A Pseudo-Thematic Collection of Curios
Only Love Can Break Your Heart - This is a sad effort to try to record a standard (a Neil Young tune, of course), while a guy (Jacques) was over at my place trying to record his song (which is next in the compilation), early in 1990. I've had feedback that it was quite off-putting to have to listen to this thing, before getting to the good stuff (or at least to the real efforts). I think the rest of the tunes are just that much better appreciated after this fiasco.
Ca Gueule - This song was written by Jacques Robitaille, and performed by him at my apartment it in 1990. I added the electric guitar later, just like I had for a loungey tune (Old Fart) of his, that I had recorded the year before. Like I found after the previous guitar contribution to his work, some who knew the song thought it should have been left alone. I just couldn't help myself, and I liked it, so there. Oh, his acoustic (a Martin by now I think) sounds cool with some kind of effect on it. I can't remember what it was I used; chorus or flange I guess. (Some can probably tell which.) Anyway, it would have resulted from pushing a button or two on an Alesis Midiverb that I had at the time, unless I had already replaced it with a Quadraverb. His voice also sounds doubled, but I think it would likely just have been a button push as well. Anyway, I don't know, but I like it.
Muskrat Man - I met Elke Watts through a friend of mine (Mike), in the summer of 1987. I think she was still high school, and writing piles of poetry, and maybe other stuff. Anyway, somehow the notion came to my friend (after meeting her in tryouts for a comedy troupe he was trying to start) that she and I might like to collaborate. I gave her a bunch of my instrumental stuff to listen to, and she wrote words. I'm not sure if any of the words ended up going with any of the music she was listening too, but I did take a liking to some of the lyrics she wrote, and managed to put them to some kind of tune. Muskrat Man is definitely one of my most change-ridden ditties; a major Frankensong recording sort of thing, but with one set of song lyrics. It seems to be a fairly dead or muted-sounding production, probably due to lots of track bouncing or retakes. (Hey, it was done on 4-track cassette already.)
Cold Feet - Another sappy formula song, done in early in 1990. Sounds like maybe a 70's style ballad. One thing I like about it is the straight-ahead back beat; reminds me of some solid, slow-cruising Neil Young or Tom Petty numbers. (Course I just pushed a couple buttons on the old drum machine to get it.) This thing also reminds me how cool direct electric guitar can sound right out of those 80's Boss stomp boxes, although I think this one was done with the all-in-one ME-5 Boss unit - same thing really though. It all just sounds so damn formula though. Eh, 'cares.
Also Sprach La Valise - Around March 1990, I think, my friend Mike (same guy from above) was doing the technical stuff for a play in Ottawa. (He's in theatre, and it used to be that when he was not on stage or writing or directing, or whatever, he did tech stuff.) Anyway, he called me up to say he wanted a suitcase to talk. There was a play that had three acts, each of which takes place a number of years apart, with a different person in each, but with the same suitcase. The suitcase had a voice, which was that of the fourth in the cast. She was either going to be to the side of the stage, but still visible I think, or ideally, out-of-view totally, speaking such that her voice would appear to come from the suitcase. I got their suitcase, drilled some holes in the lid, mounted a speaker cone, bought a couple FM walkie-talkies from Radio Shack, wired one to the speaker and secured it to the inside of the case, ran an external mic out of the second so it could be stand-mounted for comfortable sitting of the player just off stage, and taped-down the transmit button. Armed with six new 9V batteries per night (3 acts), the set-up worked not too badly for the week or so run. (There were glitches and problems, but we found work-arounds, and hey, the thing cost them about $100.) Anyway, while playing around with the stuff at home, I decided I wanted to try the range of the system. I recorded a little monologue of silly stuff, that would be understandable upon listening again, but that I wouldn't remember otherwise, by looking around my apartment and blabbing somewhat randomly about nothing. Then, I played it pack into one unit, while I walked around my apartment and then my building, listening to the other walkie-talkie, to see if I could understand it ok. After the run of the play, I was just playing around with one of my effect gizmos (Alesis Midiverb I think) while listening to the stuff I had recorded. It was so incredibly fantastic, I had to share it with the world.
Stephanie In The Woods - Goofy thing, done totally with Steinburg sequencer software, running on an Atari 1040ST computer, and MIDIed probably to a DX7-II synth and Roland R-5 drum machine. In addition to being a fairly standard MIDI sequence editor, the Steinburg software had this cool rhythm pattern editor. It all became a bit much after a while, but it was kind of neat at first. I think this was done in the summer or fall of 1989. Stephanie was the one from the (Bob) Newhart show - I can't explain.
Hello Ellen - This thing is a sort of tone poem. Basically, I had some words written out, and just played a melodic line that seemed to 'say' the words. I think all that you hear is an electric guitar (with compressor no doubt) on one side, and a long stereo echo or reverb (from an Alesis Midiverb) that fades to the other side. There is also an occasional cameo appearance by keyboard synth strings. This was done sometime in 1989 I think, and on the original cassette issue of this compilation (1990), I think I thought of it as the middle of a trio of tunes; Stephanie before and Temple after.
Temple - This one has a nice little brush drum pattern going on. I remember it used pretty much right-out-of-the-box drum sounds (Roland R-5) and patterns. Nice and smooth. Sort of contemplative synth strings, interspersed with what I think of as a positive hook chorus sort of thing. Also, there's a neat little text-to-voice synthesizer used here; not that you should figure what it says. Haven't found such a cool little piece of code since doing this thing in '89, and it was 'free' (that's my story) with the used PC I bought, which was an Atari 1040ST.
Birds Unborn - The lyrics for this song were written and given to me by Elke Watts, the same summer as those for Muskrat Man. I used to play around with lots of stuff like this in the wee hours. Although I put the song together in 1987, it didn't get recorded until 1989. I'm not sure why.
M&M's and Moving - Lead and rhythm guitars and a drum machine; pretty straightforward stuff. This might be thought of as part 3 of The List (yet another trilogy) from There Is An Ear In My Chocolate Milk As Well, done two years before. The recording was done in early spring of 1990, just before the putting together of this compilation, and the moving to a new place.
Once again, I think pretty much everything on this sampler was done about the same way earlier stuff had been done on the Spring Sampler 88 and Summer Sampler 89. Oh, the above playable links are, yet again, 192 kbps MP3's. Click away.