Many years ago, I took an interest in video and purchased a camcorder and a copy of Apple Final Cut Pro. These ended up being a complete waste of money; I rarely used either the camcorder (which I eventually sold) or the software (which was eventually obsolete and worthless).
Final Cut Pro 4 also came with a companion application called Soundtrack, which Apple had designed as a tool for non-musicians to create royalty-free music for their videos. Strangely, this ended up being the part of the Final Cut Pro suite that I used the most. It was fun and effortless to throw together neat little songs from the 5,000 included loops. In 2004, I used Soundtrack to become one of the hundreds (thousands?) of Internet personalities making songs featuring former Governor Howard Dean’s (D-VT) infamous scream.
Some time around then, I also started attempting to use Soundtrack to make music for some of the lyrics and poetry I had written. This was part of my on-again off-again efforts to turn some of my written work into sung work . . . efforts that have very occasionally resulted in poor-quality demos up here on the site . . . demos that I promptly delete when I soon realize that they really aren’t good. I still plan to produce something someday, but I no longer commit to any time-line. They may be next month; they may be in thirty years.
As far as I can recall, I never released (even temporarily) the work I did in Soundtrack. Although I liked what I had made, it didn’t feel right to release music built from loops of other musicians’ work, even if I arranged it myself and had the legal right to do so. I also only recorded a couple vocals, and wasn’t very happy with the result (in large part, I now realize, to the poor equipment I was using). So, eventually, I put all of that stuff aside and decided that if I ever released a demo, it would not be based on royalty-free loops (except perhaps here-and-there to add some depth).
But for all these years, sitting in my archives, I’ve had almost an album’s worth of songs without vocals . . . songs I put a lot of effort into, once upon a time. I rediscovered them again recently, and when I played them back I realized I still kind-of liked them. Maybe it’s time for them to see the light of day . . . not as a long-awaited demo, but as an experimental album of instrumental music, and as a sort of sample of my musical tastes. Think of it as a tenuous sketch of what an eventual ‘real’ album might sound like.
Two of these eleven songs—Mood Swings and Clubbed—were always intended as instrumentals. Clubbed was intended as a sort of joke hidden track, and so is completely stylistically different than the rest. The other nine songs were all meant to have lyrics, and so they have parts where the music pulls back to allow the vocals to come to the fore. I have severed any link between these songs and the lyrics that were originally meant to pair with them; they have new titles and a new order. The entire collection is forty-five minutes and twenty seconds long, which I still think is about the ‘sweet spot’ for an album (although most modern albums are much longer). Enjoy. Read More…