Everything is Green and Submarine

Sometimes we like to sit around the house and listen to music. I’ve been trying to educate Michelle on classic rock. Right now we’re in a Pink Floyd phase. Last year she got into Yes after hearing it in some anime, and now we’re all digging Floyd. I’m kinda envious that she can discover all this great music for the first time. There was a time in tenth grade or so when Pink Floyd was my favorite band, along with Rush, Zeppelin and the Doors. Of course I’ve discovered tons of great music since then, but it’s nice to check in with your faves once in a while.

We listened to Meddle and Wish You Were Here a few weeks back, then Dark Side of the Moon this weekend, and later on watched Live at Pompeii. The movie opens and ends with Echoes, which is such a great song, up there with the all time best full-album side track in classic or prog rock. It also has a bunch of other great early stuff like Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, One of These Days, and Saucerful of Secrets all performed live. They really had a special sound and an original take on music before they took over FM radio. Michelle says her favorite song is Mademoiselle Nobs.

Unfortunately our DVD is the directors cut from 1999 or so, and the amazing long slow zoom that opens the film is intercut with bad CG and stock footage of outer space and planets. Luckily the original version of the film is available as a bonus feature, so we watched the first and last chapter (Echoes Part I and II) agin the next might. Now everyone the family has the song stuck in our heads. Jeannie reminded me that Pink Floyd was the first concert we saw together, up in Toronto, after we’d been dating only a few weeks. They open and closed their live show with echoes that tour. It was the first time she heard it and it stuck with her.

In the home studio I’m in the middle of five songs right now on both the jazz and the rock side.

Winter Wolf Whisper is a jazz quasi-ballad I did with my last group. Lots of moody jazz chords and a strong, undulating melody. I have the drums, piano and electric bass laid down. When we did this live Jay played upright bass, and the electric changes the sound and character of the piece. But I’m digging it. It still needs the sax and maybe some synths, and some tweaks the drums. I’m thinking of recording a second drum track using my new acoustic drums. But I’m trying to do songs in pairs, so …

Heavy Water is a jazz fusion number that I wrote recently but never played with a group. Now I’m making it more studio-centric, and envisioning the sound as maybe sorta Steely/APP/Daft Punk with shades of 70s’ Herbie. It has a slow piano introduction and then mostly grooves on two sets of four chord changes in a loop. Right now I have the piano intro tracked, and map of the rest of the song with a synth bass outlining the chords and a midi drum part. I’m working on filling in the drum part to get a better sense of of the rise and fall of the dynamics and where the different sections fit. I might add another two choruses.

Plague of Frogs is my ten-minute prog magnum opus on the next rock album. I have the intro and main verse up the start of the jam section, with midi bass, drums, piano and synth. I’ve been working on the drums in the main section to get a sense of the groove and make it come alive. Next are the transitions from the intro and out of the section. This one will take a while.

Why Not Zed? and All of the Above are two short, simple uptempo songs for which I have the lyrics, chords and melody. I am writing them on guitar to keep things from getting too complicated. Next step is to get them so I can sing and play thru, then flesh out the arrangements.

Meanwhile, the computer that’s a the heart of my recording studio has been undergoing some upgrades with Jeannie’s help. A year ago or maybe more, the screen started glitching out from time to time. We got a replacement computer of the same kind before the screen gave out completely. But then the hard drive in the replacement computer started acting up, causing unpredictable crashes. We replaced the graphics card in the original computer and I started using it again, until we had a new problem where the screen goes black from time to time. So we replaced the hard drive in the replacement computer with an SSD that’s twice the size. Now it runs faster and quieter and has tons of free space. So we’re gonna replace the backlight controller in the original computer and upgrade to an SSD as well. Then I’ll have two fully functioning computers for my recording studio, although Jeannie wants to take one and put it in her office.

Leave a Reply