Near Peak – Borderline Session

We finally finished our first video! Editing the video was definitely a learning experience, it’s been years since I’ve done that. We’re pretty happy with the results though, check it out:

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Near Peak!

Hey! So, I’ve been in this little band for a while, Near Peak, and we are picking up some steam! We put out an EP, and we’ve got a show coming up at Spike Hill in Williamsburg on September 1st.

Check out the site we haphazardly threw together with all of our music and info:

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I Made A Bandcamp Page!

I’m not sure what took me so long to do this, but I finally put all of my old stuff in one place on Bandcamp, which I love.

Check it out:

Alex Orellana’s Bandcamp

Tadaa! I made everything free, so stream/download to your heart’s content.

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You know, a lot of people think of me as the dude who is willing to make a complete ass of himself for pretty much any reason, or the dude that has weird shirts, or the dude that orders the beer at the office, and of course they’re all 100% right. But there’s one thing I really want to add onto that list: I love making things.

Often times it’s some script that saves a whole bunch of time at work, but in a perfect world, it would be making music. And the thing is, I can’t even be sure that I’m any good at it, but I don’t even give a shit, I fucking love it.

I knew I needed to take a break from work and was close to hitting my maximum amount of PTO hours, and just decided to schedule some time off. I very easily could have traveled somewhere, because there’s a lot of places I haven’t seen that I’d love to see. So much world out there that is completely foreign to me. Basically all of it, I’m pretty sheltered, let’s be real here.

But instead, the thing I wanted to do the most was to make something. I don’t even care of it’s good, or if anyone likes it, or if it even makes sense. I just needed to make something that I could have to show for all this time, energy, and money that I spend on my favorite thing in the universe.

It’s not really that long, and I don’t think it really makes any sense at all as a package of music/ideas, since it’s so completely disconnected from itself. But whatever, that’s just me. I mean, I’m not really great at anything, but I’m pretty good at a lot of things, and this collection of seemingly unrelated sounds is a pretty good representation of that.

Listen to it, or don’t! I swear I won’t be offended. All I can say is that I’m pretty proud of this right here, and it’s inspired me to spend a lot more energy on making music, hopefully with other actual humans. I can’t think of a single way that I would have rather spent my vacation.

Well, back to the ol’ grind!

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Treading Water

I wanted to get another song in before my vacation officially ended, and I wanted it to have some kind of album-ending sound to it. I also wanted to keep it pretty minimal, since the last song got a bit ambitious there. The only instruments in this one are a mellotron wineglass (holding one note), a B3 organ with only one stop all the way out (two more are out to the lowest setting), and a pair of voices.

The lyrics are more or less the reason I wanted to take a vacation in the first place. I’ve been getting farther and farther away from music as I’ve been drowning in work, and almost didn’t even notice it happening. I don’t really want to explain the lyrics too much, since I left them purposely vague, but that’s what was basically going through my head when I wrote them.

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Emergency Room

Another one in the bag. This one was fun to make, I used a few weird tricks to come up with some interesting sounds. Both the guitar and the bass have a sock stuffed between the strings and the body right at the bridge, giving it that muted sound. It has a pretty cool sound when I’m strumming the chords quickly, since that’s not usually a sound you can do while just palm muting. Not easily at least. You can hear me pull the sock out of the guitar right before it gets loud actually. And of course, I added in some mellotron, because it’s just my favorite shit ever.

The lyrics were inspired by a trip I took to the ER for a friend, and just realizing how completely fucked it was. We were there for a total of 7 hours, and my friend ended up being completely misdiagnosed anyway. People would come by and do some kind of test, but then not say a word, and just move on. It honestly felt like people were trying to fix a bunch of cars or something, it was a very odd feeling.

This is a good example of a song where I feel like my voice takes away from the total potential of the song. I dunno, it just doesn’t… fit. This song deserves someone who can really rock the fuck out, and that is clearly not my forte. I’m gonna keep this one in my pocket for later, maybe someone can re-do the vocals and give this song some justice.

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A Short Ride

Another song done! This one all started with me feeling like I’ve been under-using my fancy new Nord Electro 3, and decided to make a bunch of weird sounds on it to start everything. Almost everything you hear, aside from the drums and my voice, is from the keyboard. So actually, none of these sounds are synthesized at all, they’re all samples that have some minor effects on them.

The first thing you hear is mellotron glass with some tremolo and reverb, which persists through pretty much the entire song. The second instrument that comes in is a pizzicato string section through the “twin” amp setting with some overdrive and reverb. The drums are acoustic drum samples going through a virtual guitar amp, and I’m controlling through my new toy, the Korg Nanopad 2. And the last sound to be introduced is a mellotron flute, which I’m only playing below its normal register, again through the “twin” amp setting, with even more overdrive.

And that’s pretty much it! The rest is just adding this in and taking things out to give it a bit of a structure. This is officially the second song that I need to figure out how to play live, because it’s absolutely possible.

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Thank You

I am on fire right now, I can’t even explain it. I have an entire list of song ideas that I’ve accumulated over the last 9 months, and this one had absolutely zero to do with that list. I wanted to do something simple today since the last two days were pretty complicated, and this is just what came out. Those of you that know me can probably figure out who it’s about, but I’d say it’s a pretty universal topic, so fill in whoever you want.

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In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

I wanted to see if my crappy P&S camera would be useful at all for video, and see if I could use my video editing software at all. Jury is still out on both of those, but at least I got to record one of my favorite songs, so no regrets! One thing I learned about this is that if you’re depending on daylight in any way, you really can’t fuck around. That, and planning ahead is beyond critical, there’s one part where I overlapped myself and the only real way I’d be able to fix it is to film everything again, or spend a whole day editing it out. Not worth it, so I’m just gonna let it look weird. Anyhow, here’s the video:

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The first song of this little experiment is complete! I have no idea what to make of it to be honest. My goal was to make a song that was only vocal loops and just see what happens. Unfortunately halfway through I realized I’m not a terribly huge fan of my voice. So use your imagination a little bit and imagine your favorite singer singing this. And I noticed that whenever I write harmonies they tend to have a baroque quality to them since I think I paid too much attention in my music theory classes.

I wanted to post a video of me performing this live, because it’s 100% possible to play this verbatim, but alas I won’t be able to get to it today. First, this thing is tricky as shit to play, on top of singing the entire time while playing my drum-pad, the other hand has to control all the loops going on. I switch back and forth between two main ones, and I think I just haven’t figured out the best way to do that in Ableton Live yet. Secondly, I don’t have any voice left to record with anyway. I was arranging this by just singing it, so this recording is kind of my notebook entry for this song in addition to being the actual recording.

I think I have another little project that I’m going to tackle tomorrow to get myself better at video related things, so maybe after that I’ll try to go for the actual video for this one. Stay tuned!

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