donderdag 29 maart 2012


Old friends, old friends sat on their parkbench like bookends
A newspaper blowin' through the grass
...  ...
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
...  ...
Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy
Old friends, memory brushes the same years, silently sharing the same fears

lyric and melodic excerpts from 'old Friends/Bookends' by Simon & Garfunkel

woensdag 28 maart 2012

The Year of the Cat

A total break with tradition here; guitar and vocals, no piano. Not really impro either, but true to the original premise: first take, no cuts.   Song I haven't played in over ten years.
First few lines may be a bit confused, finding a string not as much in tune as I want it to, and if there's one thing I can't stand... So it had to be retuned as I went on.   Also the bridge got me somewhat mixed up, but never mind the excuses.

It's gotta be the weirdest and most original version I ever did of this.  Just like a cat would, I guess.

And remind me again of the fact that one microphone is not sufficient for a good balanced mix.  And see if I care.  ;-)  (actually I do, but never mind just the same)

Illustrations: Cat's Eye Nebula, from Wikipedia

vrijdag 23 maart 2012

Adagio del Primavera

Another winter survived... Living in The Netherlands is a constant rollercoaster of ever changing weather.  The idea that there is places in the World where the daily news on TV and radio does not contain an extensive section on the weather-prediction is totally alien and uncomprehensible to a Dutch boy.

Seasons is one thing, Dutch weather a totally different matter.  Anyway.  The average of daily temparature and friendlyness of the atmosphere is climbing back to agreeable now.   Past few days were marvelous, all the trees are springing, birds are tweeting their little hearts out way before Sunrise and most of the flowers that sprout from bulbs (such as tulips and all their family; daffodils, krokussen (don't know that in English) have all shown their faces by now.  And tonight the clock will swallow an hour.

So.... time for contemplation and melancholic joy.

Pictures by yours Truly.  This is 'hondsdraf' in Dutch, abundant in the grass and all over road-sides
Today's play has a touch familiarity; either I ripped it of something I forgot, or it' s just something I have more or less played before.  Probably the second, though I am not really sure.  If you have an idea where these melodic stanza' s are partly from please let me know, use the 'reactions'  button...

Safe from a few misgrips close to conclusion most of this is the way I intended, but I sure lost my way for a few bars there...  Just like spring usually goes here, so I suppose it' s appropriate.  And today I joined the birds with some vocal additions as well.

PS. Alas, now that i have monitored the recording I find ot the vocals are barely audible...  Yet again reason to get at rearrangng my recording-setup.   Sorry!   There's just so much one microphone can pick up, especially when afterwards the music gets compressed to mp3, wich takes out all that is 'not audible'.  On the original recording the voice is much more present.  I'll see if I can improve it a bit, but.. no promises...

woensdag 21 maart 2012

Almost Cut My Hair

Yours truly, this morning.
Almost, but not quite.  From the epic album 'Deja Vu' by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  a rock band with a name like a lawyer firm.  First in a whole line of such named bands.  Up to then bands had names like Mushy Marshmallow Rainbow and the likes,  Tthese were the greatest minds and voices of such bands former glory.

Almost cut their hair.  almost, but not quite.  Not even close.  That's when the freakflag truly started its flight.

I really have to do something about my recording setup; just one microphone has in a way a nice direct sound that I like, but stereo and an extra vocal mic would be preferable.  That and less noise, let alone distortion, wich, I'm  afraid, has crept in here once more...
Pictures by me, being me, this morning.

dinsdag 20 maart 2012

Spherical Harmonics

Totally different approach of the instrument today. No sense explaining, just press play and sit back. Or stare at the picture.
Pictures by Robyn van Horn

PS Nothing wrong with your speakers, the recording is slightly distorted.

vrijdag 16 maart 2012

Minimal Lavender Fields Amongst Concrete

Hate it when this happens; the recorder gave me quite a scare when I finished todays recording.  It was not running.   But I was pretty sure I got the aquired habit of checking it for running when I start down all right.

Slight reassurance of this told me it had recorded, but I ran out of virtual tape....   So: compositional balance is slightly lost in this recording.  Even though all that is lost is the slow and easy petering out of what I played, back into reaquired silence, it might leave you slightly out of equilibrium.

  So just imagine another minute or so of re-affirming and settling of whatever notes were left when it fades out where an abrupt ending was.

donderdag 15 maart 2012

Hurried Rhapsody

Although I had about 10 minutes left to make my recording this morning before I had to go about my daily chores - and most of my plays take less than that - I did feel somewhat in a hurry to get the music down.  So much to say and play, in what felt like so little time.  

In about 7 minutes I felt like I did manage to get it all in.  Then I hit some keys and found whole new fields of exploration, and frankly those opened up probably way more than some extra minutes of new music.   But; no more time.   So, as fragmented as the first minutes were, these became split-up seconds of opening doors and closing them again, straight away.

So I do hope you can enjoy this rhapsody of cosmic possibilities unexplored...

woensdag 14 maart 2012


Story and illustration will be added in an hour or so, here's today's recording for now.

PS: If you have any suggestion for illustration please use reactions to post a link.

