Archive for the Songwriting Category

Reggae Evangelism: Listen To The Soldiers Of Jah Army (S.O.J.A.)

Posted in Artists I Like, Music, Songwriting on October 15, 2008 by dublab

Every once in a while I get a piece of music stuck in my head that I just have to tell people about.  The Soldiers Of Jah Army (S.O.J.A.) are roots five-piece based out of D.C. / Virginia, and they tell it like it is.

From “Time Come Due” off Peace in a Time of War:

Wake up now people,

we live in a system that keep us unequal

and the education we receive’s falsified

how am I to believe what I hear when what I heard, I know was a lie?

Not only are they fine lyricists, the guys in S.O.J.A. are also incredible songwriters and musicians – they  deliver their powerful messages over tight, in-the-pocket roots reggae grooves that really get my head bobbing.  The judicious use of silence as part of the “Time Come Due” groove (where you can hear the skank immediately after those first two bass + distorted guitar notes) really makes this song breathe, and it also really makes me want to get up and dance.   When it comes to reggae, these guys are simply not fucking around.

Soldiers of Jah Army (S.O.J.A.) – Time Come Due

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Dirty Surfin’ Song

Posted in Music, Songwriting on May 17, 2008 by dublab

I don’t have much to say about this song other than it was a labor of love, recorded on VERY minimal equipment (no audio interface, radio shack mics…), and worked on for a while. Like most of my stuff on here, it’s not mixed or mastered properly so it has – *gasp* – dynamics, and you may need to turn it up a bit to get the full effect.

This one is one of my favorites.

Dirty Surfin’ Song (mp3)

Effective Arranging – The Breakdown

Posted in Songwriting on February 20, 2008 by dublab

I haven’t won any Grammy’s or anything, but I can tell you that the best way to take a song that’s at a high energy level and kick it up just a little bit more is actually to break it down, even if what you come back to is the same. Going down to a more “quiet” part for a second before coming back full-force can help achieve just that much more impact – and it can really make a difference.

Take a look at some of the examples that I’ve meticulously listed out for you thants to the help of my iTunes and BeeMP3:

  • The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness – Bullet With Butterfly Wings – breakdown at 3:04.
  • The Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist – (Come On) Let’s Go! – breakdown at 2:37 – also check out the mini-breakdown at 1:35 – I like Jimmy Chamberlin’s drum fill coming back in.
  • The Dub Trio – Exploring The Dangers Of- Awakening Dub (live) – breakdown at 3:51 with a lovely wet guitar riff. Shows how the breakdown works in all genres.
  • Avenged Sevenfold – Self-Titled – Almost Easy – breakdown at 3:07, with a very graceful re-entry starting to build at 3:12 with rapid-fire palm-muted guitar + double kick hits. The breakdown works in ALL genres.
  • Femi Kuti – Fight To Win – Eko Lagos – breakdown at 3:18 with backup singers hitting you on the way back in. The breakdown works… well, you should get the point by now.