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Category: Rock

  1. Time Difference

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    With every song that I write and record, I like to try things I have never done before.

    With “Time Difference” I set out to try two things:

    • as a songwriter/producer: a fusion of rock and funk, loosely in the style of Maroon 5
    • as a singer: to push myself into a higher register in the style of Adam Levine or the Bee Gees.

    Lyrics

    The song started with a lyric from Joel Rockman.  I thought the concept and title were very good: on the one hand, quite original, on the other hand quite fitting for the jet-set pop-star life (touring around the world, away from lover) or anyone who’s been in a long-distance/transcontinental relationship, or simply travelling long-distance and missing their partner back home.

    Music & Production

    The music is based on a simple guitar riff that repeats throughout (in yellow on the ProTools session below), answered by a bass riff (in dark blue).

    Ben Treeby came in to do the guitar parts – I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted, and he got it right away.  I did all the other parts, vocals and mixing.

    The chorus is lifted by a second, funky guitar (green) and simple keyboard chords (purple).  A third guitar (light blue) plays power chords over the bridge and final chorus.

    So this is very much a guitar-bass-drums track, with some added percussions to get a nice groove.  Sort of half-way between rock and funk.

    The bridge is the more “sentimental” section lyrically and I have tried to make it the more melodic and “sweet” section musically, with added synthesizer pad (in turquoise) to soften it up.

    My favorite part is the break at 1’44” – with just drums, percussions and bass, then the funky guitar and vocal ad-libs come in to build it back up into the final set of choruses.  I also like the (hopefully!) unexpected but satisfying chord changes in the second half of the second and final choruses.

    I had some fun with the vocals, double-tracked in the verse and six-tracked in the choruses. 

    I think it’s quite funky… and at 2’38” run-time straight to the point!  I hope you guys like it…

     

    TIME DIFFERENCE

    Words by Joel Rockman / Music by A. Robin
    Produced by SuperCool-Guy
    © 2012 – All rights reserved 

    When I get up in the morning and start up my day
    You'll have finished work and you’ll be homeward on your way
    We'll think of one another by telepathy
    Wishing we were both together just you and me 

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference
    A time difference, honey
    A time difference 

    When I get inside my bed for another lonely night
    You'll be getting out of yours, no one to hold you tight
    Quickly wash and dress yourself and then rush out of the door
    However much you've missed me, girl I've missed you more 

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference… 

    Bridge:
    When my journey's over and I get off that plane
    We'll synchronize our lives and loving once again
    I'll never go back away, it's true
    So I can spend all my life with you 

    [Instrumental break]

    Chorus:
    There's a time difference, honey
    A time difference… 

    I'll never go back away, it's true
    So I can spend my life with you.

  2. Drummer-Songwriters

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    The drums being a rhythmic – as opposed to a melodic – instrument, songwriting is not a natural progression for drummers.  But drummers can be multi-instrumentalists and well-rounded musicians, and do cross over, sometimes to outstanding results.

    As a songwriter who started with drums as a teenager, then learned to play basic parts on the keyboard – just so I could play the melodies I was hearing in my head – the following drummer-songwriters have made particularly strong impressions on me: 

     

  3. Toto

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    120414-Toto-TurnBackAlbumCover

    The percussions on Toto’s “Africa” were my guide when composing and recording “Tierra del Fuego” and clearly influenced the feel of the track… so today allow me to pay homage to one of pop-rock’s all-time greatest bands.

    Style

    "Pop-rock" doesn't quite do them justice in fact.  Toto’s style has always been one of fusion. Their self-titled 1978 debut fused disco and prog-rock.  While the prog-rock influences remained dominant on the first 3 albums, a wide range of other styles have fused in and out of the Toto “sound” over the years, including many flavors of "world" music, jazz, funk, hard rock, California "FM" pop-rock, and ballads...

     The band further demonstrated its musical prowess and versatility by writing and producing the mostly-orchestral soundtrack to David Lynch’s 1984 “Dune”.

    If it’s impossible to pin Toto down to a specific musical style, there is however a definite Toto “sound” that emerges from its distinctive, sophisticated and melodic songwriting, vocals and playing techniques…