Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jimmy Chamberlin Drum Loops

I bought M-Audio ProSessions 24 Jimmy Chamberlin Signature Drums Volume 1 a little more than a year ago, hoping to inspire some groove songwriting and to give a little kick to the Society's demos. It's really great fun to jam with Jimmy, something I'd like to do in real life (one can wish, right?).

Jimmy's drumming is very unique, so you can tell which Pumpkins song is which just by hearing the drums. And I don't just mean the obvious "I Am One" iconic drum riff. So if you're a Smashing Pumpkins fan, and you would like to do some really ACCURATE covers, then by all means...it's Jimmy! (I haven't really gotten around to recording Pumpkins covers, but Jimmy's drumming is an ideal starting point!)

Here's the promo video that is bundled with Jimmy's drum loops. It is an obvious M-Audio informercial, but I like M-Audio products. The Society uses several M-Audio products - including M-Powered Pro Tools - for the recording process.


It kind of makes me wish that the Society would have an endorsement deal with M-Audio and/or Digidesign, too.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Third Chance Listen: "TheFutureEmbrace" (2005)

I was one of the few to buy Billy Corgan's solo album TheFutureEmbrace when it was first released in June (?) of 2005. Neither sounding like the dynamic space rock that the original four Smashing Pumpkins brought, nor sounding like the sun-drenched, Roman Catholic rock and roll of Zwan, I instantly disliked TheFutureEmbrace. Needless to say, I only gave the album about one complete spin in my CD player. "All Things Change," being the first track had considerably more play than the rest of the album, as I had aborted further complete listens.

I liked James Iha's alt-country, singer/songwriter album Let It Come Down much more at first listen. Jimmy Chamberlin's release from early 2005, the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex's Life Begins Again, was a magnificent album. If D'arcy Wretsky had recorded a solo album...

The closest that TheFutureEmbrace got to was the Jimmy-less Pumpkins' "arcane night music" experiment Adore, and Adore depressed the hell out of me. I don't think anyone but Billy Corgan will understand Billy Corgan's fascination with electronic music. And I say that with the utmost sycophantic respect, as I've learned a lot about guitar playing and music arranging from Billy Corgan's work from the 1990s.

Hyperbole and other misuse of fancy words aside...

By the way, TheFutureEmbrace shouldn't be confused with FutureSex/LoveSounds, as that particular album had Justin Timberlake bring "SexyBack." The liner notes of Corgan's album had Billy Corgan pose shirtless and showing his birthmark. So no, there is no bringing of "SexyBack" to be found in TheFutureEmbrace.

Again, hyperbole aside...

I gave the album another complete spin a few months ago, and while some of the music grew on me, I was thankful that Billy and Jimmy created another album vaguely sounding like the Pumpkins of old (Zeitgeist).

At this moment, I'm listening to the album for a third complete spin. (It's not technically a spin, as I've imported it into iTunes.) So far, so good - I must say. Well, maybe not the songs "Sorrows (In Blue)" and "Pretty, Pretty Star." The preceding tracks, however, are the kind of mood music I need for a screenwriting attempt I'm making for Mutiny Universe.

So thank you, Billy Corgan...two years later.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Guitar BEST BUY! Center

Evidently, Best Buy is slowly but surely getting into the musical instruments game, a la Guitar Center and Sam Ash. Here are the benefits of each newly-created guitar store wing of the major electronics chain: Peace and quiet. These store sections look like mini-Guitar Centers with a wall of guitars, an acoustic room, a drum room, etc., but while they're new, barely anyone travels from regular Best Buy to musical instruments Best Buy. Peace and quiet, other than the bored employee pleasantly wailing away on a guitar.

No, this is not an advertisement for Best Buy; this is more of an observation and maybe a helpful hint. Like many big chain musical instrument stores, Best Buy will allegedly price match the lowest price, and they'll order anything that doesn't fit into the store.

I wonder if they'll be able to score the elusive green iLok for me...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Review: Foo Fighters "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace"

What if Kurt Cobain had lived? I vaguely (or mistakenly) remember a radio broadcast on the Thursday night (April 7, 1994) before an electrician found Kurt's body. On that edition of KROQ Music News, Tami Heide broke the rumor that Kurt Cobain had fired his bandmates, thus dissolving Nirvana.

That wasn't the case, sadly, as Kurt had already been dead for a couple of days.

Let us journey - for a brief moment - to an alternate reality, where Kurt had not died, but lived and officially dissolved Nirvana. With Kurt being alive, Dave Grohl still would have recorded another solo album a la Late! Pocketwatch, but it probably would not have been successful. The reaction would have been, "Oh, that's just the drummer's solo album!" Pat Smear would have never joined the touring band, and neither would the rhythm section of Sunny Day Real Estate.

As for Krist...well, he still would have been on the current path of saving our democracy.

The band Bush would have kept their jobs as house painters, and the boys of Silverchair would have stayed in high school. With Nirvana dissolved and unable to headline Lollapalooza, the Smashing Pumpkins would have still been the replacement headlining act, but their music would not have filled a void (which would be nonexistent). Thus, Billy Corgan and the Pumpkins wouldn't have had the same Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, top-of-the-world rock band experience from 1995 to 1996.

Also, Better Than Ezra...who? (Remember, I'm mostly talking about the years 1994, 1995, and 1996.)

Having dissolved Nirvana, Kurt would have written and recorded solo album after solo album in the vein of Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild, albeit more bluesy than folksy.

But let us snap back to reality. After Kurt's death, Dave Grohl recorded a successful solo album, which formed a rock band that has recorded five additional studio albums. The sixth chapter of the Foo Fighters' existence, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, sounds like a standard Foos album for the first four tracks. The first three tracks are dynamic and oft-angry rock songs that would find good homes in Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape, There Is Nothing Left to Lose, One by One, and the first disc of In Your Honor. The fourth song, "Long Road to Ruin" sounds like it was written by Dave Grohl and no other. One chord progression hints of the slightly obscure Foo Fighters album track "Oh, George." Another chord progression (and melody overlay) of "Long Road to Ruin" has a certain quality to it, which I'd like to call the "Grohl Interval." The Grohl Interval is prevalent in their second, third, and fourth albums. Listen to the softer songs of those albums, and you'll hear what I mean by the Grohl Interval.

It's not necessarily a bad thing to have a signature sound, but to release a rehash of a previous album (Human Clay, Weathered...what band was that?) is ridiculous.

Fortunately, the album goes beyond standard Foo fare starting with the fifth track, the aptly titled "Come Alive." I highly enjoyed the second disc - the acoustic disc - of In Your Honor, and tracks five through twelve successfully not only successfully marry acoustic Foos with loud Foos (often in the same song), but those tracks make babies that further the Foo evolution. All right, those were messy metaphors, but I hope you understand what I mean.

It's always great to hear a band try something new and branch out from safe songwriting, while keeping their identity in the process. The last seven songs outweigh the first four regular Foo fare (the single "The Pretender" is naturally part of the first four) to make this album a better-than-regular listen.

There are two morals to this story: (1) Changing the past will create unexpected longterm results, and (2) unless you're AC/DC, you can't get away with releasing the same album over and over. The Foo Fighters have fortunately avoided both with their new album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace...although millions in this Universe would have loved to hear a bluesy Kurt Cobain solo album or two.

Lucky alternate reality.

Postscript: For the rest of this week (or until next Tuesday), you can listen to Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, in its entirety, at AOL Music.

Post-postscript: Like many other recent releases, the iTunes version of the new Foo Fighters album contains a bonus track (two if you pre-ordered the album). It must be the influence of mp3s, m4as, and similar file format albums that stopped me from typing "CD" or "compact disc" anywhere in this review.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yesterday's News: Foo Fighters Release New Album

I'd like to think of myself as a first-generation Foo Fighters fan. I was a fan of Dave Grohl's Nirvana b-side "Marigold," and I bought the ridiculously overpriced "Heart-Shaped Box" import single from the local mall (I was a teenager without much access). In early 1995, I enjoyed what was billed as Dave Grohl's solo demos, played during Pearl Jam's pseudo-pirate radio broadcast "Self-pollution Radio." I bought the Foo Fighters' first album on cassette when it was first released, and I bought it again when a boombox ate the tape. (And I bought it again in CD form in 2002.) I have a Foo Fighters glow-in-the-dark alien shirt somewhere in my closet.

