Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#20 Destroyers of the Skies (Techno Remix)

The Feeling:
       Total Techno

       United - Eye Of The Beholder

       Classic 4/4 built in Reason 4.0.

Friday, April 1, 2011

#19 Melbourne

The Feeling:
       Melbourne.  The epic album ender 11th song from the 3rd album Tales Of Human Struggle.  Originally, just the intro riff was written Summer 2010 (while living in Melbourne, FL) and that was it.  But it was such an awesome riff that this song just had to be longer than 12 min (plus the rest of the songs on TOHS are all around 5min).  So there the riff sat until I finally picked this song up and began writing in February 2011 which looked like the picture below:

Only a few sections were reordered or changed from this original "big idea" sheet and ended up becoming the full 17min epic you're hearing now.  The feeling is obviously epic.

        Dream Theater - The Best Of Times:  For the structure, mostly how the song breaks up into distinct sad, then happy, then sad sections and how those transitions work, plus the ending solo which I just love to play.

       Dream Theater - The Count of Tuscany: Also for the structure, when the acoustic section enters after the ebow section, and how the epic ending compounds on itself.

       Dream Theater - Trial of Tears: The first acoustic section in Melbourne takes from the ToT bass riffs and guitar strums.

       Dream Theater - In the Presence of Enemies pt 1: The mid section riff in D and later the higher E take from the itpoe opening guitar riff on the D string.

       Eye Of The Beholder - ES15: A riff, prechorus, and chorus I wrote back in 2004.  Oldie but goodie that gets good screentime in this song not only in the happy 2nd section, but also much later in the 3rd section with the same riff on top but dark minor chords on the bottom.

       Eye Of The Beholder - ES40: that clean 13/8 riff that appears twice (first in Ebm in the first section, then in Bbm slower in the 3rd).  The little 17/8 flick on the second time through was added while recording.  Love it.

       Eye Of The Beholder - The History Of War: For the tapping 2nd verse used here in the last part of the 2nd section, same pattern, different notes.

       Waaaaaay too much to talk about.  Maybe I'll post more later.  For now, here's the structure:

11. Melbourne

Main character introduces himself, saying he remembers happier times
Jump to reminisced interwoven stories about how great life was then
(end of chorus: “...and that’s living in Melbourne!”)

After the stories, back in the present
Character reveals none of these stories actually happened, but even thus he will continue to invent them
(end of last chorus: “...and that’s living in Melbourne”)

Part I – Present Day

(0:00 - 0:48) Intro solo
(0:48 - 1:21) Intro riff 3x
(1:21 - 1:31) Scale  G# F# E~~~~ D~~~~  C#~~~~
(1:31 - 1:50) ToT bass riff preverse1
(1:50 - 2:22) Verse1: - IF strumming over bass ToT jam
(2:22 - 2:38) C# pm riff
(2:38 - 3:06) Verse2: - C# pm riff 2x
(3:06 - 3:11) Scale  G# F# E~~~~~  Eb~~~~
(3:11 - 3:53) Verse3: - 13/8 arpeggios in Ebm
(3:53 - 4:06)  3/4 riff with slowdown
(4:06 - 4:21) Verse4: C# pm riff slower
(4:21 - 4:34) Scale  G# F# E~~~~ D~~~~~~~~

Part II  – Happy memories

(4:34 - 4:58) Intro riff in D 2x
(4:58 - 5:51) Verse1: itpoe riffs in D
(5:51 - 5:55) 3/4 scale transition
(5:55 - 6:18) ES15a riff in D 2x
(6:18 - 6:40) Verse2: - ES15a verse
(6:40 - 7:02) Chorus1: ES15a chorus
(7:02 - 7:20) ES15a riff in D 1.5x
(7:20 - 7:33) ES15a riff in E 1x
(7:33 - 8:19) Verse3: itpoe riffs in E
(8:19 - 8:26) Scarred transition - pm E’s - slight slowdown
(8:26 - 8:56) Verse4: - [D C melb] powerful
(8:56 - 9:00) Drum solo
(9:00 - 9:26) Verse5: - THOW taps 4x
(9:26 - 9:51) Chorus2: ES15a chorus
(9:51 - 10:10) Descending scale transition

