Music for the Eyes aka: (Making our first Music “Video”)

Made our first music video last week!  Well…actually…more a slideshow…though it turned out great!

I took Beautiful Autumn and using Windows Movie Maker, added some pictures to convey the words.  Seems a simple thing, and perhaps it is, but I actually stayed up ALL night working on it.  Arielle went to sleep around 10pm and about 7am the next morning, she came walking out of the bedroom and I had a smile on my face as I’d JUST finished the video.

Searched the net for hours finding relevant pictures, and had to be mindful there were no watermarks on them.  We’re a couple of broke musicians, and the last thing we need is a lawsuit because we used an image we’re not supposed to. Anyway…the Movie Maker was actually very intuitive, and I simply imported our song, and then started placing pics where they went along with the lyrics.  Once in place…just magnified everything to fine tune/timing, and added some Title/Credit captions. And walla…our first music video. ;)

I know an actual video of us playing live would be cool..and we’ll be working on that down the road…but there was something very interesting about splicing together pictures to represent lyrics.  These are some of the cooler picture ideas I came up with:

“Energy dances into form”~ It shows placid waters formed into an enormous tidal wave.

“Everything is one”~ I took a magnified picture of a single drop of water rippling the water’s surface, and followed with a picture of a black hole in space.  Just an interesting connection to see that both look almost identical..and it really brings to mind the vast scales our universe works within.

I remember being 7 years old, reading “The Gunslinger” by Steven King…and at the end, when Roland finally catches the man in black, they have a sit down in which the wizard gives Roland an amazing out-of-body experience.  His soul pulls out from his body, rises until the landscape around is model scale, higher until he sees the earth (after it had “moved on” of course)…further up and back until Roland sees the entire universe laid out in front of him. But he kept going…faster and faster…and as he ascends, the entire universe and all it’s endless galaxies ultimately are just the molecular level for a single blade of purple grass…in some other world…with some other laws binding it.  Talk about a revelation for a seven year old….such an amazing shift of size and proportion.  Just as…within each single droplet of water, there may be infinite worlds.

A very humbling idea, but one that has infused itself into my worldview.  When people talk about feeling the “awe” of God…a manly bearded face never did much for me…but this idea of size and proportion has always awed me. “all encompassing,  all powerful, all knowing”…far beyond man and our simpleton anthropomorphism.

I also really like how the last sequence of “rain and the dirt and a million lost souls” turned out…and think there is an embedded power via contrast between the cubicle-imprisoned souls and the sun shining down on a single reaching flower. I’ve always really appreciated juxtaposition…and with music backing….it is a powerful message.

I went a little “out there” with the end sequence…and was reaching for an idea that is perhaps beyond my rational thought structure but not beyond my intuition.  Energy in all things….

our thoughts create an actual field of energy that can be measured…and that interact with the world at large.  There are energy fields radiating from within our planet…and the atmosphere is saturated with wireless data…which itself is simply waves of energy.  Then the interconnecting energy fields of distinct planets, of solar systems, entire universes….it all looks very similar to the dancing energy structure of a single atom (third to last picture).  Perhaps our macro is simply the micro of a much large plane…and in the same light…perhaps there ARE truly worlds within each drop of water and blade of grass. Eternity all around us…and ultimately…IN us…when we learn to see from behind our mind and KNOW that there is an indwelling soul that did not begin with “me”/”us”…and will not end there.

I placed one from of our first video for twice as long as any other, and here it is:

We simply want to share a small glimpse of beauty and perhaps a little truth with the world…and in these times of ubiquitous advertising…thoughts broken down to 140 characters or less…I hope you will see the need for such counterbalance.

Please help us on our journey.  “Liking” our video actually does help get it to more ears and eyes, as do any other form of social network support.

At the heart of me, this whole electronic world is strange and perhaps a little alienating…but if that is the way we communicate to one another in these accelerated times…then I choose to do so under the flag of beauty and hope.

Raise your own flag…help us make a difference.  There may not be any immediate answers for the world at large…but anything that promotes wisdom, joy, peace, or beauty is a small step towards a better world.  If only through you.

Namaste.

