19. Learn Something


This is me. Right now. At one in the ante meridiem.

I just wondered why I always type “DAY [WHATEVER]” at the top.  I know it’s day nineteen.  You must know it’s day nineteen, because I’m on song nineteen.  Dumb.  I think I like how announcipitory it is…announcipitory?  That is NOT a word, but I’m going to leave it because it is a word right now.

It is 10 am on the 21st of January.  I have been working on the song for tomorrow since 9:30 am.  I got sleepy because I’ve been up since 3:30 am.  (True.  I have no idea what I’ve been doing all this time.)  Staring at this blasted computer screen and listing, listening, listening to samples is making me so fatigued that I just got up and renewed the red in my hair with bright red hair dye.  (Why nap?  What a waste!)  Whenever I do this I always think of Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.  I really like her.

So, now I am sitting here with red dye all over the place, and all over me, I thought I might start this writing part early.  Jonathan actually suggested a few days ago that I do a reverse posting: one where I write here first, then create the song.  It seemed a bit blechk to me, but since I’m getting a bit stuck on today’s song I thought I’d try it.  Why not?

Right now I am using samples and midi from garageband.  I’m using a start of a project I did few days ago but gave up on (the “manageable” day).  After some space away (Guy Capecelatro totally does this.  Stepping away from a song I think has “failed” is a great window into possible opportunity.), I have gone back to a few of those ideas thinking I might be able to work something out.  When I start playing around with samples and such, it usually means that the song will take an extra long time.  It’s okay, but not preferred.  It’s also a bit annoying that my car is parked on the “wrong” side of the street for NYC Alternate Side Parking Thursday.  This means I have to move it soon.  (True confessions: I have spoiled myself and kept the car with which I moved to New York.  I’m telling you when you have a car, a cello, an accordion, metallophone, violin and band practice in Brooklyn: it makes so much sense.)

At the moment I’m playing with the idea of using my cassette player.  I have much better equipment for stuff like this, and more tape players, but they are all in a storage unit across the country.  Given that, I’m working from the one tape I brought with me purchased at a thrift store (why I chose this out of all the others is a curiosity to me).  It’s a 1996 recording of an executive luncheon.

Right now, the theme of this song is stress.  It will evolve, I’m sure, or I might change it altogether.  Who knows but the Fates.  And now, I must wash out this red before it starts that tingling thing.  Tingling is never good sign of anything… (okay, that is so not true.  I digress…)


DONE.  It is 12:30 am.  I am a bit late, but I’m done.

Here’s what you’re hearing:

9 tracks of midi with 2 sounds cut up from the library (the rest were played by hand)

6 vocal tracks

1 violin track (this was a last minute choice that I’m regretting a little, but I’m going to leave it in and chalk it up to a risk-taker.)

4 tracks of cassette tape samples

Had some bad news this morning that turned okay by the end of the day.  Jon’s dad was admitted for surgery to clear out his lungs today to a successful conclusion with hopes he will now heal quickly and easily from pneumonia.  He’s one of the smartest and coolest guys I’ve met ever.  Sending thoughts to you of healing and happy days…

These songs are being created so weirdly… (Art totally imitates life, and I didn’t see it coming until about a half hour ago.)  I started this at 9:30 am and had no clue about what was going on with Jon’s dad until later, and it just so happens I came about that little blip about an 80 year old guy late tonight.  I’m not really familiar with working in this genre (Whatever genre it is, and I think doing this kind of music could be easier with a much different program), so it caused some frustration, but it was fun to consume myself in it for a day.  (Time-wise? 9:30 am with random huge breaks in between.  I kind of avoided this one until the last minute.)

Really frustrating problems: my head phones kept clipping so I wasn’t sure if it was the track and garageband was being stupid or the levels or what.  Volumes took forever.  Also, my stupid mic broke tonight! LAME!

Good omens: I started out procrastinating this one, and even while creating it, it changed meaning in my mind over and over.  It turned out less of a disaster than I was anticipating, and I’m trying to not send lethal judgment arrows at its heart too soon.  Not as clean as I’d like, but, I’ve got the next few months to improve on it, right?

Thank you.  Thank you for being here and helping me through these past few days.  I’ve gotten a lot of very supportive and kind messages from people saying how much they like what I’m doing.  It’s so great, and it helps me keep on keepin’ on.  You know?

Learn Something

instrumentation: vocal sounds, tape player, cassette tape, violin, other stuff from the computer that is on my desk

P.S. I have gotten a few questions about when downloads will be available.  An answer to your question is currently in the works, so hold on a bit longer.  We’re figuring something cool out… sorry it’s taking so long, but I’m super glad you want to have them in your tunes!

7 thoughts on “19. Learn Something

  1. How did you get so super hip? This song is not only evocative, but also excessively cool. Alright, moving on:

    1. I’m glad to hear that your hair is still fiery.
    2. I’m also glad to hear that Jonathan’s dad’s surgery went well. Sending
    you both lots of love and support.
    3. Bummer about the mic, but you know, that just means you have the
    opportunity to get the nicer mic you’ve been pondering. Sweet!
    4. Please don’t doubt that what you are doing with this project is good
    enough. I know this project is for you and what we all think is really
    secondary, but I just want you to know how amazing it has been to
    have a glimpse into your life as a songwriter and an artist. I don’t
    know if you think of this blog as a opportunity to teach, but I am
    learning so much from you. Not to mention all the sweet-ass tunes
    that I want to pay you copious amounts of money for so I can put
    them into a playlist of heavenly bliss!

    • Melanie, those are such wonderfully sweet things to say… thank you for always supporting and loving! I will probably talk about this in a posting, but I wanted to address, really quickly, the “good enough” thing. I’ve though about this a lot: why am I creating this song today and why am I giving myself a hard time about it? Is for the sake of the song or my ego because I think someone might be listening? Sometimes I’m not sure. I think if I were really honest, I would say it’s a healthy bit of both. However, I am constantly reminding myself I started this project expecting no one to listen. It was for my own mental health. Practicing removing myself from the pressure of expectations of others (expectations that may or may not be present) is a big reason I’m doing this. Focusing on what the music wants, not what I think other people are expecting from me (although important to consider at times, can be daunting and suffocating). When I know my work could have been better and say so, I want to express this as a truth I believe between me and the song, not an ego thing just because I know other people are listening. Does that make sense? Remember when I said “really quickly”… neither do I… 🙂

      • Yep, I think I can relate. I’m so impressed with your ability to step outside of your comfort zone with this project and your total honesty about what comes up for you in the process. Can I get a “WOO!” and a “YEAH!”?

  2. I am impressed daily with your versatility with so many instruments, styles of composing and producing music and also the wide range of flavors and colors that your music embodies. To boot you also have a wonderful writing style. I never would have guessed that I would be repeatedly surprised with so many little musical gems. Thank you for making such wonderful music!
    PS I am very much looking forward to being able to download songs.


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