Part III – Sad realization

(10:10 - 10:42) Intro solo reprise
(10:42 - 12:02) Verse1: - underlying solo chords
(12:02 - 12:45) Verse2: - 13/8 arpeggio riff in Bbm slower
(12:45 - 13:17) Major power solo over F Db Eb F   4x
(13:17 - 13:44) Major power solo over Bb Ab Gb Eb Db  2x
(13:44 - 14:03) Verse3: - 3/4 riff from part 1, changing key  4x
(14:03 - 14:08) 3/4 scales transition from part 2
(14:08 - 15:21) Verse4: - Descending ES15a riff
(15:21 - 17:12) Solo section/Outro aka the super win section


Thursday, March 10, 2011

#18 Stars (complete)

The Feeling:
        Well, here's the rest of it...Clean Bridge, Solo, Final Chorus, and Outro of the song Stars (#13 on here before) all together and better mixed.  8th song from "Tales Of Human Struggle", this song is similar to Stories Unheard in its relatively compact rock verse-chorus format and recording on the down 1/2 step Agile 8 string.

        For these last few parts, the inspiration came from playing that acoustic part on my solo setting.  I liked how it sounded so much that it just had to be in there, especially transposed up 1/2 step into Bbm.  I needed a buildup transition from the clean section, which was inspired slightly from "The Hidden Truth", one of our first album songs.  The final chorus is a mashup of riffs in the song transposed up a whole step, and the outro is like the 2nd intro.

       I like how the ending culminates the 3 main ideas in the song (1. Intro1  2. Intro2  3. The first acoustic riff in Abm with the little 3/8s).  After the buildup, #3 becomes a power solo in Bbm, followed by #1 as a chorus in Fm with the high to low left ear dropout part from before, the little 3/8 from #3 transitions another key change from Fm to Bbm, the #1 in Bbm comes back and that unison  harmony is placed on top, even though it's a slightly different pattern, and finally, #2 is used as the outro using the same transition as the intro from #1 to #2, just in this new key, which worked out as planned to use the bottom F 8th string for the riff.
Yaaay culmination.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

#17 Stories Unheard

The Feeling:
       Off of the album "Tales of Human Struggle", this song tries its best to be standard length with a standard song format - Intro1, Intro2, Verse1, Prechorus1, Chorus1, Verse2, Prechorus2, Chorus2, Bridge, Chorus3, Outro...difficult for us, considering usually we get to the first chorus in a song and have passed the 3 or 4 min mark.  This is one of the few songs we have in a 6/8 feel.
       Here, higher the guitar parts in the song are playing vocal lines for the lyrics below.

        Meshuggah: "Bleed" - This was the first song written on my new Agile 8 string over the summer, tuned down a half step.  The intro of Bleed gave way to the Verses of this song, which speed up dramatically from the rest of the song and take the song from 6/8 to 4/4.
       Dream Theater: "These Walls" - Definitely the bridge here matches the bridge in These Walls, where theres 2 measures of building chords, then 2 measures of the original low choppy riff.  Most of the 6/8 feel of the rest of the song was also inspired here.

       As a side note, this song was a bit unconventional in that the vocal patterns were thought up and written for the Chorus before the guitar parts were written.  Usually, all guitars/bass are written and recorded, then lyrics/vocals come later as a mashup between written text and the music already made.

       This song has two distinct ideas that alternate, the opening 6/8 feel and subsequent low to high riff, and the Bleed faster 4/4 section for verses/prechoruses.  All revolves around Bbm and Ebm throughout.  I like how the two guitar parts and bass act off of each other, at times using 3 part harmonies and having alternating melody or background parts.  But most of all I'm pleased with the chorus vocal pattern...very catchy.

Lyrics so far, it still needs verses written over the fast part which will be the actual stories that should be unheard:

5. Stories Unheard
Idea’s and shit: Nikid
things you don’t want to hear in someones head when they walk past you or something along those lines
Did you have nightmares after seeing “What women want?”  :)  

Lyrics by Chris - May 10, 2010, song outlined Drew 6/16/2010, Chris additions 6/20/2010, Drew lyrics additions (4 verse stories with choruses) 6/30/2010, Drew edits final chorus/verses 2/13/2011

Stories Unheard: verses are scattered, fuzzy, dark memories, mostly senses remembered - chorus is not wanting to tell the people closest to you any of these secrets from your past



Let these stories be unheard,
And let my lies be less absurd
Let my life be lived
And let myself forgive
This past cannot be changed

Return my heart and mind
To a more pleasant time
And let those stories remain,


Let these stories be unheard,
And let my lies be less absurd
Let my life be lived
And let myself forgive
This past cannot be changed

Return my heart and mind
To a more pleasant time
And let those stories remain...