Logan Dean~ Twilight Panorama

Some Simple (But Important) Things To Remember

Hi guys and gals.  Made up a list of some simple things to remember.  Hope you enjoy ;)

  • Put ice cream in AFTER the soda when making a float.  (Unless you really like that soapy brown foam)
  • If you are forced to use a porta-potty, and you plan on holding your breath for the entirety of your visit…remember to negotiate your belt BEFORE entering.
  • Take only as much money as you wouldn’t mind losing when going out drinking…same is true for items.  Glove box of your DD’s car is a great place to stash important stuff.
  • Always get insurance on your cell phone…trust me.
  • If you have things to do…WRITE THEM DOWN.  You are 300% more likely to actually do them if you make a list.  (This goes for short-term errands and long-term goals).
  • There are much better ways to wake up than the normal “alarm” clock.  Who wants to wake up in alarm anyway…not a very good way to begin a mindful day.
  • If you are undecided on something important…choose the one that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach… …if both choices make you feel sick, maybe there is something you aren’t seeing.
  • Your feet are the hardest working, and most under-appreciated part of your body.  Don’t forget to give ‘em a break once in awhile. Amazing what some cushy insoles can do for your perspective.

  • Once you are fairly comfortable with a recipe, try adding a little intuition and feeling your way through the cooking process.  No measuring cups or spoons…maybe a few new ingredients. You might be surprised (hopefully in a good way!)
  • There are many very cool things to learn from other countries. If you don’t look, you won’t know.
  • Remember back in middle school/high school/college…most of us would actually sit down and listen to music as the primary activity…learning new songs, actually listening to the lyrics, looking for new stuff.  If you don’t still do this from time to time, you are missing out.  MUSIC IS IMPORTANT!

  • Make sure to check the mirror before going out…boogs happen baby…boogs happen. ;)
  • If you truly hate your job…quit…simple as that.  You will either find something else or learn to live a more simple life.  Either way, at the very least, you will gain perspective.
  • The golden rule…when applied consistently…would change the world.
  • No matter your intentions……if you don’t use what you got……you lose what you got.
  • Search out things that make you laugh…and laugh.  If there is meaning in the world, laughter aligns you.  If there is nothing behind things…if all is random chaos…laughter is temporary liberation.  Either way…you are made better by it.

  • Own a comfortable pair of pjs, and wear them whenever you get the chance.
  • The duty you are procrastinating from is never as hard as your mind’s exaggerated estimation of it.
  • If you make a promise, keep it.  The marrow of a person is their word.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument.  It is never too late, and you will have the rest of your life to appreciate becoming part of the creation process.  Again, for emphasis…MUSIC IS IMPORTANT!!!

Please follow my blog, share with your friends…add a simple thing to remember for yourself in the comments!  Thanks!!!

Logan~Twilight Panorma

Great Music Quotes

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley

All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.
Jean Cocteau

I don’t care much about music. What I like is sounds.
Dizzy Gillespie

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.
Billy Joel

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
Gustav Mahler

If music be the food of love, play on.
William Shakespeare

If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.
Thomas Carlyle

Music can change the world because it can change people.
Bono

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.
Jimi Hendrix

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Victor Hugo

Music happens to be an art form that transcends language.
Herbie Hancock

Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
William Congreve

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Lao Tzu

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.
Plato

Music is a performance and needs the audience.
Michael Tippett

Music is love in search of a word.
Sidney Lanier

Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.
Jean Paul

Image

Music is my religion.
Jimi Hendrix

Music is something that always lifts my spirits and makes me happy, and when I make music I always hope it will have the same effect on whoever listens to it.
Aaron Carter

Music is the best means we have of digesting time.
W. H. Auden

Music is the fourth great material want, first food, then clothes, then shelter, then music.
Christian Nestell Bovee

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
Leo Tolstoy

Music is the soul of language.
Max Heindel

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Berthold Auerbach

Music’s staying power is a function of how timeless the lyrics, song and production are.
Gary Wright

Please leave your own favorite music quotes as comments.

And of course:  Liking, Sharing, and Following will help others to read and hear this simple reminder of what is still pure in this world.

Namaste.

Dissecting a Song

Hiya guys and gals.  Hope the week has been unfolding smoothly.

