melanie anne phillips

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"Not Quite"

I wrote this piece while my daughter's father-in-law was on the verge of succumbing to a six month battle with a particularly virulent cancer.  He was a kind and gentle man, always in good cheer, inclusive, and engaging.  His troubles began when he was putting on his sock one day and his leg broke from the pressure.  Turns out it was a tumor just below the knee.  The first operation scooped it out, but didn't get it all.  A second operation attempted to stop internal bleeding at the site.  A third operation took his leg at the hip because the cancer in it had become too painful to bear.  A month later, it had spread throughout his system.  He went into hospice treatment at home, fell into fearful deleirum for a couple of weeks and died last night, the day after I wrote this song.  While I didn't specifically create it for or about him, I know he was in my mind when I wrote it, and so I dedicate this one to him.

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"Murkey"

Haunting synthesizer piece and my current "theme song." I don't know, I just find this recording mesmerizing with its strange reflective melancholy yet uplifting combinations of sounds. This is a concept piece. It is made of three simple tracks - piano, bass woodwind, and strings. The design is intended to have the indistinct bass rise gradually in volume over the course of the entire recording until it eventually obscures the other two tracks, making the whole thing "muddy" and hence the title, "Murkey" as if recorded in a Murky Key.

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"Van G"

This ethereal piece with synthesizer has an Asian mystic feel. I like the slow pace of it and the depth of the low notes, contrasted by the Asian style string lead that comes in during the second iteration. This one always reminds me a bit of the music of Vangelis - especially off the "China" album.

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"Drizzle"

A nice little piano and drums instrumental piece. It has a laid-back band feel - sort of like what you might play after closing time when everyone else but the bartender has been booted out. Course, its just me on the synth doing mult-track, and I never had time to join a band, but anyway, that doesn't mean I can't get into the same groove from time to time.

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"The Beat"

This one was intended to be a bit like some of the later Beatles stuff or maybe the "almost" bubble gum music McCartney started writing around his third Wings album. I like the rhythm change-ups in the middle of the song and also the George Harrison style riffs at the end of the first few bars, even though these are with synth rather than guitar. The style reminds me of something - I mean, "Something" - a song I used to play on the piano for my mom when I was in my early teens - it was her favorite Beatles song.

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"Princess"

An original instrumental song in memoriam for Princess Di. I wrote this during all her memorial services. At the time, I was pretty depressed (not a rare condition for me) and so I sat around in my pajamas for two days, recording one take after another until I got it laid down the way I wanted. I've always felt it could use some additional instrumentation, but I squeezed all the interest I had in the piece during that marathon session.

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"Princess" (Balance Mix)

Same recording but with a slightly different balance among the instruments to slightly alter the underlying mood.

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"Melsong"

This used to be my "theme song" for a while - it just sounded like me to me. But, I guess I'm a little more jaded now than this innocent romp, so I've made "Murkey" my new theme for the time being. What's interesting about "Melsong" is that I had just gotten a new computer and could multi-track on it for the first time, but I hadn't yet figured out how to monitor the previous tracks while I recorded the new ones. So, this whole piece was recorded "blind" - figured out in my head and recorded layer after layer with only a metronome track for guidance. There's a few bobbles and drift here and there, but I'm actually surprised it blended together as well as it did!

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"Melsong" (alt end 1)

Slightly different ending.

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"Melsong" (alt end 2)

Yet another variation on the ending.

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"Hearts"

New Age style synthesizer piece with chorus. Sounds a bit like Enya - at least that's what I thought of it while I was writing it. Of course, unless you're consciously trying to parody or copy somebody, you always see other people in your own work, yet it still someone manages to capture your own style as well.

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"Hearts" (Balance Mix)

Slightly different emphasis on the amplitude of the instruments.

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"Whirlwind"

Wild little synthesizer piece like a musical storm. I honestly don't know what possessed me when I wrote this one. Something must have, though, as it is just pretty darned weird. Oddly, I think I like the ending best, as it ends up (after all hell is breaking chaotically loose) on this single last wanky chord, just hanging out there in space all alone. By itself, this chord would be discordant, but in contrast to what just came down it sounds nearly harmonic!

