There will be a few guests invited to hear it and render some feedback. As
I've said, I have some plans to submit the play several places soon, so it
will be important to hear it out loud one more time before the final
Today I am doing the wrap-up on
for the show. The play reading mentioned above is at The Guild,
and when it's done I'll be sticking around to do the sound work. In fact,
I'll be bringing my sleeping bag and toiletries to spend the night, something
that is a bit of a tradition for me on Tech Weekends, especially when I am
the sound designer.
The closed table reading
of my two-act play,
which was held last Saturday, went well. I got some feed back, but there
were only two suggestions for changes. One was to change some dialogue from
passive voice to direct language, which I am not going to do. The other came
froma member of the small audience who said he thought there should be some
levity in a few spots to break the drama, which I may consider if I can do
it without it being forced and an obvious device.
Kudos to my readers: Jenna Gomes De Gruy, Barbara Jorgensen, Zach Katris,
and Amanda Shannon, who served the words well, especially with no rehearsal
At this point, beside consideration of that levity proposal, I only know
of one slight revision
I'll be doing before I start submitting the play. There is a line of
direction that I am going to reword because an actor mistook it for an
isolated line of dialogue, despite that it did not begin flush-left, as
dialogue does in a properly-formatted play manuscript. Still, I will
reword it for clarity's sake.
Working on the sound plot document, at
The Guild, Saturday.
The sound tech side of the tech booth, mid-morning,
Women in Jeopardy
is now into Tech Week.
went pretty well. As well as
a stage hand,
Sunday and last night, I also was the
Our scheduled sound tech hasn't been able to attend rehearsals as of yet.
Fortunately it's not a sound-cue intensive show, so when she is able to
attend, picking up the show will not be a problem.
I am happy to say that our
Ms. Sarah Saunders, has been able to join us for the run, having ironed out
the issues that might have prevented her, which is good, because she's
top-notch at the job. So I am now only a
from this point forward, with the exception of two shows this weekend,
tomorrow and Sunday, where it had been arranged since the beginning that I
would step in to run sound while Sarah is away for previously scheduled
The production is ready for you. The cast and crew are both on top of
See you there.
FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL'S TREASURE ISLAND:
Tomorrow is Tech Saturday
Franklin High School's
with fellow DTG
board member, and fellow actor, Jeff Sams at the helm as director ‐‐
Jeff teaches at Franklin. As I've written otherwise here on the blog, I have
stepped in to do the
because the usual designer was unavailable for this show. I attended a
couple rehearsals this week. I will, of course, be there tomorrow, and hope
to be available for more rehearsals during their following
The last several weeks I have taken time off from working on the album
project, to mostly deal with
Women in Jeopardy,
but also with
But now things have settled down in terms of demands on my time so I can
get back to finishing the album and getting it ready for release. I'm still
shooting for no later than mid December, with a hope of perhaps as early as
mid November, though the former seems more realistic than the latter.
I have about 75-80% of the latest song, "Burning Bridge" mixed,
and the recording sessions for it are done, so I'll probably work on that
one tonight. I currently have an iterim mix of the rhythm track, but the
lead vocal and the instrument solos are not in a mix yet. Plus, I want to redo
much of the equalization
and I might tweak the mix of the
stereo pan, too.
I also want to record at least one more song, and two more if I can fit the
second one in. But I have not decided what the next one, and the possible
one after it, will be. I do have candidates, as I've written here before,
some from my youth, the 70s or 80s of last century, and a few new songs,
which would need their composition finished. I'm setting a goal to be
pulling out the 24-Track recorder
next week. My choice of material may be some eleventh-hour action.
One of the songs I need to re-mix and re-master sooner rather than later is
my choice as the next single, which I plan to release around the same time
as the album release. I also need to start conceptualizing, planning, and
moving into preproduction
for that song's music video.
Actually, I already have come up with an idea but there's neither the time
nor the finances to manefest that concept into a
My idea was a full-out animated video, which I would have to have an animator
do. I simply cannot even think of asking someone to put that kind of work
in without paying them fair-market wages. A 5:00 animated music video
would cost me at least four figures, and likely five figures. It also
would take some time to produce so the video might not make a deadline at
the point for the release-date window I'm shooting for.
I think have a bit of catchup to do to get myself fully hooked up as an
artist with iTunes,
YouTube, etc. The single is on all
platforms but I haven't connected my self with artist's accounts on them.
I also need to send out another wave of CDs of the current single to public
and independent radio stations, broadcast and internet. At this point I have
no knowledge that any station I have already sent to has played either
song, even once. That includes WYSO,
which is a ten-minute drive from my home.
There are other business admin things I need to get in gear and attend to,
as well. For One thing, I should go to BMI
and see if the songs have finally been listed as registered. And I need to
get the single registered with
though the idea that the service would count enough downloads or streams
to put the single on the
Billboard Hot 100
seems more than simply far-fetched. This is mostly a case of
Act as If.
The first three performances are in the books. My position as
AD was put to
sleep at the end of Final Dress
last Thursday. My main capacity for the run is now as a
though I was in the
this past Saturday and Sunday, covering for the show's
of record, Ms. Sarah Saunders, who had previous engagements for those two
How did the first weekend go, you ask? It went
The audiences loved it and the cast members popped even more so when they
could feed off the audiences' energies. You have six more chances to see the
For one thing, there's the balance between some of the ambient sound and the
actors, when they are miked, which on Saturday and Monday, they were not.
One of the reasons I do want to go back for other rehearsals, after the
actors are using mics, is so I can deal with the true volume balance issues.
Director Jeff Sams and his AD, Lucas George, have also asked if I could add
some underscoring in a few places. I can do it but they will be teching without
it for the rest of the week. Fortunately they have two
for this show, so the cast should have some good chances to rehearse with
the new sound and the several tweaks that will be happening, some which I
haven't mentioned here, but I know I am making.
Though I didn't get to it on Wednesday night as I stated I would, I started
"Burning Bridge" last night. When I say, "started over,"
that is what I mean. I went back to 0 for all volume levels and I pulled
all plugins (i.e: effects ‐‐ EQ, reverb, etc) and started fresh.
However, I didn't change any of the
mixes, which doesn't mean I won't, but at the moment they are as they were
after my first pass.
I'm not done mixing the song, but before I get to the
phase I want to do as much pre-mastering as I can. I've dropped
some effects plugins back in, at this point only into tracks that weren't
there during the last mixing session, which was for the rhythm tracks.
I have fauxed-up the faux guitar solo work. If you read some past
entries you know that I performed that solo work on my
Epiphone Viola Bass.
But, as I have done with several other songs in this project, I used a
pitch shifting plugin to push the part up one octave so we get into the
range of an electric guitar. That goal had already been helped because I
ran the bass through my
Boss SY-1 guitar synthesizer pedal
when I recorded it, which alter the sound before I started processing it in
Logic Pro X. I also have
added a distortion plugin, the
plugin, an echo plugin, and an
plugin. This is the only thing I've EQ'd yet, but other tracks will get
such same treatment during the mixing stage.
The lead vocal, also new, also has the Chromverb on it as well as a tad of
and a gain (volume) plugin to help boost the volume from a plugin rather
than the volume control on the mixer -- that way I can use the mixer volume
for fine tuning.
I'll probably throw some individual EQ on the drums tracks and the bass.
At this point I don't know about the other instrumentation, but obviously
anything is fare game if I think it needs it.
I have balanced the volumes of everything against the drums at the 0 volume
level, so that in the sections where I need to boost the volume of the drums
a tad, I can
do so without pushing them to the point of going beyond the upper threshold
of volume so that the signal has that too-loud distortion sound, called
pegging or hitting a hot signal ‐‐ it's when the meter needle or
LED indicator is in the red zone. And there are some spots where I need to
boost the drums a little bit for better effect and dynamics for the song.
There's at least one spot, if not more, where I need to do it for the bass
line, too, but the bass currently sitting at -3.2, without a gain plugin,
so I have some room, and I won't need to boost it that much, anyway.
I'd love to work on this mix a bit more today, but with
crewingWomen in Jeopardy
at The Guild
tonight, then again tomorrow afternoon, and with a Guild board meeting in
the morning, I won't likely get back to this mix until tomorrow evening.
Over the weekend I mixed
"Burning Bridge," and though I've gotten close, I am not wholly
satisfied with the product of my efforts thus far. Since then I've done
a little tweaking and have rendered newer versions of the mastered song,
but I still am not completely happy. So, before I move on to anything else
concerning the album project, I will attack finessing the mixing and
mastering of Song #11.
And, once again, "Finished"
refers to the recording of instruments and vocals being done, not being
totally mixed and mastered.