Full Circle

don't really know what to say about this piece except; Somehow it just felt very circular, and the ending, though abrupt, felt like perfectly running out of notes at the exact point where the circle was closed.

Henk.  Alas entered eternal silence few months ago...
The other thing being: I mentioned before one of the credo's of my once composition teacher Henk Alkema; It is as important to compose silence as it is to compose sound.  This time -while the circle got closed- it just did not feel finished.  And after one of the longest silence-bits I've ever created, what at first I thought was the beginning of a new piece, turned out to be the short epilogue.  Including the sound of knocking over a cymbal next to the piano when I turned on my chair to switch of the recorder.
Circle filled.

maandag 12 maart 2012

Static Stoïcism

I had some trouble today with processing this recording. Not so much tech-wise, more in the compositional/musical realm. First of all after playing my first round I had the feeling it wasn't up to scratch. Though a nice idea came up and got mostly fullfilled, I tried again. Wich of course did not work. Or, to be more precise, some parts were the things I felt were missing in the first try, but the rest was just nonsense and misgrips....

 So after that second try I figured let's try something completely different. 2nd or 3d move in that second try was indeed very nice, but not exactly what I wanted. So, listening to the whole track, I was torn between three (no, four) sentiments: first: just post the whole track and let you work it out. Second: just post the first movement. Third: cut out the middle. oh yes, and there it got just to intricate, because cut out the middle; exactly wich middle?  Ending up on a cut that was not from silence and so needed really more and extra processing and editing and..

That was not what I meant to do with this blog/podcast. Remember: 'From the first keystroke on, unedited, until I run out of notes'. So, just the first movement it is.  That one is perfect in its own right, fresh and real. Though not really a whole piece, it is a nice and comprehensive idea for one.  The rest is just thinking and elaborate workings again. and that's a different blog: 'Musical Nightgown', Pyjamapiano's little sister that got a bit crushed because of that whole stupid affair with the last provider etc etc etc.
 Oh boy, I'm just blabbing way to much again. here's the recording, enjoy.

zondag 11 maart 2012

Being Green

Kermit & Prince from Wilma's kikkersite
Another song I haven't played in years and years.

Kermit's credo...

Did it twice;, both are very different approaches, so I just give you both.

It's always an adventure, the way a familiar song from the past can carry you to long forgotten places and sing itself...

zaterdag 10 maart 2012

Bach To Balkan

Pic from
A short ditty today.  Just a few Bach-like melodics and counterpoint tries.  of course yesterday when I was just trying the first two octaves when tuning Mom' s piano I had the most perfect and brilliant minutes of 2-3 voice counterpoint ever.  And of course then I had no recording going.  Tried somewhat later again with recording and of course that was total nonsense.   This morning was somewhere in the middle.

The other thing I did testing all octaves when nearly done with the tuning was this nice Balkan-thingy.  This morning I decided to try that when I ran out of Bach.  And of course my fingers were too stiff because I just got up.  Great fun nonetheless.  And guess what: Bach decided to get in on the Balkan-vibe.

vrijdag 9 maart 2012

Kip En Ei

Well known Dutch saying: "Wat was er eerder, de kip of het ei"?
I'm not sure wether this saying exists in other languages.  In English:
"Wich one was first, the chicken or the egg"?
To utterly confuse the matter: Peacock eggs and chick, brooded by a chicken

Here's both, two movements.  I'd say the first is actually the chicken and the second one the egg.  But of course that is debatable.  If I were to make cuts and edits I'd use the second movement as first.  But that would be cheating.  And it totally defies the essence of the whole premise as it proves the saying.

First movement is a simple prelude/etude/sonata-like tonal exploration of some simple and elemental melodic/harmonic elements.  Second movement I just let rip, total thoughtless intuitive playing, where the elements of first movement somehow find their place in chaos...

zaterdag 3 maart 2012

Compulsive Eighths

Eight has got to be one of the strangest spelled words in English.  Especially if you take it to the next level, or to be more exact the pre-next level, it totally fractures.  When you think about it the whole way musical notation is set up on the basic level is strange: One beat is not a beat, in our most basic Western structure it is a quart.  Based on the idea one beat is nothing, it's just part of the larger whole - a measure-, consisting of three or four beats. And in case one measure is three beats (3/4 beat) we still call that 3'd measure ie one beat a quart.
Crazy, huh?  Now get into overdrive and you get half beats: eighths.  Still that word looks wrong, but I've checked and at least óne dictionary says that is the proper way to spell it.  Still it looks wrong.  Over-achieving.

Just like a large part of this piece.  Eighths marching on, twofold.  Two-voice invention I could name it.  And it is, mostly.  It felt like a race to keep up with the input from who knows where.  Compulsive eighths, going on and on.  Up to a certain point where my mind just tripped over my hands.  Tripped in the oldfashioned sense of stumbling over a rock or threshold ( <--there's another weird spelling of a word if ever...). 

That's where Bach's spirit got fed up with tonality, and in Grateful Dead-terms 'Space' starts.  And there we're back to the dichotomy of words, even when not intended in the first place.  About as intricate as these sentences have braided into strangeness do the compulsive eighths in todays episode.  Enjoy.