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.

Practice Makes Peeved

December 2nd, 2009 |

Tonight we were working with Riley on his catechism questions and there was one question with which he was having a particularly hard time. He kept saying it over and over but would miss a couple of words every time. He was getting very frustrated so I thought I’d offer some encouragement.

Drew: Hey buddy, don’t get frustrated. That’s what practice is all about. You know how when daddy is practicing his saxophone he has to play the same thing over and over and over?

Riley: Yeah, it’s really annoying.

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.