Yesterday, the Foos' latest album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace was released. I haven't heard the album, and I don't know when I am going to pick it up (either physically or via iTunes), or if I would want to buy it at all. Yes, I've read some very favorable reviews of the album. If you have the album, it would be great to read a comment about it...

I'm the type to absorb new releases from my favorite bands, as I'm still digesting the last two Pearl Jam-related products. All I know is that it's great news that first-incarnation Foo Fighters guitarist Pat Smear (also of Nirvana and the Germs) is back as a touring member of the group.

Anyhow, here's the video from their first single off the new record, "The Pretender." I'm a bit bummed out because music video director X pretty much used a music video concept that had been brewing in my head for about two years (which I COULD HAVE USED because I'm in a band and/or I have directed and produced music videos in the past). In my head, a large fascist army (riot cops in the Foos' video) attacks the band, and the fascist army is wiped out by the power of rock 'n roll and other forms of social justice.


Anyway, the video:


Foo Fighters concert photo credit: The Elwoods.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Have You Watched Your Picture in a Frame Yet?

Today is the official release day for the music documentary Immagine in Cornice, and I think I'll give the DVD another spin (you can read my review on another blog).

I guess this is the end of the road for me ranting about Pearl Jam and/or Eddie Vedder on this particular blog (for the foreseeable future, of course). Since my knee-jerk review of Ed's solo disc, I've listened to the album over and over. My only relevant complaint of brevity falls on the second track, "No Ceiling," as it seems to abruptly end. "Setting Forth" is incredible for its completeness and medium tempo, being all of one minute and thirty-seven seconds. The tracks lasting between two and three minutes recall the older form of 45 rpm songwriting, completeness while keeping the time short. The cover songs "Hard Sun" and "Society" are nice in length, though. Also incredible, other than backing vocals on a couple of songs and a guitar track for one song, Ed played EVERYTHING on the album! Okay, that's all I have to add to my previous review of the album.

In the meanwhile, here are some clips from the Pearl Jam DVD Immagine in Cornice (Picture in a Frame), which I also reviewed a couple of days ago (as mentioned at the start of this post):

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Immagine in Cornice" DVD in Stores 9/25/2007

I enjoyed Danny Clinch's rock music documentary (rockumentary, if you want to say it that way) Immagine in Cornice, which focuses on Pearl Jam's short tour of Italy in 2006. Some Ten Club members, like yours truly, received their pre-ordered copy of the film a few days ahead of the September 25th release date. If you didn't have the privilege of watching it before the official release, the movie "drops" (I've never written that before!) this Tuesday.

Yesterday, I wrote a review of Immagine in Cornice at the DeRamos.org blog. That review might help in the whether-or-not-to-check-it-out decision-making process, and if it does, I would certainly appreciate a Digg and/or a Del.icio.us bookmark (just click on the bookmark button at the bottom of the post). Thanks!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Road Music: Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild”

Before I get to my review of Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild, I’ve written an open letter to Mr. Vedder himself (that he probably will never read):

Why are the majority of the tracks so short, Ed? The songwriting is magnificent in your solo soundtrack album Into the Wild, and I’m sure these songs fit the movie Into the Wild perfectly, but a few repeats here and there would’ve made this album a better listen. Hey, if you want, I can chop and repeat some of the stuff in Pro Tools (or Audacity, if you want to be open-sourced about it). I’ve done that sort of thing in the past for other people. I extended the musical theme for part of Rob Zabrecky’s card magic act. You remember Rob Zabrecky, the former lead singer of Possum Dixon and current magician/actor/auctioneer. You both helped out with this year’s benefit for Flea’s school of music. Name dropping aside, it would be great if you added an extra verse or two to the songs that are less than two minutes long; otherwise I can chop, copy, and paste some already-recorded choruses. I hate tooting my own horn, but I can make it sound pretty seamless.

Cheers…alright (wait, I stole that from you),

Ryan DeRamos
The Society of Gloves

The first track on Eddie Vedder’s solo album, “Setting Forth” sets the mood of the this album. You can almost see the open road, under a crisp blue sky, in this song. We’re in for a road album, a journey that is (presumably) perfectly in tune with director Sean Penn’s movie Into the Wild – as well as the book upon which the movie was based, and the real-life tragic adventure from which the book was inspired.

