Tuesday, August 24, 2021

New Music Track: The Gatekeeper Narcissist



The Gatekeeper Narcissist
Another strange metal-pop song about a type you may meet in the workplace or in a club. I've seen more than I have had to personally deal with. Companies and Fandom have more than a few. THE THING is the thing your a fan of, or the job you do.

Uses a project Template I have set up, so it looks like the last 3 songs I've done. Quite possibly I am still remaking the same song.   😅  Uses Ibanez 7 string in DROP A.

Will have to go in a different direction next time, but don't expect that will be weird time signatures with different measures ending after some random beat count! That seems a feature of some Prog Metal, but I am not a fan. I love a very heavy metal chorus, and the verses can be "whatever" as long as the vocals are melodic and understandable. Don't care if there is a guitar solo or not, and prefer more melodic lines. 
My tracks start out as just instrumentals, but when I add the lyrics, it doesn't need the lead melody type lines going on any more, but I don't delete them. They are just lower in the mix. This I think is an unusual thing to do too.

I'm not Eddie Van Halen though. He sure knew how to write pop songs, even if they were mostly metal. 

Here is a "video" of the track on Youtube.

The first time I heard about this type of person was how some people I know were treated by the person running FANDERSON a few decades ago. They are still around and in even more Otaku (person who is obsessed with particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills ) fan things now. Also have Facebook friends very involved with Dr Who, Star Wars and things like MARVEL movies who are always going on about someone and their minions are harassing people about the casting or a role.  Originally the working title of the track was FANDOM, but my working through the lyrics made me expand the coverage and make it about gatekeepers.

I jot notes on lyrics, then try and sing them.  a chorus or verse at a time. Maybe only have half a verse, but will sing and record that as there is some word association thing that happens.  I rewrite the lines so I can see them easily to sing them. Once I get a line I record a few takes. Hopefully the later takes sound like I actually know the song, because in reality, I don't yet. I may cut and copy parts from different takes.  May come back later and change the wording after I play it 10,000 times. 

What I have done in other songs, but not (yet) in this one, is re-record new melody guitar parts that mimic or are a counterpoint to the lyrics that are now the focus of the verse. All very interactive.

The final lyrics up on Bandcamp are what i transcribed from the actual FINISHED song.   

The stuff I have put on Bandcamp, rather than Soundcloud, has gotten 10 or so plays.  So I really just  do this for myself, as I don't have any audience to bother about.

In more detail.

The Gatekeeper Narcissist

A hallmark of a Narcissist is being the self-appointed "gatekeeper" of a group, club, community or workplace, but not in a good way. While the "gatekeeper" position is often a normal part of many groups, an integral function is to welcome new people genuinely and openly; rejecting new people or current members is rare and only done when a person is found to be actually dangerous. 

The Gatekeeper Narcissist does not welcome one and all to join, even if the group is supposed to be open and public. Only those who do not threaten the ego or personal agenda of this person are welcomed into the group. For example, anyone who the gatekeeper narcissist believes is more talented, smarter, better looking, nicer, or more charismatic than he or she is will be kept out of the group with any means possible, or made to look bad to everyone else if they do get past them. 

Anyone who has seen through their agenda will definitely be kept out, even if they have no ill intent. This rejection will be fictionalized to anyone who asks; it will be said that the person is undesirable in some way; they are too weird, slutty, stuck-up, untalented, prima dona, unworthy in some way; the nastier the better; it has nothing to do with reality. This person could be as kind and humble as Mother Theresa, but will be painted by the Gatekeeper Narcissist as a "rotten apple" somehow. 

The preferred method is directly discouraging a person by treating them with disdain and arrogance, sending a "message" directly to the person that they are "unwanted". This is often done by only one or two people, but to the target it can be daunting, and there is no way to know if the whole group is similarly arrogant and cold. (Of course, half the time the rest of the members have no idea why this person stays away from the group, and to the Gatekeeper's delight, they often assume that the person either was not interested, or didn't like it.) It is a rare person that ever stands up to a Gatekeeper Narcissist, because doing so often results in major drama, and whoever the Narcissists sycophants are will turn on the whistleblower. 

