February 26, 2013

RPM Challenge 2013: Day 26

For those keeping score at home, I've finished the recording and mixing of tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, A, and C. Those last two I hadn't started as of my last update, so here's a quick description:

A: Quirky percussion loop-based song for a token "crazy" wrestler named Fred Lice. Not only is he mentally unbalanced, he is also a bit unhygienic. This works in his favor because his opponents aren't exactly eager to put him in a headlock.

C: A dance tune for a female wrestler named Carol Anne. If the main melody sounds familiar, it's because I've already used it on previous RPM Challenges. After a year of rest, Planet Carol Anne III reinvents the series.

That only makes a total of about 8 tracks/22 minutes, so I've got two more to go. Tracks 9 and B are only basic drum beats and 5 is still just a guitar riff, so my plan of attack is to fix and finish 7 (which has some MIDI issues) and then quickly write a simple final song.

Of course, there is one thing in each of the "finished" tracks I already want to change, but the priority is getting 10 completed before I start getting obsessive.

Speaking of obsessive, here's a 2013 RPM Fun Fact--I haven't had any caffeine at all during this year's challenge. Usually on Day 26, I'm up all night deliriously writing lyrics and blowing out my voice while recording non-stop harmonies. Sadly (or, luckily), I will not be doing any vocals this time around. However, if I don't have my last two songs written by tomorrow evening, you'll most likely find me chugging a bottle of Diet Coke. Desperate inspiration is usually at the bottom.

I just remember that I need to do an album cover too, and I think I have a crazy idea for it...

February 10, 2013

RPM Challenge 2013 - Day 10

I resumed my recording project late last week, so I am back on schedule (and there won't have been any cheating, technically). My process has basically been to start recording whenever I am hit by a riff or beat or just a general inspiration and keep composing until I get stuck or have a new idea. The result so far is 8 partially recorded tracks, all between two and three minutes.

Of course, that method has cause me to forget everything instantly, so I'm going to review them right now to see what I have (or haven't) accomplished so far. No titles--everything is just numbered so far.

1. Starts with some kind of whistle (because every wrestling song needs a whistle or crash), then it's mostly bass and guitar driven, like a Rockers-type theme for a high-flying, younger wrestler in the late 90s. The rhythm section hasn't exactly come together just yet. I put an electronic kit in there, but it could use some traditional drum sounds too.

2. Nineties kit! Very much a corny High Energy theme with slap bass, funky clean guitar, and rocket-like sound effects. Might need some bad keyboards if "Agile" Adam Osprey's going to use it.

3. I wanted to incorporate horns and strings to a guitar song, so here they are. It still needs a lot more work, but I like where it's going.

4. For a wrestler I've named Q-Burn. It's probably closer to a video game soundtrack than a wrestling theme, but the guitars are actually real--just heavily 8-bitted (or would it be 8-bitten?).

5. This only seems to be a guitar demo so far. I can't remember if that was intentional or if I lost the other tracks. Obviously, this needs a lot more work.

6. Finally, something slow and heavy for a larger wrestler. Probably for The Tibetan MammothJomo Langma.

7. Something is very wrong with this track. It's entirely MIDI-based, but the most important tracks aren't playing correctly. This was originally going to just be a miscellaneous theme for a imaginary TV Show or Pay-Per-View, but I decided to give to The Masked Asterisk instead. I purposely tried to make a cool melody for this one as I often tend to ignore this vital portion of theme song writing. I enjoyed making this one so I really need to figure out what happened.

8. Another very slow one. I was attempting to go for a simple Mr. Perfect-type composition where you've really only got a majestic melody and some cymbal crashes, but I ended up complicating it a little. The main melody uses a MIDI sound called "Artifically Enhanced" so of course I'm assigning the track to "The Unnatural" Mitch Mutation (a play on all the "Natural" nicknames in wrestling). It's got a Kubrick/Terminator/Kane vibe to it. It's also one of my favorites because it incorporates the wrestlers name into the rhythm and melody.

And that's it so far. I'm happy with my pace and variety, but I know I need to take it further. I could use some female wrestler themes as well as more boneheaded riffs. I'd like to take another stab at a Mr. Perfect/Macho Man sound and explore some international flavors. What I am having a hard time with is not allowing for a vocal track. I may indulge that if I have time at the end of the month, but for now I'm going to concentrate on solid melodies.