Author: Heath

11
Apr
2020
14:37

Clapocalypse

You ever spend way too much time and effort on a throwaway joke? Like when a post by a friend makes you jokingly say that you want to create a version of the Friends theme that has claps through the whole song? So you get the Friends theme and painstakingly find some group claps in your drum software, and then tune them and tweak the Abbey Road Chambers reverb plugin trying to perfectly match the sound and tone of the original claps? And they’re still not perfect but you realize how much effort you’ve put into this and all the much better things you could have put that effort into so you call it “good enough” and move on with your life?

No? Just me?

MOAR CLAPS
05
Apr
2020
4:03

A Visit From A Muse

From a spark in my brain to finished song: 13 hours.

Long version: I had some dreams last night. I woke up at one point this morning and the idea and chorus for this song were in my head. I was still tired and wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t. And this song kept nagging at me to give it life. So I got up and fired up my studio. I knew this was going to be different from anything else I’d ever done. I knew it was going to be all synthesizers when I’m mostly an organic guitar-driven guy. I knew the exact vibe and atmosphere I wanted. I also knew I was going to write it in a way that I’d never written before: as I went along. Just tinkering with sounds and parts.

So, where to start when you have many different synths, each with hundreds if not thousands of sounds? I did a search for every sound that had “Dream” in the title. Then I started going through them all and finding ones that I thought might work for what I was going for. I ended up with about 20+ tracks of synths ready to be used. I started piecing it all together part by part. After about 10 or 11 hours, the music was done and I had a verse and a chorus of lyrics. I took a walk at around midnight and finished another two verses. I got back home and finished the last of the lyrics, thinking I would record vocals tomorrow.

Then I realized that I was going for a very soft vocal style on this song, so despite sleeping roommate’s and roommate’s child, I decided it couldn’t wait. I recorded all the vocals, did a few overdubs and edits, and here we are. Approximately 13 hours from when the muse kissed me, her gift is done. A song completely unlike anything I’ve ever written or recorded before. Everything but the vocals was done with Reason 11 in Reaper.

Some of the identifiable (to me) influential ingredients in this musical casserole:

  • Billie Eilish
  • David Bowie
  • St. Vincent
  • Pink Floyd
  • Jellyfish
  • Cars
  • Annie Lennox
  • Adele
  • Muse

A list of (most of) the synth sounds used (all the “dream”-based sounds):

  • Analog Dreams
  • Dream Sands
  • Ethereal Dreams
  • Galadriel’s Dream
  • Alan Turing’s Dream
  • Dreampark
  • Wavetable Dreams
  • Porpoise Dreams
  • Spock’s Dream
  • Start Your Dream
  • Acoustic Dream
  • Toy Dream
  • Dream Central
  • Soft And Dreamy
  • Dreamsong
05
Apr
2020
4:01

Birth

The Muse, she blessed me
13 hours I crafted
Her gift is now done

01
Apr
2020
16:19

In a lot of my bands, I end up covering a LOT of musical ground like keyboard parts for example. I had a particularly good time learning the keyboard solo to “Africa” by Toto.

26
Mar
2020
18:12

One Capo To Rule Them All

Guitartists: I have found the one capo to rule them all. The G7th Performance 3 ART capo.

I have used Kyser, Dunlop, Shubb, D’Addario, Thalia ($75!) and they all have their issues. The most common capo issues are that guitars have different neck radiuses (or Radii) or how flat or curved they are. Capos are a fixed radius and therefore may not follow the profile of your fretboard perfectly and could cause buzz on the outer or inner strings depending on the capo vs. your radius. The Thalia capos seek to remedy this by having different shaped inserts for the capo. You pick the one that matches your guitar’s radius. However this means that if you want to use the capo on another guitar with a different radius, you have to change inserts. I also had to order a special pack of XL inserts to fit my Rain Song acoustic. The standard ones weren’t tall enough. I also found the Thalia too bulky. Playing a B7 shape at the 7th fret was difficult with the high profile of the capo. The Thalia also suffered from the other common problem…

The other is that any spring-loaded capos have a fixed tension and I find that on some guitar, they will push the strings sharp. Now recently, I found the Shubb and D’Addario capos remedied this problem with adjustable tension. The Shubb had become my favorite due to it’s small size and just generally having a good quality feel.

