Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 16

The Lab

1:47am. Yesterday was a day primarily devoted to moving the EP along. A few months ago when I started this journey, I had the EP scheduled to drop yesterday, but time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Returning to work after a 15 month layoff made me realize that, ideally, I have less time on my hands to complete this now, than before but I’m not complaining due to the reasoning why.

The website is done and four of the ten tracks are ready to be mixed down, so even though the drop date is slipped, all in all, the progress isn’t bad. The track edits are finally done for the song I was working on, a song that I actually started to compose two summers ago. while on vacation in a hotel room. Today, it was back to a track I composed about four years ago originally entitled “Third Sky”, which is being renamed for this EP. Though the arrangement, the drums, and the synth pads are fine, the bass guitar is decent, but it needs to be redone. The guitar I *maybe* can live with but wont listen to again for a day or so. Either way, those are two tracks I didn’t really plan time to redo, but upon listening again…

The other five tracks are sufficiently prioritized such that I can reschedule a more realistic drop date. That planning will have to wait until tonight. Sleep time is definitely now….hmmm..I just realized I ate almost a whole pack of Club Crackers while typing this post…

Have a great Sunday.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Jazz Funk Soul – An Interview w/Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, & Everette Harp

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Greetings All.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing three heavyweights in the genres of contemporary jazz, smooth jazz, and R&B. While each genre isn’t solely associated one to each musician, they all shine in those areas (their expansive musical careers attribute to that).

Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, and Everette Harp make up the band, Jazz Funk Soul. They released their self-titled CD on 24 June 2014 and it is superb. Each track not only brings the individual talents of each musician, but collectively creates an exciting blend of contemporary and smooth jazz elements. The session musicians that join them are heavy weights in their own right and are known as powerhouses in the NYC area.

Ten tracks make up this stellar release, with the current single being “Serious Business”

Speed of Light
Swingette
Adrenaline
Silent Partner
Telephone
We Were There
Line Drive
Serious Business
D.C.
Raccoon


While I already have a few favorites on this tracklist, I encourage your take a listen for yourself, I’m sure you’ll gain a few if these genres are favorites of yours.

That said, take a listen to (stream or download) the interview below. I hope that you enjoy it – there’s a few audio issues outside of my control but…. :) . For tour dates, check out the Shanachie Records Tour Schedule on their website, and for more on Jazz Funk Soul.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Productivity – The Journey Ahead

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5:31 AM EST. Good morning to those who are up with me. Some of you reading this know that as of last week, I was supposed to be starting my first day on the new job today – that is until the government exercised the option to pull the contract awarded to the contractor I was going to be supporting. The result – no job start for me (incidentally yesterday, through another government employee, I found out the REAL story on hewhy the contract was pulled). Nevertheless, it’s back to job hunting. One very nice thing to know is that I have more than a handful of people directing me towards resources that can help me land a new gig, and those just encouraging me to keep the faith. To them I am very thankful.

So, why up at 5:31 AM and I have no where to go? The reason ties to yesterday’s post of mine on FB: “I’m a morning person…and a night person….the two rarely mix well. About ta fix that.” That is definitely a true statement for(basically) one reason only – It’s quiet in the early morning AND late at night when no one is up – I can get things done without interruption. The ancillary reasoning is that when I get an early start on the day, it gives me more time to those things accomplished (provided I stick to the script – ha!). The key (as we are studying and discussing in church) is “maximizing and strengthening what you have”, bring every area of your life to the highest level of excellence, through loving and obeying God.

So here we are, 5:45 am. I through on some clothes, spent some time in fellowship and prayer unto God, feeling thankful and grateful for what I *DO* have, and directly after posting this, get down to the job hunt.

From a tech standpoint, there are number of iOS apps out there that assist in the desire to get things done (GTD), I have a few on my iPhone and iPad, but no app gives one the DESIRE to stay the course toward reaching any goals, however, I’ve that (personally) some assist in that better than others. One I like is Evernote, I’m a new user but I like the functionality. There are few others I may try again, but the key is not to spent a lot of time trying one versus another but to find one that helps best to GTD. I may talk about what that app is in the future.

