New song: Palaces in the Sky

This one was born in a weird fashion. I had the beginning of the chorus in my head first, an outright earworm, but of a still nonexistent song. It was clear from the very beginnings on what it would be about. So I slowly built it around this melody/lyrics fragment. I had to bully the lyrics into rhyming… and out came this one.

Palaces in the Sky

I will spare you my usual apologies about my guitar playing, rhythmical accuracy and so on… Can you guess what it’s about?

And here you are… my first two songs.

Life is busy at the moment, I hardly manage to cut out time for proper recording. I was fighting my recording block last weekend… which resulted in this improvisation:

Lullaby by roots & engines

The second one was written in summer of 2011, but only a few friends had heard it so far. It’s inspired by the photos, blogposts and videos of two astronauts I follow on Twitter and flickr: Paolo Nespoli (ESA) and Ron Garan (NASA). Paolo Nespoli’s photography played a great role in the development of the lyrics, and from Ron Garan I borrowed the term of the fragile oasis.

My Favorite Planet (Demo) by roots & engines

I still can’t play this pattern to a click, and my usual recording procrastination struck real hard with this one. But tonight the autumn blues had hit me on the head really hard and I wanted to get something done. Preferably something that has been on my list way too long. And so I grabbed the H4n and started shredding away and this was finally captured on an SD card.

But one day, I will learn to play this accurately. And then this one is going to get a real good recording.

About me and my music

I started learning the guitar when I was 9, but I have always loved singing and identified primarily as a singer since I was 13. I learned classical singing, and I started my training at about 10 in the choir of my school. I studied opera at Musikhochschule Saarbrücken, left to study German Literature and musicology at Freie Universität Berlin and now work in a totally unrelated field.

From late 2001 to 2004, I was the singer of a metal band. In the end, it didn’t work out well. I learnt that not everyone likes soprano voices and that recording a voice like mine is a tough task. I learnt that a voice can totally alter the way a band is perceived, and that a female front singer with a high, clear voice gets pigeonholed as a certain stereotype quicker than you can say … well, anything. This didn’t do any lasting damage to my love of metal.

I returned to classical music in 2008 when I joined the choir canta:re. (We have parted in friendship in 2012, mainly because my day job put a great strain on me and the weekly rehearsals started to feel too much like duty.)

And then, one day in autumn of 2010, I listened to a concert of Blind Guardian. IMHO a really, really great live band. And it kindled a spark. Yes, I loved classical music and it will always be my native language, but I also wanted to make music in a more lively, energetic, spontaneous way.
In February 2011, I gathered my courage and took part in FAWM. I wanted to know: “Am I able to write songs?” At that time, I was convinced that I’m no good at writing lyrics. I was terrified by that red button of my DAW, getting more nervous in front of the microphone than in front of a real-life audience. But I did it.

Slowly, the recording anxiety subsided – well, I still get excited when I hit that red button, but I’m no longer shaking. If I carry on, I might actually get to like it some day.

My gear

I have two guitars, a concert guitar, just called “the guitar”, and a 6-string Western guitar called Erda. I mostly use Erda for my singer-songwriter music.

Then there is my keyboard, a Doepfer LMK-1 MIDI Masterkeyboard, and the piano expanders – an old Roland CM 300, which has a beautiful piano sound but also produces some annoying noise, and a Roland SC-33 that offers some nice synth sounds.

Currently, I make my recordings with a Zoom H4n and a standard PC running Ubuntu Studio. I mostly use Ardour 2 or Audacity for recording and audio editing, for some electronic things I have so far employed seq24 and LMMS, and ZynAddSubFx is my go-to software for anything synth-wise.

Inspirations

Besides other music, my songwriting draws a lot of inspiration from three sources: paganism, science and space exploration. You will find some songs about mythical persons in my songs now and then, sometimes invocations of the elements, but you will find songs about heroes of space exploration, about telescopes and black holes as well. Everyone can make songs about monogamous romantic relationships. My creativity resonates with the awesomeness of our planet and our universe, as seen through the eyes of scientists and astronauts.

There are so many wonders yet unsung. I set out to let them light a fire in my imagination and turn these wonders into song.