Two blogs back, I was discussing my very limited technical prowess with home recording…

The Technical (and NOT so technical) Part: Novice Home Studio Recording

…and it doesn’t matter how much potential a song might have…if it’s not polished and fully accessible to the ear, people won’t be interested.  And unfortunately, since I simply follow my ear and know nothing of levels, frequencies, Hz and limits…there is a very real ceiling placed upon our sound.

BUT….we lucked into meeting an online fan, who also happens to be a professional Audio Engineer (thanks to Soundcloud!)…and he’s offered to mix/master a few of our songs for FREE!!! (I love free!) The deal we made is that I’ll keep my home-recorded versions posted on Soundcloud…along with the Mastered/Pro versions…giving him full Mastering credit.  He benefits because the difference in sound quality will showcase his skills…and I benefit because the song I hear inside will be more fully realized/polished/and accessible to the listener.  For example..there’s a bass line in “Eventually” that kinda got lost in the background.  Here’s how this happened:

When recording,   I hear a part, play it,and record that part…Track 1.  I then put on my headphones and replay Track 1 so I can hear it aloud while the studio remains silent for the next part.  I listen and play the next part…Track 2 while listening to track 1…play the third part while listening to Tracks 1 and 2…and so it goes.

“Eventually” has 10 distinct tracks with both live and virtual instruments, a chew can (which I used for the hoppy little beat)…and vocals.  10 distinct sounds…and no matter how I tried to change the volume on each…I just couldn’t make it so everything could be heard.  So..that’s how I lost the bass-line…but am hopeful that he will find it ;)

So…he’s in the UK…I’m here in Portland, Oregon.  But thanks to the net..not a problem.

Since I don’t really understand the technical stuff…here’s the directions I received.

1. Convert each track to a WAV. file and send it via Dropbox.

WHHW!!!?????

But trial and error…anything can be accomplished with patience using trial and error.

Had to open the 10 track song in Mixcraft 5 (the very intuitive recording program I use)…copy Track 1….open a new project, paste track 1, then “Mix down” to a WAV. file.

So I figured it out!!!!….ummm…wait.

Did this, and Track 1 sounded pretty lame.  After scratching my head a few, realized that none of the effects I’d added to the track moved to the new project I pasted it into.

So…within the above process…I added clicking the FX tab, and writing down any effect (for example: Classic Chorus- Guitar #2). Most tracks only had one or two effects…some none…but he chew can had six!!!(took a lot to make the sound..and since I don’t quite understand what each effect does..I went through them one by one and just listened to how the sound changed…finally finding the fun little beat!)

FINALLY…got it figured out…ready to send for Mastering!!!!  Oh…shit…not quite.

The final thing I discovered is that if you have a track…and in that track the sound doesn’t start at 00:00….if you simply copy the track and paste it into a new project as described above…the sound WILL start at 00:00…meaning things are out of synch.  For example…I play a fingerpicking part for the chorus areas of the song on my guitar…but when I pasted the track for mixdown)…the fingerpicking started at the very first second of the song!!!…no good)

How you resolve this, or at least how I resolved this, is by taking any track in which the actual sound doesn’t stat at the beginning, or 00:00, and simply recording a second’s worth of nothing.  Basically I armed these tracks for recording, one by one, hit record, and directly hit stop.  And it worked.

After doing this and mixing down to WAV. the track contains a little click at the beginning …then silence…until the actual sound started in the right place!  So finally…after a several hours of trial and error…10 tracks ready to send.

Using Dropbox, I simply dragged each WAV. file into the “Public” folder, and waited.  After a few minutes…the tracks were stored  online, and a link was provided that allows for Richard in the UK to directly download the data.

Wrote him an e-mail…naming each track (Example: Eventually Track 1: Main Guitar) along with all the effects information for each track.  And after each one, I pasted the Dropbox link.

And that’s it…my music is half-way around the world, being re-assembled by a pro…and I’m thrilled!

Very much looking forward to hearing the final product, and will be posting to our profile on Soundcloud as soon as his work is done! http://soundcloud.com/twilight-panorama

I know most of you probably don’t care that much about the technical stuff…but it was a learning experience for me (I’ll be able to send him “Beautiful Autumn” way easier after this)…and it might just help a couple of you along your path.