Looking at that goal of releasing the album by mid December, it's clear I
have to dedicate much time soon on the mixing and mastering of the other
songs for the line-up, most which will be re-mixing and re-mastering. That's
a total of six songs. That total counts all parts of "Medley: The Death
of the..../Memories of the Times Before/Memories Endbit/The Death of the
(reprise)" as one song, and does not include Song
#9, "Utopia's Dystopia," which hasn't been formally recorded
yet, and I am not likely to finish for the project. There is a demo version,
but that presented me with a lot of problems with the song that I'll iron out
As I have written before, the next song to be mixed and mastered will be
the next single, which I'd like to have out by mid November, late November
at the latest. And there's a music video to think about, that needs to be at
by the release date of the song ‐‐ and I barely have a concept
for the video.
We're bearing down on sessions for Song #12,
and though I am not completely sure what that song will be, I am leaning
toward one from all those years ago, a little jazzy pop ballad I wrote
when I was about twenty. There are a couple songs I've started in the last
year that are possible, too. Perhaps what will happen is that I do this
pop/jazz ballad from the late '70s then do one of these two new ones. If
that is the case, the one most likely to be recorded would be a jazz/rock
number (that I wanna see as Steely Dan
influenced), which I started on that Winter
2020. Whatever I record next, the session will start first chance
after I've finished the mix/master of "Burning Bridge."
It's looking like I need to create an artist's page or account for my
social media connections. Some of the platforms where the music is
available like them as credentials of identity. Of course, I was planning
on eventually creating such, but I really would rather wait until there is
something that would actually at least resemble a fan base. Creating an
artist's page at facebook or an
artist's account on Instagram
right now feels sort of presumptuous of me. I probably have it backward.
These pages and accounts are probably part of the process of building a fan
base. As for any hopes and dreams of building a massive fan base ‐‐
I think I'd best keep my feet planted firmly on the ground as far as that
notion is concerned.
But, I mean, I did start klstorer.com,
so it's not like I haven't already built something for "fans"
or other curious people to visit.
Though the laws state that I already own complete copyrights to both songs
on the first single, as well as the copyright on the recording and the
artwork, I have yet to officially register any of this material with the
U.S. Copyright Office.
It's been both a question of sitting down to figure out exactly what I need
to do to properly register each facet, as well as the expense for all the
Registered intellectual property has much better protection against
plagiarism and other infringements, so I do need to finally get this done.
I've been waiting for a shipment of two-hundred self-seal bubble mailer
envelopes to mail off CDs of the single to more public and independent
radio stations, but the order is hung up in this major supply-chain
slowdown plaguing the world. I ordered the envelopes in early September. I
really need to simply stop by an Office Depot,
or an equivalent, and buy a dozen or so just so I can get some CDs out in
the immediate future. And I ought to think internationally. I should
especially research Great Britain and Canada.
Something else that needs my attention is me sitting down to administer the
organization of a variety of information I need, as well as some record
keeping. This will mostly mean creating and maintaining some
Some of it will have to do with expenditures out and income in, but a lot
of it will be records, tracking promotional actions, what was mailed or
emailed or otherwise communicated to whom and when. There also several
different assigned numbers that I need close at hand for each recording
or for compositions. Having those numbers collected together in one place
will be a smart and handy convenience.
SIX DOWN, THREE TO GO:
The second weekend was just as successful as the first weekend. The cast
and crew rocked it, and the audiences responded well.
I was on sound tech
duty, those of you who are revisiting this blog might recall, on Friday and
Saturday. I am happy to report no screw-ups from me, which pleased the
to no end.
We have three shows left:
Friday - 8:00
Saturday - 5:00
Sunday - 3:00
You should check it out if you are or will be in the area.
FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL'S TREASURE ISLAND:
So, this is the spiral staircase up to the tech booth at
Franklin High School. Of course, I’ve had to climb up and
down that thing several times. As an uber acrophobe it has
been less than fun!
I now officially have two songs in
form for the Virtually Approximate Subterfuge album project: the first
single, "Just One Shadow,"
and "Burning Bridge."
The single's B-side (aka: extra track), "Roll the Dice," is, of
course, also in final mastered form, but won't be on the album.
The plan is still to mix
and master the second single next, then from there I'll probably do the rest
of the songs in the currently projected order they'll appear in the album
line-up. That line-up is not solidly determined, but any changes will likely
be minimal. The opening and closing songs are pretty much written in stone,
especially the opening cut, which was written with the idea that it's opening
Now I am leaning even heavier toward the next song recorded for the album
being that song from the past. It's a jazzy pop ballad titled, "The
Answer," and since I have spent a lot of mental energy the last few
days thinking about musical arrangement and how I'll record it, it seems
pretty clear it's forcing itself onto the agenda and the album.
If it's at all possible to make the mid-December deadline for release and
still record one more song for the album, that is what I will do. It is my
goal to make that happen. Again, at this point, what song that will be I
am not sure. As I wrote before, it's likely to be one of the new ones that
are on the docket to be finished. But, who knows. That would be a ten-song
line-up, counting the medley as one song. The album would run about one
hour, maybe around 55 minutes if that last song doesn't get recorded.
So I shared an MP3 of
"Burning Bridge" with a few people have gotten positive responses
from them all.
One wrote: "As the fan I'm happy with the new song. Good stuff. As the
critical listener you've notably improved the recording quality.
Another wrote: "That is definitely a rock song! There was some major
chair-dancing going on in this office. So when are you putting a band
Another wrote: "Cool! I like that you have the bass sound pretty
prominent. And, is that some fuzz guitar or is that something else doing
the fuzzy sound?"
My response to the band question was a reiteration of what I've written
here on the subject: "A band demands a commitment of time and energy
I am not sure how I’d be able to give." I suppose the truth is that
it's a demand on my time and energy that would mean sacrificing, or at
least minimizing, my time and energy toward other artistic ventures, such
as my thespian activities and involvements. At this moment I am not prepared
to do that. It doesn't mean I won't be in the future. Plus, there needs to
be a good rehearsal venue, to which at the moment I have no access.
The answer to the fuzz guitar question was: "The fuzz is actually three
separate chorded bass parts, each played high on the neck, and all ran through
a distortion pedal ‐‐ one panned
left, one panned right, one in the middle, to get a sort of faux-surround
sound," that which you five regulars may remember from past blog posts,
where I'm at least reasonably sure I wrote of the process.
Also, the bass is so prominent in what he heard because he was listening on
headphones which usually punch the bass end of recordings. The bass is not
as prominent through most sound systems as it is on most headphones, though
it's not buried, either. In the flat mix it's certainly close to up front.
I've also noticed that on my headphones the
Chris-Squire/Geddy-Lee-metallic-edge to the bass tone
is lost, as well.
Here is the projected song line-up for the album, as of
today, Friday, October 22, 2021, with an educated guess
as to the length of "The Answer," and such guess
also for the length of the unknown song, based on my
habitual tendency toward songs in the 5:00-7:00 range, on
Directed by Marjorie Strader
Produced by Deirdre Root
Mary, Jo and Liz are all middle aged, divorced moms and best friends.
When Liz falls madly in love with Jackson, a local dentist who may
or may not be a serial killer, Mary and Jo set out to rescue her
from unthinkable peril. Add to that mix Liz's clueless 19-year-old
daughter Amanda, Amanda's on-again, off-again but equally clueless
boyfriend Trenner, and Kirk, a police detective who bears an uncanny
resemblance to Jackson, and you have the makings for a wacky, comedic
Women in Jeopardy is a fast-paced, entertaining piece that
will keep audiences laughing while they guess what comes next. But
beneath all the laughter are questions that beg discussion: How do
women see themselves as they navigate middle age? Do sisterhood and
female friendship go out the door when a man walks through it? Do
fish need bicycles?
I guess the image I posted here Friday pretty much says it, that I am
putting my decades-old little jazzy pop song, "The Answer" into
the album repertoire, despite that the text from that post said "leaning
even heavier toward." Also, the fact that I admitted that I had spent
a lot of mental energy for several days thinking about musical arrangement
and how to record the song, should have had me committing to it in that post.
Well, I'm committing to it now. "The Answer" starts getting
worked on this evening.
It's not probable that I'll start recording tonight, but rather just be
reacquainting myself with the song. My memory of the chord spellings and
progressions are that they aren't difficult, so I doubt it'll be a
frustrating evening. I do want to play with the time signatures, at least
in the begning of the song. I think it's what I was doing naturally back in
80s (late 70s?), but I need to correctly identify the beats in each measure,
etc., for the arrangement.
For this one, I am going to finally use my
Oxygen 61 Keyboard,
in this case for some type of horn voice. Some will know that I've been using
the Yamaha PSR-180
and the Yamaha PSR-12
for horn and reed voices for other songs in the album project, but now that
I have the Oxygen, that'll likely be my go-to for such. And I haven't used
it on anything yet, so we take our virgin voyage with this song.
