new song > island life

February 14th, 2015
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my wife and I went on a cruise in the Caribbean not long ago, we stopped at Belize, Cozumel, Cayman Islands and Roatan – it was quite nice (especially the price: $550.00 each including flight and food), not long after that our son Jesse spent his J term in Belize. Somewhere in there, between reading his blog posts from Belize and my being back in MN winter, I got the seed idea for, and a deep appreciation into island life. Truth be told I really did write this for my wife as part of my Valentines gift for her. I basically took aspects of conversations, complaints, joys, longings and inside jokes and set them to music. There are some notable firsts… a lot of this song was sketched out on an ipad… I used several apps; ChordMapMidi, Thumbjam and Garageband among others. The basic song idea is around a sequenced acoustic guitar, and a retro bass synth… back in my home studio set up; on drums I wanted to use brushes, but alas, I could not find them when I was recording the drums so I used a harder sounding hot rod stick and never bothered to re-record…there is or course island percussion getting slinky – and even a steel drum (few instruments say island like a steel drum eh?). The vocals were basically a one off with some minor tweaks…the lyrics took a little longer on this one, primarily because I was trying to tell a proper story, and really wanted to include things I knew were meaningful to my wife, so there was that. So yeah, island life… enjoy.

island life

hey Tamara did you hear them say
winter storm is on its way
10 below and a foot of snow
weather men say its a polar flow

check with spirit and spirit say fly
out of the cold into the open sky
over the mountains to the deep blue sea
out on the islands wanna come with me

island life
island life
ocean breeze
sweet palm trees (2x)

had my fill of this snow rage
think its time to finally turn the page
north winds bitin into my bones
the frozen pines are just a creakin and a moanin

lets get busy lets get haulin
hot and sunny life is callin
i can almost feel my toes in the sand
cmon girl and take my hand

island life
island life
ocean breeze
sweet palm trees (2x)

live and love and laugh and sing
eat and drink and praise our king

pluck an avacado from an avacado tree
add some lime and spices and we got our guacamole
grab a blanket and head for the beach
laughin all the way cause we’re out of reach

from all the misery and ice cold weather
we’re just soakin sun holdin hands together
people been askin about our return date
well i was thinkin that maybe we should stay

island life
island life
ocean breeze
sweet palm trees

thoughts on psalm 23

February 8th, 2015
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[A Psalm of David.]

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

“Millions of people have memorized this psalm, even those who have learned few other Scripture portions. Ministers have used it to comfort people who are going through severe personal trials, suffering illness, or dying. For some, the words of this psalm have been the last they have ever uttered in life.” (Boice) Read the rest of this entry »

new song > i go up i go down

January 26th, 2015
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sooo just so you know I am not a real “blazing” drum solo kind of guy… my favorite drum solos are the ones where there is a band playing – or there are “exchanges” of jams between musicians… I have seen countless drum solos – and many are amazing feats of human dexterity – but they eventually leave me kind of cold – same with the guitar, piano, horn solos ad nauseum … it eventually feels like a typewriter thing. Now, before you get your guns out, I would heartily agree there are many and musical / lyrical solos that bear repeated listening and study. It just seems to me that if solo-ING is your thing, it tends to become acrobatic. Funny thing is, I like songs, words, grooves and melodic hooks. And even though I know what I like – I still don’t always hit the target. It is just what I like. I like spicy food. I like water with lemon or ginger. I like strong beer. I like bacon. Taste buds. So what does that have to do with today’s song? Not a heck of a lot except it is a kind of drum “jam”. The main lyrical underpinning (chorus) actually holds the rhythm down while the bass, with a busted string :-), and the drums kinda improvise “up and down” and all over. Not all songs are autobiographical – but hey – I do go up and I go down – don’t you? This song (sketch really) is kinda punky / ploddy, I left it with errors in the lyric, occasional distortion and a scream of desperation. In the giant seas of musical effort – with the battleships and aircraft carriers of the megapopstars vying for attention – this is a small paper boat floating down a tiny backstream of life. Peace.

i go up i go down

lyrics

there once was a time in a land far away

where i tried and i tried so hard every day

just to get myself through this little thing they call life

i was wrestlin with blood and sweat and with strife

 

i go up i go down

 

well the truth of the matter is easy to see

when you flail and you fail and your beaten like me

this world will curb stomp you tell you to sit

don’t matter how many times they tell you rise don’t quit

 

i go up i go down

can I get an amen…umm…break beat?

