Archive for January, 2010

Week 20, Dig In

Song 20 is called Dig In.

I might finally be able to get myself out from under the end-of-the-week problem. I’m going to try to work on two songs next week so that I can get back to posting songs early in the week.

In my head this song is pretty heavily influenced by Guided by Voices, but I’ll leave it to you guys to decide if it sounds obvious or if it’s just in my head. I consider myself a pretty big GBV fan, though I’m not quite up to the level of some folks I know. But I’d say that Robert Pollard and GBV have been a pretty strong influence on my songwriting for a while now. I get that their music isn’t for everyone, but in my humble opinion it’s some of the best songwriting out there. I think that if you haven’t given them a good hard listen, you owe yourself that opportunity.

The song was written in standard tuning and was entirely recorded on the iPhone. There are two mostly mirrored and hard-panned guitar tracks (they’re the same except for a couple notes and a little inflection during the verse that you can hear clearly in headphones) and a third guitar part over the chorus. The guitar was recorded using an Audio Technica ATM29HE to mic my Orange Crush 3oR and into the iPhone using the custom break-0ut cable. I just recently had my pair of ATM29HE’s returned and am thrilled to be using them again. I’d take them over an SM57 mic any day. The vocals, melodica, and percussive elements were all recorded using just the iPhone’s mic. All the tracks were recorded as usual using Harmonicdog’s MultiTrack app into the iPhone and were mixed and tweaked in Reaper.

There are a few touches of percussion throughout the track. I continue to find myself using my son’s instruments in the recordings. I can’t help it – they’re everywhere. A couple of weeks ago he was given a Melissa and Doug Band-in-a-Box. If you’re wondering who Melissa and Doug are and why they’re putting bands in boxes, then you most likely don’t have a kid right now. I’ll catch you up: They make wooden toys, puzzles, and in this case, kids’ instruments. For this song, I used everyone’s favorite three sided instrument, the triangle, and something that M&D call the “clacker.” It’s a little wooden handle with a wooden flap on either side. It does make a clack sound,;I think it’s pretty well named.

I’ve been thinking about adding a new feature to this project… like I need to create more work for myself, I know. I’ve been trying to set up podcasting for the songs. I’m a bit new to podcasting, so bear with me. Hopefully I should be live in iTunes soon. Here’s my feed, let me know if you find that it’s working or not.



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Monday, January 25th, 2010 Uncategorized 2 Comments

Week 19, Island

Song number 19 is called Island.

It was a staggeringly rough week for so many. My heart goes out to everyone who’s had any loss related to the earthquake in Haiti, or for any other reason. Please consider donating to any of the organizations that are fighting for hope and life in Haiti. Here’s a link to Doctors Without Borders for a start. For my part, any proceeds this month from my Bandcamp site will be doubled and donated to Haiti relief. If you’ve considered downloading any of my songs or albums, please take this opportunity. Also, check out the newly updated Free Downloads page where I’ve added some new freebies. I’ll keep it coming.

This song was recorded in similar fashion to previous weeks’ songs, with only a change to my drum mic setup from four to five mics. I’m still working on the five mic setup, and I’ll tell you more about it once I make a couple more tweaks. All tracks were recorded into MultiTrack on my iPhone, except for drums which were recorded in Reaper. The vocals, with a nice little clipped distortion, were recorded right into the iPhone mic.

In memory of Tony Dietrich, 1948-2010.

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Monday, January 18th, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment

Week 18, Foothold

The 18th song is called Foothold.

I’m keeping this post short, like the song. Foothold was written on my baritone guitar in a lowered Half Hour Action Drama tuning (F#-A-D-F#-A-E) – the baritone version is (B-D-G-B-D-A). The track is just baritone, vocals, and digital drums except for during the break where there are a couple extra baritone and guitar layers added. The drums were programed using Propellerhead’s Reason software. The baritone and guitar tracks were recorded using my regular setup – performed using the Orange Crush 30R amp, and recorded into Harmonicdog’s MultiTrack iPhone app (which performed flawlessly as usual). The instruments were recorded using the custom break-out cable, and the vocals were recorded using the iPhone’s internal mic. The song was all mixed together using Reaper.