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"Pink Blues"

Can you tell me, father, why you act like you're so wise?
Can you tell me, mother, why the tears are in your eyes?
Can you tell me, brother, why you cannot hear my cries?
Can you tell me, sister, how to live with all the lies?

This one is a lament of the hidden suffering of women, even in our "enlightened" culture.

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"Pink Blues" (Alt Mix)

Slightly different balance of the tracks.

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"Church Key"

Here I wanted to write something that was reminiscent of a cathedral more more ethereal, kind of stoned, more like a suggestion of religion without spirituality, laid on the foundation of ceremony and built out of traditions whose original purposes are long forgotten and no longer relevant.

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"Sleuth"

This little "doodle" reminds me of those classic gumshoes of the 1940's detective movies.  It is just an extemporaneous bit of fooling around.  I laid down the plodding background track, then added the foreground on a second pass.  It kind of falls apart halfway through, but it was never intended to be more than an experiment on variations of a theme.

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"Bop"

Another one of my mindless experiments.  Just fooling around with a little extemporaneous performing and ended up with this silly piece of....

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"Bop" (Drum Mix)

...and it was so stupid I had to add an even more ridiculous drum track to seal the deal.

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"Flip Flop"

I was wondering what a binary circuit might sound like if it could speak as it worked on some fragment of a larger calculation, having no idea what the bigger purpose was but just happily and mindlessly going about its job.  But wait, that sounds like everyday life for the workforce....

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"Gazpacho Missionary Band"
(Drum Mix)

In the winter of 1889, in a small village south of the border, the destitute families of poor dirt farmers who had lost everything to the capricious whims of nature and the cruelty of their fellow man gathered in a dilapidated church to offer their meager thanks for the few remaining necessities of life.

Lifting three battered instruments in determined stoicism, these common, yet noble villagers joined in a hymn of celebration. Remarkably, one of Thomas Edison's assistants had been forced to take refuge in the town due to inclement weather while on a field expedition to capture sounds of the world for an early experimental version of what was to become the Edison Talking Machine or Gramophone.

Due to this fortuitous coincidence, we are graced with the opportunity to share in the pathos and triumph of these grand people through their music, which clearly speaks of the indomitable nature of the human spirit, in this rare recording by the group of musicians to be forever known as the Gazpacho Missionary Band.

And if you believe that, I've got a couple of acres of swampland I'm trying to get rid of....

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"Henry 8"

For some reason, this one always makes me think of King Henry VIII, though he was certainly nothing like this cheerful and gentle melody.

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"Test 1"

Another test of my multi-track system.  Not intended as music - just two completely random tracks laid down on top of each other to test the relative amplitude of the volume on each channel.  Pretty awful, really, if not for a few spots in which some kind of unique an interesting sounds occur quite by accident.  That's why it is here.

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"Test 2"

Same reasons behind this as in "Test 1".  I'd just gotten an new multi-track system and simply jotted down four tracks really quickly just to test the sound quality and the sync.  It's only here because I never throw anything away.  Nasty habit, really.

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"Majesty"

Try to hear this one with the full orchestration that it was intended to have.  Imagine all the regalia of a royal procession, or perhaps a Papal visit.  It's not a very adult or sophisticated melody, but it does capture a sense of "Majesty".

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"Skipper" (Vocals Only)

I really liked the music for this, but I lost it.  I know the track must be around here somewhere on some back-up disc from fourteen computers ago.  But I doubt I'll ever find it.  This is just a rough mix of the vocal tracks on this demo, though you can barely hear the music track bleeding through in the distant background.

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"Midtown"

Remember those old Mack Sennett movies, like the Keystone Cops?  How about Hal Roach?  This simple little tune brings them to mind.  It is the sort of brief ditty that would bring a pleasant scene to a close, just before the next intrusion of mindless falderal.

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"Old Movie"

This one is even more Mack Sennett and less Hal Roach.  I can almost see the Keystone Cops racing around a corner during a zany chase with this being played on the piano by the theatre accompanist.  (Only the biggest theaters had the Mighty Wurlitzer!)

