Slacking Off

December 17th, 2012

I never write this sort of thing. I nearly never play in slack tunings. But this progression was thrashing around my head for most of an afternoon, and I just had to record and share it. I hope you like it!

The song

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Progressions, Videos

You and Me

February 14th, 2012

Valentine’s Day, five years ago. I had written Becky a song for the occasion, but I didn’t have any way to record it. No microphone, no recording interface, no studio, no budget, and no time.

The song itself had turned out pretty well. Some fun stuff harmonically, and some solid lyrics drawn from some highly stressful interpersonal things we were undergoing at the time. I thought Becky would really like it, and I wanted to make it her Valentine’s Day gift. But I didn’t have anything better than the mic on my laptop to record it with.

Sooo…my good friend Jeff loaned me his lo-fi USB interface. I borrowed a crappy mike from someone. When recording vocals, professionals use a pop filter to keep all those ‘plosive plosives from filling the track with ugly PFF and TUH and SSS sounds. I didn’t have a pop filter, so I held…I’m not making this up…a piece of paper towel over the microphone as I sang.

Oh, and I didn’t have a studio, or any time, and I wanted it to be a surprise, so I did all of this in forty-five minutes in my brother’s bedroom at my mom’s house. A space the size of your average bathroom and with all the sonic qualities of one.

I was going for this sort of breathy Elliott Smith vibe, and I’m pretty sure I was unsuccessful. As a piece of recorded art, it’s rather dreadful. Nonetheless, Becky liked it, and that one line — “Taking them all on as one” — has become something of a rallying cry for us as we’ve weathered the trials of life together.

The song

Listen to

The lyrics

You and Me

[verse 1]

You and me, we go together like equality
Goes together with fraternity
And liberty, I quite agree,
Is found in keeping to you.

[verse 2]

You and me, we are battered by imagined woes
And a multitude of friendly foes
But unity, I quite agree,
Is taking them all as one.

[solo]

[verse 3]

You and me, we are gathered in the grip of grace
Seeing mercy on the Father’s face
And empathy, I quite agree,
Is treating each other the same…

…is found in keeping to you.

…is taking them all on as one.

Complete Songs

Twelve Again

January 13th, 2012

File this under Works in Progress. I turned thirty this year. I am married and have three children, two cats, and a Master’s degree. Yet some days I’m not convinced I’ve matured much from who I was in junior high: a scarcely pubescent addlepated twit. Faced with some recent, specific proof of this ongoing immaturity and finding myself with a guitar in hand, I began writing this song. Let me know what you think!

The piece

Listen to

The chords thus far

[DADGAD, capo @ 2, all chords relative to capo]

Bm7 G5 D/F#-G Em-D
Bm7 G5 D D/F#-G Em-D D
Bm7 G5 D/F#-G Em-D D
Bm7 G5 D D-D/E-D/F# A-G
 

[verse 1]

A                    B5
E5                                        D5
A                    B
E5                              A-B        D-E
A                   B5
E5                                        D5

[pre-chorus]

F5               G5
F5               G5
G5               A5

[verse 2]

[pre-chorus]

B C

[bridge]

F#m G F#m G/B-G/C#-G/D
F#m G F#m G/B-G/C#-G/D (etc.)

[outro]

B C D

Lyrics, Song Fragments

Birthday

September 11th, 2011

I turned thirty yesterday. Inspired by this event, I wrote a song. My sister Joanna helped w/ the lyrics. I hope you enjoy it!

The piece

Listen to

The chords and lyrics

[capo @ 5, all chords relative to capo]

G5 A7sus4 Dm/F-D/F#

[verse 1]

G5
Today is my birthday
A7sus4
Today is my birthday
Em
As yesterday passes,
Bm7 D/F#
A decade is gone

Today is my birthday
Today is the first day
I’ll break from the masses
For I’m moving on

[chorus]

A E/G#
Though the road is narrow
Gmaj7 F#m7
And the path less travelled
F G(open) A(open)
I’m moving on…

[verse 2]

Today is my birthday
Today is my birthday
The morning star’s rising
Magnificent dawn

Today is my birthday
Today is the last day
No more compromising
I’m pressing on

[chorus] x2

G-F G A
I’m pressing on…

[verse 3]

Today is my birthday
Today is my birthday
Like old photos fading
The old man is gone

Today is my birthday
Today is a new day
The future’s awaiting
And I’m climbing on

[chorus] x2

I’m moving on…

G/B F#m/A Am6 Em/G Dm/F-D/F# G5 (Gsus2-G-Gsus2)

G/B F#m/A Am6 Em/G Dm/F-D/F#

A E/G# Gmaj7 F#m7 Dm/F-D/F#

A E/G# Gmaj7 F#m7 Dm/F-D/F# G5

Dm/F-D/F# G5 (Gsus2-G-Gsus2)

Dm/F-D/F# G5

 

Complete Songs

Clap Your Hands…

May 11th, 2011

I find I write more in-the-moment music when I keep a guitar next to my desk, out of the case and ready to roll. I heard this rhythm and progression rolling around in my head throughout the day, so I grabbed my gitbox and knocked it out.

