New Music: San Diego Chicken (Version A, piano/vocal only)

Well…it took almost a month after I first posted about it, longer than I expected…but I now have the first of multiple mixes of “San Diego Chicken” ready to go, with the others being posted over the next couple of weeks. This version is just piano and vocal.

The piano was played with a MIDI controller, which only has 25 keys, so I had to multi-track it, switching the controller to different octaves. Also did a lot of monkeying with the piano roll editor, moving notes around. The vocals on this are COMPLETELY dry; I did some punch-ins to correct some minor glitches and did some volume adjustments in places where I was unusually loud, but there is no reverb, no delay, no compression, no EQ, no multi-tracking like I usually use, and no pitch shifter. Let me tell you, the hardest thing for a vocalist is to hear her vocals dry, and the second hardest is to let other people hear it! But I wanted to use this song to show different stages in the process, so…enjoy! Continue reading

New Music Preview: San Diego Chicken, The Story Behind the Song

The San Diego Chicken himself. Although the song's not really about him.

The San Diego Chicken himself. Although the song’s not really about him.

Ordinarily I would have a song post ready for this alternate Friday. But with “San Diego Chicken,” I’m going a different route. This song was the most challenging and the most gratifying one I’ve ever written, both in terms of lyrics and music, and the arrangement for it will be a work in progress, which will play out on this blog over the next few weeks as I post various arrangements of the song. For now, though, allow me to whet your appetite by telling you about how I came to write it. Because it’s a longish story, I decided to post it separately from the song post.

Trigger warning/content note about depression and suicide, which figure into the lyric. Continue reading


You gotta kiss a lot of frog rasps in order to find your sound.

You gotta kiss a lot of frog rasps in order to find your sound.

I’ve seen, on many occasions, female singers backed up by male musicians; almost never do I see a male singer, who plays no instrument, backed up by a female instrumentalist. Being a Card-Carrying Humorless Feminist™, I have tried to find an explanation for this, which doesn’t involve icky Girls Can’t Really Play stereotypes. The best I can do is this: a man can play his stupid guitar for eight hours a day every single day and no one will leave him over it. Girls get the idea, from a very young age, that we must be endlessly interruptable, which makes it hard to master an instrument other than our very portable, interruptable, no-special-equipment needed voices. Or even to want to, knowing what it will cost us socially. Continue reading

New Music: I Feel Weird

Size 17 bamboo knitting needles. Or at least that's what they said they were in a past life.

Size 17 bamboo knitting needles. Or at least that’s what they said they were in a past life.

(Update 3/27/15: Song has been remixed and the remixed version is now included in this post.)

Now with knitting needles! (I had an extra pair of bamboo size 17s and thought they’d be cool to bang together.) This is a song that could be about a potential lover/partner, but also a potential anyone you’d love to talk to but don’t know how.

Also, the red frog rasp makes its Normal Fauna debut here. Other instruments: MIDI bass, electric piano, bongos, and drum set, along with the brown frog rasp and three tambourines.

The next new music post will be April 10 due to vacation. Look for a bouncy ditty about rock star depression and sports mascots!

(Apologies for the slight delay due to technical issues.)

Continue reading

Changes to New Song Schedule

I decided to make the new music posts on Friday 7 PM Pacific from now on, continuing from last time. There will be one this Friday, March 13, and then I will be on vacation for a few weeks. The next new song after this week’s will be posted on Friday, April 10.

New Music: Something Better to Do

Not actually fauna, but amazing wooden simulations thereof.

Not actually fauna, but amazing wooden simulations thereof.

Okay, fellow PiP-sters and DD Council peeps, this one’s for you! This is the song I sang at PiP graduation, with guest vocalist Beth Kessler awesomely handling the high harmony and octave unison. The rest of the vocals are me.

I call this one the “21 Tambourine Salute” because there’s a whole mess of tambourine on it carrying the rhythm (maybe not 21 tracks, but probably 10, with three different tambourines). Also the small frog rasp (see photo above on the right) makes its Normal Fauna debut here. Other instruments: egg shakers; handclap samples; virtual bass, taiko drum, kick drum, organ, and electric guitar (the latter five played with MIDI keyboard). Someday I will replace the fake guitar with a real one. But isn’t it sweet that I can have a taiko drum set on my recording without actually having to buy one? Continue reading

New Music: Things I Can’t Tell Anyone

Better late than never! This one is Chris’s favorite, and it should be; I wrote it for him for his last birthday! Contrary to popular belief, you can find someone to love if you don’t love yourself; the problem is, ultimately you won’t believe them and you’ll be inadvertently telling them they have bad taste for picking you, so you have to work on that stuff to keep them around. Which I did.

As promised, this is a departure from the last two, a ballad. Just dulcimer and voice on this one, the only percussion is a Slinky. A small one. Continue reading