Album: electrochristianmeditation

Download or stream at Bandcamp.com

cd5_front_smcd5_disc_sm

Released in 2013, my fifth album offers yet another change of direction from his previous efforts. This time he offers a collection of electronic Christian meditation songs. All the “lyrics” are taken directly from the Bible; different English translations are used to emphasize certain words, meter, or phrasing. Unlike most other forms of meditation that encourage the practitioner to “empty the mind”, the point of Christian meditation is to fill the mind with thoughts of God, His Word, His promises, and your part is His plan. Therefore the lull-you-to-sleep-ambiance normally associated with much meditation music has been replaced by an energetic soundtrack demanding active listening and reflection.

Total Playing Time 40:35

Liner Notes/Technical Details

  1. For God So Loved
  2. In The Beginning
  3. Romans Road
  4. Fishers Of Men
  5. No Worries
  6. Fear
  7. Remove The Stain
  8. Old Scratch
  9. The Word Became Flesh
  10. Who Is It You’re Looking For?

For God So Loved

Lyrics:
For God so loved, He gave His Son. (John 3:16a)
Technical Details:
This song was produced primarily on the iPad 2 in the NanoStudio app. The vocals were produced in the Vox 3000 app and copied into NanoStudio as samples in the TRG instrument. The solo instrument is a custom programmed breath-controlled patch in NanoStudio’s Eden synth, played via the Akai EWI 4000s wind controller. MIDI input was through the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer (the original one, not the MIDI Mobilizer II).
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In The Beginning

Lyrics:
In the beginning God created..and it was good.(Genesis 1)
Technical Details:
This song was produced on the iPad 2. The NanoStudio app was used for the drums, guitars, and solo wind synth, as well as mixing and “mastering”. Vocals were recorded and cleaned up in Propellerhead Reason 6, imported into the Synthtronica app for its vocoder-like processing, then imported into NanoStudio for effects and mixing with the other parts. The solo instrument is a custom programmed breath-controlled patch in NanoStudio’s Eden synth, played via the Akai EWI 4000s wind controller. MIDI input was through the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer.
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Romans Road

Liner Notes:
This song uses several verses from the book of Romans. These verses are collectively known as the Romans Road to salvation . This is a popular way of sharing what the Christian faith is all about and what it means to become a Christian.
Lyrics:
There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10b, KJV)
There is no one righteous, not even one. (Romans 3:10b, NIV)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23, NIV)But God showed His love while we were still sinners.
Christ died for us, while we still sinners. (Rom. 5:8, paraphrase)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:23, KJV)Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:13, NIV)
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10:9, KJV)

Technical Details:
This song was produced completely on the iPad 2, mostly within the NanoStudio (NS) app which was used for the drums, bass, guitar, pad and solo wind synth, as well as mixing and “mastering”. The vocoded vocals were recorded into the Synthtronica app and imported into NS. The spoken vocals were recorded and effected in Meteor Multitrack Recorder before being imported into NS. The solo instrument is a custom programmed breath-controlled patch in NanoStudio’s Eden synth, played via the Akai EWI 4000s wind controller. MIDI input was through the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer.
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Fishers Of Men

Liner Notes:
I don’t know if you’ll think the back-story on this one is cool or crazy, but it goes like this. I was at home one evening playing with my 10-year old special needs son while the rest of the family was off gallivanting. He is non-verbal but loves music and has a basket of “toy” instruments. So he’s shaking this toy tambourine, and I’m thinking, “Dude, that’s a pretty steady beat there” so I got out the iPad and made some recordings. Then I made some recordings of other instruments in the basket (bells, shakers, tambourine hits) and toys (exercise ball, keys, camera) and thought “this could make a cool drum kit!”, so that’s what I did. It turns out that the first tambourine recording was exactly 117 beats-per-minute, so I went looking for Bible books where “chapter 1 verse 17” might fit this series and found it in Mark 1:17.
Lyrics:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17, NIV1984)
Technical Details:

This song followed a similar course as “Romans Road” with NanoStudio serving up “drums”, bass, guitar, and pad sounds as well as mixing/mastering duties. Vocals again came from a combination of Meteor and Synthtronica. There were two big differences though. First, all the percussion sounds came from the above mentioned recordings. Of course, some had to be heavily processed. The “kick” was an exercise ball hit dropped two octaves, filtered, and compressed as an effect to cut down the wicked long reverb tail from the pitch drop. The “toms” were tambourine hits tuned down (though less drastically) and the “snare” was also an effected tambourine hit. The other clicks, beeps, shakes, and bells were left largely untouched except for a little reverb, panning, etc. In particular, the inspirational tambourine loop was simply trimmed to make an 8-beat “hi-hat” rhythm that drives much of the song.

