K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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Fri, Jan 1, 2021

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2021


Thu, Jan 7, 2021

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"WINTER VACATION BALLAD":
My Music
Song number ? in progress

Last night I worked a bit more on one of the new piano songs, "Winter Vacation Ballad," though that is sure to not be the final title. There's been some evolution in the song. I've changed a few of the chords and I also switched the voice on the Legato III piano from regular piano to electric piano.

I've also started some new lyrics, rather than looking at any of those that I already had lying around. The instigation is the tragedy that is happening to this country. I am so incredibly sad about it all, and feel a rage smoldering that wants to explode. I have no idea how much of what I have started will be what I finish with. But the words just are not rolling out. I don't know how to put it onto words. It's going to take a little while.
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Working on what currently has the workshop title of "Winter Vacation Ballad."



FROM MOJAVE TO BIG SUR:
MacBook Pro 16" - 2019 Build ICON
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
Tools of the Trade icon

I have upgraded my MacBook Pro from MacOS 10.14 ("Mojave") to MacOS 11.1 ("Big Sur"). I held off because of my remote, work-at-home for the rent-payer. There is a remote network connectivity VPN software that I need that is not yet compatible with Big Sur. I decided to go ahead and go to Big Sur and make other arrangements for working at home -- see the next section.

Of course, as per usual, big operating system upgrade means upgrading essential software to the latest versions, which suggests hundreds of dollars. In this case it was my Corel Painter 2016. A significant amount of functionality was lost after the Big Sur upgrade. I had to upgrade to Corel Painter 2021. Fortunately, between the "flash sale" that was going on and the upgrade discount, I only paid a third of the retail list price for the software. I've already processed some photos with it -- see "My Music" and "Working From Home" pics from today.


TWO MACBOOKS:
WORKING FROM HOME icon

With the advent of upgrading my MacBook to Big Sur, and thus making it incapable of remotely connecting with servers at work, I had to check out a MacBook from the library, one still running on macOS Mojave. The thing is, the library laptop is conditioned with deep freeze, meaning that nothing saved or downloaded will be gone, and any changes will be restored to the original condition when the computer is rebooted. Because of this, I'm using my own laptop for some thing, like email, since I'd have to reconfigure the email app every time I booted up the library Mac. So, now when I work at home, I have two Macs up and running, the following photos being from yesterday:
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LAST HIKE OF 2020:
HIKING ICON

The last Tuesday of last year I hiked the Little Miami River at Clifton Gorge.

As always: it was good for the heart (literally), good for the soul, good for the muse, good for overall well being.

A bit cold, but, as it was the last Tuesday of December in southwestern Ohio....

And some pics:
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Mon, Jan 11, 2021

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RHYTHM & WORDS:
My Music
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K.L. on Bass
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 7 in progress

The actual production* of "Chilled October Morning" has begun, with the recording of the rhythm tracks for the song.

Saturday evening I laid the drum part from GarageBand into the digital eight-track recorder.

Then from then into early yesterday morning I laid four rhythm bass chord sections. First there's a doubling of the Giannini acoustic part, that which is what the song was written on. There is also a rocked-out Epiphone Embassy Pro part ran through the Overdrive/Distortion pedal. Lastly, there's another rocked-out Epiphone Viola part, ran through the Super Octave pedal as well as the overdrive/distortion pedal.

Last evening I wrote and rehearsed straight bass line on the Viola bass. I haven't completely finished writing this bass line, there are still a few little fills to work out, but I overwhelmingly have the foundation worked out.

The bass line will be on track #7 of the 8-track recording, leaving track #8 open. I am seriously thinking about adding no other instruments to this, even any sort of instrument doing any leadwork. There is no "solo" section. I could have something run some fills in some open spots, beyond any fills in the bass line, but, I think maybe I will leave this one alone with a drum kit and five bass parts (four of them being the chorded stuff). So, Track 8 will be for the vocal. And again, I'm thinking I'll have just the lead vocal, no back vocals.