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"Old Movie" (Drum Mix)

I like this version even better.  A few years after I recorded a lot of these short tunes, I got the notion to copy the music track into the drum track, note for note, and see what happened.  All of the "Drum Mix" versions were created this way.  For a musician, I have a terrible sense of rhythm (can 't dance either), so most of my recordings have no percussion (just like Enya, which is a really good rationalization).  Still, though it always comes out a bit kinky, this "copy into the drum track" technique at least lets me get an approximation of what some of my music might sound like with a beat to it!

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"Ramblin"

This one opens with a baseline beat that is a plain and simple rip-off of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" (commonly known as the theme from Peanuts).  A lot of people think it is Charlie Brown's theme, but it was originally written for Linus and Lucy.  One the melody of this song starts, however, the baseline (and any similarity to cartoon children) fades away in the background.  In fact, overall I think this would have been a great tune for Motown.  As you listen, imagine (if you will) that Motown orchestration style - the "Motown Sound" and try to use that filter for this tune.

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"Roto"

"Roto" might make a good theme song for a PBS program like "Nova" or something on the Science Channel (now called simply "Science" as an update to their name).  As a counterpoint to the "music of the spheres", "Roto" is kind of a soundtrack for sub-atomic particles - muons, mesons, pions and quarks to name a few of my closest friends.

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"Sam Spade"

I can hear this as piece of a soundtrack for a detective story, or perhaps for one of those classic Agatha Christie stories as told on Masterpiece Theater.  Specifically, the Great Detective is tailing a suspect on foot through a busy city street in the 1920s.  The piece begins when the chase starts, and ends with the suspect entering an incriminating building while the detective pulls up behind a pillar across the street, his suspicions now confirmed.  In my pre-teens I once wrote a short story called The Great Detective about a Holmesian sleuth who was actually using his incredible skills of deduction to fabricate motives and attach them to innocent people who were then convicted and send to prison or the gallows. It was his hobby and one true passion.

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"Shanty 2"

This is designed as "bridge piece" for some non-existent movie with a seafaring flavor.  It is intended to "bridge" two scenes in which the mood changes from one to the other.  Why do I write soundtracks for movies that have never been made?  How the hell should I know!  The music just pops into my head, leaps out of my fingers on the keys and then I'm stuck with it just like you are.

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"Squirrel Jam"

Don't bother with this one.  Try the "Drum Mix" version below.  Much better...

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"Squirrel Jam" (Drum Mix)

As I was writing this one, I was thinking of what it would sound like if a couple of squirrels clambered in from an open window and onto my piano. I can picture them chasing each other around the keys, feigning, striking poses, mashing and bashing their way up one scale and down the other.  I added the percussion (again) by pasting the midi from the melody into the drum track which creates the same chaotic frenzy intended by the music.  This is also another one of my cyclical tunes in which the ending can be attached back to the beginning and continue without missing a beat (that's why the hard ending).  I like the concept of mobius anagram music.

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"West Wind"

This is my tribute to the old west.  This first version is like a saloon piano - simple but it does capture the tune.

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"West Wind" (Drum Mix)

This is the full-blown movie score version.  It is minimal orchestration - just enough to function as a concept demo for a soundtrack.  The idea is to illustrate how the tune can be sweeping and majestic over the open range with the energy and drive of the cowboys and pioneers.  I'd love to hear this with French Horns and a full orchestra, but that's not likely to happen.  I just try to imagine it in the style of John Barry ("Dances with Wolves") or Basil Poledouris ("Lonesome Dove").

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"Whirlwind" (Remix)

Alternate mix of the same recording.

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"On the Streets"

This one is inspired by the television series, Miami Vice, which was playing new episodes at the time.  I wanted to see if I could compose something in the style of Jan Hammer who wrote the score for the series.  While I wrote this I was picturing Crocket and Tubbs, all scruffy and chic at the same time, driving through the rougher parts of town on their way to meet some drug lord as undercover agents posing as distributors to make a buy.