The other difference is that the EWI contribution comes from the Animoog app. Getting that to work deserves an article in itself, but to summarize, it involved sending the EWI MIDI out to the Line 6 MIDI Mobilizer interface to the MIDIBridge app with FreEWI “plug-in”. FreEWI mapped CC#2 (breath) to aftertouch for sending to Animoog. In Animoog, the stock patches were modified to use aftertouch (channel pressure) instead of “poly pressure” to get them to respond to breath. Quite-easily-done! 🙂 (Actually, I’m not done with Animoog by a long shot; I think it has great potential as an EWI synth. The only thing I really don’t like about Animoog is it only has about 20s of record time – little more than 8 bars for this tempo.) The EWI is playing the melodic pad part in the intro, then all the lead parts for the rest of the song.
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No Worries

Lyrics:
Matthew 6:25a “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (NIV)
Technical Details:

The inspiration for this piece started one afternoon as I was laying on the trampoline with my son Vinnie listening to the combination of birds and traffic. Later, I used a Zoom Q3 stereo recorder to capture over 20 minutes of the sounds and was pleasantly surprised by several moments including a bee hovering around the recorder, a crow flying fairly close, and even a couple of percussive hits (bee again?) that I was able to turn into kicks and snares. All the percussion sounds came from this recording as did the atmospheric intro and outro bits.

The EWI leads for this piece come courtesy of Addictive synth, which is a very responsive synth for wind controller use as breath can be routed simultaneously to a number of modulation sources including volume, cutoff frequency, noise level, morph, etc. I wind-enabled and tweaked 3 of the stock patches: Digilead, Buzzness, and Flute. EWI was recorded in Addictive while a rough mix played in the background in Meteor. Then the clips were rough edited in Meteor before copying to NanoStudio for the final mix.

I also recorded the wobble bass with the EWI using the VL70-m hardware synth and the Taurus patch from the Patchman Turbo chip; the wobble was achieved just from breath control.

The main bass part and the pad/key parts were Eden patches originating from the SynthGarden patch set.

Vocals were processed in Voice Synth before importing to NanoStudio.

Some other tricks include the use of Euclidean rhythms in one spot.Top


Fear

Liner Notes:
This piece started out as a “word study”. The concept is simple. You pick a word or concept and search out all the verses in the Bible that use it in order to see common themes, threads of understanding, etc. In the old days, this might take hours of flipping through a concordance and a Bible. But today, with websites like biblegateway.com, you can do a search over multiple translations and easily scroll through the results. Great tool. Anyway, the word I chose is obviously “fear” or more specifically “fear of the Lord”. This is a confusing phrase to many who think “I thought God is supposed to be loving. Why should I fear God?”. So this piece is an exploration of that, how we begin with a mortal fear of standing before Almighty God but as we come to faith and grow in that faith, fear is replaced by love.
Lyrics:

Fear

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31, KJV)

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28, NASB)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7a, NIV)
To fear the LORD is to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13a, NIV)
Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. (Psalm 2:11, NIV)

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1a, NIV)
In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (Psalm 56:4b, KJV)
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7, ESV)

The Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:18, NLT)
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18a, NLT)

Technical Details:
This is mostly NanoStudio on the iPad. The vocals were processed in Voice Synth and iVoxel and pasted into NS. Most of the Eden and TRG patches were derived from the Synth Garden and Synthetik Drums add-ons from app-sound.com. That includes the lead “guitar” patch “EP MyCLAV” that I modified for wind controller use and played with the EWI. A neat trick was the use of NS’s new note slicing capability in Eden. This was used at the end where slices of the f-e-a-r word were gradually replaced by slices of the l-o-v-e word to complete the transition. Another neat trick is that the time signature for this track is actually 5/4 but the slower initial section is stretched so that only 4 downbeats occur per measure while the faster section gets 5 downbeats per measure so speeds up by 20% even though the time signature and tempo never changed as far as NanoStudio was concerned.
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Remove The Stain

Lyrics:
Remove the stain of my guilt.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Psalm 51:9b-10 a(New Living Translation)
Technical Details:

This project started out as a submission for Disquiet Junto Project 0041: Dirty Minimalism.

