For Ever More [old masters]

This is the Mission cover I warned about yesterday evening. Potentially explicit for those folks offended by lyrics that mention sexual acts. It is a very slow piece and requires patience to listen to to get to the final buildup (at about 4.00 minute mark) if you hate slow songs. Auditory artifacts in song are due to poor cassette storage.

I won’t rehash the wedding this was done for in this post, refer to Bits and bobs for that. But I will foist a short story about the song on you all the same. That’s the kind of guy I am.

This recording wasn’t strictly Mike and I back in 1992. My bride (and now ex-wife) knew a guy from the old days, someone we’ll call “Axe” (“to protect the innocent”), who happened to be into music and recording engineering as well. So much so that, unless I was told a pack of lies (which is not as far-fetched now as it seemed at the time), Axe was a recording engineer for Paisley Park (Prince’s studio). Not necessarily for the man himself, but for other recording acts. As a wedding gift, he donated his talents to engineer and produce this song.

Continue reading

When the Love Runs Out [old masters]

Sorry about the aural overload today. I’m digging into the archives for other reasons and realizing that some of this is in only one place without backups. I’ll start saving it elsewhere and spare you the additional overload, but I stumbled on this and thought it was interesting in terms of quaintness.

First, this was recorded back in 1992 or 1993 as an all-nighter impromptu music writing session. Mike, former lead singer/drummer for the goth band I was in back in 1987-1989 came over with a top of the line Korg (at the time) synth/sequencer one evening without warning. I had planned to just hang, maybe watch a movie, throw in the original Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis — but I hadn’t planned on writing music. As the former bass player for our previous act, he had me tap out some bass line on the keyboard with the clicker to give me tempo to show me how we could sequence it and stack the bars. Then, he added drums, following a similar routine.

Continue reading

Triptych [old masters]

triptych ~ quandry::umbrage::ascension is another tune from the same period as the last piece. Also sequenced using Sony Acid, it used more of the bundled loops and less found sounds than what I shared from earlier, but I still did my slicing/dicing/modification bit with the loops to try and make them my own, including pitch changes and effects. The inspiration came from Delerium during the Spheres era (space music inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, with samples of HAL in a few songs) and by Synæsthesia’s Desideratum album. I treat them as separate bands, but the two are just different projects by Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber, who also went by about eight other monikers over the years (Front Line Assembly being another).

I was way into these kinds of ambient artists at the time.

As you can probably tell by the name of the song, it is a three-part piece — a three-panel song. For each section, I attempted to use at least a few melodies and instruments from the others to give it a sense of continuity.

  • Quandry is intentionally, airy and disjointed, meant to elicit confusion. What am I seeing? Why does something seem off? Why do I feel outside of events?
  • Umbrage is meant to exhibit anger at the discovery of betrayal. The things seen in Quandry were not imagined, and there is a reactionary rage. If I were to redo this, I think I’d add the sound of smashing bottles as percussive elements. In fact, I think I tried that, but I couldn’t find any satisfactory samples to use.
  • Ascension is overcoming the anger and confusion, acceptance of things as they are, rising above, moving on. Vocals are modified bundled loops, again: sliced, modified, reorganized, and blended to get what I hoped was a personalized sound.

It was loosely inspired by the divorce of my first marriage (ten years earlier). But I was also at the beginnings of my worst peak with alcoholism, so it is hard to recall the exact motives. Essentially, was putting away a six-pack of strong ale a night, at least (that would be a “sober night”). And that wasn’t even close to how much I drank at my peak. Yeah… details are a bit fuzzy.

Another one of those “whole five CDs sold”. Probably with good reason, although I didn’t do much to promote the CD.

Remember CDs?

haŋblečeya [old masters]

Haŋblečeya is a song I wrote when I should have been studying for my chemistry finals. It was fueled by copious amounts of alcohol when I was not in school to cope with the demands of my University’s chemistry department, which were not geared towards “non-traditional” students holding down a full-time job, already past his 20-somethings, had an internship with a crime lab, and trying to just get by financially.

