|Productivity and Leisure cover art. Doesn't that shape look like Iceland?|
Back in June 2017 I started a project that involved writing and coming up with my own exclusive repertoire of music to play for fun; tunes that I could claim as my own. That one-year project turned into two years and by June of 2019 I had come up with over 100 melodies that I consider "mine". Also during this time in addition to tenor banjo I started playing mallet percussion - first glockenspiel then xylophone. (Marimba will be next!).
Last month I decided to take a little breather and look back at the music I had written over the last two years by selecting ten of the them for recording as an "album". With apologies to actual bands and musicians who post their music to Bandcamp, I decided to do the same with my amateur recordings.
First though I ordered a drum machine - a Cyclone Analogic Beat Bot TT-78. The TT-78 has a retro sound meant to emulate the Roland CR-78. I knew absolutely nothing about drum machines before getting one and I still know very little. What I've gathered is that from today's perspective a drum machine is like a DJ's instrument used for electronic dance music and so on. That's not what I was looking for at all. All I wanted was a glorified metronome with some cool percussion sounds on it so that I could learn where the one beat was on some of my melodies. The TT-78 fit that bill.
Onto the recordings. I started recording immediately after getting the drum machine. I've actually posted two albums so far: Contemporary Impact, recorded over a week in June of last month, and Productivity and Leisure, recorded between 7/11/19 and 7/14/19 (just finished up this morning, July 14, 2019). Each album features ten tracks - 5 on banjo and 5 on xylophone - played over a drum machine pattern that I quickly sequenced on the fly whether it worked or not. I'm waiting to get a marimba but that is taking longer than expected, so rather than wait for the marimba to arrive I simply used my xylophone for the tracks assigned to mallet percussion.
The Contemporary Impact tracklist is:
Bye Bye Sol
Sixth Noon of Midnight
Plenty Here for Everyone
The Productivity and Leisure tracklist is:
Last Chance to Row