Is it okay to offer a song to somebody else?

What do I do with song ideas that don’t fit into anything else that I do? I have a song that I wrote years ago—just the music, I haven’t fit words to it completely—that I rather like but I haven’t done anything with it, neither for Shadows of Immurement nor Popkin-Salvador. Mike (my band-mate in P-S) and I are planning on a new album that I’m going to start writing for soon. But this time around we’re going with a concept album and I don’t know if I can just shoehorn in an existing song. Still, this doesn’t address the fact that stylistically, the song doesn’t fit any style that I’ve worked with so far.

For a while now I considered giving the song to somebody else. But I don’t know how well this would go over. I have a musician friend whose style would likely work with the song, but I would feel awkward offering it to him. For one thing, we’re not exactly close. That’s not to say that we don’t get along well, but at best we run into each other at events and chat for a few minutes. Another problem is that I’m not exactly known for my music, even within my circle of musician friends as I don’t play live and Shadows of Immurement doesn’t fit in stylistically with anything that they do. I also don’t feel like I’m at their level, so to speak, but that could just be confidence.

Nonetheless, isn’t that a weird thing to offer to somebody? “Hey, I wrote this song, I think you’d like to play it.” Especially as they’re already doing their own thing that means something to them. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I certainly wouldn’t hurt the friendship. I would need to make a recording of the music, though, so I could have something to offer quickly.

By the time I got to writing this point I realized that I could have recorded said song and put a snippet on here. Then you would have a better idea of what the thing sounds like. I’ll put it online later. I recently recorded a shit load of all of my old tapes onto my computer, so I wanted to put some samples of those on here as well. That should be a laugh. Perhaps I could throw it all together into one blog post.

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Book reviews will be on hold for a little while; consumerism versus creativity.

Officially starting today I changed positions at my job. I am no longer what is called the “operations supervisor.” Instead I have a new or rare position in the company called something like “Freight Area Supervisor.” In other words, I oversee the freight flow process for the store, working with the early morning stock crew as well as coordinating with management and maintaining the receiving area blah blah blah let’s be honest I took the job because it’s a lot more money. And from my understanding the vice president of the company invented the position because of how good I am in working the back room. At least, that’s the story I heard. In any case, it’s a rare position and management wanted me back there because I’m damn good at it.

What does that have to do with book reviews? I’m still getting used to the position. Even though it officially started today I began work trying to clean up the back room this past Thursday, ultimately working a 14 hour shift. I got sore in muscles that I forgot I had. I ended up only going for three hours the next day. I had got a book to read this past weekend but I spent more time vegging in front of my computer watching Babylon 5 while I tried to recover. Then, of course chores around the apartment started backing up and I had a ton of stuff to do. Even as I write this, I have several dirty dishes piled up in my kitchen that need addressing.

On top of it all I’m scheduled to go into work earlier than I have been, and in fact scheduled ten hours overtime for the week. We’ll see how that pans out, but the main point is that I’m getting used to my new job. I want to go back to book reviews, but I don’t want to make promises as to when.

Besides, I have other things that I want to do, or rather, get back into doing outside of work. Yesterday, when I was feeling a little better, I drove out to a beach near me and walked out to one of my favorite spots when I need to clean my head, a specific rock down by the water away from the beach itself. I went there with the intent to think through a dilemma I had built for myself. I won’t bother detailing that or my conclusions on it here as they aren’t relevant but another, important thought occurred to me. I knew that I’ve been slacking off for a long time now. As you can see I haven’t been blogging much over the past several months aside from book reviews and the occasional, boring thought. I haven’t done any serious writing in a while. Other habits have gone by the wayside such as jogging or practicing guitar.

I have tried to better myself through podcasts covering current events, science and culture, reading more “intellectual” material and watching more “artistic” and culturally relevant movies.But was I really becoming a better person as a result? I thought back to a YouTube video that I watched recently by The Count of the Belfry Network and the Goth talk podcast Cemetery Confessions. During his discussion on “What is Goth?” he brought up the point of how we have become a consumer culture, where we consume more than we create. Being aware of the world is all well and good, but what is the point of consuming knowledge without doing anything with it?

