Don Hosek - Music Diary

Eleven years ago today
Sunday, 16 December 2007
Brought the double bass to mass at St Camillus. It was kind of cool on “Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel” to play a low E pedal through most of the song, kind of reminiscent of the version of the song by Kevin Gilbert and Jonatha Brooke.

As promised, John August Swanson brought his violin and contributed violin parts on most of the songs. He’s a pretty good violinist although his confidence is short of his abilities.

The eggnog cheesecake I brought for the potluck was a big hit among all present. I’ll definitely make it for Christmas eve with the family.

Fifteen years ago today
Tuesday, 16 December 2003
The ship date for Finale appears to have slipped even further. This is really frutstrating because I was really kind of counting on having it available for me to use in getting the wedding music done over winter break. I don’t have anything resembling reliable notation software on my laptop at the moment. Crud.

Sixteen years ago today
Monday, 16 December 2002
I’ve been thinking about what I want to be doing with my songwriting. This was inspired partly by recent re-listenings to Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood and Kevin Gilbert’s The Shaming of the True. Both albums contain an emotional intensity that is missing not only from my work, but, I think, from the work of the writers who have been my most proximate influences of late, Leonard Cohen and Peter Gabriel. Both MC and TSotT are not albums to be lightly listened to. They grab the listener by the throat and say: Hey, pay attention, this is important.

My lyrical work has largely been fixed on a somewhat satirical and sardonic view of the world. Can I really say that Go to Bar or Salvation at a Discount have that kind of emotional impact on the listener? Sure, they’re both a kick in the ass to the person who pays attention to the lyrics, but there’s not that sense of personal investment in those songs that the best moments of MC and TSotT have. Set Yourself on Fire, well, that’s just esoteric. Hard Cold Thing maybe gets there, but the third person narration puts the singer away from that critical emotional investment.

Looking over what I’ve written (or started to write) for DiC, the two songs that are farthest from completion are the closest to my MC/TSotT ideal. I think perhaps I’m afraid to make the commitment necessary to write a song of this nature.

Seventeen years ago today
Sunday, 16 December 2001
12.26: As I come into the home stretch on “In Paradisum,” I’ve decided to make an offer to see if I have any readers of this diary: The first five people to respond to this offer (whether from the first appearance of this diary entry or it reappearing in the past entries on the left) will get their own copy of the CD, free of charge. Just send me your postal address and ask for the CD. It’s that easy.

16.24: Taking a quick break from the salt mines to report on my first DP3 mix (1 of 8 I’m trying to finish by January 6th for my “Christmas card” CD.

I record to an Emu Darwin Hard disk recorder with external HDD, then sneakernet the drive over to the computer to bring the tracks into DP.

Problem: Darwin formats its drive as a DOS drive. File Exchange to mount the drive reliably locks up my mac (first lock-ups ever on the G4!)

I figure maybe OS X will be more reliable for this. Or not. I can’t find any equivalent of File Exchange in OS X and don’t have the time to spend on finding it.

Mounting the drive on the PC works fine, but I’ve lost my DAVE CD, so how to get the files over. OS X to the rescue: I start up FTP file sharing, and FTP the files to the Mac from the windows box. Whoopee! One problem solved.

My previous attempt at bringing WAV files into DP had been a disaster. I used the import feature to bring them into a soundbite, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with them once they were in the soundbite. But courtesy of the MOTU-MAC list, I had since learned to try drag & drop of the tracks into the tracks window. Worked like a charm.

Next step was to go through the guitar tracks and edit out the wrong notes that I’d played and anything that made the two tracks not compatible. Worked like a charm. Piano, bass and woodblock are all ok.

Next up: Culling the best bits of four vocal takes for the female vocals into one good take, then mixing in my vocals (I may want to do another retake on that) and the first song will be done (modulo bounce to disk and checking the mix on a handful of CD players around the apartment). I am falling very far behind my schedule on this project though.

21.47: Oh dear, I’m terribly slow: I had to dig out my old production notes on the computer to see what the guitar tuning I was using was. The date on the file is 22 December 2000. It’s not inconceivable that it’s been a full year since Chris and I started working on this song.

