Tuesday, January 23, 2007

PreDem and Sound on Earth Canvass

(click on the song titles on the right side of this web page to hear them)
Here's a bit of info:

PreDem is the temporary name I have given to an imaginary album that I will use as a demo to eventually become a real, professionally recorded CD. I recorded this myself in December 2006 in various spaces. Except for Beekeepers in Black, which is a newer better version of the one that I recorded for Sound on Earth, all the songs were written in 2006. Any of these songs are subject to change and become rerecorded (by me) because I can play some of them better since the time they were recorded.

I am hoping that the finished product will become an audio environment in which there is land upon which to anchor oneself and and atmosphere in which to breathe so that the ears feel at home when listening to it. That may never make sense, but we'll see.

Sound on Earth (SOE) differs from PreDem in that it was recorded in 2005 and it is a more solid entity. It is "finished" and so won't change. It is what it is. More importantly, it represents my thought patterns with respect to the way I wrote and performed those songs that December (2005). I think all those songs were written and/or arranged between 2004 and 2005. Postmodern Bluegrass, which I haven't included on this site, goes back even further.
SOE builds on its strengths.

PreDem builds again on the strengths of SOE. And is the closest representation to where I am right now, musically. The recording of "Alzheimer's Repeat" on SOE (written in 2004) is a good example of the direction I branched off in. It has one of those sonic components that simulate the act of free-falling, which occur more frequently in PreDem. However, I took it even further when I wrote "Seamount", which is a mysterious underwater song about one of the most ecologically sensitive and equally as threatened areas on the planet. It required a more focussed variation on technique to perform. "Seamount" actually is musically inspired by "Intro de la Nina" from SOE, but thematically inspired by something completely different. "Intro" by the way was a rewritten version of the song "La Nina" on Postmodern Bluegrass from 2004 (or earlier?).

I should point out that PreDem has an anomaly as well. I primarily play and write with a 12-string guitar, but the song "York Street Village" was written and performed on a six-string guitar I rescued from an empty, freezing apartment on Golf Avenue early 2006. The guitar was mistreated and abused to the point where it was unplayable and abandoned by the time I found it. I put it in intensive care and healed it. "York Street Village" was what eventually came out of it and represents a more classical approach to playing. I have no classical training, but I am always open to changing my style once in a while. The song "Anticipate: Relief" on PreDem was also written in this way in the summer of 2006, and represents the more open approach I took to developing the new material. The song "We Make Ways", which I wrote about a month ago takes another turn as I decided to vary my style again. I may rerecord this one because I can play it much better now ;)
The same goes for "York Street Village", although I'm very proud of the part I added near the 2 minute mark where the entire structure of the song melts down like the T-1000 in Terminator 2 and then snaps back into its position in time to recover completely on cue.

Anyway, to sum up: PreDem and what will become of it is essentially an audioscape that acceptingly takes many new forms, while I continuously create it.

Before I bequeath the critical examination of my music, I should point out (because most people ask), the recordings here are only one track each. It's just me playing a 12-string guitar. This is what I sound like live in person, no overdubs. I recorded with a minidisc player and a condenser mic. I didn't spend much time with the frequency equalisation, so if the volume is turned up too loud you may experience clipping from your speakers or headphones. That's more my fault than anything. But these tracks are not meant to be perfect. I won't get into the ongoing incompatible software drama I go through on a regular basis trying to get audio files into MP3's either. Maybe another time.

As a last note to this long posting, if anyone notices any flaws on this site, let me know so I can fix it.


Adam said...

I heard some of your last album Ficken, it was awesome. What did you use to record the new one?

Cretos said...

Hello Adam, congratulations on leaving the very first comment on my blog! Thanks :D

Anyway, to answer your question, PreDem was an amateur effort disguised as something else. I used a Sony HiMD player and a condenser mic to record. It helps to play in a spacious room and to know where to put the mic in order to capture the most sound. I then raised the volume and brightened the frequencies in Sony Sound Forge software on my laptop. I went with minimal tweaking though and you may notice the speakers clipping if the sound is turned up too high on your computer.