Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Something new everyday

Just stopping in real quick to capture some things happening around me. Crazy week, lots of work, lots of responsibilities, but in the midst of it, I came across a SoundCloud artist whose concept I'm really enjoying. Henry Koek is a poet who puts his poetry to soundscapes and music. A great concept and he does it so well. His poems are both witty and thoughtful. His music soothing and a perfect accompaniment setting the stage for a meditative while.

Here's to you Henry, keep up the great work!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Music of late

I have been a horrible blogger. It's been (quite) a while since I've blogged. So, where do I begin.  There has been a lot to inspire me in my music as of very recently. First off, my son just had his baby, which makes me (dare I say) a grandfather. Wow, there, I've said it...

Also, my wife runs a fashion boutique and she periodically runs fashion shows in our area. In her most recent, I got to be the "auctioneer" which was mainly me rattling off a bunch of nonsense about women's fashion that I know nothing about :D.

In addition to this, my family and I took a summer vacation to Disney World. That was a family blast. I got some great video and really enjoyed the Epcot fireworks show.
My latest set of tracks have been adventurous and explorative for me, probably due to the nature of my interesting summer. I was fortunate enough to add some great orchestral VST power to my suite to include Project Sam's Orchestral Essentials which provides some really nice, clean and big ensemble sound. And, of course, what does one do with a brand new suite of toys? Put them to good use.  And so I did, with the track Empire.

I think the track turned out great, but I'll let you be the judge. I've always been attracted to creating music with a story behind it, in fact, I'd probably go so far as to say story telling in music is my main driving element. Coupled with my new orchestral suite, I decided to dedicate some time to get to know my Korg Kronos X88 better. I had no idea how much awesome stuff was locked up in side that sweet keyboard. This exploration led me to a set of sounds and the theme for another of my new tracks, Science Mind. I'm very happy with this track and I believe it suites the theme quite well.

A couple of new piano tracks rounded out my newest collection to capture all that I've been experiencing. To top it all off, I was very surprised to see that I had been a SoundClouder Of the Day! Shout out to all the folks at SoundCloud, this was a true honor for me.

Well, more to come later, I wish you all a very blessed week. God bless.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vegas Baby!

So, my wife owns and operates a Fashion Boutique in Virginia Beach (Haute Swan). As part of her developing business she attended a Las Vegas convention called Magic. As the supportive husband, I have accompanied her (oh the torture, eating out every night, hotels, pools, and resorts). The end result is me being away from my studio for a week.

During my time in Vegas I have worked on a music job creating Radio Jingles for a news radio station. In addition to my jingle work, I've been working on my day job, and of course, couldn't stay away from composing a couple of new tracks.

How did I get this composition work done remotely from a hotel room without the benefit of my weighted Korg Kronos, grand piano, or studio monitors you may ask? Well here's my crazy gettup:

1. Macbook Pro with Logic Pro 9 DAW
2. Line 6 MobileKeys25 as my midi controller/instrument

Now I must admit, I had no idea how much inspiration springs from the instrument one plays. Although my Line 6 MobileKeys is effective and gets the job done, the keys are "squishy" and only having access to 25 keys is very limiting, forcing me to get creative...I do miss my fully weighted Korg and piano, but I must admit, the result has been surprisingly good.
The end result has been some SoundCloud posts and couple Jingles (can't release yet):

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gear Upgrade!

So, it's been a rough couple of weeks for me. I'm in the middle of a nasty cold (cold medicine a plenty). The weather has picked up and become suddenly cold for a Virginia January. We have just now gotten all of the snow that has been making it's way east. Despite the nasty cold, I've been able to muster enough strength to compose my latest track "Winds of Change". I'm not sure I'm gonna keep that title, I've gotten some feedback about it in regards to the mood of the music, so don't be surprised if it sails under a different banner later this week.

To compose this latest piece, I've been experimenting with my newest addition to the studio...a Korg Kronos X88 workstation. My wife bought this fantastical piece of musical powerhouse for me for our Anniversary (You are the Best, Baby!). I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality of sound and breadth of LFO manipulation and other capabilities. It'll be a couple months before I learn what I want to about this thing.

I've also taken a brave step out with a vocal piece sung by none other than (he who cannot sing well) me :D. The last vocal song I recorded was plagued with recording issues due to my amateur mic setup. So, this time I've upgraded. My vocal recording setup now consists of a Tupe MP Project Series pre-amp, Yeti Blue Mic and a sound guard around the mic. I think the vocal recording came out tremendously better this time around. You can hear the results of my latest vocal setup on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/clinton-stevens/yesterday-today. My daughter has volunteered to sing a newer rendition for me, her voice is much better than mine.

