The Wheel Weaves (an Album?) as the Wheel WillsPosted: July 25, 2014 Filed under: Music, Songwriting | Tags: Brandon Sanderson, EP, Full-length album, inspiration, music, piano, Rand, Robert Jordan, songwriting, strong female characters, Wheel of Time, women, WoT Leave a comment
*The following blog is about songs I have written or plan to write, but it is going to talk about some minor happenings in the Wheel of Time series written by Robert Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s passing.
One of those songs, Make Him Mine, is about a relationship in the Wheel of Time series from Elayne’s point of view.
As I was writing the song, I had ideas for other songs and I daydreamed of an entire WoT-themed album. Over the course of the fourteen books Rand encounters many people, but it is his relationships with all the extremely strong women that inspire me to get writing. They love him, they hate him, they fear him, and they treat him like a little child. It is so entertaining to read, and I have so many thoughts about how each woman’s song might sound. I love that in these books the men and women constantly talk about how they have no idea how to even begin to understand the opposite sex. It makes for great source material! Before I sent Reconstruction off to the printer, I even started on a song for a feisty older gal we meet in book 7.
I will keep you updated on how this project progresses. Right now I am still riding high on the excitement of my most recent album, but that itch to write more is always just beneath the surface. I’ve been jotting down lyrics here and there as inspiration strikes.
Random funny quote from the Wheel of Time Wikia page for the women of WoT: Women: “People who sniff, stare, smooth their skirts, and fold their arms under their breasts, and other stuff also, but mostly that.”
Yeah, that sounds like what one of the male characters would say!
Awesome trivia: there are 1,031 female characters in this series!!!!
A Wizard Rock Concert for Air Force KidsPosted: July 9, 2014 Filed under: Music, Show | Tags: audience, Barksdale Air Force Base, children, clapping, crowd participation, dancing, fans, Harry Potter, house ties, library, music, piano, questions, show, Shreveport, songs, Witherwings, wizard rock, Wrock Leave a comment
I know I already posted all about this on Twitter and Facebook earlier today, but 140 characters (even if used several times) is not enough to convey how amazing my morning was.
Acknowledgements for the Reconstruction EPPosted: May 25, 2014 Filed under: Music, Recording Studio | Tags: acknowledgements, album, Ardour, Ardour 3, DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, EP, free, home recording studio, liner notes, Linux, Mandala at Twilight, MIDI, music, open source, photography, piano, Qsampler, recording, self-portrait, software, songwriting, studio, Ubuntu Studio, Yoshimi Leave a comment
There were too many things to say to squeeze them onto a single insert page on a CD, so I am taking advantage of the space I have on this blog to list my acknowledgements and also to talk about the process of recording this album.
I will start with the acknowledgements to spare those who might not be interested in the technical details, though those details are cool, I swear! 😉
- This album would not exist if it were not for the help and patience of my dear husband, and for the most laid-back (and super fantastic, seriously solidly sleeping) baby.
- I want to thank my musician father for his feedback on songs when I thought the auditory “vision” was going astray. I love that we have music and songwriting in common.
- I appreciate the graphic design advice given to me by my step-dad. This was rather tricky since he is not connected to the Internet and I had to describe to him, over the phone, what I wanted to accomplish on the album cover. Luckily he is a great (retired) designer, as well as a musician, so he gets it.
- I am ever so grateful to my friend Jen Boone for helping with the photo shoot for the album cover. She is the first friend I made when we recently moved to Louisiana and we’ve not known each other very long. However, she was quick to lend a hand when I wanted to drive to an unfamiliar area of town to do a series of self portraits in front of an abandoned building. The word “abandoned” inspired a “YOU WANT TO GO ALONE AND TAKE THE BABY WHERE?” when I told my husband what I wanted to do. Jen was happy to babysit during the shoot, and to give me feedback on when the wind was blowing my dress just right. 🙂
- And YOU. If you are reading this, it might be because you bought the album and saw the link to my blog. Thank you! Supporting musicians is what allows them to keep making more music. ❤
Other liner notes:
- “Dusk to Dawn” originally appeared on my 2010 album The Soundtrack to Your Demise. Because that album is very different from the rest of my music, I thought it might be nice to attempt a dreamy piano version of the rhythmic, beat-heavy, and synth-driven original. I’m really happy with the piano arrangement.
