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Street Song No. 23

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I’ve written about my project of recording 100 “Brooklyn Walking Songs” from melodies that came to me while hiking on the sidewalks and streets of my Park Slope neighborhood. Terminating the collection at the one hundred mark didn’t stop the melodies from coming (as I noted when writing about “Pliny’s Natural History” where, as an alternative approach, I dumped in a bunch of new melodies into one sprawling work).

So, while trying to figure out what to do with these melodies that keep coming to me during the act of walking around the city, I started throwing them in a sketchbook file titled “Street Songs,” where they develop as “come what may.”

Lately, I often seem to be combining piano-ish melodies, drums (mostly using Garageband loops) and sound effects (also mostly through GB loops or keyboard-produced things, although some sounds have been collected from the very streets I’ve been walking). It’s been kind of nice to work without any specific focus. I just try to go with the flow of a creative current moment, letting it sweep me along.

The drawback is nothing ever seems to be finished. And by aiming at no target, I am having a hard time evaluating my performance, so I havn't posted any of this work, until now, with “Street Song No. 23,” which seems to be more or less representative of what’s been pouring out of me in the past few months.

Any feedback is, as always, appreciated.

I didn't know what category to stick this into, so any suggestions about that would also be welcomed.
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Uploaded: Dec 02, 2006 - 05:48:29 PM
Last Updated: Dec 02, 2006 - 05:48:29 PM Last Played: Mar 11, 2019 - 01:07:58 AM
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bud said 4580 days ago (December 2nd, 2006)
I walk the same streets
and I love what you're doing with them. This is a wonderful composition - full of humor and intelligence. Great to hear ideas expressed so purely and joyously. Park Slope as the midway - our own Fellini film - cool.
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Warren Smith said 4579 days ago (December 3rd, 2006)
Coming and going in the Slope
Ha-ha-hah! I wonder if we have ever passed each other by? I would be the guy whistling while he is walking - whistling into a microphone attached to an iPod in order to capture a melody from the streets before it whisks away and is gone forever.
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
said 4578 days ago (December 4th, 2006)
I always enjoy...
a walking song by Warren. This one is fun, light, and appropriately busy... perfect for walking.
Warren Smith said 4576 days ago (December 6th, 2006)
Sail on, sailor
That's for stopping by with a comment, Jack. If I had a boat like yours, I'd probably be writing sailing songs : >
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
Macaudion said 4578 days ago (December 4th, 2006)
I have a similar sort of problem as you, Warren - Mine is that all of my tunes tended to be about my travels. And my travels seemed to be about anywhere that I was headed. And anywhere I would head, I would be accompanied by a film-score of the event.

It seems as though your walks are kinda like these quirky introspectives - That's a cool thing, cause it's your perspective, and no one elses -

Fun little ditty - Thanks! D
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Warren Smith said 4576 days ago (December 6th, 2006)
Traveling songs
My curiousity piqued, I went to your page to check out your travel songs, but you don't have any of them posted. Why not?

In some ways, something similar has developed for me. As a result of some travels in the past two years I have been working on song collections relating to specific places, based on melodies that came to me while visiting those climes. The only thing I've posted is "African Suite, Parts 1,2 and 4" (I hope to complete the final fifth part one of these days!).
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
said 4577 days ago (December 6th, 2006)
walk, don't run
You're doing the right thing by carrying an iPod with you to capture the moment. What I'd like to see is some changeups in tempo and mood. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a good example of what I mean. Instead of reflecting your own immutable whistling temperament and cadence, reflect on the variety of people you see about you -- some bubbly, some ponderous, some exothermic, some endothermic, some with legato dance-like motion, some with jerky ambulation. Now, have I said anything worth a bean? No, but I like typing on this brand new MacBook which I do not own.
Warren Smith said 4576 days ago (December 6th, 2006)
Mood swings
Ha-ha-hah! Here I've been settling down into maturation and you are asking me to rev up the mood swings : > But who knows, I may try another song where I throw in numerous melodies and tempo shifts like with "Pliny's Natural History," except base it on street theatre. It certainly sounds challenging.
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
jiguma said 4575 days ago (December 7th, 2006)
Vicarious Brooklyn Walk
I really like what you've done here Warren! Some of those resonant bass notes are perfect. You've done a great mix on a quirky little tune. I've never been to Brooklyn, but this tune paints a very interesting picture.
Enjoyed it a lot.
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Warren Smith said 4573 days ago (December 9th, 2006)
Street view
We're even - I've never been to New South Wales : >

Maybe some day, who knows, we can greet each other in person, either here or there, as a result of travel ... and because of our involvement in this online community?

