From the Top

When Fortress first formed, Danny and I did a good portion of the song writing. Later when Jim joined us, he and Danny collaborated if I wasn’t around, or all three of us worked together. Typically, Danny would write some lyrics and come up with a rough melody and phrasing. We then sat around and tried to figure out what chords and rhythms fit the melody and phrases.

These days, things happen differently. When Jim and I jam, we’ll sort of freestyle it if the mood strikes in between working on existing tunes, and occasionally an idea will bloom. Many times I’ll listen back to a rehearsal recording later in the week, take a piece of one of these jam sessions, maybe even just a few chords, and build something new from that.

Jim and I don’t get to hang out every day of the week like we did when we were young bucks with no families or real jobs. Good ideas can’t be forced and can’t be made to wait for schedules to align. In some cases modern technology like the interwebs and handheld wireless communicators (otherwise known as “smart phones”) allows us to collaborate some, but many times, an idea comes and it just has to be left to blossom on its own whether collaboration can happen or not.

Little-by-little, I’ve been working on a song I’ve given the working title of “Atmosphere” for about 2 or 3 months now. I’ve actually gradually built this song into something that I think is going to sound really great. “Atmosphere” bloomed on its own. I actually came up with music and lyrics (and I don’t consider myself a lyricist by any stretch of the definition). Since it seemed to be coming to me so easily, I decided I would just let it roll and see where it takes me. I decided it would be a great exercise to complete this one all the way through the finished recording on my own. I’ve already started recording it, though still have some work left to do.

It began like I imagine many song ideas happen for many song writers. I was sitting on the couch one night noodling around on an acoustic guitar and I just happened to hit a few notes in succession that sounded somewhat appealing. Whenever I get an idea that I like enough to want to eliminate the risk of forgetting, I’ll pull out my cell phone and record it.

I thought this would be a great opportunity to document the creative process of a song from beginning to end. I tripped over this mp3 file today looking for something else on my thumb drive. I can’t believe how much this song is evolving as I continue to work on it. What you’re going to hear below is the result of me sitting on the couch just quickly recording that basic idea that I didn’t want to risk forgetting. It’s going to be very interesting to compare how it started to how the finished product sounds (with any luck I’ll have a finished product before summer).

Have a listen. Comments welcome. I doesn’t sound like much now, but I warn you, this one’s snowballing out of control. There’s no stopping it no matter how much you think it sucks.


~ by fortressradio on February 29, 2012.

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