Archives For Guitarist

If you are among the few readers of this blog, or perhaps among the one or two Facebook friends that are following what I create musically, you may be interested in this.

I’ve managed to pin a melody to some rhythm and bass that I put together a few weeks ago. Sometimes when I’m working on an idea, I’ll come up with multiple different avenues and if they’re good enough, I’ll record those and set them aside for another day.

This particular instrumental came out of some prayerful playing and is as it is. I used three different guitars for this piece and the free play (not pre-programmed) piano option on garage band. The title comes from a poem a wrote a few months back called Soliloquy & Symphony.

Both the poetry and music are original. I was faced with somewhat of a dilemma with the end result. My time spent mixing this split the song into separate versions. Each version is alike.The only real difference being the rhythm guitar section.

I had a hard time deciding on which tune to stick with so after much consideration I’ve decided on posting both.

I’ve also thrown in a poem for good measure, and in case you’re wondering, a bagatelle is a short piece of music written for piano.

Let me know which version you prefer. I’m partial to version 2, but also really like the more full, gritty sound the rhythm provides in version 1.

Pax Vobiscum.

Version 1: with rhythm.

Version 2: without rhythm.


(©RL2017)

Some songs come together. Others morph into new things with new beginnings. I tried a few different paths with this tune and ended up siding with simplicity. After my last few songs this year, I’ve worked hard to improve the mixing aspect and keep to the basics where possible. Using the same equipment and software, I’m aiming to the best with what I’ve got.

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Viva Noël

December 10, 2016 — Leave a comment

augustineFor those following my amateurish musical journey, you’ll notice a difference in the quality. I’m trying to be more deliberate in the layering, compensating for the limits of the free software I’m using. It might go without saying, but I haven’t been all that successful in the past few attempts at this.

A definite aim is to eventually upgrade to Pro-tools. Right now, I’m content with working with Audacity and just maxing out what that has to offer. That can make it difficult to avoid the sometimes kitsch sound, something, I’m happy to say is absent from this recording.

With regards to the Christmas lights in the video, I used a digital pen. Creating a basic backdrop, I then came up with two different jpegs using spray painted circles. One red, the other green. Creating the flashing imagery wasn’t too difficult. All I did there was alternative both red and green backdrops at .30 second intervals. The most difficult thing was coming up with an idea for the video to match the tune.

This video is the first video I’ve post directly onto Facebook. This was somewhat of an experiment. I was interested in not only gauging the response, but to see if the video format changed the song. The song did change, the responses didn’t. For the former, I’m not sure if this is related to the medium, compression or size of the file. For the latter, a big thank you if you made the effort to listen to it and respond.

The song reflects a joyful longing. It’s the hope of THE Christmas which is to come. The second advent or in theology jargon the parousia of Christ,  where we are told Jesus Christ will once again stand before the World, present not just in Spirit, but in His physical adult person.

It also reflects a more immediate reality that pierces through God’s action in Jesus Christ. On that day we remember that in Jesus Christ, God not only kick-started a revolution, He led and continues to direct one. Jesus is God’s revolt against the disorder of the world.

‘We were once in darkness, in a kind of night, which was to be diminished by the growth of faith; that’s why, on the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the night begins to be encroached upon, and the day to grow longer. So, brothers and sisters, let us keep this day as a festival; not, like the unbelievers, because of that sun up there in the sky, but because of the one who made that sun.’
– Augustine, Sermon 190. 395 A.D

….sing unto the Lord a new song:

 

blog-post-25th-nov-2016-rlWhen it comes to composing music there’s hits, and then there’s misses.

The lesson I’m learning from my own hits and misses is that nothing created is ever completely wasted.

Outside the perfectionist, the only mistakes that really matter in music are the ones that stand out. Those particular kinds of mistakes can break a song and an artist. It’s the ones that break with the rhythm or the melody; the ones that are heard by everyone, not just the person with a trained ear to the ground.

The potential for mistakes like these keep us fine-tuning our craft and tools for the job. They keep is in step with the beat, ensuring that one hundred percent of our attention is given to the composition at hand.