Thanks for reading..and keep checking back for future blogs.  Meeting with Adam of Biker Mouse tonight to finally get flawless recording of our joint parts in Mellow..and then I can start adding ;)

Until the next, keep going in the direction of your dreams…

Logan~Twilight Panorama

 

UPDATE:  After weeks of waiting, I finally received the “mastered” version of Eventually.  In truth, it was a re-interpretation…and he actually took out the vocal harmony, the cool hoppy drum…the piano beat, AND the bass-line. It was  and is a major disapointment, but I’ve learned a few things from the experience.

1) Taking someone’s word that they are “professional” means very little.  The definition of “professional” simply means at some point you’ve been paid money for the service you offer.

2) I will never again allow a perfect stranger to work with the music that flows through me unless I am there to share ideas, discuss the song’s inherent soul, and to give feedback.  It would be different if it were music put together in parts by several musicians..but every sound that has been recorded comes directly from my own heart…and I feel a deeply-felt obligation to this divine gift.

This is my closure.  Lesson learned.

 

Bandmates, Bills, and Big Dreams

Thanks for taking a look ;)

We really appreciate the handful of you who’ve taken an interest in our efforts to write about forming a band and getting our music out into the world.And we made some progress this last week.  I placed an ad on Craigslist (CL for those who know ;) looking for musicians to play the virtual portions of our existing songs..and actually received several replies.

Met up with a bassist who found a rad bass-line to one of the many “in progress” pieces we’ve got…but he lives damn near 2 hours away..and so might not work due to logistics.  We were supposed to jam with a percussionist today (sort of a “working” interview), but unfortunately Arielle’s facing a personal tragedy and simply needed some time.  So need to reschedule, along with setting up sit-downs with two violinists.  I love the creation portion of music..but the administrative stuff is not quite as much fun…

And then there’s Adam.  He’s a fellow Soundcloud user, and I really connected with a couple of his songs.  So much so, in fact, that I actually contacted him for permission to add to one of his posted songs called “Mellow” (a counter-melody came to me while listening that felt like a warm summer breeze).  He agreed, and I downloaded his song, and spent about an hour in the studio adding the undeniable melody that played inside my mind. What you’re hearing is the result.  Adam and I have since met up in person (both living under the same gray skies of Portland) and our combined ability to flow off each other was pretty amazing.  Never intended adding another guitarist to the project, and yet, there is something kindred and resonating in his work, and I can see such potential in collaborating.

But the soul that dreams still exists in this tangible form, and even the most fervent daydreamer has bills to pay. And so…after finally making a commitment to getting our sound out into the world and gearing towards live shows…I get a call from my boss telling me that the painting season is finally upon us..and that I’ll be working near full time from here on out.  Anyone who’s familiar with Murphy’s many laws understands just how fitting this is :)  Just another couple in this real world, working to live and dreaming of a more fulfilled life.

And we’ll get there…even if it takes burning the candle at both ends.  Our shared dream is to make it to a level musically that we’re invited to one of the many festivals that dot the cooler locations in the great NW…taking a few months out of the year to travel and celebrate the energy of life with fellow musicians and music lovers…

…and it will happen, as the future is simply the “now” we manifest…pursuing its fruition one step at a time.

With minds full of imagination, and hearts beating with quiet hope,  we wish you a restful evening.

Namaste.

Logan~ Twilight Panorama

The Technical (and NOT so technical) Part: Novice Home Studio Recording

So a new fan wrote me on our Soundcloud profile (see below).

His name is Sean, and he asked about what kind of guitar and equipment I use for recording.  He is doing some home recording himself this weekend and looking for tips.  What follows is my reply…and I hope both the pro recorders along with newbies (like me) will be able to appreciate.  (And hopefully better explain the idea in a comment!). *** Any home recording tricks or tips as comments would also be greatly appreciated!!!

Anyway, here goes:

Hey Sean-

Nothing fancy on this end. No understanding of the technical side of anything, so I’m using the simplest studio program I could find (Mixcraft 5)..and up until a few months back…the free version that let you make the music but not mix down!

I’ve JUST bought a nice Ibanez elec./acoustic (the fat-bodied AEL20EVV).

It has yet to make it into anything recorded on our Soundcloud page…though I just laid the bones for a new song with the same upbeat feel as “Eventually”..and it has proven an excellent new friend (both the guitar AND song actually!).

