As Is

This week’s song, “As Is“, is different from the rest.  It’s almost entirely instrumental… yes, I very nearly succeeded in “shutting my stinking trap” for a full tune. Why? Well… first of all, I’ve always had a hard time writing love songs, and as this is one, I trusted my music-making instincts more than my word-making ones.

Another reason is that my MIDI guru, Mr. Ron Warner, taught me the ways of Reason 3.0 this week, and I wanted to experiment with some of the tones, as well as the extent to which the MIDI world allows endless manipulation and “perfecting” of one’s performance. As you might remember from “Hustle Beach”, I had an intial tendency to want to quantize everything. This time around, I tried as best I could to leave human or naturalistic touches in there…. harmony parts that didn’t quite end at the same time, extra notes that got hit on the way to a final destination, etc. I still quantized a lot of stuff too. But the final product breathes better than did “Hustle Beach.”

Where are the musical influences here? I’m not sure, really. I started out at the computer with no real idea… I just sat down and started playing around. I know that that’s standard operating procedure for lots of people, but it’s rare for me. I hear a little bit of bad early-90s jazz-rap production there at the beginning, like Us3 or something like that. Then there’s that low sax stuff, which reminds me of Morphine. And the “chorus” section has some touches that seem Brazilian to me… I have been listening to a lot of that stuff lately, but I don’t know that I could claim to know enough to deliberately Brazilianize a track.

If you can’t decipher all the lyrics, it’s because some of them are in Hindi. Yes, that’s right. My lovely girlfriend is spending most of this month teaching at a primary school in Dharamsala, India, and she left behind a book that’s either called “Learn Hindi Through English” or “Learn Hindi in 30 Days”; I can’t tell. I took a few lyrics from a chapter called “Sentences of Three Words”: “meri bat suno”, which means “Hear my words”, and “ap ko dekhne aya”, which means “I came to see you.” Stay tuned for next week’s post, in which I will use such phrases as “raghu roti khayega” (“Raghu will eat bread”) and “ram mujhe dekho” (“Rama, look at me!”).

One quick shout to our great friends in Iowa City. Baby Teeth had the pleasure of playing there this past weekend, and man do we love that town. We’ve started working one of these blog posts, “I Hope She Won’t Let Me”, into our live set, and there were actually people singing along, just from hearing it on the blog and liking it. That is totally gratifying; thank you so much!

3 Responses to “As Is”
  1. Ron says:

    Yay! Was this all from the refills we got? I just finally got a chance to start going through those today. It was overwhelming! I stuck mostly to NN-XT stuff… but I opened up a few Abbey Road Keyboards combinator patches, and was bewildered!

    While we were chatting the other day, I had this epiphany that enough is enough, and I’ve gotta start making room for recording new songs in my life again. So today I was working on that sasquatch tune. I actually started it a few days ago, while experimenting with the MS2000R. One interesting thing I discovered is that I can set up the MIDI and audio jacks to all the devices such that Pro Tools plays my Casio into the MS2000R, and plays a vocal track into it as well, combining them in the vocoder and spitting the whole thing back into Pro Tools.

    Also, while fiddling around with the knobs on an arpeggiator patch on the MS2000R, the doorbell rang, or the kettle boiled or something, and I left the room for a while. When I came back, the unit was still arpeggiating the same chord… it was funny!

  2. Judah says:

    Nice! Mellow longing is hard to pull off.

    >Where are the musical influences here? I’m not sure, really.

    Definitely some Stevie! “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” (“Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away”, etc.).

  3. Abraham says:

    ron: glad you’re writing again. bring it on. I’ve still not looked through any of the refill patches… this song was made using just the regular ol’ reason 3.0. I’m prepared to be overwhelmed, though. I can’t really follow what you’re saying about the rewiring, to be honest, but I’ll be psyched to hear the results, I will tell you that!

    judah: thank you! that’s true, stevie could do that mellow longing thing with the best of em. I’ve loved “heaven is 10 zillion light years away” ever since you put it on a mixtape for me a decade ago!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: