day as a grown-up, and it's safe to say that you're old enough. Maybe one day you'll want to be young again, but life's kind of like that."


Friday, January 29, 2010

Song213_Running In My Sleep

I wrote this song earlier today on the electric guitar (using a new GR3 preset that I like). I recorded the main electric guitar, then the bass guitar, then the drums...then I realized that the main guitar was out-of-tune. I suspected that was the case when it was recorded to the 'click,' but it wasn't noticeable until the other instruments were added. Fortunately, it wasn't much of an inconvenience to re-record that track, but it was a good reminder to do it right the first time. There are two main sections in this is syncopated (with singing), and a 'book-ended' section that is louder, more aggressive, and has more instruments. The lyrics were crafted during a break and recorded in 2-3 takes. Yes, I do run in my sleep (which is better than dreaming that I have insomnia).

LYRICS: "I ran in my sleep last night on empty streets...a human tumbleweed. Woke up tired, knotted, and a human tumbleweed."


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Song212_Living In The Future

I wrote this song on the piano, added bass guitar, then added drums. The synth/sequenced keyboards give this song it's atmosphere since there are no guitars in today's song. I liked this song better before adding vocals, but it didn't seem right without any singing. I wrote the lyrics in 20-30 minutes...probably need to devote more time to the lyrical messages. Creating and layering music seems much easier than creating meaningful lyrics/vocals on a daily basis. It's not just about having something to say (which is the starting point). It's also about: choosing the right words, choosing the right phrasing, melody, harmony, timing... I understand why most bands take a year to create each album (10-12 songs). I sometimes think "A New Song Every Month" would've been a smarter idea than "A New Song Every Day," but there's no turning back now.

LYRICS: "It's nearly midnight, the last day of '09, the scene of the crime, the time of your life. in the future. Tenacious and spry, always a party inside, dreams take flight, say goodbye to '09. in the future. A quarter to nine, half awake, half alive, really need it tonight, but luck doesn't take sides. in the future."


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Song211_All or Nothing

This song begins a new album, Week31_Vanilla Camel. I decided to be a little less formulaic with the writing process this week...not focusing on genres, certain instruments, etc. Today's song is unique in that I wrote and recorded the main electric guitar picking before anything else. Most of it is repetitive, and I wasn't sure what chords would match-up with it...I just picked a melody that I liked. When I went back to add the strummed guitar (also electric) I found that the main chords were 'D' and 'Bm.' However, I arranged a much different progression on top of the picking part that gives the song an edge (D-Bm-C-Bm-Bm-A-D-C-Bm). I wrote some of these lyrics last night (and completed them during the recording process), but I had to rearrange syllables 5-6 times to make it work with the odd timing of the song.

LYRICS: "Time may be everything. God and king. Maybe just nothing at all. An illusion that's supported by the clocks on the wall. It's all or nothing, my friend. And we're here until the end. Heroes are human at best, so careful who you love. Even the pope has sinned, though somewhat of a saint when he's compared to most. It's all or nothing, my friend. And we're here until the end."

PS: Every song this week will have something to do with "time." I just decided that tomorrow's song will be called "First Day As a Grown-Up."


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Song210_Beyond Abort

I didn't have much of a plan today, but I was very diligent for 6 straight hours. I think this song is my favorite for the week. By the way, this song completes a new album, Week30_T Minus 3.

I started today's song by strumming chords on the electric guitar. I found a tempo that I liked, and a few progressions...nothing too complicated...made sure to include a minor chord in the 'chorus' section. I recorded the rest of this song in a predictable manor...drums, bass guitar, solo guitars, synth, tambourine, and cymbals. I wrote the lyrics while eating turkey, sang the main part a few times, and then I went back and added the harmony part (which happened in one take).

LYRICS: "The countdown has ended. The clock is now running. Too late to stop...hold on and move forward. We're beyond 'abort.' Let's go full-throttle. The crowd is all cheering. They're taking our photos. Too late to stop...hold on and move forward. We're beyond 'abort.' Let's go full-throttle."

