Johnny’s Scrap

Liner notes

This is a drummer’s record, make no mistake… but as well it is i hope an example of my musical influences, tastes, tendencies, fantasies, experiences and experiments... thrown together; blended, stirred and spread out across the stereo field/frequency spectrum. I’ve tried to avoid letting “drumistic” ideas rule every song, but… well, rhythm is what i mainly do. It is also sculpted by the tools i have at my disposal: an electric guitar, a bass, a MIDI keyboard, easily available software sounds, this particular electronic drum kit... and access to a friend’s space down in the country (thanks Jim) to record some actual acoustic drums. A lot of this music first started out in GarageBand around 5 years ago while i was recovering from Kidney transplant surgery (thanks doesn’t begin to cover it, Freddy) but all of it is the result of many late nights, early mornings, and obsessive tries and retries to Get It Right, so to speak; following a whim or an idea, a concept or a mutated unreasonable hunch...

Recently the desire to work on my own music again grabbed me after getting into recording and production over the last 3-4 years. Tracking, mixing, learning the ins and outs of audio software, getting a bit of equipment... not to mention the space and time here at my petite and lovely JMC Studio in Mile End… to the extent that… wait, where was i? Ah yes, making music. I got inspired. Pick up the guitar, the bass, lay down a groove... put on the headphones and start throwing things together. It really can’t be called “song writing” in any traditional sense; most of this material came out of what I’m calling song construction. Literally building- putting pieces together; recording, looping, trying stuff, making noise, adding, subtracting… At some point i start to hear things that make sense, after which i follow my instincts- my collected musical experiences… and, well, they have led me to this here scrap collection. And i like it. Listening to it makes me happy, i hope it might for anyone else.

...and it was really fun (and all consuming) to create.            05/10/15 

Recorded at JMC Studio, Mile End (w some tracks making their way from a house i used to own in Park X)

Acoustic drums recorded at the Jim Shack and the Jim Shop, Riverfield, Qc

All songs written, produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by John McColgan

All instruments played, manipulated, mustered and mangled by… you know my name by now

Acoustic drum recordings assisted by James Preimel

Thanks to Tim Buron for continual crucial computer advice

Special thanks to Jane, Jim and Norm

Further song info

1. Scrap Mood

This is the first in a series of songs based on scrap, literal and figurative, playing around with sounds...this is the harmonic and melodic tracks lifted from another song in this collection. You may discover which one eventually. It is followed by a solo snippet recorded the day i tracked the drums for:

2. Sun Salutation

...which is the first in a series of songs that started life in GarageBand. The drums were recorded down at the Jim shack after building the song with MIDI keyboards, bass and multiple guitar layers. One of only two songs here that have only a single live drum track. Yum.

3. Fuckery 101

This was my first new attempt at song construction here at JMC Studio...using a drum loop and recording snippets of bass lines, snippets of guitar parts, adding keyboards, adding a whole lot of sounds and then removing some of said sounds to reveal some manner of song beneath... after which looping parts and sculpting the mixing of the various odd time signatures hiding within the 4/4 pulse was thusly achieved.  All drums on this song are done at the electronic drum kit over a drum loop. 

4. Scrap Heap

...and here is where the scrap really does begin to heap... Another song that had a whole lot of stuff layered into it, after which removal of some of it and manipulation of what was left allowed a “song” to began to happen. Guitar parts added and subtracted, layered, copied, pasted... along with some heavy, weird (we like weird) additions such as putting drum machines through distorted amplifiers. This is how the magic happens baby.

5. Fat Rabbit Stew

Named for the phonetics of its melody, (no, else to name a song with no lyrics?) this is another song that started out as a GarageBand experiment. This song had live drums added at the Jim Shop, bass and keyboards re-recorded and several guitar layers added...

6. Rabbit Solo

Recorded the day i recorded Fat Rabbit’s drum track. Based on a rhythmic theme i've been playing around with for awhile. This is a drummer’s record after all...

7. Scratch Me Itch

Another GarageBand creation, entirely MIDI instruments, but with some added live drums and assorted stereo enhancement muckery. Yippee.

8. Floaters

This is the first song created when i graduated from GarageBand to Logic back in 2010 (thanks, Tim) and one of two pieces that i left alone, fresh and un-impinged- with only stereo enhancement added. All MIDI, with drum loops over hoops next to other loops.

9. Slapped Silly

This is the most recent JMC studio creation. Classic song “construction” as described above; featuring fascinating opposing rhythmic foundations… for those of you counting, the drum loop and the bass are playing in 10/4 whilst the electric drum kit and staccato guitar play a 2 bar phrase divided 5, 5, 6... and the whole shebang sits in actual 4/4 time… nifty.

10. Duck Solo

Tracked during the same session as the Rabbit business, and named for a friend of mine…

11. The Grudge

The only song i ever actually wrote…. on a guitar, several years ago. The rhythmic base is the Bo Diddley groove, only over a slow funk rock feel. It turned into both a showcase for my whammy bar guitar fantasies,  as well as something to solo over. Live drums from the Jim Shack. Did i mention this is a drummer’s record?

12. Scrap Town

The ultimate scrap song...dark as toast, layers of patootie, elements of the other scrap found amongst these songs woven in, guitar sounds from distorto hell, the bells of Bell Island, NS... and a drum track recorded again at Jim’s shop. This piece is in 5/4 (you knew that) with sections doubling up inside it to 5/8 and quadrupling up to 5/16. Groovy.

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