Updated Sep 24, 2021
The Artistic World of K.L.Storer

On-Liner Notes
My commentary on my music

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      (Sep, 22, 2021)

ON-Liner Notes?.... What?....

It's word play. Remember back in the old days ‐‐ if you're old enough ‐‐ when you bought a twelve-inch LP record album? Remember the artwork, all big and lovely to look at? And then, in many cases, the liner notes, especially on album jackets that opened up. There'd sometimes be a nice litte essay from the recording artist themselves, or the producer, or maybe another musician or singer. It would be thoughts on the recording or the artistic intent of the recording, or something else logically related to the album.

That's more or less what this is, only detached from the physical recordings and, I hope, spanning more than one project. Not exactly a blog, but kind of a blog. I already have a blog: K.L.'s Blog: a diary of artful things. It journals any and all of my artistic endeavors in a diary-like fashion, as they unfold. On-Liner Notes is specific to my music recordings. It is an on-line, dynamic version of the old album liner notes, hence "On-Liner Notes," but with the ability to expand, to evolve.

Rather than a diary-like journal of the work, as the blog is, this is more me discussing the work. The focus being consideration, or perhaps analysis, or maybe explanation of the work, with a concerted effort to not take myself too damned seriously. I plan to seriously talk about the art and craft, in one manner or another, but I hope to not "Seriously talk about the Art and Craft," if you catch the difference. I probably will get a bit egomaniacally grandiose from time to time, but, I swear I'll be vigilant so this page stays as real and honestly interesting as possible. This is not the chronicles of a modern-day Amadeus -- well, actually, I have to admit, that would be interesting, just not something that will realistically be at all germane here.

      (Sep, 22, 2021)

Before I start commenting on particular songs, in detail, which I'll do in other commentary here, let's look at the concept that I am making the full-length album, Virtually Approximate Subterfuge, or, if you're reading these prose much after written, that I have made and released the album. There's no record label attached, big or small, so this is very definitely an independent release.

However, "Indy Rock" is not correct as the genre label. As I write this, I'm not done making the album, though the first single is out, and struggling hard to be noticed, by-the-way. Once I finish the song I'm currently working on, "Burning Bridge," I'll probably do one or two more. At this point, looking at the album's repertoire, it might be argued that a couple songs can fit into the Indy Rock category, but I'm a sexagenarian, so by and large, my musical offerings are what the youngin's would call "retro." At least that's my take on what I've been doing. I want to categorize myself, at least on this project, as "Progressive Adult Contemporary Rock," but I think I made that up and it may not be as accurate as I believe from my perspective.

One of my colleagues in the theatre world, where I spend a considerable amount of my time and energy, called this my "Bucket List" project, which is fair. However, it is my absolute intention and goal that this be more than just some half-assed vanity project. There's no question that a major goal, maybe even the major goal, is for me to be able to say that I made an album. But I want it to be more than simply an album that I made; I want it to be an album that is worth listening to; I want it to be an album that someone who has no clue at all who I am comes across and says, "Who is this guy? Is there more?"; I want that someone to like it and want more. I want to make a compelling collection of good music, even if it never graces the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart ‐‐ though I am not at all opposed to such a turn of events.

But how did this album get started? Why did this album get started? In the fall of 2019 I was the producer and the sound designer for a theatrical mounting at The Dayton Theatre Guild, where I also happen to be a veteren board member. The show was Icebergs, by Alena Smith. I found that I needed to write and record an instrumental for the production, the circumstances that I'll go into in more detail in the commentary on that instrumental, which is entitled, appropriately enough, "Icebergs."

By mid-November of 2019, the instrumental was finished and I had, within a period of weeks, acquired a new electric bass guitar ‐‐ an Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass, an Ampeg BA-210 bass amplifier, a Williams Legato III electric piano, as well as assorted musical accoutrement. Here's what occurred to me: I had just dropped more than $1500 on this stuff. In the scheme of things, that's not exactly an overwhelming amount, but also not insignificant. On the surface, it was all in the service of putting the "Icebergs" instrumental together, but I could not justify spending $1500-plus on a one-off venture. If I had just put out that much money I could not let this equipment sit in a closet collecting dust.

For a couple earlier Christmases, I'd done little Christmas-card videos for my YouTube channel, mostly to post on my facebook page. Both are multi-track a cappella recordings with montages of still imagery for the videos. The first time it was "Silent Night." A couple years later, it was "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Those were 2015 and 2017, respectively. For 2019 I figured, hey, I'll write and record my own little Christmas pop song, my own "All I Want for Christmas Is You," though certainly with a waaaaay lower public profile. I recorded a bluesy little pop-rocker titled "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (My Christmas Gift to Me)." Again, I'll go into detail in commentary focusing on the song.

