solarbird: (music)

Busy making learning tracks today; these are where you take other peoples’ recordings of Irish tunes and chain them together in appropriate ways, mixing and modifying them as needed, to make new set performances of what you’re trying to do.

They’re Irish tunes in this case, for the book soundtrack album, and, yes, falls under fair use for educational purposes. Maybe I can post a couple of 30-second excerpts of transitions? I don’t know!

Anyway, have some link fun:

I’m thinking of a recommendations/reviews post next Friday. You supply recommendations, I repost them the following week. Worth a go? Speak up, but don’t post them yet! Wait ’till I’m sure I’m going to do it. ^_^

Have a good weekend, everybody; see you Monday!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (music)

Sometimes I take old folk songs and rewrite them into the Republic of Cascadia universe. That’s where “Columbia” came from, for example – the first song I wrote what got covered by another artist. Sometimes I write new music, sometimes I don’t. The latest one is “High Barbaree,” which is an old song about a pirate encounter, and of course, in all traditional versions, the pirates lose, but that’s not the way we roll here, now, is it?

But while I came up with a chord set I really like – yeah, this is one I’m substantially rewriting – I’d been stuck for a while on lyrics. Then last Thursday, I realised that in my version, High Barbaree is the name of the ship, not the locale, and a nice chunk of verses all came tumbling out of my brain. Yay!

It’s now about blockade-running privateers for the Republic, and atypically cheery for me. It’s not finished, but now I see how to get there; I should have a first draft ready for nwcMUSIC 2012/Norwescon 35. T-10 days and counting!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (mandolin-and-flutes)

There’s a funny thing about Irish tunes.

I’ve been going to an Irish/Celtic Session, down in Renton, with Anna, for a year now, and playing. Actually, it was a year last month, and we had an anniversary party of the session’s founding. (Wednesdays, A Terrible Beauty, Renton, 7pm. C’mon by!) There’s a big picture of one of the session meetings up on the wall; I’m in that photo. Anna and I are session founders; Anna heard about it starting up and said, “Hey, let’s go!” and I thought it sounded fun.

I should explain; “tunes” are different to “songs.” “Songs” have lyrics; tunes are instrumental, with a primary melody, played on melodic instruments, with maybe one person playing chorded instruments along as well, and maybe a drum. Lukey is a song; Road to Lisdoonvarna is a tune. Search on those if you want, you’ll have a zillion hits. There are thousands of tunes, some of which are centuries old; they’re both dance music and a conduit for parts of traditional Irish culture. They attract attention, they’re accessible, people react to them positively, and enjoy them.

I’ve been trying to learn the language of of these things for over a year now. I’ve learned some of the tunes pretty well; I’ve learned some others not as well. I recognise a lot of the tropes and rhythms.

But as much as I hate to say it, emotionally, Irish session tunes still mostly don’t make sense to me as music. It’s not that they aren’t melodic, and of course I’m not saying they aren’t music, because of course they are. But for me – they’re like particularly melodic but ultimately arbitrary exercises. Where you’ve just been says little or nothing about where you’re about to go.

I thought by now I’d start to get it. But I don’t. I enjoy going down and hanging out with everybody; it’s a nice place, it’s fun, people come out specifically for it, to listen. A lot of the time, we’re pretty good.

But in a way I’ve never run into before – at least not so clearly and not after so much effort – they aren’t music. They don’t make that connection in my head. They’re streams of notes to me in the same way that sheet music is an ocean of dots to me. Something just … doesn’t connect.

And I don’t know what.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (assassin)

Leannan Sidhe came by today by surprise and we recorded something! It’s pure trad, which is kind of unusual for me, but not at all for her; I’ll be playing backing zouk for her at first house concert on Friday. Then on Saturday I’m playing down north of Olympia at Spooky Action, ripping it up elfmetal style.

But on Friday, it’ll be more like this. Enjoy:

Separately, I’m kind of amazed that Quatermass and the Pit (a.k.a. Five Million Years to Earth) (1967) is you guys’s favourite horror flick, but it is! And I can’t fault you for that. It’s not mine, but I respect it.

All for now, busy rehearsing. No poll this week, but MUSIC IS BETTER THAN POLLS! Go clickie!

(There’s also a radio edit without the live bits, if you prefer that.)

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come listen to our music!

solarbird: (assassin)

New Trad o’ th’ Month!

For years I’ve had a Republic of Cascadia world that I’ve built and have been using for Norwescon and NASFiC and some of my art and other creative efforts. If you don’t know about it already, it’s a long story, but the Republic broke off from the United States and Canada during the Crisis of ’73, and never looked back.

This song, a variation on “Loch Lomond,” came out of the War for Cascadian Independence – specifically, a rather dirty part of the fight involving Americans from the Idaho side of the border, and Unionist minority from the dry side of Cascadia, and it came during a point when things were looking quite bad for the fledgling Republic.

Enjoy.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

Dick Tracy Must Die is out! Buy at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, or through Bandcamp!

solarbird: (assassin)

I’m working on a new Trad o’ th’ Month on Tuesday. I’m not sayin’ what it is, but you’ll see a post about it soon enough. This’ll be a fun one-day recording. Anna calls it the first version of this song she’s heard that she’d call “rockin’,” which makes me inordinately happy. NO IT’S NOT DANNY BOY don’t step to me ’cause I’ll do it. AGAIN. XD

I forgot to mention in the note about the track art contest (and I hope you’ll enter!): Bandcamp likes it better if the art is square. I can make it effectively square by adding white letterboxing, and will if needed, but if you don’t want that you’ll want to design for square.

