MASK: The Trilogy Is Completed

January 30th, 2016 |

The third in the trilogy of short films I’ve been scoring has just been released. I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out.

MASK Part 3

If you’d like to watch all three films back to back, here is the link for that.

MASK: The Trilogy

I’m not dead yet.

June 1st, 2010 |

Here’s what you’ve missed over the past few months.

– All of the tracking for the new songs is finished.

– These are the best songs I’ve ever written.

– I’m addicted to video games again. It’s being treated.

– I have sleep apnea. It’s being treated.

– I have extremely high cholesterol. It’s being treated.

– I’m kinda fat now. It’s being treated.

I am waiting to get all of the tracks for the new songs from Jacob so I can begin mixing. The plan was always to have him do the mixing but Johnson household budget cut-backs have prevented that dream from being realized. It’ll still sound good. I promise.

New Organ mp3

December 19th, 2009 |

It seems like a lot of the musical software I buy does far less than live up to my expectations. The Native Instruments B4 organ software is definitely not one of them. This stuff sounds phenomenal.

I’ve been working on an organ part for a song called “Written for You” and I am really knocked out by the results. Check out this mp3. This is just the Wurlitzer piano, bari sax, tenor sax and the organ. The organ is pushed way out front so you can hear what’s going on.

The clip starts at the pre-chorus and goes into the final two choruses. Listen how the organ starts out clean and with a slow rotation in the leslie. As it builds into the chorus I crank up the leslie and the speaker distortion. Very cool. Very convincing.

Deadpan Boxfan

December 12th, 2009 |

I’ve started transferring some of my old four-track recordings into the computer so I thought I’d let you hear a little bit of them. The majority of these recordings are way too embarrassing for me to make publicly available but some of them are at least tolerable.

All of the songs from this era (1994-ish) were recorded on a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder. I didn’t have a drum kit at the time so I had to piece together the drum parts in a rather unorthodox way.

For the bass drum I used an old stereo speaker and hit it near the speaker cone with a mallet. For the snare drum I used a small Igloo cooler and smacked it with a drum stick. For the cymbals I used a trashy ride cymbal I had that had a huge chunk missing from it. I had to do each drum separately and then bounce them to a single track.

This first one is a song called Deadpan Boxfan. I wrote this song about my inability to sleep without a fan, really riveting stuff I know. In the intro you’ll hear my mom playing the accordion. All of the other noises are me. I particularly like the guitar work in this song.

Click here to download Deadpan Boxfan.

This next thing is the bridge to a song called Ichabod’s Farewell. The rest of this song is pretty strange but the bridge is really nice. I was completely fascinated with The Sundays’ album “Blind” at the time. I think this was my attempt at writing something similar to what they did on that record.

Click here to download the mp3.

The Lost Recordings Found

December 1st, 2009 |

Major score at the Johnson house tonight – I finally found all of my old, old recordings that I thought were lost forever.

I was digging around in the don’t-go-back-there room of our basement looking for a sax mouthpiece that I used to have. I picked up one of the five hundred boxes of random junk and opened it up to see some cassettes labeled “Gadfly” and “Journal of Commons” and “The Influence.” My heart lept. I ran the box of tapes out to my car since that’s the only cassette player I have around here. Sure enough, these were the tapes I’d been looking for for years.

About once every six months I have a panic attack about the fact that I have lost all of the recordings from a seven or eight year period of my life. Then I go tearing the house apart looking for those tapes. I’ve even emailed a few people who I thought might have copies of the stuff but never had any luck, until today when I wasn’t even looking for them.

These recordings range all the way from my very first band’s (The Influence) very first studio demo all the way to the solo stuff I recorded when I first moved back from Nashville, to the first band I formed (Journal of Commons) where I was the front man.

Some of this stuff is alarmingly bad. Some of it is pretty good though wildly misguided. As soon as I get my hands on a cassette player that will allow me to transfer the stuff into my PC I’ll get it posted here so you can check it out.

New mp3 – Album Sampler

November 2nd, 2009 |

One of my readers emailed me today to remind me that I have a website and it’s starting to smell a bit musty.

I’ve been extremely busy recording for the past few months and for whatever reason have failed to give any sort of updates on what’s been going on. So I put together a small sampler of some of the things I’ve been recording.

On this mp3 the first clip you’ll hear is the sax trio from the bridge of “The Temptress”.

The second clip is the piano part (played by Jeff Lehman), guitar part, and Melotron part to “Wait Child Wait”.

The third clip is the Wurlitzer piano and the horn section to the chorus of “Written for You”.

The last clip is some of the strings (with the drums and everything else turned way down) to “The Groom and the Bride”.

Click here to download the mp3.

I hope you like it.

Sweet Hour of Prayer – New mp3 available

September 18th, 2009 |

Since I became one of the song leaders at our church I have learned many phenomenal old hymns that I had never heard before. One that really blows me away is “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” An absolutely beautiful hymn in every way.

I decided on the way home from work today that I wanted to record my own rendition of this classic tune. From the first time I heard it I thought it would sound great played in an old, lamenting folk style so that’s how I approached it on this recording.

I hope you like it.

Download the mp3 here.

Here is a wonderful, traditional version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Stunning.

Smudge

September 12th, 2009 |

The newest addition to the Johnson family is reportedly a cat but we think it might be some sort of rat or possibly a miniature Wookiee. His/her (sex determinitaion coming soon) name is Smudge.

Smudge is a farm cat/rat/Wookiee that had basically been abandoned by its mother. Apparently she was also unable to determine its species. So we (Angel) decided that we would take it in and do our part to save its life. Then possibly someday return it to its planet of origin.

Presenting Smudge.

Piano Peace

September 6th, 2009 |

Recently Riley and I have been doing some rather interesting experiments with MIDI programming. I have been teaching him to create music using only a visual method. I open up one of my virtual pianos and then let him draw the notes on a MIDI grid. He’s tried things such as drawing a smiley face on the grid and then we play it back to see what a smiley face sounds like. We’ve also spelled out our names and then played them back. It’s been pretty fun. Some of the results were interesting and some were just a complete mess.

One of the short pieces we “wrote” sounded really cool so I decided to develop it into something a bit more coherent. I’ve spent a couple of hours on it the past day or so and it think it came out really nice. Check it out.

Piano Peace

Lenore 1995 – 2009

September 1st, 2009 |

Yesterday was a rough day. I had to take our cat Lenore to be put to sleep. She had gotten extremely sick over the past week and her liver shut down so she was turning yellow. She had stopped eating and couldn’t hardly walk at all.

Lenore was Angel’s and my first pet as a couple. She was probably the only cat I ever liked. She was kind of the perfect cat. Which means she was more like a dog than a cat.

It wasn’t the first time one of my pets has had to be put down but it was the first time that I actually had to take it to be done. Angel was really torn up about the whole thing so she didn’t go with me to the vet. It was so strange walking in with a great cat and then walking out ten minutes later with a dead one.

I brought her home and buried her right behind the fence. The three of us stood over her grave while I said a prayer thanking God for allowing us to have her for so long. Then we cried a lot.

I miss her.