I felt that I was at a crossroads—yes, I know, cliché and melodramatic, but that’s how I felt nonetheless. Was I going to give in and give up on writing and to a lesser degree, music, and just become a consumer? Would I become the type of person who would come home from work, crack open a beer, and watch television until bedtime? Or would I be come a creator? Would I return to writing and this time, in full force? Would I eschew some of my pastimes in favor of more disciplined work, despite the extra work I’m taking on at my full-time job?

I’m not placing a value judgement on either choice. I know that the latter option sounds more “respectable” but I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with going either way. What it boils down to is which type of person am I? The endless consumer or the desperate creator?

I would like to think that by this point, over seven hundred words into this blog post, the answer has become obvious. I don’t feel guilty over “slacking” off over the past year. It may have just been something that I needed. And sure, I may need to relax sometimes. But I need to create.

Although, first, I really need to do those dishes. There’s little insects crawling around on my kitchen counter.

[Delayed post] In town for “Metal Night.”

Portland, ME 5/12/17 4:43 PM

I’m in Portland on a Friday yet again to head to the weekly Goth/Industrial night at a nightclub in town. I skipped last week but I had to make this one out of curiosity. Once in a while they have a sort of theme night (as if the usual dark music wasn’t enough). Tonight is “Metal Night.” I find this to be a bizarre one. I spent the better part of a decade identifying as a metalhead—some longtime readers may remember that once upon a time I was a frequent concert-goer and would post concert and album reviews. In recent years, however, I have been transitioning from a metalhead to a Goth, or at least I’ve been embracing my Gothic side more. I haven’t quite made it to the point in which I feel comfortable applying the term to myself. Anyway, tonight feels like a sort of nostalgic bridge for me.

The other curious aspect of tonight’s theme is that the theme is happening in the first place. When you already put together an evening once a week dedicated to one type of music, why would you take one week to play something else? Granted, the promoter of Plague doesn’t promote it so much “Goth/industrial” as much as “dark alternative dance.” Still, it seems weird to cater to a crossover crowd. The night sounds fun, but wouldn’t it only appeal to a limited crowd?

Clearly I’m one of those people. I’m also taking advantage of the fact that I can come to Portland right after work in a band t-shirt and my work jeans instead of stopping at home to clean up, change my clothes and put on make-up. Plus, it’s a nice day and it will be nice to wander around downtown for a while. Aside from bars and restaurants, most places around here close after seven. Plague doesn’t start until nine. The art museum is free on Fridays between five and eight. maybe I’ll stop in there. of course, on the other nights that I get here after they close I’m more appropriately dressed for it.

The new album is now available.

The new Shadows of Immurement album, All The Fathomless Places is now available on Bandcamp. You can get the album either by going here or the player below.

This is the album that I recorded for the 2017 RPM Challenge. I’ve already received good feedback on the song, “Walls,” that I’ve shared online elsewhere. I also intend on uploading older Shadows of Immurement material. Unfortunately, I can’t find the sound files of the songs of last year’s album. I think they’re on a CD-R somewhere but I have to go hunting for it. The first two albums are accessible, but they’re not as good. I was thinking of throwing them up there as a “collected demos” kind of thing. But I want to wait until I get Dream Of Nowhere uploaded first.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy All The Fathomless Places.

New Shadows of Immurement song

Last night I handed in the physical copy of the new Shadows of Immurement album, All The Fathomless Places, to the people running the 2017 RPM Challenge. I’m going to put the album up on Bandcamp this weekend, but in the meantime here’s the song I’m listing as my “preferred track”—meaning, the song they’re playing at the listening party at some point in coming weeks.

I will resume my normal blogging habits tomorrow.

Album is nearly done; going to a Goth club in Portland.

