One year ago, in March of 2020, I went into Kyle Everett's Robotboy Records studio in Eugene to start a recording project. The original plan was to do a few demos, translating what there was inside my head into at least some form of basic song structure, and take them home to listen and see which tracks had potential to expand upon and eventually build up into something more than just an idea.
And then the plague hit, and a lot of plans had to be put on hold, for a lot of people. Before the studio closed for the duration of the pandemic, we had five solid song demos with basic guitar + beat + vocals, recorded over two relaxed four hour sessions. Any of those could have been morphed into a completed song with the addition of more instrumentation, and there was also a sixth sketch track of a germinal sci-fi folk tune.
Last summer, after seeing that things weren't going to return to normal anytime soon, I put together a home recording setup in a quiet upstairs bedroom, and began learning how to record, edit, and mix on my own. For a guy whose concept of hi-tech is assembling and blowing up high compression air cooled VW engines and designing and building tube amps made to be detonated - both 1920s level technology - working with 21st century digital recording was a steep learning curve, but the journey was more fun than not.
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Note: There should be an embedded YouTube vid below, with the song Sakura Falling Onto Snow, but if you're reading this on a phone or iPad, it's probably not there, Google only knows why. Here's a direct link to the song on YouTube.
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Sakura Falling Onto Snow was little more than a sketch of a song last March, and none of its previously recorded demo tracks were kept. Since that time the key has risen two steps and the melody evolved, the tempo slowed a few bpm and new words written, and gradually a somewhat different song emerged from what was once a string of Haikus held together by a guitar pretending to be a Koto.
As of now, Sakura Falling Onto Snow is a work in progress, more than simply a demo version, yet not quite complete. You may notice there is no bass line to complement the lowest pitched wooden drum, and eventually it would be great to have another solo instrument added to the bamboo flute - perhaps a Koto or a violin.
If you do decide to honor this humble song with a listen, please consider doing so with headphones or some sort of speaker system besides the tiny ones in a phone, in order to get into the spirit in which it was, and continues to be, created.
Thanks and credit due to the memory of science fiction and fantasy goddess Ursula K. Le Guin for the title of the collection, "From Within The Imminent Grove".
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Contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org