Cratering

A half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk.

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Cratering

a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk
(31 plays)

What Would Leo Do? // Leo On Ice Soundtrack

This time with singing.

Long-time readers may remember when I cryptically posted the Finale demo of this one back in November, when I was in Hell. Listening to that version then this one is a good study in how the process works. Constant evolution. I’m especially proud of the strings, but they’re a little down in the mix since this is a soundtrack and hearing the singer is kind of the point. No butthurt.

This is one of my favorite songs in the show. I’m always a sucker for the big ballad. The singer is the spectacularly talented Jordan Yentz, playing the role of Susan, an executive at Leo Burnett wondering what Leo would do if he were still alive today. But it’s not as serious as all that—shortly thereafter, Leo emerges from his cryogenic chamber. You had to be there, maybe? But the song is great even without context, I think. Good work, Tony.

(119 plays)

Overture // Leo On Ice Soundtrack

Very exciting stuff—we are almost done with the Leo On Ice cast recording. It’s in mastering now, so if you were listening to the final CD on super high end speakers, that might not sound exactly like this, but for everyone else who is streaming lossy MP3 files over the internet and then listening on $10 earbuds, I’m guessing it’s about as final as final gets.

This recording is the final output of about ten weeks of very difficult full-time work. I was lucky enough to see the video of the production recently, which I don’t think I can share. Watching it was extremely emotional. We all worked so hard for so long, then there was one performance, and poof, it was over. Seeing that and hearing this brought it all back, along with an incredible sense of pride in the accomplishment. Feels good.

I had the best seat in the house.

I had the best seat in the house.

(39 plays)

Leo On Ice - Overture (demo) // me

Here’s the very rough (no drums, mistakes not fixed) demo I created for the Overture to Leo On Ice. This is a one-take performance I did using Logic, to get the ideas together and make sure Tony was OK with it. From here, I transcribed this into Finale and generated the parts that would be used in performance like everything else. The Finale horn and string samples blow Logic’s away, but I didn’t have time to figure out how to use them here. That’s on my TODO list for the next project when I’m not so rushed.

Like all overtures, it’s a kind of highlight reel of the pieces to come in the larger work. They are, in order of appearance here (different order in the show):

  1. "Leave My Name On The Door"
  2. "Leo On Ice"
  3. "Paul’s Lament"
  4. "Leo On Ice" (a different part)
  5. "What Would Leo Do?"
  6. "A Whole New Leo"

(Whole lotta Leo there.) Once we get the real recording done (TBD) I’ll post that, too. The difference between this and that will be striking.

Addendum

We just got the word that one of the execs liked the performance so much that he agreed to pay for us to complete the recording. Dates TBD, but this month most likely.

I will get to hear those strings after all.

Leo On Ice

On September 18, I received an email from my friend and long-time musical collaborator Tony Rogers. The subject was “distant early warning,” probably in reference to an obscure Rush song because that’s how we roll, and it said, in part:

On December 7, I’m directing the Leo Burnett Breakfast for the second year in a row. It’s a huge deal for the company, a live show in front of about 2000 people, this year at the Chicago Theater. They’re a pretty loose crowd, the show starts at 10am (runs for about 60-75 minutes) and a fair amount of people start drinking hours before the show.

It’s usually lots of executive speeches and awards with funny videos interspersed, but last year I blew the format up and this year I’m blowing it up again by making the whole thing a rock opera. Not a musical, an opera. So I’ll need a great band (a paid gig of course) and I’d love you to be my lynchpin. It will require advance work of course; I’m writing the music now, arranging, casting, choreography, etc. etc. will be in October, and then some rehearsals in November.

Interested? I really hope so. It’s going to be insane. 

My nearly immediate reply: “Totally! I’m in for whatever you need.”

I truly had no idea what I had just signed up for.

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Next stop: cast party.

Next stop: cast party.

Friday Five:
Done. As in, done done done done done DONE motherfucker done.
Done, at least with the scoring, that is. I’m still going to play guitar in the pit, so there are a couple of rehearsals next week and the show is Friday.  That’s low stress, though.
It’s still top secret, I still can’t talk about it, and no, you can’t go see it. :-(
But they are making a video, and if I can share it, I will.
There is also some talk of making a studio recording after the show. Which would mean I’m not really done anymore, since there are some bugs in the score that would have to be fixed. Small potatoes.

Friday Five:

  1. Done. As in, done done done done done DONE motherfucker done.
  2. Done, at least with the scoring, that is. I’m still going to play guitar in the pit, so there are a couple of rehearsals next week and the show is Friday.  That’s low stress, though.
  3. It’s still top secret, I still can’t talk about it, and no, you can’t go see it. :-(
  4. But they are making a video, and if I can share it, I will.
  5. There is also some talk of making a studio recording after the show. Which would mean I’m not really done anymore, since there are some bugs in the score that would have to be fixed. Small potatoes.

Tru Tue alla breve

There are few things in this life as electric as putting sheet music you created in front of others, having them play it, and it sounding awesome.

It’s one thing to show a bunch of rockers something on your guitar and have them jam along, but to communicate “serious” music through the ancient art of written notation is something different and magical and I would like to do very much more of it, I do believe.

These, my friends, are the colors of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Ba-doo-da.

These, my friends, are the colors of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Ba-doo-da.

I spent about 10 hours of my life trying to get this to work today, and I finally did thanks to some awesome guys at the forum. No thanks to the application or its “help” or “documentation,” though.
The irony of this program being called Finale is not lost on me.
Now, to find some solace at the bottom of a bottle.

I spent about 10 hours of my life trying to get this to work today, and I finally did thanks to some awesome guys at the forum. No thanks to the application or its “help” or “documentation,” though.

The irony of this program being called Finale is not lost on me.

Now, to find some solace at the bottom of a bottle.

a brief aside

  1. Imagine a word processor where you had to go into a whole different mode to add punctuation, and when you got there, it was so awkward and difficult that you just gave up and stopped using punctuation altogether unless it was an absolute emergency, like maybe 2 or 3 times per chapter. That’s Finale and articulations (accents, staccato, legato, etc.). Horrid. And the music that comes out suffers just like that hypothetical prose would.
  2. Keyboard skins are a waste of money.
  3. Projects like this teach humility. I thought I knew a thing or two about music, and it turns out that’s exactly what I know: one or two things. If you round up.
  4. It’s pronounced joo-el-ree, not joo-le-ree; ree-al-tor not ree-la-tor; shole-vin not shlo-vin. Read the letters in order and you’ll do fine.
  5. I tried un-hiding some Facebook people this morning. Too soon. Back in timeout they go.

And we enter the Despair stage. It is due today. :-(

And we enter the Despair stage. It is due today. :-(

Put some arco in there. Bitchez love arco.

Put some arco in there. Bitchez love arco.

Last night’s dream

All the signs were typeset in Jazz Text Extended.