Brooklyn is a sprawl of a city, a conglomerate of many diverse neighborhoods, adding up to something like 4 million inhabitants. Now that I think about it (as a direct result of reading your comment), one thing common to all of those neighborhoods is streets ... on which people live, work, shop, hang out and come and go. So making street music seems like a totally relevant reflection of living here.
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
_nderscore said 4567 days ago (December 15th, 2006)
& pleasantly upbeat! i was imagining all sorts of visuals of places, people, things. would be neat to throw something unexpected in there to add more to a sense of narrative.. like you turn a corner & something startles you.. or maybe even change the pace by either letting some of the percussive elements drop off (to make things seem slow or stop) or actually slow down the bpm's (hint: multiple GB sessions).. or change things to reflect a new 'character'. not sure if any of this is helpful, but you peaked my interest ehough to get me thinking about what you are doing. i really enjoyed this!
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Warren Smith said 4564 days ago (December 18th, 2006)
lots of ideas
Those are all good ideas - thanks for the suggestions. (I like to think there are touches of some of those ideas in the song).

I think I'm deliberately moving away from strict narrative with many of my latest experiments, trying to be more painterly with sound. However, melody remains my starting point, and that dictates a certain narrative element, even when I try to deconstruct it.

I especially like the idea of tempo changes within a song. Maybe a future version of GarageBand will give us that.

Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
tmcfate said 4563 days ago (December 19th, 2006)
good shoes
i think this is my favorite walking tune. early morning brisk pace, round the corner, down some steps, get your coffee, down some more steps, feels like san fransisco, till i see that pretzel vendor and the broklyn bridge. ha. really fun to visualize the walk.
Check out my latest song called Beautiful Rose
Warren Smith said 4560 days ago (December 22nd, 2006)
Up and down
It could suggest the hills of San Francisco - just as well as the big hill I live on here in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. It seems like I'm always walking up or down the slope. (I wonder if I write slower songs going up and faster songs coming down?)

Thanks, Tim, for going on a walk with me : >
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
VicDiesel said 4526 days ago (January 25th, 2007)
De paden op, de lanen in....
Can you walk to this? It has more of a skipping feel to me.

I think the idea of your walking songs project is very cool, and what I've heard of it is all quite original.

In places your arrangement is a bit too sparse for me: often you only have a melody and a drum part going on. Since your drum treatment is a tad idiosyncratic, the whole lacks to me the flow that I would associate with a normal walk. This is more the soundtrack to one of John Cleese's silly walks. Unless of course that's what you intended.
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Warren Smith said 4521 days ago (January 30th, 2007)
Thanks for commenting
While silliness certainly is a part of my nature, and therefore also an element that pops up in my music, that was not the specific intention here. But I can see it being interpreted that way. As for calling my drumming idiosyncratic - that's probably a nice way of putting it for this piece. "Brash" or "strident" might be more accurate : >

That's because I've been pushing myself to embrace percussing - rather than avoiding it. Music-making has kept me entranced because there's always something new to learn, and I still am in elementary school when it comes to percussion. In this song I decided to just go for it - instead of selecting a steady beat for the duration, with a few fills tossed in to add varietal interest - I chose to change the drum patterns with each verse ... and sometimes with each line. That's what made this song "experimental," at least to me personally. I figure the only way I will improve at drumming is to learn by doing ... and experimenting along the way.

I make this distinction: a walking song may be a street song, but a street song doesn't have to be a walking song. For example, in a recent street song I tried to mimic the construction of a large building project in Manhattan. The melody came "from the streets," and I tried to include actual sounds recorded at the construction site for percussion and ambience. (As an experiment - it failed.) Conceptively, I'm hoping "street songs" will have a wider range of possibilities, and perhaps be more reflective of the city where I live.

Your viewpoint is distinct - and therefore always appreciated.
Check out my latest song called Signal and Noise
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Name: Warren Smith
Location: Brooklyn NY USA
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Born in a Minnesota blizzard, I'm now residing in a coastal heat of Brooklyn, New York City. I recorded my first original composition as a teenager using a reel-to-reel tape recorder back in 1967, and I'm still finding it a creative challenge... [see more]

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Experimental music is any music that challenges the commonly accepted notions of what music is. There is an overlap with avant-garde music. John Cage was a pioneer in experimental music and defined and gave credibility to the form. As with other edge

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