Can Niveous find his way?

Posted in Music on April 12, 2011 by Niveous

I know my posts have been fewer lately but that’s because I’ve been so deeply enthralled mentally by the puzzle laid out in front of me that I struggle to express it all. Here’s where I’m at right now.

I came up with an idea for what is essentially a concept album. For the sake of easy typing, I’ll be referring to the album as TAS in the rest of this post. What does TAS stand for? Never you mind that detail. So, I came up with the TAS idea and figured that this needs to be a marriage between my music and my prose, almost a soundtrack to a story. So I began writing and got about 1500 words in and then tried to write a song to go along with those 1500 words and the pieces just didn’t fit.

I’ve done concept albums before such as Zinkline’s “Grace of a Car Crash” which is the story of a political assassination that is the first domino leading to the end of the world. The thing is, that was very abstract. Each song I wrote for that album could stand on its own. With TAS, this is a story with very defined characters and a world of its own. I feel like the song has to evoke those things. But I don’t want a song that sounds Broadway. There is an art to telling a specific story in a song. My immediate point of reference is Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane”. I love that song. It’s got all this great and very specific storytelling (even if it lacks some factual accuracy). But I don’t want to write a song like that.

Here’s an example, the written prologue of TAS is all about the setting of the story. The story is set in an alternate version of our world. The prologue explains the idea of multiverses. When it came to writing a song that touched upon the same ideas, it was tough. It just didn’t flow in the way I wanted it to.

Then came the idea of referring to specific things. TAS takes place in a city called New Verity. If I mention that, it locks the song to the world of the story which is fine. But what happens when the song stands on its own. I think about a song like “Cable beach” by Ben Kreiger. That song is an amazing 15 minute tale of people retiring to a virtual world. It really needs to be taken as a whole for its full effect but it is really 5 smaller songs (don’t quote that number). The songs don’t stand up as well away from the whole. I still want songs that will stand up on their own but still be a part of a story. It’s a paradox that is making me take a completely different look at what goes into writing a song. I think if I’m going to pull this off, it’s going to take more that just write story verse, add catchy chorus. It’s going to take a reworking of how I present the story.

Then there’s the musical aspect. I’m still standing alone in this process. I know that there are great artists like Johnny Cashpoint, Heuristics Inc, and Billy’s Little Trip who are willing to work with me. And I want to work with them. I want to do some experimental stuff as a part of XTRG where we can deconstruct basic guy and guitar pieces, make them into electronic soundscapes, and then figure out how to recreate the experiments with live experiments. It’s brilliant fun. In Montserrat, I want to blend the two worlds of acoustic and electronic. And at the same time, try and have some fun by tapping into some different lyrical ground like history.

But you know that saying about how if you can’t love yourself how are you gonna love anyone else. That’s my feeling currently when it comes to music. I have to get myself into a good place. I’m a strong multitasker. I feel that’s one of my gifts. Fixing Niveous the musician and getting myself where I want to be musically takes focus and I wasn’t gifted with that.

Then there’s the strange dichotomy of needing to fix up myself and not being able to do it alone. And SF Live still looms in the distance. It’s all so confusing.

Back from the Dead?

Posted in Music on April 4, 2011 by Niveous

There’s been no activity here on Audioshards in a few days. Why? I put some more focus on a musical project. Which project? I’m trying not to talk it up. I feel like the more I talk it up, the more pressure that I’ll put on myself. And I don’t mean that in a good way. I mean that I’ll start thinking of the project like this “I mentioned this out loud. If I fail to finish it, it will be such a setback.”

But there is some undeniable pressure, like the fact that SF Live is in 2 months. I have 2 new released songs and still no band. I am far from where I want to be. So much that I need to do.

And today also starts the Songfight spring classic, the Nur Ein. Let’s see what year six has to offer.

Here We Go

Posted in Music on March 22, 2011 by Niveous

Well. It’s been a few days since I last blogged. Where have I been? Well, other than watching some really bad tv (So, Skins ended with a faked kidnapping and people singing Tears for Fears. WTF.) and dealing with some ridiculous web problems which kept me from doing some necessary downloads, and of course being a dad and boyfriend… I have been figuring out a lot when it comes to my music. I have come up with something that I wanna run with. I feel like it’s risky because it may not be for everyone but 1) it will make me feel artistically happy and 2) I think I can pull it off. I still need help but I am feeling very intrigued. And I also got some ideas for XTRG and MSP. Those may be a little harder to pull off. Crossing the fingers.

All Wrong

Posted in Music on March 17, 2011 by Niveous

Today, I spent a good chunk of my day listening to odd things. I listened to various Screw Attack videos. Those are top 10 lists all about video games. Then I listened to some old MTV Rockumentaries (G’n’R, STP, Smashing Pumpkins) and then I listened to a little of a Hunger Games audiobook. Add in reading a Runaways graphic novel and listening to an interview with My Chemical Romance and clearly I bombarded myself with all sorts of stimuli. But here’s the thing, in the end I found myself with a new viewpoint on what I wanna be doing. How I shouldn’t be holding back the writer side of myself and instead I need to find a way to merge my storywriting and musical sides. Earlier this year, I tried to start writing a concept album and it didn’t feel right. I think I was going about things all wrong. I need to take a wildly different approach. More on this later…

Not the best day

Posted in Music on March 16, 2011 by Niveous

I took a little bit of a mental hit today. Looked at some of the ad replies and they weren’t what I was looking for. And after a long day at work, I couldn’t really muster up any energy for being creative. And I started to wonder if I should just stick to writing because it’s an activity that I can do on the train or at lunch at work and one can work on alone. But I realize that if I did that I wouldn’t feel satisfied. I have to find music’s place in my life.

The Hunt is On

Posted in Music on March 15, 2011 by Niveous

Today was a day where I took the next step in looking for bandmates. I put out a craigslist ad and so far I have gotten a few replies. Now, the big question is will anyone mesh well with me. One thing I worry about is the fact that I’m a weekday warrior. Some people go out to the bar, go out to eat, go on dates on the weekend. For me, that’s all weekday business as weekends are when I have my kids. It’s tough to find people who can deal with that. Hopefully there are two such people out there.

Meanwhile… XTRG is currently working on a new song. That’s exciting.

Playback’s a Bitch

Posted in Music on March 14, 2011 by Niveous

A few years ago, I had a website called New Zero Music. It was home to all the musical work that I had on the web. There I put out a few albums under the Niveous name. There was an album-in-a-day (AAD) called “The Scattershot”;  a compilation of songs from different years of my life called “Of Scissors and Blades”; and an album called “Organizations”. Today, I decided to give Organizations a spin. It was a tough experience. There were still some songs on there that I enjoyed but everything was so raw. The sound quality was very poor as I flanged just about everything. Despite writing good lyrics, the songs were so flawed that they were hard to listen to. I came to the realization that I haven’t put out a good Niveous body of work. Granted, production is still my nemesis so I’m not expecting perfection (won’t stop trying for it though) but I need to put out an album of my stuff that can stand well on its own. So, the checklist grows a little: new material, band, new album (looking for something cohesive, not just singles compiled),  good live set. Work continues…