Hella Gems | Original Music Blog


December 3rd, 2008 by

Hi. I’m E. Robert Frank.

I’ve been writing songs for a long time, off and on. Lately the mode has been off. I can’t recall the last time I tried to record a proper song. I’ve dabbled in being a video jockey here and there but by and large I’m as rusty as they get. Since this is sort of a proof of concept more than an actual song it will have quite a few mistakes, mainly because the first things to go if I try to polish a track the same day I write and record it is remove the things that sound odd to me, which are also usually the things that turn out to be the most interesting. So forgive my total disregard for the rules of proper mixing.

Even if I did polish this one, I would likely still leave many mistakes in, particularly because I realize now that my shortcomings as a musician and the techniques I’ve derived to compensate are most of what makes my stuff sound, well, like my stuff.

At any rate, the only lyric I wrote out was “いいえ”, which is said a couple of times each verse. It’s Japanese for “No” or “No Thanks”. The rest of the words were made up as I record it. Even a pen and paper is too slow for my internal critic… I have to record the basic melody and some semblance of words in real time, which sometimes results in some interesting absurdity but more often than not results in more than a few cliches. Forgive them.

The hardest part of this track was getting everything set up. Properly getting things configured for computer-based recording is a certain kind of technical hell, almost completely removed from the actual songwriting. Most of the elements are things I’m familiar with, particularly the mellotron strings (which could probably be stripped down and sound less like noodling, which is what it is) and the Casio beat. I stretched myself a little putting on the “acoustic” drums. This is a fairly new instrument for me. Most of my spare time that I have not spent writing songs has been used learning how to play drums in Rock Band 2 using the Ion “Premium” Kit, which with a cheap drum brain off of eBay I was able to interface with my computer. I didn’t quantize the drums because I wanted to retain their “feel”, for better or worse.

Be gentle.

ERF – いいえ

5 Responses to “いいえ”

  1. Kelly G

    Thumbs-up for mellotron!

  2. ravelite

    I like the melodic cadence at 2:50. Nice job.

  3. Mike

    Golden spontaneity.

  4. gojirra

    The “feel” is for the better my friend, this song has an awesome vibe.

  5. Rosie

    I agree that this song has a good vibe to it, the vocals kind of remind me of Bright Eyes and the feel of the music is similar to Casiotone for the painfully alone or Magnetic Fields, which are all bands I like a lot. The vocals are shakey and raw which makes it sound very sincere, I look forward to hearing some more.

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