Archive for the ‘spades’ Category

King of Spades

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Wow, I've made it through one suit. This is the King of Spades, another african-influenced song. This I did at the space with the electric guitar and some percussion.

Queen of Spades: Darn These Walls

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Here is another acoustic guitar based instrumental. I like the drone music. I added a few more ambient parts on top of the two acoustic guitar parts with electric guitar and a bunch of effects. One ambient track is a cymbal with the mic real close.

The name is derived from the "soundproof" walls that we have at the space. That premise (promise) is false. It's hard to record an acoustic guitar in a room next to one of the louder bands around. They were covering a Pavement song for some of the time, so I have to give points to that. So, with those points, they are at negative 25. I just gotta live with it. Serendipitously, they ended a song right after I had ended mine so there was a little bow tied on the end of that noise gift.

Jack of Spades: A Man A Plan A Canal Panama

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Face Card! That means I've made it to week eleven.

This song is another instrumental but instead of acoustic guitar, I went with electric. There are three guitar parts on here and some percussion tracks as well. This started with the original riff on the first guitar and I added a couple other parts. This may be one of the ones that could be built upon at another time to make something more out of it. But I do also like it how it is. I did this at the space on Saturday.

Nine of Spades: Road Song in the Key of We

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Nine of Spades is a road song. Road trips are awesome and I wish I was able to take more of them. I still haven't done a cross-country drive and I really want to do it someday. There is so much to see and do basically anywhere you go. So, that's what this is about. I did this at home with the acoustic guitar and reason drums. I finished the vocals at the space this weekend.

Now, I'm gonna get in a zip car and go to Long Island.

Seven of Spades: O Captain

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

The Seven of Spades is a song I wrote to a poem by Walt Whitman. A collection called "Leaves of Grass" contains this poem. It's a bit like what Billy Bragg and Wilco did to Woody Guthrie lyrics except that this poem was published and wasn't intended to be lyrics (as far as I know).

I did this at home with the acoustic guitar.

Six of Spades: The Sun Rises, But Shines Not

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

"The sun rises, but shines not," is a quote from Walt Whitman about a certain battle early in the Civil War. The Union lost this one and it set everybody in Washington in a pretty bad mood. This was Whitman's assessment of the morning that followed the battle. Because the battle was so close to Washington, civilians, including Congressmen and their families had picnics on a bluff from which they could see the battle in action in the distance. As the Union Army retreated they panicked and the streets back to Washington were clogged with soldiers and the spectators alike.

President Lincoln told General McDowell before the battle that "You are green, it is true, but they are green also; you are all green alike." I used part of this quote in the song as well.

This is the second song that I have used eight tracks of vocals (5 and 3). It's definitely "something."

Five of Spades

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

The Five of Spades is an instrumental track. It's mostly an acoustic guitar piece but I've added a bunch more acoustic and electric guitar tracks near the end. This is getting closer to being something that I actually would like to listen to myself. If that sounds weird, I understand. I really like droning and repetitive acoustic guitar stuff. And, while I don't have the skills that I love in John Fahey, Elizabeth Cotten and Doug Keith and nor am I playing in that fingerpicking style, I really like where this is going.

Four of Spades: Song Of The Sea

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

The Four of spades is my first foray into the wetter side of life.

Wouldn't it be nice to be a fish in the sea? To swim around willy-nilly. Join a school and zip around with your friends. It would be fun to explore the depths and see all the pretty things that oceanic life has to offer. Swimming to any point in the wet earth might just be possible. Time wouldn't be an issue. What does a fish have to do all day except for eating smaller marine life and avoiding the jaws of the larger? Have mass amounts of fun, is what!

Or what about a crustacean? The insects of the sea. Swimming backwards might not be so bad and maybe kinda fun. And some have the added bonus of having claws. What I could do with a pair of claws! Nuts would not be a problem anymore; I wouldn't need that ballet-related Christmas ornament if I had claws. How exciting to not have internal bones! Oh, to be a mass of slime contained by a shell. Barnacles can go anywhere a ship takes them and they don't even have to expend the energy to get there. A leisurely life, indeed.

Squids and Octopi? Not too bad either. So many tendrils! The mystery! The ink! Escape under a cloud of darkness and confusion. Cram into that little nook, this cranny. How easy it would be to hide and be safe. And the lucky ones get to grow to immense proportion and have show-downs with the masters of the sea: whales!

Shellfish. I admit that is not as exciting. How to mobilize? Can they even vote? Are there elections in the sea? If not, maybe a clam or scallop could organize the first. That would be a good way to make a name for oneself.

Just listen to the song.

Three of Spades: Letters Home

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

The Three of Spades is a bit more ambitious than the previous two songs. This one kept me in the space until four in the morning. A move that I regretted for the rest of the week since it was a Monday night. I don't think I fully recovered until the weekend. Regardless of my complaining, I think I came up with something cool, if not just unusual. I have been reading Team of Rivals, a book about A. Lincoln, and it's influenced the lyrics of this song. It's a bit about a man in that era that has to travel away from home to serve in government. The travel is slow and hard and he has to stay for several months away from his wife and family. The lyrics are contents of letters home to his wife.

What makes it a bit ambitious is the number of tracks on the song. Aside from all the percussion and the guitars and bass, I recorded eight vocal tracks. Five of them are in unison for the main part and the other three are all in unison for the harmony part. (There are some variances as far as unison is concerned: the "oohs" are not all in unison.) For one track of the percussion I banged on an electric fan with a drumstick; see if you can hear that.

It's got an African sort of feel too it, particuarly the guitars. I was previously playing in a band called Intermissions where our inital goal was to make our take onĀ  African-styled music so I started trying out some African-ish sounds on guitar back then. Note to purists: I am not trying anything traditional here, I'm just doing my take on things.

I hope you enjoy it.

Two of Spades: Merry And The Swede

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I was just about to finish reading a book when I wrote this song. I won't say what book it was but I know that, for those who have read it, it will be pretty obvious. I did this at the practice space, which I'll call "the space" from now on with electric guitar. I'm not sure if the author, or other readers, would agree fully with all the sentiments expressed here but I think it's pretty close to the general idea.