My goal is still to try and get one more song squeezed into the sessions for
this album. I've mentioned a progressively,
Steely-Dan-type jazz song that I
started last December, during the Winter
2020 week at the rented cottage in Dover, Ohio. It's another
piano-bassed song, and it's a strong candidate for that potential
Song #13. It's not a finished song, at all.
It's only partially begun musically and I have no lyrics, whatsoever. So,
because of the looming deadline, it's partial shape is not to its advantage.
But I may at least give it a try. Unless, I get another inspiration.
A few times lately, I've heard a song on the radio, or elsewhere, and
thought: Something in that vein might not be a bad way to go. That
sort of thought really comes up frequently, anyway. But there have been a
few really strong occurrences here lately.
The Legato III
and the Tascam 24-Track
set up and waiting for me to get home to start working on
"The Answer." Though, I may not use the Tascam
Dust covers while they wait: My
Macca beach towel
for the piano and an old kitchen towel for the 24-track.
The first couple sections of the chords document. My
music-theory challenged version of musical notating.
Last night I worked out the chords to "The Answer," though I’m
not at all sure these are all the same chords as back in the 80s, especially
in the bridge section.
My voice needs shaping up, too. I found it difficult to sing the song like
I did back in my early twenties. Granted, my voice was not warmed up at
all last night, but still, like my bass playing these days, I am not singing
every day as I was in those days, so my voice is not in the same shape
‐‐ a point that I believe I have made before. I am definitely sure
that I will need to exercise my voice to perhaps a serious extent before I
can lay a vocal track that will satisfy me. I am wondering if I can match
the vocal control I had in those days in any sort of quick time frame.
Tonight, along with rehearsal of both the piano part and the vocal, I'll
also program the drums part in GarageBand.
You may note on the right, that there are a couple of what I think
might be 6/4 measures: six beats with a whole note valued at four beats;
again, I think that would be 6/4, but my limited music theory
knowledge leaves me quite unsure. It might just be that beats 5 & 6 are
in an added half measure. At any rate, I know where the six-beat counts go,
so however the music theorists would label it and put it on a music staff,
I at least know what I want, where it goes, and how to play it. Those
six-beat counts only appear in the first verse at the opening of the song.
It'll be 4/4, for sure, from the first bridge, onward.
Last night, reacquainting myself with the chords to
As I indicated I would, in a post above, I have had to create a
facebook artist's page (I think
"fan page" is a little presumptuous). Again, as I wrote before,
I kind of think it's a little premature to create an artist's page at all
at this juncture, but for technical reasons I need one to exist to satisfy
particular interests that I am who I say I am. Thus I have
created "K.L.Storer's Artist's Page"
On the "fan page" idea, one of my friends has pointed out that
"the artist creates an artist page. A fan page is created by a fan."
To that I respond that facebook used to call all of these "Fan pages,"
I think keying in on the old fan club concept, with many fan clubs being
actually created just as often by a celeb's publicity agent as by actual
fans. But, regardless of that, and again, as I have written before, it's the
chicken/egg thing. For me to believe I have a "fan base" for an
artist's page is pretty silly. But then, part of self-promotion, of PR
(publicity) and building a "fan base," or whatever we want to
call it, is creating an artist's page.
Also, there's no doubt I'm over-thinking it, but what-a-ya-gonna-do?
Tuesday evening, Oct 26, I put together the drum part for "The Answer,"
programming it in GarageBand.
I actually ended up adding four measures to the song, thus, also to the drum
programming, the next day. I doubled the intro into the second verse.
According to the drum programming, the song will come in just over 4:15,
which is pretty close to what I had estimated. The next night I recorded
the drums into the new song project on the
Tascam 24-Track recorder,
through playback from GarageBand
project on my MacBook Pro.
I also, rehearsed the piano part during the progression of the evening.
In the October 26 blog post I wrote that I wasn't at all sure I had all the
same chords from when I wrote the song back in the 80s, especially in the
bridge section. Now I think that there was only one chord in question, and
that is in the bridge section. In reacquainting myself with the song,
I'd been playing an E-minor chord for the second chord of the bridge. It
does work with the melody of the song, which has not changed. But it throws
a harmonic into the song that I don't like. It's not out of key or anything,
I just don't think it fits the feel.
What I had was the following:
What I realized was that, when I wrote the song, the second chord was a C
major, and that I had been, all those decades ago, repeating the same two
chords during the bridge. But now, I want a change, but that E minor wasn't
satisfying me. I tried other chords but none were working. The solution I
came up with is to play the C major in that second position, as in the past,
then to alter the harmonics of the final C major by adding an octave 3rd
C major with an added octave 3rd
I suppose that octave 3rd might possibly be called a 10th, but don't quote
me on that; again, I know just enough music theory to be quasi-dangerous.
Also, I have re-written the lyrics to the first stanza of the second verse
of "The Answer," drawing the point more focused on my intended
meaning for that stanza. I revised some lines in the first verse, too. None
of it is anything that anyone but me will ever be aware of; I doubt even my
old music partner, Rich Hisey, would notice, if he even would remember the
song; it's not something we ever put on a play list or even ever rehearsed,
at all. Actually, I think he may have drummed on it a couple times in jams,
but we never formally worked up an arrangement.
Above, I slide in that I laid the drum tracks onto the Tascam 24-track,
Wednesday evening Oct 27 ‐‐ the stereo signal from GarageBand on
stereo tracks #13/14 on the machine. On the 28th, I laid the main piano track,
with the Legato III
set on a combo of electric piano and baby grand. I got a good take on #6,
but I'm wasn't wholly convinced I don't need another take; there are a few
imperfections. I have so far decided to keep that take.
I am contemplating adding a second Legato track, set on electric piano, for
some flourishes during the song, not heavy chords, maybe few or no chords
at all, perhaps just some nice harmonic licks as garnish. I'd also like to
come across a good
saxophone voice that sounds authentic; I've never heard one that sounds the
least bit real. I really hear a sax (tenor or bari) in the song and I am
not inclined to go out to find a player, mostly because even if their fee
was modest, I can't afford to pay any amount at the moment. I've fiddled
around a little bit in GarageBand with one that seems to come close and
that may be how I go, but I don't think it will feel/sound completely real.
My intention was to start working on the bass line for "The Answer"
on Saturday, but had a serous amount of house chores to catch-up on, including
several big loads of laundry, so I didn't pull the bass out until Sunday
evening. I couldn't get to it earlier in the day because I had the sad
occasion of attending a reception in the home of some friends who just lost
the husband and father of the family.
But the big personal fly in the ointment over the weekend, at least as far
as the bass work was concerned, was that though I was fortunate to get my
COVID booster vaccination Saturday morning, I did have side effects, and they
were a bit worse than when I got shot #2 in April. I was quite good until
late morning Sunday, when a headache came on, plus my arm had a pretty
knotty little soreness where I took the injection. Sunday evening, the
headache was a little worse, yet still not horrible. Yet, though I worked
on the bass line that evening, and got a lot of progress on the composition,
I did cut it short and went to bed because I was starting to feel a pretty
heavy fatigue, my joints were starting to feel sore, and the headache was
intensifying. By the time I went to bed it seemed probable I was going to
have a stay-in-bed Monday.
Sure enough, this past Monday I was down for the count: seriously fatigued,
a borderline migraine-style headache, and the sore joints felt like I had
been drawn and almost quartered. Plus, my temperature was 100.3°.
I did not go to work and I
did not work on music. I slept, a lot, most of the day and evening.
However, Tuesday, though I wasn't fully recovered, and in fact only worked
half a day at the office, I made great progress in the evening on the bass
line for the song. As you can see right below, I even shot video with my
iPhone of me playing the bass
arrangement, as it was at the time. I think maybe parts of it are a bit too
busy, (not the beginning), so what you'll hear on the mastered recording will
not be exactly what's in the video, but the basics of the bass line is there,
for certain. Last night I rehearsed and developed some more, but I wasn't
ready to lay the track. I did lay a temporary track so I could listen
to the overall feel of the part without the mental focus on playing it. My
hope is that tonight I can get the bass line in shape then get the track
Here's a video of a bit of the bass line for "The Answer"
as it was on Tuesday evening, toward the start of my rehearsal on
the part. Some tweaking and polishing has been done since that
Here I am, Tuesday night, Oct 26, communicating to
the "drummer" (Darcy)
what I want played during "The Answer."
programming for the drum kit for "The Answer."
Playing along, Oct 26, with that drum part,
making sure it works.
Rehearsing the piano for "The Answer,"
Wednesday night, Oct 27, with the drum part from
GarageBand on the laptop.
Oct 27, again, playing back the "The Answer"
drum part and recording it on the Tascam 24-track.
Rehearsing the piano for "The Answer"
with the drum part on the Tascam, also that same
Recording the piano for "The Answer," Thursday
night, Oct 28, in what may or may not be the final recording
sessions for that instrumentation.