January 5th, 2015
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absolutely, and you will soon see why…but first let me explain. In case you did not know,  the “amen break” is a drum solo / groove of about 6 seconds long. It was performed in 1969 by Gregory Cylvestor GC Coleman. The song he did this drumming on was called “Amen Brother” and it was performed by the Winstons. Although the song itself did not get much attention – the drum groove became a staple in sample based break beat music, and inspired several subcultures of music, largely derived from permutations of this one beat. If you want a fascinating insight into the history – you can see this very interesting video for more information (it’s about 18 minutes long but worth it). Old news, right? A tired overused sample of drums, already cliche and boring 10 years ago, right? To some, maybe – but not to me. To me, as a drummer, it’s another word in my musical vocabulary, it’s another tool in my musical toolbox. I mean, this sample of 6 second drumming may be the most sampled drum beat of all time…why not learn it? So I did. And then – why not record it? So I did. After recording it I thought it might be fun to embellish it. So I ended up with what you hear below. Since the original is 6 seconds long – I basically duplicated the original sample for about 3 minutes in length in my DAW and played the whole thing live with the sample as the reference. I did check the tempo and it is about 138.9 beats a minute straight / unedited.  Below you will find the original 6 second sample. Then you will find my version +/- 3 minutes long. Then you will find my experimental blush at adding the music direction (bass etc.)… you will hear some variety on the beat, extra kicks, fills etc for the simple reasons that 3 minutes of this groove straight and my mind wanders, plus it is still an interpretation – knowhatimean? Anyway – I pictured a somewhat relentless, fervent, musical drum, percussion bombardment… I know it is kind of spazzy, but I hope the energy translates in a positive way…can I get an AMEN?

amen brother original sample

here is my extended version redo

amen brother drh version

here I am just messing around with some sounds (percussion, bass / synth effects etc)

amen brother drh2 version

The Gospel to me is simply irresistible.

December 22nd, 2014
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Being the man I am, being full of lust and pride and envy and malice and hatred and false good, and all accumulated and exaggerated misery – to me the Gospel of the grace of God, and the Redemption of Christ, and the regeneration and sanctification of the Holy Ghost, that Gospel is to me simply irresistible, and I cannot understand why it is not equally irresistible to every mortal man born of woman.

 

Pascal

Work, for the Day is coming!

December 18th, 2014
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Made for the saints of light;
Off with the garments dreary,
On with the armor bright:
Soon will the strife be ended,
Soon all our toils below;
Not to the dark we’re tending,
But to the Day we go.

Work, then, the Day is coming!
No time for the sighing now!
Harps for the hands once drooping,
Wreaths for the victor’s brow,
Now morning Light is breaking,
Soon will the Day appear;
Night shades appal no longer,
Jesus, or Lord, is near!

new tune > lookit that

December 11th, 2014
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“lookit that”, so yeah – this was actually before “oh my my” (posted some hours ago) by some hours, but I’ve made an executive decision to post more rather than hoard. To share is good – right? So I am sharing. I mean, if you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, throughout the history of music, starting with the first percussive note banged out by human kind, using music to celebrate the discovery of fire… well they had to discover fire – then discover a party or worship – or both, which required music, which also needed to be discovered…. I think that was the order…anyway – if you trace all of the people involved in this dance of life contributing music that is soon forgotten – the tune you now listen to might be one such number. You might think of it as an audio form of a gummy bear. It isn’t even 2 minutes long. But you know what? I hope you simply enjoy it. Roll it around in your cranium. Maybe it will inspire you to go write something…or just smile. And you know what? If you smile – that is good enough for me.

lookit that

lookit that lookit that soul
oh yeah baby catching everything like a bowl
oh yeah baby trying just to fill the hole
oh yeah baby

lookit that lookit that swing
oh yeah gonna get it goin on that thing
oh yeah gonna shake off all the fools with a fling
oh yeah baby

lookit that lookit that girl
oh yeah gonna watch those wings unfurl
oh yeah gonna ride like a tilt a whirl
oh yeah baby

lookit that lookit that chance
oh yeah gonna grab it and have a little dance
oh yeah gonna make like a deer and prance
oh yeah baby

lookit that lookit that grip
oh yeah gonna never ever ever gonna slip
oh yeah gonna have to leave a big fat tip
oh yeah baby

new aural sketch > oh my my

December 9th, 2014
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I noticed I haven’t put any music up in a while – so I’ll be sharing some of the sounds I have been playing with…
kinda a squirty sumpin…

oh my my

There’s not a craving in the mind

December 9th, 2014
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Thou dost not meet and still;
There’s not a wish the heart can have
Which Thou dost not fulfill.

All things that have been, all that are,
All things that can be dreamed,
All possible creations made,
Kept faithful, or redeemed;-

All these may draw upon Thy power,
Thy mercy may command,
And still outflows Thy silent sea
Immutable and grand

O little heart of mine shall pain
Or sorrow make thee moan,
When all this God is all for thee,
A Father all thine own?

Faber

2 quotes from JRR Tolkien

November 29th, 2014
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No man can estimate what is really happening at the present sub specie aeternitatis (under the aspect of eternity). All we do know, and that to a large extent by direct experience – is that evil labors with vast power and perpetual success in vain; preparing always only the soil for unexpected good to sprout in. So it is in general and so it is in our own lives.

on The Lord Of The Rings
…of course such an overweening purpose did not develop all at once. The mere stories were the thing. They arose in my mind as “given” things, and as they came, separately, so too the links grew. An absorbing, though continually interrupted labor (especially since, even apart from the necessities of life, the mind would wing to the other pole and spend itself on linguistics): yet always I had the sense of recording what was already ‘there’ somewhere: not of inventing.