Box Set Hatful of Hollow Meat Is Murder The Queen Is Dead Louder Than Bombs Strangeways Here We Come


Friday, April 24, 2020

Still Ill

2020 Update
Sorry for the radio silence, I've gotten a little behind in posting since the apocalypse began.  This next week I'll be posting a lot to catch up!  How are you all doing? I've been busy trying to keep my business afloat, stressing every time I have to be around people for work, keeping up with homeschooling, exercise, failing at sourdough bread, avoiding Tiger King and Trump's medical advice, etc.  I definitely have not had any down time.

How fitting the next song to post is Still Ill!  My version is very drone-based and looking back now, I might have added a creepy beat to the background but this early in the game I was still very new to beatboxing.  I dig it, though.  Very moody in deed!

2010 Original Post
This should have been my theme song for January and February. After a month and a half, I am finally recovering from my super-stupid-cold. I am looking forward to recording without having to stop every two seconds to hack and cough.

My version of Still Ill has a drone made of vocal loops pitched down one octave. I wanted to give the piece a feeling of being somewhat heavy and stuck in the illness but then contrast that with light and airy vocals because, to me, the act of questioning is really a sign of hope...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

This Charming Man

2020 Update
We suddenly live in a different world.  I've been hanging out in my house with my fam, just homeschooling and figuring out how to navigate our new reality and keep my business/job going. It's tough but we are all doing a variation of this same thing and we are all in it together.  In the meantime, maybe posting these songs can give you a tiny break from the madness. Love you all and stay safe!   On with the music!

This is still one of my fav Smiths songs.  On my version, this is where I started to branch out and away from the doo doo  doot background vocals and try to find different ways to make textures and rhythms with voice. 

2010 Original Post

I love what Simon Goddard (author of all things Smiths) says about this song. Basically, he says that when most rock bands are singing "oh baby" "oooh yeah" and other radio-friendly nonsense, out of nowhere comes Morrissey singing "Punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate..."

What an amazing lyricist he is.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

*2020 Update*
When I started this project, Jaden was 3-4 years old and now he's 13 and still the most awesome kid I could have ever hoped for! I love him to the moon and back.

People ask how was I able to complete this project while parenting a toddler. For years, Josh and I worked one hour away in SF which meant Jaden also went to preschool/daycare in SF because he needed to be dropped off/picked up in the normal preschool time-frame of 8am-6pm.

Starting the end of 2009, I was able to work every other week from home so I suddenly had all that day time to myself. I sang and edited from the time they left early in the morning until 7pm when they got back home. And then I would take the Musician Hat off and put the Mom Hat back on to make dinner and hang out with the fam. I also did all my "work from home" tasks at night. This is why I was able to accurately add up the amount of time I spent on this project. Exactly ten hours a day, five days a week, every other week. 1300 hours.

Unfortunately, I've never had that much time for music again.

This is why I haven't put out anything new. I have tried so many ways to incorporate music into my life while still making ends meet but I have yet to figure out how to do something that pays the bills while still having time/energy left over for music. Over the years, my thought process has been: start a business using my unique skills, put in the work until eventually it can continue without me by hiring additional help. I thought this would be true of the awesome vegan restaurant that Josh and I created and built up over the last few years but I was never able to step back and get any of my time back. I'm in the process of trying again with the current business but we will see. I'm often frustrated that none of the things I'm "good at" or "known for" are things I'm able to support myself with. The inability to create music has been my main source of depression over the years. I just can't figure out how to make things work in my favor.  I have to, though.

*original 2010 Post*

This song is dedicated to my three year old son, Jaden whom I love more than life itself.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Track 4 Pretty Girls Make Graves (take 2)

Early on, I did a lot of doot doot sounds to create rhythms but I knew it was only a matter of time before I needed to do something else. I like listening back to see how my mind came up with new creative solutions to make each song unique. In a way, it follows The Smiths (especially Johnny Marr's guitars!) journey of expanding creativity as well. However, I like the haunting quality of this- especially the totally different chord structure at the end. Fun fact: that ending caught me off guard today as I was listening to write this post. I had honestly forgotten how my version went. Once I had finished the entire project in 2010, I completely put it out of my mind to get some much needed space from the all-consuming 1300-hour project. It took me several years to be able to listen to The Smiths again without hearing my versions layered on top. Now I'm back to thinking of great high school memories when I listen to them and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Of all 71 tracks, this is the only original file that somehow got deleted- both the original single voice version and the multilayered one. When the project was remastered in 2011, we had to just clean up the audio file that already had all the vocal layers flattened into one stereo track.