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Shining

Back in the mid 1970s I as in my mid-twenties.  I had purchased a TEAC four channel reel to reel tape recorder and a Casio CZ101 synthesizer and could finally approximate some of the music I was hearing in my head while I played it only on the piano.  This is one of my early experiments with that equipment.  All these years later, I'm still pretty happy with this one.  I especially like the bendy organic sound to it.  It may be on a synth but it is anything but stilted or programmed.  It was all performed "live" - and recorded on analog multi-track - nothing processed or electronically arranged.  (Pat own self on back).

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Almost Home

Here's one I wrote and recorded in the early 1980s. Kind of a psychedelic jam session. I was experimenting at the time in bendy music - trying to get away from "notes" and more into evolutions, yet making a whole series of intertwining threads work together, even though they are all on their own organic meandering courses. Recorded on my old TEAC 4 track reel-to-reel recorder I bought in the mid 70s.

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Voices in the Wind

Back in 1979 I was fresh out of the USC school of Cinema and directing my first feature length monster movie, "The Strangeness", which was recently released in a special "Thirtieth Anniversary DVD" with commentary (by me and the gang) and all new interviews.  We made that movie for about $28,000, and you can see every penny on the screen!  To save money, I wrote the soundtrack as well.  I rented a "Jupiter 8" synthesizer - in fact, the exact same one that was used to create the powerful threatening bass tone created for V'ger in the original Star Trek the Motion Picture.  This composition shows some of that unit's other capabilities.  I recorded this for fun on the living room floor where we had all the sound gear spread out and kluged together.  Never used it in The Strangeness, but in 1982 I used the recording to open my second film, "Brothers of the Wilderness".

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Maynard G. Krebs

A cool bongo and flute style tribute to the quirky beatnik character portrayed by Bob Denver (of Gilligan's Island fame) on the old Dobie Gillis television series in the 1960s.

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Galactic Carousel

This was performed on my CZ-101 synthesizer from Casio way back in the late 1970s or early 80s.  It struck me as kind of a steampunk calliope, though the word "steampunk" hadn't been coined yet, hence the name it's stuck with.  I picture a high-tech Jules Verne style merry-go-round where each disturbing animal mount is some creature from a different planet.  As you ride faster and faster around the circle, you eventually dematerialize and you consciousness is transported into the body of that same creature on another world as an adventure.  But just as in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes", the rides at "Cougar and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show" often come with consequences.

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Temple of the Lost

Think of ruins in a jungle - not the cutesy Indiana Jones kind, but more mysterious and slightly threatening with a majesty that almost hides the danger lurking in the shadows.  (I love old Tarzan movies)

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Anticipation

Intended as an experiment, in this very subtle slowly building piece, instruments are gently and gradually added to the repetitive theme.  Each iteration almost imperceptibly deepens the richness and complexity.  It may sound like an exercise in competitive redundancy but if you compare the last bars to the first, there is quite a difference that snuck in under the radar.

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E.J.

These days I tend to compose more classical sounding music.  This, perhaps, might be something from a Les Miserables kind of production.  In fact, it is the central theme for a multimedia graphic novel I'm composing about a fellow who is seeking acceptance by trying to be the kind of person he sees that others admire.  In the end, he finally accepts himself, though in doing so, he realizes no one else will ever accept him.  Sometimes the "be yourself and others will like you for who you are" just isn't true.  Sometimes you have to decide.

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War Dance

Brash music to capture the rising frenzy of a tribe preparing for an attack. Actually, I was just screwing around on the synth - hadn't played in a while, and this awful little sound came out. It intrigued me. So I played around a bit, then recorded this "one-off" extemporaneous piece, composed as I played. I like a few of the variations of the chorus, and the increase in pace during the last few bars to add to the energy and the sense of tension coming to a head, but the ending comes a bit abruptly. That's because I fluffed the ending first time around and re-recorded the last "blam" but got frustrated in the editing process and just left this not-quite-right-in-the-timing version as the finished product.

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What's So Wrong
with Suicide?
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"Blurb"

This is perhaps my best harmony but, alas, it was just an impromptu test of a new multi-track system I had purchased, so it is pretty overdriven and is only a few seconds long.  Mighty pretty, though, for all that....

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Demos & Table Scraps

My "audio sketchbook"

A lot of artists don't like to share their prototypes, rough sketches, preliminary ideas or, in this case, the original demo recordings of my original music that were made just to jot down the concept so it wouldn't be forgotten.

