Music Blog

The End of the Beginning

Since mid-2017, I have been working to build my creative skills into a self-sustaining, and ultimately profitable, business. I spent a lot of that initial time refreshing my knowledge of how to be self-employed. Regulations, taxes, legal structure, manufacturing costs, global distribution options, royalties, streaming, performing rights organizations, licensing opportunities, and a gazillion other things…

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Recuperation and Reflection

Another Song-A-Day challenge comes to a close, and again, it was a rewarding experience. I managed to post all 28 tracks, including two that were done on the road. The last few days were even more of a challenge as the effects of not getting enough sleep and walking dogs in Wisconsin-winter temperatures ganged up…

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I’m Back (And I’m Backin’ It Up!)

In the summer of 1978, I was eleven years old. One of my most vivid memories of that time was the annual trip to Six Flags amusement park. I don’t remember much of the day, but there’s one indelible moment that would impact me for the rest of my life. It has nothing to do…

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Nubivagant

Over the course of the day, several ideas came and went for my penultimate track of the month. I get these little snippets of melody all the time, most of them are enjoyed for a few moments and then lost to the dark corners of my memory. Occasionally they resurface, but most of the time,…

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Troll (Jonathan Aronson Cover)

Every year, February 22 is designated as “Cover Day.” People choose one of the other participant’s tracks to cover. In 2016, I didn’t know about Cover Day until it showed up, and was too timid to make the attempt. In 2017, I covered a song by Chris Greacen (the instigator of all this madness) and…

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What If Everything You Know Is Wrong

Another journey through the valley of production hell. I started late on this one, but couldn’t put it away, and ended up not only violating my 2:00 AM stop time rule (I think I finished around 3:00), but calling a mulligan the next morning. The opening pad sound got looped while I wrote the lyrics,…

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Not a Minute to Spare

Back to the normal studio, huzzah! But also a travel day. I’m normally a bit drained mentally when I get home. Then there are all of the small things that follow a trip: unpack, empty the dishwasher, decide if you actually need to eat or if that airport dinner in St. Louis is going to…

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He’s So Hot Right Now

Another day with the mobile rig, but I was feeling a little more confident with the setup, and had a more time than the night before. As a result, I ended up experimenting a bit with Reason’s granular synthesis module. They’ve added a decent amount of functionality to the most recent upgrade. I don’t know…

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What Is This, a Keyboard for Ants?

It is amazing how reliant one can become on a normal working environment, certain tools, and software setup. I’m on a quick trip to attend a wedding this weekend, and brought a mini-rig with me to attempt road composition. My workstation consists of my normal DAW, Digital Performer, running on a MacBook pro and using…

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Trapped in the Ice

Another night of intense procrastination and finding other things to do. Watched some TV. Looked for a snack. Made a drink. Made another drink. Went into the studio. Left the studio. Went back into the studio. One thing that differed this time is that I didn’t start off listening to sounds for inspiration. I just…

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Grey Boats

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.Proverbs 16:18 Ok, that’s an overdramatic and exaggerated account of yesterday, but it makes for a good opening, doesn’t it? While writing my entry for I Am Not Here, I realized that it was already the 19th! I’ve had a few days this month where…

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I Am Not Here

I started yesterday’s entry discussing how the song I had been working on felt rushed and would benefit from some finesse instead of being the blunt instrument it was becoming. That turned out to be correct, though it happened in a way that I didn’t really expect. Going into the studio, I had intended to…

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A Sad Jingle

For the last few years, I’ve tried to employ a “no negative posts” rule for my conduct on social media. For the most part, I’ve been successful, though the snark does slip through from time to time. It’s often a knee-jerk response to something, or I thought of something funny that lets my inner cynic…

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Snow Globe

We had a rare day where it snowed continuously from sunup to sundown. It was a lazy Sunday, and Mary and I enjoyed watching the snowfall through the front windows while drinking coffee, reading, and chatting. Periodically, the wind would kick up and snow would blow in multiple directions simultaneously. At one point, Mary said,…

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Paging Mr. Greenberg

One of the most amazing things about Song-A-Day is the overwhelming volume and quality of the music, with the equivalent of a full album posted almost every single day. The styles vary wildly, and even if it’s not a style you enjoy, there’s always something to enjoy or learn. It’s the learning that’s been the…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Cask

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…

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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…

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Whatever You Pour, I’ll Drink

This song started as a joke. Mary was making herself an after-dinner drink. “Can I make something for you?” “Sure!” “What would you like?” “Whatever you’re pouring, I’m drinking.” I then commented that that could be tonight’s song. We both laughed that it would be a good country song title, and I flirted with the…

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Piece by Piece

Is there something more opposite than 180 degrees? Could we maybe add a fourth dimension? Because that’s what happened with this song. I had started writing a bog-standard 80s synth-pop song. I had a drum pattern going, worked out the bass line, and was writing the first verse when Piece by Piece popped into my…

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Butter and Blackberry Jam

Well, hello, what’s this? Certainly not the downer piece I was expecting to write today. Sitting down to the keyboard, I loaded up a lovely Chapman Stick sample, and that opening riff is the first thing that came out of my hands.

