Deep Star Space Trek Voyager No. 9

Audio Recording, Composition, Songwriting, Synthesizers Comments Off on Deep Star Space Trek Voyager No. 9

Another week, another chord progression experiment.

This one really got away from me, heading in a Jay Chattaway direction before I could slow it down.

Now I just have to write and produce a new spin-off series so I can persuade myself to use this as the opening title music.

Hey… it’s late and I’m getting punchy… 😉

Enjoy!

Fanfare for the Common Battlestar – MP3 – 192kBps – 1.9MB – 1:21 min.

Tunevolution: Those Crazy Eyes

Composition, Education, Software, Songwriting, Synthesizers 1 Comment

Last week in Songwriting Workshop:Harmony, our assignment was to put together a progression with certain characteristics. For that I created a groove that goes from a Im IVm Aeolian “power progression” to a Im IV7 Dorian equivalent. This inspired some additional changes that ultimately turned into a nice rumba thing:

Week 5 Assignment – MP3 – 160kBps – 1.7MB – 1:28 min.

This week was our midterm assignment and I chose to stick with that basic rumba groove and see what I could do with it. I didn’t like the G7sus4 G7 “resolution” because, well, it was just a little too “one-four-fivey” to go to CMaj after the very cool change to FmMaj7 and the other stuff that precedes it. I started fooling with it and hit upon a nice E7#5 which – immediately – struck a raw Steely Dan nerve that didn’t seem to want to settle back down. So I went with it.

The result – at least to me – is nothing short of astounding. That is, it doesn’t feel like I should have been capable of writing this – in three days, no less – but I did. I credit Shane Adams here, as his weekly class lectures on WebEx have been a true goldmine of information – and inspiration – for a harmony beginner like myself.

Anyway, I keep thinking this tune has to be a direct ripoff of some Steely Dan tune I can’t find, but so far it looks genuinely original. At this point there’s just a couple verses and a ‘chorus’ which, right now, sounds more like a bridge to me, but hey it’s a work in progress. This is transposed down a step from the earlier composition, mostly so I can ‘sort of’ sing it (getting some vocal chops back after not singing for so long is proving to be problematic). It’s also sped up a bit from a sleepy 94bpm to a more upbeat 110, which feels just about right. The drums here are Session Drummer 3 with tweaks to the stock rhythms by me. Everything else (but the vocal, of course) is the Kontakt 3.5 sampling synth, and I’m very happy to report that it works just fine with my x64 version of SONAR on Win 7. Nice NOT to have to spend money upgrading that just to get it to work.

When I redo this with a complete vocal and finish this I’ll post an update. It might be a while before I can hire the right horn section and female backup vocalists, but I’m already checking Craigslist…

Those Crazy Eyes (beta) – MP3 – 192kBps – 7MB – 5:07 min.

Those Crazy Eyes
© 2010 Ron Romano

[intro]

BbMaj7 Am7 Gm7 D7#5
Gm7 G#m7 Gm7 G#m7

[verse]

Gm7                          Cm7
Those foggy nights above the bay... so quiet

Gm7                         C7
Until we found each others' hand.

EbmMaj7               Eb°7     Dm7              Gm7     Gm7 Fm7
Three Rings and Garrapata: our private stomping grounds.

EbMaj7                          D7sus4            D7#5
We played the finest mind games  with the time we found.

Our steamy nights above the bay... on fire.
Long laughter. Short, white, sexy lies.
When all that high adventure was threatened by good-byes.
I couldn't look away from Those Crazy Eyes.


[chorus I]

Gm7
Temp-ta-tion lies in Those Crazy Eyes.

F6      Gm7
Walk a- way.

Gm7 Dm7 EbMaj7  Cm7      F7sus4 
Not for nuthin' does the Mother

F7       F6   Gm7
Warn the Son:

              Cm7             D7sus4
Don't talk to Strangers after school.

D7              Gm9       BbMaj7 Gm6/E (or C7)
Don't take that pill just to be  cool.

              Cm7                    Cm6
Look both ways when you step out

    Cm6add9    D7      
But don't look twice - 

         D7sus4 D7#5    Gm
at Those Cra-        zy Eyes.


