Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Now Available for Download: Ask Seek Knock

Ask Seek Knock can now be downloaded via SoundCloud! (Thanks to Danny Digital for the tip. Why MySpace doesn't allow free downloads of original songs anymore is beyond me.)

Ask Seek Knock by VirginiaBK

Just click the arrow button on the right side of the above audio player and the song is yours to play in your car, transfer to iPod, burn to CD, share, re-post to Facebook or Twitter, wrap as a present and give to your family, what-have-you. (What? I'm just making suggestions.)

Virginia BK - songwriter, producer, lead vocals; Alaska - studio/recording engineer; Mark Corbin of CorbinSound - mix engineer; Matt Gelfer of The New Students - guitars, fiddle, mandolin; Gretchen Poole - tenor back-up vocals; Rachel Zylstra of Rachel Zylstra - alto back-up vocals.


Monday, December 20, 2010

My Gift Is My Song and This One's for You

For reading, for following, for answers and listening!
For waiting, for playing, for singing and mixing!
From the isle of Brooklyn to your towns big and small!
Thank you, my friends, thank you each one and all!

Merry Christmas, from Alaska and Virginia BK!

Ask Seek Knock (1999)

(for the love, please listen with good speakers)

BIG FAT SPECIAL THANKS TO Alaska - studio/recording engineer; Mark Corbin of CorbinSound - mix engineer; Matt Gelfer of The New Students - guitars, fiddle, mandolin; Gretchen Poole - tenor back-up vocals; Rachel Zylstra of Rachel Zylstra - alto back-up vocals.

And for those who like a good (Christmas) make-over story, or who would like to look under the hood of the songwriting/recording process: an annotated time-line with audio and visual samples to show the transformation with each stage of the song's production.

December 30, 1999 - Amidst an otherwise boring journal entry about showering etc, a song appears.

ORIGINAL LYRICS (click image to enlarge.)

Summer 2002 -  I don't own/play/havemoneytohire bluegrass instruments so I record this piano/vocal demo on a Sony Multrack Recorder at my apartment in Miami, FL.


April 2010 -  NYU songwriting class culminates in my first performance of an original song. Tired of using my imagination, I decide to finally record one of my jillion songs with proper scoring. Somehow.

Summer 2010 - Start lessons with Mark Baxter, who listens to the above piano/vocal demo and declares my singing too safe, too polished, too guarded, too careful for a songwriter. (He is right.) Begins stripping away the lacquer. Gruesome.

November 2010 - Mult-instrumentalist Matt Gelfer offers to play all of the instruments. (Really??)

December 3, 2010 - Lyrics adjusted for better prosody.

 FINALIZED LYRICS (click image to enlarge)
December 4, 2010 - Guitars (Matt Gelfer), scratch vocals (me), and back-up vocals (Rachel Zylstra and Gretchen Poole) recorded in our basement on a laptop and one mic. (4 hours)

FIRST RECORDING SESSION (guitars, back-ups)

December 7, 2010 - Voice lesson with Mark Baxter via Skype goes something like this: "This isn't a live play, this is a film. You shoot one phrase at a time. Your lead vocal track should take an entire day to record. Unfortunately, your song is great but I don't believe you when you sing it. Stop singing! Stop singing and just talk to me. You have a lot of work NOT to do. Merry Christmas!" (He is still right.)

December 8, 2010 - Matt Gelfer lays down fiddle and mandolin tracks on top of existing tracks. (2 hours)

SECOND RECORDING SESSION (+ mandolin, fiddle)

December 12, 17, 2010 - Lead vocals wrestled, strangled, slurred, stripped, and finally accepted for who/where they are and laid to rest. Dear Mark Baxter, if I wait until my voice is perfect (or perfectly imperfect) none of my songs will ever be heard. My gift is my song and this one's for my friends. (6 hours)


December 18, 2010 - Mark Corbin of CorbinSound, who offered to mix the song (really??), performs wizardry before my very eyes and ears. The song is finished. (5 hours)


Twelve years (seventeen hours) in the making, it turned out all right!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Photo Tip! Neighborly Cats Record Local Song

 Folding table + laptop and speakers = The Booth.
 Alaska, video producer turns sound engineer; Matt Gelfer, plays everything.
All right, y'all. Goes like this...
Indomitably brunette: Rachel Zylstra and Gretchen Poole on back-ups.
Pardon us; just harmonizin'.

We pause for an appointment with our mixologist. But coming soon to a Blogspot near you — a real song. The kind you can hear, even!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Which My Feelings Are Best Expressed by One Abigail Breslin

Yesterday, the generously talented Matt Gelfer (of The New Students) slogged down Slope with fiddle in hand, to do the unbelievable. For the first time in my whole life, I heard one of my songs actualized, played by the instruments that have been swirling around only in my imagination all of these years.

For the first time my music was . . . outside . . . of me. All of this said, my feelings are best expressed in a scene from Little Miss Sunshine, played by Abigail Breslin.