I followed along with the lyrics sheet to help me keep track
of where I was in the song.
Singing along with the drum and paino tracks, same Thursday
evening, to audition the vocal ‐‐ or more
accurately, auditioning my ability to sing the vocal
melody as conceived some forty years back.
Sunday, Oct 31, some 30-plus hours after my Saturday morning
COVID booster vaccination: major headache, joint aches, and
fatigue, but I still was able to be productive for a little
while, starting to compose the bass line for "The
The side effects from the booster were even worse Monday,
so I did nothing but sleep, with the winter cold coming in
through the opened window to sooth my 100.3° fever. But,
Tuesday night I had a good rehearsal on the bass part ‐‐
re: the little excerpt video above.
More rehearsal on the bass line Wednesday night. There was
one recording of the bass line, but it was just a demo
recording so I could listen to it in the mix while not
playing, then the track was cleaned out, because the
composition of the line was still not exactly right.
This past Friday night I had dinner at the home of Chuck and Kate Scott. For
those who don't know who these people are, Chuck (Charles), as I wrote early
in this blog, as well as in the essay,
"The Knowing In Me: the artist becomes himself,"
was an English teacher at my high school alma mater,
Wilbur Wright High School.
Chuck was also the director for virtually all theatre productions during
his tenure at WWHS. He directed me in all but one of the eight productions
I was in during high school.
In late 2003, after a pivotal experience, discussed in the essay mentioned
above, I contacted Chuck about getting back into acting, which I had not
done for more than a quarter-century. Chuck was my initial connection to the
Dayton Theatre Guild,
where he was on the board of directors while I was in high school and still
was in 2003. Though Chuck now no longer attends productions, because his
hearing is pretty bad, his wife, Kate, is a long-standing season ticket holder
at The Guild, and I still see her at shows there,
as well as usually at FutureFest
During the run of Women in Jeopardy,
when I saw her, I told her that I had just finished the latest draft of the
play, and she entreated me to send a copy to her and Chuck. Which I did. Last
night they had me over to dinner to discuss the play.
They had both positive things to say and a few critical suggestions. One
thought was that there isn;t enough action in Act 2, which I both agree
with and disagree with. I was given a particular plot suggestion that I
won't consider, not because it's a bad idea but rather that it doesn't
fit with what I am trying to do with the play and its story. But I did
attend to some problems they had with the script and will have those in
mind for future drafts.
The show closed two weekends ago, and I've been meaning to write a post-mortem
but, ya know, only so many hours in a day, yadda-yadda-yadda. I don't know
that I have an extensive amount to say but there are few things to say.
First, I was happy to once again be Marjorie Strader's
because she was generous enough to allow real input from me. I was able to
give notes to the cast and in a couple instances give direction. On my end,
of course, the caveat to the actors was always that the final say was
Margie's call. Margie also sought my input in private conversations. It was
good to have been seen as a valuable contributor to the production as AD.
Second, the cast was awesome. Not only did they deliver on stage, they were
easy to work with off stage, always a major big plus. And everybody
shined in their roles.
Cassandra Engber's work as Mary was impeccable. She spent a lot of the play
playing the straightperson, setting up jokes for other characters,
but still had her share of humorous lines that she delivered expertly. The
real fun was watching her non-verbals, her facial expressions, her
I've always enjoyed seeing her on stage and was so happy that she was a part
of this one.
Peggy McDonald Allen, who played the blunt, more cynical Jo, was new to
our stage, this being her first appearance in the dayton theatre community,
and, I'm quite happy to say, thanks to me. Back in July, I attended an
on-line Zoom session of
Film Connections meeting, with guest, Cincinnati-based
D. Lynn Meyers. Peggy
was one the other handful of people who attended. At one point, she mentioned
that she had been thinking about auditioning for theatre productions in
Dayton; she'd only been auditioning and acting on stage in the Cincinnati
region. I immediately told her about the auditions coming up for this show,
and that she was in the age range for one of three good female roles. She
took me up on it and I am so glad she did. Her work as Jo was spot on, very
natural and snarky funny.
Heidi A. Porter as Liz was wonderful watch simply because she's very new at
this acting gam,e and she came through witha really lovely performance.
She'd done a couple other performances quite a while ago, my understanding
is one in college then another instance, that was still some time ago.
She is essentially a newby. She's also a natural. Her instincts were dead
on. She should be proud of her work in this show.
Alex Carmichal made his comeback to stage ‐‐ it's been eight years
‐‐ doing double duty as Jackson, the suspected serial killler, and
Kirk, the cop charged to find said serial killer. Alex has always done
top-notch work and his work here is no exception. I'd say his return to
the stage was victorious.
Valkyrie Williams' Amanda was so much fun to watch as well. She's a newer
actor but a graduate of the
Sinclair Community College Theatre Program,
so she's got some productions under her belt, and she, too, has strong instincts
and is a young talent I want to see on stage again.
Jimmy Fritchman, isn't new at performing, but this was the first scripted
play he's ever done. Jimmy is a part owner and one of the lead improv
performers for the
The Black Box Improv Theatre.
His clueless Trenner was a dead-on interpretation and I hope Jimmy decides
to take on more scripts in the future.
The production crew should get a nice round of applause, too. Margie's
direction was strong.
Red Newman's set was great. Jason Vogel gave us a great
Deirdre Root, once again, currated, and sometimes created, the perfect props
for the show, as props manager.
The stage crew,
helmed by Production Stage Manager
Cristina Mazzone, were on top of things. The crew consisting of Cristina,
Deirdre (who was also our producer),
Rhea Smith (a new and valuable find), myself, along with cast members Jimmy
and Valkyrie, who helped moved set pieces when they could. There were a lot
of moving parts, so we needed a lot of hands for some scene changes. Least
I forget to mention our booth people: Shannon Fent, the
and Sarah Saunders, the
‐‐ both doing their usual on-top-of-it work.
After several days of rehearsal and three days of recording sessions
‐‐ for a total of 44 takes spread out over the three sessions
‐‐ the bass line has been laid down for "The Answer."
The bass line is, truthfully, pretty simple, but there are some spots where
I wanted a pretty exact execution. There's also a section, most of the
verse-two section (12 of the 16 bars) where I'm doing some pretty tight
fretting, which, because my left hand and arm are not as in-shape as they
would be if I was playing and hour-plus every day, like I did in my youth,
my forearm got fatigued quickly. It was so much so that I had to take a
little break in between takes to let it recover. I had to take frequent
breaks when I was rehearsing, before recording began, too. There's also
some solo-type bass work between the first chorus and the second verse that
I worked a bit to get right. My pickiness and my journey to master certain
sections brought us to the 44 takes, which you can see count ticked off in
the image to the right.
You can see from the photos below, and from those above in the last blog
post, that I played the bass line on the
Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst.
At first I was running it though the
Ampeg BA-210 bass amplifier,
but I wasn't getting the sound I wanted that way. I wanted something closer
to an acoustic sound, really, something closer to an upright, bass violin
sound. I was getting too much of an electric-boom sound running through the
amp. So I ran the bass directly into the 24-track and was able to get much
closer. I contemplated using the
Giannini acoustic bass with
a mic on it, but with that bass having
I would not have gotten the benefit from it that using the Viola with
If you've read earlier blog posts you may remember that "The Answer"
is a jazzy pop ballad, though it rocks a bit in the ending measures. So I
wanted a very jazzy feel to the bass, almost a cocktail jazz bass sound.
Plugging directly into the 24-track console and playing on flatwound strings
did it. Although, the bass line is not strictly jazz bass work, large
portions are, especially during the first verse.
Last night, and early this morning, I worked out and recorded the second
piano part for the song, with the
set on electric piano and the chorus effect active. The original plan had
been to have it be mostly garnish-type licks, but I went with it being
supplemental chording adding to the base of the song. The chords, however,
are a bit more flourishing, taking advantage of the harmonic ringing of the
electric piano sound. I don't introduce it until after the first chorus
section ends, at the several measures of verse music that leads into the
It took me fourteen takes to get what I wanted with this second piano part.
I had originally thought I would add more chorded instruments, perhaps a
chorded bass ‐‐ either the Giannini or the
‐‐ but, listening to a playback of the rhythm track as it is
with the drums, the two piano parts and the bass, I think I don't need
to add another chorded part. I think I'm close to done.
My goal is to have the song wrapped today. I'm going to give a try to adding
MIDI sax voice with the
Oxygen 61 Keyboard.
Then I'll finish with the vocal. I may double the vocal up in a couple spots,
but I'm not going to add backing vocals to this one.
Then I can move on to
the next single, which is the next priority in the critical pathway for this
project. Then I hope to record Song #13.
A bit more rehearsal of the bass line for "The Answer,"
last Thursday, especially trying to perfect the little bass
run before verse #2.