And you hear them say
“Is it finally time to
let these long years go?”

But you don’t understand
it was so long ago
and never what I meant to be

If my
Whole life’s changing,
There’s no reason to know why

Who are you to decide
What parts of me are true
And what’s covered with lies?

Let my stories be unheard,
To force down what had occurred
Deny my past to relive
And let ignorance forgive

(Keep my) Keep my heart and mind
Free of those horrid times

Don’t ask me, don’t tell me
that I can’t control me
You don’t need to know
It’s not something to show
Let me block it all out
And just keep it inside
And just let my soul
Drift to more pleasant times

And let those stories remain, Unheard

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#16 Descent

The Feeling:
        Wrote it this morning and recorded it. As wild and progressive metal as I could make it.  Simply jammed the idea out of my head one bit at a time into Cubase.  Luckily I took notes on each inspiration as it came up and drew a sweet picture layout of the song to remember everything that was coming to mind.

        Mutiny Within - "Awake": That fast single note intro diving into the driving riff, developed the metal feel of the song
        The Human Abstract - "Nocturne": Always been inspired by the seemingly random sections in this incredibly heavy and very progressive song
        Dream Theater - "Octavarium": Right after the EM keyboard solo that descending scale that speeds up as it drops gave this song its similar scale down to the choppy section
        TMC - "Exp5 Large Orch": Yes. I inspired me. I wanted to have a choppy section followed by a clean sweeping section, which happened
        Animusic - "Resonant Chamber": Had just listened to it this morning and lent the Bbm to AbM chords in the clean section
        Dream Theater - "This Dying Soul": In the ending solos, the small fast 7/8 repetitive scales that act as transitions inspired this song's 6/16 transitions
        Dream Theater - "Honor Thy Father": Well...the intro of course, I didn't consciously think of this reference, but it's most likely an influence nonetheless.
        Beethoven - "5th Symphony 1st movement": (Featured in Fantasia 2000) Some sweet and powerful passages from here for inspiration

        *System Of A Down - "Cigaro": To make a short, high energy, heavy song

       Written on the Agile 8 string tuned down a half step, the first idea was the choppy section on the low Gn.  Thinking of Awake, I wanted some single note intro, which I played with for a while.  There's a "growing" aspect to the intro, where the alternating bottom chord hits have 1 note, then 2, then 3, before the scale to the Gn choppy section.  Had to go to clean sweep for random progressive effect.
       Really, the idea was to make a short song.  So I'll add Cigaro to the inspirations for a tiny heavy song.  So, each idea was only 2 measures long and most of the song is transitions. I'd like to keep it this way for the rest of the writing when I finish it someday...

        This is another one that should be explained by time signatures:
Tempo = 120bpm throughout, Key EbM

Intro:   2/8   1/8   2/8   2/8   5/8   2/8   3/8   12/16   4/8   4/8
Choppy:   8/8   13/16   8/8   4/8
Clean:   4/4   2/4   12/16   12/16
Choppy2:   3/16   8/8   13/16    3/8
Slide Ups:   2/4
Choppy Beeth:   3/16   8/8   9/16   8/8   6/16   4/8   4/8
These Dying Scales:   6/16   6/16   6/16
Ending?no.:   8/8...

:D Comment!  **It's for sale now!!!**   http://www.reverbnation.com/store/artist_1154498

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

#15 Intro Tape

The Feeling:
       This is an idea for an EOTB "Intro Tape" recording, played at the beginning of a live show right before the first song of the night.  Definitely dark and ominous, but also very fetching.

        Dream Theater's Intro Tape for their Systematic Chaos tours: Sprach Zarathustra
        Also, just playing one of our songs "Foresight" on a different tuned guitar

       This riff is a detuned, slowed down version of the EOTB song "Foresight" from The Eyes Have It disc 2.  It's a 9/4 riff (4/4 + 5/4 feel) typically played in Bm on a 12 string guitar.  I just loved how different it sounded when played on my Fender tuned 3 1/2 steps down (A D G C E A - Blind Faith tuning :D), plus a further whole step down playing the riff on open strings (Am chord) rather than baring the 2nd fret (for the Bm chord).
        Slow it down, add some distortion to accentuate the 11/4 measure in the middle with the F E D scale for extra epicness. Oh, and add some droning echopad keyboards with dark piano.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

#14 On My Shoulders

The Feeling:
        On My Shoulders will appear on our Eye Of The Beholder 2nd album called "Worlds Collide" (let's hope we can produce the demo for the FIRST album "The Eyes Have It" this summer!!).  This song does have lyrics (posted below) with full vocals patterns and demos, taken out for this recording though.  However, it is basically saying Engineers FTW. :D   This is really a driving song, not incredibly light nor thrashingly heavy.

        Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt 1:  For the intro and that riff all throughout.
        The Offspring:  For the prechorus riff.  Not any particular song of theirs that comes to mind (maybe Can't Repeat), but just the style in general.
        Mudvayne - Not Falling:  I don't know why, but this inspired the chorus with the sliding bit.
        Dream Theater - Endless Sacrifice:  That riff right after the breakdown mini drum solo in ES...gave way to this ending riff right after the last chorus before the solos.

        In the beginning of the Metropolis solo section, the expanded sus2 chords (B F# C#) in the 6/8 7/8 pattern gave way to this riff all throughout.  I was experimenting with chords in that same type of fingering, first coming up with an "hourglass" or figure 8 shape in the fingering:
Interesting, but didn't sound that good.  A few modifications gave the riff as it stands today.
Then palm muted verses that give way to the riff (I've always liked verses where the vocals sing, then the riff sweeps in for a short amount, then vocals return).  Offspringy prechorus was just jammed straight into the recording setup on the fly along with the chorus.  The small 3/4 in the chorus for the Fn was written in later for progressive effect.
The whole verse, prechorus, chorus repeats with some variation, then the Endless Sacrifice riff, and a rather messy first take solo over the main riff with key changes.

The Lyrics for On My Shoulders:

3. On My Shoulders (Engineers FTW)

Lyrics by Nick Lowe  - 15 March, 2010

What can I do when
it feels like all the weight,
the weight of the world
is sitting on my shoulders
the papers stacking high
and the stress building inside
it's hard to remember
where I came from and what's right

I try not to forget what
I'm doing all of this for
For all human kind,
and the expansion of my mind

What can I do when
it feels like all the weight
of the mistakes from the past
is on my shoulders

What can I do when
it feels like all the weight
of the mistakes from the present’s
on my shoulders

It seems like it's too much
at this moment in my life
it feels like the forces
are against me
I'm all mixed up, the
turbulence is just too much
I feel like I'm spinning
I just cant stop

I try not to forget what
I'm doing all of this for
For all human kind,
and the expansion of my mind

What can I do when
it feels like all the weight
of the mistakes from the future
are on my shoulders

Super Chorus:
Lives may depend on me
this burden lies within
and soon you will see
I will not fail
I will do what I must
And not back (noise drop out area) down

all the panic
all the knowledge
all the commitment
I feel like I'm crazy inside

all the panic
all the knowledge
all the commitment
I feel like I'm crazy inside all of this in my mind just to save mankind

The weight of the world
is on my shoulders

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#13 Stars

The Feeling:
       This is the Intro, Intro2, Verse1, Low Riff, Verse2, Chorus1, Solo Break, and Clean Break of a song in progress...lyrics pending for later.  I always give new songs random but "meaningful" names (Foresight, Standstill, Stand My Ground, Final Vision...etc to name a few) that later inspire the lyrics.  Those lyrics in turn through smoke and magic create concept albums, even though the ideas were completely unrelated before.  I'm thinking of "Stars" to be about the dichotomy of the seemingly glamorous life of a celebrity versus their negative perspective of all the stress and publicity etc. with themes regarding space throughout...possibly? maybe.  If anyone has ideas, pitch them in the comments!

        Let's see...most of this was some riffs (mainly the two intros) that I would jam continuously last summer before I finally wrote them down on paper.  I however feel some In The Name Of God (Dream Theater) for the transition after the solo and before the clean break with the low left ear.  The clean section is a variation of the first intro in a different key...so is the chorus.

