A song I wrote in 20 Minutes

tomslatter_cuttingupallofourdreams.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Or at least, a demo of the beginning of a song that I wrote in 20 minutes.

Cutting up all of our dreams

They come out when the night falls
And dance in the streetlights,
They crawl out from their hidey-holes when no-one's there to see.

They kiss under the star shine
Play games in the gutters
Sardines and hide and seek while the waking world is gone

If we just let them play away in the night time
They won't come to the places we sleep

They're nothing but a rumour
A glimpse in the distance
the stories of their tails and teeth have never been confirmed

They kiss you when you're sleeping
sing songs that you don't hear
They vanish if you stir, or sigh or call out in your sleep

If we just let them play away in the night time
They won't come to the places we sleep and make mischief
By cutting up all of our dreams

Save us your lies
We all know that they're there
They're all waiting for the night to come
When none of us awake

Rock Singer’s Diary part 3

cartographerapril25.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Day 5

Spent today singing, recording, listening then deleting. Not happy with anything I've been signing at the moment.

Spent a few hours listening to Daniel Gildenlow from Pain of Salvation singing and feeling sorry for myself.

It then occured to me that my best vocal recording has been done when I set up the mics, got things properly sorted before I started then recorded whole takes – the best recordings have been captured when things felt right.

So, tomorrow morning I shall attempt to record with the right feeling.

Let's see if that works.

Day 6

Throat still awful. Didn't sing. Set up room ready for tomorrow though. Hopefully I'll get something good down.

Day 7

Successs!! Huzzah. Today I recorded vocals for 6 of the 8 tracks on Ironbark. I'm not sure if they'll end up being the final, final takes or not, but they sounded good my voice is in okay shape after a week and a bit of rest and practice. More importantly, I'm actually feeling up beat about my singing for the first time in ages.

The mp3 attahced to this blop post is an extract from The Cartographer's tale with vocals I sang today.

A Rock Singer’s Diary part 2

Day 2

Breathing then Scale exercises – Still very scratchy at the top end. Tried recording high pitched section of Ironbark – sounded awful.

Day 3

Breathing, scales, a few songs.
Top end in much better condition to begin with. Recorded lots of vocals for Ironbark – first 20 minutes sounded good, then downhill from there! Stamina still lacking.

Day 4

No singing today, but I listened back to what I recorded yesterday.

Beast of the Air:

Happy with this, a couple of slightly off notes, one or two lines to rerecord, but basically it's done.

Miser's Will Part 1:

Not happy with what I recorded for this at all. The demo I recorded last summer sounded good – C minor was an okay key, and singing so much just above middle C was no strain at all. Yesterday's take of this soundes really strained and forced. I seriously need to work on singing in this range with a relaxed throat – there's way too much tension in this take and it really shows.

Miser's Will part 3:

 80% of this is good – it's all in the lower range which has escaped the ravages of illness and neglect. The only exception is a couple of notes towards the end which are supposed to float up into falsetto but sound too hoarse and forced when they do so.

It's not all bad, there's a lot I can keep from the last recording session, but listening back my voice still isn't where it should be.


Work on singing the range just above middle C in a relaxed manner – volume without strain.
Sort out my falsetto – shouldn't sound so hoarse, and I could do with more breathe control here.

In other news, I've recieved a bad review here: http://bit.ly/hnRvgh

My this blog post is negative! It's not all bad really. Honest!

Undoing the Damage – A Rock Singer’s Diary part 1

Through a combination of recent illness and neglect, my voice is not what it was.

This was bought home to me when I tried recording some vocals for my second solo album Ironbark. Having set up the mic and warmed up a little I found that although my tuning and range where still there, my stamina and tone have really suffered.

There are lots of things that can affect the voice, general fitness and the state of your throat being the most obvious. Although I'm in the best shape I've been for a few years (Thanks to a wonderful and health conscious better half who has been dragging me along to the gym for the last few months) work has been crazy of late. This has left me fatigued and battling off stress-induced ailments that have gone straight for my throat. In fact I actually lost my voice for a few days in March.

Despite having lost my voice I tried singing a short online set and this really bought home to me how much work I need to do.

So today I start working on my voice properly for the first time in years.

To do this I made use of <a href=http://www.thesingthing.com/exercises.htm> The Sing Thing</a> and the Rock'n'Roll Singer's Survival Handbook.

The First Practice

I started with some breathing exercises, followed by some exercises that work the jaw and lips muscles, then onto some actual singing with some scale based exercises.

Apart from not having the stamina I once (that'll come back with practice) I still sound okay. The middle of lower end of my voice are relatively intact.

The problem at the moment is the higher register, notes above the E above middle C. Whether sung falsetto or with my full voice, this area sounds pretty hoarse.

Which is very annoying because there are a couple of passages on the new album that require the use of that range in a rather exposed fashion. Tommorrow I'll start working on these areas as best I can. Illness and tiredness often take away the top part of your voice first, and this range is currently sounding very ragged and unpleasant. Still, onward and, as they say, upward. More practicing tomorrow.

If you've got some favourite vocal exercises to share, please let me know. Always happy to try out something new.

The Banshee Eliza

banshee.mp3 Listen on Posterous

A couple of years ago I started writing some songs about outlandish horror-comic characters. I had a song about a banshee, one about the girl who was possessed by demons, another about a werewolf. The project has yet to come to fruition, but you can hear a demo from that project in this post.

At the end you get to hear 3 part vocals in 5/4 timing. Something that all songs should have.