The Sunday night rehearsal and first attempt at recording
that bass line for "The Answer."
Tuning before more rehearsal and attempt #2 to record the
bass line for "The Answer," Monday night.
Eleven takes, no good take.
The night of the good take.
Listening to playback.
Migrating the tracks recorded to that point from
the 24-track to the Macbook.
The recording session for the electric piano part for
"THE ANSWER" HAS BEEN ANSWERED; NEXT: A CHRISTMAS SINGLE:
My goal of wrapping the recording sessions yesterday for "The
Answer" was met. I got a good take of the vocal last night, a little
before 10:00. I am already thinking about the potential next, which would
then be the last, song for this album project. More on that, later.
Return readers may know that my hope was to find a
MIDI saxophone voice that
would not sound too inauthentic, that I could use my
Oxygen 61 Keyboard
to add to the song. I tried the sax voice in
GarageBand, and frankly,
it just did not work. I tried other horn voices in GarageBand, and though
some of them sounded pretty good, I had two problems. One was that there
was an attack-dynamics problem. I was having a difficult time getting a
consistent volume and force. The second problem was, though the voices,
such as that of the clarinet, sounded good, they didn't give me the feel I
So I opened Logic Pro X to
see of I could get some midi plug-ins to work from there. I had tried once
before and wasn't able to get any of the voices to sound through the Oxygen
61. This time, however, they worked. LPX has been updated a couple since
that first attempt, so that may be why the success this time. There are
several saxophone voices in the midi plug-ins section of LPX, and they all
sound really good. The voice I have gone with is "Studio Tenor Sax 2,"
and it gives me exactly the feel I was hoping for.
And in a rare occurrence, after a few rehearsals to play around with the
sax part, I was able to get what I wanted in one take!
The vocal, on the other hand, took 11 takes, though some of those were
punch ins, each
which I counted as a separate take. I think I punched in three times, just
to shore up the vocal in specific spots.
A major problem I ran into was that I was not able to sing well some of the
melody that I'd composed over four decades ago. It's a combination, I'm sure,
of my not keeping my singing voice in shape, plus the fact that I wrote that
song when I was around twenty. I don't have the range I had back then, due to
both years of lack of consistant vocal work and, just simply: forty-plus
years; I'm not as young as I was, and neither is my voice.
I have no doubt that I can train my voice back up to a wider range than I
have now, and to a stronger vocal ability with more intricate control. I
might even be able to get back to singing the song like I did in the late
70s/early 80s, who knows? In the short term, though, I altered some of the
melody of the song. It is clear that it would be a while before I'd get back
to the skill to sing certain sections of the melody, as originally composed,
at a satisfactory level. So, I changed some of the melody.
Here's the intersting thing: I find the melody changes are better than the
original. Yes, I am more than a little chagrinned that I can't achieve the
vocal gymnastics it requires to sing the original melody lines that have
been altered, but despite the fact that the melodies in those couple sections
are now less challenging, they sound better to me.
My supposition is that there is a more adult character to the melodic changes.
The guy who sang the song at an old upright piano, in a garage in East Dayton
in, say, 1978 or 1979, was a youngster, legally an adult but still, a kid.
He sat there quizzically asking about the meaning of life with his song. The
man who stood in his bedroom last night, recording, finishing a song for an
album project, is a sexagenarian, prone to moments of kid-like thought or
behavior, sure, but certainly not a "young" adult. He stood there,
contemplating what his experiences have taught him about the meaning of
life. Certain lyric lines of the song that were once an expressions of
frustration for the twenty-something, now suggest a cynicism from the
sixty-something. Those old melody lines were youthful, and might have even
been a little fraudulent if performed "successfully" last night.
The new melody lines have a maturity inherent in the notes and the delivery.
So I guess we can denote a serendipity in the need to change those melody
Speaking of lyric lines, I'd already changed some lyrics, actually
re-writing the first half of verse two. Last night I made a couple more
tweaks. One change was for the sake of rhythm. I changed the word
"somebody" to "someone," strictly to cut a syllable. I
had also changed an original line from "How we recreate mistakes"
to "How we repeat our mistakes." Last night, as I was singing it,
I decided I liked the original wording better, so I changed it back.
The two new tracks from the
have joined the rest on my MacBook Pro,
but I've not created the project for the song in Logic Pro, yet. I won't
get to mixing and
this one for a little while, though I might do a rough mix, just to get a
demo version to share with select people for feedback.
The next aggressive action is get the next single in shape and ready to
get out there in pretty quick fashion. It's going to be most of my time
and energy in the immediate future. I want to get it out here in the next
few weeks. My original goal had been by November 15, but that's not going
to happen. oIt's going t be Song #2, which
was recorded almost two years ago, before I even knew I was making an
album. That song is "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas,"
which perhaps someone reading this will have heard when the lyric video was
still up on my YouTube channel.
I pulled it down a few months back for several reasons. With its inclusion
on the album, I wanted to be able to reintroduce it on YouTube when the
single releases. I also knew I was going to remaster it and didn't want
the inferior mix on-line. I hope to make a better official music video for
the song, as well.
I also have an a capella version of a Christmas standard that I am
considering remixing and mastering as the extra track (the "B-side"),
but I need to check into my legal obligations concerning the copyright and
the royalties. My vague understanding is that the
will be covered by the vender, but I am not 100% certain. Probably, if
the mechanical fees are my responsibility the vendor will just deduct it
from my cut of any sales.
A little while back I wrote of an idea I have for the new music video for
"The Night Before...," at least, the overall concept, but it was
for an animated video and I have neither the finances to pay an animator,
nor is there enough time for an animated video to be produced and make a
deadline that's approaching so quickly. I will look at what sort of magic
tricks I might be able to accomplish with effects filters in
Final Cut Pro X. There's a
chance I might be able to process some footage to give it an animated sort
of feel. Whatever it is I do, I need to develop the video concept and shoot
it post haste. If push cokes to shove I just replace the old recording on
the lyric video with the new mastered version and return that video to
on-line, but that's not my first choice.
Recording the midi saxophone part, yesterday, on my
Oxygen 61 Keyboard.
Last night, recording the vocal, altered melody, tweaked
lyrics, and all.
It's been a while, ten days, since I last posted to the blog. I've been
engaged in lots of activity, mostly dealing with music, as you'll see below.
REVISITING THE QUESTION OF "THE ANSWER," SINGLING OUT
AND OTHER ASSORTED ALBUM PROJECT BUSINESS:
Not so fast on the studio wrapping of "The Answer." As I listened
to the mix before I began the process of
recording, I decided the vocal could be better than it is. So, I'll be
re-recording the vocal.
I'm in the process of readying the next single, the
single, for release. In all reality it should have already been released,
somewhere around November 15, or earlier. I dropped that ball, but there's
nothing to do about that now.
For those who haven't read previous entries, the single will be,
"The Night Before the Night Before Christmas,"
which was, as the graphic indicates, the second song to be recorded for the
album project, on December 23, 2019 ‐‐ the night before the night before
It was, in fact, written that same day. This was also, for those
who don't know, before I had even decided to make an album. I was mostly
just making a Christmas
music video to upload to my YouTube channel
then share on facebook as a sort of
was done in Final Cut Pro X,
which, as I've written before, is not the right axe for the tree. It does
an okay job at taking the tree down, but not as good a job as
Logic Pro X, software
specifically designed for the task. I have just re-mixed and re-mastered
the song in LPX.
That original video, actually there were two, has been pulled for at least
several weeks, I think maybe a couple months now, in preparation for the
better mastered recording to come out. That was the second video. There
was an original lyric video, with a snowscape in the background, that was
pulled in December of 2019, shortly after it went up. This was another case
of me re-recording the vocal, plus I added the harmony backing vocals. For
the new version I created a new lyric video with b&w pics of me playing
Embassy Pro bass.
That went up before New Years 2020, and stayed up until I recently pulled
I have a vague idea for a new music video for the new mix/master, that needs
to be shot and edited to
weekend. Had I more time, and some money to invest, the production would
involve a greenscreen
and some animation.
As I did with "Just One Shadow," I will again include a bonus
track with the single, the proverbial, old-school "B-Side." That
will cause my distributor, CD Baby, to
classify it as an album, which is, of course, ridiculous. It's a damned
single, but, whatever.
You'll note that the graphic icon for Song #13,
which is this bonus song, is already showing "finished." I
recorded it the end of last week, and it's already mixed and mastered. It's
a five-part a capella rendition of the
"I'll Be Home for Christmas."
It was originally recorded by
and has since been covered more than 27,800 times.
Today I was granted the license to use the song. I've already created most
all of the graphics for the CD single jewel case, all I need to do is plug
in some copyright information for the coversong. I wasn't sure to whom to
attribute the copyright ownership until I got the license approval.