Ordinarily, I'd have to import the eight tracks over to my laptop so I could free some tracks up on the 8-track recorder for additional instruments and vocals, but, I think the eight tracks I'll have, after the lead vocal is laid, will complete the song. I'll, of course, reserve the right to change my mind later, but, I'm thinking I probably won't.            Unless I do

You five regulars may remember that I noted a little intonation problem with the Viola bass during Winter Vacation 2020, and I noted it again this weekend, just a bit, mosty while working on the bass line yesterday. My first string, the E string, is not staying in tune well. I may wait until after I've laid this bass line to adjust the intonation on the guitar, mostly because it's going to be time-consuming, and I am betting on it also being irritating and frustrating. I can keep the E string in tune long enough to get through each take of this song before I work on the axe.

*) Technically, production began when I programmed the drum kit arrangement into GarageBand during Winter Vacation 2020, but the actual recording began this past Saturday evening.

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Chords on the Giannini, doubled up, and on the Embassy Pro, the latter running through the Boss overdrive/distortion pedal.
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Embassy bass
Adding on chords from the Viola bass, running through the Boss OC-3 Dual Super Octave Pedal as well as the overdrive/distortion pedal.
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The Overdrive/Distortion & Super Octave pedals.
Working on the straight-out bass line on the Epiphone Viola bass.


Songwriter icon
Song number ? in progress
A little more work on the lyrics to the workshop-titled, "Winter Vacation Ballad" has been done. At the moment I am nowhere close to the final title. Honestly, I'm not wholly sold on some of what lyrics have been written; I'm feeling there can be better ways to express the sentiment in a few spots. But, you know: it's a process.

There's been no movement on the other piano song or the rocker that I started during Winter Vacation 2020, those having the workshop titles of "Cozy Cottage Jazz" and "Winter Vacation Rocker," respectively. Again, as to whether I try out lyrics already began on those or start from scratch is not determined, yet.



Tue, Jan 12, 2021

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SONGS #7 & #6:
My Music

K.L. on Bass
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 7 in progress
Last night I recorded the bass line for "Chilled October Morning," using my Viola bass -- that which is featured in the new "K.L. on Bass" icon you can see on the left.

Yet, I'm not satisfied with the bass line I laid. The performance can be better and I think I want to alter some of the arrangement. I called it a night after I had listened to the last take of the evening because it was about midnight and I was scheduled into the office at the rent-payer this morning. I'll be back at that bass line tonight, with the hope that a good take makes it into the Tascam.

K.L. on Vocals
?
Perhaps a miracle will happen and I'll lay the vocal track tonight as well. Although a good portion of the song is a bit more rockin' than in the original form, so I haven't worked out all of the new needs of the vocal yet, but, it may not take a lot of time and effort to get to what will work.


Song number 6 in progress
"Identity" is still in limbo as I wait for the electric guitar work to be finished. I have not checked up on the progress so I don't know what progress has been made. At some point I'll push the issue, but for the moment I'll wait for word.



Wed, Jan 13, 2021

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RHYTHM TRACK DOWN; NOW ON TO THE VOCALS:
My Music
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 7 in progress

K.L. on Bass
Last night was the second and final session to record the bass line for "Chilled October Morning," the line plaid, of course, on the Epiphone Viola Bass - Vintage Sunburst. As I wrote in yesterday's blog post, I reworked the arrangement of the bass line, just slightly, plus, I was not wholly happy with the performance from the last take of Monday evening.

What I specifically wanted to change in the arrangement of the bass line were fills I have a habit of playing. Sure, all players have their own style, whether it falls heavily or lightly on highly skilled technique -- mine does not -- and whether it's signature to them or not, but one does not want to have a limited bag of tricks. I've already utilized fills quite similar to what was in that Monday evening take on other songs from this project; something new was in order, or at least not so damned similar. Plus, again, I wanted a tighter performance, overall. I think (hope) I executed such last night.

Songwriter icon
K.L. on Vocals
NEXT icon
Probably, the only thing left to record is the vocal. I write "probably" because I am thinking that my plan to not do back vocals may get nixed. I'll record the solo vocal then listen to the mix and might decide I want backing vocals.

The other thing I need to do, first, is finish the lyrics. There are two lines left to write. So, whether I record the lead vocal tonight or later depends on those two lines.

