I’ve been spinning various ideas around my brain since late November. What to do for FAWM 2016? It’s a FAWM Leap Year so I know I have to do 14½ songs (I always enjoy making an ½ song). I’ve thought of doing a bunch of covers “in a Space Rock Style” with my own compositions to fill out the required 14½. I’ve also thought of just letting my muse lead me (like last year – which produced fabulous results). But the thought I’ve sort of centered on in the last couple of days (influenced no doubt by the passing of the late-great David Bowie) is to finally record my first Concept album – one I conceived of twenty years ago now. Bowie’s Space Oddity was one of the prime influences for the story line with a healthy helping of Pink Floyd’s Interstellar Overdrive (arguably the first Space Rock song) & Atom Heart Mother (a “back catalogue epic” that is rarely heard except by crazy Floydish Fans like me) adding musical flavour & structure.
The concept album is called Beyond The Bounds Of Time & consists of nine songs (many of which have free-form jam sections that keep changing every time I play them). I know the idea is “Feburary Album WRITING Month”, but I find that February & March is the only time I delve deep into the recording process. If I don’t record this album during FAWM, it’ll never get recorded – & it’s already waited twenty years. I plan on filling out the rest of my required songs with my usual “Live-To-Tape” Improvs as well as Collabs (I’m sure Johnny will inspire another song with his always lyrics comments).
Ten days in & I am currently working on song number 7. So far, I’ve gotten some great feedback on my first six songs from a lot of familiar faces & some new (to me) FAWMers as well. Oh, I guess I should explain what a “FAWMer” is. Basically a FAWMer is anyone participating in FAWM – either writing & posting songs for the challenge or those very few who simply comment on others work. Thank you to everyone who has commented on my songs so far. And I know I’ve fallen behind with commenting on my Watchlist (FAWMers I’m following), but I’m doing my best to keep up.
Every year I have people ask me about my setup & what exactly “Buzz” is. Well, put simply, Jeskola Buzz (the full name of the program) is a modular compositional software based on the idea of “Machines”. Basically, a Buzz project is an open canvas where you can insert Generator Machines (synths, instruments, &c…) & Effects Machines (choruses, flangers, reverbs, filters, &c…) & wire them up just about any way imaginable. The workflow is based on Tracker Technology (for anyone familiar with FastTracker, ProTracker or even ImpulseTracker, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Trackers basically take samples & allow you to key those samples in various tones to write songs. The workflow is very different from DAW’s that most people are familiar with & takes a little getting used to for the unseasoned. But Buzz is more then just a Tracker, it’s possibilities are endless with its modular approach to everything. There is an entire community of developers creating new buzz machines all the time. Buzz also supports VST & VSTi integration as well as the use of SoundFonts & other audio creation/processing plugin technologies. I’ve been using Buzz as my main compositional software since 2005 (gods, its been ten years, doesn’t seem that long!) & have yet to find another piece of software that lets me be as creative. Here’s a screenshot of one of my two Buzz Projects for my sixth FAWM 2015 song Jura Mountains:
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how the modular machines work. For more information about Jeskola Buzz, you can check out the Buzz community website: www.buzzmachines.com
Anyway, I’m really happy at how far I’ve come so far this FAWM. Six songs in eight days is pretty exciting. As I said, I’m working on song number 7 which is going to be using some original audio from the Apollo 11 mission. I’m really excited about it. Anyway, stay tuned for more new songs & more ramblings in the next edition of my FLOG. Until next time…