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Four Days in January


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Description
This suite in four parts, or four scenes, actually, was written and recorded during four consecutive days in January 2006. Some of the parts were posted earlier this week under the working title, "Never Alone." (Thanks, rik, for suggesting the title used in Part 2.) Part 1, "New Year," has not been posted previously.

Part I. New Year
Part 2. A Ball? A Journey? A Dream?
Part 3. Business Monday, New Career
Part 4. Never Alone

Total time: 6:45

Photo courtesy Belleville News-Democrat
Monday, January 2, 2006

* To read the Belleville News-Democrat article about my "new career," for laughs, click here.
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Song Stats
Hits: 5421
Comments: 36
Fans: 15
Plays: 567
Downloads: 249
Votes: 28
Uploaded: Jan 06, 2006 - 08:50:26 AM
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2006 - 09:30:25 AM Last Played: May 31, 2019 - 06:46:13 AM
Song License
Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial

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Hardware:
Casio Privia PX-300
G5
Software:
GB2
Jampack 4
Comments
Roxylee said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
musical pictures...
Music evokes such strong imaages, very personal and differen for
everyone.When I heard this, without reading any of the captions, this is
what immediately came to me:

part 1-Tthe magi traveling in the night to see the Christ child
part 2- Arrival and joy and humble gift giving....rest....
part 3-Joseph & Mary fleeing to Egypt to avoid Herod's henchmen
and Herod's terrible decree
part 4-After Herod fails and dies, peace.....peace....peace....

That's what I hear, anyway. Very moving piece, Tom! :-)
Check out my latest song called Emma, by davisamerica
Tom Atwood said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
musical pictures...
Thanks Roxylee. I like your movie. To be honest, most of these pieces were
written on the fly, without much thought given to a theme or even images.
The only one that reflects a message at all is Part 4 (Never Alone), named
after a discussion with Mystified about the 'threat' of loneliness.

Thanks again for listening and for your comments.

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Stun Nutz said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
I love these pieces...
There are some people around here whose songs are pretty much
guaranteed to be on my favorites list... you are one of them, of
course. Great article and nice photo as well...!
Check out my latest song called stagnation
Tom Atwood said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
I love these pieces...
Thanks Eric. I am glad you enjoyed these short tunes.

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White Hawks said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
Very fun to listen to
It's a beautiful pieace Tom. And nice picture:) I love all parts of this
song, each one has diffrent mood in it. thanks for sharing.

- Jemimah
Check out my latest song called Shepherds Out in the Field
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Very fun to listen to
Thanks Jem. My mom (age 84) says I look fat in that newspaper photo.

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perceptualvortex said 4919 days ago (January 6th, 2006)
That was
a nice little article. I like this orchestral style music that you're making. It seems you have a knack for percussion, and even the tonal instruments--piano and strings, for example--are sometimes played like percussion. I highly approve of this. It gives it a primal and groove oriented feel in some places, which is very pleasing and original with this instrumentation. The melodies and gentle tones work very well; I can't imagine how to approach that level of delicacy, but you do it nicely. For your next one, how about a blazing rock guitar solo monstrosity?
Check out my latest song called Mercury (RPM 6)
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
That was
A blazing rock solo guitar monstrosity? Me???

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perceptualvortex said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
That was
Well who did you think I was talking to? It may seem odd now, but I do
think that's where you're headed. Yup.

---
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Check out my latest song called Mercury (RPM 6)
rik said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Wonderful suite
I have nothing to say about the music: I love it, really, it says something.
Fine tuning of the pieces you've done in the meanwhile is rewarding.
I just regret some lack of precision in rythm (number 3), where a little
patience with the pencil would just make it perfect.
I'm glad you liked that verse...I was quoting the libretto of Strawinsky's
"Rake's Progress" (2nd time in these days). I like the idea of having spread
a citation of such a beautiful theatrical work :)

Thank you Tom, for creating and sharing this. Reminds me what is music
writing first of all.
Check out my latest song called Kind of Electric
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Wonderful suite
Thanks again, rik. I'll tell you a secret: I don't know how to use the pencil tool.
(Don't tell Alimar!)

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Nolan said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Wow
These are wonderful, Tom. As I listen for the third time, I'm looking on
eBay for Jampack 4!

Did you use loops or is that the quality of the software instruments in
Jampack 4? Because those sounds are fantastic. There are no string
sounds like that in GarageBand 1.