[chorus II]

Temp-ta-tion lies
In Those Crazy Eyes. Walk away.
Not for nuthin' does the Mother
Warn the son:

Don't let this fall out of your wallet.
Don't be too quick to compro- mise.
Don't argue with Sicilians.
And don't look twice - at Those Crazy Eyes.


[bridge I]

EbMaj7 F7            Dm7  Gm7 Gm7 Fm7
Some   love, it's de-liri-um.

EbMaj7    F7                  Dm7  Gm7 Gm7 Fm7
Magic. Mystique. Slippery oblivi-  on.

EbMaj7                  F7
Cool champagne, diamond ring

F7       Dm7       Bb°Maj7
Might be just your thing.

        Cm7      C7                  EbMaj7
But for some the prize is What's be- hind

      D7sus4 D7#5  Gm7
Those Cra-    zy   Eyes.


[bridge II]

Some love, it's delirium.
Tragic. Intrigue. Aaron and Miriam.
Way too late you find Fate
But it's not the one
That you see there when you close
Those Crazy Eyes.

p.s. yeah, you know who you R__ 😉

Hard Road Down

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar, Performance, Songwriting Comments Off on Hard Road Down

Been a while. I’ve been getting a handle on songwriting harmony in BerkleeMusic’s BMW-133 Songwriting Workshop: Harmony with (the awesome) Shane Adams. This week was the first I’d actually put something complete together. I’ve upgraded to Win 7, which meant saying good-bye to the Tascam FW-1804 and replacing it with a PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. This is the first stuff recorded with that unit, which – especially considering it’s about 1/10th the size and has almost the same capability – is pretty darned nice.

Harmonically, this tune stays primarily Ionian for the most part, but borrows the Lydian II and the Mixolydian bVIImaj7 at different points.

The verse section uses two distinct “power progressions”: I IV and I VIm IIm V, which are both in the list of Ionians in the book. The second pass through the verse replaces the Ionian IIm with the Lydian II – actually II7sus4 & II7, followed by a V with falling bass.

The chorus uses an idea that’s similar but not identical to the last Ionian power progression in the book – the one with the falling bass line, i.e., prosodically (Shane?) ‘going down’. The progression is IV IV/bIV IIm V I I/VII VIm VIm7, repeating, and ends with bVII IV V.

Sorry if the audio is a little hard to follow and the vocal is a bit strained. I literally wrote, threw it together and rough mixed it in about 4 hours – that’s two acoustic guitars, electric guitar, bass, electric solo, MIDI drum track and a vocal. *pant* It sounded incomplete without at least these parts. Strings and piano will be added later, I’m thinking, and of course this needs about two more verses, another chorus and maybe a modified repeat of the bridge. Right now I’m just trying to figure out where to go with the lyrics.

Hard Road Down – MP3 – 192kBps – 6.5MB – 4:31 min.

Rewriting History

General 3 Comments

Speaking of Redu-ing stuff… I spent a few hours this evening trying to restore some of the Giant City tunes Bob Bruning originally collected on CD a few years back. Given what he had to work with – which I believe was mostly cassette copies of copies of demos and live recordings – the quality was good but not great. Certainly fun to listen to… even if you had to be there for some of it.

I re-ripped a few of these off of the CDs Bob sent and tried to restore some of the original quality by subtracting out some of the mud, boosting the dynamic range and restoring some of the low and high end. This was done with SONAR and a bundled mastering plugin called Vintage Channel VC-64. The Sonitus:fx Compressor and Reverb plug-ins are also used. In some cases the cassette tape hiss is enhanced a little, unfortunately, but I consider that a small price to pay for the added clarity.

Also, as I was doing this, I discovered a tune I’d completely forgotten about. For some reason I’d never pulled this from the CDs and neglected to include it on the “Compositions” page. It’s a great tune – Tell Me Lies. IMHO, we’re coming around to a point in the industry where it’s quite likely fashionable again. Along with the rest… hey, it’s nostalgia at its best.

These files are a little larger than usual – in the 6-10MB range. I apologize if the d/l speed is a little slower here than usual. My provider seems to be rationing bandwidth on-and-off lately.