PS: My wife bought me an early anniversary gift...a banjo instruction book!


Monday, January 25, 2010

Song209_All Systems 'Go'

Today's song was written on the acoustic guitar (with a capo on fret 4). I like this arrangement of chords, and the slow tempo adds to the off-camber drone. The electric guitar (HEAVY with reverb and delay) is great filling, but I also added a light string section to certain parts. The 'transition' sections were added later in the song, but they became the only singing sections.


The newest album, Week30_T Minus 3, will be available for sale tomorrow at


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Song208_T Minus 3

I didn't have much of a plan today, but I got an early start. In hopes of finishing quickly I started layering tracks without regard to the overall sound. I've made this mistake before. Unable to settle for something that I'm not happy with, I deleted about 8 tracks and started (almost completely) over again. I still didn't have any breakthrough ideas, but I was much more formulaic in my approach on the second try. There are only two (repeating) sections, but each one is broken into (at least) 2 parts...chord progressions stay the same, but new instruments and melodies come and go. Honestly, I had my doubts about the second attempt also, but it started to grow on my towards the end. I hope you enjoy today's instrumental...Song208_T Minus 3.


Saturday, January 23, 2010


I started this song by picking single, random notes on an electric guitar. I found a few patterns, recorded them, and then pieced them into consecutive sections. I wasn't sure what chords I was working with yet, so I recorded the bass guitar next (making notes about chord progressions for tracking other instruments). The instrumental side of this song came together quickly, and it has an emotional element that I like. It doesn't have any "spotlight" parts (i.e. guitar solos, etc), but it still worked as an instrumental. However, thinking that I could improve the song, I spent about 30-minutes writing a few lyrics. The lyrics fit, but I'm not sure how well I sang this one.

LYRICS: "Fighting inside. Winning and losing at the same time. One battle won, one battle lost. But I'm praying for peace for just one night. Enemies hide. Take on new forms. Change their disguise. Some battles won, some battles lost. But I'm praying for peace for just one night."


Friday, January 22, 2010


I had the initial idea (chord progression) for this song around 9am, and I had the song uploaded by 1300! It unfolded in a unique way...since there were no expectations. The initial guitar that I recorded (a wash of reverb set to 60bpm) was filling, and I like that the main progression has long pauses or 'holds.' I'm not sure which section is the 'chorus' since it got re-arranged a few times. I only wanted singing on that one section, so I built up the other section (drums, 2 electric guitars, etc) to act as an 'intro' and 'transition' back into the singing.

LYRICS: "Both hands in fire. Both feet on wires. Broken in the middle, but I am sustained by you. Locked in a nightmare now that you're not here. Broken in the middle, but I am sustained by you."


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Song205_The Price of Time

This song was built in a way similar to yesterday. I chose a few simple chord progressions (using electric guitar with a favorite, slightly altered pre-set within GR3). I had the foundation of this song completed quickly, so I tried a few vocal melodies. Once again, the lyrics and vocals went from conception to final-mix within a short time.

LYRICS: "If you chase this mirage, you'll end up tired and lost. You can't just believe it because you think you can see it. Truth is worth more than time, but we're low on both. We need answers tonight. Those troubles inside...those demons that you try to hide. You could ask them to leave, but you don't want to be lonely. Truth is worth more than time, but we're low on both. We need answers tonight."


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Song204_Status Update

I got the newest album uploaded last night (Week29_Nothing Drastic)...available at

Today's song begins a new album (Week30_T Minus 3). I'm returning to a more familiar style of music. I wrote this song today, and it seemed to hit me all at once. I got a melody in my head, guessed what the chords might be, picked up a guitar to figure out the chords (I was close), and then I recorded the drums and bass guitar. From there, I recorded the two electric guitar parts (one strumming and one picking). I decided to write and record vocals before adding the final set of instruments.

The lyrics were written within a 45-minute period. They started off dark, and then they got darker. Some of the darkness was necessary (and personal), but I also wanted to make a case for faith and hope.

