Posts Tagged ‘#Midi’

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 a rough version of a new song called “What You Want”. Well, it is called that now because I put lyrics to it from an earlier Lyric Post.

This is a tune using an old Yamaha drum machine I recently became caretaker of. I set up a nice but simple drum pattern using my Alesis MIDI drum pad and recording again in Studio One 5 by Presonus. I am using the internal sounds in Studio One 5 to play the bass guitar parts, triggered by an M-Audio MIDI keyboard I got with the drum machine and some other cool toys.

After the beat was down and feeling a bit more fun to play with, I added the two guitar parts using my Ibanez electric guitar. I recorded two tracks but instead of hooking up my amplifier and all my pedals, I plugged straight into the mixingboard so it would go direct-out to my computer input.

I used one of the many plug-ins included with Studio One 5 to add effects to the guitar. The built in guitar tuner plug-in is also really handy and I like the way it operates. So no need to connect to a tuner after each practice take. Each guitar track used the same plug-in but set to different guitar effects.

I am working on adding vocals but for now here is “What You Want”.

Music for my new song “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 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

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

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.

The lyrics for “The Border” were posted earlier. There is also a little story to this song using the link above.

…….. for the nerds and geeks in the audience, I created the song in Bandlab’s Sonar (formerly Cakewalk Sonar). This is not a commercial but if you are interested in recording, podcasts, audio to video and a bunch more, BandLab bought Sonar out of bankruptcy and is making this program free to download and use!!! Argh! I paid hundreds of dollars each year to keep current and have new toys.

I am not against commercials or someone making a bit of money but there really is no connection here. If you want to download Sonar, search for BandLab and hit the download button. It is a powerful multi-track recording program with sounds and plug-ins ready to use. I could give you the link but that would seem like I am pushing it lol!

Here is my new song, “The Border”:

“The Border” (C) MSK 2-11-2020

I began this blog to share stories of people and events I have been lucky enough to be involved with over the last five decades. Along with my poetry and original music I also enjoyed sharing my pictures and personal observations.

While I am sure there will also be beautiful and exciting things to share in my future, I also want to chill. I need to make life simpler from here on.

I have enjoyed this community and those willing to share everything with total strangers. There were many times when this was the hi-light of my day. I could go on posting my views and thoughts on politics, religion, money and other hot topics but there are too many of us doing that these days. So this is a good time to phase out MIDI Mike.

While the site remains live, feel free to take a look at the topics on the top of the page to find something that might interest you.

I may throw in a post from time to time just to surprise myself. In my usual style, let me show you a few recent pictures I took at a favorite place of mine: Spring Grove Cemetery. We had a heavy rain days before these pictures with hi winds. Before that the fall colors were really starting to jump out. Unfortunately the rain hit a bit early and dropped most of the leaves, but I managed to get some good pictures.

Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 1
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 2
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 3
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 4
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 5
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 6
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 7
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 8
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 9
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 10
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 11
Spring Grove Cemetery
2019 MSK 12
Annette Rogers from jjaR at MSK Studios

Early in 1996 I was introduced to a Cincinnati band called “jjaR”. I met them while they were playing at a popular club called Top Cats. I was really impressed with the band and their original songs. Annette Rogers was the lead vocalist and she commanded the room with her emotional portrayal of each song. The band was intense and dynamic.

March 13th, 1996 we started recording in my home studio. They were troopers. I have a small space for recording with no isolation rooms for drums, vocals, etc. The band wanted a clean demo. They did not want a lot of processing and effects in the mix. A band after my own heart!

jjaR at MSK Studio in 1996

We did two separate sessions. The first session was mixed on March 26th, 1996. I was recording on the Alesis ADAT (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) machine for the first project. We only had 8 tracks to work with back then and no computer editing or effects. They were pros. They set up, got settled in and played their songs with obvious passion.

One of their tracks appeared in a collection of bands our local radio station WEBN (102.7FM) published on CD. They were featured on the second annual CD release. Deary Me Presents – Cincinnati Scene II included “Food Chain Of Love” on the 3rd track of the compilation CD. You can still find a copy or two on on-line.

Here are a few tunes from Project 1 for your enjoyment.

jjaR at MSK Studio – Food Chain Of Love
jjaR at MSK Studio – Super Size
jjaR at MSK Studio – Aliens
jjaR at MSK Studio – Misunderstood

On the 30th anniversary of our performance with NRSB at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, I want to share a vintage video of that once and only performance. All original songs by members of this incredible band. I am so glad this was captured by hand-held camera out in the audience! Thanks DR.

Part I

Part II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCv8NrHglpk&list=PL6nW06rbKPIo97mbrFsrAWed2OUaDvMkF&index=12&t=0s

We were just a bit ahead of our time.