Tell Me Lies – 6.8M

Oh, Money! – 8.0M
Fly Away – 9.5M
Wizards – 8.0M
I Woudn’t Want To Be Like You – 9.3M
The Answer’s In The Music – 6.5M
Seems To Me – 7.5M
The Same Old Thing – 8.0M
Shakin’ Me – 7.4M
You’re The Only One – 8.1M
All I Wanna Do – 8.0M
Say Something Right – 6.7M

Tequila Sunrise Redux

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The vocal on this is a little embarrassing (and a lot incomplete – not sure if I’ll get a chance to finish it), but I wanted to post it just because the guitar stuff on it is so much fun – done by my brother Tony.

This was a mid-term project for Arranging: Rhythm Section. The assignment was to take an existing composition and (re-)arrange it. I chose Tequila Sunrise, cranked up the tempo, transposed it up a step (to Amaj), created a chorus (based on an early version of the Eagles’ original), added an intro section and an ending. Everything is synthesized except for the vocal and the guitars – please excuse the flat (non-automated) mix, which isn’t intended to sound great, just demonstrate the arrangement. If the solo at the end sounds in any way funky, blame me not Tony – I cloned it and pulled some key-shifting tricks to get it to (mostly) fit.

Enough qualifiers… enjoy!

Tequila Sunrise Redux – MP3 – 192kBps – 5.2MB – 3:48 min.

Score: Tequila Sunrise Redux – PDF

A very nice surprise

General 2 Comments

Rainy Day Rag

Audio Recording, Composition, Guitar Comments Off on Rainy Day Rag

At least that’s the title for now.

Inspired by this guy, of course. First attempt at a Travis / fingerstyle composition.

Rainy Day Rag – MP3 – 160kBps – 5.2MB – 4:31 min.

Volo Flamenco – new and improved

Audio Recording, Composition, Education, Guitar, Software, Synthesizers 1 Comment

Hey, I just uploaded the final project MP3 for Orchestration 1. Here it is below – the new and improved version, first 2:30 of the full Allegro for Guitar and Orchestra.

Also linked below is the full six+ minute, guitar-only version, for reference. Might be fun to listen to that first if you haven’t heard it before.

It’s getting there.

Volo Flamenco – guitar only – MP3 – 128kBps – 6.4MB – 6:42 min.

Volo Flamenco – using SONAR 8 & Kontakt 3 – MP3 – 160kBps – 2.9MB – 2:27 min.

Tommy – Live!

Guitar, People, Performance Comments Off on Tommy – Live!

We met with some friends to (finally) catch Tommy Emmanuel in person at the Patriot Place Showcase Live venue last night. Tommy was in superb form. It was quite an experience to be sitting only about 40′ from the world’s greatest living guitarist.

Some highlights were And So It Goes, which brought tears to my eyes; Somewhere Over the Rainbow, ditto; the low end in Initiation (the one point where the P.A. volume was appropriate) literally shook me in my seat; and the Rick’n’Tommy duet to close the main show was great fun with some classics like Wake Up Little Suzy and Love Me Tender. Tommy did an extended encore, which included his awesome Beatles medley, and he even received a $1 tip from one of the waitresses! Yeah, that (read: she) was a little weird.
 


What. A. SHOW!!!

Only three minor disappointments: the house system was cranked up WAY too loud (I was sitting right next to the sound guy, so there really was no excuse – except that he must be partly deaf), Those Who Wait was MIA, and Guitar Boogie was played on an ancient 1934 Kalamazoo into a flat condenser dynamic-looking mic (fun, but the tune literally loses ALL its punch that way).

Everything else was an absolute delight – including Rick Price who has a great voice and an excellent stage presence. We all liked his music and his performance a lot.

BIG THANKS to Brian for spotting the tickets for this when the tour was added!

Links to additional pics below. Here’s hoping he was able to get that shirt back to Wal-Mart before heading on to Norfolk-Norfolk-Norfolk. 😉

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Loop Action

Composition, Synthesizers Comments Off on Loop Action

One of the workshops we did last week came out fun. This was an assignment that started with some canned drum loops (you’ll hear them), to which we were to add orchestral instruments.

This cue was a shot at something between James Bond (recent vintage) and the Bourne series film scores.

Adding Orchestral Material to Drum Loops – MP3 – 160kBps – 870kB – 0:44 min.

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