LYRICS: "In effort to forget, I recalled everything. Hoping that facing it might erase its face. Hurt is not a permanent status. Don't adapt your life to live in sadness. Hope is elusive, not fiction. Instinctively we dig and bury deep the past. But keep some memories. Some should last. Hurt is not a permanent status. Don't adapt your life to live in sadness. Hope is elusive, not fiction."


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Song203_Nothing Drastic

This has been a very busy day, and I've been trying to keep all the plates spinning at once (which means my head is starting to spin also). This song evolved in spurts, so the final product was a surprise. I wrote the lyrics just before dinner, and the first mix came out balanced. This is fortunate because I am still working on the album artwork (though I'm pretty close), I need to update the website, I need to create a new product on Payloadz (online digital sales platform), backup hard drives, change guitar strings, etc. If I get all of that completed at a reasonable hour, then I'll have time to prepare for tomorrow...producing a marketing video for a customer's website. I'm not complaining. I love my life. Some days are just busier than others.

Anyway, this song completes recording for Week #29! The newest album, OTTO_Week29_Nothing Drastic, will be available in a few hours at

LYRICS: "You're unusual, but nothing drastic. We're made from similar human plastics. Don't change my DNA to make me perfect. Science is switching heads saying, "Nothing's drastic." You're like a work of art that's mostly abstract. A superstitious wart that grinds up axes. You're unusual, but nothing drastic. We're made from similar human plastics."

PS: Once again, I had trouble getting the live broadcast from U-Stream to work properly today. This is only the 2nd recording session since the beginning of this project (July 1, 2009) that has not been broadcast. I've submitted a "ticket" so I should receive help within 1-8 days. Thanks for your patience.


Monday, January 18, 2010


I briefly strayed from my weekly formula, and a spontaneous experiment quickly transformed this metal song into a mess of dancable funk. I had muted the main distorted guitar so I could play a (clean) electric part that I had in my head. The syncopated strumming, combined with the staccato-style bass playing, gave this song lots of "up and down" movement. I liked the music, so I decided to compensate by adding gritty, monotone, and distorted vocals. I wrote and sang the lyrics below. However, after listening to the odd fusion of sounds I went back and decided to be true to this song...even if it makes this song the oddball on the upcoming album.

LYRICS: "We have no ruling. Just a simple strategy. We don't have permission, but we've got the audacity. Unmanned tanks, unmanned planes. We owe the taxpayers a show. Proof (that) nothing went to waste. The web is as much of a threat as the spider. Dead is equal to ineffective. With some we're at war, some we just 'occupy.' With some we 'maintain a constant presence.' With others we secretively meddle and spy. All to keep evil arms-length from the people."

NEW LYRICS: "People like repetition. People like repetition. (repeat)"

Tomorrow's song will complete another album, OTTO_Week29_Nothing Drastic. I'm still working on ideas for the album artwork, but the new album will be available for sale tomorrow night at

PS: There was an error with U-Stream's service today, so there was not a live broadcast of today's recording session. That's the first time that has happened since I started this project over 6 months ago. I'll check into it later today and try to make sure that it doesn't happen again.


Sunday, January 17, 2010


This song was sort of a surprise. It was pieced together based on a few rough ideas from last night and early this morning. The lyrical concept came to me last night, so I wrote down a few lines before going to sleep. The guitar ideas were written/recorded today after I had already put a few rhythm tracks in place (150bmp). I added bass guitar, an additional drum loop, and a few extra 'icing' items. What do you think?

LYRICS: "It's no wonder. It's the number one killer. The heart stores the hurt. The hurt can inflate. The heart can't hold it all in, and so it breaks. Your heart-attack sucked, but it proved that you're not heartless. For years they've tried to say that. Now your pain is just their payback. Step up to the plate. Own up to your fate. Is your heart full of hurt? Ready to deflate? The heart can't hold it all in, and so it breaks. Your heart attack was sudden. It took 3 shocks to reset your troubled rhythm. Most respond to one, but you're charged and on a comeback. It came on like thunder...this stone-cold-killer. I begged it to wait, but it does what it does what it does what it does. Someone said, "Full recovery." But maybe they said, "Prep the Infirmary." At least you're moving towards something, and we know now that you're not heartless."