I had picked up one of the early DAWs that wasn’t too demanding on PCs (Cakewalk made my middling laptop melt and FrootyLoops was still an Apple thing). Sony had put out a DAW called Acid that was more for loop artists than it was for recording (it was always a challenge to get it to record anything live without… you guessed it… melting the laptop). But it was portable and I would sit in the University library with my headset and pretend to be studying for chemistry finals when I was really doing things to samples and loops than hadn’t really been intended to be done in Acid. The tools were there, but there was no instruction on how to use them in the way that I used them (they were tools intended for the live recordings, not for the loops). So, I turned loops into a makeshift virtual instrument by slicing and dicing individual notes out of sample sequences and pitch-adjusting them to be in key, as well as changing the order of notes in the samples to get the desired effect. And I’d steal from samples all over the place to fill in the sound. I don’t think anything unadultered would be recognizable as a song anyone would know (it’s hazy 16 years later), but it is possible that I stole notes here and there. The vocals are a combination of publicly available chants in a number of traditions (call to prayers and drum dancing at pow wows, mostly). I couldn’t source them to save my life now, so forgive me.

Anyway, I think I sold a whole 5 copies of the CD back in the day. It’s past time to assume no other sales will be forthcoming.

Originally recorded under the name æra cura; not affiliated with the band using the name currently (the name was not in use as far as I know in 2005). A haŋblečeya is the Lakota vision quest.
Inspired by bands like Delerium and Enigma.

Three words.

This past week I’ve been digging through older bits of fiction I’ve written and posting a bit here and there to daylight some of my writing that has been otherwise becoming mushroom food. The older stuff isn’t always my best work. This one is from 2008.

For some reason, however — and I cannot put my finger on just why — this bit of flash fiction makes me unreasonably proud of what I wrote. Some place at the very end captures perfectly the moment I was trying to paint as far as I can recall. Of course, I’m willing to admit that it probably doesn’t deserve the pride I bestow on it, but let me have my little glory moment and not tell me how absolutely awful it is.

Please?

“This is the part when you tell me you love me,” she said as she leaned over the coffee table between us. I couldn’t help the lingering stare at the vast cleavage just barely hidden by a skin-tight, black, cotton tank-top she wore, but I suspected Julie wore the shirt explicitly to elicit such a reaction from me.

I leaned back into the overstuffed chair and sipped at my beer, unable to tear my eyes away from the pale flesh of her breasts.

“Is it really?” was my non-committal reply. “Hell, I don’t even know the meaning of the word.”

“Bastard.” She threw herself back into the couch sitting opposite me, arms crossed against her chest, denying me the view I had enjoyed for an all-too-brief time just a few moments before. Her response was borne of frustration, not out of any spite. For as long as I could recall, Julie had been attempting to get me to say three words in a very specific order and had always met with a refusal on my part to satisfy her demands.

Mouth to Mouth.

I’m not much in the writing mood today as I am in the reviewing mood. So, I started to dig around in some old Drive folders to see what I had sitting there, moldering and forgotten. From the same time period as Dust, just posted a bit ago today, I found this piece in the same folder.

I thought it might do something positive for my image if I posted a short bit of fiction that wasn’t all monsters, blood, brains and guts — so you are stuck with this rubbish from 2006.

I was playing around with writing romance fiction at the time, especially teenage romance back before I decided I preferred to be all sweary and rough around the edges with my writing. I don’t think I was ever very good at it (“And your regular ‘fiction’ is different, how?”), but it’s proof that I at least am able to write something other than about werewolves and killers, soldiers and swords, monsters and mayhem when I write this thing I have erroneously described as “fiction”. (“That’s news, chummer. Looks like the same drivel as always.”)