I’ve got a few daily things I have goals for: 1) Financial freedom 2) Becoming a very good coder (specifically in the Python language first), 3) Getting back to (and exceeding) my fitness goals in running 4) Becoming a much better guitarist and studio engineer, and 5) Finding that career sweet spot when I return to work. Lofty goals, I don’t think so, but goals nonetheless. When it comes to productivity (not just being busy), there is a mantra I try to live by: “Failing to plan means planning to fail, so plan the work, then work the plan.” Having God in my iife, even through times of stumble, makes every journey, not just that of productivity, surely worth the while. I am grateful.

5:55am – I’m gone. Have a good day.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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The Sunday Soundtrack (Special Edition) – Princestrumentals

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Greetings readers….

Welcome to a special edition of The Sunday Soundtrack, in honor of the 56th birthday of the iconic musician, songwriter, producer, and performer, Prince Rogers Nelson. This podcast, staying with the concept of the Sunday Soundtrack, is comprised of only his instrumental tracks.

With all the instrumental songs he’s composed in his 30+ years of being an artist, the list was hard to narrow down to seven tracks. It’s my desire that you enjoy the flow. That said, let’s jump to the playlist.

1. From The Lotus – LOTUSFLOW3R
2. Gamillah – Chocolate Invasion
3. North – NEWS
4. Copenhagen – C-NOTE
5. 13 (Paisley Park Mix) – 16/Madhouse
6. Kamasutra (Overture #8) – Kamasutra (aka The Truth)/Crystal Ball
7. Back To The Lotus – LOTUSFLOW3R

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Shout out to Shelly Ogden Nelson for sourcing the podcast artwork.
Shout out to Come Back Nikki for alerting me to the follow correction. I mispoke in the podcast! Truth and Kamasutra are actually two different cds, both came with Crystal Ball if you pre-ordered it. The Truth is mostly acoustic.

Glad to know that his longevity is ongoing. Enjoy!

::: oceans of rhythm:::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 15

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Greetings, Sitting in the public library in between stops, basking in a little satisfaction. Ahh yes…forward motion. Last night I wrapped up mixing one of the tracks on for the EP. It’s a track I composed about two years ago and thought it’d make an excellent song for the project. Though it’s in it’s pre-mastered state, a good thing to do for any track at this point is to play it on various systems – mp3 player, CD player, over computer speakers, studio monitors, etc. This is to try to achieve the best sound possible across the many mediums people listen to music on.

I burned it to CD and took for a ride around the city today….I like! Not too bassy coming out of the SUV’s sound system, percussion is nice and organic sounding, acoustic guitar is sweet. next is an mp3 for the iPod.

So, I can pretty much scratch this one off until I get to the part of the schedule where I master all the tracks over a few days. Forward motion. On to the next track in the priority list tonight.

In the last post, I mentioned starting design of the Bandcamp page. That actually is now completed as well. I like banner artwork and the color scheme design. Onward.

Have a good one….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 14

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Greetings all…
For those of you in the US, I hope you are enjoying Memorial Day and taking a moment to reflect upon why this holiday was created. It’s been pretty quiet here and I’ve decided to stay out of the heat.

The EP all of the tracks in various stages of development and with that, I’m backtracking to something I should have done at the onset – develop a production schedule. That said, it’s done. Working backwards from the target drop date, all the tasks needed to be done to meet that drop date are now scheduled, soooo…here we go.

Special initial shout outs to Stephanie Labeda for the artwork and my boys Todd Kelley and Fave (C3) for the completed collaboration on one of the tracks.

