Deferential Drift

The beginning of week three, and the first time this month that I’ve actually hit a wall. I’ve thought I was about to on a couple of occasions, but something always showed up when I got into the studio. For this track, though, I was in rapid-fire, ADD noodle mode for about an hour. My hands kept going for default chord patterns, things I played in high school, I think I even played about half of Bach’s Minuet in G Major. I spun through sounds. I tried different synths. I threw a drum beat on. Nothing. That’s not to say … Continue reading

I Find the Strength

This turned into an accidental love song. Mary and spontaneously decided to go out for Valentines Day and had a lovely evening. She’d had a long week of business travel, so after she headed to bed, I headed to the studio, getting a very late start. Only about two hours for songwriting, and this after dinner and drinks. I was headed into instrumental territory again, given the short time frame, my general sleepiness, and total lack of ideas. All I had initially was the guitar and bass riff in the verse, and I was grooving along with that looking for … Continue reading

The Old Zerp and Flerp

It’s tempting to call this a “contractual obligation” track. The evening started with an attempt at a much simpler, downtempo electronic piece. I’ve been fascinated with this skydiving video’s soundtrack by Sidewalks and Skeletons, and wanted to learn more about how I might go about producing something similar. Unfortunately, many times when I’m trying to dissect something and rebuild, I end up rewriting the exact song I’m listening to. In this case, I couldn’t get away from the bass line and chord structure. I was also having difficulty finding any other melody. Part of the issue in this case is … Continue reading


Snippet. Sketch. Draft. Before I started analyzing some of my favorite film soundtracks from recent years, I would have immediately categorized Cask as one of those things. Now, I hear this as a cue for a film score. Friends have often characterized my music as being visual and encouraged me to try to get into scoring work. Growing up, I listened to movie scores from John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein… almost all orchestral, multiple themes, big arrangements. Iconic works in most respects. And they were always what I thought of as modern “classical” music. But there was an entire … Continue reading

Toys in the Attic

I was on the phone, catching up with a friend, and we talked a lot longer than either of us expected. When we finally hung up, it was 10:15 pm. Only 1 hour and 45 minutes for Song-A-Day, because I was determined to go to bed by midnight. There were no latent song ideas or lyrics floating around, and it had just started snowing. Perfect. Falling snow. A snow song. Impressionist stuff. Always fun. The snow was fairly sparkly when caught in the light, so I went to a sparkly sound. Bells. The three note ostinato that starts the piece … Continue reading