Timbuktu was added to the album Thermós, after the album was complete. After I thought it was done, I asked myself, what would be the result if I combined something like simple Gregorian chanting in Dorian or Lydian scale, with modern beats? I had pictured in my mind, the driest, hottest, dustiest, sandiest, most monochrome … Continue reading A bit of an experiment – “Timbuktu”
What is worth saying in Music?
Having just finished the major job of publishing my album "Time Shift", I realized that I had spent a lot of time on trying to get the songs right - what ever "right" means. After a while, the thought occurred to me that it's one problem to get the production and post-production right. It's quite … Continue reading What is worth saying in Music?
“Yellow Bird, Up High in the Banana Tree…”
As a child, my Dad tried his best to teach me to play the piano, and since I was stubborn and lazy, I cheated and taught myself to play by ear. I never did get the hang of reading notation and using proper technique when playing. I can barely pick out a tune on a … Continue reading “Yellow Bird, Up High in the Banana Tree…”
When you add the meaning afterwards – “Enter the Lion”
Enter the Lion (track 6 on my album Time Shift) started as a snatch of notes I played on the piano. When it was done, I wondered what to call it. Only when the name popped into my head, I realized that what I had been thinking about all along, was a pride of lions … Continue reading When you add the meaning afterwards – “Enter the Lion”
Was that me being a dork in a bar? Yes. But I was freezing…
Hypnotic, the 7th track on my album, Time Shift, is a song about skiing. When I lived in South Africa, we went skiing in Austria once a year, since that’s what the Dutch do during their Winter holidays. There’s very little snowfall in South Africa - there used to be a single ski resort run … Continue reading Was that me being a dork in a bar? Yes. But I was freezing…
Seth Godin explains “The Reality of Chasing Pop”
I've been reading Seth Godin's Marketing micro-posts for years. Every so often he writes something in very few words that is absolutely true. I've reposted a particularly good one below. I need not say any more. This man knows what he's talking about. When I read it, I thought to myself, well, that's the way … Continue reading Seth Godin explains “The Reality of Chasing Pop”
A little Light Music -“Soft Shoe Shag”
The word "shag" in the name of this song refers to the dance called the Carolina Shag, which is a relaxed partner dance, often done to "beach music" - whatever that is... I named this song for it, because that's the feeling of the song - it's got a steady beat for dancing to, and … Continue reading A little Light Music -“Soft Shoe Shag”
My version of ‘The Rain in Africa’
No. 4 on Time Shift - Africa-style Trip-Hop "The Veld" is a song that expresses my nostalgia for the veld (or veldt) of South Africa - the wide open, wild landscapes of the interior of the country. There are many types of veld: the bushveld, the highveld, the lowveld, and so on, and my favourite, … Continue reading My version of ‘The Rain in Africa’
“The Trembling Ground” – The Sound of Seismicity
Track 3 on "Time Shift" The lyrics of this track are self-explanatory, even for someone who has never been on a mine site. When I wrote it, the lyrics were the easy parts. Expressing the ideas in music was a different challenge altogether. This is how I did it: I expressed the feeling of going … Continue reading “The Trembling Ground” – The Sound of Seismicity
To celebrate SpaceX’s massive engine firing test – here’s “Space Crackle”
To celebrate SpaceX’s breath-taking firing test yesterday, Feb. 9, 2023, of the gigantic Starship Super Heavy booster rocket (230 feet, 69 meters tall), with 31of 33 first-stage booster engines lighting up in a volcano of flame and smoke, here is my track and music video called “Space Crackle”. A Space Crackle to celebrate the Super … Continue reading To celebrate SpaceX’s massive engine firing test – here’s “Space Crackle”
