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Topic: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

  1. #1

    "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Ohhh. . . It's been quite a while since I put "pencil to manuscript paper" in writing music.

    Actually. . . . it's also been quite a while (but not as long) since I've written music in any which way.

    A little background. . .

    This piece was inspired by two things. Emotionally, it's inspired by my sentimental nastalgia of 25+ years ago when I lived in Boston attending music college. I am very grateful and feel blessed with any and all periods of my life. But when it comes to music (and being young), I hold my "Boston Years" with much warmth and sentimentality. I had wonderful apartment-mates, great opportunities to listen and learn about lots of different types of music, and, in general, just had a LOT of fun! One college friend and room-mate exposed me to progressive rock-jazz. I'm embarrased to say that up until then, my exposure to music consisted mainly of the Beatles (still think that they were way ahead of their time for pop music! ), Elton John, edited to add: Chicago (Yea! Chicago! ) and many other similar pop artists. (I also liked film music, which was my major in college.) My friend Glenn introduced me to many styles of music, actually. But, in particular, I used to listen with him to artists like Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, E. L. P., Yes, Weather Report and many others. One of my favorites was a group called Dixie Dreggs. I saw them live a couple of times in Boston. They were awesome!! What makes progressive rock/jazz fusion great is, of course, the music (the composition). But just as important, what makes this style of music great (as other styles of music) is musicians with great playing ability and improvisational chops. The members of Dixie Dreggs could play their instruments!! Their "Fiddle" player won all sorts of awards during that time for playing a "mean" violin (ala rock/jazz/blue-grass fusion).

    This leads me to my second source of inspiration: Wanting to utilized Garritan's Stradivari! (As well as a few other newer instrumental plug-ins.) Actually, I wanted to practice putting pencil to manuscript paper. I wanted to write anything. But knowing that there's a Garritan Stradivari residing inside my computer that's being painfully under-utilized helped "inspire" me to compose, especially after I purchased an electric guitar sound library by Music Lab called "RealStrat"!! This is just an awesome plug-in. It comes with a virtual guitar amplifier with effects which is equally awesome! It seems these plug-ins all play well together! At least they seem to do so to my modest ears.

    Now. . . I do NOT pretend to believe that that I am a hot progressive rock/jazz fusion musician. I am NOT! I can barely play 16th-note runs to the metronome marking of 120 bpm. As a matter of fact, if/when I write anything that has fast runs in it (which is rare, of course), I sequence them to a metronome marking speed of about 80 bpm. Then I press the little button that says "120" then away we go!!! LOL!

    I had fun doing this. I really wish I did this more often!

    Anyway. . .

    From a compositional point of view, this piece is what it is. It AIN'T Dixie Dreggs or Yes or E. L. P. (Emerson, Lake and Palmer). But it is a real basic rendition of this style of music. Although I'm happy with the piece, I can see that I need to continue to practice writing. I'll get there.

    However. . . I would be grateful to any mix-down suggestions. This is a fairly rough mix, so any comments on the mix will be welcomed!

    Enjoy the listen!

    Pop Fusion Rock #1

    (Plug-ins used: Garritan's JABB for drums, all horns, piano and flute; Garritan's Stradivari Music Lab's RealStrat, and an electric bass sound provided by Wizoo.)
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  2. #2

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Very nice, Mr. Theodore! Rock on!

    It sounds good just as it is. Maybe a little tad of tweakin' here and there...

    You did a fine job and I like your work.

    My best to you,

    Larry G. Alexander

  3. #3

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Hi Mr. Larry!

    I'm sincerely grateful for your time in giving this piece a listen! Thank you!

    I hope all is well with you, sir! Hope you're enjoying the fall season. We're having a lovely fall season. The trees were beautiful with their colorful leaves, as always. My wife, Amy, and I enjoy our walks around where we live. Lots of woods with pretty leaves.

    Warm regards to you, Larry!

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  4. #4

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"


    I'm so impressed with this I don't know what to say! --But you know me, I'm sure I'll manage to go OOOn and on. hehe.

    You've only posted one other piece of music since I've been a member here -!- that was "A Tune's Head," and I remember I was pretty much blown away by that too.

    Such modesty in your intro! C'mon man, you gotta know that this is sounding way good.

    I appreciated your intro too, talking about your college years, listening to prog rock. I don't think you mentioned CHICAGO though - and that's the band this piece of yours sounds the most like. Well, and Blood Sweat and Tears!

    Great great stuff--I sure wouldn't sweat not being able to play 16th notes without slowing down the tempo temporarily. I often don't play more than a measure or two at a time!

    You wanted feedback on the mix. You have a lot of instruments, and of course that makes it more difficult to balance things. And I think you can balance things even more. It'll mean that various instruments just temporarily come to the fore on a particularly important passage here and there--tweaking, as Larry said.

    The Strad in particular seemed lower in the mix than it needs to be. I heard it, but in proportion to other elements, like the Real Strat, it seemed too soft.

    Speaking of the Real Strat - isn't that fantastic?! I checked out the demo and just groooaned in pain that I couldn't afford it. Music Lab's Real Guitar, with the two acoustic instruments (steel and nylon strings) is equally incredible, and has been out a number of years. This electric library has to be The best thing available to keyboardists.

    Fantastic work Ted. I think I'm wearing out the MP3, I've played it so many times.

    Randy B.

