“There’s No End To A Tragic End”
The musical world according to a young visionary.
When I set out to put together my weekly radio show with three female musicians I had no idea how it would fly. Well, it flew just fine thank you. The final segment was planned to be an interview/review of a double-release by the band, Silver and Moonlight. However, and as a great surprise to me, the interview segment blossomed into an exhaustive analysis of music making, improvisation, the inner workings of band live and composition, and a look into the mind of a gifted and artistic young lady…I would dare say a modern, artistic renaissance woman.
A little background:
Kiaya Abernathy is a vocalist, lyricist, multi-instrumentalist, spectacular visual artist, and a very creative photographer. If that isn’t enough, she’s strong-willed, perceptive, and enlightened. That would all be understandable if she were in her forties, but if you take off a decade and a have you are closer to the truth.
Kiaya is dedicated to bringing to the masses art in all of its expression. In this interview, she speaks for all of us who struggle to bring forth creative and meaningful music into a world where sameness and commercial gain eclipse meaning and foresight.
As you listen to Kiaya speak about her band, her father, her ideas, and her hopes for the future, think of the way things could be. The way music would change if her worldview were a reality. If music were set free from the chains of what has to be.
Check out the 31 song double album release by Silver and Moonlight:
Stars Shining Bright and Loon Call are here:
My radio show, The Studio Rocks with Mark Campayno, can be heard every weekend here:
A Nylon String Guitar Original Work Prelude This “classical guitar” work in the new acoustic style is by far my favorite of the ones I’ve written so far. Both its sound and constr…
Source: “Nylon Fantasy #2”
A Short Primer On Your Band’s First Recording Session
So you and your band have worked hard. You’ve saved enough money to book time at a recording studio. All the merch sales, donations, and gigs have paid off. Well, almost. You are now entering a whole new level of band life and there is much riding on your time in front of live mics in an environment that may be brand new to you.
The capturing of the music in real time will be the ultimate barometer of your sound and furthermore, will define who you are as a unit. I’m not taking
away from the fun and learning that goes on during live recording sessions, however there is much to consider as you prepare for this experience.
In order to have the session go smoothly with few snags, here are some things to consider before your studio date arrives. Go into the session with an open mind. Be flexible and open to the advice of the sound engineer and to each other. The mere act of recording can expose parts of your music that could use tweaking. Riffs that worked during your “garage sessions” sometimes do not translate well on recordings leaving you with quick decisions to make.
To minimize such issues, ask yourself this question: Does the band have all parts worked out with no trouble spots? Does each member have a working knowledge of each other’s parts? In other words, do they know how all the pieces fit together? Is everyone capable of playing or singing what they are required to play or sing? Sometimes technical issues are masked during band rehearsals due to volume, less that idea sound in your space, and underdeveloped “hearing”.
Prior to the session it may be wise to rehearse the song parts one, two, or three at a time. Have the drummer and bass play. Then add keys or rhythm guitar. After that, add vocals and harmonies. Be prepared to start your songs from different sections. If anyone in the band cannot play from any section instantly then the music is NOT memorized and precious time will be wasted and the costs will increase.
Finally, the issue of equipment comes up. Does everyone have decent equipment to record with. More often than not, you will use what the engineer suggests. Don’t be offended if your 6 Line (lol) amps sound doesn’t cut it in the studio. Are your guitar players using too much gain and distortion during rehearsal? Have you thought about cutting it down to about 3/4 of what they are used to (at least for the rhythm parts)? It’s shocking how much that will clean up your sound.
Remember to provide your engineer with a detailed list of your songs and the structure. If not, the clock will tick as you try in vain to describe how each song goes. That is a gigantic time waster. Provide also each member’s role on the songs. Who sings harmonies, who plays tambourine, when does that elusive cowbell part come in?
A few hours spent on firming up all these details can save you hundreds of dollars and can clean up your session in a big way!
