Tagged with music

20/80 Man

So, at 29 I’ve realised I’m a 20/80 kind of person. Not really having anything to do with the 80/20 Rule but ‘sort of’ in line with the idea, I like to do about 20 per cent of what is required to get a good result and then call it a day. Otherwise known as a ‘gonna’ person, I think about nice ideas and what I’d like to do (with this weekend, with this year, with this life…) and then that thought plus a little effort is all the psychological payback I need to feeling like I’ve gone the full 100%.

A classic case is music… Surrounded by WAAPA dancers and musicians – plus the many accomplished musicians and working professionals I’ve known in most walks of life, it is evident that effort and motivation are the defining factors for success and excellence… (save for some areas where a bit of blue blood certainly assists).

I thoroughly enjoy playing music, and am eternally indebted to my sister and parents for my 18th guitarry Birthday present; however, the effort required to actually get to a point whereby you become a sell-able, accomplished musician is well and truly outside of my 20%.

To go beyond would require:
* learning musical scales and notation;
* singing lessons and a lot of work to establish good harmonised vocals;
* metred playing;
* 1000 hours on the musical software of the day;
* learning the art of ‘hooks’
* some auto-tune;
* some auto-schmoozing; and
* practice, practice and practice

And when real life chews up 8am-6pm of every day, where would you find the time, even if you had the inclination…?

So I’ll stick to my drafts… My songs that are recorded in mono (gasp) in 1 take with some stocking wrapped around a coathanger around the mic to try and eliminate the ‘poppy’ sound of ‘B’ and ‘P’ plosives. Songs that in the hands of an 80/20 or 95/5 individual might actually go alright…. (speaking of, if you are one and want to use my songs, a 50/50 fiscal split should be about right, right?)

And so, I present to you a draft… of a song, from a 20/80 guy 😉 called a ‘Waltz for Lost Memories’


“A waltz for lost memories” – Original Lyrics (the bit about silk and fading has been omitted)…

Please take your time,
Take all you need as you look in my eyes.
Mightn’t be long,
till we’re parting ways for the very last time.

I do believe,
That life is a series of memories and dreams
And as they fade,
We don’t want to walk on alone to our graves…

So take my hand,
While I kiss ‘neath your neck in the shadowy light
Life makes no demands,
While we’re lying here.

Come what may, when I look in your eyes.
You know what they say,
“It was still love at last sight”
Oh and all I want is you…
And nothing else will ever do,
Yes and all I want is you.

I’m taking you in,
Through scent and through taste and through touch of the skin.
As rumpled sheets lay,
We’re taking the day…
But where do they go?
The hours and seconds and minutes that flow…
Next thing you know, life will call us back.

Come what may, when I look in your eyes.
Make no mistake, it’s still love every time!
And though we’re strong today;
Even finest silks can tear and fray.
And I don’t want this to fade!

We walk on alone,
Stare out to sea casting memories like stones.
A splash and they’re gone,
leaving nothing but ripples to take them along.
And time is a thief,
He’ll come in the night and he’ll take what he’ll please.
But until our release, oh he shan’t take you.

(Come what may)
When I look in your eyes.
(Make no mistake)
It’s still love every time!
Oh and all I want is you.
And nothing else will ever do.
Oh and all I want is you…


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Constrained Diversity

Last year my thoughts rambled to the idea of ‘constrained diversity’ – that is, when given certain parameters and boundaries that dictate an outcome (to some degree), how do things differ and contrast in the remaining ‘free’ space?

To explore the idea a little further, I decided to undertake an experiment and see what the results yielded. Over a year later – I must profess it was a combination of waiting for others and personal slackness – I can now present the outcomes at hand. I had wanted a broader experiment but was limited in the number of people who were able and willing to contribute.

The experiment

‘Provide people with the lyrics and chords of a song they’ve never heard and ask them to perform and record it’

The rationale

We’ve all learnt songs from sheet music and use the combination of chords/timing/lyrics and memory of how the original is performed to re-enact it or cover it. But what happens if you have no ‘memory’ of how the original sounds? What is the end-point?

The example

One of my songs distributed to 4 friends under the moniker ‘Coffee and Covers’ in the following form. Ryan was unable to participate in the end due to a lack of home recording equipment. Tess Beyer and Eadie Newman, and Kristen Calle completed a version each and sent it back to be compared with my version.

The outcome


The aside

To those musical pedants reading, I must confess that’s it did not turn out to be a simple one-for-one exercise in all regards. Kristen, being the awesome and kooky musician he is used an alternate guitar tuning which change the chords a bit. In his words:

“My version is played in some weird open tuning I have never used before. I think it was C,A,D,G,C,E. Anyway, it’s [stuffed] so I though I was playing some Am variation, but I think it was closer to a C. So hate away at me if you will, but the verse chord progression actually sounds more like C, F, C(ish), Am, G. So, yeah. Sorry about that.”

As you can tell by my response, I wasn’t too phased 😉

“Fucking Love it!!! […] Thanks again for having a crack… you’ve also earnt my girlfriend’s
full respect for doing all this for a friend of a friend!”

Also, Tess and Eadie struggled with an unknown source of high-pitched whining. While I did some post-submission EQ, it still persists and the resultant track makes it sound a little like the girls are underwater.

The thanks

I love both tracks and massive thanks go out to Kristen, Tess, Eadie and Brigitte (for use of her PC). Also, a big thanks to Bec Dickson who put me in touch with Kristen and Ryan G Johnson for doing his darndest to take part. (I have heard Ryano’s version over Skype and we may be able to get it up one day). Lastly, huge apologies to Kristen and the girls for taking so long in getting this up.

If anyone’s keen to do something similar (or diverse) in the future give me a hoy!