Basic Musical Jargon… and Elementary Music Theory….

Diatonic- notes in the specified key.
Chromatic- any note, regardless of key.
Atonic- a feeling that the music possesses no key center.

Western music is diatonic.
The Ionian Greek tribe won out, at least musically, and their musical taste defined Western music. The Ionian Mode is the Major Scale… and is what the VAST majority of Western music is based upon… as far as what sounds “good” to Western ears….
Other cultures embrace different tonal scales, but to the Western ear… those sounds… strange….

Harmonicas are probably the most common musical instrument played in the Western world. Most harmonicas are diatonic, meaning that they come in a key. As one becomes more adept, and learns how to bend certain notes on the draw… one can play a modified “Blues” scale that has some notes outside the standard diatonic scale of the key, but most people never progress to second or third position playing on their harmonica.
Harmonicas also come in the Chromatic variety, which are capable of playing all twelve tones in the eight note scale.

The Ionic Mode or diatonic scale is: whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half steps… and then repeat….
That translates to: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii0….
The capital letters are Major chords, the uncapitalized letters denote minor chords and the 0 means diminished.
A Major chord is three notes a major third of the scale apart and define what sounds “good” to Western ears.
I is Tonal. IV is Subdominant. V is Dominant… and almost forces resolution to the Tonal I….
Minor chords have a flatted or minor third between the Major fifth bookends. Minor chords sound “sad” or “haunting” to Western ears.
A diminished chord flats the fifth because that needs to happen with the viith chord because the scale fits twelve half-tones into eight steps… and the last step… from vii to I… is only a half-tone…. Which usually sounds dissonant… or adds tension… is hard to fit within the key….
If one begins on middle C… which is considered the tonic center of the piano keyboard… then the progression is C, D, E, F, G, A, B… or all of the white keys…. You can look at the keyboard and visualize the Ionian Diatonic Scale starting at C.
If you want to know what a mode is… simply look at the white keys and start on a different note….
Start on the Dominant Vth and you get G Mixolydian, which is different from G Major because the 7th step… which would be F#… is now F instead… leaving a whole step instead of a half-step at the end of the scale. Mixolydian modes are considered Major scales….
Start on vi and you get the Aeolian Mode or Pure Minor or Natural Minor Scale, which is A minor; however, this scale introduces some harmonic difficulties… because to the Western ear… ascending on a Natural Minor Scale sounds fine… but descending sounds… out of tune…. Descending sounds better in what is called the Harmonic Minor Key….
So… i, ii0, bIII, iv, v, bVI, bVII (where b means flat)….
Then… i, ii0, bIII+, iv, V, bVI, vii0 (where + means augmented or sharp 5th)….

The point is that a lot of different scales exists… so the paths through any particular set of notes can be very varied…. Some paths sound better than other… and what music you were raised listening to defines what sounds “good” to you….
Some paths are more interesting tonally than other paths….
That’s why they make chocolate and vanilla….

Harmonic Rhythm… or how the notes and chords are tied together in SpaceTime… the frequency of chord changes… dictates the pace… and defines the mood… or the piece….

So… ideally… the Harmonic Structure… and the Harmonic Rhythm… should work together with the Melodic and Lyrical components to support one another… or help create dynamic tension at different parts of the work….

Of course… some Composers are vehemently opposed to the use of music to drive emotion….

Recent and Near Future Works

Most of our recent work has been focused on music. Composing. Writing lyrics. Recording. Editing. Producing. And studying music….

Much of the work is technical. Studying different scales and modes. Different intervals. The characteristics of different movements. How they sound. What certain shifts convey….

A lot of the work is developing… and then capturing… different means of expression….

In the near future… we will be moving towards the more rhythmic… or percussive… elements….

Recently we have experimented with using the guitar as rhythmic center… driving the beat… while using the bass as a melodic element… experimenting with various scales and modes… and altered time….

We have also used the vocal elements as rhythmic components at times as well….
And the harmonica as well…. To fill… but also to give a feel of the tempo and time….
Exploring time and space….
Using different vocal textures… and tempi… to bring about a different feel….

Still have many works in the embryonal stage….
Others in the conceptual stage….
Still others in different developmental… and evolutionary stages….
Some never meant to be more than studies….

Still have several short stories and longer stories and novels in development….

Lots of unfinished works… still in evolution… and development….
Still… lots to do….