  5. #5
    Senior Member squoze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Yeah, I liked this one too!
    I heard Chicago in this, too. Along with Lee Ritenour and Jean Luc Ponty perhaps.

  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Shelton, Washington State

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    I liked this quite a bit. It has a nice pop feel to it and not pretentious at all as some progressive music could be.

    I listened to those bands a bit myself but it wasn't my favorite music even though some of the musicians were my favorites. And don't forget Zappa.

    I think it comes down to good memorable melodies and the progressive bands seemed to be a little weak in that area but I guess that wasn't the real thrust of their genre.

    Myself, I've been checking out the eighties rock videos on YouTube. Post punk gothic and other forms. By then I wasn't listening to rock much.


  7. #7
    Senior Member Leaf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Dallas, TX

    Thumbs up Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Hey Ted, i remember Dixie Dreggs and Steve Morse (awesome), Northern Lights was my favorite.

    Very nice piece you have posted, i also hear a little Chicago but also hear a little Dixie Dreggs in there too. You have a great talent for writing tunes, looking forward to more, and i pray that you get the time to do that more, that your job doesn't keep you too busy.

    Thanks for posting this!! I would love to comment on the mix for you, but there i don't know enough yet to offer anything worthwhile.


  8. #8

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Strange. Normally I dodn't like this kind of music, but I gave it a try and to my surprise I liked it. Others mentioned some new balancing, maybe true, but for me it sounds good.


  9. #9

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Chicago!! At one point while arranging this piece I asked myself, "What should play the melody and how should it be arranged?" Then I heard the Chicago horns in my head. Big time! LOL! Trumpet and Trombone playing the melody (or counter-melody) in octaves! Yea Chicago! One of my favorite groups which I listened to during my grade-school, junior-high & high-school years.

    I seriously failed to mention Chicago in my initial post. I just finished doing the rough mix of the piece. I then quickly "mp3-ized" it, placed it up on my happy web site then decided to post a link to it here at Northern Sounds. I had every intention of giving Chicago their due (to me, Chicago made pop music more interesting with their horn writing). However, I was in my "Boston college days" mode. I simply forgot the "Chicago horn writing" as I was rambling away about Boston, Dixie Dreggs, and progressive rock. LOL! (And Randy. . . I'm also a Blood Sweat and Tears listener and fan too. ) I actually was going to edit in how the Chicago horn (and Blood Sweat and Tears) sound HUGELY influenced most of my horn writing for this piece. When I returned to this web site, I saw that our friend Larry listened and responded to this piece. (Hi Larry! ) He must have listened to this piece only minutes after I posted the link! (Wowl!) So I responded back to his post then had to leave to meet my wife for dinner. Amy and I had a lovely dinner date planned for ourselves.

    Oh gosh. . . Do I ramble!!

    Anyway. . .

    Randy - Regarding the mix. I burned a CD and played the first mix through my car's CD player. I listened to it as I drove to meet my wife for dinner. I must say that I am NOT happy with this mix as it sounded through my car's speakers. In my studio, I use a combination of Mackie HR 824 speakers, a pair of aging Tannoy PBM 6.5 speakers and two cheap Radio Shack speakers. The mix sounded "acceptable" while listening through those speakers. When I listened to the mix through my car's speakers, it sounded horrible. The mid-range sounded too muddy. Understand that what little I learned about sound engineering, recording, mixing, etc was self-taught and by working with people (in the past) who knew what they were doing with the whole recording/mixing process. I used both violin and electric guitar sounds through a guitar amp & effects plug-in called AmpliTube 2. This plug-in has great process effects for the guitar. I also wanted to simulate the processed violin sound so I thought that the Amplitube 2 plug-in could help me with this. I think that this is part of my problem and might also answer why the violin sounds lower in the mix. At one point, I pulled it lower in the mix because it was quite loud being processed through Amplitube 2. This is a rough mix. I plan to get back to it in a few days when I have more time and when my ears are rested. At present, I am very unhappy with the mix.

    Squoze - Thank you for the listen! Chicago most certainly was in the for-front of my mind when I arranged the horns. It's also one of my favorite pop-rock groups. You mentioned Lee Ritenour and Jean Luc Ponty. I never heard of them before. What groups were they in, I wonder??

    Phil - My college apartment-mate has quite a few Zappa albums! Never even heard of Frank Zappa before I lived in Boston! Believe it or not, I can only take progressive-rock music a little at a time. Although I enjoy this genre of music, I love listening to progressive-rock best when I hear it live! LOL!! Dixie Dreggs write great melodies for a progressive rock/blue grass fusion band.

    David - I heard/saw Dixie Dreggs twice! I was in my late teens/early 20's at the time. Both times the band was fantastic!!

    One last word about the band Chicago. Chicago was the first live rock concert that I attended. They were soooo cooool! I was 10 or 11 at the time. I also hold a lot of fond memories of that time period too. But I see that this post of mine is getting way too "Rambly"!!! So, I won't write about the late 1960's early 1970's. I'll save that for another post for another time. LOL!

    Happy composing, folks!

    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

  10. #10

    Re: "Pop Fusion Rock #1"

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62
    Strange. Normally I dodn't like this kind of music, but I gave it a try and to my surprise I liked it. Others mentioned some new balancing, maybe true, but for me it sounds good.

    Thank you for the listen, Raymond. I'm glad you liked it.
    Music and humor are healthy for the soul.

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