Fluff your first take? Keep going you can do as many as you like these days!

via Daily Prompt: Fluff

Today’s blog is going to use the word fluff!

How does this word relate to my blog and the intent of my website?

What tenuous link to this word could I possibly come up with?

Okay here goes…….

This website is essentially about writing and recording twelve songs. In the process of recording these songs there will be numerous times when I will ‘fluff’ part of an individual track that I am recording. A fluff is say when you his a bum note on your baseline, or the words your singing don’t come out right. You basically record a mistake!

Traditionally, before the days of even magnetic tape, fluffs were expensive. The original record pressing was cut directly onto a disc of ‘shellac’ (one of the first plastics). If you fluffed a part of the song, the ‘fluff’ stayed on the record, or you would have to record the whole of the song again! I seem to remember the film ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou?’  has a scene where the ‘Soggy Bottoms’ emulate the kind of recording process.

Even when magnetic taping allowed re-recording of tracks, a skilled producer, and a technician would have to ‘punch in’ the un-fluffed parts after finding the mistake and patching it in.

Seldom do ‘fluffs’ or mistakes make it onto a final recording, however, they can sometimes be the spice needed to bring an average song to life or, give a song a new feel. The trick is to know when to hold a fluff and no when to fold one.

Nowadays, you can make as many fluffs as you like using software such as garage band. You basically have two options:

Firstly you can record a whole track and cut and paste the good (un-fluffed) parts or; you can continuously record as many takes of the track as you wish. Thinking about it, you can record just a section of the track as many times to get it right, and then copy and paste it where necessary.

The options these days are so flexible. The only limit is time I suppose and computer memory. The later of these limits being highly improbable. We are talking thousands of takes to use up an average computer memory!

Leaving you tonight with the quote from the album, ‘Copperhead Road’ by Steve Earle and the Dukes, “I knew there was a first taker on this album somewhere!”. Makes me think how times have changed in the process of recording a song!





If I Knew Where The Line Was, You Know I Would Break The Rules!

Photo on 29-10-2017 at 21.02Right then it’s been quite a productive day going through a whole host of recordings that have been laid down previously. The cans have been on!

I’ve shortlisted three tracks to work on in the next couple of weeks. Here’s what I’ve come up with with notes on what I intend to do:

Break The Rules: 

This song has a good groove, its baseline is addictive. The drums are perfect and don’t need to be messed with. I need to wright the lyrics to a second, third and fourth verse along with a possible  middle eight to break it up a bit. The rough three part harmonies need redoing in spite of a good approximation as to what final vocals will be. The hook line is ‘if I knew where the line was, you know that i’d break the rules‘  Possible experimentation on dropping out all instruments bar one, then reintroducing on final master. The song is about going through life on autopilot with no inspiration, then all of a sudden all bets are off, or are they on?

Kiss of Death: 

This song is almost done. It is about when I sometimes let myself down, and fail to work through and finish things I’ve started; initial ideas experience the ‘kiss of death’. I need to redo the main vocal track, add a fade out, cut the guitar riff and paste it appropriately. The drums need simplifying. Experimentation with alternative vocal attack/melody and possible backing vocals.

Living Hell:

This song needs to be as simple as possible. The original recording has a ridiculous amount of instruments on it; it needs stripping back and redoing. The chorus/bridge is woeful, however this could be redone/written. I like the main riff on the keyboard on this one that I could possibly cut and paste the best sample. It is a song about my experience as a teacher, not having any spare time and living with the onset of Rheumatoid Athritis.

I will try to upload the rough versions of these tracks so that they can be compared with a final version and the above makes a bit more sense. As always any comments are welcome.



It’s a Matter of Prioritising Ones Priorities!

Right then, what’s been happening today then?

Couple of more music memos recorded on my phone today worth a playback and review tomorrow. I have had a thought that I should review all the music memos on a weekly basis and pick out the juicy bits from ‘fishing expeditions’ previously done in the week. A weekly Sunday summary would be a nice way to round off the week. With a shortlist of song ideas and riffs to run with. Please bear with me on this, the best laid plans and all that…….’I must commit“.

Ok, lets now start to prioritise what I need to do next on this mission to write and record three songs (roughly every four weeks). I must admit that I have a slight head start as I already have a few ideas already laid down roughly on either my iMac or iPad. Tomorrow the cans (headphones) go on and all songs recorded up to now can be reviewed. A shortlist of three can be pursued, and a reminder of what I need to do next with the songs in their embryonic state. Maybe I need to write middle eights, last verse lyrics etc. Just a reminder of what needs to be done may get me focused on where I need to put time and effort in.

Oh and before I publish this blog for the day I need to take a few snapshots of what I am using to interface the iMac and iPad with my guitars/ microphone.

More again tomorrow.

No-ones Trading in Doubt!

Final blog of the working week! This being committed is hard I tell you!

I’m utterly shattered, sat here with a nice glass of bordeaux and my laptop.

Tonights blog might not be that coherent! Saying that, it may always lack a certain coherency; thats just the way it is.


