Invocation – Gary Young MySpace Blog


This is what I did tonight.

Thanks to the folks who listen to this stuff. Especially Tim and Michelle for their advice, feedback and support. And Sadie for regularly letting me know that she likes what she hears. That stuff keeps me going. For real.

I don’t know what I’d do without the music and the people who take it in. Yeh, my voice sounds strained on “Invocation”. But that’s okay. Got to push the envelope in order to make any progress. Brandon told me, when I asked him for some advice and pointers on singing (I was having trouble with plosives and pronunciation among other things like breathing), that I was still learning, unfamiliar with, my (vocal) instrument. With this tune you can hear where my limitations are. A few half-tones away and it all falls apart.

And thanks to Larry and Jenny who made me feel human tonight by being generous with their time and company. They actually give a s—. My people.

I was listening to “Alien” most of the day. I like that song. I drove home after having dinner with L&J and I pulled into the parking space here and sat in the car for about half an hour listening to “Grace” from “The Prayer Cycle” and then to “Alien”.

And I decided that I wanted to write something tonight. I needed to write something tonight.

Every once in a while you just have to throw back your head and howl at the sky. You never know. Maybe someone will howl back.



Isn’t the movie Silent Hill a spin off from a video game? Hmmmm! Not sure but I think it is. Maybe I’m wrong!

Posted by Linda on May 8, 2006 6:35 AM
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Gary Young

You’re right.  It is a video game movie.  She was following the clues just like in the movie.  I’ve never seen the video game other than the commercials for it a few years ago.  If I did then I probably would have recognized some things.  Like Triangle Head guy with the bugs.

I may have to blame this movie on the Japanese.

Posted by Gary Young on May 8, 2006 7:42 AM
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“Silent Hill” is just another example of how, no matter how much either industry tries to merge, there are just some things video games do better than movies and vice versa. Movies are constricted by time. Events in the plot must fall within a certain range or the audience becomes tired or bored. Video games allow multiple plays and replays of certain scenes before moving on. But enough …

I’m a rock song writer, not a jazz one and, since I haven’t concluded which genre you fall into (you are straddling the lines, sir! … which may be agood thing), my critique may not be accurate. But I’ll give it anyway, since that’s the type of guy I am!

Music: Cool. Everything sounds pretty crisply recorded and well executed. This is your strongest area (which should come as no surprise).

Vocals: I get the feeling you’re like me in this area. We’re instrumentalists, but we’re not limited to just hearing melodies in our heads – we got words to say, yo. And, being the power hungry musicians we are, we must be the ones to deliver these words. Perhaps they sound more honest being delivered by the people who come up with them – yeah, I’ll buy that. Anyway, we’re playing on instruments we’re not used to – we’re beginners, embrace it. Don’t be afraid to get someone who is a master at singing to do it for your songs (believe it or not, better song a better recording doth make), but use it as motivation as well. “I’m just making a demo for the singer, so I’ll lay down what I want them to do.” The more you sing the better you’ll get. I’m no singer, so I’ll leave it at that.

When recording vocals – do you sing with headphones on? A trick I’ve learned is to have one of the ears off while recording so you don’t fall into the “this sounds and feels great” headphone vaccuum. This keeps any pitchiness more honest. If that’s not working, remove one ear and close your ear with your finger – I don’t know why this works, but you hear yourself better.

Mixing: How long have you been mixing? You’re good, fool. It took me a good 5 years to get around where you are!

Writing: “Invocation” is your strongest song to date, even though it is the only one with hierarchical-structured writing. Ok, to be honest, hierarchical and linear are equal in terms of weight (seriously, who cares how a good song is written if its good?) – it’s just a personal opinion of mine that hierarchical is an easier method. It suits what you’re going for though – protagonist is pleading over and over and the hierarchical structure fits that exactly. Words and music working as one! Love it.

Well, that’s it. Take everything I’ve mentioned with a grain of salt, as I’m a 25-year old guitarist who don’t know shit!

Posted by Stan on May 8, 2006 9:27 AM
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Gary Young

Thanks for the comment, Stan.  It’s kind of scary to have a keen mind and fellow musician peering in on the inner musical workings.

Yeh, the music is the easy part.  The harder part is the marriage of lyrics, melody and music.  At some point it all has to come together.  The hardest part for me is definitely the singing, although I’m getting more comfortable.

I do have the headphones on when I sing.  They’re not very good headphones and I’m self-conscious about people either walking by outside or above or below me hearing my voice without the music.  Ack.  I’ll try the one ear off next time.

The funny — different — thing about “Invocation” is that I laid down the vocals first.  Yelling into the microphone.  Intentionally out of my comfort zone, y’know.  But the funny thing is that when I first went to add some music, the acoustic guitar strumming, I noticed that as the vocals went on (with no chords as a guide) they were getting flatter and flatter.  So by the end of the song the vocals, the main note “Can you heaaaar meee”, went from a D to something close to a C…  Doh!  So I did some of them over again, but not all.

And I actually did ask a singer friend to come down and lay down some tracks for me.  This was a while ago.  She’s got such a great voice.  Would have been perfect to work with.  Even offered money.  But … no time and now she’s moved across the country.  Don’t know any other singers on this side of the continent who are down for swinging out my way and putting in the QT, y’know.  Necessity is the mother of going out on a limb.

But I think my singing has been progressing nicely.  What do you think?  I don’t think anyone else is willing to critique me on this so I appreciate your candor.  But don’t think that this means that I won’t be spiking your open can of Coca-Cola that’s sitting on your desk right now.  Ex-Lax, work your magic!

I’ve been mixing ever since I got this software.  However long ago that was.  Back in the Fall?  I’m still getting the hang of it.  If you’ve got any pointers about using the parametric EQ, lemme know.  For instance, if I want to filter out frequencies so that a bass drum kick and electric bass line don’t “overlap” and make things muddy.  I have  a tendency to make things pretty busy.

I’m going to have to talk to you more about the linear/hierarchical-structure thing.  I have been wanting to plan things out more before I start recording, but things often come out as a flow, if you know what I mean.  And I just go with it.  But I also want to “orchestrate” the structure more.  Do things with more intent than serendipity, which is where I comfortably function.

And last but not least before I get back to some .NET training, what I’m eventually going for is a niche genre that I would like to call Soul Metal.  I’ve heard some people call SevenDust and Living Colour Soul Metal.  But they’re more metal than I’m going for.  So … whatev.

Ok.  Back to it.

Posted by Gary Young on May 8, 2006 2:08 PM
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