Category Archives: Distinct Hitting Motion

Distinct Hitting Motion: Ever Onward

After seven months, Distinct Hitting Motion finally reaches its end.

From the onset, this tune was going to be the longest one in the project. For one, it seems to make sense that the closing track is the longest… especially with how long most of the postseason games took. For another thing, I fully admit I was thinking a lot about the band Coheed and Cambria, particularly their song “The Light and the Glass” which clocks in at over eight minutes. Of course, I can’t sing nearly as high as Claudio Sanchez, but…

The lyrics were written in one night, the music was definitely not. The first half of the closing riff and the opening bit both came to me while I was at work – the benefits of teaching private lessons for a living! Musically, the biggest challenge was bridging the gap between those two parts. Lyrically, the biggest challenge was just getting started – that “struggle to find the words to say” line was both a snapshot of me at that moment and the catalyst I needed to get the ball rolling. Go figure, huh?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good day and I’ll see you again soon.

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Distinct Hitting Motion: Final Four

We’ve made it to the semifinals. Time for something completely different!

I knew in this spot I wanted to do something poppy, especially after how the last song ended. Couple that with the fact that everything so far was played straight with no real shuffle/swing feel and this one nearly wrote itself. To really compliment this, I decided to gleefully ignore the music theory rules of diatonic harmony and go nuts with chords that “don’t belong” in the key of G. Lastly, I realized that the bridge was an excellent time to call back to the first song, complete with solo.

Lyrically, this one’s completely straightforward. They’re among the final four teams! Hooray! Too bad they’re losing…

This song’s recording trick (besides all of the vocals, most of which are intentionally buried in the mix):  The guitar solo on this recording was the first take… but I felt it didn’t have enough dirt. So, solo’d the track, ran a cable out from my interface, and recorded the solo going through my Orange amp. It didn’t add a lot of dirt, but it was enough to separate it in the mix. Also, for you guitar freaks: The left guitar is the Gibson, the right guitar (and the solo) is the Telecaster. Both rhythm guitars had the pickup switch in the middle position. See if you can hear the difference!

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Take care and come on back in two weeks for this project’s finale!

Distinct Hitting Motion: After All That Work…

It’s the playoffs! Ten teams qualified and four of them get… a winner-take-all game. Well then…

My preamble there tells you exactly where this comes from. Think of this as the anger of the wild card winners’ fans for all that time spent in the regular season earning them… one lousy game. To make matters worse this year, both home teams won the wild card games, meaning the second wild card winners didn’t even get a playoff home game!

Musically, this one was highly inspired by Strapping Young Lad, which explains both the drastic dynamic shift right at the beginning and all of the layers. There were an awful lot of tracks for a song so short… This song’s recording trick: The initial rhythm guitars didn’t have the articulation I wanted, so I tracked them again through a Roland Micro Cube. I kept the originals, so there are four tracks of rhythm guitar on this sucker.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good day and come on back next week for something totally different!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Rain Delay

Dang. Just like that the regular season is over.

I decided quite a while ago – I think even as far back as August – that the best way to end the regular season would be with an acoustic instrumental. Good way to break things up after all the distortion, right? I’ve always enjoyed the acoustic songs in the middle of metal albums, so I figured why not. Also continuing a seeming tradition, I also used an alternate tuning – Open-D, to accommodate the lap steel guitar I used as the melody instrument. I also tracked some organ, but didn’t use the video footage of that.

As for the title… it seemed appropriate after being caught in two rain delays this season – one in Batavia and one in Rochester (the Rochester game wound up being suspended). The noise buried in the background is indeed rain, recorded from an open window in my studio space.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something that starts quiet… but doesn’t stay that way!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Pennant Chase

Middle of September? Already?! Where did the time go?! Suddenly the regular season is almost over and it’s time to wrap up those playoff spots!

This song is another classic case of “new gear, new riff” – in this case, a new pedal. I went into this song thinking of making a straightforward, driving tune with a fuzz pedal. So, I got my hands on a fuzz pedal, hooked it up to my Orange amp, plugged in my seven-string, and away we went. I had originally played the main riff on a six-string, but I wanted that low B and using the seven was way easier than detuning…

For the ending, I was torn. I originally wrote a sudden ending, which was fine… but part of me wanted to fade out. After some thought, I decided to do both! I kept the sudden ending, waited around, then went back to the main riff for the fadeout. Why choose, right?