- The song title, “The Medium,” refers to a concept in the Legends of Muirwood series by Jeff Wheeler. Though this song is in fact about that concept, it is also about my general spiritual beliefs.
- “Make Him Mine” is directly inspired by The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (written by Robert Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s passing.) If you’ve read the first three (of 14) books, you know whose point of view I am taking. It’s not spoiler-y, just in case you are avoiding spoilers.
Now for the technical stuff:
- I am so very pleased to say that this album was recorded using entirely open source (FREE) software. I used Ardour 3 as my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and used Yoshimi and Qsampler for my MIDI sound fonts. I ran all these programs using 64-bit Ubuntu Studio 13.10, a Linux-based operating system (again, all free.)
- For the beautiful grand piano sound, I used the open source Maestro Concert Grand piano sound font provided by Mats Helgesson.
- I did not have any guest musicians appear on this album. I like to think I am rather resourceful at getting my keyboard (via MIDI) to sound as much like other instruments as possible. I try not to push those boundaries too hard though; I am still a piano player at heart.
- My keyboard, an old Casio Privia, has a huge selection of drum presets, and it is amazing what a lot of time, patience, and clever editing can do to make boring, repetitive drum tracks a whole lot more interesting. For the record, in hindsight, it may have taken the same amount of time to just hire someone to play drums and record them. I ran into a few snags that had me searching dozens of presets for just the right boom/crash combo with a cymbal that was not too long and not too short. Painful.
- If you are still reading this, you may enjoy some of my previous blogs about setting up my studio and using MIDI in Ardour. I also wrote a post on the specs of Ardour (though my blog post was written for the previous version of Ardour, it is still good for the basics.)
Coming Soon!Posted: May 14, 2014 Filed under: Merchandise, Music, Recording Studio | Tags: album, Ardour 3, EP, Linux, music, piano, Reconstruction, recording, songwriter, songwriting Leave a comment
A Look Into the Madness of a Mixing Musician?Posted: May 2, 2014 Filed under: Music, Recording Studio | Tags: album, Ardour, Ardour 3, DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, EP, home recording studio, Linux, music, recording, recording studio Leave a comment
Am I the only one who goes through tons of pieces of paper like this while mixing a CD? Am I just that OCD about it being as perfect as I can make it?
New Music UpdatePosted: April 15, 2014 Filed under: Music, Recording Studio, Uncategorized | Tags: album, Ardour, Ardour 3, cons, conventions, DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, EP, home recording studio, Linux, music, recording, recording studio, songwriting, studio Leave a comment
I’ve been working on new music everyday while the kiddo naps. I’ve been writing, recording, and editing the mix, which takes the most time of all three. After a month and a half of doing this 5-6 days a week, 2 hours a day, my five new songs have these percentages of being complete: 99%, 97%, 70%, 40%, and 1% (1% = stream of consciousness lyrical ideas in my notebook.)
I’m aiming to have an EP of new songs ready for Cleveland ConCoction at the end of May. Though I’ve been working on stuff every day, and doing some serious time management (ie. writing lyrics while waiting for the baby to fall asleep)I still have so much to do!
I need to keep plug plug plugging along. 🙂
Setting Up a Linux-Based Recording Studio (Chapter 3)Posted: March 31, 2014 Filed under: Music, Recording Studio | Tags: Ardour, Ardour 3, DAW, Digital Audio Workstation, hardware, home recording studio, issues, Linux, MIDI, music, playback, recording, recording studio, studio, tracks, troubles Leave a comment
It’s been a while since I posted about recording in Ardour. Well, it’s been a while since I recorded, but I have been working on new music daily for the last month.