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A mess of cables & cords.
The first try recording the "Chilled" bass line, Monday night.
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Tuning the Viola bass.
Final recording session for the "Chilled" bass line, last night.



Thu, Jan 14, 2021

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CHILLED OCTOBER VOCAL:
My Music
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 7 in progress

K.L. on Vocals
The "Chilled October Morning" lead vocal line was fully worked out and recorded last night. It was only a few takes, three, I think. At first, I wasn't completely sold on the last take, but after a couple listens, I warmed up to it. I have also decided I will not be adding backing vocals, nor any other instruments to the song. And that, as per usual, is locked unless I unlock it.

Lately, I've mostly been recording in the livingroom, but I record the vocals in my bedroom. The major reason is that my bedroom is more isolated and when I sing louder it's, as far as I know, not an intrusion on the other tenants in the apartment building. Again, as in the past, to quote Paul Simon: "Remember, one man's ceiling is another man's floor" -- even though in my ranch style it's really "walls."

With the vocal recorded, the next step, which is highly likely to happen this evening, is doing a mixed-master. I haven't yet imported the vocal track (track #8) onto the laptop, but that will only take a minute, or less.

Songwriter icon
As stated in yesterday's blog post, the lyrics were not finished; there were two lines left to write for the last bridge section. Clearly, I was able to find good words for those lines -- well, I hope I found good words for those lines. Any of you five regulars would probably not be surprised to read that I also tweaked a few other lines. In most cases the tweaks had to do with rhythm and meter, which I discovered needed adjustment in a few places, as I was working out the final vocal arrangement. I also changed a couple words, frankly, because I didn't like the way I pronounced them in context with the other words in their lines. I switched them out for synonyms, of course, and the new words work much better.

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Standard Operational Procedure: a few cups of Throat Coat tea when vocals are involved.
Laying the "Chilled" vocal.



Fri, Jan 15, 2021

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CHILLED OCTOBER LOCK (PROBABLY):
My Music
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 7 finished
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After work yesterday.....Okay, after the nap I took when I got home from work, yesterday, I did up a mixed-master of "Chilled October Morning." Mostly I am happy with the product as it is, mostly.

K.L. on Bass
K.L. on Vocals
As I've listened to the playback, more than a few times, I've waffled back-and-forth on the vocal performance. It would not be out of the question for me to rerecord the vocal. I'm going to let it sit for a while. My on-and-off problem with the performance is that there is what I can only call a type of pretention to the performance, border-lining on melodramatic. That's one listen through. On the next, I don't get that sense, at all. So, like I wrote above, I'm going to let it sit for a while, then go back. Meanwhile, I'm quite happy with all the bass work -- all the rhythm bass chords and the main bass line. In fact I'm very pleased with that bass line; I think it works very well.

One lyric note: when listening to the mix, I realized that I mis-sang a line. It was supposed to be "Strolling the deep, azure-black sky." I sang "Strolling deep, azure-black skies." I like the "mistake" better, so that is now the official lyric. We can call this my version of Paul McCartney accidentally switching Desmond's and Molly's genders and jobs in The Beatles' "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."

And in terms of locked/not locked, every song in the project may be -- probably will be -- subject to remastering before the album hits the world.



Sun, Jan 17, 2021

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THE NEXT SONG FOR THE "ALBUM":
My Music
NEXT icon
Songwriter icon
Song number 8 in progress
?

It looks like the next thing on the agenda is to finish what is currently "Winter Vacation Ballad," and maybe slate it as the next song to record, which would make it Song #8. It's the lyrics that need finished. The chords and the chord progressions, and the sections of the song, have been determined -- with the right to change any of that, if the want or need presents itself.

Working on the lyrics is the task of the moment. I think I wrote this before, that the words aren't gushing out of my mind like a muse-induced flood. The song in my mind is my personal reaction to aspects of the current events of the day, and finding that border where straightforward yet tactful sincerity on this side, meets ham-handedness on the other side, then keeping to this side, is a challenge. And, as I write this blog entry, here is what the lyrics for the chorus stanza look like:

    Yadda yadda yadda
    Yadda yadda yadda
    Yadda yadda yadda
    Yadda yadda yadda

Today is much about working on this song.