Having never read the book (it’s on my list now, believe me) nor seen the movie (I’ll most likely check it out on DVD in a few months), I can still hear a storyline of mood in the album. Yes, Ed’s solo album is a concept album, due to it being a movie soundtrack. There is a feeling of a hopeful journey from “Setting Forth” (track one) to “Hard Sun” (track seven). Track eight, “Society,” signifies a point of no return in the journey, with hope ever fading. The next two songs pretty much end the journey, and the final track “Guaranteed” is a final lament to the once-hopeful journey. The bonus track, a reprise of “Guaranteed,” is a nice tag to the otherwise short album.

The current giant of music distribution, iTunes, released a deluxe edition of Ed’s solo album, with four bonus tracks: “No More,” an instrumental called “Photographs,” and live versions of “Here’s to the State” (an adaptation of the Phil Ochs’ protest song) and “No More.” This additional EP is essentially protest music – adhering to my ideology so there’s no disconnect on my part – but in the context of the entire album, it gives a pseudo-back story to the journey. The additional songs give purpose to the society-leaving journey – part resignation of changing the system and part determination to begin anew.

In conclusion, Eddie Vedder’s Into the Wild is a short album densely packed with great music. The music is both folksy and electric, but in a mellow sort of way. If you have to decide which version to get – hard copy or virtual – I suggest you lament the end of the CD age and pick up the “deluxe album” at iTunes. (And then burn a CD.)

As a postscript, several of the socio-political references of the cover/updating of “Here’s to State” are currently outdated. While the injustices sung about are sadly current, the specific names have either resigned (Alberto Gonzales) or died (Jerry Falwell), as well as those perceived as lame ducks (Dick Cheney and George W. Bush). The jury is still out on the third category, with the verdict coming in late 2008.

Here's the music video for "Hard Sun":

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finally...

Funnily enough, both Into the Wild and Immagine in Cornice arrived today. While I pre-ordered both products on separate occasions, I guess the Ten Club wanted to be efficient by mailing both packages simultaneously last Thursday.

Anyway, stay tuned for my reviews for both Ed's solo album and the band's latest concert DVD.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Waiting Some More...

I'm still waiting for the Into the Wild soundtrack album that was released Tuesday. According to an email I received last week, the Ten Club mailed the package either on the 14th, the 15th, or the 17th - depending on how the Pearl Jam fan club keeps business hours.

All I'm saying is that if the Immagine in Cornice DVD arrives first, I'm going to definitely write an email or two to the fan club.

That is some half-assed assertiveness, isn't it?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

iTunes, Slayer of CDs?

It's been two days since New Music Tuesday, and I'm still waiting for my pre-ordered CD to arrive. Hmm...maybe I should have just skipped the CD buying process and bought the album on iTunes. Plus, I've heard that the iTunes "deluxe edition" of the album contains FOUR bonus tracks.

Is this the new frontier of music sales? iTunes (and other, lesser online stores)? Obviously, it's been the frontier for more than half a decade, but is this the new world that will ultimately phase out CDs? Being a musician and self-produced recording artist, I really don't like the prospect of the only songs available to hear are the ones compressed at 128 kilobytes per second.

When it comes to digital music, I'm used to CDs: 16-bit sound, with a 44.1 kHz sampling rate, and using up 10 megabytes per minute at WAV or AIFF compression. It just reassures me that there's more resolution, more fidelity in all the digits being processed, than a 1 megabyte-per-minute mp3, Windows Media File, or Apple m4a.

When I record, I initially start off with 24-bit sound, with a 48 kHz sampling rate (though I would like some hardware that can go up to 96 and beyond!). It's all about resolution. If I had the funds, I would just record in analog. Now, that's the sound! That's as real as recorded can get, right?

So should I replace all my 80s, 90s, and 2000s tapes and CDs with vinyl? If I had the funds...

As far as the iTunes, Slayer of CDs, epithet goes...I'm a bit too late to turn the tide on that one. May all your music have next-generation MPEG compression with DRM, may all your art and photographs be JPEGs, and may all your cinema fit your cellular phone...ooh, that's a nasty curse!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Still Waiting...

"New Music Tuesday" has come and gone, and I have yet to hear the Ed's solo album! Evidently, there's a song called "Society" on it, so I'm wondering this: Of the visitors that come from search engine referrals, how many of them typed in "Eddie Vedder," "Into the Wild," and "Society," to end up on this website?