Music is music yes? Well, no. As the days pass it becomes clear that music style and music blending are now becoming as one. Sub-genres, new genres, and blended forms are shaking the foundation of what once was a fairly stable set of norms for each culture.
Music is in this state of flux because of the massive increase in the ability of humans to communicate. Instant access to practically to anywhere in the world has enabled a sharing of art and culture unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Music is now being composed that may contain elements from two or more cultures. This is now the norm and the movement is picking up even more momentum as each day passes.
Take Anurag Mishra, a native of Mumbai, India. He creates music that is eclectic and mixed with culture and pure intuition. A man after my own heart he writes, “I can type and type but words have no meaning really. Just listen, that will be enough.” His musical vignettes are snapshots, or better to say, short stories of his life experience mixed with elements of his native and western musical experiences and intuition.
His mix of nature and urban background sounds are as real and alive as his music. How does one conceive of such creativity? Anurag himself is a man who can be passionate and incredibly humorous. He wears his heart on his sleeve and can be at once, or in part, highly emotional and extremely patient and kind. But, that is what makes his music so varied and engaging.
Using his instrumental musings as musical poetry is part and partial of what Anurag is about. His three-song collection The Journey is a prime example. When Anurag says, “I recorded these songs on an old broken mandolin, the tuning alone took hours, but man the tone of old wood. :)” you understand immediately that he is an old soul. He is clearly a composer free and uninhibited ready to create that which is delivered by the process of “creative composing“. He is a self-taught savant ready always for the music to call.
His compositions come to us as not just sounds, but pieces of our lives. For him, bringing music to the earth is almost a religious experience. He takes it seriously and fights hard to get every once of feeling into his works. He is a master of arpeggiated emotionalism in this case taking cello and mandolin and creating what can only be described as a miracle of moving symbolism in musical dialogue. “Wings” is by far his greatest work thus far. Moving me to a state of paralysis until it ends, its notes fall as pedals of sound pulling at every fibre of my being.
“Breathing” sounds like a classical etude until the entrance of the cello. It’s then that you realize he’s done it again. He’s opened your heart. Out it comes, good memories, bad memories; people flash before your eyes. You see that. which you wished to let go of. Then, instantly the music brightens a little and life becomes once again bearable and recoverable. The song ends abruptly with no warning, but not too soon. For Anurag, you see, will write as long as he needs to. No more, no less. Be assured however, that the message will be there for you. But, only you.
In the last composition, “The Red Earth”, you are struck by the beauty of the world. All the earth, not just your small part of it. He describes the piece as “changes from light to dark, or dark to light”. Don’t dare ask for more of an explanation than that. He won’t give it and in this change I speak of, your interpretation pulls more weight. Creators of world instrumental music are happy to listen to your descriptions as it gives them a window into a world they wish to discover.
At the end of this short but powerful collection, you realize that in music at least the universe and it’s inhabitants can live as one. We can understand each other. We can overcome and embrace who we are. We can create freely. Anurag Mishra’s 8:13 seconds of breathtaking soundscapes prove that the world is changing quickly around us.
Mark Jeffery Campayno
How does one begin to explain the emotions contained within such a piece of music? It’s not possible with mere words. If it were there would be no music. To this day, this song weighs heavy on my heart. Basically, the music was birthed on a Sunday afternoon with my son. Looking back, that day was telling. In a way, the power of God was present that day and it now seems that a message was being sent to me. After dropping my son off (the most painful moments of my life) I drove the usual three hours back home. I had no intention of recording anything as it was late and I was tired. Looking around the room I saw my old Aria acoustic guitar. I picked it up and the music began to flow. It was as if a force outside of myself compelled me to do so. I played a few minutes and then decided to record a little of it. The result will always be one of my most memorable acoustic pieces. The pain, regret, longing, and yes, remorse are evident in the music. Do I hear any ray of hope in it? Well, I’m looking still…