There’s just something about the key of E flat.

I just put a new song up on Spyspace. I’ll probably leave it up there for a week or two before I mix things up again and pull out some warped songs from 1999 or something. Most of it was recorded yesterday, and today I tracked the drums and mixed it.

It’s more or less the complete opposite of everything on CHICKEN ANGEL WOMAN — no vocal multi-tracking, no stringed instruments of any kind, everything soaked in reverb. The Arp Omni-2 is all over this song, and this is the first time I’ve ever recorded the bass patch on that synth. It’s a pretty cool sound. Kind of makes me think a bit of the synth bass in “Goodnight Tonight” by Wings.

I need to make some more use of that Arp beast. No digital synth I’ve ever played can spit out sounds like that, and the string sounds are pretty neat too. I keep neglecting it in favour of guitars and things. Then I play it and remember how cool it is. It’s not high up there on the list of synths people salivate over like the Prophet-5 or the Jupiters and Junos, but I dig it.

I’ve had the thing for more than a decade now, and it refuses to die even though it has to be well over thirty years old. The only problem I’ve had with it in recent years is a bit of a bit of a high drone that’s developed (I’m not sure offhand what note it is exactly), usually sounding at odd brief moments when I play around the high A key that doesn’t pass sound anymore. But actually, it’s kind of a cool sound when it happens, and the unexpected moments of dissonance tend to suit whatever song I’m using the synth on. It happens a few times in this new one.

How many more times am I going to type the word “cool”? The answer is three. Observe: cool cool cool.

There. I think it got it out of my system. I feel at least two pounds lighter now.

The song was meant to be a good deal longer — I was shooting for somewhere between seven and ten minutes — but it felt like it would get a little stale if I kept the instrumental section going for too long. So even though it’s shorter than I intended it to be and there were a lot of additional ideas I didn’t bother to develop, I think it feels right. I’m not sure if it’s a harbinger of things to come on the next CD or just a brief detour along the way. We’ll soon find out.

I thought I’d throw some piano in the mix, because I haven’t used that sound in a while. For some reason the Clavinova doesn’t really sound digital at all to me in the context of this song. It sounds like a pretty sexy grand piano. I’ve been holding off on recording a wealth of piano songs because I wanted to wait until I had a real piano at my disposal, but maybe I should just bite the bullet and use the Clavinova like I always have. Running it through a nice mic preamp with transformers seems to do a good job of warming up the sound and taming whatever digital bite I would normally try to EQ out of the picture.

The drums sound kind of muted, but I think it suits the song. And I played them with mallets. That does tend to muffle the sound a bit, or so I’m told. I guess I’m diving right into the next album(s) before the one I just finished is even packaged and release-ready (it should be ready for everyone next week sometime), and before I’ve figured out what exactly to do with that imposing misfits compilation. I figure it’s best to keep the momentum going. Maybe I’ll even become absurdly prolific again, kind of like I used to be before my little unintended “vacation” from productivity.

Here are the handwritten lyrics, just for fun. Not my neatest writing, but I think it’s mostly legible. To my knowledge this is the first time I’ve ever used the words “hyperbole” and “myriad” in a song. I borrowed the last two lines from Meryl, keeper of the smoo.


  1. damn
    excellent use of space
    everything builds and falls perfectly
    very dark and still coloured full
    even the handwriting solo works well

  2. Ha! I was wondering if my wrist was up for it. I thought the purple Sharpie might be chancing it a little, but I guess it all worked out in the end. Thanks a lot for the kind words. I think it’s that synth, kind of imposing its own will…I need to make up for lost time with that thing.

  3. oooh, i like it! i like the feeling of it, and the piano, and the lyrics, and etc.
    and i love the smoo you created from my words.

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