THE ALBUM PROJECT ICON
It's time for me to fully, boldly embrace the concept that what this "project" is, is the making of an "album" -- of a collection, I hope some sort of cohesive collection, of songs into one unified entity: a musical album.

I've stated it in the past months, but I have an overall aversion to calling this endeavor "an album" as the habitual norm. Somewhere in my mind I equate that with a little boy pretending he's doing his dad's grown-up stuff. It's a silly self-consciousness, and the more secure part of me, who is constantly fighting for an equal say in matters, wants to see this attitude as unfairly and overly self-deprecating. Though I'm not prone to superstition, I also admit that some part of me seems to fear that if I am too bold in the declaration that I'll jinx it all. What "jinxing it all" would mean is a bit vague, since I can't say that I have grand ideals about what happens with this ALBUM when it's in its final form. I touched on this in some length in my blog post from April 19 of last year, where I wrote, in part:
....I'm not making any plans to go shopping for a tux for The Grammys, or The Billboard Music Awards, but I may investigate marketing the collection on iTunes. My understanding from a cursory exploration is that it's feasible. I'm also not planning to start shopping for a Bugatti or a house in The Hamptons. Neither am I expecting to even supplement my income or, for that matter, actually make any money off the finished work....

The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
-- Kurt Vonnegut

No designs on becoming a sexagenarian pop star are cascading around in my head....[But] I fully embace my fundamental need to be artistic, to be creative. I would prefer that I make brilliant art, because, why not? Why not strive for doing something excellent? But, as Kurt says, "Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow." Even making bad art is worth the time and effort....

The sharing of the creatures that come from me, in this case, the songs, the album, that is vital. Making a piece of art then keeping it in a box, I once heard that described as selfish. I don't think that's the right word. I think "unnatural" fits better. The cynic might suggest that small kids share their crayon drawings with their parents, or whomever, out of raw, id-driven ego. I believe that instinct to share what we've created comes from the depths of our social nature. We have a deep-seated need to express ourselves to our fellows, and art, however shallow or magnificently brilliant it is, is part of that aspect of our human makeup....

click here for the full text of that blog post entry

I need to get over it, to get over this reluctance to fully admit I'm making a damned album! It's not at all likely to take the music world by storm -- my date with Jennifer Aniston in the International Space Station is more likely. It's probably going to be the epitome of a very, very small indy-pop style release; make that: small. Still, HEY! I'm recording an album! I even already have the album title, which I am keeping under wraps. I think I stated that before, that I have the title. I have for a while. At one point it was going to be, Into the Blue Dawn, after one of the songs already recorded, but later I came up with a better title.

Despite that I'm not divulging the album title, I'm going to, from this point forward, be more direct about the fact that this "project" is an "album project." This little paradigm shift is why I have created the Album Project icon, which debuts here, today.

One big question now might be, when will it be done? When will it be out in the wild? I hope during 2021; by this summer would be great, and not unattainable. Technically, I have an album's-worth of material right now. Friday I did the math and I have just about a half-minute short of forty minutes of music recorded, not including the newly mixed and mastered recording of the instrumental "Astroterph" which was performed and recorded by the band I was once in, SeazonWind, in the childhood bedroom of my old music partner, Rich Hisey, back in August of 1983. Actually, without the old recording I have 39:24 of new recordings, to be exact. That's six of the seven numbered songs.

If we go with the legacy of vinyl LPs, there is an album there. In their hey day, LPs averaged any where from 35 minutes to sometimes more than 45 minutes per album. By the late 60s, and certainly into the next few decades, most albums clocked in at about 40 minutes, or, 20 minutes per side, give or take a minute or so. I think that still stands as the norm for this current third millennium resurgence of vinyl LP popularity. So, my 39:24 meets that benchmark. If I were to put what I have out now as a vinyl LP album, this would be the line-up, which is kind of not going to wholly make sense to you since you haven't had the opportunity to hear all the songs:

    Side One:
    1. Identity (7:44)
    2. The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (My Christmas Gift to Me) (5:07)
    3. Icebergs (8:17)