Through humility and a gracious attitude, mistakes can teach us. Through grace they can be made part of a disciplined life. They become fuel; the impetus to get better. Through grace mistakes can even become part of the song, or the beginning of new one.

In God, with God, through God, we are shown how this works. Shown that once humanity drops its facade of isolation, rejects it’s hubris-filled rejecting and grasps the grace that grasps us, nothing created is ever completely wasted. As Joseph said to his brothers,

“You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Gen. 50:20, ESV).

Likewise, Paul tells us, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Rom.8:28).

Not even the scrappy three-minute melody that had way too much drums in the mix, or the muddy sound of an instrumental overdone with bass or a guitar solo.

Nothing created is ever completely wasted.

Every new melody, every new beat, every new sound is born from the lessons learnt by simply having the courage to put a hand in The Hand that enables us for the task.

“Courage, dear heart,” (C.S. Lewis) for ‘our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Working together with Him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.’(2 Cor. 5:21-6:1, ESV).

Nothing created is ever completely wasted.

.

Cloud of Light

October 14, 2016 — 1 Comment

hildegard-of-benginWhen I went back and re-listened to the previous tune I created a few weeks back, I realized that the mixing wasn’t as balanced as I thought it was. It’s all over the place.

The fact that I rushed the mixing process stands out. There’s a lot to be said about letting any art you’ve created sit for a few hours before stamping it out as complete. Lesson learnt.

Time is not a commodity I have a lot of, so, what I do put together is posted as is. Warts n’ all. I’m also not writing these tunes and putting them together in any professional capacity – or at least not yet.

This affords me a creative margin where I don’t have the pressure to have them as polished and perfected as I would, if say, I was doing this for a job.

What I like about what I can currently do is the honesty of it. I’m not the world’s best guitarist, but I am confident enough with what skills I do have, to put them before God and recognize them as a gift.

These tunes, are therefore, me just honing that gift; sharpening it with new technology and stretching my creativity. I’ve failed and will probably make more mistakes on that front as I keep doing this.

The same goes for this blog. For the most part, I grew up with no encouragement, recognition or knowledge about what gifts and talents were. It wasn’t something my parents seemed concerned about.

Guitar playing was something I was forced into. As a first grader my mother insisted I start to learn a skill; to be notably proficient at something, unlike other senior members of my family who seemed to have no desire to better themselves or work on what gifts they might have had.

The terms “gifts’ and “talent” only became a real concern for me in senior high school. Even then, any ambition for a career in music, although entertained, was a joke. Like most things I experienced in church and elsewhere, I came from a dysfunctional home; didn’t come from the “right” neighborhood, so not much was expected of me, let alone any hope for a future.

The first electric guitar I owned was second-hand. It had a cracked head, and would go out of tune as quickly as it was tuned. One of my worst memories is standing in front of a church with their worship team, trying to use it. Needless to say, I wasn’t on the team for very long.

That, I am grateful to say has no bearing on where I am at now.

As part of the creative process this week, I’ve taken a phrase out of the Complete Writings of Hildegard of Bengin. In particular the imagery of a ‘cloud of light pitted against an immense darkness of great density’:

“…an immense darkness of great density and horror came from the East and extended towards the cloud of light, yet because of that cloud of light it could advance no further […] I heard the ancient serpent say to himself: ‘I will prepare all my forces of strength and wage war against my enemies with all I can muster!’ […] And he blew out a poison cloud which covered all the earth like black smoke, and from it came a great roar, saying: ‘Let no one honour a God they cannot see and know! How can they worship what they cannot know! In the black cloud I saw the images of many kinds of vices.’
(Selected Writings, p. 137)

It’s a prophecy from the 1100’s, that, in its entirety, is worth checking out.

 


Top image of Hildegard: Artist unknown.

Preamble To The Uprising

September 27, 2016 — 4 Comments

My new tune.

Preamble to the Uprising: “…every eye shall see.” – John, Revelation 1:7

“We shall all be beggars together if we shut ourselves up like hermits, and cry “every man for himself.”
– (Charles Spurgeon, 1882, Flowers From a Puritan’s Garden)