That moment in the studio when you realize you really need to record something else before this instrument layer.
Now I have to teach myself to think “percussion”. This? This is not my strong point people. I’m a dancer, percussion lives in my feet not my head.
(Working with GarageBand for the drum kit. It’s totally got an assistant for the percussively impaired. I’m not entirely sure if it makes things better or worse…)
For those who don’t understand how multi-track studio sessions work, your foundation track is your rhythm track. Usually percussion, but you can have rhythm guitar, bass, piano… even vocals if you’re an acapella group.
Now I knew this, and thought I had my rhythm instrument set (Irish bouzouki if you’re curious). But then I realized that song really did need the drum kit. And if I was being honest, so did that other one. Cue a screeching halt as we discover that my scratch GarageBand version is incompatible in several places with the Zouk pattern.
Now I have homework. Make a pattern that suits an acoustic version of the song. Get it to Dara so she can alter her playing pattern if she needs to. Hope it sounds good enough to use. THEN record Zouk.
(Hand drums ought to go first too, but it’s a little easier to cheat and add those later if you have to. Not good studio practice mind, but they work better as a last minute add than a kit generally will.)
Secondary homework. Re-analyze every other song for whether they need percussion and recruit a talented hand drummer if so.
So glad I haven’t set a release date yet (just a personal target goal).
June’s Subscriber offering is up, this time a meditative song that loops seamlessly. (Or it does in GarageBand anyway.) I wrote it this time last year, so it seemed an auspicious time to share it. 🙂
Walk with me in beauty
Walk with me in peace
Walk with me in silence
Or when looking for release
Walk with me in beauty
Walk with me in grace
Take the time for what we have
Before we leave this place
As always, it can be heard by becoming a Bandcamp Subscriber
Thank you so much for listening!
For my second offering this month I bring you Witness at the Gate. It was written and recorded last night in response to… well, a great many things really. Its about being the witness, the one who watches the descent into darkness, but also the possible climb back into light. Its about being unable to intervene in any way other than being a beacon to guide the way home. Its about a role that is often overlooked in stories, and about choices always being there, even when it seems past the point of no return.
It was fed a bit by a discussion I have going strong on my Facebook page about laws of power and ethics and happiness.
(Apathy, action, friendship, greed)
(Compassion, power, knowledge, need)
And I can hold the line
(but it does no good, does no good, does no good)
If you’re happy where you are
And I can light your path
(If you cared to see, cared to see, cared to see)
But I won’t be a falling star
If you want to hear it, head over to my Subscriber page at music.leannansidhe.com. $3 gets you four Subscriber only songs thus far, with more soon to come.
I realize I’m only now posting about this in the middle of the month. Day jobs have been keeping me rather busy I’m afraid.
The Left Behind started from a place of anguish, but I was stuck trying to finish it for quite a long time. It was only when I realized that I was also writing a song sung by The Velveteen Rabbit and several other childhood toys and imaginary friends that either faded away or became Real that I was able to finish the lyrics. The tune (other than the chorus) wouldn’t come until I remembered something terribly important. The Velveteen Rabbit never blamed its boy, but simply loved him. It is a sad thing to be forgotten and left behind, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot live on and become Real ourselves. Or realize that we always were real, if only we could see it.
CHORUS: Who are we in the absence of the other?
What keeps us having form if not belief?
I won’t fade silent into shadow without fighting
Though I know defiance barely covers grief.
On the technical side of things, I’m particularly happy that this song finally had me coming up with true four part harmonies that are rich and full and beautiful. That’s always been a particular weak point of mine.
One of my early beta listeners had this to say of an earlier, rougher draft…
“I cannot stop listening to it. It’s haunting, sad, loneliness, dangerous, daunting, truthful, beautiful and enchanting all in one single blow between the music and the lyrics combined it is a harrowing call from those left behind in the imagination and the life given to them.”
If you want to hear it for yourself, it’s available to subscribers at my bandcamp page music.leannansidhe.com
I am guilty of cruel and unusual treatment of musicians. Part of my album is in Bbm and Cm, and I have songs with key changes that include Cm and D#minor. You literally can’t make several of those chords on Irish bouzouki. Sure, that’s what capos are for, I just have to figure out how to fix all the keys in a song with one capo. I am a terrible human being. It sounds good though!
On the flip side, there’s a song where I use about 5 different sus2/sus4 chords (which can be a pain on Zouk), and somehow I managed to pick only the ones that are super easy to play.
Also, in the vein of: if it’s applied well, more key changes are better (also known as channeling my inner Andrew Lloyd Webber), I have updated the subscriber version of Bigger on the Inside. I am much happier with it now. 🙂
Okay, first of all, I have been fighting with this song over the tune since August. Its part of that big batch of songs I wrote in a month. Given how much this one meant to me, you’d think I’d have been able to pin the tune down sooner, but in all honesty I think that was part of the problem. I needed distance, and to replace anger with determination.
Also, the key wanders like you wouldn’t believe. Sure I’ll borrow interesting chords for my usual songs, but I don’t tend to write actual key changes. (Lest you point to Fragile Dreams for a rebuttal, that was all Alec’s doing. I just gleefully went along for the ride.) This song and its predecessor both called for it, and I think I pulled it off well.
I decided to include it as a second song this month, because it’s much simpler. This is a reasonably well done first draft with just vocals and guitar. If you think it would sound good as a solo project song, I’ll put the extra effort in to make you a fancier version. Also, there’s such a sense of triumph finishing this that I wanted to share. 🙂
This song started with a spark, but that spark landed in a aged supply of ready fuel. How many times must we be told that we are too much, too bright, too alive? How often are we faced with the choice to be less or lose someone we care about? Sometimes it’s time to say “Enough is enough.”
BRIDGE: I’m tired of being half of who I am
And still it is too much, I make you drown
So I’m throwing out my dimmer switch
Because you never stick around
Even dim I am too bright
So what’s the point of hiding all my light?
Take me as I am or walk away
But don’t demand that I be less for you to stay.
To listen, head over to music.leannansidhe.com and subscribe for as little as $3. Subscribing at any point will get you all subscriber offerings, and you get to keep them even if you stop subscribing.
The walk up to the zoo was lovely and lined with cherry trees. I saw signs indicating there was a panda cub and got super excited… right up until I found out that you had to get a special viewing ticket, and they were sold out.
Most of the large animal exhibits were closed for maintenance and animal care, but we saw a whole bunch of birds. My inner cat was convinced about half of them were snacks, but they were pretty snacks and fun to watch. The raptors are never food, no matter how tiny and bite sized they are. They convert size into a paralyzing cuteness attack.
We didn’t have time to catch all the animals, and I wasn’t able to get good photos of the otters or kangaroos. Honestly this is one stop where I’m pretty sure Paul got better photos than me with his ability to change lenses. The iPad Pro isn’t bad, but it has its limitations.
I did have to wonder about the missing swans when I saw the sign. With all the other birds on display, were they saying there was a concern that the swans were sick? Or just that they were at higher risk? The reminder that this is part of the region bird flu came from had me cautious about actually trying things like sparrow on a stick. Also, while my cat would have loved it, it looked like a mouthful of mostly bones for a human. Perhaps I missed out?