Backtrack: April (Tidings)

Backtrack is a series devoted to backtracking to tell short stories about songs I've written.

I have an Aunt in New York who has a piano (she has since moved). When I visit I always make time for the ivories — playing piano is one of my favorite things to do. (I loved it so much, I ended up buying a piano in 2012) This relatively straightforward piece started with some simple piano voicing and evolved into a couple of overdubs … some of the overdubs could have been done live by a good player I’m sure, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of hand independency. (still haven't!)

It was April of 2007 - I have a somewhat vague recollection of it raining and being at night. I got a hold of some storm sounds to hammer that home, and whipped up a GarageBand session (my tool of choice at the time) complete with Apple Loop drums which I’ve never had an opportunity to replace. This is a very straightforward tune, but for me there’s always been something about this kind of downward motion that I find appealing. There’s a piano ostinato that is established and eventually mimicked by a synth, and that’s really about it!

This has since been released as one half of the track ‘April Tidings’ off my B-Side album 'Noon Kids’.

Backtrack: Fun With Marbles

Backtrack is a series devoted to backtracking to tell short stories about songs I've written.

In the fall of 2005, I was planning a full-length album of video game covers, tentatively titled ‘The Distance Between Start and Select’. Being obsessed with the idea of everything being 'epic’ at the time, I wanted to dedicate songs to entire games, trying to incorporate all of the themes that I enjoyed. One such game that more or less got that treatment was “Marble Madness”, a wonderfully tricky puzzle game where you had to roll a ball through obstacles on an isometric grid.

Image Title

It came out on a few systems but I had the NES version growing up. Naturally there was a lot of nostalgic value in the music for me, and upon revisiting it later I was surprised at how heavy the music was. One part of the track I put together I gave a Tool treatment, which I think sounded pretty cool. This track started as three individual ones for the various levels of the game, respectively, in TablEdit.

Image Title

TablEdit is Guitar Tablature Software that happens to be great for doing multitrack MIDI arrangements. It was my number one resource for writing out music and initial ideas for a very long time. I still use it from time to time as it’s an extremely fast way to write music, using the computer keyboard entirely to input your notes. Kudos if you can figure out which part of the song this is!

Back in 2005, my music was quite different from how it is now. It’s funny to listen to this now and point out all the silly things that I would never do now. I mean, just listen to those super athletic tom fills in the beginning! Blasphemous fun. Still, I think it’s easy to see where the evolution came from. I’ll get more into my roots and the evolution in other posts. As well as a super underrated piece of software called Garageband.

The track is called 'Fun With Marbles’ because I had a lot of fun making it! Also because it wrongfully leads people to believe it’s about that old schoolyard game.