For me, the concept is the thing.  Once I've discovered an original sound, melody, rhythm or chord progression I quickly lose interest and go chasing the next new idea.  So, while I've only truly "finished" a handful of songs, I've written and recorded demos for well over 300.

Finally, by themselves these rough recordings don't easily convey the finished, orchestrated compositions I hear in my mind when I create the demos.  Actually completing them all is not really practical, so I'm doing the next best thing - I'm giving each musical sketch a name and writing a short description to capture the intended mood of the piece and to put in context.

Hopefully, this approach will help you enjoy these musical concepts as much as I did when they first came to mind.  Sharing the feeling, after all, is what being an artist is all about.

"Classic Love Story Style Melody"

This is one of those bitter-sweet love story melodies that bespeaks of tragedy, like dying young or being separated by violent circumstance.  Still, there is an optimism to it - a musical belief that in the end true love will either conquer all, or if it is not to be, the fond recollections of cherished moments will remain.

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"Determination"

Lately, I've taken to recording my demos on video instead of audio.  Makes it easier to share my work on YouTube and also helps me remember the chords and fingering, which I usually quickly forget the moment I go a-whoring after the next new song.  Only problem is, we all have to look at me.  Worse yet, on this one I sing the wordless melody as well.  God save us.

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"Composing Session on Chris' Baby Grand"

Though it sounds practiced it's all being invented on the spot as it happens - just free association, music on the fly, playing extemporaneously and looking for some interesting riff or melody around which to build a song.  I always steal as much time as I can on the baby grand whenever I fly in to visit my friend Chris (who also co-created Dramatica with me).

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"Grrrrr... Schwinn"

Just a quick recording of a work in progress. Sounded jazzy - a bit like Gershwin to my ear, hence the name. I especially like the meandering chorus section in the middle, though this isn't my best playing of it. Still, most songs I just want to jot down in a recording so I won't forget the specifics and the mood and then I lose interest and never do a proper "studio-style" recording. So here it is, as it is. Oh, and I played this for my father (82 at the time) who had only previously heard my much earlier work. When I came to the center section, I saw his eyes widen with surprise, as if he hadn't realized I could write or play something other than bang, bang, bang on the chords.

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Audio

"Untitled"

It's getting harder and harder to come up with titles for my most recent compositions.  Instead of being tunes, they edge into more complex chords and progressions that, while they have a definite feel to them, don't really invoke any particular imagery - at least not to me.  And on another note, so to speak, these videos recordings are a bit startling.  In this one, for example, I look like I've just swallowed a gerbil.  Getting old is a bitch.

Video
Empty Vee (MTV)

Back when I was young in the 80s (the 1980s - geesh) I quickly became fed up with the mindless pabulum on MTV that was supposed to pass for entertainment.  Sure, there were a few innovative pieces (who can forget Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" debut with the first use of computer graphics!  Well, if you are under 30 you still can't forget it because you weren't frickin' born yet - can't forget what you never see, see?)  No matter, this song is a broad accusation of the entire music video machine with just a dash of conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure.

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Guyana Dreamin'

I was once hired to write and edit a 90 minute documentary on the mass suicide of Jim Jones and the Peoples' Temple members in Guyana in which more than 900 souls gave up their lives.  Inspired (if you can call it that) by this tragedy, I wrote this song, "Guyana Dreamin'" about a charismatic leader who's mesmerizing force of psychological power pummels his followers into mental submission and ultimately into taking their own lives.

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The Family Jail

 

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Straight as an Arrow

 

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Morning Gold

 

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All You Love Is Need

 

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The Company Song

 

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Harmony Blue

 

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Saturday Morning

 

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Rose's House

 

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1882

 

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I Have Seen the Future

 

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Only Ashes

 

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"What's So Wrong with Suicide?"