    Side Two:
    1. Chilled October Morning (4:22)
    2. Medley: (10:16)
              The Death of The...
              Memories of the Times Before
              Memories End Bit
              The Death of The...(reprise)
    3. Into the Blue Dawn (3:38)

Of course, for a CD or a download, the side 2 songs would be songs number 4-6, which is what they woud be since I have no plans to put out a vinyl LP. I only mention such here as a benchmark for the length of an album. Modern CDs and downloads can be, and often are longer. Vinyl 33 1/3 LPs have a physical limitation. Start pushing the length past about 22 or 23 minutes to a side and the grooves start needing to be a little more compact, which usually lends them to more easily be damaged by the needle or just by careless handling of the disk. I understand that the longest 33 1/3 LP is a recording of Bach that is about an hour per side, but I'm betting there are a lot of copies of that which skip, and probably in many spots.

    1. Identity (7:44)
    2. The Night Before the Night Before Christmas (My Christmas Gift to Me) (5:07)
    3. Icebergs (8:17)
    4. Chilled October Morning (4:22)
    5. Medley: (10:16)
              The Death of The...
              Memories of the Times Before
              Memories End Bit
              The Death of The...(reprise)
    6. Into the Blue Dawn (3:38)
This listing, right above, is what you'd see if the album were to come from the currently finished new material. But I am not ready to call this album project a wrap. I doubt I have to tell anyone reading this that Modern CD and download albums often run longer than their older LP counterparts, frequently at or over 50 minutes, sometimes as much as an hour, and we've all seen some that hit 70 minutes or longer. Since I have no designs on an LP version, I have room for several more songs, and I am claiming that room.

I also am certain to record more songs than will make it on the album. The leftovers, or outtakes, may end up tagged onto single releases from the album. Yes, I have no big ideals for the album and its commercial success, but I'm still going to do single releases. You may notice that the 80s bedroom recording of my instrumental "Astroterph" is not in the album line-up. I do plan to release it as a bonus track with a single release -- once I have a mixed-master that satisfies me. What I have at the moment just isn't as good as I think it can be.

"Winter Vacation Ballad" will be part of the pool of candidates for the album line-up. And, by the way, some of the six listed above may just not make the cut, though there are a few that are pretty much locked in as on the album. I also am pretty sure that I'll get to "Cozy Cottage Jazz," the other piano song that I started in the cottage during Winter Vacation 2020. As I've mentioned before, there are couple others from the old days that I'm thinking about. There's a love ballad, that in the late 70s, when I wrote it, would have been a great single, called "Lovely Feeling of Love," and I have a nice little poppy jazz ballad, "The Answer," that I am thinking about reviving. There are a couple rockers from that period that are on my mind, too. There are also a few new ideas germinating inside, a few that have been for a while, one that just came to me.

The adventure of The Album Project is not finished.

Addendum, from later in the day: I realize that I forgot to list "Winter Vacation Rocker," also began during Winter Vacation 2020, as a potential candidate for the album.



ALICE FRASER: SAVAGE:
Alice Fraser, sitting at a table playing chess -- photo taken from her bio page at her website
Alice Fraser
On TV icon

This weekend I came across a remarkable comedian from Australia, Alice Faser. I caught her stand up special, Alice Fraser: Savage, on Amazon Prime, and I was absolutely impressed.

I was so impressed that I searched out the contact page at her website to tell her that I found her show funny, poignant, touching, smart, and I believe quite real. I trust my instincts that the authenticity she conveyed was more than just a savvy performer putting on a false persona for the audience and the camera. I told her all of that. She very graciously replied.

If you have Amazon Prime, I highly recommend this special. It’s really more like a TED talk or a Moth talk, couched in humor, but it is worth your time, and Ms. Fraser is most impressive.

Apparently Savage is part of a trilogy and I will be seeking the other two installments.



Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

CLICK HERE FOR DR. KING'S SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY


Tue, Jan 19, 2021

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ALL KINDS OF ALBUM STUFF:
THE ALBUM PROJECT ICON
My Music
Song number 8 in progress

xxxx

"Winter Vacation Ballad" is taking clearer shape. I believe I have the structure of the song pretty much locked. I still don't have the lyrics for the chorus, but I have decided that the two verses I have are enough; I don't need a third verse.