All for now. Bedtime for crazy elves! Then: RECORDINGS! YAY!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

Dick Tracy Must Die is released! Buy at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, or through Bandcamp!

A cameo!

Apr. 1st, 2011 12:01 am
solarbird: (assassin)
Recently, we got a request - well, more of a demand, really - to do one particular traditional song, now embedded below. It came from a trio of vocalists you have almost certainly heard, and might well recognise; they've been around a while. We're very excited to have had the unavoidable opportunity to work with them! Give a listen, and see if you don't recognise the guest performers on this, the new Trad o' th' Month:

And since embedding seems fantastically broken today - seriously, this is where my player is supposed to be, and LJ's editor is actively editing out my player, no, I'm not joking, I have a support request open - pretend this is a player and clickie!

|> In Sunshine or in Shadow

CRIME and the Forces of Evil feat. guest vocals by​.​.​.
Hosted on Bandcamp.com


Whaddya think, sirs?

A cameo!

Apr. 1st, 2011 12:01 am
solarbird: (assassin)

Recently, we got a request – well, more of a demand, really – to do one particular traditional song, now embedded below. It came from a trio of vocalists you have almost certainly heard, and might well recognise; they’ve been around a while. We’re very excited to have had the unavoidable opportunity to work with them! Give a listen, and see if you don’t recognise the guest performers on this, the new Trad o’ th’ Month:

And since embedding seems fantastically broken today - seriously, this is where my player is supposed to be, and DW's editor is actively editing out my player, no, I'm not joking - pretend this is a player and clickie!

|> In Sunshine or in Shadow

CRIME and the Forces of Evil feat. guest vocals by​.​.​.
Hosted on Bandcamp.com


Whaddya think, sirs?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (assassin)

The thing about Paddy Murphy . . . the thing everybody forgets about Paddy Murphy . . . is that Paddy Murphy . . . Well . . .  Paddy Murphy was a fine, upstanding . . .

. . . bootlegger. XD

Which explains a lot about this new Trad o’ th’ Month recording, doesn’t it? I like to think so. Enjoy:

ETA: And since it's apparently being a little weird for some people tonight, enjoy a direct link to Paddy Murphy - CRIME and the Forces of Evil.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (molly-happy)

The trad album has a name.


Cracksman Betty

…and cover art, as you can see.

This is a web-only project; it’s the Trad o’ th’ Month singles, compiled into a web-album. They’re one-take, one-day wonders, traditional songs about riot, revolution, and piracy, with lyrics which may and may not be updated as the whim strikes. Muah ha ha! As I do more songs, I’ll upload them to the fan mailing list as a fan bonus (click here to join), and, shortly thereafter, up to the Cracksman Betty album page, where you can listen for free or download for a small fee.

A Cracksman, as you might guess, is a stealth thief; a Betty, as you might not guess, is both a woman’s name and a lockpicking kit. If you haven’t heard of the series of stories featuring Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman, he was a contemporary counterpart to Sherlock Holmes, and even obliquely referenced in one Holmes short story. You can download the Raffles stories in ebook from from Project Gutenberg, if you’re interested; I did. ^_^

And, as always, don’t forget the Dick Tracy Must Duplicate kickstarter project. Clicky!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: Cover of the first Crime and the Forces of Evil EP release, Sketchy Characters (sketchy characters)

Anna’s book Faerie Blood is on Google ebookstore now, which means you can also get it at places with Cafe Press machines, in actual paperback! Go! Buy! Read! It’s good. MOVE IT SOLDIER

In band news, while we wait for the mastering engineer: 1) somebody hit the band site by googling for “i fight crimes and the forces of evil and that means you sailor moon.” I wonder what they thought of My Boyfriend? XD 2) Also, I think I’m going to do “Old Black Rum” for the next Trad of the Fortnight – I spent some time rehearsing it yesterday – but I’m going to change some lyrics, because lulz. And 3) last week, at the Norwescon white-elephant gift exchange, I got this toy:

…and some of the distortion effects are actually pretty neat. I like the not-called-a-Dalek-voice one in particular. So I’m gonna hack it into a proper effects box – XLR input, all that crap. I already bought the parts! Pics will certainly follow.

What’re you hacking today?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (assassin)

I need to pick and record my next Trad O’ the Fortnight! Got any requests?

Every couple of weeks I pick another traditional song – preferably about piracy, revolution, riot, drinking, one of the classics – and do a simple recording of it as a bonus for people on the fan mailing list. Members get a free download link. It’s easy and fun! (Click here and fill out the form to join!)

It also gives me something to do while John McCaig at panicStudios has the finished album tracks in his mastery little hands, or however that works. It’s a mystery to me, which is why I’m letting a professional do it. XD

I’m going to put some of these traditional song covers up for pay download, eventually. I’m looking for an album cover, and a title, mostly for organisational purposes, since this won’t be an official album.

I’m thinking some sort of photo of antique lockpicking/thieves’ tools. I kind of like this tool:


(Public domain, but credited Shaddack)

…and I could do a lot of work to change the photo around to something more suitable – it’s public domain – but this tool is sadly a bit modern. It’s from the 1950s, and these songs are centuries old, not mere decades! Pfah!

Anybody know of someplace with the right kinds of tools? I could photograph them myself, that’d be easy and fast. I was in an antique store earlier today, but, oddly, they had no criminal implements! Other than an accordion. What the hell use is that?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

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