Track 2 on “Time Shift”: “The Ocean in E” – Sonically Luxurious
Track 2 on Time Shift Sound Engineer Luke Garfield, who mixed and mastered The Ocean in E, called it "sonically luxurious". I think that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about a song I've produced. I want to frame it and put it on my wall. He had to avoid the piece sounding chintzy … Continue reading Track 2 on “Time Shift”: “The Ocean in E” – Sonically Luxurious
First track on “Time Shift” album: “Groove was in the House”
I've just published the first track on my new album, "Time Shift". The album is the result of a little walk down memory lane in 2022, particularly just before Christmas, remembering the standout things in my former life in South Africa: the local music scene, the wildlife, the wide-open spaces, the sounds that you only … Continue reading First track on “Time Shift” album: “Groove was in the House”
My ears are tired
My ears are tired of writing music. They are ringing, buzzing, echoing, twanging and refusing to process any more auditory signals. I often think that Sound Engineers have the most amazing hearing - and the most amazing auditory signal processing cortexes in their brains. It's something you're born with, but still, to be able to … Continue reading My ears are tired
HD version of music video for “Busted Piano”
"Busted Piano" gets tweaked One of the features in iMovie that I hadn't known about until recently, is that you can set the speed of a clip by percentages, faster or slower. This means that you can much more precisely match the movements of the people in the clips, to the beat and tempo of … Continue reading HD version of music video for “Busted Piano”
Away and Back Again – “Outro” on “Painting Music”
The closing track on Painting Music is Outro. So Outro is the outro. Sorry for that pun. Couldn't resist. I was stuck for a name, much like Deadmau5 said he sometimes is, and then he resorts to calling his tracks things like Some Chords and Lack of a Better Name. Outro is the track in … Continue reading Away and Back Again – “Outro” on “Painting Music”
I chose Vimeo for my videos
After a long debate with myself about where and how to place the lyrical videos I've made of my music, I finally settled on Vimeo. It's not free - but I did not feel comfortable with the sometimes questionable advertising, and being lumped together with all sorts of weird stuff on YouTube. Vimeo is a … Continue reading I chose Vimeo for my videos
What exactly is “Exquisite”? – Lyrical video of “Exquisite Machine”
This lyrical video was enjoyable to make, because it was not as hard to synchronize as others had been (since it is an easy 4/4 beat at 110 bpm), and because there were a lot of options for depicting the themes of the song. When you get down to it, how do you express two … Continue reading What exactly is “Exquisite”? – Lyrical video of “Exquisite Machine”
The Most difficult and the Best Result – “Exquisite Machine”
Track 8 of 9 on the album "Painting Music" took major effort. It was the most difficult track on this album and the one of which I'm proudest. I started it on Sept 9, 2022 and finished it on Oct. 6, 2022 - 4 weeks of working on it every day, all day. Doing this … Continue reading The Most difficult and the Best Result – “Exquisite Machine”
I’ve Discovered E chords! (And they make me happy!)
If, like me, you are self-taught, the theory and structure of music are sometimes quite difficult to understand. I know what I want something to sound like, and I know what sort of melodies and which keys, tempos and rhythms give which feelings. But often I don't know how I got there, or what to … Continue reading I’ve Discovered E chords! (And they make me happy!)