It’s simple — almost embarrassingly so. I mean, where’s the influence of serial composition? Where’s the sensibility of Schoenberg? Who knows!

For those following along at home, here’s how it’s set up at the moment:

Intro
Verse 1
(turnaround)
Chorus
Verse 2
Bridge
Chorus
Outro

Like I said, embarrassingly simple. But I just can’t stop listening to this thing over and over, tapping my feet, bobbing my head, and generally feeling happy.

Right now, it has no lyrics and no melody…and I’m open to any and all suggestions!

Enjoy!

The clip (click to show player)

Listen to

Recorded

May 10, 2011, 5:29 pm

Song Fragments

Beggar

September 2nd, 2010

This is Beggar, debuted at an open mic night in April. The lyrics for Beggar are here: http://www.matthewmarkmiller.com/music/index.php/2010/04/16/debuting-two-new-songs-at-offerings-at-wkbc-sunday-april-18/

I hope you enjoy it!

P.S. I think I missed a “keyframe” when converting the video; it clears up after a few seconds.

Complete Songs, Videos

Requiem for Eb and Fibonacci

August 24th, 2010

Many years ago, I studied Music Composition and nearly earned a degree in it (it ended up as yet another minor). Every year, the college I attended held the “21st-Century Music Composition Competition.” In 2003, this piece won.

I don’t have a recording of it, and I sure as heck couldn’t play it, and one accompanist I approached about doing so laughed at me and went on a diatribe about non-piano-playing composers who think they can write for the piano. But thanks to the power of MIDI, here’s an idea of what it would sound like if A) it were playable and B) I could find someone who could play it.

Reflecting back on this years later, I see this piece as a prime example of why Mozart is still revered and no one my age has heard of John Cage and his ilk. I’m just saying.

The piece

Listen to

The sheet music

Requiem for Eb and Fibonacci

Compositions

Chris Cornell Songwriting Recipe

June 28th, 2010

I’ve finally figured out Chris Cornell’s songwriting recipe:

10 scoops Awesome Nouns (sun, fire, gasoline, highway, gun, “exploder”)
2 bunches Manly Verbs/Gerunds (cut, burn, drown, wandering, kill, wallow)
1 1/2 qts First/Second Person Pronouns (drown me in you)
4 cups prepositions
6 oz. pure nonsense
2 tbsp cusswords
A dash of Native American imagery
A sprinkle of spiritualism

Mix thoroughly. Spread over a base of Kim Thayil or Tom Morello to taste. Cut into batches of 10-12 and serve.

Feeds millions…

Humor

Debuting two new songs at Offerings at WKBC Sunday, April 18

April 16th, 2010

My brother’s church, West Kingston Baptist Church, holds a monthly open mic night. I will be debuting two new songs there.

For more information about the show, check out the bulletin at this link: http://www.wkbc.org/announcements/bulletin-preview-april-11-2010/

The songs I will be performing are Beggar and Seasons.

Here are the lyrics for Beggar; I’d appreciate your input, as it’s not too late to change them!

Beggar

[verse 1]

If begging is beggar’s work,
What does that make me to to you?
When the art of Arctic tactics
Turns me grey and blue

[chorus 1]

For though I sleep beneath the stars
And box the sky above me
I can’t ignore the shooting scars
And didn’t see them falling

[verse 2]

Man is truly wicked
Worlds of evil deep inside him
As fruitfully as he multiplies,
He angrily divides

[chorus 1]

For though I sleep beneath the stars
And box the sky above me
I can’t ignore the shooting scars
And didn’t see them falling

[outro]

And though you swear you’d never leave me
Nor bereave me
I often mourn the way you’ll stay

News

Inclined (unplugged)

November 11th, 2009

Rhythmic acoustic alt-folk rock.  It’s what I do.  I hope you enjoy this!

Complete Songs