Friday, February 19, 2010

029 a choice

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SONG

The music for today’s song was written a really long time ago, but I could never get the right melody for it. Fortunately, recently, I have found a melody that I think suits the song well. The chords by the way are Bm, A, G, F#/D, Em, F#/D, G, F#/D for the verse, A and G for the pre-chorus, and a Bm, G, D, A progression for the chorus. The tuning is one whole step down.

LYRICS

The theme of this song is another common theme in my music: vampires. This time it’s about someone becoming a vampire; actually, the lyrics I have so far sort of remind me of the scene in the movie Interview With The Vampire where Lestat turns Louis into a vampire. If I remember correctly (I really should watch the movie again, or actually, I should really read the series, because I really liked the movie), Louis somewhat regrets being turned into a vampire, and in my song the lyrics have that feeling as well, so perhaps unconsciously, this song was inspired by that story.

TREASURE CHEST

In keeping with today’s theme, here is another song called Sunlight that is about vampires, but this one is about a vampire who has lost his love and wants to commit suicide, so is waiting for the sun to rise. This song was recorded last year (I really must keep a better record), but I think I will re-record it soon.

CHECK THIS OUT – THE NATIONAL

I first heard about these guys through the Rolling Stone website, but had forgotten about them until I came across another article about them. I really like the singer’s voice, and although I need to listen to more of their material, I really like their song Fake Empire.

COLLABORATION?

With today's technology, I know it's not impossible to collaborate with someone so far away, so it would be great if someone out there wanted to put a bass track down or a drum track down for this song or any of my songs. Of course, I probably would have to re-record some or most of them, but leave me comment, and I will get back to you.

Cheers,
alexander

Monday, February 15, 2010

028 by your side

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SONG


The song consists of 6 chords altogether. The verse is Emaj, A(maj7)/F#, B7sus4, Asus2(maj7), and the chorus – if that’s what you can call it – is B7sus4, Asus2(maj7), Amaj, Bmaj/A. As you can hear, the song sounds kind of like a country song; for some reason, Johnny Cash comes to mind, but I haven't really listened to him, so I’m probably way off in saying that, and besides I’m not really a country music fan, which begs the question – Why would I write such a song? I guess the answer is that it was spontaneous and unlike most of my spontaneous songs, this one had a really nice vibe to it, so I kept it.

LYRICS

I have to be honest – although my music can be very upbeat, my lyrics are usually not and this is a good example. It’s about someone’s last words to a loved one.

TREASURE CHEST

Here is another one of my songs that may interest you. It has a similar theme to today’s song. It’s called ‘Look out the door’ and I wrote this a long time ago. This is the song that really made me want to be a musician because it was the first song that I played live (in front of 200 people actually) and the reaction I got was overwhelming – people cried. I’m not joking; people actually cried when they heard it, well not everyone, of course, but quite a few did, and the feeling I got from that cannot be explained in writing.

COLLABORATION?

With today's technology, I know it's not impossible to collaborate with someone so far away, so it would be great if someone out there wanted to put a bass track down or a drum track down for this song or any of my songs. Of course, I probably would have to re-record some or most of them, but leave me comment, and I will get back to you.

Cheers,
alexander

Monday, February 8, 2010

027 a dream

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SONG

This was the second last song I wrote with only 4 strings. The progression is Dm, Am, Gm, Dm, A maj. I haven’t played it since this recording, so it’s bound to sound different, but I liked the rawness/bluesiness of this take.

LYRICS

I’m sure there are possible interpretations, but the obvious one that comes to mind for me would be about not letting go of a dream. I believe that we all have dreams, both small and large, and that it’s important not to give up on them and strive toward them. What’s my dream? Music, of course, and that’s something I don’t ever want to give up on.

TREASURE CHEST

I was reading recently about Linking In and Linking Out, where Linking In is about linking to older posts within your own blog, so I thought I would start linking to some of my other songs. If you’re interested, here is a song I wrote a while ago called ‘Boarding Call'.

