Thursday, October 3, 2013

Music: "Can't Say Nein to Nine"

9/8 Meter (image from One-2-Five)

In My Last Music Sample, I uploaded the first thing I ever recorded on my PC.  That was from over a month ago, and I've done quite a bit since then.  I've moved on from the freebie version of Sequel LE I have to a more sophisticated recording package (also known as a Digital Audio Workstation -- "DAW") called Reaper.  I'll post more about Reaper in upcoming posts, but I will say that it has so much more capability than the limited Sequel LE package, and that while there's a steep learning curve, I really like it.

I also do a lot of recording of just me, but in my search for a way to get some drums and bass tracks to play against, I've discovered a whole world of online jamming, and many of my recent tracks have been me adding my guitar parts to tracks created by others.

The place I've been hanging out to do this is wikiloops:

wikiloops Online Jamming

This is a German website with musicians from around the world -- from professional-level musicians to newbies just learning their instruments. It's a very supportive place, filled with positive feedback, and it's perfect for what I want:  To jam with talented musicians who challenge me to improve, in a wide variety of genres, at my own pace, on MY schedule.  There are no live jams -- it's all the downloading, editing, and uploading of tracks, so I can take as long as I want to add my tracks.  And I can be as anonymous as I want to be -- I simply create a profile and reveal as much or as little as I'd like to.

If you're a musician, I heartily recommend this site!

I joined a while ago under the username  "StratPlayer" -- here's my StratPlayer Wikiloops Profile.

You can check out my profile to get all the tracks I've uploaded, but one of the recent ones I most like is called "Can't Say Nein to Nine".  I invite you to click on the link and check it out.

This recording has two layers of wild drumming in a very funky 9/8 meter, which is kind of a challenge to keep time with, especially if you're used to straight 4/4 time.  The drums were done by users known as "focus5" and "MrAdamOnDrums",  two very talented drummers.  The bass was recorded by the user known as "Dick" who is also the developer of the wikiloops site.

I loved the spacy, jazzy, funky feel of this jam and wanted to add some guitar.  I did two alternate lead tracks -- one clean, and one distorted and screaming. Then decided I liked them both, so I transitioned from the clean one to the distorted one at about the 2:00 minute mark.

Then, just to add a quirky framing element, I lifted a short sound bite from a pretty well-known recording and faded it in at the beginning and again at the end.  See if you know where it came from...  ;)

All in all, I really like this track -- I think my playing actually ended up relatively mistake-free, the overall mix is good, and I enjoy the jazzy, spacy, funky vibe.  That odd 9/8 meter and the awesome drumming against the rock-steady bass of Dick makes for a fabulous foundation to jam against and I just couldn't say no (hence the title, with a fun punnish twist considering it's a German website). 

I think it turned out pretty good -- what do you think?

Thanks for listening!


  1. Definitely Revolution # 9. Very nice. Despite being early in your solo recording career (I assume) the growth from the first to this clip is evident. Very jazzy in that it feels improvised all around. Good work. Check out Soundcloud, if you haven't already. It's another place to post your tunes.
    Carry on with the rock, sir.

    1. I now see that it was a collaboration. Still. You fit right in with the others.

  2. Wow! David's comments are really flattering! As for this:

    'while there's a steep learning curve, I really like it'

    I think that's wonderful. It stood out to me as the mark of a person who was going to (and already has) grow(n) with very little limits.

  3. You certainly captured that jazzy feel. The 9/8 time certainly makes it interesting. It's great the way it all came together. By the way, nice guitar work!

  4. @David: Thanks for the kind words, and yeah -- that "number nine" is a pretty obvious sample to lift, huh? But I thought it made a fun snippet to frame a piece in 9/8. ;) And I've heard about SoundCloud and will definitely check it out, but it's a site I can't get to from work ("personal data storage"), so I wouldn't have access to it if I wanted to post or do anything on my lunch hour or whenever...

    @Suze: Thanks for the comment. And I always want to keep growing, but I do need some limits, lol. Otherwise I tend to over-fixate on one area at the exclusion of others, and my "growth" can turn out as erratic and unproductive as an explosion of weeds in a garden... ;)

    @Alex: Thanks, Cap'n! I really appreciate the support!

  5. Wow... outstanding! And to think, it used to be if I wanted to jam with friends, we'd have to get together in somebody's basement. Modern technology allows you to turn a solo act into a jam whenever you feel like it, without even leaving the comfort of your own home. Heck, you can do it in your skivvies if you want. Totally cool.

  6. @Susan: Thank you very much! And yeah -- technology is cool, isn't it? I still like the live-in-the-room jamming for the fun of off-the-cuff improvisation and interaction among musicians, but this wikiloops cyber-jamming is pretty fun, too!

    ...and how did you know what I wear to record???? ;^)


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.