If that's you, WELCOME! And we hope to see you again 'round these parts regularly!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Unusually Not Early

I usually get pre-orders from Ten Club, Pearl Jam's official fan club, a couple of days ahead of the official release date. I wish that would be the case for Eddie Vedder's solo album, but alas, it is not. Hopefully it'll arrive in my mailbox later today (the official release date). If not, then maybe sooner and not later.

I'll be sure to review the album on one of the various blogs I write on, maybe within the next week. (Maybe I'd get an advanced copy of virtually everything I was a member of the press. How would one get a membership at this so-called press, anyway?)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Emmy Awards

I didn't really pay attention to the Emmy Awards last night, but the ads for New Zealand did stick to my head, especially because of the music the ads used - a cover of the 80s song "Forever Young," originally by Alpahville. The cover is by an Australian band called Youth Group. (And I thought Aussies and Kiwis were supposed to be opposed to one another!)

Here's the cover song, apparently first made popular during the run of the Fox show The OC:


And here's the O.G. 80s version, by Alphaville:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Baseball

Watching the Angels-White Sox game today, I wanted one of two possible endings:

1. Angels winning, as I am loyal to teams in the Los Angeles Metro...Megalopolis.

2. Jim Thome of the White Sox hitting his 500th home run, while simultaneously being the game-winning hit.

Evidently, the Universe saw it fit to create a story of an episode, with Jim Thome hitting his 500th home run to win the game. Technically, it was Darin Erstad, who was already on base, that broke the 7-7 tie, but that doesn't take away from Jim Thome's accomplishment.

Congratulations, Jim Thome! We'll blog about music and/or the band tomorrow...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fender Stratocaster

While I love to experiment with different guitars and different setups, I usually go by my decade-old standard:

1. Fender Stratocaster, maple fretboard. Extra points if it has a white pickguard over a black paintjob.
2. String gauges from .009 to .042. Yes, they're really light strings.
3. Mid-neck pickup position, for that fake humbucker sound.
4. No whammy bar, as I'm not Jimi Hendrix. I'll pull on the bridge itself if the need arises.
5. I prefer picks made out matte Delrin, 1.0 mm ("heavy"), but I'm open to other materials, from celluloid to Tortex, preferably 1.0 mm thick.

I prefer amp distortion (from a good-sounding amp) to stompbox distortion, but any sounds after the guitar are invariably variable, depending on the situation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just Fighting the Demons...

I had another dream about two nights ago. In my dream, my brother (also bandmate in the Society of Gloves) and I were playing a Castlevania-type game, but we were actually in it. Cool, for sure. We made it to the area around Dracula's castle (which is pretty much the centerpiece of all Castlevania games, Dracula's castle), which was actually on a cloud in the sky. So imagine a castle built on a cloud in the sky...all right?

We were fighting all sorts of bad guys, but we weren't quite in the inner keep of the castle. We somehow made it to a cave area, a kind of hidden entrance to the castle (in my mind at least), when we were suddenly attacked by Dracula! I didn't expect to fight the last boss at a penultimate stage of the game! Furthermore, Dracula wasn't in the form of a dashing vampire - he was a werewolf! Cool...

So we fought Werewolf Dracula inside the cave, hoping to drive him outside, where it was daylight. And so we did. But remember that outside also meant a cloud without any ground to stand on...

All three of us - and possibly other minions - started the long skydive outside of Dracula's cave. The sun was our ally, tearing at Werewolf Dracula's flesh as we descended to Earth.

Somehow, my brother and I, as well as Werewolf Dracula, landed safely on the ground. We were in some sort of European village - the quaint kind that Rick Steves would recommend in his PBS show - and Werewolf Dracula drove the battle into a nice cottage, to keep away from the sunlight.

In side the building, the last of Werewolf Dracula's flesh fell off, and he was no longer a werewolf but a slightly taller-than-man, bat demon! Kick ass, man, kick ass! We fought Bat Demon Dracula until I somehow strayed away from the dream, and I'd like to think that we finally beat him. Otherwise, it would be a waste of a video game-esque dream to not beat Dracula.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Super Grim Academy

Back in the peak heat of this summer, I dreamt that I was not only the Grim Reaper, I was Mr. Grim Reaper, Death School Teacher. Seriously. The students I taught in the past were my macabre class, as I lectured on the fundamentals of soul delivery to the afterlife. In my dream, we were actually on a field trip to deliver a couple of souls - in the form of glowing mothballs - to Hell. Double seriously.

