Hard Driving in Moonlight

25 02 2005

Recorded Thursday, February 24, 2005

This is an attempt to answer the question, “can I make a locrian slap riff over a diminished chord sound like the tonic, and a major 7th chord a half step above sound dissonant, wanting to return to the diminished chord?” I think the answer is yes. Hah! This is the exact opposite of what I’m studying in school which says that diminished vii wants very badly to return to I. I made I want very badly to return to diminished vii.

This is also a big step forward for me because instead of stacking tons of parts on top of each other in the mixer (all playing at once), I tried to spread them out horizontally, over time. Suddenly a 17-second six-track loop turned into a 6 minute song. OK, not suddenly; it took five hours, most of which was tweaking. The slap bass loop is where it all began. The arpeggiated bass (that sounds like a jazz rhythm guitar part) was derived from that and evolved into the keyboard part. I’m particularly happy with the classic rock / heavy metal keyboard sound, so I decided to put it first. Changing the drum beat several times also made the looped parts sound more interesting, even though they themselves were unchanged.

Both bass parts were played on my Modulus Quantum 4-string bass. The melody was played in real time on my Roland A33 keyboard. There are still lots of things I would change (replace loops with variations; add at least one other progression; clean up the articulation of the melody part) but it’s not too bad as-is.

Em-D7 Loop

15 02 2005

Recorded Tuesday, February 15, 2005.

I finally installed Garage Band (1.1) and played around with it. This simplistic and rough song fragment is the result. It’s just Em-D7 looped 3 times. The keyboard part is just a closed root position Em triad and then a D triad, each with the root note doubled an octave below. I used the “Silicon Strings” synth pad sound. The drum loop is “Exotic Beat 05” which I think sounds pretty cool through the “Detailed Drums” kit. The bass line is a simple pentatonic ostinato played on my MTD 535 fretless bass with octave and stereo chorus effects. The bass melody line was improvised clean (no effects, so you can hear all my mistakes clearly) and was played on my Modulus 4-string bass. Based on the fact that it took me about 1 hour to do all this stuff, and most of the time was spent evolving the composition and refining performances, I guess GarageBand is pretty useful.


23 03 2002

Recorded sometime in 1996.

Some friends of mine were in a band called Rhythm Circus and were looking for a bass player. Since I had played with a couple of them before they skipped the audition and just said “record on our demo”. One of the guitarists had an ADAT and a mixing board in his bedroom at the house that several members lived in. So, I wrote a part, rehearsed it on my own, and recorded it. I used my Alembic Exploiter bass direct into the board. This is the result, and I only have it because I asked for a copy of just this one song. The band broke up shortly thereafter, and to my knowledge the demo tape was never finished or duplicated.

Impossible 7

28 11 2001

Recorded Friday, 11/23/2001.

Chords fitting in the harmonic minor scale & phrygian mode in 7/8 time. The name comes from the beat which I made in Doggiebox in an attempt to come up with the most syncopated 7/8 beat I could – hence the name of the song. I played this on my Kramer guitar through heavy distortion and stereo chorus. This eventually became “Live Nude Girls”, which can be heard here.

Dance-ish Flail

20 11 2001

Recorded Monday, 11/19/2001.

Guitar-wanking over an easy rhythm part, 4/4 E to B. The drums on this are again performed by Doggiebox. I’ve grown to like some techno music but as a lover of over the top musicians (flailing shredding soloists & bands that play ultra difficult parts) I want to explore live instruments over synth beats / drum loops. This was an effort to see if I could keep things interesting over a very repetitive chord progression and a very straightforward beat. The bass part is played on a 4-string bass strung with the low 4 strings from a 5-string set, with a chorus effect added. The guitar is once again Kramer through heavy distortion and stereo chorus.