Most of you have probably been guided to here by my little facebook message today. Without further ado, here are the MP3s, here are the lyrics, and here is the artwork. (edit: Apparently some of the lyrics aren't accurate. The Word document has a couple errors, not the recording. Now it's too late to change as I leave tomorrow, 5/25. I tried. Sorry!) Basically, this is my sustainable/cheapo way of releasing the original music I’ve been working on this semester. The following paragraphs are more or less the liner notes to this short album so hopefully you will read them after downloading the music. As far as downloading goes, it’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t take very long, despite the fact that RapidShare tries to get you to pay for faster service. If you have any problems, let me know.
This spring semester, I decided to take composition lessons from a guy named Aaron English who was asked to teach at PLU by my past composition teacher and longtime faculty member, Gregory Youtz. I started taking from Aaron because his focus is on songwriting and popular music as opposed to the more classical approach of Dr. Youtz. I’ve loved studying with Dr. Youtz and plan to continue next year but I wanted to reconnect with my songwriting roots that I have so long neglected.
My lesson scheduling was unconventional since Aaron was on tour with his band in the Midwest for the first half of the semester. Instead of having an hour lesson once a week, I started having two-hour lessons every week halfway through the semester. I wrote the songs in February and March and started recording them in April down in the Wiegand Multimedia Lab (hence the title), located in the Morken Center for Learning & Technology, PLU’s new, fancy-schmancy, computer savvy building. During these past couple months, the emphasis of my lessons was learning Pro Tools recording software. It was a crash course (closer to the literal meaning than usual) but I eventually transferred my GarageBand skills over to the real professional recording software and was fairly proficient by the end.
The whole process was stressful for a plethora of reasons. First and foremost, having an ambitious project that takes hours and hours doesn’t go conveniently with being a busy college student. And of course, I started quite late because of the lesson schedule. Along with being foreign to Pro Tools and the whole mixer setup, the room where I worked is a public place, quite available to people who find pleasure in mixing up various cables, which was just a bundle of joy.
After what seemed like hundreds of setbacks, in late April, I finally got into a solid schedule of going down to the lab with all my bells and whistles and recording for several hours every weekend. Even with all the equipment funtioning right, recording is an extremely tedious, painstaking process. My already enormous respect for bands like XTC or Steely Dan whose recordings sound pristine just went way up after struggling to make something that was adequate in terms of quality/mistakes. During the last few weeks, Aaron gave me lots of helpful advice on mixing and manipulating the tracks. This Monday, May 18th, I burned the final disk to finish for good.
Musically and lyrically, I hope the songs will speak for themselves so I won’t go into what they are about. Let’s just say that the narrator (whomever that may be) had some odd experiences this year and felt the need to make sense of them through music. It’s definitely a thematic work and I tried to be intentionally repetitive with certain images (light, time, thoughts etc.) However, it was completely unintentional that four of the five songs are 4:20 give or take a few seconds. No reefer was used in the time writing or recording the songs, I promise.
I recorded using just about all the instruments I can play or attempt to play: guitar, trumpet, keyboard, ukulele and bass. There’s also a shaker and one song with a drum loop. Since the songs are fairly serious, I decided to give the work an arbitrary name, as everything else I thought of seemed too pretentious. Plus the word Wiegand (pronounced Wig-ind) is entertaining for some reason. Maybe because it sounds like Wiccan. Also, the artwork is a photograph by my friend Jon Post. Hopefully, you’ll be able to drag it right into iTunes.
I hope you enjoy what I’ve made. Overall, I’m fairly happy with it considering the circumstances. I may have been able to make a better recording with more time but not all that much better. My experience is limited so I am just happy to have actually finished what I started. Thanks for reading this and I’d love to hear what you think!
Copyright 2009 Ben Tully