People seem to know instinctively that standing up to a Narcissist who has the smallest amount of influence will enrage them, and he or she will trash them to kingdom come. Only the bravest of us will risk the drama that is sure to follow. Unfortunately, most of the time the Narcissist Gatekeeper is left in his or her "position" because those who are aware of them don't want to deal with the fallout.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

New Music Track: The Bots Are At It Again



Fun On Social Media, the food pics, the love from your closest 1000 friends, the fascist bots, the misinformation, the utter ratbags, the trivia...

So this is a love song to Social Media.  It always seems to me the most trivial, or hateful,  things get a gazillion likes and the simple 2 step plan to stop world hunger gets 2.  Mostly shows people are terrible much of the time. 

Also made a "video", that is mostly the Reaper Project.

This is the fourth song with lyrics and singing I've now written. Of course it takes more than 4 times to be actually good at it. Practice makes you better at it.  The writing, recording, re-recording and editing all happen at the same time. But the first thing that I make is a drum track with a fill every 8 or 16 bars.  I record to that and never turn on the click. I hate the click.  I record many long improvised sections that I edit together to form the composition.  My ideas for lyrics get modified as I try and sing them.  Once I know the song I will record them again, and change things that seem to need changing. It is also just a song, so ambiguity in the lyrics is par for the cause. This isn't a policy whitepaper or report. 

A very interactive process. As I have many alternate takes, I can come back later and edit in parts of other takes to change something, and I usually do. What I do want is a simple, memorable, catchy chorus lyric. That is a core of pop music, but also what I want for my Metal-ish stuff. 

The problem in making something is ALL YOU CAN HEAR ARE THE MISTAKES.  So I assume most of them are "character" and only fix the biggest things, and leave the rest. My method still makes the result a performance.  

Feel the more songs I make the higher the percentage of "acceptability" is, so practice makes them better. 

I can hear a few things wrong with this, particularly, slightly off vocal pitch, but those are the bits that are "bots POV".  Guitar in the verses is overplayed and too busy, but the level is low, so it doesn't hide the vocal at all.

This was done on a 7 String Ibanez GIO GRG7221, with the lower B down tuned to an A for DROP A, 1 finger power chords on the lower 2 strings, even though the lowest chord is just a C here.  Distortion is BOSSS METAL CORE DI'ed into computer, and used cabinet IR's. for final sound.

Again very inspired by early Freak Kitchen, and Mattias's do your own thing. Grow your own moustache, being his term for that. 

The chorus is very METAL with lots of CHUG, but most of the verses are more POP.  I do like that chorus riff. 

Put together this one page comic, but it has way too much small text and needs to be MUCH longer to do the subject justice.

Next song has to be about my distaste for  Fandom gate keepers.  

Monday, August 2, 2021

FARSCAPE, that was 20 years ago...

August 1st 2021 was the 20th Anniversary of us moving back to Australia after 15 years living in Japan. Just a couple of days ago as I write this. Moved back to Japan to live 19 months ago now though.

There was shortly to be 9/11 which caused almost as much trouble as the Corona Virus has recently.

Living in Japan for 15 years meant that there was a lot of non-Japanese TV I had not seen, such as Seinfeld  and .  Really big at the time, but non existent in Japan for us.

On getting settled back in Sydney and looking for work, I did manage to watch  Home Improvement as it was on 10AM every week day. 9/11 pretty much made the work world for me stop for 6 months at least. No one was doing anything and took a wait and see attitude to any new projects.

One of the things I did start to watch soon after getting back to Sydney was Farscape. It had been running for a few years and was being made there in Sydney Australia!

Must say I don't remember much about it now. I didn't see it from the start. Maybe from Season 2 or 3.Did the cartoon above about it. Remember there was a LOT of running about the ships corridors, as he is depicted above and a lot of interesting characters and puppets. But it was just a TV show I bothered to watch. 