Very minor inspiration from The Glove’s song of the same name. More inspired by autobiographical elements that have been modified so much as to be largely unrecognizable from the actual event. No Irish lilt, no handsome guy, no silhouette cutouts in steel doors, no competitive elements. In fact… it’s hardly autobiographic at all except one part. Maybe two. But I’m not admitting which.

Oh, and I’m done with these forays into the past for tonight — you are spared additional horrors.

There is terror in his eyes, she can see it as their lips draw close, hover, heat rising and the warm moist breath billowing out. She stifles a laugh before it can even come to her throat, her eyes, her tight skin tingling.

It wouldn’t do to laugh.

But, she wonders, how can it is even possible for him to have survived this long without having kissed a girl before? It’s not as if he isn’t absolutely delicious — he’s been the talk of the school since he abruptly showed up mid-quarter, his striking features dreamed about by scores of girls since that rainy autumn day he strolled into the classroom with his lanky, easy good looks.

It was the accent that had trapped Jess. She was a sucker for anyone with an Irish lilt and didn’t see how anyone could avoid melting on the spot anytime he spoke. She had inherited a vigilant determination bred from generations of ancestors trying to scrape by on rugged Montana ranches and, by God, she was going to make sure she was the first girl in the school to kiss this boy. She hadn’t imagined she was going to be the firs girl to kiss him ever, which made it the bestest, greatest win of all times. Something to brag about, in fact.

Continue reading

Dust, an introduction.

Forward:

The following piece I found was from 2006, if you believe the filing system I used when I transferred it to Google Drive. It was still in .DOC format and unconverted to either Drive’s format or .DOCX, which, apparently, Drive requires Word files to be in. I did a quick conversion and did a bit of copy-paste, cleaned up a few areas below, but the text is largely the original draft, minus about three paragraphs from the following scene before I abandoned the tale I apparently intended to tell.

If you’ve been here a spell, you might recall a piece or two with the same general feel as this one. As I said, I tend to iterate on stories until I find the voice that works best and, once I feel I’ve gotten a story out… I’m typically done with that theme for the time being. I’ve never quite written a weird-west story that met my interior imaginings, so you’ll probably see a few of it’s like in the future if you continue to read my tripe.

I didn’t know that the genre was called weird-west when I started these attempts. I grew up loving spaghetti westerns and fantasy, and was inspired to write my own after seeing what Stephen King did with The Gunslinger, the first of the so-called Dark Tower books. I never want to write a “Roland went to the Dark Tower” story, and I prefer more grit and gravel in my pseudo-westerns-fantasies. Think more like Clint Eastwood meets the TV version of Wild Wild West, and toss in fey troublemakers.

Actually, The Fields of the Nephilm song, Dust, was more of an inspiration than anything for this piece and I named my protagonist (McCoy) after the lead singer of the band as a result. I guess that’s as good of a place as any to start after this exhausting, long-winded forward…


Blood, I want to watch it rain
Got a heated slug at your brain
Dust we fade the same
Got a reasoning piece, now explain
Feelings come on and on
Killing, it’s all man-made
The rhythm of life is all too strong
So we burn it…
Come down, ride aboard the train
In this swirling pool
Of blood and brains
Well that’s fate, my mind is made

FotN, Dust

At times —

Sometimes, it seemed as if there was nothing but dust in the world, no matter which direction you looked.  The world was nothing but a shifting ball of dust these days, but he could remember when it wasn’t so. He had been a child back then.  Ages ago.  It had once been green and blue. Now, his world was nothing but dust.

Creaking leather harness, the soft jeweled jingle of silver spurs and the low growl of the wind washing sand over dust.  McCoy gathered his bandana around his face to filter out the blowing grit, reducing the amount that entered his lungs to a level that wasn’t really comfortable, but allowed him to breathe.  He had grown used to not breathing after all these years, but he’d never quite enough as to be oblivious to the discomfort of the layers of soot lining the inside of his chest.

But — things were as they were, and he couldn’t worry about those things he had no power over.

He had other concerns.

Continue reading