On a related note, I have a few songs for the album project in final
mixed/mastered form, including, of course, the single "Just
One Shadow." I recently listened to them all, and I am quite
happy with what I hear. Of course, I'm quite happy with "Just
One Shadow" but it's not generating the response I had hoped
for. I've gotten some positive feedback, however. And I think it's
peaked at 252,374 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Tonight I'll top off the CD graphics for the
single, then submit the audio files and the artwork to CD Baby. Above I
stated that it would have been better if the
single had released a couple weeks ago. Getting it out as early in December
as is possible is the goal now. To be honest, the single will likely not drop
until mid-December, a good month after it should have. Mea culpa. I did not
have my ducks in a row and I let time get away from me
The CDs I'll order will be two to three weeks getting to me. Then I have to
get those out to the public/indy radio stations. Getting a new
record into a program director's hands that close to the holiday is not the
ideal situation. Again, it's all on me. I blew it. I will start a blitz on
it next Christmas
holiday in late October or early November; it's a
song, so it's not like it will go out of style.
My original hope for the album was that it be released in September. Well,
that didn't happen. Then it was mid-October, then mid-November,
then mid-December. It's looking like it may end up being January. I'm not
thrilled about that, but I'm not going to wear sackcloth over it, either.
I have eight songs left to mix and master, nine, if I do get to that planned
next song, which would be Song #14. I also
have all the album artwork to do. I plan on a booklet with lyrics and
liner note*. So, I look at the date as I write this, and what there is to
do, and a January 2022 album release is looking like the smart bet.
My blog post for this holiday, last year
talked of my sudden realization of just how important it
is to me to gather with my family on this holiday for
commensality: (the positive social interactions that are
associated with sharing this holiday meal). Of course, I
was not able to share that meal last year with my family,
or with anyone else. I was home, by myself; hence, the
Later today I will sit down to the
dinner table with my sister and her family. I will have a
greater appreciation of it than I have for a long time.
In November of 2016, I sat down at that same table, almost
eleven months to the day after I had a heart attack and the
subsequent quadruple bypass surgery. Believe me, I had a
great appreciation that particular
But today I'll feel an ever greater appreciation and
thankfulness to be sitting with my family.
Like I wrote last year, and have commented before then,
I long ago abandone celebrating this particular holiday
based on the nonesensical propaganda of the idealistic
story that has been fostered on America of that first
I see this day as a day to commune with, to celebrate
family and friends. And I certainly embrace the concept of
this being a time to reflect on our gratitudes, whatever
they may be for each person.
So, I wish all of you a wonderfrul holiday with the loved
ones you are with. If you have to be by yourself, as I was
last year, may you still be bathed in the warmth of love,
however near or far it is from you.
NEW VOCAL FOR "THE ANSWER" & THE
SINGLE IS COMING SOON:
The recording sessions for "The Answer" are once again categorized
as finished. I rerecorded the vocal last night. Including several
punch ins, it was
seven takes for me to be satisfied. Probably, sometime during
this holiday weekend I'll get to the
The "Night Before the Night Before Christmas" single is scheduled
to release December 8. Though because of holiday backup, it may not be
available to stream or download from Apple Music/iTunes
until a few days later.
I've ordered fifty physical CDs, mostly to send off to radio stations.
Unfortunately, CD Baby Manufacturing
says the disks are "estimated to finish on 12/03/2021," so I'm not
likely to get the shipment until just about release date. It'd be great if
I could get them sooner so I could get to to radio stations sooner. Not that
I have any proof that sending them does any good. I have no evidence that
any stations have ever played "Just One Shadow." But, I'll send
the new one anyway. Actually I still have a lot of stations to send the first
As for the music video,
I have a studio with a
reserved this Saturday afternoon, at the rent-payer.
I'll shoot footage for the video. I still have only a vague idea what the
video is going to be, so this is going to be a real adventure.
The beginning of the vocal rerecording session.
Later in the session, with the
Shure pop filter
lowered. I find it gets in my way, so I often end up not
Last Saturday I shot the footage for the
for "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas." I suppose I
should say I shot footage for the new music video, since, there once
was a lyric video,
of the previous
up on my YouTube channel
until a couple months back when I took it down.
I say "more-or-less playing the bass line" because when I recorded
that bass line, back in late December of 2019, I was riffing off the key scale.
I was improvising as I went along, varying what I was doing throughout the
song. When I shot Saturday, I'd not had enough time to learn all the variations
played during the song. So, with the exception of some specific spots, I am
not fretting the correct notes during the song. I
probably shouldn't be revealing this fact, but here I am, doing so.
However, you will see correct fretting in the bass solo section. I was able
to easily relearn that section. There are also slow, descending scale notes
in various spots of the song, that I photographed as still images, also in
front of the greenscreen, that are correctly fretted.
That Saturday evening, I shot footage at home of me playing the chords on
the Legato III.
It was much easier to relearn the piano chord progression. First of all,
there's only one chord during the verses, an A♭ major 7th, minus the
root, though there are several chords during the chorus section. I also shot
close-ups of me playing the same descending scale notes on the piano as on
the bass, and I also took still shots of those. As well I took stills playing
that A♭M7-R chord, from several different angles.
Previous to this shoot day, I had created 53 separate graphics panels, each
with color-streak patterns on them, to serve as moving background in the
video. I actually had already put those into the
Final Cut Pro X video project,
edited to the music. I believe I did it last Friday evening. I also have
created one more graphic image for a specific spot in the video.
Like I wrote above, I technically started editing the video before I did
the Saturday shoot with the greenscreen. I edited the background of the
panels of color-streak patterns moving in the background. Technically, the
rest of the editing didn't start until last night, so the title of this
entry, "The Weekend Before the Weekend Before Release" is not
strictly accurate, but what-the-heck.
There's a bit more to do than has been done in the
of the music video. I expect that it will be at
this weekend, my guess is Saturday. I am mulling the idea of making the
video live before the official December 8 release date of the single.
Studio A, with the greenscreen, in the Student Technology
Assistance Center (STAC) in the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library
at Wright State University.
So, I wrote and recorded "The Night Before the Night
Before Christmas" all in the course of one day, almost
exactly two years ago. Now that I'm making the new music
video, lip-synching the words, it should be remembered that
I'm not in a band and there have been no occasions to ever
rehearse the song after that locked recording from December,
2019. Thus, as I'm doing the new music video, just shy of
24 months after having recorded the song, I gotta have
the words posted so I can get them right for the video
COMING ‐‐ A NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR A NEW MIXED/MASTER:
A screen shot from the music video for the new single. The
imagery is not complete in this still-shot; there is still
a graphic that will be added in the background.
The last several days I have been actively in
on the music video
for "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas," the single of
which releases this Wednesday, December 8.
For the few of you who heard the song and saw the original
posted on my YouTube channel
two years back, the new single is the same recording, but with much better
The mix, though
technically a remix, is virtually the same to the measure of about 99.9999%,
I'd say. You five regulars might recall that the song was originally mixed
using the audio tools in Final Cut Pro X,
as was all the earlier music recorded for the album; then I decided to
finally utilize my Logic Pro X
software, which is specifically for recording, mixing, and mastering music
(and other audio), and is a bit more robust for the job. This song is the
first to get the LPX remix and remaster. It sounds much better.
The new video is, however, quite different from the lyric video that I put
out in 2019 ‐‐ and that was the second lyric video. For a few days
there was one out with a different take of the song, one with a different
vocal and without the background vocals, and also a slightly different
bass solo. But that original video was only in cyberspace for a few days.
Now, of course, both are pulled.
I actually am considering editing a new lyric video version of the song,
after I get this main music video to
It would be based on the same graphics theme as the new main video. I
already have the lyric panels from the old lyric videos, and the basic
moving color-strip graphics for the new version are already edited together,
so doing the new lyric video would not be a great task, whatsoever.
Editing the new music video, on the other hand, has been a much larger
task than I anticipated. There are a lot of layers and a lot of proper
timing of changing out the still images and video footage. I had hoped to
have the final cut this past weekend but as it was nearing bedtime last
night, it was clear that goal was not going to be met. It's pretty likely
I will get it finished this evening.
On a related note, the physical CDs of the new single are finished and have
been processed for delivery. However, when I checked the UPS website
earlier this morning, the shipment was only at "label has been created"
status. I doubt I'm looking at earlier than a Wednesday delivery, which is
the official release date. Getting this seasonal CD, this
CD, to public and independent radio stations well before the actual holiday
looks like a dim prospect. It's not improbable that I'll resend a disk to
most all of them next year, allowing for an earlier shipment date.
The first video layer over the color-strips background is
footage of the bass man.
The editing progress on Saturday. Again, there is background
imagery missing from both photos here.