That said, I have tweaked those first two verses a little bit. I also added a musical bridge. The bridge is in the middle of the song, then the same music is a repeated vamp that fades at the end of the song. I'm not sure of the song's length, but I'm thinking it's about 4:00.
xxxx
Writing the addition of the bridge music.
xxxx
The raw drum GarageBand programming.
xxxx
Redoing the chord progression document.


ALBUMS IN THE CAN
By the Way
I cannot say there are elephants in the room, those proverbial beasts that no one is talking about, that is a little too dramatic to declare. There aren't some ugly truths lurking about that there is any denial about, or that are being ignored. Also, I have mentioned at least one of these before.

Technically, I already have recorded two albums. One of them, in fact, is a double album.

The first one was recorded in the mid-80s, in the music room at my music partner, Rich Hisey's house. It was recorded on his Fostex 4-channel cassette recorder. It's what my very first music video, "Seems Like a Crime," is from. That song being a lyrical collaboration with Rich. That's the double album. It's title is Heart Walks, and its been sitting around, waiting for me to mix and master for a long, long, long time. Why I haven't is beyond me. The only thing left to do, is to add a bass line to "Seems Like a Crime." Interesting that the only thing off that album session that has significantly released to the public, is technically unfinished. There's even a statement in the description text that the album is "forthcoming." The video's been posted for almost exactly ten years now (Feb 17, 2011). It just says it's forthcoming; it doesn't say when.

If I were asked what kind album it is, I'd have to say it's a blend of some adult contemporary pop, some techno-pop-like music, some things that are pretty avant garde, and some definite new age music. The last track, an instrumental that clocks about 25 minutes, is especially new age. Heart Walks is a concept album that reflects the spiritual journey I endeavored on in that part of my life.

There is no rock on the album, save for an outtake, which is a progressive rock version of a song that, on the album, is techno pop. The rock version was recorded live at a variety show benefit for young people recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction. This live version was billed as being by the band Rich and I had in those days, SeazonWind. It was the last gig, of only a few gigs, they performed. I believe it was in 1984, but it may have been 1985. The rock version would not be on the album.

Note that I wrote that "Seems Like a Crime" is the only song from Heart Walks to be "significantly released to the public." Another track, a techno pop song, "Freedom from Bondage," is used as incidental music, deep in the background, toward the end of my short movie, Be Or Not, starring Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts. The end of the song is a little more prominent as it is over the closing credits and is at a higher volume. A portion of the more avant garde instrumental, "False Evidence Appearing Real," which "Freedom from Bondage" segues into is also featured, at least for a few seconds.

The other album is a collection of five ambient music instrumentals, each coming in at a length of about 8:30. That album is called Space Music. It's the sort of material one would hear on an ambiant radio station such as Drone Zone at Soma FM.

This collection was originally created as the pre-show music when I was the sound designer for the Dayton Playhouse production of George R. Romero's Night of the Living Dead™, directed by Geoff Burkman. I just have a little bit of tweaking to do, and I could market this one on a platform like iTunes.

So, really, as I'm pushing toward a wrap on the current album project, I can easily get two other albums out there, Space Music the easier of the two since there's almost nothing but a small amount of mastering to do. Ironically, though Space Music is the project I am least exited about, it's probably the most marketable -- I just suspect that there is far more of a market for ambient music by unknown artists who don't have a label, even a small indy label, or any sort of management team. Of course, it's not that I think for a second that I'd get rich off of it, or make terribly much at all. But, there's more potential for some sort of income, even if it's only something like twenty bucks a year, or, likely, less.

Going through the motions to get one or both of these onto iTunes, or wherever, would be a good trial run for the current project. Though I do have a fondness for Heart Walks, so I don't want to seem like I'm blowing it off as merely a guinea pig.



Wed, Jan 20, 2021

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JOE & KAMALA






Thu, Jan 21, 2021

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FROM "WINTER VACATION" TO "UTOPIA":
THE ALBUM PROJECT ICON
My Music
Song number 8 in progress

Songwriter icon
Except for the inevitable revisions that will come, whether they'll be big or small, the lyrics to Song #8 are finished. What had the workshop title of "Winter Vacation Ballad," now has the title, "Utopia's Dystopia."