       Ebm is just epic. I love it.
       The key signature is changing all over the place throughout the verses (mainly between 7/4 and 8/4 with some 9/4s and an extended 11/4 before the chorus), but it's hard to tell since the beats are all right on the quarter notes (no 8th note odd times and such until the clean section with some 3/8s).  These verses were not designed in this way manually, but rather a product of the last closing phrase off of the 2nd intro repeated with long held notes (saving room for vocals).  The pattern is just what came out naturally, and drums were added separately much later (like 3 days ago).
        Then it was time to slam in the heavy and rock the 2nd intro on the lower strings (the high Eb Bb strings map nicely to the identical low ones) so it had to be there.  Naturally, a low 2nd verse had to follow that, with heavy palm mutes, but keeping the same pattern.  And since this was all on Bb, lets just bring intro1 back for the chorus since it was strong!...in Bb though.
        The solo was totally random jamming...but I liked it, so I went back to learn it for this recording.  The next part of the solo (unison thing) with the buildup is totally ripped from one of my earlier songs "Stand My Ground" in a PreChorus, but no one can tell.  Except I just told you.  Plus it's my material, so...that's ok. sorta. :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

#12 The Created

The Feeling:
       This is one for our band "Eye Of The Beholder" just written yesterday and recorded that night.  A good throw at a heavy song all in 7/8.

       System of a Down - Cigaro.  Just the drumstick clicks in the intro.  I was like "what if it didn't count off in 4/4?...what about 7/8??  :D"  yea. This started all of this.
       Dream Theater - A Nightmare To Remember - after the intro in the first verse, having the large hits over the riff
       Dream Theater - Forsaken - A good reference for songs in 7/8 in Dm, especially the two low bass notes in each measure
       Dream Theater - Stream of Consciousness - large chords in intro
       Linking Park - New Divide - for the basics of the chord progression
       Inspector K - Infection - yes, from In The Groove.  For the start on that top line that plays throughout.  The rest was jammed out until written as is
       Children of Bodom - Children of Decadence - key change for solo with same riff idea
       Threshold -  Mission Profile - solo idea and feel, progressive soloing (over 5/4 in Mission Profile) in Ebm
       Dream Theater - Panic Attack - drum ideas

       Again, "Cigaro" created the idea for this whole song, with a stick count off in 7/8...which ended up making the entire song in 7/8.  In my head immediately was the idea of low distorted D5 chords on the guitar on beats 1,2,3, and 4 of the 7/8 measure making hard heavy hits.

       The next step was making a chord progression for these hits, with the idea to keep an ostinato on the bottom with the D5 chords.  Thinking of "New Divide" in the chorus where the bottom guitar jams a chord and the top guitar slides around with octave paired notes, I picked this progression:

1. D5 - D on top       2. D5 - Bb on top      3. D5 - G on top     4. D5 - F to E on top, leading to the D in the first measure

       With that in mind, I started to lay that recording, but instantly better was the high riff that is in there currently.  At first only the first 6 notes in the first measure were played (Dm arpeggio backwards D-A-F-D-A-F).  I had to figure out how to make 7/8 riffs, and decided to double the bottom note on the last beat, even though it sounded weird at first.  Next chord (using the Bb idea) was Gm in the same style.  The rest was jammed out slowly but surely to make the perfect chords.

       Most of the rest of the song was jammed out with the recorder going and the metronome running, Making verses and choruses from the idea in Dm.  The key was changed up to Ebm for the solo (Children of Decadence) but kept with the original idea of the riff, cut in half to two measure segments.

       Lastly, the synth riff was placed all by itself with some bass jamming on my feaux bass (guitar digitally taken down an octave), because the idea boat had beached.  Drums were added on the second mixdown, all done with visual writing from gut feeling and what was in my head.  I love drum parts for epic riffs like this intro where the first half is heavy hits matching the guitar, then the bottom guitar goes to straight 16ths on the bottom while the drum matches with double bass drum 16ths and snare+hi hat on the on-beat quarter notes.  It's a personal writing style, probably derived from the solo section of Dream Theater's "Panic Attack".

#11 Jacksonville

The Feeling:
       Epic and spacey.  This was the opening on our term project this semester for a graduate level satellite communications class at Georgia Tech.  While we were holding our last meeting, I opened Cubase and began to throw notes together while taking ideas on how to piece our finished video together.  It immediately became the title music.

        Visually written from what was playing in my head.  Aha's Take On Me could've been an inspiration.  I have no clue on the title Jacksonville, I always name a song the instant its written and that's what I came up with.  It's better than "Riff 1...Riff2...Song1...", and then someone later "hey I really like song 57!...or...58 was it?...". Jacksonville.  Maybe people in Florida will relate.

       The bottom line was fully written first with the fat synth matching in the beginning, then carrying the theme on its own.  Very typical of my writing for epic songs with root and octave jumps in a minor scale, plus long strings of running 16th notes (underneath) that alternate from some chord base to notes within or near the chord.  Bbm is so sweet and epic.