Posts Tagged ‘melodica’

Song 26: “All Right Here”

by on Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Here is Song #26 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 26 All Right Here

26 Blue2Holy crap, I couldn’t come up with anything decent last night. I was drawing a complete blank – no lyrics, no melodies, nothing! I really didn’t have any idea how I was going to pull out a new song, and was actually afraid I might have to miss a day for lack of inspiration.

After staring at my instruments for about 30 minutes, I decided to grab a beer and go out back with the dog. I sat down on the back deck, and immediately noticed 2 things: 1) the cicadas were making a ton of noise, ans 2) there was a near-constant series of fast lightning flashes in the sky. The lightning continued – with no thunder or rain – for about 30-45 minutes, during which time I was struck with inspiration. I went inside, grabbed one of my parlour guitars, and wrote some guitar parts outside under the lightning. The lyrics were descriptive of the scene, and they came quickly!

I went back inside and recorded the guitar parts, then overdubbed some little guitar jangles on top. I must say that the rhythm guitar part is a bit uneven, especially in the first verse; but I knew I was working with a potentially brief bit of inspiration and didn’t want to lose momentum by rerecording it. After that, I laid down three separate vocal tracks (one lead and two harmony), and finished it all off with a nice little melodica part.

I can’t believe how pleased I am with this song considering how uninspired I was an hour before I finished recording it! I’m chalking this one up to luck and a bit of mother nature’s influence.

Instruments used:
Acoustic guitar (Seagull)

I could not be less inspired
Than I am tonight
My mind is as blank as a sheet
Not an idea in sight
I go outside for inspiration
Perhaps some mosquito bites
I see lightning in the distance
Lighting up the sky
And then it hits me like a punch in the face
Ideas are all around me now in the ether
All I have to do is reach out and take
What I need from what I have – it’s all right here

Song 05: “untitled 1”

by on Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Here is Song #5 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 05 untitled 1

Lately I’ve really wanted to start a song with an F#7 chord, played on the ukulele, so this was my chance. However, I did cheat a little by striking a B minor chord 13 times before actually staring the tune with the F#7…I just thought it needed a little set-up.

Anyway, I came up with a simple little rhythm for the F#7 – Bm progression and just kinda repeated it for a bit. Maybe it is a cop-out, but I found it really easy to go from the Bm to a G, so I made that into the “chorus.” I didn’t realize it until after the song was done, but the reason this chorus came so easy is that I’d already written it – over a year ago for A Fight to the Death’s “A Call to Arms.” Granted, I play it differently here (and with a different vocal melody), but it is still almost exactly the same. But hell – I’ll just think of it as having sampled myself!

Once the ukulele part was recorded, the vocal melody started to come to mind. But, before I got crackin’ on that, I wanted to give the tune a bit of an old-world feel. I tired a handful of instruments for this (accordion, ukulele, and some stringed instrument that I don’t even know the name of), but finally settled on the Melodica. I just hit the record button and freestyled the melodica melody over the ukulele – it’s not the most solid melody, but it is on key and is decent enough…so I kept the first take.

I then added a little tambourine and cranked out some bullshit lyrics about a dude who volunteers to kill the boyfriend of some girl he likes – only to decide he doesn’t really like her that much. This is probably a good time to note that very few of my songs are actually autobiographical. Anyway…I added some light slap-back style echo on the vocals and called the song finished.

Instruments used:
Baritone ukulele (1950’s, no name)
Melodica (Hohner)
Tambourine (a tiny wooden thing I bought from a toy bin at a flea market)

What do I have to do to stand beside you
What do I have to say to make things go my way
Who do I have to kill – you know I will do it just for fun
You know I’m joking…or you will never know
One more lap to go before you will let go
One more vow to break before that big mistake
In time you will believe it was what you had to just do
The fine you pay won’t be too much for you
Who will believe this girl
Who holds her heart out in her hand
Who will believe this hooker of a girl
I know that I won’t

Song 04: “Turn to Stone”

by on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Here is Song #4 – You can stream it by clicking the little PLAY button, or download it by right-clicking the title:

CJ Bargamian - 04 Turn to Stone

04 Casio adThis song originated with a simple 3-note melody on my Casio keyboard – I honestly had no real direction…I just wanted to play the Casio. I didn’t want to over complicate the song by adding another part, and I wanted it to be reminiscent of older Magnetic Fields stuff…so I just made it a little over a minute long. Once the Casio track was recorded, I played a simple little Melodica melody over it – but it sounded like shit so I left it out of the final mix. Next was a simple little strummed ukulele part, and then I topped it off with some shakers.

During the course of recording the other parts, a vocal melody had emerged, but I had no theme for the lyrics. So, I flipped through my notebook looking for random lines that might inspire me; I like to scribble down random sentences or phrases that come to mind and then use them later. I found a little scribble that said “I will turn to stone, and you will turn to gold – until we both decay.” I thought I could make a song out of that, so I just went with it.

Once the vocals were done, I doused the mix in swirly echoes, and it was done! Also of note – my dog and cat would not leave me alone while I worked on this song, so I put my camera in their faces and made the music video below.

Instruments used:
Baritone ukulele (1950’s, no name)
Casio keyboard (CasioTone from the ’80s)
Shakers (those little egg-shaped things)

Snow turns from white to blood red
And in the field or ice and rain lay more
Of those who stayed, and I can’t be like them
And if I stay, I will test your faith
With trials and hoops to leap through
I will turn to stone and you will turn to gold until we decay
What a mistake it was to leave here, I was at home
What a mistake it was to go
Born to leave, but doomed to stay