It took a couple of days, but I’m flying through all the connections at start-up now. (I use QSampler for my MIDI sound fonts in addition to analog instrument tracks.)
The reason for posting today though, is because it seems I have found my computer’s limit. She’s not a new machine, and she’s feeling the strain. It turns out that 15 tracks, of which 8 have one plug-in each, and one that has two plug-ins, are more than she can take. Playback is stuttering. It exports just fine, but when I go back to listen, make notes and edit, I have to mute or bypass the reverb on at least 5 tracks. Okay, so I like lots of harmonies. DON’T JUDGE ME. 😉
Before recording in Ardour on a Linux computer, it was common for my songs to have 15-25 tracks on average. I really like a full, complex sound. The last CD I put out, and the first to be recorded on this computer in Ardour, was very basic: vocals, piano, drums and bass. I wanted the album to sound the way my songs sound when performed live. The songs had 5-6 tracks at the most, so I never even considered what my computer could handle.
Looks like there might be a hardware upgrade in my near future. I will keep you posted.
My Response to “Where Are the Female Voices From This Community?”Posted: March 17, 2014 Filed under: Life, Music | Tags: abuse, allegations, fandom, fans, Harry Potter, music, news, shows, wizard rock, Wrock 1 Comment
I’ve seen several blogs asking “where are the female voices from this community?”
I posted a blog over on Tumblr, since that is where most of this dialogue is taking place.
It is the opinion of one female wizard rocker. I realize that what I have to say sounds nothing like the blogs I’ve read from other wrockers. I am not sure if that is good or bad.
I can only speak for myself, and there was really nothing for me to post other than, “Well I am not completely surprised.”
That, however, does not make much of a sound-bite or quote.
If you are interested you can read the entire thing on my Tumblr page.
I will leave you with these questions though: Should we have done more to try changing these potentially dangerous situations? Was there anything we could have done? Is there something we in the community can do better in the future? Perhaps the ladies who are now speaking out have made us more aware, and more likely to say something if we see something inappropriate happening.
My “Lucky” ValentinePosted: February 14, 2014 Filed under: Music, Video | Tags: baby, beach, Lucky, music, music video, OpenShot, poll, puppet theatre, puppets, Valentine, Valentine's Day, video, vote, voted, winner Leave a comment
The wait is finally over! You voted and I delivered!
I am pleased to present to you the video for “Lucky.” I had a blast making it.
I got a bit delayed by the construction of the puppet theatre and by moving across the country, but I finally finished it last week.
Cleveland ConCoction, a SciFi, comic, and gaming convention that I will be performing at in May, has been so kind to me that I let them exclusively premier it a couple of days ago. Now I am sharing it with the rest of the world.
Consider this video my Valentine’s Day Thank You to all of you who voted and patiently waited for it!
Life’s Toolbox, Introspection, and Why I Write SongsPosted: August 10, 2013 Filed under: Life | Tags: advice, child, children, introspection, life, lyrics, songwriter, songwriting, therapy, toolbox Leave a comment
I realized something this morning. Every person goes through life with a toolbox. We pick up tools as we go along and others are passed down from our parents. The key to a happy life, and to being a solid parent, is to periodically go through the toolbox and check to see if some of the older tools are broken, and if so, determine if they can be mended. If not, perhaps they can be thrown away.
We’ve already inherited some baggage from our parents and picked up bad habits along the way. It’s best to get rid of that stuff before we start building the toolboxes for the next generation.
We will never be perfect and we will always have a few things we wish we’d done differently. However, if we make every attempt to be mindful of our thoughts, actions, and reactions, we can hope to make our children’s lives that much more stable than our own.
I realize this isn’t overtly about music and may seem out of context, but writing lyrics is one way for me to dig deep, pull out all of my junk, take a close look at it, and attempt to purge what is old, useless, or even harmful.
It can be an uncomfortable process, but the introspection is worth it in the end.