Saturday, January 16, 2010


I didn't have a specific plan for today's song, so it unfolded in an interesting way. It has similar elements to the songs from the previous 3 days (another short one), but the overall sound is drastically different. First, it's an just didn't warrant any singing. Also, it has sections that are more melodic than energetic...a few of these sections only rely on a single keyboard sequence for rhythm. I started the recording session by layering 3 drum loops (only one was kept in the final mix). Next, I recorded the electric guitar (distorted), bass guitar, and a series of 'pads' and 'leads' from various synth programs. I've done lots of instrumentals throughout this project, but this one has some elements and structure that is fairly unique. I think this song fits with the others on this album, but hopefully it turns out to be the slowest song of Week 29.


Friday, January 15, 2010


Sonically, today's song is much better than yesterday's. I had some frequency issues with this new genre of music, and I wasn't very happy with yesterday's final EQ and Mix (which took 6 tries). I think I was able to identify the problem areas and apply some new techniques to today's song. However, just like yesterday's song, this one is quick and to the point (under 3-minutes). I guess if you play your instrument twice as fast as normal then you're bound to finish quicker, right? That, or maybe I need to start writing 6 'verses' instead of 3?

I wrote this one on the electric guitar, added bass guitar, and then I spent some time on the rhythm section. Once the main instruments were structured I identified some potential singing areas and experimented with melodies and syllables. The lyrics and vocals were completely written and recorded within 30 minutes.

LYRICS: "Straight from the morgue to the 'lost and found.' Death makes it hard for me to get around. Luck, in this case, has little say. It's not a medical case, and no doc in town can heal the dead. Far from the life I'd like to live. I need a self-help book that caters to the dead. Luck, in this case, has little say. It's not a medical case, and there's no doc in town that can heal the dead."


Thursday, January 14, 2010


I wrapped up my work responsibilities around noon, then I sat down to write today's song. This one was tricky...for a few reasons. I recorded the guitar and bass first, and then Brandon (who came by for a few hours) helped structure the drums. There are 3 sections that each changed a few times. The 'chorus' section ended up without any drums, and there are a few keyboard sequences that give this song an odd mix of elements. I need to study more Metal music because I think some of the guitars are more 'punk' than 'metal,' but the goal was "hardcore" so I think this one fits. If you think this one is not heavy enough, then listen to last week's album of "songs that Air Supply wishes they wrote."

The toughest part of this song was creating a balanced EQ. I'm using new presets for the distorted guitar, I'm singing 1-2 vocal parts through Guitar Rig effects, etc...and all these new sounds have drastic amounts of certain frequencies. It took 6 tries to get a mix/master that I like (but don't love).

LYRICS: "Bloody, battered, and torn. Not good at living. Not ready to die. Didn't ask to be born. Tied up, weathered, and worn. Not good at living. Not ready to die. Didn't ask to be born.

PS: I'm glad I was born...thankful for every day.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This song begins a new album of 'hardcore' songs (Week29_Nothing Drastic). I don't have an extensive history with (or knowledge of) this type of music, and it probably doesn't help that I've heard less than 1% of new music released since the year 2000 (I don't have a TV and I don't listen to music on the radio). Either way, I like the energy of this type of music, and I knew it would challenge my songwriting abilities. I wrote the foundation of this song late last night using an electric guitar. I found 3-4 progressions and strumming patterns that I liked within 20-30 minutes, recorded them onto a digital audio device, and filled in the blanks as I recorded. There is only one main guitar in this song (playing throughout). I like the 'squeeling' of the electric guitar during the "Hey" sections. I used a technique from my days of playing live shows...pressing the strings against the pickups for a controlled feedback. I can't remember where I learned that, but it's effective. The solo guitar is sporadic since I can't play the warp-speed solos that usually accompany this type of music. This gave me plenty of time to focus on the rhythm section (i.e. drums and bass).