This you’ve got to see: Music video of RAMMSTEIN’s “Adieu”
À propos my post about music videos, I was sitting with my mouth hanging open when I saw the official video for German band Rammstein's latest release, Adieu, the last track on their album Zeit (Time). It was released on Nov. 24, 2022 and has had, to date, more than 9.8 million views. There's high … Continue reading This you’ve got to see: Music video of RAMMSTEIN’s “Adieu”
Becoming more machine-like: Hirajōshi & Sky – Chris Perry Mix
This track, just released on SoundCloud, is Track 7 of 9 on the album Painting Music. It's a new mix of one of the songs on the album. The song started with two types of sound recordings: the first was made on the “Sky” canvas of Google's experimental “Paint with Music” platform, which is in … Continue reading Becoming more machine-like: Hirajōshi & Sky – Chris Perry Mix
Track 6 on “Painting Music” – “Busted Piano”
Busted Piano is the result of playing around on the Plink platform, and in the video you can see the visualization used on the platform - a moving line, waveform of little blobs. I chose a particularly whiny, mechanical sounding synth for an instrument on Plink. To my ears, it sounded like a badly maintained … Continue reading Track 6 on “Painting Music” – “Busted Piano”
Now for the videos
How to visualize your music I am not in the league of Taylor Swift (eh, obviously), with a team of professional choreographers, dancers, musicians, cinematographers, designers, etc. etc., who can - as she puts it - "tell the stories" of her songs through video. Her music videos, like those of other best-selling musicians, are works … Continue reading Now for the videos
Track 5 on “Painting Music”: “Appleblossom Blink” – A Bit of East & West to a Trip-hop Beat
Track 5 on album "Painting Music" Appleblossom Blink is a somber melody with some sweet chords. It's an original instrumental created from sounds generated on the web audio generation platforms Google Arts & Culture Paint with Music and Plink by DinahMoe. The composition is in the Japanese Hirajōshi scale, and features the melancholy shakuhachi flute … Continue reading Track 5 on “Painting Music”: “Appleblossom Blink” – A Bit of East & West to a Trip-hop Beat
Techno with a Twist – The Making of “Appleblossom Blink”
Track 5 on "Painting Music" - How it was made The melody for Appleblossom Blink started as experiments on “Plink” and “Paint with Music – Paper”, both web audio sound generation platforms. While the "Paper" version of the sounds on "Paint with Musics" are pleasant, the range is quite limited. I therefore created another few … Continue reading Techno with a Twist – The Making of “Appleblossom Blink”
To whom does music belong?
In his conversations with fans, The Red Hand Files, Nick Cave recently responded to someone who is angry because he found out that a public figure who he despises is a fan of a particular musician, same as he is. His questions are about who owns music - to whom does it belong? I found … Continue reading To whom does music belong?
“Swagger & Swing” – Track 4 on “Painting Music
The melody of Swagger & Swing started as notes on the fourth option on the “Paint with Music” platform, the “Street” canvas, which looks like a granite wall or pavement (shown below). This canvas has a more atonal sound than the others, and includes effects like scratching and hissing, which give a more grunge-like effect. I … Continue reading “Swagger & Swing” – Track 4 on “Painting Music
“Water Music” – waves, whale sounds and melancholy wind
Track 3 on "Painting Music" Water Music This track has nothing to do with the 1717 Water Music Suites by George Frideric Handel, though when I chose the name I might have dredged up a memory of it, since it is one of my favourite classical music compositions. I could not resist having some fun … Continue reading “Water Music” – waves, whale sounds and melancholy wind
Track 2 on “Painting Music”- “A.I. Opera”
And a-one, two-, three... Here we go! Ooooh... Lah Laaaaaah LAAAAAAAA!!! A.I. Opera: It Started as just fun and ended up as real - and really nice Dealing with very short audio clips like these ones, forced me to keep things focused and tight, and did not leave much room for getting fancy. The parameters … Continue reading Track 2 on “Painting Music”- “A.I. Opera”
Singing Opera with Blobs
The tracks on my latest album, Painting Music, are the results of me experimenting on online platforms that produce both sounds and visuals from a user’s input. One of these is “Blob Opera”. All the platforms are experimental, meaning that as users use the platform and upload their creations, the database is expanded and the … Continue reading Singing Opera with Blobs
Track 1 on “Painting Music”: “Hirajōshi & Sky – Luke Garfield Mix”
Cōdae · Hirajoshi and Sky - Luke Garfield Mix (Above: Track #1 on "Painting Music" - "Hirajōshi & Sky - Luke Garfield Mix" Luke Garfield, Sound Engineer, Banana Llama Studios) All the songs in this collection contain small clips or samples of machine-generated musical notes. I used online platforms that produce both sounds and visuals … Continue reading Track 1 on “Painting Music”: “Hirajōshi & Sky – Luke Garfield Mix”
My New album “Painting Music” has Dropped