2010 Original Post
As promised, here's the new and improved version with about 10 more layers of voice than the original. I did my best to include more of the guitar element to the music and I'm pleased with how it turned out. It's probably the most rhythmic of my vocal pieces to date!

(btw, I seem to be having volume issues but hopefully the levels aren't too low for everyone else...)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Miserable Lie (take 2)

This was the last of the original single-track vocals that were replaced by the layered versions. From this point forward, all songs were created with the idea of layering. This also marks the first track that included beatboxing! I had never attempted drum sounds and I hid them in the background just in case people laughed. It may seem like a small thing, but I felt selfconcious trying to make drum noises and it really took some courage to post this. Comfort zone be damned!

The inspiration for Miserable Lie was the sparse, dark feel of Pipeline by Depeche Mode The overall dirge feel of the bass notes sliding into position was a direct nod. The high ooooo in the background at 1:20 and again at 2:06 was a slowed-down version of the main Pipeline melody. I love easter eggs but I think this was one that absolutely nobody figured out!

**2010 original post**
This is more of a departure from the original song and I'm pleased with how it turned out. First off, let me just say this: I am not a beatboxer nor have I ever played one on TV, ok Rahzel? I find that adding drums really gives me more options to take the music in different directions so this probably won't be the last you hear of them. I have 70-ish songs to go so it's time to start getting creative!

Also, my version is a bit darker than the original. I wanted it to have some anger and despair to match the lyrics so I said to myself, WWMGD?* Oh! and extra credit points to the first person who can name the Depeche Mode song I borrowed a melody from.

* What Would Martin Gore Do

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

You've Got Everything Now (Take 2)

This is the multi-layer version of the second song that replaced the original single-voice track. It was also my first attempt at adding rhythm to a cover. Complete with all the doots and aaaahhhs of a live a cappella song, it could be easily recreated and I would absolutely love to hear some barbershop quartet type group give it a whirl. After a few more songs with this traditional singing style, I quickly realized I was going to have to expand and make things more interesting before I doo-ta-doo'd everyone to death. I often wonder what I might have come up for my rendition if it had taken place later on in the project.

FUN FACT: Each vocal is on a separate layer in ProTools so that I can adjust volume/panning, etc. I used to label them according to how they sounded, for example Low Doots, Mid Doots, Ahhh Hi, Hum Low... Which made perfect sense to me but was apparently an absolute nightmare for any engineer that took a look at the files once the songs were upwards of 50 layers. What can I say. I'm complicated. *SHRUG EMOJI*

*original 2010 post*
This is a pretty literal translation of the song but I promise the next song, Miserable Lie, is waaaaay far from it's original version. Just you wait...

Friday, January 10, 2020

Track #1: Reel Around the Fountain

The original single-track vocal and post of this song was lost, possibly deleted once I decided to go back and re-record it will multi-layer vocals. At this point, I had no dedicated studio space. I just barricaded myself in the guest room and sat on a couch with a crappy microphone in my hands and tried to sit real still and pretend I didn't have a head cold while singing. I was definitely channeling my inner Zoltan Kodaly music theory teachings combined with my love for traditional choir performed in a big reverby church. I love reverb, like too much. It's a tough one for me to curb, although every engineer has told me to try. I'm getting there!

This project was born out of the sadness of losing two great friends in 5 weeks. At the time, I thought of the music as a major distraction, but now I can hear myself processing all that grief on a subconscious level. Even ten years later, I still get messages from strangers telling me my voice has helped them through hard times. I basically locked myself in a room and sang for 10 hours a day for a year. At times I felt very much alone, but I never was. This is the beautiful thing about sharing pain rather than keeping it locked inside.