Friday, November 13, 2009

Hey Joe, Where Are You Going With That Detective Novel In Your Hand?

As I've mentioned earlier, my brother Joe is a composer.  He was recently commissioned by the California Chamber Orchestra to create something related to Perry Mason, the fictional defense attorney created by Erle Stanley Gardner in a series of books, and later made into a popular TV series starring Raymond Burr.

The premiere was November 7, 2009, and Joe's wife Amy caught each of the three movements on her iphone.  Don't laugh - the video is so-so but the audio is remarkable for a cellphone capture.  In addition to the Chamber Orchestra, the performance featured the other three members of Joe's ensemble SWARMIUS (see the link to the right).

And yes, the violinist in SWARMIUS is freakishly tall.

Suite Noir: The Passion of Perry Mason by Joseph Waters

Movement 1: Whispering Sands

Movement 2: The Court of Last Resort

Movement 3 Cerulean and other colors of the sky

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Just Dropped Through A Freak Wormhole From A Month Or So In The Future

NOTE: As this is a song about Christmas, a few edits have been made so as to not detract from the holiday spirit.

And now I'm gonna shift gears a little, and move away from demonstrating my total mastery of creating "rock music" in favor of demonstrating my total mastery of creating "country rock".  Or maybe I should say my total mastery of creating holiday-themed novelty songs, because this is what it is - a happy song about the joys of shopping for Christmas presents.

I wrote this in the early 1990s.  And it started life as a wonderfully enhanced version of the Peter Gunn theme, a favorite riff of punky new-wavers back in the day.  Once I became awesomely proficient at playing the first guitar part, I picked up my beautiful hollowbody guitar, a stunning example of the luthier's art, and started messing around with arpeggios.  And once I had a 2nd guitar part I liked, the original 1st guitar part no longer sounded right.

One thing led to another, and I know you're right there with me when I say that once you reach a certain point with a song, there's really nothing to do but make it a novelty song about Christmas shopping.

And yes, the title is a total steal from Mad magazine.

The Ghost Of Christmas Presents (3.09 MB mp3) Download from MediaFire

Friday, November 06, 2009

I Believe The Technical Term Is "Idiot"

Duh!  Totally had a mangled URL in the link for Whipping Cream!

Here's the correct URL: Whipping Cream

Next time tell me or something.  Jeez.

And Now For Something Really Stupid

And by that I mean the song titled Something Really Stupid, of course. Duh. I mentioned it a while back. I know I did.

One day I heard that weird recording by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy called Something Stupid, and I thought, "Well, it may have been stupid, but it wasn't really stupid, just sorta stupid."  And the next thing I knew I was filling the niche.

This song is an innocent victim of the turnover in my drum machines over the years. The drums were originally sequenced for a Kawai drum machine that was definitely not set up anything like a GM drums arrangement. I really liked that drum machine.

Needless to say, it was stolen. 

Next I traded some guy for a different drum machine, which used its own, completely different and non-GM arrangement. And the drum part was now completely wacky and I never got it completely normalized for that machine. At any rate, I sold it some time back.

Or maybe it blew up, I don't remember.

And now I'm using a software drum instrument, which started off as GM but has been mutated to fit my own purposes. And when I tried this song, the drum parts were wackier than ever. I was able to make parts of it usable, but it was just too messed up to deal with. If you listen to the part of the song where every line starts with "I don't know..." you can hear sets of four hits that were originally supposed to be drums. They're not drums. They're wood blocks. At some point I just threw my hands in the air and embraced the wrongness.

Also in the warm embrace of wrongness is my vocal track. This song was always a struggle to sing, since it was at the very top of what I humorously refer as my "range". I don't really have a range. More of a hotplate. At any rate, now that I'm less younger than I was, when I strained to hit - OK, to approximate - the high notes, I used to sound, well, strained, which was the point of the song. But now when I try it, I sound like a wheezy old man.

Something Really Stupid (3.56MB mp3) Download from MediaFire