CHECK THIS OUT - COLD WAR KIDS

When you’ve been away for so long, you tend to fall behind on what’s out there. I had heard of this group before, but for some reason, I only got around to hearing them today. Here is a link to one of their songs, 'We Used to Vacation'.

COLLABORATION?

With today's technology, I know it's not impossible to collaborate with someone so far away, so it would be great if someone out there wanted to put a bass track down or a drum track down for this song or any of my songs. Of course, I probably would have to re-record some or most of them, but leave me comment, and I will get back to you.

Cheers,
alexander

Thursday, February 4, 2010

026 this island is your home

The reason for not posting earlier can be summed up in five words - THE END OF THE SEMESTER.

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The Song

Here is the last song I wrote with only four strings because shortly after writing this, another string broke, so I decided it was time to replace them (Actually, I still have one more that I wrote before this one with only four strings, but I will post it next time). However, the tuning I'm going with now is 2 steps down, so it is sounds very gritty. I like it! Anyway, this song has three chords - D Gmaj and Em/D played in that order, well pretty much in that order; you can tell what I'm doing once you listen to it.

The Lyrics

Another theme I use from time to time - home, and the idea that no matter where you go, you'll always have a place to go back to. Actually, come to think of it, that's not particularly true for everyone, but for most people I would think it to be true. The lyrics of the song are really straightforward in conveying this theme as you will understand when you listen to it.

Collaboration?

With today's technology, I know it's not impossible to collaborate with someone so far away, so it would be great if someone out there wanted to put a bass track down or a drum track down for this song or any of my songs. Of course, I probably would have to re-record some or most of them, but leave me comment, and I will get back to you.

Cheers,
alexander

Monday, January 25, 2010

025 wait up

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The Song

Here is yet another song written on a four-string guitar. I should just mention the strings I am using are the A, G, B and high E strings. I wrote and recorded this bit yesterday if I remember correctly.

The Music

The song uses a standard tuning, and is a two chord progression, F to C. However, and I am not sure what you would call this (I am pretty sure there is a name though), I am not using the standard F and C chords, but only two notes of each: the F-chord's F-note is played on the A-string, and the A-note on the B-string, and the C-chord consists of the C-note on the A-string and the E-note on the B-string. For the first part, I am plucking those two quickly, then in the second part, I am playing more complete F and C chords, and finally for the third part I revert to the original pattern, but this time pluck the strings one at a time.

The Lyrics

I am not sure, but I think that there could be several interpretations of the lyrics, one of course being love, but I also get the feeling that the lyrics could also be about the inability of keeping up with technology in general or the information being supplied by the Internet. Of course, that would bring up a question - Would technology personified be a man or a woman? How about the Internet?


Collaboration?

Would you like to add drums or bass to this? If so, please leave and comment, and I'll get back to you.

Cheers,
alexander

Friday, January 22, 2010

024 by the sea

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Still playing with 4 strings

Tonight's song is yet another that I wrote this week with only four strings. I think that makes about four so far, but until I get around to changing my strings, that number will probably increase.

Music

The song is a two-chord progression, Em to Am, but due to my limited knowledge of the music theory, that's the extent of my description. I apologize, but I've always been on the artistic side of the fence, never really studying music in any detail. What I do like about the song is that despite its simplicity, with the right bass and drums accompanying it, I think this song could be great live. I imagine the intro simply the guitar, very sad, very lonely, but then slowly the drums come in, maybe just a pounding bass, I can't really explain what I'm thinking, because it would just be a bunch of don's, then at some point it just builds and builds into an explosion of distortion (ah, maybe no distortion), heavy bass guitar, like thunder and a hard attack on the drums, almost depicting a storm, and finally, a very quite, soothing outro as if the storm has come to pass.

Lyrics

Moving on to the lyrics, although the words came out of nowhere, as they most often do, there is definitely a feeling of losing someone here. I picture fishermen out to see when a storm hits, and a wife of one of the fisherman standing on the shore hoping that all is not lost, waiting for some message that he is in fact OK, when chances are, she will never see him again. Yes, I know, dark, dark and more dark, but I can't help feel that this could be a really cool mood song.

