From the heart (2012) ALBUM NOTES
Aurora Borealis - I wrote and recorded this chord progression by early 2012 and used it as a loop to play solo guitar over it. It always was great fun to do so and I knew that I have to finish this idea into a song sometime down the road. I did so by the very end of 2012 in the attempt to utilize all the material that fits the “from the heart” concept. It turned out quite nice and smooth-jazzy - hope you like it.
Karli’s Heart - In a music store in Eugene I found a solid body Oud, made-in-Egypt. It had a terrible pickup in it. I bought it nonetheless and replaced the pickup with our own Pure Mini system. What a difference that made! Now I was thrilled and inspired by its tone and played around with it quite a bit. I used to play the oud in my band days. Normally you come up with some Arabic sounding scales and tunes as this instrument obviously lends itself to this type of music. But this time I wanted to try something different. “Dietri” style. I tuned the oud in an open tuning and this song pretty much appeared right away. The melody is doubled with a Baritone Guitar and the tune practically demanded the pedal steel guitar solo. Karli’s Heart actually started the entire idea behind this album. It should all be melodic, gentle songs, “from the heart”.
Jupiter - This song features a finger-picked chord progression that goes downward, while the melody works its way up. It is played on one of my favorite electric guitars, the vintage Epiphone Wilshire. On this album you may notice that I use the jazz-brushes-drums quite a bit. It’s just a snare with brushes actually. The sound comes of an old Roland percussion sound module, the R8. These brushes are digital but I physically played it in via a keyboard. I love this sound and hope you do too because you will hear it on other songs as well.
Silent Lake, Running River - My inspiration for this tune came from a very interesting project that I ran across. Eric Whitacre’s virtual choir composition “Sleep”. Google it and check it out, it is amazing! When you do, you may recognize some similarities to the 1st and 3rd chorus of my song. This is the “silent lake” part. Well, as this part lasts just about 90 seconds I was thinking about how the song should proceed, and low and behold the “running river” part popped into my mind. Before I knew it, inside my head, the song had to proceed into this funky groove. Who am I to doubt that intuition.
Banjoy - This song is actually a demo-tune that I recorded to showcase a new pickup system that we are introducing right now, the Definity system. The original plan was to have one of our professional banjo-artists to record a demo-song for us, but the mail to his home in Canada took longer than expected and he left for a 2 month concert tour before he received the system. So I recorded a “temporary” demo myself. It turned out so nice that I even put it on this album.
Sure - This song is a different one indeed. It is a plain 1-4-5 blues scheme. What… me doing a straight blues thing… impossible! Well it is not THAT plain after all. And I have a thing for this Chet Atkins kind of stuff. I think it is a funny tune that reflects my “secret” liking for this style of music. First I was not sure if I should include it (among 2 others on this album) as it deviates from the general theme of melodic, gentle songs. But I decided to include all material with positive vibrations - and this one sure fits that.
Gimme a Minute - This song has quite a story to tell. I wrote the tune 40 years ago when I was 17 years young. Everyone else listened to Stones, Hendrix, Spooky Tooth etc. back then. I remember that I was practicing guitar for 5-6 hours every day and wanted to write a melody-line that was long. Really long! Hence the name of the song. The melody last for about one minute before it repeats. I never wrote it down or recorded it. The interesting part is that the melody remained in my head for 40 years without missing a single note. I had to re-construct the chord progression, but I got it all together again. It is amazing how the human brain works. Melodies tend to stick in your memory forever!
Gentle Giant - This was one of the first songs that I recorded on my new Cakewalk Sonar X1 Producer recording software. It utilizes 4 different guitars, my vintage Epiphone Wilshire, a new Vox, a vintage Japanese semi acoustic, and a Danelectro Baritone - as far as I remember. Plus some synth sounds that came with Cakewalk. It actually consists of 2 different ideas that developed individually but fit together like bread and butter. I mean I literally cut 2 different songs together into 1, by editing. Can you hear it? I hope not, because only then I did a good job. By the way, “gentle giant” was our office kitty “Norbert”, who passed away at the time of putting this song together.
The Obsidian - This one came to me when I was inspired by one of our endorsers, the jazz guitarist Sean McGowan. He always sends me his CDs and I enjoyed them in my car on my way to- and from work. He is using a lot of these “bizarre and risky” chords. The ones with supposedly “wrong” notes in them. But is there such a thing as a “wrong note” in music? After all it’s music, everything should be possible, no boundaries please. Well, as things go, and I am not afraid to admit it, I went to work in my studio and came up with my own “bizarre and risky” chords. But as soon as I put an ascending melody over it, towards end of the song, the tune managed to resolve itself in a straight major chord. It surprised me too…
Orion - This one tops the “gimme a minute” melody in length. I did not do this intentionally but the melody turned out to be a very long one. Over a minutes and a half before it repeats. A plain song without many overdubs. It is a very gentle tune and I like the melody a lot!
Pure Luck - Okay, there is quite a story to tell. First off, I started to play the bass quite frequently. I mean practicing the proper right hand technique and so forth. It is fun! The melody in this tune is played with a bass. And here comes a very honest confession: it is inspired by the Bee Gees song “You Win Again”. I was watching a Bee Gees documentary on Netflix. And at one point they featured that song that I remembered it from the late 80s or so. The melody of the refrain “there’s no fight you can’t fight this battle of love with me, you win again” sure is different. It caught my immediate attention. Well, the bass melody in my song derived from it. My trick is, so no-one would notice, that my melody is somewhat different plus camouflaged by using a bass and not vocals plus it’s an entirely different kind of song. But truth is that I have to thank Barry Gibb for it. Who would have guessed that? This song also deviates from the rest, but due to its positive Caribbean island feel I had to include it.
Staengle - This tune is dedicated to one of our cats, a small black tomcat, who recently passed away. Many of you may know that Karla runs a cat sanctuary for the poor and previously mistreated. Staengle is the first cat ever who got 2 dedicated songs. The first one is on my last album “Fair Enough”. His real name was Stanley, but I like to “Germanize” names - so for Karla and me he was “Staengle”, which translates into “small (or thin) stick”. Staengle was rather lightweight too.
Classical Guess - When I was going through my available material for this album, this piece was there and had to be in it because it perfectly fits the feeling of the album. It is only a short tune though, more an idea than a song. Not to be mistaken for the “other” guitar song by a similar name…
Sirius - A 3/4 beat that I initially recorded about a year ago. I re-recorded the bass just now though; therefore it became the last song that I finished for this album. Here I experimented with a “floating-sound-part” in the middle of the song which turned out to be quite challenging to record. For this song I used an Ibanez Artcore, full body electric/acoustic for the chords, a Gretsch acoustic archtop with a re-fit neck humbucker for the melody and an Ibanez Joe Satriani guitar in the middle part. I think it is one of the nicest songs on the album.
Andromeda - This is one of the first songs I recorded with a special guitar of K&K’s own production. It’s a hybrid solid body electric/acoustic that features a sound-chamber with a real soundboard and an acoustic guitar pin bridge. Pickups are the Pure Mini system and a neck humbucker. I used this hybrid guitar more often on this album, I.E on “Sure”. You may recognize it here and there. It has a very distinct sound. I also was beginning to finger pick the melodies more often, instead of using a pick. It is a different sound that you get from the ripples on the tips of your fingers, mellow - yet expressive.