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for something completely different from anything else in this project!

Distinct Hitting Motion: The Challenge

You know what number always comes to mind when I think of baseball? SEVEN. Not nine, not three, but SEVEN. Because, you know… OK, not really. But I wanted to write in seven, so I did anyway.

The first riff came about literally trying that specific guitar in a music store. I picked that guitar up, plugged it in, and started playing that riff almost immediately. I’ve been wanting to use more complex chords in my writing and this was the perfect opportunity. Funnily enough, the song wound up being structured kind of like a march or a rag (double-binary form – ABABCDCD) and I didn’t even realize it until long after I had tracked it.

Lyrically, I was struggling for this one – in fact, this tune almost didn’t make the cut for this project because of that. But right as I was about to shelve it, an idea was hatched. Manager’s mad about a call and challenges it! And, of course, doesn’t like that the call stands and gets himself ejected. I tried a new style of harsh vocals since the low growls didn’t seem to make sense for this one.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Enjoy your day and come on back in two weeks for fun with a fuzz pedal!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Or Do You Want to See Me Sock a Few Dingers?

If you know your Simpsons trivia, you knew this tune was coming at some point.

This one took a lot of work. I had over an hour and a half of footage to sort through for this video. There were at least a few bad takes on every instrument… especially that piano part in the middle. Those drastic key shifts made that part tough. Not sure why I keep doing that to myself…

Knowing how the line was delivered, the tune had to start exactly like this – mid-tempo, major key, generally sounding happy and fun. Then, remembering the Terrifying Truth, ending with the sinister riff that opened and closed that song… transposed down again. Because let’s be honest – I’m using the 8-string and that open 8th string with full distortion is just way too fun to leave out.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a little more prog rock fun!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Sellin’ at the Deadline

Today, we enter some uncharted musical territory for me. In honor of my favorite baseball team occasionally being on pace for 100 losses this year, here’s a tune about being a “seller” at the trade deadline.

Blues rock is decidedly foreign territory for me. I’ve studied enough music to know the basics – twelve-bar phrase, sing a line, repeat it, then compliment it – but I’ve still never really dove into it as a writer. I probably wouldn’t have either until one day, bored at work… I started playing this riff. I fleshed it out a little more while I was still there, then came home and figured out how to end the song, and just kinda sat on it until the time came to write the lyrics. Finally, I’ll tell one on myself: The organ solo is one continuous take, the guitar solo is a combination of takes. I took multiple passes on both solos, the vocals, and the drums, leaving me with a lot of video footage to sift through.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song featuring a callback to a previous tune!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Break Time

We’re halfway through already? Dang… let’s take a breather and enjoy the all-star festivities.

Oh, right. A song about taking a break probably shouldn’t be that fast, should it? Oops…

I had been thinking a lot about fast and loud music lately, from Slayer to Sick of It All, and that’s how this tune came about. Loud, fast, sloppy, and brash as all hell. For all the times I’ve used harsh vocals in the past, this is strangely enough the first song in this project where I don’t actually sing. I don’t fully know where September and October will take me, but there’s a good chance this might be the only song in this project with only yelling/harsh vocals. So why this time? Simply because the tune’s punk/hardcore/metal vibe called for it.

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song in a completely different style!

Distinct Hitting Motion: Day Games

It’s no secret that I love me some good ol’ power pop. Between “I Wanna Go Outside” and “Opening Day“, I’ve made no bones about my love for simple pop songs played loudly. And, since the last tune was a weird and heavy instrumental, I thought why not just keep it simple and have some fun this time around?

Even though I am as pale as it gets and prone to sunburn, I still love the concept of going to a ballgame in the early afternoon. I’ve been to two this year (as of this post) and they were both awesome. I think it’s a combination of just kinda hanging out outside for a few hours and also having the evening free after the game that appeals. I know I missed an opportunity and didn’t wear a hat in the video, but I have a few free hats from baseball games in my collection… Incidentally, as should be no surprise, I had a LOT less footage to sort through for this song than the last one – helps when the two rhythm guitar tracks were nailed on the first take…

As always, thank you for listening! Feel free to share and let me know what you think. Have a good week and come on back in two weeks for a new song!