The project spanned 2 months in which I wrote, recorded and published 1 song every week.
What was most significant about this upgrade was having the ability to sequence my own drum tracks which meant more diversity between the sections of each song, as well as more than doubling the number of tracks I could assign to each tune. Given that I prefer to arrange for small ensembles, this meant I had more space than I would generally use (I still managed to reach the limit and crash the program multiple times while experimenting).
Despite now having the means to create ultra clean good boy music, such a prospect didn’t really tickle my pickle, as for me the magic of the art lies in that moment where you’re on the edge, flirting with both successful creation and pitiful failure.
I wanted to each track to feel like one of my gigs, where the basic form of the song is there, but how it manifests in that particular performance is to a large extent aleatoric, or to be more precise indeterminate.
To achieve this indeterminism in a live setting I can generally change band lineups and simply observe what the other members bring to a tune, but to recreate the sentiment while recording alone, the methodology must change.
Henceforth I birthed the sacred Groovebox System of Song Production.
I would allow myself 5 days to produce a lead sheet of some sort which would visually convey the general theme of the piece, 1 day for recording while arranging/composing more specific content, and the final day to listen back on various available speaker systems and tweak the final mix.
For example, in the case of ‘The Soul Dies Young‘ (below), my aim was to write a pop song using the Locrian Mode which I expressed initially as a chord sequence, a time signature, and three melodic motifs (right).
Using this lead sheet as the blueprint I left all other creative decisions until the day of recording and wherever possible I used the first take ensuring to capture the most spontaneous efforts. I filled in the lyrics as I went also in order to represent the present moment.
In this particular case the approach led to me including a synth flute doubling the vocal line on the chorus which was an added wildcard, or as Dave Mustaine would put it, “…just like the pied piper”.
Also through strict adherence to the deadlines it became impossible to fix a broken microphone which meant recording vocals for the entire album through the computer’s built in mic.
For the final song I replaced the lead sheet with a public service infographic (below) first produced by Mr Milbot N Pussycat.
Moving away from the sheet music this time I was able to audibly represent my theme as more of a fluid conceptualisation.
It almost allowed me to believe I was a mere pauper in a society which was willingly dominated by a sadistic elite.
That is the power of Groovebox System of Song Production.