Castaways #2 – ‘Nobody’s In Charge’

Like the last Castaway, this was also a piece that came about during an RPM Challenge.

In this case, it was February 2009. I spent the first few days recording improvisations with various instruments. Later, I’d examine these, pick out bits I thought had potential and work them into songs – by writing things based on them or even directly sampling the improvised parts.

On this particular day (the 5th, I believe), I was tinkering with an electric guitar. I decided to resurrect one of my old Sonic Youth-esque tunings (F#F#C#C#BB – previously mentioned here) and see what happened.

I came up with two riff-based things I liked. In the secondary stage, I created song structures for them both and did “proper” recordings of them, with two guitar tracks and a bass track each.

The second of the two pieces eventually got lyrics, drums, some extra noise slathered on – and ended up being track two on the resulting album, I Am Doing This To Hurt You.

The first one went no further. It was left like this:

Given how reasonably serious and straight-faced the album ended up, it’s quite clear why this wasn’t going to find a place on it. It’s utterly ridiculous! The main riff is, frankly, quite obnoxious. It even has a shoehorned-in key-change! I don’t think I even attempted to put any words to it. Even know I can’t see how any vocal could possibly work.

Still though, there’s something about it I still like. It has a sort of circus-y feel to it or something. Actually, when I was naming the scratch recordings I’d made of those riffs, I had it in my mind to name this piece ‘Fun Fun Fun’, not the other one. I kept on meaning to swap them, too, but never got around to it.

Anyway. That’s it!

Again, if you want to do anything with it, it’s there under a Creative Commons licence.


Castaways #1 – ‘01feb’ (2007)

After hastily knocking out a couple of shambolic covers and rounding off a series of masturbatory essays on my old songs, I shall continue my vain attempt to distract from the fact that I haven’t written an original piece of music in nine-and-a-half months by raiding the vaults once again.

At least this time, I’m airing some previously unheard stuff (or stuff heard by very very few people)…

First up, a recording made on 1 February, 2007:

That was the first day of my first attempt at the RPM Challenge. It was the first recording I made with the second-hand Roland MC-303 I’d bought.

It was a one-take, mostly-improvised recording. I was reasonably pleased with it at the time and felt it had potential. But over the following days, as I came up with more ideas, it quickly became apparent that the album was going to go in a different direction – and that this wasn’t going have a place on it. (The resulting album, Secret Battle, can be heard/downloaded here.)

I had vague plans to do something with it. But, alas, I never did. And given that it has been on ice for over half a decade, I’m probably unlikely to at this stage.

If anyone else wants to have a crack, feel free! You can download via the widget above. It’s released under a Creative Commons licence. Or if you’re a hitRECorder, you can get busy with it here.


Blast From The Past: Not That Hard to Demo You?

Trawling through external hard drives sometimes yields some fruitful (re-) discoveries.

In this evening’s case, it was stumbling across my original demo for ‘hard to please’. This song ending up being received quite well when I “finished” it for the people person album – and also when I played it live.

This demo was (mostly) recorded on 19 and 20 July, 2009. It featured a glockenspiel thingie (pictured above) I’d picked up in a second-hand shop in central Hiroshima, where I was living at the time.

Nearby on said hard drive, I found a text file which, as well as referring to the song-in-progress as ‘happy G’ – had tabbed out the main riff, and also a complementary guitar part for the verses, which, unless my ears are deceiving me really really well, isn’t present on the demo at all. And definitely isn’t on the album version:

E |---------------------0------------|
B |-------------0---------0-----0----|
G |-----0---------0---0-----------0=-|
D |-------0---4-----2---------2------|
A |---2-----2---------------3--------|
E |-3--------------------------------|

It’s placed above the main riff in that file, so it’s possible that this was actually the first thing I’d come up with.


Here’s the demo:

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[download ‘hard to please (demo)’ mp3]