Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Let's Learn Garageband 10! Episode 5: Cody's New Workout Song

While at the beach house, I learned that Cody is in a bulking up phase. I learned all about the importance of protein and some kind of amino acid or something that helps with that. I also got to see him workout.

I figured the least I could do was create the perfect workout song for him.

This song let me try my hand at what I categorize as house/dance music. I admit to being rather ignorant of the difference between dance, house, EDM, techno, etc. So, for any of you nightclub junkies, I apologize for my pathetic attempt to create a song in a genre I don't understand. Regardless, I adventured there. Enjoy (and just try to not wiggle your muscles about to this sick beat).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Mellowtones (i.e. Deftones' Softer Side)

I had an idea recently to make a playlist of the Deftones' softer, mellower songs. This exercise accomplishes nothing more than tickling my fancy, but I figured I'd share with anyone else who is interested.

As a little background, Deftones have been classified under many genres over their 30+ years' existence. According to Wikipedia.org, they are currently classified as alternative metal (which sort of makes sense to me, but honestly I have no idea where to stick these guys). I first learned oft hem after their second album Around the Fur. Back then they were just lumped into the nu-metal scene with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit (for those unfamiliar, nu-metal was basically the genre of artists that combined elements of hip hop into their metal music. Often times just having a DJ was enough to get a band in that genre). While most of the other nu-metal bands went on to accomplish great things (sarcasm), Deftones evolved, changed gears, shifted back toward their roots, shifted gears again, and ended up enduring. I've written about these guys before, but I'll toss this out there again, Deftones are sort of the line of hard/dark music for me. They straddle that line of a band with churning metal guitars and screaming vocals without truly going over into a place I no longer like.

Anyway, enjoy the softer side of Deftones.


p.s. It turns out that I don't know how to embed the playlist on here, yet. I think I may need to do it from the app and not the web player (I'm missing the embed code option when I right-click on the playlist, and my internet searchings make me believe that is how to do it). I will look into that. I'm going to post the link instead for now and maybe I'll remember at some later date to come back and embed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jonathan Coulton: Nerd Musician Extraordinaire

El Stefu (Steven Smith) introduced this artist to me. Mr. Coulton's musical career is atypical in many ways. First, he began his career as a computer programmer (AKA "Code Monkey"). At some point soon after his wife gave birth to their first child, Mr. Coulton decided it was now or never for pursuing a career in music, so he quit his job and began devoting his time to songwriting and recording. He spent an entire year of his life putting out a new song each week in a project he aptly titled "Thing a Week." He gained some notoriety for a spectacular acoustic guitar cover of "Baby Got Back," and eventually he was recruited to write the end song for the video game Portal.

As I stated before, this man's music career has been anything but typical, and this is evidenced no more clearly than in the subject matter of his music; he writes quirky nerd folk rock. His songs' subject matter ranges from zombies, math equations, creepy horror dolls, sci fi prison colonies, and even a love song from a mad scientist/supervillain.

The song I most want to share with you is one of his least weird ones, though. It's simply a love song inspired (to my understanding) by Pluto (written after Pluto was stripped of its planetary status). I think this song is downright beautiful, and I find myself singing it more often than I can recall. Without further ado, enjoy Jonathan Coulton's "I'm Your Moon" from his live concert album CD/DVD set titled: Best. Concert. Ever. Enjoy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Let's Learn Garageband 10! Episode 4: Ocean Swells

Over the weekend I stayed at a beach house with my family and some friends in Mission Beach in San Diego (California, USA, Earth). It was wonderful. One morning while there I wanted to create an appropriate soundscape for the waves. So this song and video are the result of me searching around Garageband for synthesizer soundscape material. This one was not done with any metronome and truthfully contains only three musical notes (the different soundscapes/instruments I found allowed for enough variety for me to focus in on the timing of the notes as opposed to the variety).

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with it. I'm very pleased with the sounds I'm getting from Garageband. My major focus for right now is to just explore the sounds that I can get with Garageband. I'm not really learning the program a ton, yet. I'll toss out useful tips along the way when I eventually do.

Until next time, no worries.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let's Learn Garageband 10! Episode 3: A Leaf in the Wind

So far my emphasis on all of these tracks has been simply on the process of learning the most basic functions of Garageband and iMovie to post videos on youtube. At some point I will shift my focus to learning the more technical aspects of editing, mixing, mastering, etc. However, for now I will just be exploring the big picture abilities of Garageband to see what all I can do. Each week I'll pick some random thing that I want to try out and discuss it.

For this week, I got my 2nd Generation M-Audio Axiom 25 all set up with Garageband (finally... it took me forever to trouble shoot a problem between ProTools 8 and Mavericks OS that completely disabled my midi controller/keyboard in Garageband). So for this song I wanted to practice using that keyboard. I also wanted to go for a more orchestral sound instead of a highly digitized sound palette. This song uses three tracks: piano, strings, and flute. I played all three on my Axiom 25. I'm a huge fan of that little piano thing. It has semi-weighted keys, which feel really nice while playing them. They also allow for different sounds based on how strongly I play the keys. Just like on a real piano, if I strike the key harder the sound will come out harsher and louder. The synthesizers in Garageband allow for some interesting sounds when I use it. I'll play around with that some more and give some samples along the way.

Pretty simple concept for this one: I wanted to capture the soundtrack of a leaf in the wind. Hopefully I succeeded.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Let's Learn Garageband 10! Episode 2: The Apprentice

A little while back I had this idea to try and learn Garageband by writing three songs and spending a lot of time delving into the program. The songs would chronicle my journey from apprentice to master, and my goal was for those songs to be good enough to actually someday sell as an EP. Since that time I have become aware that learning the craft of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering will take much longer than three songs (so I gave up that little project right quick). However, I did bother to record the first of those three song ideas and I kind of like the dark atmosphere of the guitar combined with the upbeat drums. For the picture, I just searched "The Apprentice" through Google's "labelled for reuse" search feature and found one I liked (a decent amount of wading through Donald Trump's jowly scowl took place before I found one that will work). I assume that the young lady in the picture is learning to wield her light energy conductor baton as she trains to become the world's greatest orchestra conductor.

This song was less about a specific story idea or mood, and much more geared toward an atmosphere of excitement and uncertainty (a mixture of feelings I usually associate with .

For this song I wanted to incorporate drums and guitar. The drums are from the drummer called SoCal, which comes with the pre-made full beat. The initial drum part I did the old-fashioned way (like I used to have to with Fruity Loops during my Fabulous Flowell days), where I just had to create beats one drum piece at a time. As fun as that process could be, I was always intimidated by it. I am really excited to experiment more with Garageband's Drummer set up.

The guitar is from my actual electric guitar, plugged directly into Garageband's amp modeler. I'm very impressed with the amp capabilities of Garageband. There are a butt-ton of sounds (scientific jargon) you can get through it. The bass is just the fingerstyle bass, which I recorded on the virtual keys of Garageband. Someday I will purchase an actual bass guitar and have some fun with that.