Still editing Sunday evening, but getting closer to the
"THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS" ‐‐
THE SINGLE AND THE MUSIC VIDEO, OUT TODAY:
So, the second single, "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas."
from the forthcoming album releases today, as well as its
wasn't done on the DV movie until last night. I thought I had the
Monday evening, but, naturally, I decided as I watched the video one last
time before bed that some tweaks were in order. I wanted to smooth out the
image of the "lead vocalist", and I edited some zooms and pans
into the footage of the "bass player's" solo.
I also swapped out an image at one point in the song/video. I had an image
of a woman's silhouette in a doorway but I decided I didn't want to so
commit the song to be about a boy-girl relationship so I created another
image of just an open doorway with no one standing in it, so the person who
"standing at our front door" could be a more open question.
In the last blog post I stated that I'd checked the UPS site, that morning,
to see when the physical CDs of the single would be arriving. The website
said the label had been created but that it had not left the factory. The
site clearly had not been updated, because within an hour after I posted
the blog entry the package was at my desk. That's good, because I need to
get the disks to selected radio stations ASAP before the full-on
holiday has begun.
I realize that likely most of the CDs will end up on a slug pile and may
not be listened to for a while, if at all. That's the game. And I'm new at
this. As time moves on I will cultivate more savvy about how to get noticed.
Then, there's that topic of putting a band together to play gigs. Something
to contemplate for a future.
And here is the music video:
*) Dec 1, 2022 addendum: you may note that the video says it's
"remastered" ‐‐ this is the remastered version
that released with the album, almost a year after this post, and the
video was rereleased with the new audio
Tonight I finally get back to the redux of "The Answer,"
with the new vocal.
I still have plans to write and record one more song for the album. I'm
still ot sure if it will be one of the songs I started last December, while
renting the cottage in eastern Ohio, if it will be something from the long
distant past, or something that hasn't been started yet. It's not a worry,
especially after seeing the
Get Back series
‐‐ more on that later.
THE ALBUM, VIRTUALLY APPROXIMATE SUBTERFUGE, IS TURNING THE BEND
ONTO THE FINAL STRETCH OF THE RACETRACK:
After a few new tweaks to it, I finally have a finished
of "The Answer" on the books. The remix wasn't a drastic one,
meaning that it has a lot in common with the original mix, but I did go
back and start from scratch, rather than adjusting things. I also played
around quite a bit with fine-tuning
for various tracks in the song, as well as tweaking or adding
to some tracks.
Something else I did that I am want to not do is I used the
function in Logic Pro X to
adjust a slightly sharp note I sang in the background vocals ‐‐
the "oohs" ‐‐ during the instrumental bridge. That action
is pretty much exactly comparable to using Auto-Tune
and is an action that I shy away from. If I am going to go in to alter notes
I have strict rules I follow:
It's a special effect, such as when I push a bass part up an
octave to emulate the sound of a regular guitar, or if there was
some legitimate artistic reason to make my voice sound extremely
high-pitched or low-pitched.
It's a convenience of expedience and I am correcting something
that I would also be able to perform.
In conjunction with #1 & #2, it CANNOT
be employed to create a performance that I am not capable as a singer
or a musician to otherwise perform, unless it's a special
effect that the listener can clearly recognize as such ‐‐
in other words, I can't use it to present myself as a better singer
or musician than I am.
In the case of "The Answer," it was far more convenient to use
Flex Pitch to correct the note than do another take, and as that exact
note is sang in other parts of that very section, it's clear that I can
hit the note and sing it in tune.
Well, "The Answer" is finished. Now, all I need os one more song
for the album....
Last night I sat down at the Legato III,
set on electric piano, and revisited a song I started last year during my
week at The Cozy Little Red Cottage,
in Dover, Ohio, for Winter
2020. The song still has the workshop title "Cozy Cottage Jazz,"
as there are no lyrics, yet. So I opened GarageBand
on the laptop and brought
up the 8/8 drum loop I had created last December for this new song, got
out my notebook sheet of paper with the chord progression, and refreshed
myself with the song.
Whether or not this one becomes Song #14, the
last song for the album project, or not, remains to be seen. At this point,
mostly because of time constraints, I am inclined to believe it will be.
It would offer a fresh musical flavor to the album, which spots it a lot
of points as a strong candidate. If I can come up with some lyrics....
You five who are revisiting this blog may know that the original goal was
to have the album finished and released by mid-September, and that the
date kept being pushed back. It's now early January. Early January is
doable but it means that my forthcoming two weeks off from the
rent-payer, which begins
when I leave the office this afternoon, will have to be a working
vacation, with most of my awake time dedicated to the album.
Along with writing (or finishing writing) that one last song for the project,
whether it's "Cozy Cottage Jazz" or something else, then getting
it recorded, mixed and mastered, there are five other recordings that also
need to be mixed and mastered.
Then there's the album artwork. Months ago, almost a year ago I believe, I
started the front cover of the album. I took a couple photos specifically
to be mashed together for that cover, and I am still planning on that. I've
done the work in Corel Painter
on the cover. It's not completely finished, but mostly what needs to be done
is the title work. The art-design image is finished, I just have to create
the words over it: essentially the title of the album and my name.
But I'm also heavily invested in the idea of a booklet, with the lyrics
and probably peppered with photos from the recording process and perhaps
more original artwork. But that's a lot to take on in two week's time,
especially with sound engineering still left to take out.
I also would like this blog to be migrated to
klstorer.com on January 1, and that
means I have about fifty html pages left to convert to the new design format
before then, though that's mostly a process of cut‐&‐paste.
However, migrating the blog takes a back seat to getting the album and its
artwork completed. The album's already four months delayed!
Last night, reacquainting myself with the chord progression
for "Cozy Cottage Jazz," which I started almost
one year ago, to the date. The GarageBand 8/8 drum beat
loop and the chords written out, are both also from last
ASHANTI AND HER MOVIE:
*Just a reminder this can only be a small sampling of the
professional work of my friends and colleagues. I'm simply not
going to be aware of all their good fortunes.
I watched the movie this past Monday evening. What a nice little film. It's
about the crisis of purpose of a black woman in her late thirties, and, believe
it or not, I was still able to find things to identify with in Maya's struggle.
That says something about the script, the director, and certainly it says
something about Ms. J'Aria's work. Her performance is wonderful ‐‐
understated and often subtle, but always quite poignant.
Helen Martins is a South African woman living in a Christian
community. She realizes she is getting older, and her neighbors
expect her to move into a nursing home. Pastor Byleveld comes to
her house to collect the papers approving her move, but Helen
refuses to sign. Her friend, Elsa comes to visit from Cape Town,
hoping to help settle the situation, and Helen's neighbors are
concerned about the odd sculptures Helen is creating in her yard.
A COZY FINAL(?)/PENULTIMATE(?) SONG FOR THE ALBUM:
Despite that I've been off work since last Friday, it took a few days to
get to Song #14, what may be the last
song for the Virtually Approximate Subterfuge album.
The title has morphed from the working title of "Cozy Cottage Jazz"
to simply "Cozy Cottage." I considered renaming it "Virtually
Approximate Subterfuge," to make it the title cut for the album, but
nixed that idea. My instincts tell me the album title is better if it stands
The plan was to finish the music, probably adding some new chord progressions,
and then either write some new lyrics or match some already written lyrics
to this music. Yesterday, when I worked on the song, I decided to keep it
instrumental. I did add a chord progression in the middle of the song, a
musical bridge, and I set the structure from the intro section through to
the ending chord of the piece.
Having all the measures planned out, I programmed the drumkit into
GarageBand. The only
problem is that I wanted the bridge to be in a slightly different time
signature and you can't do that in a GarageBand project, have a portion in
a different time signature. The workaround is to create a separate project
with the new time signature, then put the two together as separate tracks
in yet another separate project; I created the final project in
Logic Pro X. It's three
separate drum part projects: the first half of the song; the bridge; the
last half of the song. The first and last part are in 2/4 time, the bridge
is in 4/4. The song was originally conceived all in 8/8.
As is my practice, rather than rendering a WAV file
of the whole drum part then importing it to the 24-track recorder,
I played back the assembled drum part, in real time, on my laptop
and recorded it onto the 24-track. Then I rehearsed the piano part for a
while, then made the first valiant attempt to record the piano.
It took twenty takes. I did not get a good take. I will be back at it, today.
You may spot some of my DV cameras in a couple of the photos below. I set
up all four of them to shoot the writing, rehearsal and recording process.
I will continue that through to the end of the recording sessions. Then I'll
edit together a little mini-documentary about the process. It's too bad I
didn't shoot from the very beginning last December, when I first came up
with the original chord progression at
The Cozy Little Red Cottage,
in Dover, Ohio, during Winter
2020. That would have been cool. I could do this if the next section of this
entry comes to fruition.
