Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Writing, writing, writing

Recently I've thrown myself into a new project. Unlike a few previous projects, I'm trying to take myself seriously (I say with a straight face). Well, maybe that's not what I mean, but I mean to write music that truly means something to me. Music that I guess you would call "no apology" music. Music I'll be excited to get up on stage and share with an audience. Music with lyrics, even.

I love sitting at the piano and sussing out Ideas. I can sit for hours and play the same thing; change things, experiment, and dive into sonic realities until I find a piece I really like. Yet, when it comes to writing words to songs, I get sheepish when other people are home. And, living with 4 other people in a Bushwick apartment, you better believe everyone hears everything.

It's surely not that I'm afraid to sing in front of people, or for people (if you don't believe me please see Rick-Hop). I think it has to do more with the meaning of words. When you play music without words, as I have done for many years as a jazz musician, you learn to derive your own meaning from everything. When you add words into the mix, suddenly you add context to the equation. With context, unless you're writing completely abstractly, people can explicitly what you mean. I think I'd rather not have people listen to my thought process and would much rather present an end result. I guard my thought process closely, whether it's in improvisation or writing raps (again see with aforementioned Rick-Hop) and I'd rather not share.

The point of this is to say I like to write alone. I don't like the feeling of someone looking over my shoulder. Though that's not to say I don't like writing with people- only that I like writing my music, simply, by myself. Do you relate?

Though, to be fair, here's a snippet of a song I wrote with my friend Ryan. He wrote the lyrics and the verse music, I helped write the chorus melody and harmony.

He's singing the verse, playing guitar, and bass; I sing the chorus, play the farfisa, and drums (please don't' mind the drumming!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome Post and Some Solo Piano

I intend for this blog to host everything I wish to share with people. Below are the songs that are currently on my Indaba Music profile (the company at which I currently work and host my own theory blog), and a youtube video of me playing some piano. Basically, it's all the information I have on Myspace- I'm probably going to get rid of that thing. Blogs are at least %313 cooler.

Enjoy this stuff for now, I'll have some other stuff up later (this is a blog, of course). The Indaba tracks are solo piano tracks I recorded in a neighbor's studio on an awesome sounding piano (a 6 1/2 ft Mason Hamlin with Steinway hammers, a lush tone, and tremendously sensitive action) and then had mastered. Album (or more likely a solo piano EP) is probably forthcoming as soon as I can get around to packaging (or doing good nu-age D2C), licensing the rights to the standards, and essentially putting it together. They're largely improvised and often depart from the regular harmony. Also, I was in the process of diversifying the interplay between right and left (something I continue to do today) and I love some of the "stumbles" that occurred during the process. I recorded them completely alone acting as engineer for myself on a farm up the road, which was amazingly comfortable. Somehow, recording solo piano in a studio or in a hall doesn't seem natural. Recording in solitude also, I think, for the first time in my life, really brought out the ballad in me. I also didn't feel like I had to strive for perfection. It was more about vibing with the song and trying to make something happen internally rather than externally.

Check out a few of the tracks, let me know what you think:

Also, enjoy half of a piano solo and a drum solo over Solar: