Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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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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Ursa Major, Ursa Minor (Sketch)

A quick sketch of a melody/tune that came to me after seeing the big and little dippers in the dark countryside, by Lake Ontario… I may evolve it some day.. The two musical phrases are seven notes each, just as there are seven stars in each of the constellations…

While looking at the stars I noticed that the big dipper is, of course, bigger but the little dipper is brighter.

I love looking at a clear night sky devoid of light pollution. Finding a place without light pollution (sadly) seems almost impossible these days. But this location was pretty good. Just one small spot emanating from Cobourg Ontario, a town that used to be a hot spot for wealthy Americans back in the day.

Living in Toronto one can see 2 or 3 stars on a good night! Well, maybe a few more. But it is pretty appalling. So whenever I get a chance, which isn’t too often, I take to the country and reconnect with the ancient art of the night sky.

Image – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/445152744395241383/


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Firebrand

This is a pretty old tune that I originally sang. The first recording was done in the late 1980s / early 1990s on a Fostex 4-track tape with a Yamaha mini keys keyboard, an Ibanez digital delay and a couple of foot pedals. Despite the limited tech, the end result was pretty good. (I might transfer it from tape and post it some day for interests sake).

This time around I didn’t feel like singing so just did the main melody with a synth line. And I gave it a sorta i Robot update. Digital age…

But still, I left in retro “Disco Toms” and California-style lead guitar. So it’s a bit of old and new.

All the VSTi plugins are freeware. Some were slightly modified with other paid-for VSTs that come with Reaper, which itself is a very modestly priced DAW (digital audio workstation).

Photo (cropped): www.flickr.com/photos/ihearaviolin/8103585130/


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June

So ends a pretty terrible month in the news. I started this at the beginning of the month. At some point I realized that it was mirroring the tragic headlines that dominated a good part of June.


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Sheer Distraction

The story behind this tune is that I was desperately ill through the winter months. It took a long time to recover. When I finally felt things were turning around, I sat by my computer and came up with a basic bassline. I sent that to Lee Neale who sent back this amazing melody with lyrics. It blows me away how talented Lee is.

Because his work is of such high caliber, it really pushed me to do my best. I wanted a minimalist sound that wouldn’t overtake Lee’s vocal track. But I didn’t want it too simple.

I hope you enjoy!


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freebird – remix

Grundig tape recorder

Grundig tape recorder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a tune I wrote way back, after I’d returned to Canada from my two year sojourn in India.

Originally composed on a Yamaha porta-synth (with those tiny keys), I tried a couple of versions using midi and digital technology some years later.

Because I really didn’t know anything about mixing and mastering, the results were interesting, to put it nicely…

Here’s a remix, using all the virtual tech and know-how I’ve acquired over the past two years:

I like this simple, futuristic tune. To me it has an Asian and Middle Eastern flavor, even if the chord patterns and guitar are decidedly Western.

For the sake of comparison, here’s the (not very balanced) last version I uploaded around 2014:

When I was a kid I used to play with radios, tape recorders and electronics.

English: A RadioShack brand cassette recorder,...

A RadioShack brand cassette recorder, with built-in microphone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a young adult I became an “audiophile” and spent hours fiddling with speaker arrangement, cassette recording techniques, etc.

So my current interest in mixing and mastering is just a logical extension. At first I was overwhelmed by the myriad of knobs and sliders available to today’s bedroom producer. But I’m now getting a handle on it, and am REALLY enjoying the process.