Huh! "Utopia's Dystopia" would make a great album title but for two things: 1) for some sector of folk my age, it could conjure the image of the infamous musical genius, Todd Rundgren, who once fronted an amazing rock band called Utopia; 2) I already have a great title for the album -- and I'm still holding that information back.

The structure of "Utopia's Dystopia" is now locked differently than when I reported on Monday that it was; hey, I did only call it, "pretty much locked." But I have since decided to repeat half of a verse with slightly altered lyrics. I also moved the placement of the bridge and the instrumental solo section. It's not exactly going to be one of my longer songs but it's not as short as I thought it would be. A play of the whole chord progression layout is in excess of 5:00. Depending on how long the fade out will be, the song will come in somewhere around 5:30, if not longer. I had hoped it would be shorter, but I have the tempo and the structure I want, so it's 5:00 to 5:30, or longer.

K.L. on Vocals
Well, I've got the chords; I've got the structure of the song; I have the tempo; I'm 99.9% sure the lyrics are finished. Now to determine the exact melody and performance of the lead vocal. When I started working on the music, the vocal was in a high part of my register, but I wasn't satisfied with that. It wasn't working. I've taken it down to around my middle register and it's fitting much better. There's a lot of refining to do. Really, there's more than simply refining to do. Not all of the melody has been determined yet, but it's in the works.

AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
The drum part has been programmed into GarageBand and recorded on tracks #1 & #2 in the Tascam eight-track recorder. Since I'm fading the song out at the end, I have a little more length of time than I need, running to about 6:00, to leave me some room. My plan is to corral the song in to no more than 5:30, but, we'll see. I was half tempted to try to record the Legato piano part last night as well, but I elected to hold off until tonight. That'll likely only be rehearsal, anyway, rather than laying the track -- or tracks, because I'm probably going to record the piano part in stereo; the chorus function on the keyboard gives a sort of a light Wurlitzer organ stereo effect that I want to capture for this song. I'm going to try to punch up what I'm playing on the piano, too, you know, kind of push my meager, limited skill at the keys and get something a bit more interesting.


A LITTLE ZOOMING FOR THE LAW STUDENTS:
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

Just booked my first acting gig since last summer. I'll be doing a few sessions for The University of Dayton Law School in several Zoom sessions, under the direction of Fran Pesch.


stay tuned for a link in this spot to the new K.L.'S FINE ARTS VITA
Meanwhile, click here for K.L.'s up-to-date résumé




Fri, Jan 22, 2021

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COVID-19 INFORMATION LINKS





"UTOPIA'S" PIANO TRACK:
My Music
THE ALBUM PROJECT ICON
K.L. on Keys
AUDIO RECORDING - ENGINEERING ICON
Song number 8 in progress

Last night I rehearsed and recorded the piano part for "Utopia's Dystopia," using the electric piano voice on the Legato III, and with the use of the new sustain pedal *(see next entry, below).

Just as I said I would, I had the piano set on chorus, for a subtle stereo channel bounce, which I captured in the Tascam, by running a sound cord out of the left channel, and one out of the right channel on the piano, into tracks 3 and 4 on the 8-track, respectively.

The "electric piano" setting on the Legato, with the chorus setting on, is comparable to the sound of a Fender Rhodes piano, if you are familiar with that sound. A good example would be the piano at the start of "London Town" by Paul McCartney (Wings), although the channel bounce is not as pronounced on the Legato.

Now it's time to move on, though I'm not sure what I want to record next. It won't be the vocal. It might be the bass line, which I haven't composed, yet. Otherwise it will be something of which I thus far haven't conceived.

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Rehearsing the electric piano part for "Utopia's Dystopia."
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The section structure list for "Utopia's Dystopia."
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Running left and right channels out of the piano.
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The "Utopia's Dystopia" electric piano on channels 3 & 4.