The album is just about done. I have all the recording done with one possible exception that I will get to in a moment. But as far as the RPM Challenge is concerned the album is recorded. I just need to put some final touches on mixing. I’m in Portland today so I don’t have access to the recording hardware to work on it. I thought I had put the files on my iPod in a way so I can review them in my car. Unfortunately I converted them to the wrong file type and not only wouldn’t they not play on my iPod, it screws up anything else I try to play on it afterwards until I reset it. I’ll just have to try again tomorrow.

Like I said, I have one song that I may need to record again, although I won’t for the RPM Challenge. I sent out the album for peer review and the feedback I got was that the performance of the different instruments didn’t sync up, tempo-wise. However, this could only be offset by the bass drum track which I hadn’t intended to be in the final piece. I’ll try taking that out tomorrow to see if that one simple fix solves the problem. But I don’t really want to record all new tracks at this point. I go back to work on Monday and I have other plans this weekend. The only time I want to spend on this album should be focused on mixing, making labels and discs to hand out to people… and to the people running the RPM Challenge as well.

I’m in Portland because I’m going to Goth night at a local club. It’s the first time I’ve been—partly out of scheduling issues since I first decided that I want to go, and partly out of nervousness. But what’s to get nervous about? That I didn’t wear my eyeliner correctly? That my boots aren’t good for dancing? That I might just sit off to the side enjoying the music and a drink or two instead of dancing anyway?

I went to a post-punk dance party at another bar in Portland on Monday night. I met a few people that apparently know everybody in the local scene. Of course one of them introduced herself to me first, but I think I did okay. That’s probably the main source of my apprehension of going in the first place. It’s not that I have social anxiety, but I know I’m out of practice actually talking to strangers. But hey, there’s always the music.

Getting closer to completing this album.

Wow, I think this is the longest period between posts for this blog. But instead of me making excuses or beating myself up over it I’ll go straight into a report on the progress of the album so far.

I would say that I’m about three-quarters done with it, perhaps more. I have seven songs which just barely add up to the minimum of thirty-five minutes. I’m cutting it really close. I won’t know for sure once I put all the tracks one after another and I’m not going to bother doing that until I master them all at the same volume. Once I do that, though, I do intend on adding an ambient track (perhaps a keyboard done—I haven’t decided) at the end of one song which I will then continue on the song after it. That should just get me over the thirty-five minute mark. If I have to I’ll record another song. I have the time still, even if I wasn’t on vacation this week.

I am having problems with one song in particular. I know I need to record a new drum machine track as I wasn’t particularly fond of the one I programmed for it initially—although I might keep it for the bridge. Then I may have to record another take for the bass guitar. It sounds just slightly out of tune. I could make that work but I keep hearing it and it keeps annoying me. Then again, it could be the effect on the guitar makes it sound slightly out of tune and the bass might be fine. But hey, it’s an easy enough fix.

The biggest challenge for me  is recording vocals. It’s not that I’m self-conscious about my singing. In fact, this time around most of the tracks with have that sort of “talk singing” as opposed to anything melodic. I can sing, it’s just the way the songs have developed. But my biggest problem is that I don’t want to agitate the neighbors. Ordinarily I wouldn’t think anything of it as I’m (usually) not screaming or performing black metal vocals or anything of the like. But I may have done something last week that could have antagonized them. I won’t go into the details and I think it blew over anyway (for that matter, I think I’ve been reading too much into the incident in the first place, as my regular readers will attest that I often do).

As I write this blog post, I believe the apartment downstairs is now empty as the adults have gone to work. Perhaps I will start on those vocals after breakfast. I would love to get them all done in one day but somehow I don’t quite see that happening. I still have lyrics to write for one more song.

…And in the process of writing the previous paragraph somebody just came back home. Oh, well. I’ll give it a try today anyway. If worse comes to worst, the gear is portable. I can always take it to my father’s place when he’s out, or even drive down to the beach and record in my car. I’ll figure it out.