My journey of discovery continues! If to invent one must stand on the shoulders of giants perhaps to discover we only need a piggyback. I only recently started playing electric guitar and this project is just scrapping the surface of what that instrument can do in my hands. This project is an eclectic collection of songs ranging from a bar fight at Chez Paul to a needle point that used to hang on the wall in the kitchen at the farm. There are many stops between. I call it Electric Mixer as all the guitar is electric and partly due to my childhood nickname of Mixmaster. Mom called me this not for any facility to mix music but because I would mix everything on my plate to a homogenous gruel and when done eating, dump it over my head as to not broker discussion about me eating more. In some ways this is what I do on the mixing console, mess every thing up and force into existence with no discussion of if this might be a good thing to do.Quick Links
In page previews and details about the songs.
Pete Vs Will (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass Spoken Word and Vocals Lyrics
Pete Vs Will names changed to protect the innocent but also so I can steel from Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" and Gioachino Rossini's "William Tell Overture". I am shameless. A memory of Chez Paul's on a Friday night in the nineteen eighties. Everyone wants to be a guitar hero and I'm no exception. As a word of warning this is pretty hard rock if you like that sort of thing or not.
Worthless (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass and Vocals
A dispatch from the front of the existential war. One can not help but struggle when they are compelled to do something (like make music) with no obvious point. I spend hours in my studio struggling to express myself sometimes I wonder "if a tree falls in the woods". I love playing this song but often wonder if it is all worthless. In the end I resolve the fact that there is no value to what I do is OK as "The best things in life are free".
Perfect Day with Chantal (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass, Hydrogen Drum Machine (Ubuntu Studio) and Vocals. Lyrics
This song is about a day spent in Frelighsburg with Teprine and crew last May(accuracy not guarantied). How a place can put you at ease and remind you how lucky you are. Of course no day is perfect without your best girl being there.
With love for my one and only Chantal.
B-Day Song (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass and Vocals Lyrics
For her 15th Birthday when I asked Beowulf what she wanted for her birthday she asked me to write her a song. It was easy as she is so absolutely wonderful. I hope I express just how much I love her. It did seem to satisfy her on her 15th. I have wanted to record it ever since then. For her 22nd birthday I finally did. As she is such a musical power house I gave it to her with some trepidation. She cried but I'm not sure if it was from the emotion or the fact I was forcing her to listen my croaking voice and scraping on the guitar. Playing this reminds me of a line from the recent movie about Johny Cash were he says to June Carter "we would play faster if we could". In fact playing slow is much harder for me than fast. When playing fast your mistakes are gone in a flash when playing slow they hang in air for an excuricating eternity "I would play slower if I could".
With love for my baby Beowulf.
Song soixante trois (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass, Korg MS-20
In this song I try to use light touch and echo to give the guitar breath (possibly inspired by some of Jake Henry's playing). I call it Song soixante trois as was number 63 on my Tascam and as a nod to the pioneering often overlooked work in ambient (musique d’ameublement) by Erik Satie and electronic music in Paris in the 1950's. At some points I try to make the guitar sound like an accordion another nod to the under appreciated contribution to modern music by France. OK, every once and a while MacLeod (another inspiring player) leaves one of his essays open on a computer or hanging around the house. I really don't know anything about music as some are want to point out.
Mars (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Hydrogen Drum Machine(Ubuntu Studio) and Cadence. Lyrics
This march is derived from the half whole diminished scale in C. I was practising this for an upcoming song "March to the Sea" when I got bored and decided to mess about with some power cords based on the notes in this scale. The song pretty well wrote it's self. The words in the cadence came out of the chords. The song ends with a snip from Dwight D. Eisenhower's farewell address to the people of the united states in 1961.
Am Too (click arrow for detail)Electric Guitar, Bass, Hydrogen Drum Machin(Ubuntu Studio) and Vocals. Lyrics
I can not explain the pain this song has caused me or the joy. The road to it was very rocky. I struggled to get the sound I wanted from the guitar and really should have probably done more than one take when I achieved it but was too emotionally exhausted to do so. The words caused me much stress as I wrote and re wrote them many, many times. In fact in desperation when standing on the TrueChem front steps,having a smoke, I closed my eyes and said to my self visualize what you want to say. I had little hope this would work but caught a glimpse of a needle point that Mother had hung at the farm and realized I was struggling to express that sentiment. I did not know at the time the needle point was a verse from "Inscription for Katrina's Sun-Dial" by Henry van Dyke. "Hours fly, Flowers die. New days, New ways, Pass by. Love stays" I could not believe how well the poem fit both with the music and with the words I had composed for the verse. It was not the end of this journey of discovery but the beginning or the end. It took much work to translate the emotion I felt into vocals and a elevation of my respect for those who can actually sing. Turns out the microphone is an instrument in much the same way as pedals are for an electric guitar. Allowing you to control emotion and modulate your voice while maintaining level by adjusting your proximity. When I listen back to this song I both feel sadness and joy. The joy because even with the mistakes, poor playing and vocal limitations I feel like I managed to express what I wanted to. The sadness stemming from not being a performer (anxiety sucks) I will not have reason to sing the song anymore and I love to both play and sing it.
With all my heart for my Mother.