Blanket (Jazz+Time+Space version)

Messing with Time+Space+Tonal Palette on this one….
Not many… if any… notes missing….
Basically an atonal jazz piece… in E minor… if you feel you absolutely HAVE to have a key….

Pretty simple… really….
Not any layering….
A rhythm guitar….
A bit of bass… to add some color… and create tension….
And… some sparse keyboards….
VERY sparse….

Craven Blackheart & the Notorious Rogues….
Rievers & Grievers….
Blanket….
Otherwise known as… Don’t Throw a Blanket on my Love, my Love….

The vocals should have been recorded with more compression and limiter….
Hopefully… can’t hear the birds chirping (without good headphones….)

Ennui…. Angst…. And… Ambivalence….

Wondering how to imbue songs with mixed emotions… and maintain tension… at the same time….

That was kind of the emotional… psychological… musical… creative… experiment….

Not completely successful….

Experimentation requires confidence… and willingness to get it all completely wrong….

Been off a few days….
In a daze….
Been off kilter….
Been out of town….
Bittersweet….

But how can one appreciate sweet… without at least some knowledge of bitter….

The riff… or chord progression… and determining which is often difficult… did have a fixed form….
The bass lines did not. Neither did the lead. Some phrases repeated. Others intentionally never did….
Nothing cut in stone…. Nothing fixed….
Leaving the idea… that something was broken….
Untethered….
Loose….
Free….

But as we transition from fixed… to broken…. From loose… to FREE!!!
Often times minds wander from feeling comfortable… to feeling challenged… to feeling threatened….

Freedom often feels threatening… to those who wish to control… others….

Freedom often challenges… or threatens society as a whole….
Societal norms….
Societal conventions….
Some people’s ideas regarding SOCIETY…. Period.
Anyone who refuses to conform to THEIR ideas… is DANGEROUS….
Some people wish nothing more than to be the leaders of sheeple….
Impose their will upon carbon copies of their own shallow plastic “lives”….
Communism…. Socialism…. Fascism…. All of those cookie-cutter progressive… liberal… isms… including Conservativism… fall far short of supporting REAL FREEDOM….

REAL FREEDOM is dangerous….

Even if it only exists in a single song….

Therefore… we need a disguise….
A mask….
Or… three….
Ennui…. Angst…. And… ambivalence….

That Thing That The Angel Dropped (on the Floor… When She Waltzed Out That Door….)

This one is a bit… weird….
Experimental….
Not really E minor….
More E Mixolydian… but not really THAT either….
Experimenting with percussion…. Recording….

Suspended IVths…. Suspended IInds…. What’s not to love, right…?

Strange chords….
Strange arrangement….
Strange melody….
Strange lyrics….
Strange song….

jOHnnY jOkEr & tHE wIlD cArDz….
Ain’t THAT Life…?
That Thing That the Angel Dropped (on the Floor… When She Waltzed Out That Door….)

Explaining… THE Ultimate Untitled Lost Love Song….

More snarcasm cleverly disguised as social commentary….

The “lyrics” were written to maximize the irony when contrasted to the music… which was in no way sad….
Except for the distorted and flanged Lap Steel Guitar at the end… that intentionally moves out of key… to introduce a dystonic element intended to set one’s teeth on edge….

The bass drives the tune….
Several layers of guitar… that progress towards more intensely distorted and flanged varieties… again to test how much one can toy with emotions… without the need for words….
The lead work is basically pentatonic minor progression with bending….

Not really a serious piece….
Unless you’ve been in the situation….
Then… you just GOT to laugh it off….

Notes on Julia (MAX Distortion D-Mo’ version)

Julia is a love song. About teenage love….
With lyrics like… Walk on cotton-candy clouds… Lips sweet as wine….

The version as recorded is Punked OUT!!!
Plethoric with SNARCASM!!!

Rocking out with bass… some pentatonic guitar work… and some chromatic elements as well….

The riff is moving semi-tones to give the song a very dystonic… deliberately delinquent… quality….
Add a HEAP of distortion… and flange it like the songs on FIRE!!!… and throw in vocals that are intentionally off key and off tempo… and ya get… SNARCALICIOUSness….

All THAT song needs is some more cowbell….

Because no snarcastic social commentary song can EVER possibly have too much cowbell….
Just can’t happen….