Posts Tagged ‘#life’

Mara – The Making of a Video

I usually did not have to search for new projects.  There were plenty of musicians, bands and performers that did not have a lot of resources – or cash – when starting out.  Working at the local music store chain, I was lucky to know some great players, writers, and musicians of all sorts.  l am attracted to talented people of all kinds.  I often wish listeners of my music would give me the benefit of the doubt that I gave to many of the people I met and came to appreciate.  I realize my songs are not always ‘radio worthy’ or commercially viable, and always hoped someone would look beyond that and realize the songs I offered for what they could be if recorded professionally and marketed on a large scale.  Maybe that day will still come, but back then there were a number of artists that I could help take the next step.

Word got out that I had an understanding of technology and could usually pick things up quickly.  I absorbed owners manuals, dedicated time and when possible drafted other talented people to make projects work.  One of the fun and exciting things I got to do was shoot and edit live musical band performances.  MakeShift Kreations was an early company name I came up with using my initials: M S K.  I believe this was filmed way back in 1988!!!

Using the same video and editing suite from the cable company available for local access channels that I used for my first conceptual video: “Walking Man” I learned how to use multi camera filming and video editing techniques.  In some situations I offered to do videos for friends as this was a new (again, at the time!) medium and was very expensive for most bands.  In Part I, I would like to present the video I made of Mara, a local band with highly talented musicians.  My wife Ellen and I did all the camera, editing and post production work.  These are their original songs performed live over a two-night period. It was a lot of work, but I learned a lot and had a great time.

Please use the following link to see the Mara: Part I video:

https://youtu.be/VwKz1Po4_XM

“Let’s Be Different”                       © MSK 9-12-2017

 

There are different ways to walk

And different ways to comb your hair.

A million ways to talk

Many ways to show you care.

 

There are different ways to make a living

And different ways to die

I’ve seen examples of selfless giving

Countless more if I really try.

 

There are different ways to learn

So there must be different ways to teach

Too many ways for the soul to burn

No matter what they preach.

 

There are different ways to love

There are differing types of pride

More ways to look down from above

Then there are ways to run and hide

 

There are different ways we can help

There are different types of pain

Light and colors that can be felt

And times left standing in the rain

 

            Let’s be Different

            Because we already are.

            Let’s be Different

            Being different

            Is what we already are.

 

There are different ways to color

And many different games to play

A billion ways to hold your lover

An abundance of things to say.

 

            Let’s be Different

            Because we already are.

            Let’s be Different

            Being different

            Is what we already are.

 

There are different ways to be human

Not enough of them kind

Infinite chances plans will get ruined

Or see life as though you are blind.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fortunately, when I have too many things on my plate and never seem to get to putting some of my best lyrics to music, I have many talented friends that bail me out.  Often I write poems – but almost as often I begin writing lyrics intending to put music to them at some point.  Today I will share the lyrics and the original live recording to one of my favorites.

I found myself thinking of musical relationships and what, to some, becomes a long path that never gets close to ‘stardom’, whatever that is.  The late-night conversations with many friends – musicians reflecting on the efforts and rewards involved in the lifestyle we have chosen – became metaphors in these lyrics.

The title “Stainless Steel” refers to one type of guitar strings.  I also use silk and stainless steel strings on my Ovation 12 string guitar, but Stainless Steel captured the feeling I was surrounded by when writing the lyrics.  There is a certain pride creative people get when sacrificing for their art.  So many things are put on the back-burner or postponed indefinitely to accomplish turning a dream or idea into a treasure; even if it is only for a select few to enjoy.  No one else may ever know what gems were created, and it appears to many that you have nothing to show for your time and talent.  Only a few will understand the trade-offs you have made; those sitting around with you late at night, year after year.

In this recording my good friend, the late Mark Kelsey, plays guitar and sings.  He is accompanied by Ann Ellis from my band “The Personal Touch”.  Mark has worked through the arrangement a few times and I believe this is the first time Ann had heard the song.  He quickly recorded for me to listen to and was later to record a final version in a professional studio where he lived.  This is my favorite recording and I will always think fondly of him when I hear this recording.  While the living room quality is easy to hear, the mood and inspiration comes through clearly.

