Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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When it’s so good, they think it’s fixed…

I’m fascinated by digital music making. Especially the production side. So when I listened to the first video posted in this article (above) , I thought it was fake. But then when she sings alone… well, you be the judge.

Could the whole thing have been faked/staged? Possibly. But how could she have lip sinked so well with no cues (beat, background music)?

A beautiful woman and voice.

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Supertonic

This is just a sketch I did tonight after watching an interesting video or two about music theory and composition (below). It’s been a while since I did a full-fledged project and I didn’t feel inspired to jump right in fully. So I figured if visual artists can sketch a few lines in a notebook, why not musical ones?

A couple of Christmases ago I really got into arpeggios and exotic scales. Here’s what I came up with back then.

And here’s one I did when David Bowie was still alive. I think I was trying to get his attention… posted the link at his web site if I remember right. But back then I did it anonymously because I was afraid it was too weird. But today it sounds cool to me. So I’ve lifted the “private” setting at SoundCloud and made it public again.


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Burn slowly, the candle of life

Image via Tumblr

I recently got a new tablet and haven’t really tried out the camera. Seems to be just adequate but it doesn’t really matter. Was having a serene moment last night with this candle. Now that the nights are getting longer and the days shorter, it’s time to reflect on the cycles of life. The past, the present and the future.

Btw, first few lyrics are cut off in this video… “Something you can’t hide…” There are other videos of this song but I really dig this 1970s Paris concert. Maybe I was “there” in spirit. Who knows. Would have been about 8 yrs at the time.


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She’s Got Dragons

Who me? Game of Thrones freak? Naah. That’s only part of the story.

I did like Khaleesi and thought that Jason Momoa nailed the ancient conqueror role. But they are only depicting things that, more or less, really happened. Alexander the Great. Cyrus the Great. Cleopatra.

Dragons may be fiction but we have a pretty heavy inheritance we have to face.


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Beyond the Night

Here’s a cinematic, atmospheric one that I worked pretty hard on. It began as a slightly chaotic assemblage which slowly came together. My main learning point was how to use a sequencer for drum samples, making it sound less robotic than sequencers can sound.

The sequencer I used (Megababy) allows for manual timing changes (called “humanization” or possibly “swing” when using midi). So I spent some time on each note, trying to imagine myself as a percussionist and how he or she might actually drum. To me, the kick drum sometimes sounds like it could use a bit of editing, other times it sounds okay.

Not exactly tearing up the SoundCloud charts, it was, as I say, a great learning experience.

As to what this composition is about, just follow the link to SoundCloud if interested.


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back in the groove

Earthpages has taken a back seat the past few days as I really wanted to get this out asap.

My little blurb at SoundCloud says it all:

You guessed it. I was thinking of Paul McCartney and other 70s feelgood love songs a bit when mixing this. But the tune was written in the late 80s / early 90s. Originally called “Karma Destiny,” it has a melody but I didn’t like my vocals so went with sax improv instead.

Today I question the whole idea of karma. So that title isn’t really me any more. But the music still is!

© 2017 Michael W. Clark

 Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr Recorded Music Together For First Time In Seven Years(stereogum.com)

 Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Reunite for New Music(aceshowbiz.com)

 Classic Rock Almanac February 9, 2017(wncx.cbslocal.com)

 Paul McCartney sues Sony/ATV to reclaim rights to Beatles music(japantimes.co.jp)

 This Week In History: The Beatles, Compact Discs, Whitney Houston, and Michael Jackson(wcbsfm.cbslocal.com)

 DC, Hollywood Stars Celebrate Valentine’s Day On Social Media(losangeles.cbslocal.com)


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The late, great David Bowie’s “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore”

Poor David Bowie. I think of him often. Anyone who rises that high and then slowly burns out – artistically, I mean – well, it must be hard. Classical composers generally get better with age. But it aint necessarily so with pop stars. I guess pop music is all wrapped up in the hopes, dreams and angst of youth. So when the star isn’t a youth any more, it gets harder and harder to connect.

Bowie’s final album had a beautiful song, “Lazarus,” which to me seemed heavily influenced by an 80s band called The Cure. Most people who remember rotary dial phones have probably heard “Lazurus.” And if they were listening to pop in the 80s, I think they’d recognize The Cure connection.

But today I want to talk about another song on the final Bowie album, “‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore.”

I don’t like this song very much. When I first saw the title I thought Bowie was just being rough and crude for the sake of it, like a relic from a different age trying to be cool. After all, today we talk about “sex-workers” and the term “whore” is totally inappropriate and probably illegal to use in public.

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

But on Googling the song I found that, as often happens, there was more to Bowie’s work that I’d realized. Turns out there is an English play from 1629 by John Ford called “‘Tis Pitty Shee’s a Whore.” No doubt this influenced Bowie and I have to apologize to his enduring spirit for having judged out of ignorance!