not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake

24-Hour Album

My eighth 24-hour album: Once More From Personal Experience (album title by ddyte)

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Some of the leftovers will no doubt show up on the next one I do.

This one has a lot of rough edges--I'm out of practice, and spent too much time on the wrong things.

I think my best single 24-hour album is "Suggest-A-Title 1"; the main distinctive thing about recording that is that I was alone in a house, so I had my drum kit, and I could sing (at any time of day) without worrying about neighbors. And I used my guitar synthesizer. The only part of that I could duplicate now was the last bit, so I did.

I started at 2am, so I couldn't sing, so I couldn't really write vocal songs (although I could do lyrics), so I decided to get up and running by recording an instrumental before doing lyrics; so I looked into recording Sun Starer's. But I got distracted...

The Sun Picked Me Up: I was running through the sounds on my guitar synthesizer looking for stuff for "Sun Starer's" when I ran into the steel drum patch, and started noodling with that for a bit. I ended up recording the steel drum part for the chorus right then, and another instrument for the verses, without having a clue about the lyrics. The title was submitted by Ferret as two separate titles, I think, but they obviously went together. When I went to record it, I added a very sloppy guitar playing the part that the other instrument was playing--sloppy because the verses are just too fast. I think this was the first vocals I recorded; the pitch is pretty bad, and the harmony doesn't come together until the last chorus.

The Peroration of Difficulties: Another guitar synthesizer patch I came across in the hunt. This is a single continuous live performance--the bass and guitar are both coming from one instrument live, and the bass 'strumming' is actually an automatic arpeggiator. However I edited about a minute out of my recording, simply because it was too long.

Sun Starer's Retinal Afterimage: The only instrumental which had a name before I wrote it. About 80% of the synthesizers are guitar synthesizer. I started with a strange "chord": root, tritone, minor 7th. Then there's a noodling part that I'm not sure what key it uses, but after that, I ended up putting most everything else in a whole-tone scale since that fit the chord.

You Aren't A Chef: The first lyrics I wrote. I went online looking for menus at five-star restaurants. I hadn't intended the structure to be quite so complicated (there's no real repetion except for the two choruses; the two 'verses' aren't at all related); the first "verse" was meant to be a different-tempo different-music intro, but I kept it closer to the "second" verse in the end because it turns out there weren't any more verses. I wrote the bridge to be in 7/4 in an attempt to emphasize the weird rhyme (which was inspired by a story about Tom Lehrer making a rhyme for the English 'orange'), then back-adapted the time signature stuff onto the verse to tie it all together better. I spent way too long on the lyrics (what with the online researching and fairly frequent rhyming scheme), and then when I recorded it, I almost immediately came up with the chorus melody (which starts with a simple major scale, so, like, uh, not very hard), and then spent something like an hour trying and failing to come up with anything that worked for the verse, before finally putting it aside and coming back to it later. I think it's my favorite, so I guess it was worth it.

I tried recording the bridge vocals a TON of times, and I could never get the "Except maybe the statue" part to sound reasonable, despite being not a particularly strange melodically. The intro accidentally recalls the Smiths' "Is It Really So Strange", although it was an accident; I decided to end the song with this odd move to an E chord, and I had left a little room at the front of the song for an intro, so I decided to intro it with the same chord. But then it sounded too plain, so I spiced it up with a 7th, but that wasn't enough, so I went to a 9th. I never knew exactly what E chord they used there, but I guess it's close.

I never got around to recording background vocals that were singing a very stretched-out and impossible to figure out "secret ingredient".

The Hobbit Mafia: The second lyrics I wrote--the name instantly reminded of the Scourging of the Shire, which made me think about the force behind it, which led me to an interesting musical connection (not spoiling it here, but the lyrics page does spoil it). It was also the last song I recorded. The vocal take is the first take (although there was a previous take that was just a sketch laying out what the general timing was going to be, so I could record the instruments); I had hoped to come back and do it in a more stylized voice and fix the singing, but I was totally out of time.

Magnetic Poetry: I went to a couple online magnetic poetry sites and brought up their word sets and used them to construct verses, with a few connective words and rhyming words added by hand. But I ran out of time and never recorded it. I'll probably reuse the title another time, but write actual lyrics with the magnetic poetry as a metaphor or something.

Could Today Go Any Slower?: I had the idea for the chorus vocal structure very early, and when I got to writing the lyrics, I structured them around this idea. The vocals get way off in a few places, despite many vocal takes. I actually cheated and re-recorded the opening vocal harmony when I was mastering (after the 24-hours), because they were really badly out of tune (so badly that the current still screwy ones are much better!), and I felt like maybe it could be the album opener if only the very first part weren't so out of tune. (But in the end I decided on Chef.)

I Loved You Twice: I knew where I was going to go with these lyrics right away, when I made my list of titles I wanted to use; but I didn't write them until last. While I was writing the lyrics I came up with the idea of alternating chords and "a capella" melody (probably unconsciously ripped off from some song), so I was very strict about the meter in an atypical fashion--normally in music you can put in extra syllables and just speed up or slow down the appropriate section, but here I wanted a very strict syllable-equals-eighth-note, and intentionally made the line lengths kind of odd, lightly inspired by the Beatles Revolution. However, the lyrics need a lot more work--there's these internal rhymes and some line-ending rhymed syllables occur four times (once internal), which is a pretty strict format, and led to a lot of relatively nonsensical stuff. The bass guitar is actually the VG-88 guitar processor (pitch shift and amp simulation).

Neck and Knees: Just noodling on the guitar synthesizer. I wanted to play with writing a "brass section" sort of thing and play each line separately as a single monophonic part, but I discovered I had no clue how to write brass sections! So it's a lot less interesting than it could be. There are five tracks, although they don't all play at the same time: baritone sax, alto sax, a soprano sax I couldn't get to sound like a sax, trumpet, and, uh, some unknown breathy sax.
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