In our busy lives, it is all too easy for us to overlook the efforts our friends and loved ones make for us.  Sometimes it takes far too long for us to fully appreciate those acts of love.  I have let many go unrecognized – unappreciated – unacknowledged until it was too late.  Looking back I find myself humbled to realize how much my life would have been uplifted and how many friends deserved my  – – –  I do not know the correct words, but ‘praise’ seems as close as any I can think of.   It may also have uplifted their lives in a time when they needed it most.  It can be sad and joyous when time finally reveals the reflections of our lives.

Stainless Steel”                         Lyrics by MSK, Music by Mark D Kelsey  © 1984

 

Stainless Steel Shining Bright

Broken Glass Shattered nights

When we talk, What we feel

Lights the fire Turns the Wheel

Turns the wheel

 

Stainless Steel Sharp and cold

Day by day Bought and sold

Take my hand Close your eyes

Say a prayer Throw the dice

Throw the dice

 

Waiting for a Miracle is like waiting forever

When there’s nothing else to do

I hope that someone’s out there waiting for me baby,

The way that I ‘m waiting for you

Oh Stainless Steel

 

Stainless Steel Deep within

Who we are What we’ve been

Reaching out Find ourselves

Kiss goodbye, What the hell

What the hell

 

Stainless Steel Never bends

No one blames Or defends

Smiles will fade Tears will fall

Memories of Nothing at all

Nothing at all

 

Waiting for a Miracle’s like waiting forever

When there’s nothing else to do

I hope that someone’s out there waiting for me baby,

The way that I ‘m waiting for you

Oh Stainless Steel

 

 

 

I enjoyed the response from my poem “Eight Letters”.  Thank you all so much. (https://midimike.com/2017/07/25/eight-letters/)

The poem kept rattling in my head all day long and I found them fitting a rhythmic pattern.  Then a melody jumped in and I headed up to my studio to get it all down.

There was a mood inspired by the groove and I layed down the guitar tracks to a metronome.

The drums came easily as I followed the rhythms in my head.  As I mentioned earlier, this is fun and simple for me.  The chorus just jumped out, and I like the changes coming back into the verse.  The 6 string acoustic guitar sounded great to me and fit the song perfectly.

From there it was add the bass sound on my MIDI keyboard and it was ready for the Lead and harmony vocals.

It took me a while to sing this one to match the mood and I am glad you didn’t have to listen to me learn the melody and fit it to the music, but I think it came out as intended; short and sweet.

Here is the song mixed down.  The whole process took me about a week, but this was before I started working over 50 hours a week!

 

                                                                             

   © MSK 1-31-2017

You can leave your eyes open

But you have to learn how to see.

Experience and perspective

Blinds us like the forest through the trees.

 

The banker filters Loss and Profit

The value in everything, no value at all.

Time wasted is time not making money

Some will rise but many more will fall.

 

A poet looks through other’s eyes

Ignoring their own feelings or thoughts.

We know every photographer

Measures life through memories lost.

 

Consumption of energy by every living thing

The hunter understands death has a price.

The farmer learned to replace what you take.

Knows the beauty beyond once or twice.

 

The brain reconstructs what the eye sees.

Colors, depth, lies or possibilities.

Culture reinforces common thoughts or beliefs.

Stealing and selling truth like common thieves.

 

Forget what you have learned

To know what others know.

Share knowledge you have earned

And watch humanity grow.

 

MSK 02

MSK 02

Eight Letters”                        © 3-10-2017

 

I’ve done a lot of things

Some of them turned out wrong.

Wrote pages and pages

Emotions forged into song.

 

No way to imagine

How I would feel today.

Should have held tighter

Never let you walk away.

 

Over and over from summer to spring.

Day and night shouting and screaming

After all these years I keep repeating

Eight letters that don’t mean a thing.

 

Can’t say I didn’t try

Little comfort tonight.

