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Making Music Again!

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#1 Greg P

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 06:34 PM

So, I'm outing myself again. I did this several years ago on the Writer's Block when a small group of us A&F'ers shared our working projects with one another and opened the door for constructive criticism. At the time I found it to be a healthy experiment, so I figure there's no real harm in taking another shot.

I play and write music, in some form, almost every day. This is a habit I've maintained for years. It's my form of prayer i suppose. I've really struggled over the years to find guys to connect with musically. I mean, I've played with a lot of talented dudes-- guys who clearly had chops and had developed their own "voice" thru years of playing. But I never felt like I was on the same page emotionally or artistically with any of these people. The consequence of these creative misfires and half-starts was me retreating back to my perpetually ongoing "solo" project.

All that changed about 9 or 10 months ago when I reconnected with some of my favorite musicians in the world-- a couple of guys I played with in my glorious teens and hadn't seen in 20 years. The instant creative reconnect was exhilarating. We recorded demos of five brand new tunes over the summer (in very primitive fashion) and we're pretty pumped. We're going into the studio in December to give these kids the proper treatment, hopefully with the assistance of a producer. The vibe clearly has some post-rock, instrumental leanings as well as the whole jazz/improv element. But my melodic influences are more structured and traditional pop-oriented stuff... so mix all that stuff together. The tunes all come from guys informed by jazz who don't actually get off on playing real jazz... if that makes any sense at all.

I'll be updating the myspace page over the next week. Once again these are JUST demos... Recorded with TWO MICS, and featuring minimal overdubs. The first one posted is actually the last tune we wrote this summer. It's a song called "The Tumbledown Epilogue" and serves as a wistful, instrumental bookend to the other four tunes. What made this song such a joy was the spontaneity in which it was birthed... a process of literally about ten minutes. So the sound you hear is a drummer, bass player, a guitarist (yours truly) and one loop box playing thru a song, properly, for the first time. I added a simple supportive rhythm track later and some ambient slide parts. That's it. The rest is a trio in a room, winging it through a heartfelt composition... groping.

Id like to hear how this strikes you guys! Feel free to deliver some payback for all my years of bitching and nitpicking on this forum. I have it coming!


Edited by Greg P, 05 October 2009 - 06:45 PM.

#2 Joel



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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:44 AM

Listening to it now. It sounds really nice.

#3 Greg P

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:34 AM

Thanks for listening Joel!

I've posted the other four demos. Of those, two were recorded in similar fashion to Tumbledown-- basically us just plummeting headlong thru the tune without much rehearsal. In these cases, we kept the take not because it was the cleanest version we could do, but because of an intrinsic energy going on in the room.

All of these tunes have vocals, with the exception of Tumbledown... I'll be posting the vocal versions soon. At the Bottom and Not So Bad are two very vocal-heavy tunes, which benefit greatly i think from the additional melodies. Interspersed between these five fairly straightforward songs are a handful of cool, misc. loops created in rehearsal, and a pair of frantic, free form improvisations. I might post those too at some point. Anyway, thanks for the good word!

#4 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 10:29 AM

I finally caught up with this last night, Greg. Loved it.

#5 Greg P

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 10:52 AM

Thanks Peter!

#6 M. Dale Prins

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    Stop! Do a drum solo instead!

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:27 PM

Like a lot of that instrumental ambientish style of music, I have a hard time critiquing it in whole, but I can say that "The Tumbledown Epilogue" absolutely works for me. I don't know if you're planning on putting vocals with it, but I think one more layer of melody/countermelody (be it vocals or not) would make it even awesomer.


#7 Greg P

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 12:36 PM

Thanks Dale! Tumbledown was the last song of the bunch that I tackled vocally. It has lyrics and a lilting melody, but i'm still on the fence about it. Time will tell.

#8 Greg P

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Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:19 PM

This thread is so depressing! I posted this stuff four years ago, then promptly went through a tough divorce, switched jobs and moved. My kids are my crowning joy, but single parenting ain't exactly conducive to the creative process. Despite the hardships, my progressive-Sesame Street garage pop band St Cloud, got back on the stick again this year. I've got a half dozen new tunes I'm excited about and some re-vamped older tunes. Despite a heavy emphasis on composition, we stil prefer to record like a jazz band-- one room, single takes, better mics this time around... I think ultimately we all still love (and miss) the sound of a live band in a room, rattling the windows and letting it fly-- warts and all. (my neighbors were very unhappy with me the day this was recorded!)
Plenty of warts and chaos here (with an engineer now trying now to tame our tangled maelstrom a bit), but this is one of those takes where emotion and energy won the day, for my taste. It finally feels like we're a band, which is very energizing to me after a few years of real, personal struggles.
This is a tune about box sledding down the steep southbound slope of the Florida Turnpike when we were kids. No repeating chorus. Still mixing and vocals being tracked as I type... but I thought I'd post anyway.
Me- guitar and loops,
Johnny P - drums
Brian T-- Bass


Edited by Greg P, 02 December 2013 - 03:55 PM.