Archive for the ‘My Tunes’ Category

I posted a poem earlier called “Let You Go” https://midimike.com/2020/07/07/let-you-go/ that I really liked. While I was working on writing the music for these lyrics I got side-tracked. I had recorded a few MIDI drum parts and had a guitar theme I liked playing on my Martin Acoustic/Electric guitar chained together trying to get a feel for the song.

A good friend called me out of the blue and asked if I wanted to have his old MIDI studio gear. No instruments or toys will be orphaned if I can help it so I drove over that day. We chatted for a while and I left with a van full of what most people would call ‘ancient’ gear. This is the stuff hits were made with. Everything you heard growing up using electronic drums or synths used these gems.

I got home and hooked up a few pieces like a kid not knowing which present he wants to open first. DAYS LATER I opened up my recording project again and played with a vocal effect toy I had not gotten to yet. Not wanting to stop an idea I was working on I started recording in another section of the session. As you will hear, I decided not to sing the chorus parts. Instead I used some of the lyrics to do a chant-style intro and outro.

After juggling the original music around I started to work on a melody for the lyrics. I used some of the chant themes so the melody took shape pretty quickly. Not wanting to overdo the vocal effect, I just used reverb on my voice. Then I added some MIDI bass guitar sounds and put the pieces together.

Next, I added a little MIDI piano in the chorus sections and sprinkled through the end of the song. Then I made some stupid editing error and trashed all of the drum tracks!!! Redo the drum tracks and a few days later I have a rough mix for you.

As some of you will know, a rough mix is probably the last one I do! LOL.

Here is “Let You Go” as it stands today. I hope you enjoy this one.

“Let You Go” by MSK

Some will listen to you
But you will never talk.
They’d rather play games
In circles made of chalk.

If they thought about it twice
It would have been clear right then.
But faced with the same choices
They’ll make the same decision again.

It wasn’t difficult
I didn’t need a guide
I only had to ask
To know who you were inside.

And that’s when I stood up and laughed,
“I completely understand”.
She said “I don’t want to be your woman,
But I’d love to Be Your Man”.

Nobody thinks life is simple
But it would be nice to get a break.
Give everyone a fair chance
And learn from your mistakes.

It doesn’t take a genius
To know when you are in love.
For me it was your gentle touch
And everything you‘re made of.

And that’s when I stood up and laughed,
“I completely understand”.
When she said “I don’t want to be your woman,
But I’d love to Be Your Man”.

Earlier I posted a poem (although poems and lyrics are often interchangeable with me) called “The Next Step”: https://midimike.com/2020/06/22/the-next-step/

This shuffle will take a while to get used to. Really, there is no groove here. No comedic relief either, but I do like the strangeness of it. How about that for an intro?!!

The recording was simple and there is a lot of open space in this one that makes most listeners a little uncomfortable. I played my Ibanez 6 string electric guitar and used effects from my PC after the recording to get the delay and chorus effects. I created the MIDI drums to match the odd beat in the guitar strums. After laying down a simple bass guitar track using computer plug-ins and the song is almost done.

The Next Step by MSK

This is another one of my poems I pulled out of the archives recently. Written back on April 2nd, 1984 (what a good year!) and it has a few lines I like.

I want you to stay
For the moments that last forever
Like seasons that always change.

Not to change you
But to watch you grow.
Not to hold you
Or to let you go.

It’s too late to cry
Much too long since you went away
Sometimes you just can’t look back.

Don’t need to know why
Something beautiful goes the wrong way
But you can never go back

Not to change you
But to watch you grow.
Not to hold you
Or to let you go.

I want you to stay
For the moments that last forever
Like seasons that always change.

I found this poem in my archives that I wrote on June 26th, 2016 and I would like to share it with you.

I have a pretty long list
Of all the things I love
I can do any of them with you
Or, if you prefer, none of the above.

Family, friends, writing music, singing songs
Winter walks, coming home, sky full of stars.
Solving problems, helping strangers, reading a book
Practicing yoga, sometimes riding my bike too long.

Learning something new, teaching what I’ve learned
Laughing at jokes, sharing good food, colorful sunsets
Writing on my blog, sharing a story, liking a post
Being silly, going for a swim, getting praise that I earned.

With you I can do anything
And add it to the list of things I love
With you I can do anything
Or, if you prefer, none of the above.

Cuddle and watch a movie, listening to you breathe at night
Playing games no matter who wins, a weekend unplugged
Hearing from co-workers, dancing like a fool, laying in the snow
There are so many other things I’ve added to my list tonight.

With you I can do anything
And add it to the list of things I love
With you I can do anything
Or, if you prefer, none of the above.

I’m with you sometimes when you stay up late at night
Watching a show or reading a book and you start to cry.
I try not to interfere, so rarely ask if you’re alright
It ruins the tears if you have to stop and tell me why.

Your eyes just light up as you get the widest grin
Whenever animals or an old couple stop to chat.
You never judged an animal by the color of their skin
And I’ve never had the chance to thank you for that.

What Is It that makes you smile?
What does it take to make you cry?
How do you keep focused on those in need?
Whatever it is it becomes obvious
Because I love what I see.

Sitting on a hillside as the sunset puts on a show
Looking forward to early morn’ to see the blooms.
There are many things about you I still don’t know.
Grab it before it becomes lost in ashes and fumes.

You look at things in ways I will never understand
No interest in paybacks or evening the score.
Never guaranteed things would go just like we planned.
Saying life is a thrill a minute so keep looking for more.