In early 2020 I then recorded a little rocker, "Into the Blue Dawn." I sent an MP3 of it to my nephew, David, who's a guitarist. He relayed back a question from my brother-in-law, Joe, David's dad, who asked if I was making an album. Up to this point what I thought I was doing was justifying that $1500, as well as getting back into an artistic expression I hadn't indulged in, except on rare occasions, for more than three decades. Oh, yeah, I guess I should have stated that fact earlier in this prose: that I hadn't been an active musician since the mid-eighties. When the question was posed to me, am I making an album, my response was:

I hadn't thought about it, but, yeah, I guess I am.
Perhaps, (probably), I woud have come to the decision to make an album, anyway. But Joe's question put the issue in front of me before I had come to it on my own. It became official in my facebook PM response to Joe, via David. I was making an album.

It took me a while to finally make a public declaration, however. It wasn't until my Apr 19, 2020 blog post that I finally announced it in a public forum ‐‐ at least for the handful of people who might come across the blog entry. I'm not completely sure why I was hesitant, beyond feeling like it was akin to an eight-year-old putting on his dad's dress suit and good shoes; and I was over sixty at the time. It's imposter syndrome, that with which I am certainly afflicted. My particular brand not only causes doubt of the accuracy of other people's praise for me, it causes me to be pretty certain not many others even have any praise for me. My version of imposter syndrome is convinced that other people will see the little boy in his dad's suit and not laugh because it's cute, but because it's ridiculous for that little fraud to put on big-boy clothing. But, then, yet, there's another part of my ego who is convinced that I am far more brilliant than those "commoner assholes" will ever be able to comprehend. You could say that both of these voices are members of the committee in my head, and neither one is at all a constructive participant in the committee meetings. In short, I am the classic egomaniac with an inferiority complex. But, I digress.

There are other members of the committee, smarter, wiser, stabler members. Those are the ones who said, "Hey! Dipshit! It's time to own this. Put it out there. Make it real. Stop being a coward and embrace this path we all know you can walk. Let the world know it." And so I did, at least to the world that's paying attention. To date, it's a pretty small world, but it does exist.

In my late teens into my early thirties I wrote a couple hundred songs, some of them I think are good. I think a few are really good. There's a nice little wealth of material I have from my past to call upon for possible (probable) future projects. For this album, I've only pulled out one, well, actually two. There is a ballad I co-wrote with my music partner of my youth, Rich Hisey, a good songwriter in his own right. I wrote the music; he wrote the lyrics. It's titled "Memories of the Times Before." I also wrote an introductory and denouement instrumental for it, "The Death of the...."

There are several new songs, written recently, that are the rest of what is recorded for the album. As I wrote above, I'll probably do one or two more songs before I consider the choices for the album wrapped. Whether or not I pull another song from last century remains to be seen. There are a couple candidates, but lot of them I want to do in a potential project with Mr. Hisey. I also have a few new songs started that are viable candidates. (It'll be interesting to read this in retrospect when I, and maybe others, know how it turned out).

The album title, Virtually Approximate Subterfuge, is in some ways derived vaguely from some of the themes in a few of the songs. But, honestly, more than anything it's a combination of words that came to me that I think has a really interesting sound and feel. There's probably more to the appeal than I'm recognizing, but regardless, I think it's a great album title.

One might notice that I've not mentioned other musicians being on the album. At this point, there is only one other musician playing anywhere on anything that will be on the album playlist. It's that nephew, David Bernard, who is on electric guitar on one cut, the cut that is 99.99999% likely the album opener. It was written specifically to be the album opener. Save for that, I play everything, except the drums, which are courtesy of the GarageBand app.

There's also been an evolution of the recording process from the start of this venture in November of 2019 up to today (September 2021). I started out recording on my Tascam eight-track digital portable recorder, but in the interim I upgraded to a Tascam 24-Track Digital Portastudio. I also originally was importing the tracks into Final Cut Pro X to mix and master the songs. This was because, though FCPX is for editing DV movies, I was familiar and comfortable with the sound editing features. But, I wasn't getting the final product that I wanted, because I wasn't using the best tool at my disposal. I've had Logic Pro X on my laptop for a while but simply did not know how to use it. Earlier this year I decided I had to change that. I took some on-line production courses at Udemy.com and will now completely remix and remaster eveything in the correct software for the job.

Here's another one for the retrospective reader: My current goal is to have the album mixed, mastered and released by mid-December; mid-November would be good, and I will shoot for that, but it's not likely. But, I want to make the mid-December deadline because I plan to release the second single by then ‐‐ and if you're at all sharp, you can guess what song that would be, based on the whole December-or-earlier single release date. It is one of the songs that I've given you the title of. So, album out by mid-December, 2021? Let's see how I do.


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