The restrictions were to create a piece that exhibits “minimalism”, sounds “dirty”, and does not use the human voice.

For the minimalism part, this piece probably still has too much activity for most people’s definition of that term, but it is very bare for my usual. The bpm is only 40 and there are only 8 tracks total. 5 tracks were assembled in the Mixtikl app on the iPad and 3 were added in the Meteor Mutitrack recorder app which was also used to mix and “master” the piece. Also the Gospel doesn’t get much more minimal than these two phrases from Psalm 51:9-10 that speak of repentance and redemption in just 14 words.

For the dirty part, I made liberal use of distortion FX in Mixtikl. The vocals originated with the vox3000 app (not human so still technically legal 🙂 ) then got drug through the Voice Synth app and further roughed up in Meteor. Two of the 2 of the tracks added in Meteor were samples taken from a recording of my washing machine (so physical stain removal went into the making of this piece that speaks of spiritual stain removal. 😉 ) although the samples were not treated at all except for pan/volume.

For this final version, I added two EWI tracks – a bass and a tinkly “lead” – just to fill out the frequency spectrum a bit.
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Old Scratch

Liner Notes:

Just in time for Halloween, this track explores the past, present, and future of the creature who tries to claim the day as his own – that’s right, Old Scratch himself, the devil.

Don’t get too scared by the first minute. We know how the story turns out.

Lyrics:
Luke 10:18 (NCV)
Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.Revelation 12:9 (NKJV)
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.Isaiah 14:12-14 (NKJV)
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’

1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

Ephesians 6:11 (NKJV)
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 4:27 (NIV1984)
and do not give the devil a foothold.

James 4:7 (NIV)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Romans 16:20 (NIV)
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Matthew 25:41 (ESV)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Revelation 20:10 (KJV)
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Technical Details:

This is the completion of a project started for the Disquiet Junto #34. For this piece, all the sounds except vocals were derived from a sparse sample which is the first 14s of the piece. Everything else was realized in the NanoStudio app on my iPad 2. The drum kit was fairly straightforward split-and-tweak although using the effects in TRG helped a lot. The rest are Eden synth patches, all using snippets of the original sample processed in various ways. I did use a fair amount of resampling so I can’t tell you how some of the sounds work – not that I won’t tell you, I really don’t understand how some of that came out of Eden. Most of it is a combination of wild LFO modulation (pretty much straight from the stock patches, just replacing the source sample) and playing very high or low on the keyboard which does very strange things due to extreme playback speed stretching/contracting – and maybe frequency aliasing? Honestly, I was very surprised to get as much variety out of the source sample as I did, and I’m sure I just scratched the surface (pun intended 🙂 )

Vocals were recorded and mangled in the Voice Synth app. All the other sounds were derived from the sample mentioned, even the EWI lead patch.

The source audio for this track is the jingle, or sound logo, for the Radius broadcast series, based in Chicago. More info at:

theradius.us

More on this 34th Disquiet Junto project at:

http://disquiet.com/2012/08/23/disquiet0034-theradius/

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The Word Became Flesh

Liner Notes:

This is my (very late) submission for Disquiet Junto Project 0050.

This week’s project explores invokes Morse Code for its rhythmic content. The instructions are as follows: Select a word or phrase. Encode that word or phrase by the Morse method. Record a rhythmic foundation in which the dash is represented by a long beat and the dot by a brief one. Use that rhythmic foundation as a loop for the length of your track, at the speed you desire – speed can vary over the length of the recording. Record accompanying drone/melodic material that takes the underlying rhythm as its compositional foundation.

More on this 50th Disquiet Junto project at:
http://disquiet.com/2012/12/13/disquiet0050-morsebeat/

In order to fit this piece into Electro Christian Meditation, the word chosen was “JESUS”, which is .— . … ..- … in Morse code. Using the conventions here , I programmed this pattern into the DM-1 app. This pattern is played by itself to start the piece and continues throughout. The pattern used 50 16th notes for a time signature of 50/16 or 25/8. This is 1/8 note longer than a typical 4/4 signature which can be heard most clearly in the kick drum’s “stutter” step at the end of the pattern.

The main pattern is also reflected in the relative timing of the EWI melody part, though not as exact as the drum pattern. The lead then goes through a number of variations departing further and further from the “theme”.

Other parts were layered into the Loopy HD looping application from a variety of iOS apps (see below for details), but without regard to the main pattern.