I wrote these lyrics before starting the song. The lyrical topic today addresses our biggest concern as humans...not global warming, not disease, not immigration...but death. No human is immune, but having peace about dying will affect how you live. So how do you have peace about death? That's a question that most people ask at some point.

LYRICS: "Destined for doom, baby. You shouldn't try to save me. Lost, we're all lost. Is there anyone out there trying to find me? One day we're all gonna die. Each focused on our own demise. Paranoia tells the greatest lies. There's no place for a human to hide. Stuck in the same rut. All the truths are tainted by humans. Anger stunts your growth and adds air to the fire of your doubt. One day we're all gonna die. Each focused on our own demise. Paranoia tells the greatest lies. There's no place for a human to hide."


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song196_Country Roads

Today's song, Song196_Country Roads, completes another album. I'm still working on the album artwork, but it will be available soon at

I wrote this song on the acoustic guitar (verse=G-C-Am, chorus=C-D-G, bridge=Em-D-Am). After recording the acoustic I recorded the: analog bass, electric guitars (one is played using an e-bow), a string section, and a violin...a standard selection of instruments for this week. The lyrics and melody were written as they were being recorded. It took me a few tries to get the initial part, but the harmonies were easy to find. The vocals are simple, but also fitting for this week's style. I started writing this song around 9am, but I completed it by 12:30. I have a meeting for work at 1500, so I might be able to get the new album posted before then. If not, it will definitely be available sometime before midnight.

LYRICS: "These country roads act like a moat to the city folk. No thru-roads, I suppose. Everyone I see I know. You blink an eye and you might miss our town. There's no thru-roads, I suppose, 'cause everyone I see I know."


Monday, January 11, 2010

Song195_Open House

Today's song is the title track on the upcoming album, Week28_Open House (due tomorrow at I wrote this one early today on the acoustic guitar. I don't think I've used this chord progression before...E-B7-Am-A-E, but I like it. I chose a tempo in 3/4 timing (124bpm), and I recorded the acoustic and bass guitars to the 'click' track. I opted not to use drums today, so the only additional instruments are: cymbals, 2 electric guitars, a string section, and a violin. The vocals were written during my lunch break, and they fit well with this week's style and theme. (No, the theme is not "cheese," but some of this week's love songs could be future hits for Air Supply.)

LYRICS: "The trouble with the sticks and straw...a strong wind comes, knocks it down. A troubled mind and broken heart just need some solid ground. A fort for hiding. A safe place for family. This Open House is fitting. This is the kind of place we want. The safety of this house we wind can knock it down. A fort for hiding. A safe place for family. This Open House is fitting. This is the kind of place that we want."


Sunday, January 10, 2010


This song was written on an acoustic guitar...finger-picking 3 chords (with a capo on fret 5). Brandon played the bass today, and I added some strings (to the 'chorus' sections), and 2 electric guitars (one is a wash of reverb, one picked with delay). We both liked the simplicity of this sound, so we decided to stop layering and call it done.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Song193_Close to Home

I wrote this song early today using a simple chord progression that I've used before (G-Em-C-D). The foundational instruments were recorded within the first few hours, and then I added a few synth parts as needed (a violin, a flute,...). At this point the song was ready for vocals, but I didn't have any ideas yet. I took a long break and came back with fresh ears. A melody caught my attention on the first pass, and the lyrics came quickly after that. I decided to mimic the electric guitar melody that I had already created in the 'chorus' section.

LYRICS: "Your love is like water that pours out from a deep well. You're like none other, and since we met my need to roam is gone. I feel far away from home except when you're near. Some people like to roam, but all I need is right here."