OBTAINING THE SUSTAINING:
JUST ARRIVED
Tools of the Trade icon
K.L. on Keys

The sustain pedal that shipped with my Williams Legato III keyboard is, in a word, a piece of crap. It's so light that it easily moves around. Also, the mechanism is cheap, so often when I press down for sustain, it doesn't execute.

Fortunately, the piano is set up to accept a large variety of pedals, so earlier in the week, I ordered an On-Stage KSP100 Universal Piano Sustain Pedal from Sweetwater. It arrived yesterday. It works great. It's heavy enough to stay in place, and the sturdier, actual pedal design means that every foot press results in sustain.

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xxxx
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The Williams in-box, mediocre sustain pedal.
The On-Stage KSP100 universal piano sustain pedal.



email me at KL_Storer@yahoo.com. www.facebook.com/klstorer; Instagram - KL_Storer; Twitter @klstorer









PROMOTIONS:

BE OR NOT, a movie by K.L.Storer. Starring Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts. Director of photography, Fred Boomer



Still for sale, 'STILL ME' on DVD, http://brookwoodfilms.com/buy.html
As an actor I was privileged to have a small roll in this multi-award winning, very touching, most poignant short film. I was further privileged to accept the award, on behalf of Beth McElhenny, for Best Family Film at the 2008 Secret City Film Festival in Oakridge, Tennessee. The film has won awards far more than that one time. Click on the image to go to the official site and see the successes, thus far.



AND NOW, TO PROMOTE SOME THEATRE....

Dayton Theatre Guild

Dayton Theatre Guild -- "See you in AUGUST 2021"
ANNOUNCEMENT -- PRODUCTIONS POSTPONED

We regret that due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic we are postponing our live performances until August of 2021, when we plan to kick off our 2021/2022 season.

Your health and safety, and that of our volunteers, casts, and production crews is of the utmost concern. We have come to this difficult decision as so many of our fellow arts organizations, both local and around the world, have done.

We look forward to offering you a robust season when we open. Please stay tuned for information on upcoming productions and ticket information.

During the pandemic, and as we approach the end of the year, the Dayton Theatre Guild would appreciate any monetary donation, in any amount you are able to make. All donations will be used to help keep the Guild viable until we are able to reopen to the public.

We have been fortunate to have your loyal patronage for all these years, and we are impatient to get back to the business of "Giving You Good Theatre, Done Well!"

Be well and stay safe!
Dayton Theatre Guild




And, if you live close by or will be visiting soon, check out these other theatres in the greater Dayton Ohio area:

  • Beavercreek Community Theatre
  • Bespoke Theatre *(facebook page) -- Dayton
  • The Black Box Improv Theatre -- Dayton
  • Brookville Community Theatre
  • Caesar's Ford Theatre, Inc -- Xenia
  • Cedarville University -- Cedarville
  • Clark State Community College Theatre Program -- Springfield
  • Dare to Defy Productions -- Dayton
  • Dayton Playhouse
  • Encore Theater Company -- Dayton
  • Epiphany Players Drama Ministry -- Dayton
  • Human Race Theatre Company -- Dayton
  • Lebanon Theatre Company -- Lebanon
  • La Comedia Dinner Theatre -- Springboro
  • The Magnolia Theatre Company -- Dayton
  • The Playground Theatre -- Dayton
  • Sinclair Community College Theatre -- Dayton
  • Springboro Community Theatre
  • Springfield Civic Theatre
  • Springfield StageWorks
  • Tipp City Players Community Theatre
  • Town Hall Theatre -- Centerville
  • Troy Civic Theatre -- Troy
  • Undercroft Players -- Dayton
  • University of Dayton *U.D. link is here, but it seems difficult to find the season at the site
  • Victoria Theatre Association -- Dayton
  • Wright State University -- Beavercreek
  • X*ACT: Xenia Area Community Theater
  • Yellow Springs Center Stage -- Yellow Springs
  • Young at Heart Players -- Dayton
  • tHe Zoot Theatre Company -- Dayton
  • KNOW OF A LOCAL THEATRE COMPANY THAT SHOULD
    BE ADDED? LET ME KNOW AT KL_Storer@yahoo.com

    That is, one within a 60 minute
    drive from the Dayton, Ohio area




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