Awesome arrangements; not overcrowded at all. Now you just need a
movie.
Check out my latest song called And Say We're Happy
Tom Atwood said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Wow
Thanks Nolan. There are no pre-recorded loops used in these pieces,
although often my music has a looped feel. I notice that especially in Part 1.
The piano part is repeated in places, almost like a loop.

As for the sound quality of the instruments in Jampack 4, some instruments
are much better than others. That's why I find myself using the same
"orchestration" over and over. Some of the 'good' instruments: tuba, clarinet,
marimba, english horn, Steinway piano, pizzicato cello section. Some of the
'bad?' - alto sax, trumpet, oboe, and many of the string sections sound very
synthetic. But, all in all, these instruments are much better than GB 2.

Glad you stopped by.

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Nolan said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Wow
Thanks for the reply, Tom. I guess there had to be some bad ones amongst
JP4, but the ones you've used are really nice. Makes me want to go and buy
the thing now. I won't be producing anything like this of course, but it'd be
nice to have them to slot into the background of some of my songs. Cool.
Check out my latest song called And Say We're Happy
Mcboy said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
doth music
patheth thru thine viens and arteries and floweth outward to the
universe.........aye!........newspaper guy...yeah right....u r the incarnation of
the spirit of mozart or one of them prolific types......posing as a
newspaper guy......this music on this suite is gorgeous and chilled and
truly a gift for the new year.......many thanks!
Check out my latest song called Bluesphemy (MJRF 2010)
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
doth music
Thanks Mcboy, to you and your staff and management. Always glad to add
some chairs and make room for your people to listen.

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composerclark said 4919 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Clean and Sparse
Tom, this is wonderfully clean and sparse. No unessential notes, which is
something I love. The pieces paint four distinct and vivid pictures. Is this
for an actual film, or does someone now have to go make a film that
follows this music? :-)

High quality stuff!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Clean and Sparse
Thanks Clark. A soundtrack without a film. Oh well.

This was really kind of an exercise, anyway. I remembered that iSpike once
wrote and recorded 6 songs in 24 hours (a couple of which are posted on his
page), and thought I would try to write 4 in 4 days. I am not as ambitious as
iSpike.

Thanks again for listening and for your comments.

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Cameron said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
colorful
Part I: Very adroit use of marimbas and percussion; they provide a consistent underpinning to this movement. I like the offset dissonances in the marimbas.

The punctuated, repeated piano notes add vitality in both rhythm and harmony (vertical), while the clarinet line offers an effective horizontal counterpoint.

The middle eastern-sounding minor section is very interesting with the strings and oboe, coming somewhat as a surprise. This could be a piece in its own right. It didn't quite fit the other material in this movement, to my ears anyway. The orchestration was very rich and full, but it seemed to come out of nowhere and didn't add to the effectiveness of the other musical material presented in this movement.

Part II: The opening piano figure is slightly out-of-synch, but is spot-on the rest of the time.

Pleasant atmosphere is created by the punctuated piano with sustained, ethereal strings above. Again, nice juxaposition of vertical and horizontal.

The percussion towards the end was an interesting spice and could be brought out more in the mix.

Part III: Nice writing here; a variety of rhythms and textures. This movement reminded me of the Broadway show "How to Succeed in Business". You captured that "busy", "entrepreneurial" feel perfectly.

Part IV: Pleasant, floaty atmosphere. The electric piano and strings create a meditative texture. Personally I did not think that this movement fit in with the others, which share a common thread with the marimbas. Those first three movements truly do fit together, while this one is a different "coda".

Perhaps if Parts III and IV were switched, this would help not only create even more continuity in the suite, tying together the beginning and end -- but it would also help integrate the electric piano movement more effectively into the piece.

Having this slow movement in the middle of the suite would mean that the collection would end on a more upbeat, energetic note of the current Part III. Of course, this is only my "slant" on things, and not the composer's intention. (Only another option you might consider.)

I think that this music could be even more effective as part of a live theatre production rather than a soundtrack.

This is innovative, catchy music which is not only pleasing to the ear, but is substantial "musical food" for the soul.
Check out my latest song called Trio for Horn, Violin & Piano
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
colorful
Thanks, Cameron, for those extremely thoughtful observations and
suggestions. In fact, it is possible you put more thought into your comments
than I did into the structure of these pieces. I tend to fly by the seat of my
pants. But keep advising me -- maybe someday wisdom will reach me
through osmosis!