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The Music I Want You to Hear

I don’t know if this is the same song I started out writing. The words are all there, but somewhere between writing them, testing a web page, walking the dogs, and so on, I lost the melody that I’d originally had. Maybe. This could be it. It works in any case. I do have this…

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Drinking It Down

Sometimes you just have to walk away from something that’s not working and come back at it with a fresh mind. For all the trouble I had with this one yesterday, the writing process clicked into place fairly quickly for me today. I gutted the initial chord progression and got rid of about 75% of…

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Divulsion

The first instrumental track of the month, and certainly not the last. I’m unofficially trying to write a lot more vocal songs this month. I had a lyrical snippet show up while taking a shower , but it continued to elude me for most of the day. Procrastination was hitting me hard. I ended up…

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I Don’t Think That Was Me

Another song that started with a sound. The main metallic piano riff showed up while noodling with different sounds and I managed to overcome the inertia of noodling to actually hit record. That’s often the hardest part of any writing project: knowing when to just get to it. I looped 8 bars of the main…

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Look Away from the Water

Whenever I listen to music, I frequently find myself trying to figure out what the key little thing is that inspired it. Sometimes it’s a lyric, sometimes it’s a musical hook, sometimes it’s just the beat, but you can often pick out that one cool thing that led to the rest of it. If I…

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There’s No Time to Rest

I spent much of the day recreating project templates and reinstalling plugins and patch libraries. Part of this was procrastination, but mostly it was to overcome the frustration I get when technology gets in my way. As I installed the various libraries, I randomly selected the piano patch you hear in this piece. [cue id=”1495″…

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Run, Run, Run

Ok, some rules of engagement to start the month. In these daily posts, I’ll mostly be posting lyrics, and possibly some production information or war stories from the composition and posting. What I thought went right and wrong, ideas that might not have made it into production in time, or things that might need to…

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February Madness

Today marks the beginning of another Song-A-Day challenge. This will be my fourth year participating, and it has been a rewarding and educational experience in so many ways: My studio chops have gotten much better and faster.Songs and mixes aren’t as precious as they once were.”Failures” bother me far less (and aren’t always failures).I’ve learned…

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Hurt Me

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. Despite being in a good mood and writing a happy track the day before, I didn’t sleep well that night with stress dreams and restless “brain going at full speed” insomnia keeping me up. I finally gave…

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SYS 49152

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. After an explosion of sleep-deprivation-driven production, I slept in on this first Saturday of Song-A-Day. I had a leisurely day, watched a movie, then headed into the studio. The positive response from I Get No Sleep had…

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I Get No Sleep

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. It’s finally Friday. The company I worked for closed on Fridays at 12:45, so I had an entire afternoon of bonus time for this song. Unfortunately, I had also already planned to have dinner with a friend…

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The Lights

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. This is a song for which I avoid discussing the meaning of the lyrics, not because they’re overly personal or sensitive, but because I think they’re more powerful when the listener is able to develop a personal…

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42403

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. A month or so prior to writing this track, I had become fascinated with “numbers stations.” In short, these are mysterious, high-power radio stations that broadcast nothing but seemingly random strings of numbers, words, backwards music, and…

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I Made a Mistake

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. Day two. Tuesday. I had received some positive reinforcement for the previous day’s song, and was eager to get through the workday to get home and write something new. I’d caught the bug. In 2016, I was…

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Watching the World (Tiny Little Window)

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written. Ah, the first track in a scary challenge. Write a song, record it, post it on a publicly available website. Between the time you get home from work and the time you go to bed. With minimal…

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A Song A Day

My dear friend Artemis has encouraged me to take part in Song-A-Day 2016. The goal: write a piece of music every day for the entire month of February. Or, more accurately, write, record, and post 29 pieces of music. I’m looking forward to the challenge and working to put a bit more discipline and routine into…

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