By the Numbers

Do The Numbers Stack Up For Property Pensions? - iExpats

Again the days have drifted by and I lost track of “post day”, four days ago.

Still, better late than never.

This week’s post will be about one of the new songs written during the pandemic, although not specifically inspired by it.

Rather, the idea of things happening due to odds, the hope to beat them, and simply the concept of numbers themselves have fuelled this latest song.

Layered over that, I set myself the challenge of working in different time signatures (again numbers). This one has three – 7/4, 4/4 and 6/8. Huge thanks to NeMo and Chris for bass and drums, remarkably done remotely!

The title comes from the classroom game played many times when I taught.

I hope you enjoy SevenUp ©2020 R. Pelletier/Félix&theCats

Be safe and be well!

Fellow Travellers – Part 9

This week, I’m featuring another fellow musician who has recently posted some interesting remote collaborations on social media.

I got to know about Joanne Park from her appearances at Relish and through her posts. Not only is she a great and fearless bassist (playing and singing Yes songs unaccompanied save for her on bass is remarkable), she also plays a great guitar, particularly in the Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed style.

The video below is Supertramp’s Logical Song, and besides Joanne, includes Joan Marshall on keyboard and Kristen Prince on saxophone. Worth a listen!

They had me at castanets!

Be safe and be well!

Pressure Treated

Thanks to Gary17’s weekly post, I was pointed in the direction of this quite spectacular cover of the Queen/Bowie classic Under Pressure. Please check out Gary’s post at Torontomoon.ca for details of the line up and how this video came to be. Also, please consider subscribing to his newsletter if you are a musician or a fan. It’s the least we can do to show support back for someone who has never given up on live music.

Here is the video. I hope it makes you feel good!

Be well and safe!

Coolio!

The days are drifting into one another. Partly why this post is late.

Anyway, now that heat has finally arrived in Toronto (nearly 30° today), there is impetus to install the window AC unit that had been sitting in storage since the rest of the fenestration was updated.

I’m happy to report it’s done. Even with only me in there, the computer and the rest of the electronics in the old MaCave put out quite a bit of heat over the course of a recording/mixing session. No excuses now to avoid ongoing projects.

Time for a refreshing beverage to match! Natch!

I have an extension cord somewhere…

Be safe, be well!

Ear, Ear!

Over the last week or so, I have engaged in exercising the one element that can improve my mixes in the old ManCave Studio.

Thanks to a suggestion by respected producer and excellent communicator Warren Huart on his brilliant YouTube channel called Produce Like a Pro, I subscribed to SoundGym, a pay-for-use website that lets users develop audio acuity through games that test a variety of skills all related to recording, mixing and production.

For instance, identifying the relative levels of instruments in a mix, or which frequency is bested in a sample, and so on. The result is less time guessing what to do to fix and improve recordings, as well as more confidence.

I am finding both very useful. Check them out – there is a free trial on SoundGym so you don’t have to immediately commit.

Time for my daily SoundGym exercise…

Be well!

Bunker Town News

Every so often, a subject for this blog luckily falls in my lap. This is the case this week.

Isolation has meant that I’ve had to learn to work physically distanced from the rest of the band, so we have worked out technological solutions, including all of us set up for home recording. By sending each other files, we can play along to previously recorded bits and then sum them up for a finished product.

Good friend and Relish regular Dan Boggs wrote a pandemic ode, and recorded it solo on his computer (phone?). When I saw it, I could not resist the idea of fleshing it out with a full band arrangement.

Unknown.jpgBut first, a few words about Dan.

Dan Boggs has performed many, many times at Relish (and probably other places too, but that’s where I know him from). His songwriting is original in the truest sense of the word, with subject matter often out-there (surgical anaesthetic?), and clever crafting of the lyrics. His latest is called Bunker Town and speaks to the isolation we all feel. I have included a before and after for your enjoyment. On the full band version, Chris Bender plays drums and piano, Neil Morris plays bass, and I added the electric guitars, then mixed the whole thing. It was a lot of fun to do.

 

There is a rumour that a compilation of locally written pandemic anthems may surface in the future. This song should certainly be part of that.

