Posts Tagged ‘#original songs’

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

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

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.

I am usually silent and often in the minority, but here is what I say.

Questions for a few friends.

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.

Following my earlier video project for Cincinnati Microwave Inc., I helped in another project for the new version of the company now called Escort Incorporated. I was an employee during the collapse, and it took a couple of years before the company built itself back up and I was re-hired. New owners but it still had the same family feel as more of the original employees returned to work.

In this project I was asked to write music for the soundtrack of a short info-commercial for Escort Inc. I also assisted where I could and eventually appeared in the video as well.

Our company designed, built and sold radar detectors for decades. For years it was a factory-direct order stream. No real resellers. We held a majority of the patents in the industry and manufactured them locally in southern Ohio. I worked in the Call Center starting part-time in Sales and then managing the Sales and Customer Service Departments over the years.

Out newest model was named the “Passport Max” referring to the maximum range it had. Our detectors had great range compared to most competitors, but this was the best to date.

Here is “Take It To the Max”

I wrote the soundtrack for this Escort Inc. Info Commercial as an employee.

This is a dated video I did while I was working at Cincinnati Microwave Inc. My boss knew I was involved with audio and video so they asked me to coordinate the video company they had hired for the project. So instead of my normal job there, I attended meetings to get and idea what management/sales wanted from this project. Then to all the departments to find out what they do and what looks really cool.

Soon I was given a hand full of details, stats and messaging material and the target length. After all the ingredients were there, we had the video company come in for the raw shots. I orchestrated each shot and got our footage while the plant was in production. The Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines were pretty amazing.

My next step was to write the script gained from the meetings. I selected one of my instrumental original songs for the soundtrack. I showed up to the editing sweet and had each shot planned out and sequenced. They pretty much watched as I lined up the scenes, audio and soundtrack. After video and soundtrack were correct length and finalized, they recorded my voice for the narration track.

There were no cameras allowed inside CMI, so I do not have any pictures through all the years I worked there. Again, the video is dated and the soundtrack warbles enough to give away it’s age, but I still get a kick from seeing old friends, and remembering those days. It was a great place to work and I am still friends with many a former employee.

My friend’s Night-Time Diving video on YouTube under MikeR998

A good friend of mine lives in Florida and does a lot of scuba diving. I asked if he wanted music for a soundtrack to his videos and sent him a few of my instrumentals. Here is the first video he posted using my compositions. Mike filmed this night time dive at Blue Heron Bridge and it is amazing how many creatures are out and about. I hope you enjoy.

I think we started recording Project Two in May of 1996. Project One was mixed by the end of March so we had a good feeling for the next project. I will eventually dig up archives for details as I am now relying on brief notes and scribbles of information. I do not have lyric sheets for these songs but I know most of the lyrics by heart.

As you know I am really bad with names. I know Annette Rogers was the lead vocalist and I believe she wrote most of the lyrics. My notes also mention Robert Downing with the band.

This was a band I wished I had kept in touch with. At the time in my life there were so many projects and I had my own music and bands I was involved with. All this and I worked a regular full-time job!

I have a brief video of the band setting up – somewhere. Who knows, maybe I will dig it up along with my track sheets and band info.

By the middle of September we had all the recording done and mixed Project Two. We did ten songs in all and I will share a few more with you today.

jjaR at MSK Studio – Butterside Down
jjaR at MSK Studio – Paralized
jjaR at MSK Studio – My Heart Tricks My Head
jjaR at MSK Studio – Overboard