Online Collaboration

If anyone is interested in adding drums or bass to this, leave a comment and I will get in touch with you, or if you just want to leave a comment about the song, I would love to hear from you.


Cheers,
alexander

Monday, January 18, 2010

023 on empty

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The Song

Tonight's song was created last night, without E and D strings if you can believe it. I really have to change my strings don't I? Or maybe I could have a contest to see how many songs I can create with as few strings as possible. Anyway, the song is in standard tuning and is quite simple, just a B, D, E7 progression. The lyrics I think are really straightforward - drugs, crooks and cops; I do remember thinking of Reservoir Dogs by Tarantino, although I don't remember much of what happened in the movie anymore. Were there drugs? I'll have to see it again, although I do remember the famous 'ear' scene. Well, I have to go, but I hope you like the song. Also, if anyone out there would like to add drums or bass to any of the songs on here, let me know.

Cheers,
alexander

PS Tonight's blog is short because I really want to keep my academic life/work separate from my music, so probably many of the blogs to come will just be about the music, as it should be.

Friday, January 15, 2010

022 stop

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It's 19h48, and dinner is almost ready, so I don't have much time, but actually, I don't have much to say, so it works out nicely now doesn't it?

I didn't realize until I came home, but I came home quite early today, earlier than usual anyway. I usually don't get home until around 9 or so, but tonight I was home around 7. It's OK, though because I had a pretty productive day. I did some research regarding a teaching method called Dogme ELT (you can read about it on my eisensei blog), and I started setting up the self-access center. Just in case you don't know what that is, it's a place for students to come and study what they want at their own pace. Today, three students who are on the SAC staff helped me put together furniture and arrange the room. Perhaps next week we will start arranging the materials (books, CDs, DVDs etc) so that we can open the center next month. I think it would be good to open it next month although it's during spring break because it will at least allow us to work out the unexepected bugs.

The Song

Well, it seems that my song has finally uploaded, and I've talked too much about work; I really should be talking about the center on eisensei because that is my academic blog, well if you can call it academic, but in any case, this blog is for my music, not for my work, so I will stop now. Tonight's song is definitely rock and very simple - a three-chord progression if I remember correctly. I think it is quite catchy though, as most simple songs are I find, but it would definitely sound better with drums and a really heavy bass. As you can see, I really want to find a drummer and bassist to play with before I explode, or at least, before I get too old to be singing this stuff. Could you imagine me playing this stuff with a band for the first time when I'm 50? I know the Rolling Stones are in their 60s, but they started playing when they were in their teens? 20s? Well, you get the picture. Also, tonight on my way home, I listened to Vampire Weekend, a really, really good band in my opinion, and listening to them really made me want to play in a band. Actually, even playing with someone on-line would be an option, so if you're interested leave a comment.

Cheers,
alexander

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

021 under my wing

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It's 18h37, so I have until 19h00 to finish. I have to be strict with myself, or I'll end up taking forever to write this blog. Honestly, part of me feels that I should be doing something else with this time, but let's consider this a compromise - I can continue my music, but don't spend too much time on it, well on the blog part at least.

I am not sure if I have posted this yet, but I have placed an announcement on Mixi looking for people to play with. For those of you who don't know what Mixi is, it's a social network, but mainly popular in Japan. I tried joining, but you need a cell phone, which I still don't have, so I asked my wife to post on my behalf. So far nothing yet, and perhaps no one will respond, but hey, at least I've put the word out. The reason I chose Mixi is because there is a music group/forum for people in my city, so I thought that it may be a good first start. I'll let you know if anything pans out.

Next week, I will have to try to post on another day because Wednesday I am going out. It's been forever it feels since I last went out. I probably won't be out too late because I have work the next day, but it will be nice to go out.

Well, I think tonight's song has a lot of potential, although the melody can be tricky at times. As with many of the songs I have posted, I am not sure if I will add anything more to it, but if I do want to perform it, I may have to add some extra lyrics, or keep it really short, or make it almost a musical. However, I think with drums and a lead guitar and bass, I think the song may be able hold its own just fine as it is without having to add extra. Let me know what you think.