I once saw a cartoon in M.A.D. magazine where a fellow is standing on a dock watching a dollar bill with wings fly away from him as a symbol of his lost wealth. He ties a ball and chain on his leg and jumps into the sea. On the bottom, he lands next to a treasure chest bursting with gold and jewels. The title of the cartoon was "Look Before You Leap". That's the inspiration for this song. I've never truly been suicidal, but like most everyone, I've known severe depression at times. But, it always passes and life gets worth living again. Still, I began to wonder, what happens if you succumb to the darkness and then change your mind after it is too late? Consider this a cautionary tale.

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"Mexican Morning"

Back in the 1970s, a lot of what I wrote was extremely naive and optimistic. These days, while I maintain the optimism, I've lost the naiveté, so my music is more complex, though not necessarily better. Innocence is pretty hard to maintain in a hard world, and even more difficult (though not impossible) to recover once it is lost. But this song, Mexican Morning, is just one of those simple little tunes (with no pretensions of being art) that joyfully ambles along, oblivious to any darker issues since there isn't a cloud in the sky.

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"Complications"

I was pretty proud of this song back in the 1970s. It was one of the more adult pieces I wrote during that time. But years later, I listened to it again and realized it was exactly the same chording as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison. Now, I never intentionally ripped him off, and there's no melody line so it isn't plagiarism exactly, and I don't know if my subconscious was mimicking his song or creating a whole new one of my own. But, ol' George himself did the same thing with "Isn't it a Pity" on his "All Things Must Past" album, since it has the exact same chord progression as in the long fading chorus of "Hey Jude." All in all, what the hell....

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"The Journey Begins"

This composition struck me as the start of a quest, when the entire journey lies ahead and one begins with eager anticipation of adventures to come. Again, one of my innocent optimistic tunes from the 1970s when I was in my late teens. You know, I always hear full orchestration when I write these things, then just jot down the basic sketch and leave it at that. But try to hear the the timpani and the French horn and the string section. If you can, I'll never have to bother multi-tracking it!

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"Endless"

An upbeat little ditty, this piece is designed to go on forever by simply connecting the end to the beginning again. I've written quite a few circular songs over the years, but this was the first (and simplest) of the series. There's something comforting about a positive spin that will go on forever, just like movies that finish up the story and then show the characters starting a new identical quest all over again, giving us the sense that the adventure is "Endless".

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"The Villain and His Dog"

I like writing themes. I remember recording this one some forty years ago. I was laying down this great melodrama villain theme I'd composed and then I got tired of playing it. In fact, I wanted to change the mood. So, rather than doing another separate recording, I just extemporized a completely contrasting melody to work against the first part. Never revisited it, but decades later I began to wonder that if the first part was the villain, who did the second part represent. Having recently seen the animated cartoon "Despicable Me" with its not so evil villain who ends up being a foster dad, I originally thought it might be the villain's kid. But then I remembered the Simpson's episode in which Home goes off chasing "dog with a fluffy tail", completely ignoring the fact he's just seen his own double for the first time! Those two animations made it pretty obvious this composition was about "The Villain and His Dog."

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"Jangle"

I like discord. That is to say, I enjoy composing music in which truly discordant harmonies are included in such a way the, in context, they are completely acceptable. This composition is one of my first experiments in discord, and I think it works pretty well. It's called "Jangle" not only because it is a jangly kind of music but because it is also intended to jangle the nerves.

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"Afterdream"

I have no idea what this one means. I can't even make out most of the words on this old cassette recording from the 1970s. Still, I can hear the words "dream" and "submarine" and figure it's just as well we can't really understand the rest of it. Thank God for small favors. In any event, the melody and chording are pretty good though and, as usual, the performance sucks. I never said I was an adequate musician nor a tolerable singer - just a good composer. Try imagining this one will full orchestration and some words that make sense. On the other hand, don't bother.

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"Muh Muh"

Just an early experiment in harmony.

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"The Searcher"

This one struck me as having an "imperative" edge - kind of a positive (though serious) drive toward something. I jotted down that part of it, but it really had nowhere to go so about halfway through it degrades into some rather unmemorable improvisations.

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"Breeze Shadows"

This recording starts with the last couple of bars from another song that somehow got on the head of the tape. Then it follows an improv based on the chording from another song of mine. It's just a pleasant little session with no higher aspirations.