I make music in ways that interest me, and in ways that I can get my head around - bad grammar, but what it means in practice is that with every song I produce I make a bunch of mistakes, and learn something about myself or about music, or about the creative process. And then … Continue reading My New album “Painting Music” has Dropped
From hesitant beginnings to happiness
Everyone has to start somewhere, when you create things. Something cannot come from nothing. I have learned this rather late in my life. You have to DO something: take a step, make a move, decide something, in order to create that thing you have in your mind. Or that thing that's been bothering you and … Continue reading From hesitant beginnings to happiness
When the only way forward is to can it – A New “Sunrise”
Sometimes, you can work at a composition until you have tried every trick and technique you know of, and it still doesn't sound right. Something went wrong with the programming. Recently, Lex Fridman (computer scientist, artificial intelligence researcher, and research scientist at MIT) interviewed world famous, pioneering programmer and developer. John Carmack. Carmack said something … Continue reading When the only way forward is to can it – A New “Sunrise”
Superb: “This Much I know To be True”
The documentary about Nick Cave and his albums Ghosteen and CARNAGE, This Much I Know To Be True (2022), is now available on MUBI, I just had to watch it. It was beautiful, memorable and thought-provoking. I don't often get so enthusiastic about something that I jump straight to the conclusion and just say - … Continue reading Superb: “This Much I know To be True”
For lack of a better title, just call it “Outro”
About the Outro on Armin2016 Thinking up a name for a new song is as tricky as trying to name a band or an album. Just like with a book you've written, you have to find something that explains its essence, also contains words that fits it into the genre or category, and at the … Continue reading For lack of a better title, just call it “Outro”
How long is a piece of…song?
When Morning Comes, on the album Armin2016, is a short, rhythmic track with a real hook of a chorus in which the key changes from minor to major. That’s followed by a throbbing drop and and outro of pulsating synths. It’s simple but full of energy – a song with which to greet the day, … Continue reading How long is a piece of…song?
A story about pianos, diamonds and goats
It has been said about upright pianos that they turn into “1200-pound heirloom paperweights”, unless they are kept in tune and are played regularly. Otherwise they are simply large, heavy, awkwardly shaped pieces of furniture, not good as bookcases, nor any good as seating, often a home for mice, and sounding worse than an out-of-tune … Continue reading A story about pianos, diamonds and goats
Contending with the challenge of creating music in context
People tell me that you can get inspiration from anywhere - in your imagination, from what you know, from what's around you, or people. David Byrne (he of Talking Heads) writes in the opening lines of his book How Music Works, that, actually, the music we create does not necessarily come from some internal source … Continue reading Contending with the challenge of creating music in context
The sad sound of an oud – Limbo, a film by Ben Sharrock
Limbo (2020) is an award-winning film that recently played on Mubi. It's one of those gems that I discovered on Mubi, which has its fair share of unwatchable weird stuff. But it has also had a couple of masterpieces that I would never have discovered had it not been on the channel. I would not … Continue reading The sad sound of an oud – Limbo, a film by Ben Sharrock
Fusing genres and languages into hits – PSY 9th album
PSY (real name Park Jae-sang, Korean: 박재상) released his album PSY 9th on April 29, 2022, and I hurried up and got the album a.s.a.p., because I like PSY. I like everything about PSY, his voice, dance moves, compositions, and especially his sly and subversive lyrics. At first listen, his songs are slick and high-quality … Continue reading Fusing genres and languages into hits – PSY 9th album
A driving beat- like rain dripping down
22 Rainy Days is the result of, well...rain, falling rain, lots of it, for 22 days non-stop to be precise, as it was this past winter. (When it rains where I live in Canada, it really rains. It’s not for nothing that they call this region a “temperate rainforest”.) I also have to say that … Continue reading A driving beat- like rain dripping down
It’s all about Armin
Track 3 on the album Armin2016, is now out, called - appropriately - Armin and Me. Cōdae · Armin And Me The song cover for Armin and Me (above) was made with psychedelic AI-generated graphics and shows the sea, sail boats and tulips. Clichéd perhaps, but the art is a nod to Armin van Buuren’s … Continue reading It’s all about Armin
“Run to Me” – Playing the poem, like Carlos Santana says
Carlos Santana makes a very important point in his masterclass course: “Look at any poem by anyone that you love and, then, try... putting notes to it.” "When writing a melody for guitar, Carlos uses a technique he calls playing a poem, wherein he reads a piece of poetry (it can be any kind) and … Continue reading “Run to Me” – Playing the poem, like Carlos Santana says
Don’t forget 3/4 time!