That’s it for now…

Have a great one….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 13

thelab

[12:39 am] I don’t know if I can actually count yesterday as a true day 13 of working on the EP because I’ve nothing but tech difficulties in studio – I should say technical difficulty as it only pertains to re-setting up a wireless mouse. Non-powered USB hubs can be finicky and I think this is the case because connecting a portable USB hard drive doesn’t always seem to work. That being said, I’ll probably hit up eBay or Amazon to see if I can find one on the cheap. In any event, not actually working on tracks allowed me to take time to think about a realistic release date. Now that I’ve settled on one, it’s time to define the schedule to meet it. Every track on the EP is in some state of development, so I believe it”l be easy to (ideally) stick to schedule.

Initially, this EP was supposed to be comprised of tracks totally done by me only, but I already have (as some of you read) the (desired) collaboration with Todd and Fave of C3. I’m considering doing one more with a DC metro area artist whom I’ve had a few lengthy discussions with…good ones at that. That, in itself, will alter the drop date, but maybe I may go ahead with that.

Been an *interesting* weekend from a mental standpoint and kinda glad it’s over (who really ever said they were glad to see the weekend go, but….). Anyway, classical music is playing in the background. I get in the mood at times and this is one of those times.

Time to turn in….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 12

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Last night, I continued with the track I mentioned in the last post. I decided to add a synth solo at the section of the song right before the outro, using the same patch from Massive that played the synth hook in the beginning of the song. It came out nicely, after adjusting some MIDI velocities on that solo.

As for the bass synth track, I think I’m going to start with Logic’s Basement Bass, from the ES2 synthesizer. Once I compose and lay that track, the song will pretty much be on its way to the mix phase (that’s if I don’t add this guitar track I am conceptualizing in my head)> If I can reproduce what I’m hearing in my head, I think it’ll add a nice touch to the track.

As I am documenting the progress of the EP development in these blog posts, it reminded me to take advanrage of Logic’s notepad functionality to enter things such as what sample library and samples I’ve used, settings, and anything else of interest.

Well, that’s it for now.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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That thing, that thing, that thiiiiinnnng (the cellphone)

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[9:32PM EST]. Hit the road to pick up my daughter from a school field trip. As I was driving, the lights and traffic caused me to think of some things…nothing in particular…but the scene was strangely thought provoking. I pulled up to the stoplight, about 5 minutes from my house, only to realize I left my phone home. Immediately I checked the clock to see how much time I had to make it to my destination. Though I wasn’t far from the house, I proceeded on my way. As I drove further I said to myself, suppose I encounter an incident where I need the phone (car trouble, etc). I continued to drive on but then thought to myself “When, let alone where, was the last time I saw a phone booth anywhere?” I do remember seeing one at a local gas station, but even that one was useless because the handset was missing. Driving further, I began to remember riding everywhere and anywhere in the back of my dad’s Chevy Impala….decades before cellphones (and the big, bulky ones at that) were carried around only by realtors, let alone the small, light, smartphones we all carry today. Back then, pay phones were plenteous…today, not at all.

Needless to say, the roundtrip was uneventful but all the way there I thought about our dependence on the mobile phone today….and consequently about a time when it wasn’t in existence and how we survived without it.

#techdependency

peace,
Doug

Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 11

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Greetings all. It’s been a very quiet Friday evening so I took advantage of that fact to get some progress time in on the EP. Tonight I continued on one of the more chilled tracks and have finished the entire arrangement. I got a little work in on it last night and afterwards popped in a sample library disk from the lastest issue of Future Music Magazine. On this disk there are some vocal samples from a collection called Terry Grant – Voices From The Edge. While I won’t give the title of the track I’m working on, these vocal samples AUTOMATICALLY and coincidentally fit the theme of the track perfectly. All that was required was for me to chop them up and place them where they fit best in the track. With some added stereo delay, the fit very nicely. All that’s left now is to record the bass synth. Logic has a nice stock bass synth from its ES2 synthesizer that I’ll use for the last track, then it’ll be time to mix. Once you finally hear it, come back and read this post if you remember. It’ll all come together.

9:24 pm…I gotta make a run. Have a good and safe weekend….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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