Friday, January 8, 2010

Song192_Nowhere Better

Brandon came over again today, and we wrote this song in a way similar to yesterday's song. We sat with acoustic guitars and talked through some rough ideas before recording any instruments. There are only 3 chords in this song, but we felt that the tempo and style made this song unique from the previous two on this newest album. There are two acoustic guitars in this plays throughout, and one (with a capo on fret 7) appears only in the 'chorus' sections. Brandon played the electric solo in the 'chorus' sections, and I added bass guitar and a soft rotary organ that helps fill the 'verse' sections. Brandon had to leave around 1400, but in about 3 hours we had 70% of this song completed.

I came back to finish this song around 1800. I had a few (rough) vocal melody ideas, but I didn't have any lyrics. My wife likes this style/genre of music, so I wrote some lyrics that I thought she'd enjoy (and she does). I actually wrote the words as I was recording....section by section. The singing took multiple takes, but the words (fortunately) came out quickly (20 min?).

LYRICS: "Bored with this one-horse town we're in. Even the wind is searchin' for somewhere better to be. With the windows all down and the radio up. We cruised the whole town like two fools in love...with the summer breeze blowin'. Oil rigs and windmills turning. We're always runnin' to somewhere else it seems. I love this hand I'm holdin'. With you around it seems there's no place better to be. With the windows all down and the radio up. We cruised the whole town like two fools in love...with the summer breeze blowin'."


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Song191_Don't Rush

Brandon and I started this song around 1400, but we decided not to record any instruments until we outlined the song (sometimes we just jump right in). Today we sat with an acoustic guitar, worked out a few chord progressions (using open chords and a capo for variety), and I recorded some vocal melody ideas onto a digital voice recorder. Once we were happy with the direction it was going we created a ProTools session, found the right tempo (78bpm), recorded some 'scratch' drums, and then Brandon recorded the acoustic and bass guitars. Brandon left around 1600, and I didn't come back to finish the song until 1900. The lyrics are about a conversation that Brandon and I had earlier today. Living life at "warp-speed" seems to be standard, but why.

LYRICS: "Some mornings come too early...demanding attention. You check the clock, then hide your head...just as predicted. But you don't have to worry. You don't have to rush. Slow down for a minute. Gather your thoughts. You rise up to fight the day off. A checklist in each hand. Always at warp-speed, you long it'll last. But you don't have to worry. You don't have to rush. Slow down for a minute. Gather your thoughts."


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Song190_Count On My Love

Today's song begins a new album, Week28_Open House. Each song this week will be written on the acoustic guitar and will also feature: harmonica, piano, violin, vocal harmonies, and more.

I strummed my acoustic guitar for 10-20 minutes before bed last night, so I had this chord progression ready to go...but nothing else planned. I recorded the drums and bass before recording the acoustic guitar. I don't always do it this way, but a solid foundation helps the timing of a picked guitar. The piano and harmonica parts are simple, but they add great melody and texture. I'm starting a few new projects at work, so I wasn't able to start today's song until 1500. I had a theme in mind, but I didn't make it very far with lyrics today.

LYRICS: "You can count on the seasons. You can count on some floods. You can count on the sunrise, and you can count on my love."


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Song189_Last-Minute Driver

Today's song completes another album, Week27_Last-Minute Driver. This week's title refers to the final motivators (i.e. "drivers") that cause us to fully commit to something. I'm still working on ideas for the album design, but it will be available at before midnight (on the "ALBUMS" page).

I wrote this song by creating a solid foundation of rhythm and bass. Similar to yesterday, I chose one chord progression and played it 3-4 different ways. Once I had edited a rough structure of the entire song I added a few intricate guitar parts throughout. I liked these parts, but I decided that I liked the direction the song was going before adding I 'Muted' them and moved on. This went on for a few hours...recording tracks, then deleting them. I finally opted for more of a synth sound, and these new tracks inspired some vocal melodies. I went back to the electric guitars before the final mix and added a light melody behind the vocals. There is one synth sound that mimics the vocals in certain sections...I like that one.

LYRICS: "At the very last minute it occurred to me that we're not that far away. Just keep on moving. Don't turn to stone."