I bring this up as a few months ago I think Farscape became available on a streaming service and people like Joseph Mallozzi saying how great it was. The guy with gun did end up in Stargate, so there was a connection there. 

So I think about what I remember feeling about it 20 years ago and wonder if it is worth the trouble of tracking down and watching the first 3 seasons. Probably on DVD, as that is most convenient for me here. 

So far it isn't a hard YES. Don't remember being that interested in it, other than someone was actually doing something in Sydney that wasn't just a cheap soap opera.

A bit later Battlestar Galactica started and I started watching that, but I was finding getting consistently work hard at the time, and I didn't need the downer that was that show. 

So I'm not sure if that confused memory has rubbed off on Farscape a bit. There are many shows I have never watched. Haven't seen any of the shows raved about, briefly, on streaming  like THE MANDALORIAN, BREAKING BAD, STRANGER THINGS or  GAME OF THRONES.  

Seem to doubt Farscape is worth the trouble. But I will want to watch something before I re-watch Babylon 5 again in a couple of years. I watch TV to relax before going to bed but don't want a show to send me to sleep, and I think some of Farscape did do that.

New Music Track: What A Waste (Mottai Nai)


Free to Download if you put in $0


This swaps the J-POP K-POP song thing around where the verse is in English and the chorus is a standard Japanese expression Mottai Nai. Means "Wasteful", "isn't that a waste"  a few variations on that in the chorus. A lot of wasteful things around and Japanese say "Mottai Nai" a lot...

Pop-ish verses, Heavy Riff Chorus, but vocals still pop-ish.  

This is again our down tuned Squire Strat and J-Bass.  Wanted a really heavy chorus riff then a dramatic change in the verses, even if the vocals remain pop-ish double tracked through out .  Been studying old Freak Kitchen and some recent Metal on those heavy riffs. 

My inspiration for song structure and complexity are DEEP PURPLE "Smoke On The Water", "Black Night" ,  BLACK SABBATH "Paranoid" and JUDAS PRIEST "Living After Midnight" .  These are all very simple songs that don't have massive guitar solos in them.  They also became really popular, so simplicity is more likely to be easier to listen too.  But, the riffs in these songs are very different than modern lower register, low string pedal note riffs.

The Guitar Pedals and Ashton microphone.

My song writing , production and recording all happen at the same time in Reaper. 

I record much more than gets put into a song off  after the end of the song. The song is made of 8 and 16 bar sections, and I select those from much longer takes.  Editing, cut, copy and pasting bars and sections, the way you use a word processor.  Takes are all improvised on the spot. The verses are using the D# Aeolian (Natural Minor)  &  Pentatonic scales.  The chorus uses C# Aeolian (Natural Minor)  with 3 tracks of guitars.

The vocals were sung with a hand held Aston "SM58 look alike" cheap dynamic microphone. It is so hot here, my AT2020 condenser microphone picks up the air conditioner in the next room. The studio is also only a 2 mat room, so the dynamic mic doesn't pick up the room tone either. So a Lo-Fi vocal without the unwanted room tone and environment noise. 

Guitar Distortion was the METAL CORE, and we used the GE-7 EQ as a Cabinet Simulator on a chorus track. J-bass used the Behringer GDI21.  On other sounds we used Cabinet IRs in Reaper. Particularly the "Gods_Cab_1.2" using a SM57.  The Cabinet Sims take away the Buzz and Fizz of the DIed distortion pedal and also allow you to position the cabinet microphone. 

My ORANGE Micro Amp is only for practice . I never record it's sound.

This is only the 3rd Vocal based Song I've written and sung so I don't have much experience. As long as I can equal or better Bob Dylan's singing voice I am happy at the moment.

Not sure what I will do next. Needs to use the 7 String though, even though down tuning a 6 string gives just as good results, I have now discovered.

We can be contacted at Art & Technology.