Ive been picking away on my guitar, and singing my streams of consciousness into my iPhone using the music memos application; check it out its ‘free’ if you have an apple device!

This is a usual delight of my spare time these days. ‘Why, what’s the idea here?’, you may ask. Well, its a simple way to get ideas down, (no matter how shite your ideas may appear to be) they are saved. On playback, I go fishing for things that sound most appealing, like a hook line and/or a riff. You get a hook line you’ve won the jackpot for the day. Sometimes they are there, other times they are not! Somedays you get a good catch the others not a jot!

I try not to be disheartened when they don’t come, this cannot be forced. I must remain committed to this regular practice, in the knowledge that by the law of averages, something good will be lurking in the stuff I’ve recorded. I will try to remain patient.

The hook line from tonight’s fishing expedition is ‘no-ones trading in doubt‘. I’ll leave todays blog there……..more tomorrow.


It’s Curry Night

Right then folks here’s my daily update! It’s curry night so a cheeky ten minutes worth before I indulge in the finest Bangladeshi cuisine.

Ok so I guess after last nights perseverance, I have noted that I need to be a little more savvy and clued up, as to how to get this blog looking a bit more professional.

I was particularly pleased that I had a go with iMovie which worked well for what I needed to do. I welcome any comments.

I did feel however that some points were missed on the video that I wanted to go through.

In particular I have simplified the way I use the iPad to record and write songs now. My main advice is keep everything simple otherwise the songs lose their feel and essence of what you originally wanted to do with them. Stick to four instruments max to start with when writing the meat of your songs. Consider it being like a sketchpad for music, don’t go in with all the colours on the pallet; it will get lost otherwise.

Back on the songwriting soon with a little guide to what I am using to interface my guitars, a keyboard and a microphone  up to the iPad and iMac.

Lots of prioritising to do also, but I have time on my side more during the weekend.

Last day of the working week tomorrow. Hurrah! ……….

Teething Problems!

Ok this is the second time I will try to update my daily blog. I was hoping to add a video, but after much expense, and time, I remain a little deflated as I am still struggling to simply update this blog!

I must remain stoic in the face of such adversity and use the setback in a positive way. So without further ado, a list of ideas for subject matter based on these feelings of utter frustration……..there has to be a song in some of this somewhere!

Taking the Wind Out of My Sails

Ask me and I will happily, tell me and I won’t

Teething problems

I’ve tried Everything!

Fake News

Tired and fading fast.

There you go………more tomorrow!

A Committed Start: Any Garage Band First Takers?

Ok here’s my ten minutes worth for today! It may run over.

I will continue to answer some of the questions from yesterday. I’m going to write a little about what might possibly influence the songs that I will write and where I get my ideas. Where I get any ideas depends on many things, whereby my life is in a constant state of flux. By that, an idea for a song could come from literally anywhere in my ever changing meandering lifestyle. The great thing about this blogging malarkey, is that the ideas can be documented and worked upon.  An ongoing record of progress and the development of songs is an idea that excites me very much.

So, what are the ideas from today then….?

Well I certainly want to write about the technology that I am using at present. I think it will be interesting to see the development of how I refine and the  to use of my iPad and macbook for producing, along with iPhone garage band/music memos to get ideas down.

This has made me think about the first song I composed using garage band, about four years ago………

It has got to be the cheesiest thing I’ve ever produced! I can remember thinking it sounded like a theme tune from a 1970’s american cop show; how I laughed at the result of using pretty much as many auto-preset functions to produce the song.  I wondered what the first takers of others using garage band sounded like. In what way would they be similar and in what way would they be different? So lets run with this idea! I need to learn how to use this site partly as a forum for garage band first takers? I would love to hear of peoples experience using the application, in particular what their first song sounded like……..

More tomorrow!

A Start of Sorts

Ok, so I’ve established the basic idea of how this blog will run, but having never done a blog before, I have a whole host of questions and ideas.

Where do you start?

How do I use the technology available for both writing the blog, and also the songs that I am to record?

What frequency do I write in the blog? How much time can I commit to it, to be worthwhile?

Where will I get the ideas for writing the songs, what is my inspiration?

Lets start answering a few of these questions and see where that takes me!

‘And what you give is what you get’ according to the Jam that is, in the classic track ‘Start’. So what do I give to this daily blog? Well I don’t think it’s unreasonable to commit ten minutes every day to writing a few paragraphs, adding the odd video or picture to the blog, and start to build something new and exciting. Obviously I need to be happy with what is achievable in my busy life schedule. I have a steady weekday job working for my brother in law, which gives me a certain amount of time left over to cram exercise, band practice, daily chores, and a whole host of hobbies that fill my time. I will try my best to make this sacrosanct every day, I must commit!

In fact that gives me an idea, I sort of like the phrase, ‘I must commit’; it may be a possible song title or hook line, sort of a repeated phrase in a songs lyric.

I think I’m going to highlight any of these phrases I think worthy of making some sort of list I can use in italics. At a later date I can compile them and see which ones may be suitable for song material.

So thats my ten minutes for now, more of the above questions to be answered tomorrow with more ideas!




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