Getting Back to It

I've been inspired (or shamed) by a recent post by my friend Fernando. He wrote about revisiting some old, unfinished songs and blogging about the process. That got me thinking - I've got some old, unfinished songs in various states of disrepair...

So I yanked one out. This song is called "Forever and a Day." It started as a short piano riff I was playing at a youth encounter weekend a year and a half ago. They had this grand piano in the room we were meeting in, and during a break I just started noodling. This uptempo little riff just kept running through my head - just a verse and chorus, no lyrics.

C.... F.... G..... G,F,C... F... G... C... F... G... and

Bb... Dm... C... Bb... Dm... C... Bb... Dm... C, Am, Gm... F

Back and forth I would play this little bit of a song, over and over. Finally, after about a hundred repetitions, came a bridge of sorts:

D/F#... A/C#... D/F#... A/C#... E... B... A, B, E...

As I was playing that, one of the other leaders (who happens to be an amazing Gospel singer) and asked what song it was. I told her that I was just playing with it, and when I got to the bridge, she started just singing:

No matter the circumstances
I will choose to lift my hands
Your Word will be my light, Lord
My life is in your hands
I will praise you, I will praise you
And bless your name.

And so that's how the song sat for a year or so... some chords and lyrics for the bridge. I would go back to it from time to time, and finally finished the lyrics this winter.

So... now comes time to get it recorded. I really have no excuse anymore, as my Ubuntu Studio installation gives me all the tools. So I started working on it. First thing to do is the rhythm track. I fired up the Hydrogen drum machine, and started programming the patterns for the various parts of the song: (click for more humongous detail)

It's fast, yes. I figure the tempo at about 200 bpm. Prestissimo, they would call that. Once I start putting melody to it, I might take it down to 180 or so, but for now it sounds like I imagined.

First pass through Hydrogen with a Yamaha Vintage Kit drum kit sounded like this:

I decided it needed more dynamics, so I switched the kit to a Roland XV-5080 synth, and added some crash cymbals:

Next will come finishing the entire drum line, importing into Ardour, and adding a bass line.


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