The other common problem is that any spring-loaded capos have a fixed tension and I find that on some guitars, they will push the strings sharp. Now recently, I found the Shubb and D’Addario capos remedied this problem with adjustable tension. The Shubb had become my favorite due to it’s small size and just generally having a good quality feel.

Then I discovered the G7th Performance 3 ART capo. They ART stands for “Adaptive Radius Technology.” The pad on this capo is built in such a way that it can adapt to the radius of your neck. It also has a really cool and unique tensioning mechanism where you squeeze it on and it stays however tight you squeeze it so you can put just enough pressure as necessary to get a nice clear sound without pushing strings sharp.

At $45 it’s more expensive than any of the others except the $75 Thalia, but I think it’s worth it. My second choice would be the Shubb. Enjoy the fruits of my labors and the knowledge gleaned from way too much money spent on capos over the years.

The other is that any spring-loaded capos have a fixed tension and I find that on some guitar, they will push the strings sharp. Now recently, I found the Shubb and D’Addario capos remedied this problem with adjustable tension. The Shubb had become my favorite due to it’s small size and just generally having a good quality feel.

Then I discovered the G7th Performance 3 ART capo. They ART stands for “Adaptive Radius Technology.” The pad on this capo is built in such a way that it can adapt to the radius of your neck. It also has a really cool and unique tensioning mechanism where you squeeze it on and it stays however tight you squeeze it so you can put just enough pressure as necessary to get a nice clear sound without pushing strings sharp.

At $45 it’s more expensive than any of the others except the $75 Thalia, but I think it’s worth it. My second choice would be the Shubb. Enjoy the fruits of my labors and the knowledge gleaned from way too much money spent on capos over the years.

A video I made, pretty much just saying everything I just said here.

26
Mar
2020
18:08

Winner

So many capos
Finally one rules them all
The G7th wins

23
Mar
2020
13:05

Dream Theatre 53

I had a dream where someone reached to shake my hand and I was like “Hey, sorry, can’t do that right now.” Sign of the times.

I also had a dream that John Herndon was producing a western and I was one of the leads. He also then asked me to direct it. I was thrilled to do so but as we were setting up a shot, the gaffer seemed very stand-offish and resistant to me and had an attitude so I took him aside and introduced myself and was very kindly like “So what’s the issue here?”

He said he had worked with me on a few shorts and just didn’t like me or think I should be directing. I told him I was sorry he felt that way and hoped I could change his mind.

As we tried to get the next shot, we were very quickly losing the light and then very suddenly it was gone so I started looking for alternatives.

Later, I was trying to wrangle everyone to get another shot and everyone was kind of scattered. I asked what was going on and they said John and some others were part of a Q&A panel going on. That’s when I noticed that this ghost town we were shooting in was having some kind of festival and so there was a lot of people and music and stuff going on. We couldn’t do anything until the panel was over and even then with all the people and noise there was no way we could get a shot.

Someone asked if this meant we would be working super late and I said no, I didn’t believe in that. I was going to hold to reasonable days because pushing people gets diminishing returns so we’d figure it out later and try to move quickly and find ways to make up time and maybe shots we could cut.

Then I woke up. That imaginary gaffer is probably gloating.

09
Feb
2020
18:08

“Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis, Bass Tablature

Learning bass parts for an upcoming project, I decided to try actually notating the bass part to “Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis in tablature just to see if maybe that would be helpful to have in the future (usually I just learn by ear and memorize). Things I learned:1. It’s probably not worth the time it took (many hours), at least not for a complex bass part that has a lot of changes and variations. 2. I’m an amateur as far as writing notation so I may not have done it “optimally,” but I feel like things that are easy to “feel” and play look far more complicated on paper. Like, this bass part isn’t easy, but I don’t think it’s nearly as hard as it ends up looking when written.

“Follow You Follow Me” by Genesis, Bass Tabalture.