Archive for the ‘My Tunes’ Category

Smiling because 2020 is over!

I just released my newest project on CD Baby. This is my sixth album release over the years.

Very soon the Album/CD titled: “Eye of a Storm” will be available on Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, Instagram, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, Pandora, and about 150 other streaming services globally. Search for Michael S Kennedy and with a bunch of luck it will appear on the list. The songs and CD are cheaper on CD Baby so you can also save a little cash there.

I think I settled on 18 songs since my last release. I post almost everything on this blog first so if you have been here a few times you may have heard many of these tracks. I really like a lot of these new songs and they include some of the best lyrics I have written. In the year we have had, there were few opportunities for my friends to add vocals or instruments to some of my songs as in the past. As a result, all of these songs were written, performed, recorded and mixed by me. While it is a lot of work and I really wish someone would do it for me, it is also a lot of fun and I am proud to look back at this collection. I hope you try a few out because they are all different in their own right.

Happy new Year!

MIDIMike

Michael S. Kennedy

Holidays are fun with creative people.

I often mention my talented wife and children sprinkled within posts over the years. When the girls were very young we made Christmas and the holidays a creative fest whenever possible. From pumpkin carving parties with over 200 pumpkins, costumes and haunted houses, we put our own flair into everything. We avoided the commercial and traditional.

Each year we would send our many friends a hand-made original Christmas ‘Card’. We would start two months before Christmas to imagine, design and create a unique holiday greeting from our entire family. Many are still hung up or placed on mantels to this day. It is hard to describe so you can get an idea of the projects. One time we made small cloth trees decorated in style with a hook on them so you could hang them as an ornament. Another year we took clear glass ornamental globes and other shaped bobbles and poured paint inside making them sparkle with bright colors and/or glitter on the inside of the glass.

As a musician I built up a small home recording studio over the years. In the lyrics we reference “7 tracks and SMPTE”. I had a digital recorder back then but advanced as it was at the time it only had eight tracks, and one of them you used to record a clock signal so it would sync with the MIDI instruments I had controlled by a hardware sequencer (RECORDING WAS A LOT HARDER IN THOSE DAYS!!!). Every few years I managed to work in a family musical project. Here are two audio recordings we sent as that year’s ‘card’.

This tradition really became a thing and people looked forward to getting their next card, knowing it would be unlike any other they would receive that year, or ever again.

Here is my family recording two Christmas carols for our annual card project. One is a traditional cover of a song you are familiar with. The other is our version of a classic. Even if you aren’t ‘all about Christmas’ and everything, I think you will find this cute and maybe hilarious at the same time.

I wish you all well and hope we can keep lost loved ones close to our hearts and friends and family in our thoughts.

MIDIMIKE

The Kennedy’s carol
The Kennedy’s Original 12 Days

After smoothing out the timing and lyrics to match the mood I was after for this new song, I wrote a melody that seems to fit pretty well.

I squeezed some of the lyrics as I mentioned and cleaned up the instrumental glitches (a technical term for anything that isn’t right) and added a few parts to the instrumental verison I posted earlier.

Minor changes go on for a long time in the final tracking stage. A lot of it will not be used at all and some will be low in volume so as not to hear distinctly. But similar to color splashes added to the face in a painting, it can really bring out the rest of the ‘image’.

What You Want:

I have been working on a new musical piece I call “If When”.

This is a jazzy feeling groove. I am using loops for the drum tracks that I have mashed and cut and edited to give the odd shuffle feel. I use a MIDI controller to trigger tom fills and cymbal crashes to fill out the persussion tracks. Then I add a piano chord progression that plays with the timing of the verses. The piano and bass guitar come from a plug-in in my recording software.

I wrote some lyrics earlier that might fit this so it will eventually have vocals and usually a different name once the lyrics are assigned. I might also add a ‘solo’ instrument like a muted trumpet or other soft horn sound if the next song doesn’t start bubbling up right away. Please enjoy a short groove from my studio.

I have been working with a new suite of audio recording and mixing software for the last two weeks called Presonus. I am using their Studio One 5 bundle. I am starting to get the feel of how it works. A bit of a learning curve and unlearning curve from other programs, but very flexible interface and great sounding plug ins.

Here is my first tune noodling around with the functions and features. A simple groove I call ‘Forward’.

Forward by MSK

The great thing is the new software automatically imported all the instruments, effects and and plug ins I already had. These are all ‘virtual’ instruments from the sound and effect plug ins. I use a MIDI keyboard controller for most of the input for instruments.

I hope you enjoy this one for a few minutes in your busy days.

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.