Well, that's all I have for today, thank you for stopping by. Hope you come by again soon :D.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, another year has come and gone. So many exciting things have happened this year. Starting with my beautiful and wonderful wife, ever supported, overworked, underpaid. She has truly been my rock this year. Haute Swan (www.hauteswan.com) has reached some good traction and is getting close to being profitable for her. You go baby!

My lovely children have been growing so fast. My family has been a great source for my musical inspiration this year.

2012 marked the rekindling of my musical flame that I had let dim for so many years. I am so glad that I  started this journey back up again. My music has been my therapy, my emotions captured in a form that I can express freely. I have connected to a world of other musicians that would not have been possible 10 years ago, and have support from so many along the way.

My life this year has not been without it's trials, though. I lost my brother to alcoholism this year, he passed in June of 2012. May god bless him and keep his soul. I myself had had my own bouts with depression and the expanding stress of owning a business and supporting my wife in her business.

I have been privileged to provide my music to you all this year and have high hopes that 2013 will be even better.

Below are the links to where you can access my music:

Friday, December 7, 2012

YouTube Adventures

So I finally got into putting some video behind my music. I've created a YouTube channel (you can check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/clintonstevensmusic) and have started to create videos. Now, I have to come clean...I have absolutely no visual artistic skills at all, and know even less about video and media tools. So, to do this endeavor while still respecting my music, I've decided to start gently by using easy tools and largely still picture transitions.

This experience has actually been alot of fun, and I'm now finding that the YouTube videos add a nice dimension to my music. What kicked off the idea was a track I recently composed titled "Shadow Games". When I went to compose that music, I had a theme in mind...the thrilling story of a secret agent and his beloved, betrayed and trapped in a foreign land. The music was inspired by my vision of these to lovers trying to escape to safety, while the secret agent simultaneously completes his mission and duty to his nation (I have a hard time just managing the household let alone save the world at the same time...LOL).

With no video or media skills, I set out to put my music to a visual story. I acquired a series of pictures that, for me, told the various aspects of my story. The only thing left to do now, was sequence the music, photo's and captions together into a video. To do this, I used iMovie which comes free with the MacBook Pro that I use. I own Adobe CS5 through my company, however, don't know how to use it. I started by trying my hand at Adobe Premiere but quickly got overwhelmed. Given my leanings toward instantaneous gratification coupled with my excitement at the idea, I quickly abandoned ship and went with iMovie.

As it turns out, the videos are coming out great and I'm really having fun. I am now getting the hang of Premiere and am going through tutorials to get more proficient, so I'm excited about doing more in my future videos. You can watch all of my videos on my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/clintonstevensmusic and if you like, please subscribe :D.

In the below video, I actually took my own photos (with the exception of 2) and cut my own home video recordings, I'm really having fun with this.

Well, until next time, be well and do good things for others.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Shadow Games

"Betrayed by his friend and left far from home, hunted by those he has tried to destroy. Delicate balances of power dance a dangerous tango of death. Never knowing who he can trust, under deep cover and trapped, he journeys to find a way out and guard the secrets he holds. Far across the ocean, waiting in safety, his lover walks the beaches of a distant shore, waiting for him to return to her. Such a dangerous path one leads when he decides to play in the Shadow Games."

Today is exciting! I completed my latest track, Shadow Games, and published my first YouTube music video for the song. Now, being a one-man-shop at this point with absolutely no graphic art or video skills, I have chosen to develop my first video as a slideshow of pictures with text overlay to tell the story.

With each track that I write, I try to tell a story of some kind. If possible, I try to realize a composition that will explore the theme and story from beginning to end. When composing Shadow Games, I envisioned a story of a secret agent, badly wounded, trapped in a far away country and hunted by the enemy agency. His duty to his nation and protecting the secrets he possesses drive him to avoid capture and navigate through the clandestine world. Amongst everything else, his romantic desire to protect his lover and to see her again, which keeps him alive with hope in the face of great danger.

Driving guitar riffs, exotic asian percussion, and a steady pumping bass were my weapon of choice in this composition of betrayal, danger, and love.

You can hear this latest track at http://soundcloud.com/clinton-stevens/get-out-of-the-way

You can watch my new YouTube video below :

Please stop by and visit my musical selection at www.soundcloud.com/clinton-stevens.
You can also visit me on my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzOjB4itR0U7z5aNxLtxaKQ?feature=mhee.