The title of this entry, "A Cozy Final(?)/Penultimate(?) Song for the
Album," along with the statement above, that "Cozy Cottage"
may be the last song for the album, are obvious indicators that I
am heavily considering one last song, after Song #14,
for the project. It really depends on when I get 14
to a finished recording.
As always, there are some titles from my younger musical days ‐‐
in the late Twentieth Century ‐‐ that I am eyeing, but still there
is the possibility that I'll write something brand new. If there looks like
there's time to pull it off, I'll assess the album repertoire and decide what
sort of song would feel right to add to and enhance the dynamics and continuity
of the collection. Armed with that conclusion, I'll either pull from the
past or start from scratch, if I decide to do Song #15.
Working on "Cozy Cottage," composing during the
One section of the drumkit part in GarageBand, then the
three assembled sections in Logic Pro X.
ANOTHER NIGHT BEFORE ANOTHER NIGHT BEFORE ANOTHER CHRISTMAS:
Thursday I took out a significant portion of the rhythm work for "Cozy
Cottage," recording three separate piano parts for the instrumental on
my Williams Legato III piano.
I recorded the main piano ("piano1"), in stereo, with the voice
set on the grand/baby grand setting as well as the chorus effect on. Then I
recorded with the electric piano setting ("e.piano"), again in
stereo, and again with the chorus effect. Then I recorded the third piano
("piano2"), with the upright piano voice setting.
All the piano parts are the same, save that I only play a slight amount of
left-hand work on piano2 and none on e.piano. The point of the three separate
pianos is to reinforce the chords, with no harmonies differentiating the
three. They are a unison of chords that give the chord progression a certain
strength, or, richness, if you will.
My agenda for the day today is to work out and record the bass line. I'm
not sure if I'm using the
or the Viola.
"Cozy Cottage" is pretty much a straight modern jazz piece,
maybe a little pop-rocky, but more heavily jazz. I haven't decided what
feel I want for the bass line: the sound of Embassy's more metal-ish
or the mellower sound of the Viola's
I suppose the Embassy might flavor the song a bit more in the rock arena,
while the Viola will enhance the jazz aspect. So my decision will be based
on which way I decide to go, which I haven't yet, but clearly will have to
shortly ‐‐ like, shortly after I've posted this entry.
If I am ambitious and productive enough I might just get to some solo work
today, on at least one of two probable different instruments. I'm also going
to add a horn chart, likely a quartet, this time using the midi horn voices
in Logic Pro X, played on
Oxygen 61 Keyboard.
At least one of the solo instruments may be pulled from this. LPX, as I
discovered with "The Answer" has some great midi sax voices, and
there is definitely a lot of room for some good sax soloing in this one.
Addendum: For the record, piano1 took an additional twelve takes for a
total of 32 takes. E.piano was five takes. Piano2 was three takes. I forgot
to mention that I continued shooting with the four DV movie cameras, too.
Okay, it's a good thing that I create bass lines that it takes me a little
while to conquer, that make me a better bass player. It's what I have done
here with "Cozy Cottage." The down side to that is that getting
a good take has not been just around the corner from when I sat down to compose
the part. There's been some rehearsal, a lot of it. In fact, the rehearsal
is on-going. Recording the bass line has not happened yet. Yep, it's taking
time to work out parts of the bass line, especially in the bridge, which is
essentially a bass solo section.
Beside that I haven't yet firmed up exactly what I'm playing in at least
a portion of most sections, and that I have composed a line a little bit
beyond my ability (as stated above: a good thing), I have also had to take
breaks because of fatigue in my right hand, the plucking/picking hand,
because to not take breaks would risk injury. You know you’re not playing
enough when the bass line you’re working on is wearing your picking hand
out and you have to take frequent breaks so as not to damage it.
"Playing through the pain" may sound valiant, bit it's actually
a bad idea. The rule is, if the muscles in your hand are starting to hurt:
Then there are the sore fingers, the rising blisters from not playing on a
regular basis. The blisters and soreness is especially pronounced on both
my forefingers. This has slowed down progress as well. The bass line moves,
is what is known as a
walking bass line,
and it got to the point where I needed to take breaks because working on
the bass line was becoming painful to execute. In fact, yesterday I barely
worked on it. Today, I'll give working on the bass line a trail, and if my
fingers are still too sore, I'll switch to working on the
MIDI horn chart.
The chronicling of the writing, arranging, and recording of this instrumental
continues as a
with all four of my DV movie cameras, and occasionally also employing the DV
function on my iPhone for a fifth camera.
At this point, between the four (sometimes five) cameras, I've accumulated
just short of six hours of action, which multiplies to 23.5 hours of footage
when adding up that from all the cameras.
That also adds up to 2.9 terabytes of media files. And I'm have more
instruments to go: all the MIDI horns. I was running out of memory on the
4TB harddrive, so yesterday I transferred the media files for the "Cozy
Cottage" documentary to my 5TB harddrive which has no other DV movie
projects on it. Now there are two terabytes left on the 5TB HD, which I hope
will be enough space to fit the rest of the footage and create the
final cut. There's an inside
change that I'll have to migrate to the 8TB HD before I get to the end of
I actually would have worked on the MIDI horns yesterday, but I need
Logic Pro X on the
laptop, and the laptop
was employed for the overwhelming portion of the day, migrating the media
files for this from the 4TB to the 5TB. As I wrote above, if my fingers
aren't in shape to successfully execute the bass line, I'll work on the
horns today "" the horn quartette and maybe the sax solo, if not
another horn solo.
Because I'm chronicling this process on camera, I've been running the audio
from the 24-Track recorder
through monitors rather than listening on the headphones as I rehearse and
record, so the camera mics can pick up the music. But I am in an
apartment, and though I'm not blasting the music, I do switch to headphones
about 11:00 pm, so I'm not inadvertently disturbing my neighbors' peace. To
paraphrase Paul Simon: "One
person's apartment wall is another person's apartment wall."
I really, really, really cannot allow the album project to go on much longer.
The release needs to be firmly in mid-January at the latest. With
Song #14 clearly not finished by now, it's
obvious that there will not be a Song #15 for
the project. There's still a lot of
and artwork to get to, and I can't see this project wrapped before New
Years Eve, as it is.
The Viola bass, on its guitar stand, waiting for
Late in the rehearsal when I switched to the
headphones in deference to my neighbors in the
My chord sheet for the song, with the chords spelled
out, which I used as a guide when compsing the bass
Importing DV footage of the rehearsal into Final
Cut Pro X.
Some Christmas Day footage in FCPX from Camera D.
Footage from the next day in FCPX from Camera A.
Working out the bass line for the bridge, on
Boxing Day (as the British call December 26).
Being a man with a heart condition and hyper-tension,
I don't dring coffee or most teas, but I do consume
copious amounts of hot chocolate, especially when
Tuning the Viola bass.
Risking injury for my art.
Continuing to work out the bass line, with sore fingers,
late night/early morning December 28/29.
Last night I did work on the "Cozy Cottage" bass line. My fingers,
though still a little sore, were in good enough shape that I could get some
woodshedding done, whilst I watched TV.
I was able to both work on execution and composition, even with
the Gilmore girls on
the screen. It's all still going a bit slower than I prefer. I haven't completely
decided what I'm doing all the way across the song. The song has a main
"A" section, with various subsections, that is repeated four times.
There's an intro based on A, then A is ran twice, then there's the bridge,
then A, twice again, with the last subsection of the fourth play vamped a
few times into the final chord.
I am varying what the bass line is in each play-through of section A, but
I haven't totally solidified what I'm doing, as of yet. I'm getting close
but am not quite there. Rather than improv through each time, I want to
have exact notes for each of the four runs through the section. I still
need to compose the last half of what I'm doing in the bridge, as well.
Again, I have much of it but not all. There's still some rehearsal of the
execution in front of me, too. It would be so sweet and lovely if I could
buckle down and get the good take of this £u¢|<!|\|@ bass line
recorded before I go to bed tonight ‐‐ or, more realistically,
early hours tomorrow morning.
Seriously, I need to shortly be pulling out the
M-Audio Oxygen 61 61-key Keyboard,
plugging it into the
horns in Logic Pro X and
working out both the MIDI horn chart and the horn solos, at least one of
which we have established is going to be a saxophone. Oh but if it could
start this night, but, likely not.
MAYBE A LITTLE HEARTWALK TODAY?:
Before I get to the music today, I need to go out and get a bit of
exercise. During this whole time off from the rent-payer,
I have not done any exercising at all.
My last hike was two-and-a-half weeks ago. I've been so focused on the album
project that I have blown off going for hikes, that being my pandemic go-to
for exercise. I have been reluctant about being in the gym so I have not
gone since COVID came to town.
My BP was a little higher today when I took it. Still not
anything like in the danger zone, yet still a higher reading than I like.
So, as soon as this blog post is up, I am out the door for at least a
forty-five-minute to one-hour hike.