Cheers,
alexander

Monday, January 11, 2010

020 salvation

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It's 20h10, and I just finished watching a classic Mission Impossible episode from the 60's. I've seen the movies, but honestly, the TV series is much better. I can't really explain why I prefer the TV series, but there is just something about it, perhaps it's the 60's atmosphere, the style of that time that really attracts me, but I can't stop watching it. If you ever get a chance to watch the series, I highly recommend it. The episode I just watched is called 'The Town' and is from season 2. It's about a whole town involved in a conspiracy to assassinate someone. That's all I will say, but it was definitely one of the better episodes.

I didn't have to go to work today because in Japan it is the Coming-of-Age Day and is a holiday for many companies and for all schools, I think, or at least for universities. There is usually a ceremony and then many go out partying. Each year, you may see on TV footage of some young people going crazy at the ceremony, but I am not sure if that has happened here though. I hope it hasn't, although I wouldn't be surprised if it has as there will always be those who don't know better, right?

Well, tonight I have another song written and performed on a D-stringless guitar. Actually, I am lying - it was originally recorded with all strings in French, but yesterday, no the day before I think, I decided to sing it in English and this is what came out. I should also mention that soon after, my E-string broke, so now I really have to change my strings or else I will have a guitar with strings from different companies and I am not sure how that would sound. Anyway, tonight's song is kind of bluesy and therefore not too upbeat, but the words work well with the melody. It definitely has potential to be a nice song. As for the French version, the lyrics are completely different, but maybe I will post that later.

Cheers,
alexander

Friday, January 8, 2010

019 a new life

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It's 4h35, and I am finally eating lunch, or maybe I could say it's dinner because I did eat a sandwich earlier.

Well, I will try to keep this post short because I spent too much time commenting on an English blog. Sometimes it takes me forever to figure out what I am going to say. I wish I had the power to say exactly what I want immediately and not have to write, rewrite and so on, especially when it's a comment! How I like to waste my time! I wonder if anyone out there suffers from a similar problem?

On a good note, I finally got around to posting on MIXI. Well, actually, I had to ask my wife to do it because I don't have an account due to not having a cell phone. I really don't know why I need one to register, but I do. I asked her to post an announcement on the Hakodate music group site because I am looking to start a group. Nothing big really, but I would really like to get together with a bassist and drummer and perform some of my songs. So far I haven't gotten any responses, but hopefully someone will contact me.

Well, tonight's song is interesting because it's another song written without a D-string. Yes, you read correctly, another song without a D-string. I am not sure why, but recently my D and G-strings tend to break while the others last forever. Perhaps it's my style of playing because I do tend to use those strings a lot, but come on, it feels like they break too frequently. However, I only have the one guitar, and if I did have to get it fixed, I may be without a guitar for who knows how long, and when you love music as much as I do, that's not an option.

Cheers,
alexander

Monday, January 4, 2010

018 deep into you

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It's 17h27, and it feels like a refrigerator in here.

Well, before I begin, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2010! You know, now that I've written that, I wonder if we really do that, extend our wishes once the new year has started. It's been so long since I was in Canada for New Year's, so I kind of forget, but in Japan, it's not strange at all to wish someone a Happy New Year after the first, so hey, when in Rome, right? Anyway, I hope you all had a great New Year's, and I do hope that 2010 will be a great year for you all, and I hope for me, too!

I will keep this message short because it is really cold and my fingers are quite numb making it difficult to type (I probably made 10 errors in writing this sentence alone!).

I am not sure if I mentioned this before but many blogs talk about books or present an author's work, so I will stay away from that, but I do want to say that if you like mystery blended with history, you might want to check out "The Dante Club" by Matthew Pearl. I think once I'm finished I am going to try Dante's "Divine Comedy" because Pearl's book really got me interested in it. OK, that's it, no more about books in this post.

Well, I am going to go because it is too cold to continue, so here is the song for this evening. In a nutshell, it's about love and how love can make you crazy, well maybe not exactly that but somewhere in that ballpark.

Cheers,
alexander