Outside of that…I’ve got the entry level M-Audio midi keyboard I add all virtual instruments with…and a $100 M-Audio Usb Condenser mic which I record everything layer by layer. No pre-amps…no filters…don’t even know how to use this stuff.

In all honesty…I’m finding a knack for melody…hearing many different things and forming them into a composition…but only by following my ear…and I have yet to get things mixed in a way that captures the interior version of what I hear. There are some areas in each track where there’s some ambient noise (created by an effect or who knows what)..that I’m unable to make disappear no matter what I do. And the string squelches!!!!Aaaahhh!!!  Been told to use a spray-on lubricant to minimize this…but have yet to give it a shot. Sooner or later, we’ll get enough songs together to justify buying studio time…(but I’ve been secretly hoping some up and coming producer will hear potential and offer mixing/mastering services for credit…yeah right! ;)

What I’ve noticed with the condenser mic is that it seems to pick up sound primarily from the front (my mic stand broke..and I just lay it on my computer desk…position it on a book or something to get it by the guitar hole)…and variations in the intensity of the sound apparently effect the level of it’s reception. For example…in my new piece…I’m strumming and tapping the guitar body in rhythm. Once I get the mic adjusted to the “sweet spot” of my guitar…there is still a major difference between the overall loudness of the recording…totally dependent on how hard I tap the body.

I think the overall loudness of the sound recorded creates the parameters of the track..and so if I hit the body too hard….the range of the sound intensity goes way up..and my gentle strumming grows more quiet. Inversely, if I remain mindful to keep the tapping controlled (which is hard when you start getting pulled into the flow ;))../the strumming is recorded with a much better quality…much louder and crisper.

So basically…if you had whisper lyrics recording…they would sound loud and clear…unless somewhere while recording there was a loud sound (like maybe you coughing)..and then it seems the entire track parameters change and in comparison..the whisper vocals would damn near disappear. Why this happens I don’t know..but it does.

Is this making sense? I hope so. I’m trying to convey what I’ve noticed…as a logical and aware man…but without any particular expertise or known jargon.

Anyway…I’ll listen through your stuff once I’m done. Thanks for the positive feedback Sean…and it may be that we can get together and form something larger than anything we could manifest alone. For the stage…or just for our souls to play!

Take care brother,

Logan

(Thanks for reading..and feel free to add your ideas or become a follower for updates to all new blogs)

Namaste.

“Namaste”

I do not follow yoga…though I’ve studied it’s spiritual roots. When they read or hear “Namaste.”…it seems many people either have a preconceived notion of what it means (usually connected to a religious tradition)…or are actually clueless and usually too embarrassed to ask.

At the very core, “Namaste” is a greeting or farewell that means “the soul in me recognizes the soul in you”.  Without all the religious and traditional trappings, it is simply a way to share that we are in fact connected. Your soul is the same as mine..though we wear different forms.

Just as  waves roll endlessly across the ocean…arising from the great body of water, finding their own momentary and miraculous form…so too do we live our lives.  Pushed to rise, swelling, cresting…then breaking to merge with the unseen powers that formed us.

Does a wave die when it returns to the ocean?

What is lost?

Understand this, and you will truly understand “Namaste.” ;)

My name is Logan…a man of both light and dark in this world..but one who has finally decided to act upon his calling.

Creation.

Music.

We have formed, and are still forming, a group called Twilight Panorama…based out of our small 100year-old cabin in the woods just outside of Portland, Oregon.  We have come far, and have much farther to go…one step at a time…into the unfolding mystery which is this passing life.

Please check back for future blogs detailing our own quest to make it as a band…tentative first open mics…our diligent search for a cellist (almost as difficult to find as the ever-elusive “unicorn” ;)) …the creative process…the successes…failures…and maybe a few deep ideas along the way.

The journal of our unfolding life…one blog at a time…open to those who are curious enough to read. A simple button click on “Follow” will assure you’re notified of future writing. (and I promise you..it will not be nothing like a “Tweet”).

Any support or feedback along the way is accepted with sincere gratitude, and if we are able to help, please let us know.
After all…in Truth…by helping each other, we are ultimately helping ourselves.

Namaste

Logan~Twilight Panorama

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