Knowing what I have lost

It would have been worth a fight.

 

Over and over from summer to spring.

Day and night shouting and screaming

After all these years I keep repeating

Eight letters that don’t mean a thing.

 

Eight letters that don’t mean a thing.

Promises spoken.  What the future brings.

Eight letters that don’t mean a thing.

Promises broken.  Songs I’ll never sing.

 

No way to imagine

How I would feel today.

Should have held tighter

Never let you walk away.

This has been a very busy year.  Even though I have spent most of it unemployed, I find there was so little time to do things on my list.  I have been busy recording songs; some old ones from the closet and a few new ones where either the lyrics or melodies have inspired me to power up the studio and work/play.  I have not spent much time here.  I feel like I need to catch up on some close friends again.

I also started working again.  I now work for Amazon and though it is not a glorious position, I do like the company and what I do.  It is my first time working 10 hour days and it has taken me a while to adjust.  During those days it is hard to get much else accomplished.

I would like to give you a sneak preview of a new release on CD Baby called “After The Chase”.  I will post more songs and hope you like them.  So, while I may not be in contact with many of you as often as I would like, I keep thinking of the followers and friends I have made here.

I am not very good at naming my songs so it might come to you as a surprise that the name of this song is Get Up!  I came up with that one all by myself.  The simple groove is introduced with the ringing of a bell.  Actually, it is two ‘bells’ that are accurately tuned  off center pitch in each direction.  If you have perfect pitch, I apologize in advance as this will be like nails scratching a chalk board for you!  These were a gift from my friend TR.  It just seemed like a good start to this piece.

Lyrically the song reflects the need we humans have to keep trying and searching for different ways to overcome challenges.  Too often we find ourselves on the ground or in a ditch and think it is not worth getting up.  Thinking it is unfair; that others have it easy and we deserve what they have.

It is far past time that we leave the animal, cultural and magical baggage behind.  We are no longer simply the ‘alpha dogs’ on this planet.  We need to look at our species (beginning with ourselves) and our universe from other dimensions.  Our perspective needs to widen to see the challenges before us.  The solution must be good for all life here, not the one-sided scorching policy all too often displayed in our past.

In order for this to happen we need to look at ourselves as individuals.  Do we contribute to the problem or find ways we can be part of the resolutions?  It is not too late.  If it doesn’t work, get up and try something else.  Be more than a moth driven unerringly toward the flame.  There are more important things than the social trappings of us vs them, surviving or sharing, progress or nature.  Add a little depth.  Look past the shallow surface of day to day life.  “Save the File As”.

Take your future under your control.
Every step getting closer.  Every opportunity improve your understanding and apply what you learn.  Once you find the right path, grab some fellow humans and take them with you!  Now, do it again!

I programmed the MIDI drums, rhythm guitar and keyboard parts.  Thanks to Mr. Lee added the hypnotic guitar parts for me.  I do all the vocals and try to make a haunting but energetic feel for this song.  I call it my anthem for this millennium.  Maybe you find yourself singing this one from time to time.

“Get Up”                                          © 2014 MSK

“Everyone has what should be yours, it’s the way the game is played”

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again

 

Get Up

Get yourself up

Get Up

If you have to do it again

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

 

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Get Up

Get yourself up

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

Save the File As:

 

You gotta’ have a real knack

That’s more like an addiction

To turn good hard facts

Into fantasy-fiction.

 

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

If you have to do it again.

 

Give yourself a three dimensional effect

Change the color add a little depth.

Now reverse the image and back down to size.

Save the File As:

 

You gotta’ have a real knack

That’s more like an addiction.

 

“Everyone has what should be yours, it’s the way the game is played”

It’s time to Get Up.

Turn yourself around

Get Up

Get Up

 

If you have to

Sayin’ If you have to

If you have to just do it again.

 

Sayin’ If you have to

You have to

If you have to just do it again.

 

 

I heard the other day that about 10% of people are left-handed.  This generated a few thoughts that I have been rolling around in my head.  I have been surrounded by lefties most of my adult life.  Sometimes I get confused and try to do things like a left-handed person would.  It usually does not work out very well!

