Sing, Sing A Song

My injury that resulted in the c5-c7 disk removal / spinal fusion over a decade ago… it stole so much from my life. 😞 Not the surgery itself so much, but the resulting nerve damage that made my left arm rather useless. There are still days when I’m surprised by the discovery of something else “new” that I’m no longer able to do. 🙁 I should have kept a running list… but boy would that have been depressing to have everything I’ve lost, all in one handy notebook.

Well, my most recent neck “thing” seems determined to steal something from me as well. I’m still in the middle of the whole “cancer treatment” thing, with the first step having been the removal of the thyroid… and now while I’m waiting for the radioactive iodine treatment in a couple of weeks, in the mean time I can’t help but be a little bitter about a particular side effect of this surgery. 😠

I dunno… for all I know, this might not be something permanent – but considering that I’m about a month and a half out from the surgery, it’s probably gonna stick. You may or may not know, but music is everything to me. 🤨 Whether listening to it, playing it on a keyboard, crafting it via Amiga / PC tracker programs, or just singing in the car or even at karaoke back in the day. Well I’ve lost a big chunk of that passion, because I can no longer sing. 😟 At least in no way that I used to.

At first I just couldn’t hit the notes at all. Songs that I’ve sung out loud or in my head a thousand times… I now sound like any other shlub that might try to sing it at karaoke somewhere, to the cringes of the peanut gallery. 😒 With a conscious effort, thankfully I’ve been able to get some of my “pitch” ability back – but I’ve lost a huge amount of my higher range. 😢 I’m not sure if it’s because things got tightened up inside my neck, the same way the skin has on the outside (due to the new incision and stitches), but during those moments when I’m not hitting the higher notes – I can actually feel it pulling. 😣 It’s a difficult sensation to describe without the listener having experienced it themselves.

And yeah, I know… considering that I lost some of my range as a side effect of trying to free my body of cancer… I know that it probably sounds silly or greedy for me to be complaining about something that many people would see as frivolous, given the situation. 🙄 But seriously, when so much has already been taken from me, and singing was one of the few things that I just endlessly enjoyed, whether by myself or in front of people… it’s just another kick in the nuts that life has decided to send my way. 😡 “So… that one thing you’ve always loved doing? Yeah, well that’s about enough of all that.” Fucking awesome.

Meh… it’s not gonna stop me from singing, at least not when I’m by myself, so maybe, hopefully, things may continue healing in a way where I can get a little more of my voice back. If I would have known this was coming my way, I definitely would have recorded as many songs as I could before going under the knife. Years ago I recorded enough songs to fill 3 CDs, which I then shared with Mom and Dad and a few other people… but I never thought those would be all that I’d ever do, at least not until now. 🙁

I’ve never claimed to be a great singer. I’ve never even really claimed to be a good singer. It was more that I was good enough, and I recorded the songs that I did because I just love singing, and trying to sound like I love singing. 😏 I wanted people to be able to hear me doing something I loved, because of how it made me feel. Meh… it sounds dumb when I try to put my thoughts about it to words. 😕 Oh, and I don’t care if anyone thinks that this is all self-pity… because it is, and I think I’ve earned it.

Advertisements

Roberto’s Amigatized Tunes

That’s what I called my music back then… so that way when they were sold in “public domain” disk collections, they could be called “RAT” disks. I’m not sure how much they ended up spreading, but I know they ended up in at least three catalogs back then – when you still had to get things like this by ordering and receiving physical floppy disks in the mail. 😏

The videos that I uploaded to YouTube yesterday show my original tracker songs being played by Modizer, an app for the iPhone. But if you view the videos full screen, you’ll still be able to see how the whole thing works. You’ll see which track is playing the drums, which one does the vocal, etc… and that’s what got me interested in creating music this way in the first place. 🤓 When I can see how something works, I can almost always then use it for my own means.

Okay, so let’s pick my favorites from the songs I’ve done…

  • Keep Feelin’ Fascination – I’m probably biased towards this song because it was one of my favorite songs from the time back then. That and it’s fairly simple, so it didn’t require much extra work to get it to sound similar to the original song.
  • Pyro! – This was a song that I created for the guy who ran the Pyro! BBS in Canal Winchester. It uses samples from other songs, to go with the pyro theme, plus it was basically just a “jam” song where I sat and came up with a few different beats, a few stolen bits of songs that I recreated… I dunno… I guess I like that it allowed me four or five musical varieties in a single songs. No rules.
  • Howard the Duck – I’m one of the few dozen people who actually liked this movie back then, and still like it today. You might have read here in the blog a few entries ago about how I gave props to Lea Thompson (on Twitter) for her musical performance in that movie and she actually replied and thanked me.
  • Obsession – This is another track that I did because is was rather simple and easy to emulate, plus it was one of my mom’s favorite bands of the moment back then – Army of Lovers. A very visual band, but the music was still good as well.
  • Mu – This is another “jam” song, where I didn’t have an idea when I started, but just sat down and started banging things out and ripping off bits of other songs to throw into this amalgamation. Experimenting with songs like this was as much about learning the software and methods as it was about creating a song.
  • Man on The Corner – Since Phil Collins and Genesis were two of my favorite artists back then, of course I had to make some attempts at covering their music. I think I actually did four of their songs in total… and I think this is my favorite mostly because of the odd beats and percussion sounds. (See also: I Don’t Care Anymore)
  • Myself – This was a track that I did after I bought my own sampling device for the Amiga 500. I wish I could remember the name of it… but imagine, back then, being able to sample my own voice and then use it to create a song. It was almost unheard of… heh… but yeah, every sample you hear in this one was created with my mouf.
  • The Best is Yet to Come – Samantha Fox was another artist I loved back then (and still do) so I actually did covers of a few of her songs. This one was simple, but it had some harmonies and I hadn’t done any slow songs, so I gave it a shot. (See also: True Devotion)

You can click here if you wanna see the entire playlist of 21 songs that I uploaded. I probably have about ten more that I didn’t upload, as they were basically my earliest practice songs or almost exclusively looped samples. But yeah, working on these songs back then, it actually helped my ear become more trained to isolate individual instruments in every song that I hear to this day. To build a song you lay down the drums, then sit and listen to just the bass in the original, then just the melody, etc. You literally dissect the original and reassemble it via the program, unintentionally learning how to identify and recreate chords, “slide” bass notes up and down, etc. In one way it could seem like a pointless exercise, but I’m glad that I did it.

I’ve got a Windows 10 tracker program, which I think can have up to 64 tracks to use, and there have been times when I’ve thought about trying to build a few more songs… but man is it hard to jump back in to something that you haven’t done for decades, and having to learn a different program to do it on top of that. (Despite the basics still being quite similar to how it was done back in the day.) Never say never, I guess.