No interest in paybacks or evening the score.
Saying life is a thrill a minute so keep looking for more.

What Is It that makes you smile?
What does it take to make you cry?
How do you keep focused on those in need?
Whatever it is it becomes obvious
Because I love what I see.

Sometimes it just fits
Sometimes it belongs.
Too often we use words
That should have been songs.

Careless promises
Meant to be no harm.
Dissolve into emptiness
And quickly lose their charm.

With a little praying
You can make it work.
But without forcing
She makes you feel like a jerk.

Sometimes it just fits
Sometimes it belongs.
Too often we use words
That should have been songs.

Sometimes we just fit
Sometimes we belong.
Too often we can’t find words
But always remember the song.

Comfort in your glance
Healing of your touch.
Our mutual reliance
We don’t talk about much.

Sometimes it just fits
Sometimes it belongs.
Too often we can’t find words
But always remember the song.

The Next Step is yours, my friend
But I’d think about each and every one.
You never cared what bridges you burned
By the grin on your face you were just having fun.

The Next Step is yours, young man
But all you can think of is where you should run.
Acting like some man of war
Only to find out you need a bigger gun.

The Next Step is yours, for now
Though your choices are worse than none.
You kept crying ‘how did I get here’
And failed to notice when the journey had begun

The Next Steps are yours, again
In the race you invented you have nowhere to run.
You stop and turn around half way through
Cursing the world because you have never won.

The Next Steps are yours, don’t look back
Don’t worry, a few more steps and you’re almost done.
The Next Steps are yours, always were
Can’t wait to see how the stories are spun.

Sonar Track Panel Wave and MIDI files that generate sounds from computer programs called plug-ins

I mentioned experimenting with an on-line jamming program. It became the clipboard for a few guitar sections I created while waiting for one thing or another to work. I titled each as verse, bridge, chorus, etc. I had to give it a project name to save the clipboard and I came up with “Not Now”.

I used those short pieces and assembled them into a song arrangement. Once the chords and arrangement were in place I naturally started thinking of lyrics (as I have a tendency to do). The file was named Not Now so I kept it as my Cakewalk (BandLab) project name. So it becomes the theme of the lyrics. In one hour they were written. Getting them to match the odd rhythms and sparse instrumentation became a challenge. It took me a few days to come up with the melody and then practice it enough to get the rough tracks down. To all just joining; I get things down to rough tracks and then write another song, poetry, lyric or instrumental. When I was young I hoped some band would do my songs correctly in a studio. I am not young now.

Here is a rough mix of “Not Now”. I used a Martin Acoustic/Electric guitar for the guitar track. Using my MIDI keyboard I pulled up a plug-in for drum sounds. I imported the original noodling guitar parts I did from the clipboard but they were not recorded to a metronome or drum pattern. I listened and figured out the tempo of the segments and set Cakewalk to match. That way I could listen to the short guitar segments as I created the basic drum parts and arranged all the segments in order. I pulled up a bass guitar sound and played the MIDI keyboard to generate the bass line.

Next, I Muted the original guitar tracks and recorded a new track to replace it. The song seemed to cry out for strings but that is usually just me. I like good sounding strings in various styles of music.

Lyrics were posted here: https://midimike.com/2020/06/01/not-now/

I use two monitors as there is a lot of information to keep ‘track’ of even for a small project.
This is the Piano Roll view. Each color represents different instruments. The lower group triggers drum sounds.

I gave a link to BandLab above. Full disclaimer this is not a commercial and I do not get paid for anything I do here. However….. if you are interested I used to pay hundreds of dollars every year or so to keep this great recording program updated. They now offer the program and all updates for FREE. No kidding.

I hope you enjoy “Not Now”. Each time I listen to it I like it more. Again, this is just me as each new song I write becomes my newest favorite.

If just for a little while.

I have been working with a few friends to set up on-line jamming from separate locations. I will go into this a bit later for anyone interested. I did spend some time on-line with a program for live sessions. During my testing I had a bit of a wait time so I noodled around on my guitar. While waiting I used a record feature in the program and captured a few segments of my noodling that I liked. It required a name in order to save and in the mood I was in I called it Not Now.

As you know I am not good with names – of any kind – and my song titles usually show that weakness. So now that I had a name for the music pieces, I had to write lyrics sooner or later and was stuck with Not Now as the title!

I finished the basic music tracks in a couple days. Listening to the arrangement I got out my writing tools and came up with the following lyrics. I will smooth out the music and post sooner or later. Here is “Not Now”:

I really can’t wait
For you and this weekend.
Seems like forever
Since we had a minute alone.
No more than a boy
Paralyzed in an ice cream store.
Or that time I cried…..
Until we had to leave the zoo.

Not Now.
I’ve heard it all my life.
Not Now.
Don’t want to hear it again.
Not Now.
It can’t be now, it won’t be then
Not Now.

So many situations
I can’t come close to understand.
More and more people
Have nothing else to say to me.

Not Now.
I’ve heard it all my life.
Not Now.
Don’t want to hear it again.
Not Now.
It can’t be now, it won’t be then
Not Now.

Still
I don’t complain.
Everything I have
I can give away.
Hello
Tell me your name.
You make me smile
Hope I can do the same.
Ask
I do it all day.
It really doesn’t matter
Or what time of day. Still
I don’t complain.
Everything I have
I can give away.