Man alive, was it hot down there. (Keep in mind it was also hot in the real world.) After I demonstrated to my class - they were all great students in high school so they were also awesome Reapers-in-Training without a doubt - I saw a monument of a pillar that rose from the lava below. (Was this Hell or Mt. Doom? Mothball souls or the One Ring? It was a dream!) At the top of the pillar gushed a waterfall. In my head, it was a sort of courtesy refilling station for us ethereal postal workers. In any case, it was freaking hot, so I flew up to the pillar and was refreshed by the waterfall.

Of course, in the real world, I simply rolled over to be within range of the nearest electric fan.

My friend and associate Jason Loya had a much more surreal and optimistic dream about some form of afterlife, and I had the privilege of hearing the story of his dream, and that's what reminded me of mine.

The subconscious can be a strange place...most of the time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cover Songs

We've been considering recording a handful of cover songs, obviously to be posted in public, but what kind of redtape would a band have to face to post a cover song or two or three online?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Letting It Breathe

These past two months, I've been writing about the recording process for our two newest songs in many of the entries. The songs are pretty much recorded, but we haven't posted them either on our MySpace or here yet.

Part of the reason is the simplest - we're busy with other things, sadly enough. The other part of the reason is more utilitarian - we need space from production before starting the final mix and possible master (although we'll leave the mastering for a larger collection of songs).

To have that removal from being in the midst of production will definitely give ourselves a better, fresher perspective on the song in post-production, as it were. Anyway, we hope to have both songs as ready as possible soon...but that didn't stop us from playing early mixes at Radio@MU. So check out that show if you want to hear our new songs.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dicotomia Falsa

It seems that there are exactly two general ways to go about writing a song: (1) independently: the open road of jamming and/or see where the progression takes you or (2) dependently: conforming to some video imagery (scoring), replacing a temp track, or writing for someone else.

It's a false dichotomy, I'm sure, because you can start with limits - a mood, a theme, etc. - and then go nuts with your imagination, keeping those limits in the back of your head. By the same token, you can fly to space during the initial songwriting process, then bring it back down to earth if that song is to serve some specific purpose.

I write about this because "Time (Lose Your Hold)" was pretty much a song crafted from limits, but also needed to break free from the temp track from which it was initially confined, so that there wouldn't be the stink of plagiarism associated with it. Songwriters do have our pride, you know, to create something remotely creative, albeit undoubtedly influenced by our influences. Yes, I am aware of my redudantly circular word use.

For Elan Vital, the songs also initially were confined to limits: the 12-bar blues for "Do the Code," creating a drone for the Elan Vital drone, and adapting a waltz. That's the initial step in the process to create music that fits a movie or fits another purpose. After those "rules" are set, then it's a songwriter's job to innovate within those limits.

And then there's the process that I much prefer - jamming until something cool comes out. It's almost like natural selection for music. "White Rhino," "Fifty Can't Be Wrong," "Shield," "Transcend the Writing," and "Who Are Your Friends?" were all born from either jamming with the band, or strumming a guitar alone. They've been written and re-written several times before the recording process. And while, as is, they're the product of jamming, they still have some sort of limits - whether it be towing the line of standardized song structure (ugh, I know) or gathering them together eventually to form a coherent album, and dropping the ones that don't quite fit.

All in all, the dichotomy is false, as there are a seemingly myriad ways to go through the process. By the way, if you want to read a about a more meaty false dichotomy, head on over to the DeRamos.org blog.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Found Melody and More Than a Sneak Peek

Finally, oh finally, I've regained my memory of the lost melody that I lamented yesterday. I obviously quickly found my tape recorder to keep it in case of further memory loss. It turns out it isn't the greatest melody in the world; it's just a pretty good one that fits warmly with my limited vocal range. And now the hard part comes - the fragment of a melody needs to be combined with other just-as-good musical parts to form a complete song.