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"Rats on Springs"

I think the title nearly says it all. I had stumbled upon this chord while tooling around with my guitar and it was so "out there" I had to jot it down before I forgot it. Not a song really, just a reference for the chord and a standard blues progression, but I can't help picturing a scene with swarming rats, all bouncing around on springs as if that is their normal mode of transportation.

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"Resurrected Hope"

When I wrote this I was at that point in being a teenager where you begin to realize that all the things you wanted to do when you grew up aren't going to be just handed to you - in fact, unless you are really lucky, you are going to have to claw and scrape your way to any of those things. Kind of depressing. And yet, at that age you haven't become jaded or cynical. So while you aren't looking forward to the effort and it does cast a pall over your dreams, you also believe in your ability, and that if you just believe hard enough and keep working you'll get there. Still, there is a suspicion that may not be true and that life may have other plans for you. And so, this song begins with some minor key progressions that end in hopeful major key, then drop off the crest into another trough of depression. I particuarly like the highly unusual ending chord as it was designed to have both major and minor key influences swirling around in the harmonics so you are not quite sure if it is a happy or sad ending (just as I felt when I wrote it).

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"Carefree"

This is just a light-hearted fragment of a melody that popped in my head. I jotted it down in this recording and at the end, just let the last chord hang. Not quite sure what it meant, but it felt odd, like happiness sustained too long until it sours and becomes a bit uncomfortable. There is a litany in the Disney cartoon TV series, "Duck Tales" that sums it up nicely: "We're happy, we're happy, we're very very happy; you cannot run from happy; there's no escape from happy...."

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"Slinky Down the Stairs"

A simple but interesting downward musical progression that reminds me of the "Slinky" toy spilling down a flight of stairs.

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"A Break in Monotony"

This one reminds me of being stoned in a back alley off Times Square (not that I ever was, mind you). On the one hand, senses are dulled and life has slipped into slow motion. On the other hand, some overly energized tourist passes by from time to time and disrupts the whole thing with a momentary flurry of frenzy, only to slip back again in to same numbed ocean-wave undulations.

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"Complications 2"

A second stab at my composition, "Complications". This one is a bit faster and cleaner, with the energy ratcheted up a notch.

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"Judy"

I believe this is the only love song I ever wrote. I loathe love songs, with a few exceptions. I'm more interested in quirky ideas and odd perspectives. I suppose, "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" is my ideal of a love song, or maybe "Lola." Who the hell likes both of those? Well, this one's all schmaltzy and innocent and young (I was only about 18 and naive as a newborn when I wrote it - one of those shy introspective kids who led a sheltered life but tried hard to be all cool and "with it" but hadn't a clue what that was. As Ziggy once put it, "Every time I figure out where it's at, somebody moves it." Oh, and Judy? I can't even remember who she is/was or whether I ever told her about the song, or whatever happened to her. Just another one of those teenage crushes that all blend in together as an extended multi-year case of puppy love, the details lost in the mists of innocence.

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"Don't Lose Heart"

A youthfully optimistic song in which the mood acknowledges difficulties and obstacles but insists that determination and good spirits will ultimately overcome any problems and lead to the promised land of whatever goal you're after.  Poppycock.

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"Remember to Forget"

This is one of the few complete songs I wrote in the 70s. Clearly influenced by Simon & Garfunkel's unusual chord change-ups, this one shifts back and forth between major and minor keys and adds unusual sevenths, sixths, and diminished chords just to mix it up. I especially like the shift to the minor chord riff in the middle that almost has a folk ballad sound to it.

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"A Somber Song"

I always pictured an almost rainy day when I listen to this one. I can see the clouds moving in, the sky darkening and the first droplets falling on the last crisp leave of fall, which twitch under the tiny impacts. The storm rises, but just as it appears to be full blown shower, huge clouds part as the sun shines through, but only temporarily. After but a brief moment of brilliant light reflecting off the shiny leaves, the rain returns, pummeling the final leaves to the ground. The song ends as the storm gradually moves off, leaving the trees now-barren against the threatening sky, a portend of the Winter to come.

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(Steamboat Willie cover)
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(Let It Be cover)
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(Around the World in 80 Days)
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(Around the World in 80 Days)
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