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Songwriter's Recording Sessions
This is a story about a handcrafted guitar and some
Though I'm not much
of a musician, I do enjoy writing songs. And, I really enjoy experimenting with
sound. So, when the opportunity to… but… wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.
My brother tends to find himself in strange positions of opportunity. So,
I've given him standing instructions that he should acquire any musical
instrument that he comes upon. As it happened, he came upon a Washburn
in need of an owner. The previous owner had run into dire financial straits
and had arranged a loan using the Washburn as collateral. What is a Washburn?
George Washburn makes guitars. Our guitar is
a 12-string acoustic/electric guitar. On the inside, there is a label that says,
"Dedicated to hand-crafted excellence in acoustic guitars."
I thought, "what better to record some handcrafted music with?" I had
never played a twelve-string guitar.
Fool With The Sound
The experimentation in sound that I planned to start would lay the ground
work for studying the effects of chaos theory in music. Not only would
I be playing an unfamiliar instrument, but I would also write and record
on-the-fly -- an impromptu jam session performed in real time.
At the same time, I hoped to study the extreme ends of the frequency range.
This area of study interests me for the following reason: most music you
hear has been processed. The sound has been compressed. The ends of
the frequency range have been lost. However, I am of the belief that
the outer edges of the spectrum may help our brains. The harmonics of
the Washburn would
present a perfect opportunity to play with the sound.
A One-man Band
The morning that I acquired the guitar I started a trilogy of recording
sessions that lasted 2 days.
The location was the upper corner of haunted 18th century farmhouse.
The Washburn, a microphone and two keyboards were
plugged into a mixboard. The mixboard was plugged into a mini-disc digital recorder.
I sat on a stool with the Washburn on my knee. There has been no further engineering,
overdubs, compression or manipulation of the sound. You will hear one man playing,
writing and recording exactly as it happened. There is only one track. There was only
one take. There was no re"hear"sal.
The song title is listed with the theme of the musical investigation listed in
Parenthesis with any additional notes listed beneath.
- Take This (exploration)
With one foot one the sustain pedal of the keyboard and the Washburn on my knee,
we're off and running.
Come Back Ta-bite Ya Inda Arse (frequency range & tonal qualities)
- In Synch (polarity)
To Overshadow Me (metaphysical)
The Edges (chaotic flow)
- Slide (a functional challenge)
- Forever After (astral travel)
All Natural Synthetic (paradox)
Up to this point, I had forgotten my limitations as
a one-man-band. But, by the end of this song, the rhythm
starts to fall apart... as I try to figure a way to play the sounds
I hear in my head. The trouble comes when I can't stop
playing the rhythm guitar to play the keyboards. So,
I figured, "what did
I have to loose by trying to play with my nose?" And,
that is what I did.
Of The Labyrinth (harmonics)
Time (timing/chaotic systems)
Slightest Little Thing (harmonics)
My Window (earth)
The next morning Mother Nature was giving a concert outside of my window.
I usually play all the keyboards live. But, while I was listening to the
birds, I decided to get warmed-up by sequencing Free's All Right Now.
I hung the microphone out the window and recorded the wildlife.
- All Right Now
I play along to the keyboards with the Washburn. I'm having so much
fun that I do it twice. The first time through was used as "the single."
The second time through continues in real time to the next song.
Smell Of Spring Comes Wafting In (spiritual sojourn)
- Investigations (chaotic flow)
This inquiry into the unknown brought some of my
favorite harmonics to light. As the guitar starts to get into
the groove, an eerie noise starts to accompany me.
Remarkably, it sounds
like a juice harp. I attempt to follow her lead
(whomever she may be) to see where she may take me. And,
take me she does from the swamps of Louisiana to the dark side of the
Fleeting Glimpse Of Sense #6 (metaphysical)
Thinking Of You (harmonics & rhythm)
A strange and mystic rhythm quickly overtook my soul.
Then words came… but, dag-nab-it… the microphone volume
was turned the whole way down. So, I sing into the guitar's hole.
If you listen very close, you can hear the resulting harmonics.
Stop Thinking Of You (dream actualization)
A few seconds later, I regain my engineering composure. With the
volume on the microphone turned up, I re-start the rhythm. Now
that you can hear the words, it should be obvious why I could
not keep my concentration --
I can't stop thinking of you. Showing once again that a man's
body rules over his mind? [On the other hand, it's a songwriter's
dream -- a groove with a hook.]
The Id Bring Evil? (metaphysical)
Things Where They Lay (metaphysical)
On Mama's Little Baby (time travel)
The Point (rhythm)
- Wish I
To Finality (chaotic systems & rhythm)
© 1999 The Philadelphia Spirit Experiment Publishing Company
These graphics, images, text copy, sights or sounds may not be used without our
expressed written consent. All songs written by The Philadelphia Spirit Experiment
except Free's All Right Now