Speaking of my limited vocal range, check out our latest song, along with other good music and incoherent ranting, in the podcast entitled Radio@MU. Our song "Time (Lose Your Hold)" is the last song in episode #15, listed as "015 Black."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lost Melody

I had a great melody, or at least I thought it was a great melody, while strumming a guitar earlier today. I kick myself for not recording it quickly on a tape recorder, as I've forgotten the melody. I hope it'll return, and I'll definitely use my tape recorder to catch it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sneak Peek

Be sure to check out the latest episode of Radio@MU to hear a slightly rough mix of our new song "Time (Lose Your Hold)." It's episode 15 of the show.

You can subscribe to the podcast with Feedburner.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Eddie Vedder's Solo Album

I am so very totally excited about Ed from Pearl Jam's* first solo album. It actually doubles as the original motion picture soundtrack for a film called Into the Wild.

*As if I had to write "Ed from Pearl Jam" when it comes to Eddie Vedder.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Time (Lose Your Hold)

"Time (Lose Your Hold)" is the title of our latest song. Now we have to officially debut two songs: This one, and "Who Are Your Friends?"

A double A-side single, maybe?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Checklist

Drums, check.
Bass, check.
Acoustic guitars, check.
Electric guitars, check.
String section, check.
Vocals for three choruses, check.

To do: Two verses, one bridge, and mix all of the above.

Also to do: Reveal the name of the song.

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Outcasts" Soundtrack


The Society of Gloves has been tasked with replacing the temp track, in the form of a pop rock song, for a motion picture called Outcasts. The film is a collaboration between Sinister Noises Productions and Mutiny Universe. I don't know if the song we're working on will seemlessly replace the temp track, but it's worth a shot.

Besides, it will give me some practice scoring music. I am anticipating scoring the rest of Elan Vital, and the last time I fully scored films was in 2004, for Cleaning Service and a documentary.

So yeah, I personally need some practice.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Album Art: "Do the Code"

There are actually two versions for "Do the Code," so far, that is. The first, recorded in February of 2007, is the demo that Mutiny Universe used during the production of their film Elan Vital. It's a boogie woogie, piano rock 'n roll tune, so it's heavy on the piano and light on the guitar.

The second try at "Do the Code" is an official Society track. Recorded in April of 2007, it is a slight rearrangement from the first "Do the Code"; there are two guitars playing this arrangement; and the piano has been replaced by a Hammond B5. It's essentially a homage to 70s classic rock doing an homage to 50s rock 'n roll.

Needless to say, it really doesn't fit in to the other Society songs, so it's a bit on the B-side spectrum of music. It used to be on our Myspace, but I've taken it down to reserve room for newer songs.

Where is my mind? The cover art depicts the Elan Vital band. We've slightly obscured the people through some sloppy Photoshop plugin work, but all three actors are also great musicians, though they didn't play on "Do the Code."

Here's the photo without modification:


The fake band looks cool.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Album Art: "Transcend the Writing"

This is the cover art for the last song we recorded in 2006, "Transcend the Writing." While we recorded the previous three songs in the summer, this one took a while to complete writing, practice, and record. While we produced this one in November, but the origin of the song was during a jam session in the late spring or early summer of 2006.

It's basically a colorized version of an Aubrey Beardsley illustration called "The Ascension of St. Rose of Lima." It's from 1896, the same year as the Waterhouse painting visually remixed for "Shield." You can read about Rose of Lima at Wikipedia, as that story doesn't really relate to the song, although the subject of self-martyrdom does sound a lot like the opening lines of the song: "To my life / Weary 'cause it seems / That I need a paid vacation..."

I first found this work of art as a curious, bookish preadolescent eternally searching for knowledge by reading a set of encyclopedias. That illustration and the painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" (the hellish right panel) had been in the background noise of my mind as I grew through my teenage years. That, and rock music. Here's the original:


And this is the album art in poster form. I really like how the colors turned out. The Hierophant seems to show different parts of his personality and character, that is, if you try to take the four covers literally. He's a ruler in "White Rhino," a fighter in "Fifty," a discoverer - to say the least - in "Shield," and a lover in "Transcend." Or maybe not.


I purposely made the buildings orange, almost showing that the cities are aflame while the two are ascending. Originally, we were going to continue the pseudo-storyline from the "Transcend" woman's point-of-view for future songs, but that idea has long been scrapped.