the Inner Ride

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lyrics written by Lori Sanderson, music by Tom Sanderson

With each turn is a fresh view,
moving in and outside
to anew

Character and scenery
changing inside and out
trying to hold a place within me

With each turn is a fresh view,
moving in and outside
to anew

Twists and turns, dips and huge hills
Taxing even the strongest
to the maximum of inner skill

With each turn is a fresh view,
moving in and outside
to anew

However at times it’s prayer
and other times it’s skill,
to build and to build a new inner lair

With each turn is a fresh view,
moving in and outside
to anew

Lori came up with a few rhythms late in May, 2020. She wrote the lyrics to correspond with these rhythms, comparing cycling to her life’s journey. I was asked to create music to these words. She and I have had a handful of these sort of collaborations in the past 13 years or so. For this piece, her words fell in a rhythm atypical from the natural speaking rhythm of these phrases – this reminded me of her poem “Windy Roads” from about ten years ago which prompted me to make very syncopated music. I also felt like “the Inner Ride” suggested a good deal of syncopation. Perhaps it was my new set of musical tools that influenced this music to become something of a Hodge-Podge of electronic dance music sub-generes, maybe drawing heavy on Aphex Twin and Kraftwerk. I heard a lot of cool synth voices that I wanted to put in.

I took the synth in the great room to sequence while Lori worked on projects. It all started with a drum loop that I eventually abandoned. At one point I got upset at my fingers not being able to play what was in my head (a frequent issue for most of my creative projects). Eventually I got the sequence done, exported to multi-track wav files and imported to my recorder. I decided I wanted to use a feature on my synth called a vocoder. Vocoder is a synthesizer effect that blends notes being played on the keyboard with either singing or talking through a microphone into to the synth so it sounds like your synthesizer is singing words in a robotic voice. I was pretty happy with the way it turned out, being my first attempt at vocoder. I recorded a separate track for the lead vocal in the verses and a track for the vocal in the chorus.

I felt at this point I had enough to make a stereo mix. Due to poor planning on my part, I had an extra chorus and a musical bridge than ran twice as long as I thought sounded right. So I cut out (spliced) a segment of the song that was about 40 seconds in length. I shared this mix with Alan and I was glad that I did because he made some great suggestions on how I could improve the song. I took two of his suggestions to practice: the need for more of a snare drum presence (I added one) and another synth texture in verse #2 which I added in arpeggiated staccottos. I also added a separate keyboard in verse #3. Alan later added his own backing vocals which I was able to paste over the second mix of this song.

1 Comment

  1. At first I thought the music sounded to me like a German night club, and that the contemplative lyrics might be better set in dreamy New Age music- but, please, no! The experience of learning and growing, getting new perspectives, is more than anything, exciting. To me, the music fits.

    Liked by 1 person

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