Now, think about 10% of the population that most people perceive to be ‘backwards’.  In schools when I was growing up and long before, educators would try to ‘correct’ what they saw as defiant, wrong, defective, backwards (and the implied stupidity). Many teachers and nuns would crack a ruler over your knuckles if you used the ‘wrong hand’, or did not correctly follow instructions on how to do a particular task.

Unfortunately in this day of political extremism, I see many similarities.  Think of one party as left-handed and the other as right-handed.  I will let you choose which one is which for this analogy.  For many, many years the minority of left handed people were forced to conform.  This not only made them feel as if they were being unfairly punished but also made it almost impossible for them to excel and improve using their natural gifts.

When politics are split drastically, one group could dominate the other.  The traditions of the right-handers are forced onto the minority.  There is no concern or sympathy for the minority group and they will not be given the opportunity to voice their concerns let alone suggest alternative solutions.

So let’s pretend that over the last few years the number of left-handed people increased dramatically and now they are close to a majority.   The lefties are now teachers and policy makers themselves.  They encourage children to perform tasks that make use of their natural tendencies.  They pass laws giving them ‘permission’ to do what everyone else has done in the past – to be human.  They demand equal policies and fair treatment.

But the right-handers refuse to allow that to happen and believe it is their duty to fight changes every step of the way.  They see no need for change.  This does not help them at all and now they have to be ‘tolerant’ of these people.  They feel uncomfortable watching or learning from a leftie, and certainly do not want their children to become one. (OR MARRY ONE).  They twist the truth and use marketing techniques to discredit the opposition.  The Defense of Marriage Act is an example……. unnecessary as no one was attacking marriage or trying taking away any rights.  The people that were not allowed to marry needed defense against the majority.

Whether it is equal pay, marriage, educational opportunities, housing, jobs, criminal sentencing and a long list of other ‘privileges’, you cannot be a more perfect union and still deny these basic rights to minority groups.  Sure enough, one day they may be in the majority and will remember how they were treated in the past by those in power.

Left handed people are not trying to ‘convert’ you.  They are not trying to take something from you.  They are not denying or laughing at what you feel and believe.  They are not traitors or devils or the enemy.  They are human beings deserving of the same benefits in life the right handers have taken for granted.

I am a right-handed patriot and I approved this message.

It never ceases to amaze me how inspired and creative I feel when I change the strings on my guitar(s).  Simple chords sound gorgeous.  The whole body of the guitar resonates with depth.  This makes experimenting and exploring new areas delightful.  It is important to keep tools of the trade not just working properly but living up to their potential.

I watch vocalists go into the recording booth and put on really nice headphones to get a direct audio feed from the soundboard.  Maybe this is not their first time, but when they start singing – and can truly hear what their voice sounds like they get this big grin that turns into a surprised smile.  Hearing through the studio system vocalists can make nuanced changes as they sing ……. and hear the difference.  This gives them more control and immediate results.  They become confident enough to experiment and innovate.  I hope it feels similar to playing my 12 string guitar with brand new strings.

Pictured are of some of my guitars, the drummer from Euphoria/The Chase – Mike Gill, and Steve Steinmann of Iridium.

What tools do you use that benefit from regular care?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unseen Dimensions

It is great to be human.  We see beyond our primitive instincts.  We learn by watching others.  We know things our senses blind us to.  We carry lessons learned from one event and apply to others.  This is one of the reasons I love photography.  Our naked eyes and untrained mind can hide what is right in front of us.  With the simple ability to focus and zoom, we are no longer limited to what the unaided eyes communicate to the brain.  With the pictures in this post, it is easy understand the dramatic change in focus alone.  Each picture was taken in the same place and at almost the exact same time.  A slight change in focus and what was invisible becomes clear.  Zoom in further and what is hidden directly in front of us becomes unmistakable.

Perhaps looking for other dimensions is just like that; maybe we need a simple device like the lens array in a camera.  Once we learn how to look – we may be able to see them all around us.