Lyrics:

from John 1, New International Version 1984)

1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

14a. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

4. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

Technical Details:

As a general rule, I try to incorporate new apps and techniques gradually in my projects so as not to get bogged down with learning too many new things at once. But for this project, I threw that rule out the window. With the arrival of AudioBus to the iOS platform, many new techniques opened up, so all the following were used for the first time by me:

  1. AudioBus – the new standard for connecting multiple iOS music apps together
  2. Loopy HD – one of the only apps available for AudioBus output to start
  3. DM-1 – I thought about using FunkBox for drums but DM-1 went free just as a started this project. It is not AudioBus compatible yet so I pasted the drum loops into Loopy.
  4. NLogSynth Pro – the chord pads and drones came from this synth, played live going through AudioBus into Loopy
  5. Animoog – used for the melody part, I played the EWI using a wind-enabled version of the “Subtle Wholetones” patch, effected through the “Blackface Clean” model in JamUp, and recorded into Loopy. This resulted in a sort of muted trumpet sound.
  6. ThumbJam – the bass part (all 4 notes :-)) came from this app, running through a bass amp model in JamUp Pro and into Loopy. Also, the melody was composed/discovered in ThumbJam first using the Harmon trumpet instrument and the Eb Blues Enneatonic scale.
  7. JamUp Pro – as mentioned this was used to effect the bass and EWI parts
  8. Auria – I copied the loops into Auria for mixing and mastering
  9. AudioShare – even with AudioBus, I found myself needed to copy/paste certain things around, especially vocal bits which were recorded directly into AudioShare from a Blue Mikey Digital microphone this copied out to Meteor for clean up, and then into Auria.

It sounds like a lot, and it is, but the workflow started to make sense and I never felt stuck for long.

Along the way, I learned a lot of good techniques and lessons for future projects. The most important was probably the “M” button in Auria’s master bus section. This is the “MONO” button and when I first pressed it after having worked up the mix pretty far, I was shocked to hear half my mix GONE! The NLogSynth parts and the EWI lead in particular virtually disappeared in mono. I didn’t figure it out exactly, but something about the effects on those tracks in the source synths destroyed their mono compatibility. What I did to resolve this was to copy the bits to Meteor as split mono, take one half, and copy it back to Auria. Then I applied delay and chorus in Auria to get back some stereo-ness but without suffering as badly in mono.
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Who Is It You’re Looking For?

Lyrics:
This is my submission to Macrocosm’s Remix Competition on soundcloud.
Lyrics:
John the Baptist:
Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. (Acts 13:25, NIV)Jesus:
What are you looking for? (John 1:38, HCSB)John’s Disciples:
Are you the one we should be looking for? Or must we wait for someone else? (Luke 7:19, CEV)

Jesus:
Go and tell [John] what you have seen and heard. Blind people are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People who have leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can now hear. The dead are raised to life, and the poor are hearing the good news. (Luke 7:22, CEV)

Jesus:
Who is it you’re looking for? (John 18:4, HCSB)

Judas Detachment:
Jesus of Nazareth (John 18:4, NKJV)

Jesus:
I AM He (John 18:5, HCSB)

Technical Details:

I used all the stems in one form or another but transformed to various degrees. The tempo on all stems was increased from 120 to 138 using Loopy HD on the iPad.Then the loops were pulled into NanoStudio for the main production. The “synth1” stem got the most treatment as I extracted notes from it and resequenced these “stabs” into another parts.

I added lots of other parts in NanoStudio including Eden bass from app-sounds Synth Garden, drums from app-sounds Synthetik Kits, my own Eden electric piano patch, and of course EWI leads. The EWI was recorded into Meteor, copied to Loopy, ran through JamUp Pro and back into Loopy via AudioBus, then finally copied back to NanoStudio. (I tried to use Meteor and JamUp in Audiobus directly but I guess my iPad 2 isn’t powerful enough for that setup as I got lots of audio glitches – bummer.) Both the electric guitar and “flute” came from the same EWI patch but effected very differently in JamUp.

From a music theory perspective, the original chord progression was pretty much root-five chords: B5 Db5 Eb5 Ab5. I stuck to that but jazzed up the progression in Chordbot – more like Bmaj7 Dbmin7 Eb7sus4 Absus4 for the bossa nova section in the middle. The lead lines mostly stuck to a pentatonic major scale with some forays into Lydian.

Lyrically, I did a Biblical word study on the phrase “looking for” and pieced together the lyric from various texts. I thought it was pretty neat that one of the references ended up being John 1:38 and I had selected the tempo of 138 long before that.
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