You will probably notice the new player. I’m transitioning over to a site called for the hosting of all my music. Project 52, Volume 1 is now for sale digitally at most places where people buy music, like iTunes and, but by using Bandcamp I can make all of the Project 52 tracks available for sale or the occasional free download as they go live. I can also make other albums available, like 2005’s Season Tics. You can check out both Season Tics and Project 52, Volume 1 from the embedded players in the upper right-hand corner of the site. I’ll also get around to releasing Meet the Widget, the full-length album with Developer as a three-piece, in the near future. As always, I really appreciate everyone who’s been helping me get the word out about this project. The new player helps to make that even easier – if you click on the share button for any track or album, you’ll find all sorts of ways to pass it on. Let me know what you think about the new player. Eventually I’ll need to start paying Soundcloud, while Bandcamp is free, so that helps make my decision a bit easier. I’ll see what I can do for those who love the Soundcloud player. I really do appreciate everyone’s feedback and support.

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Saturday, January 9th, 2010 Uncategorized 5 Comments

Week 17, Old Battles

The seventeenth song is called Old Battles

…and it was no small battle. I write this with less than two hours until Week 18 begins. I had no intention of writing an eight minute song when I etched out the guitar riff which now sits passively behind the verse. But sometimes the song goes where it goes. I suppose that I could have cut this one in half, but I think it needed to go the second time through. I’m still on track, even it’s just by the skin of my teeth. I did come uncomfortably close to realizing one of my biggest fears with this project: to get so far behind that a song gets pushed into the next week. I feel like I’ll have a hard time making up the ground by doing two songs a week. On the other hand, I still have 34 weeks to figure this all out.

I’m going to keep the description short on this one. I’m happy to be introducing the melodica into my repertoire – a heroic Christmas gift from my dear wife. Though it sits lower in the mix, I feel like it adds a little something different to the texture of this song. I recorded the two melodica tracks using the iPhone mic in my kitchen, which is also the method and location of the vocals on this song. The guitar, baritone, and bass tracks were recorded through my always dependable and great sounding Orange Crush 30r into the iPhone by way of an Audix dynamic mic and the custom break-out cable (from Week 2). I wrote the guitar part in my old Half Hour Action Drama tuning (F#-A-D-F#-A-E) and the baritone was in a standard A tuning.

All of the iPhone recording was done using MultiTrack, which has now been updated to Version 1.1, and has just put on its big boy pants. What was already an incredibly sound and simple 16-track recorder that functioned much like an old tape machine, now has the infrastructure of a fully-functioning digital audio workstation that includes punch in and out, beat and time grids, snap-to, and a metronome. It took me only a few minutes to figure out the additional controls, and I made use of all the new features while recording this track – I’ll be honest, there’s a lot of melodica punching needed in an eight minute song.

The drums were recorded in Reaper with the usual four mic setup of late. I’m willing to live with how the drums came out (I kind of have to), but I’m not thrilled with it. It was a case of having too small of a window to record the drum tracks, and I’m just not a good enough drummer to sit down and knock out an eight minute song flawlessly in the first try or two. But I’m hopeful that all of these songs hold their own, flaws and all, by the merits of the songs themselves and not the limitations of time and performance.

A couple of tidbits for this week: Project 52, Volume 1 – the remastered collection of weeks 1-13 has made it out to some stores but not all of them yet. I’ve added the link to the Amazon MP3 store for the album for all of the songs now, so feel free to go forth and shop if you’re so inclined. I really appreciate all of the good feedback that I’ve gotten about the project lately. It really keeps me going. Also, you may notice that there’s a new Facebook icon on the right side of the site. I finally broke down and started a Facebook page for Developer, separate from my personal account. I’m just getting it started, so stop on by and friend me up. And if you just can’t get enough, I’m tweeting my trials and tribulations as well at @developermusic. And finally, stop back next week as I plan to add a couple more tracks to the Free Downloads Page.

All right, enough with the plugs. I hope everyone is having a great start to 2010. I can’t complain. I’ll see you next week.

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Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 Uncategorized 4 Comments


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