Monday, January 4, 2010


This instrumental started with 2 synths rhythmic and one 'choir-like.' Once I inserted the kick drum (that hits on every beat) I knew I had a good 'late-night-freeway-driving' song. I added an additional drum loop, 2 electric guitars, a flute, and a violin. Melodies were easy to create...the editing was the tricky part. Today I tried to do more with less...not just less instruments than usual, but also less chords. There are only 3 chords in this song (repeating a steady progression), so the challenge was arranging the progression of instruments. I think the addition and subtraction process worked. You might notice that the final guitar picking sequence enters one measure late. This was accidental at first, but I left it that way because it makes the same part sound different than the earlier times it appears in the song.

This song has a few (competing) low-end frequencies that were a challenge to mix. Too much low-end can cover up other sounds, but not enough low-end would cheapen this particular song. Fortunately, I got what I wanted on the second 'mastering' attempt.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Song187_Much Left to Lose

I recorded about 6 tracks of today's song before it started taking shape. As new parts came to mind I kept updating the layout, so the idea evolved with time. Once I added the 2 electric guitars (picking the intro part) I started to think that this song would work well as an instrumental. I already had about 4-5 synth parts on standby, but playing them all at once was too busy, and I didn't have many (okay, any) chord changes in I decided to introduce and take away instruments every 8 measures (or so). There is an oboe in this song...haven't used that one before.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Song186_On A Ledge

I ate some caffeinated beef for breakfast, so today's song is faster than yesterday's. (Actually, it's almost exactly twice the speed...Song185=76bpm, and Song186=155bpm). I created one simple drum loop, and the main electric guitar (strumming) was written to this rhythm. Some of the chords in this song are unique...I know the root notes, but I've never seen these chords in a book. The actual chord progression is somewhat ordinary (Opening=C-G, then F-G, then A#-C-F-A#), but the quick edits, odd chord formations, and layering process gave this song a unique sound. I completed this song around 2pm, but I wasn't satisfied with the final mix. I re-mixed and re-mastered this song 3 times, and each time I found tracks that had an abundance of a certain frequency. In the end, taking these frequencies away gave me more room to raise the overall level of the song. I've gotten much more precise with mixing/mastering (from all the repetition), but there are challenges each time I use new instruments or experiment with different musical genres.

LYRICS: "Slow, watch for it. Did you know that you are out on a ledge? Do you know if you've given all that you can? It's better to fight it. One moment. Did you know that you are out on a ledge? Do you know if you've given all that you can? Hold on one minute. Do you know that you are out on a ledge? Do you know if you've given it all you can?

Inevitably, there are times that I realize things that I could've done to improve a song (after it's been posted). On many occasions these changes or additions come to me as I'm lying in bed trying to fall asleep. This happened to me last night when I realized a more creative layout to Song185, but it was past the midnight deadline. A large part of this project is to show what I can accomplish in one day. If I go back and make changes to a previous day's song, then I'm defeating the it'll have to do.

I realized halfway through today's session that I had the wrong date posted on the live video screen. It's now 2010! Crazy.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Song185_Every Day Is New

Happy New Year! Every song is FREE this month if you sign up at

Today's song was written early this morning. I had a few lines of lyrics in mind, so I worked out the melody while playing the electric guitar. I like the chord progression, but I think the guitar picking and vocal melodies take the spotlight. This song has about 16-18 tracks: 3 electric guitars, bass guitar, cymbals, tambourine, 3 drum loops, 4 vocals, multiple 'aux' tracks (so I could add a common reverb and compression to certain groups) keyboard or synth. I've wanted to create an anthem for this project, but I haven't tackled that one yet (even though I've already begun the second half of this project). However, the theme of this song comes pretty close to summing things up, and I thought it was appropriate for New Year's Day.

LYRICS: "You can't tell, but I'm singing in my head. Late in the night...the pressure of the dark like water. But every morning, a new day starts a new song, darlin'. I hear you call. You're the dream I'd die for. You can't tell, but I'm singing in my head"