Songs are not always on a 4/4 beat. That's what I've found out. I had religiously stuck to the 4/4 time signature setting in Logic Pro, until one day I decided to write a waltz and - tarnation! - it didn't work. Waltzes are actually quite tricky to write, especially if you want to write … Continue reading Don’t forget 3/4 time!
The first recording – “Look at the Sky” with a bit of Bach
Everyone has to start somewhere, with something, when they start making music. Me too. When I began fiddling around with this, I had no idea what would happen down the line. I just had a ...feeling...that I could make something. So, one day, I played around on GarageBand, which is possibly the most user-friendly bit … Continue reading The first recording – “Look at the Sky” with a bit of Bach
Inspiration can come from weird and wonderful places
Are you stumped for inspiration? That's just human, but because you are human, you have a ready-made box full of inspiration in your head. How to access it and what to do with it is the question. I recently completed a collection of compositions that share the theme of heat. It's called Thermós, and, until … Continue reading Inspiration can come from weird and wonderful places
Why and how would you translate Taylor Swift’s Lyrics into Latin?
The Daily Mail reported recently that a Cambridge academic thinks that learning Latin will be more interesting and relevant if learners used Latin translations of Taylor Swift's songs, in stead of the classic texts, like the ones about the Trojan War. The commentator, Tom Utley, did not think that any of Taylor Swift's lyrics were … Continue reading Why and how would you translate Taylor Swift’s Lyrics into Latin?
Things go ‘pop’!
PopUp! One test of Trance music is whether it will get you dancing. So, I wrote something short, sharp and popping to do just that. Does it make me want to get up and dance? Yep. Sure does. It's called PopUp! because that's the vocalizing sounds like. The vocalizing is "chanter en yaourt" - or singing … Continue reading Things go ‘pop’!
Have you dealt with The Hobgoblin of Fidelity?
Update - March 29, 2023 A year later, to the day, that I wrote the post below, I published my Tropical Trance track, Yellow Bird Redux. It took that long to get away from the original stimulus for the song. I lost count of how many hours I spent writing it - but I deleted … Continue reading Have you dealt with The Hobgoblin of Fidelity?
And then there was Trance
Well now, wanna get up and dance? I took the online Masterclass of Trance Guru, Armin van Buuren, called Armin van Buuren Teaches Dance Music. I admit, until then, Dance, Trance and the mindless head-bopping, weaving and shaking that happens with clubbing had just totally passed me by. UNTIL...! Yes, until he explained, very logically, … Continue reading And then there was Trance
What drives an introvert to share their creations?
Since, like many creative types, I am an introvert, I have had to figure out for myself that I wanted to publish my music, and then - of course - I had explain to myself why I wanted to publish my music. Everyone at some point does. I had to justify it because two things … Continue reading What drives an introvert to share their creations?
What is your unguilty musical pleasure?
Musician Chilly Gonzales (born Jason Charles Beck) hates bananas. I'm not that fond of bananas myself. It's that sticky, doughy texture. Our mutual dislike of bananas is a trivial idiosyncrasy, the same as with probably millions of people. However, there are other important things about which I feel the same way as he does, which … Continue reading What is your unguilty musical pleasure?
The mojo’s got to be working
A week ago I got this track, Metal Nebula, back from the sound studio and I was chuffed! It is one of the very first songs I had composed, and it lay around unloved for months, until I gave it a last shot. And it was finally finished. It started as a melody that I … Continue reading The mojo’s got to be working
Now that you’re here…
This is the first post on this blog, which will tell the stories behind each of my songs and compositions. Allow me to introduce myself: My artist's name, Cōdae, sounds mysterious and the kind of hipster-ish, right? And the look of this site, as well as my page on SoundCloud, is mod and slick, right? … Continue reading Now that you’re here…