21.51: Q: How do you know when it’s time to put a new set of strings on the guitar. A: One breaks. Good thing I have a big stock of guitar strings (I should almost definitely stock up on bass strings though, given this experience).

Random blast from the past
Sunday, 24 July 2005
First rehearsal with the Orange County Symphony. We’ll be playing “Peter and the Wolf” in September, which, unfortunately, will be my only performance with them. My left hand fingers are sore still.

We also read through Copland’s Hoe-Down and a piece based on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

We’re still very short of a wind section at the moment which makes things a bit hard to keep together, especially in the Peter and the Wolf.

NP: “Pretty Deep,” Tanya Donelly, Lovesongs for Underdogs.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012.
A long-delayed return to music diarizing. I’m currently in Tampa for the residency of my Creative Writing MFA. I brought along my banjo and found a piano so I’ve been able to get in some practice on banjo, piano and voice while I’m here. The big things I’ve been working on have been a piano and voice arrangement of “Nuages”and working out a bit more of “I Found Jesus” which now has its melody and chords a bit more defined (It’s a I-vi-IV-V in Bb).

Sunday, 14 August 2011.
Second rehearsal of the gypsy jazz group. My endurance was a great deal better, although I was a bit behind in printing up charts. I’ll have to spend some time on this before the next rehearsal. I’m feeling pretty good about my playing, although I want to be spending more time practicing.

Monday, 8 August 2011.
A new musical project. I auditioned for and was accepted by a nascent gypsy jazz group as their bass player. My finger is a bit sore from that much pizz playing after so long away from the instrument. I also found myself fatiguing well before the audition was over with my fast walking parts hard to keep up to tempo. Fortunately, a lot of manouche bass is a somewhat less demanding root-five kind of line.

Sunday, 16 January 2011.
Got a bunch of lyrics done on “You Took My Photograph” but I’m not done. Pulling out the rhyming dictionary has helped a bit. I’m actually finding it to be more of a book to creativity than I would have guessed. I do find myself wanting to rhyme “days” with “protease.”

Saturday, 15 January 2011.
Nailed down the music for “You Took My Photograph.” I had some really nice ideas that came to me while falling asleep last night, but I lost them. I did remember some Gospel-esque chord progressions which I did manage to approximate while working on the song. There’s a nice shift between G and Bb in the tonality of the song.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011.
Nobody played their songs at this week’s songwriting class. I guess it was a case of terminal shyness. Next week, I don’t care: I’m playing my damn song. This week’s song wasn’t so good, but I have some ideas for where to go with next week’s song and I think it’s going to be pretty good, close to a keeper (especially if, as I hope, I can get some feedback on the song).

Monday, 10 January 2011.
Finished the song for tomorrow’s class. I’m not really happy with the lyrics, but the melody’s not bad (even if I couldn’t remember how the short lines of the chorus were supposed to fit in). I did do a nice thing where there’s a shift from Bb to D on the choruses. One of those great harmonic things I picked up from Gospel music.

Friday, 7 January 2011.
Ended up doing no evening practice, but I did write the first verse and chorus of my song for my songwriting class during a slow moment at work. I rather like what I’m doing with rhymes in that song, and I’ve got a clear view of where the song is going.

Thursday, 6 January 2011.
I had hoped to be able to squeeze in a bit of flute practice on Thursdays between work and my short story class at UCLA, but it appears that this is a hope in vain. I left the office at 5.30p and at 6.18 the bus hasn’t gotten past the 405. I’m not sure I’ll even be able to get dinner. I did get a bunch more song titles recorded, including digging into some of my old files for songs planned but never written for Techne and Worst Case Scenario. I need to create a file which will be my songwriting queue, perhaps in Evernote. I can also keep some notes on the songs and their potential ultimate destinations.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011.
A bit of freewriting at lunch, plus a handful of titles written down: “My Dark Brother,” “Seven Years in the Desert,” “I Call My Mom Jocasta,” “Living in Hi-Fi,” “Lime Green Spring,” “Enthroned in Blue.”

Did some scale work on the mandolin and tried to train my fingers to be able to play I-IV-V in A, although it’s far from perfect.