Category Archives: Collaborations

Damn Interference/Verdammte Interferenzen

[audio:Interferenzen.mp3]

This little tune of just a few seconds goes to show:

a) Children can also play music (my son is on electronic organ and analog delay) with great wit and understanding

b) Having passed the dark tune “Verfallenes Licht”, we find ourselves in a spacecraft in the middle of nowhere. None of the instruments aboard is working any more, and we have to admit there is nothing we can do now except wait for help. And curse the interference that keeps us from knowing where we are…

An Interlude For Veronica

[audio:FastTrack.mp3]

Fast Track (original version)

[audio:InterludeForVeronica.mp3]

An Interlude for Veronica

Stephen from England for sure had a hard time completing this tune. Unfortunately the first version that I had recorded on my own, containing my first ever drum playing on a recording, had already been quite complete, to avoid the term busy…

And unfortunately, we both had lots of other things to do and our collaboration took a lot of time meaning that most of the time we didn’t collaborate.

Fortunately, though, this post is to present the happy ending – fortunately I may present the outcome of a new collaboration. As I said, Stephen was confronted with a hard task, and I doubted for weeks, feeling it might have been a mistake to begin with such a difficult piece of music. Difficult in that it was surely hard to find anything still fitting in.

But then he surprisingly came up with a fine solution: he added kind of a permanent guitar melody dwelling on top of the rest. It’s a beautiful, exotic sounding melody, based on a harmonic minor scale. That’s exactly what parts of my track had provoked, and now there is the REAL Stephen instead of my vague notion of his agile playing style by which the original version had been inspired. Also his guitar parts add some craziness to what had been a rather plain track…

Furthermore, he found a new name:

“I’ve renamed the song “An Interlude For Veronica”, after a trashy 60’s spy novel called “The Dolly Dolly Spy” – It has a chapter called “Personal Interlude”, where the hero of the novel describes his girlfriend Veronica… which is quite poetic.”

For no apparent reason, I have added a picture of a Gibson Les Paul deprived of its pickups, with a strange light effect looking like wings, one of them blue, one of them white.

I am publishing both tracks here, for I think listening works better with the original version in mind. You may better separate what each of us did with this music. You may better appreciate Stephen’s playing. Due to our way of sending us mp3s, making it impossible for the other to have separate tracks, there will always be slight problems to achieve a satisfying sound and level balance.

But if you can overcome this, it might be great fun to listen to “An Interlude for Veronica!” Thank you, Stephen – you surprised me. The next one will be easier, promised.

darker

[audio:darker.mp3]

Steve from England has sent me yet another keyboard track with cymbals, named “dark”. This was one I felt challenged by.  In order to surprise him (or maybe myself or you), I added things with no apparent connection to the original track. I wanted it to sound even darker than it was before. This is the first time I tried to record a wall of power chords plus bass in a unison. Although there have been level problems due to so many different instruments, I think the track conveys the original idea.
Thanks again to Steve, who’s track I found inspiring. So inspiring I apparently couldn’t stop playing, and had to add a coda. Stay with the track after the keyboard has ceased – it reminds me of my experimental teenage days, when me and some friends recorded music improvised on self-made instruments. In some respect, it was pure noise, but it had a dense atmosphere… Sadly, I lost the tapes, so I take this ending for a substitute.

All in all, “Darker” may not be everyone’s favorite, but it even contains traces of melodies…

sparkle

[audio:latin.mp3]

Finally I’m back, finally my health is better, and here is the next co-production with Steve:

Steve from England had sent me a keyboard track that constantly changes between major and minor of the same root, with some percussion added. He told me he had been playing around with the keyboard lately – and that was a surprise to me, for I knew him as a guitar player.

I liked the feeling of the track with the working title “Latin”. Of course it is a so-called Latin rhythm; only I don’t like the term and so decided to add some sparkle from another one of my son’s pictures.

Steve agreed with my proposal to add some more percussion to make it sound more lively. It was pure fun to play these instruments, but my personal highlight was the guitar solo I recorded immediately afterwards. This was the first time I achieved a sound with a Santana-like sustain and a similar character, and ironically I achieved it with the Jaguar, the good old tube screamer and my Vox AC 15. Not at all the kind of tools one would expect, but I had often tried it with Les Pauls or SGs and never succeeded! The Jaguar has a more nasal sound quality to it (which I like), and I consider my sound not a copy (which it isn’t and I couldn’t) but a parallel.