Be safe and be well!

Isolation Booth

Coming up with blog ideas is becoming increasingly challenging. On the plus side, working on songs seems easier as the outside world, considerably shrunken, is a lot less distracting.

So I spend lots of time here.

The ManCave

I’ve recently written my own COVID-19 inspired song. There is a demo version but I’d like to polish it a bit more before setting it loose.

Perhaps the guys in the band will be able to remotely add their parts on it as well. Stay tuned.

And stay safe! And be well!

Remote Wonder

Remote.jpgThe title of this week’s post comes from a band that used to be a regular at The Only Café’s legendary open mic many years back. Remote Wonder was a 3-piece band with Christian Rogers on guitar and lead vocals, Just Jillian on keyboard and Jace Traz on drums. They have long since disbanded but I still remember their edgy energy and they are still a fave. I bought the album too (see cover on the right). I don’t know what has happened to Christian (I searched) but both Jillian and Jace have moved on well, the former having just performed at Winterfolk just before the world collapsed (I wrote about her a few weeks back), and the latter always a highlight of the Relish open mic, as well as a talented visual artist. I’ve included links to both.

Our sheltered and isolated times have forced many of us to begin to collaborate remotely (!) over the web. That’s what has been happening with the Cats. Both bassist NeMo, already a Garageband aficionado, and now newly DAW inducted member Chris are now working on songs in their own home studios and we are sending files back and forth via Dropbox.

There’s nothing new in doing that with studio pros, but that seems to be an increasingly common way to work for the rest of us. I look forward to sharing the results. It may turn out to be a more efficient way of working even after the COVIDity ends.


Helping Others

As mentioned before, musicians, like many self-employed freelancers, are hard hit due to gigs canceled. Gary17, who publishes the daily Toronto live music directly Toronto Moon, wrote an excellent piece this past Saturday April 4, 2020 on ways we can help. A link is included above and I highly encourage you to read it.

Signing off now as Chris has sent me a new song of his to mix. Woohoo!

Until next week, wash your hands, socially distance and be well!

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Quarantunes – Thanks TC! Loop

TC Folkpunk
TC Folkpunk

The title of this post is respectfully ripped off from TC Folkpunk.

As social isolation has led to severely constricted stimulus, I was despairing of finding something interesting for you to read about this week. Perhaps that is the case most weeks…

Anyhoo, just in time, I receive one of TC’s newsletters, “headered” the aforementioned and plagiarized Quarantunes. That unblocked me.

I’ve mentioned TC a few times in the past, and now seems a good time to highlight why I think he is such a good song craftsman. TC’s songs explore themes of love and social injustice (link those however you will) liberally sprinkled with sharp insights and puns (my fave). A few years back, he produced an instrumental side project called That Satisfying Crunch!.

ShadowsEncouraged (nagged) to put out a follow up, TC worked with musical acquaintances the Bumblebats (not quite close friends, not quite strangers?) and lo-and-behold, Standing in the Shadows of Moncton is now available on Bandcamp. 

Listening to songs I’ve frequently heard TC sing but where now the melody is carried instrumentally emphasized just how well constructed his songs are. I particularly admire the way chord sequences sometimes go in unexpected directions, yet the unabashedly pop melody consistently holds the song together.

And of course there is the word play in the album and three of the four song titles. As loath as I am normally to explain jokes, I will make an exception by linking these to their original references, as best I understand them.

Just this once.

Standing in the Shadows of Monctonfabulous documentary

Move It On Oeuvrewhat would Hank think?

Lucy In the Sky with Linuspretty obvious except for the under-rock dwellers

Theme from The Cartridge Family – a double reference here and here

(TC, please let me know if any are wrong.)

As an important side note, please remember that working musicians are particularly challenged right now in earning a living as gigs have essentially disappeared. You can help them by linking to their sites, provided in this blog and copied below, and buying their music on line!

https://tcfolkpunk.bandcamp.com

https://thatsatisfyingcrunch.bandcamp.com/releases

https://thebumblebats.bandcamp.com/album/standing-in-the-shadows-of-moncton

Until next time, wash your hands, stay home and be well!

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