Anyway, this is not a bad one, and I wish I could have presented it earlier. I would like to thank Steve for giving me this opportunity with his inspiring track. In my earlier years as a musician I never came much forward with soloing, being mostly the bass player. So in a way, this track is a dream come true…

aqua

[audio:aqua.mp3]

With its simple double “a” vocal, the Latin or Italian word for “water” underlines this element’s fundamental meaning. An archaic word.

That’s what Steve’s contribution did to my unfinished track from the last post: it was reconnected with a fundamental meaning.

upcoming co-productions

[audio:hypnotisch.mp3]

Although there has been nothing going on on this blog for quite a long time, many things happened behind the scenes. Many recordings were made, but I feel I have to elaborate them more than I usually do for blog posts. Meaning I would need a huge amount of time for each track.

Maybe they are to become songs that need a proper production; an album, maybe. It would be premature to extend on this…

But then there was this additional idea: I invited two English guitar players whom I both know via internet to finish some of my recordings; they as well were invited to send me a track I could complete. It should be done in an easy way by simply sending mp3s, and it should be published on the blog.

Steve and Stephen both readily agreed; which cannot be taken for granted – it can be rather challenging to receive a piece you have to add some instrumental part to!

We also agreed that each of us could ask for another track if there were problems. And no hurry!

When I received two keyboard tracks from Steve, I was quite surprised for I knew him as a guitar player – but he seems to be a real multi-instrumentalist. These tracks made it easy for me to solo on, and I enjoyed the whole process very much. I even added some percussion I played myself, and particularly a “latin” track by Steve gave me the chance to indulge in my Santana roots. That was pure fun, and I would like to thank him for that.

The track I sent him in turn was a little bit monotonous, but I thought it would provide a certain mood which makes it easy to find a voice on top. But how Steve managed to surprise me once more! He did not simply add a new layer to it – he superimposed images from a completely different level on my track. Different sounds, different chords, different moods. What you hear in this post is only my original track, leaving space for you to speculate what he might have added. In just a few days I will put up the new version…

guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul, Vox AC 30 (vibrato channel), Tube Reverb

the dragon

[audio:dragon.mp3]

guitar & gear: Epiphone Les Paul Custom (while putting on new strings…), Vox AC 15 Heritage, Tube Reverb

illustration by my son

robot’s love song

[audio:robotslove.mp3]

So this is the last installment of a trilogy my son illustrated so wonderfully.

This time he even accepted to give it a second try, and it was worth it, as you see. Of course I wouldn’t part with an illustrator like him, and there is more to come. For example I will have a hard time soon, trying to compose some dragon’s music.

Thank you for your kind comments on our collaboration!

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Tweed Champ, Roland Space Echo

robot’s nightmare

[audio:nightmare.mp3]

Don’t be afraid, this time robot had a unpleasant dream (you can tell by the dark cloud in his thought bulb), but he is rescued and there is a happy ending!

He was sleeping in his iron bed, being recharged through several wires, when it happened. His friend who obviously heard noises from robot’s bedroom, opened the door to ask what was going on there – and so robot learned it had only been a bad dream. After hugging each other with some heart-felt robot hugs (bang!) they went to bed with relief, sleeping tight until the next morning.

Last post of this trilogy will be: “Robot’s Love Song”, coming soon.

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Tweed Champ, Roland Space Echo, Cry Baby Classic Wah (fixed)

robot’s dream

[audio:robotsdream.mp3]

For this post I had a new illustrator signed, who much to my satisfaction translates my ideas into pictures. Despite the fact he is only five years old (erm 5 1/2, I am to say), it shows my son can readily paint the psychedelic way (maybe it helps listening to psychedelic music with his father very often), and it shows no mind-manipulating substances of any kind are needed…

So it’s your turn now to guess what this dream’s about! (Amongst humans it’s not a wide-spread knowledge that robots have a very vivid emotional life, but children still know…)

guitar & gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Tweed Champ, Roland Space Echo

mikes: Electro Voice RE-20, Neumann KMS 105