Specifically, I think you are right about the 'middle eastern-sounding minor
section' coming out of nowhere. I sometimes wonder where these things
come from? I joked with Cat that it was not middle eastern, but actually
Midwestern.

The percussion at the end of Part 2 seemed perfect in my headphones, but I
agree with you now that it is somewhat buried in the mix.

As for the order of the movements, see next reply...

Thanks again, Cam. As you know, I always look forward to your comments.

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kristyjo said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Very nice themes
After hearing your holiday offerings, I was pleasantly surprised by the
percussive, busy sounds in this piece. Each piece stood well on its own,
but as a group, I would have liked to hear the fourth and second pieces
switched, building more of a traditional arc for the suite. (Just my
personal prefs.) The first piece, in particular, could stand on its own as a
news program theme, with just enough melodic material to carry it
through without feeling like you're missing something. Production was
very nice - instruments were separated, yet cohesive, melodic lines were
obvious without crashing through everything else. Now, it's off to read
that newspaper article.
Check out my latest song called How Far Is It to Bethlehem
Tom Atwood said 4918 days ago (January 7th, 2006)
Very nice themes
Thanks kristyjo. I think you and I have had discussions about previous 'suites'
of mine, and whether they are suites or not? If they hold together? I guess I
did refer to this as a suite in the song description, but it really is more of a
collection of 'musical scenes' held together mainly by the short time-frame
during which they were written.

It is very interesting to me to hear suggestions about the order, because I
went back and forth on that as I put this final compilation together.

You suggest ending with Part 2.
Cameron suggests ending with Part 3.
Originally I intended to end with Part 1.
But it ends with Part 4.

How many mathematical possibilities are there for a sequence? Anyone?

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cbsongman said 4917 days ago (January 8th, 2006)
tres cool
I love it, is that a kalimba I hear?...one of my favorite instruments......this
is cool stuff, well arranged and captivating too...
Tom Atwood said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
tres cool
Welcome to MacJams, cbsongman. I think what you heard is probably the
marimba(s). Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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jgurner said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Four days worth reliving over and over again
You've shown once again that you are a master of painting pictures and
evoking feelings through well thought-out, well structured musical
expression. My first time listening to this, I thought it was too short, I
wanted more, but on subsiquent listens I realized like any journalist
worth his salt, you summed up what needed to be said in as effective a
way as possible.

I love the percussive use of the piano and mallets in the first
movement, along with the subtle, almost middle eastern influence
sound that comes throught at times. The melody of the second
movement is beautiful. Makes me envision the frozen beauty of a
snow-covered winter's day. The third movement, intense, brief,
frenetic, you definitely need the beautifully relaxing, subtle climax of
the fourth movement afterward.

I enjoyed this piece very much, Tom. It made for a pleasant experience
on a warm winter's day in January.

On a side note, the article was pretty cool. Glad to see you, MJ and Lost
Records getting some good press. I will say, though, in my reporting
career, I always found interviewing other journalists or being
interviewd by another journalist a very awkward experience. It always
seemed like each was analysing the other during the process thinking
"I would have done this or that differently." :)
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Tom Atwood said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Four days worth reliving over and over again
Thanks Joseph. I appreciate the kind words about this piece, and you are right
about being interviewed by a fellow reporter - very awkward. I resisted the
temptation to say, "You might want to include this..." And while I wish he
would have included the link to Lost Records (see signature below), if I was
doing the story, I would have left it out too. Too much of an ad if you include
a link to purchase.

Thanks again!


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FEEL said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Very pleasant
My working environment was especially relaxed. I could carry on with my deligated duties in a fashionable way. Thanks for in lighting my computer experience today. I'm no expert when it comes to this kind of music but it was pleasing to my ears. Jampack 4 has some fine sounding instruments and you have used this to your advantage. Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
John
Check out my latest song called A Second Life with Scott Carmicheal
Tom Atwood said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Very pleasant
Glad you enjoyed this John. Thanks for stopping by.

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tinkle said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Goodness
What a wonderful offering. It is kind of what I am striving to do with GB
2 and some other software and now I know I need jampack 4. The
moods of the different pieces are so varied, and yet, taken as a whole,
are quite good together. I am not fully proficient, but this really
inspires me. Not at all the same, but really, some strange analogies to
Vivaldi's Four Seasons; I know, a stretch, but these moods really fit
together for me (four days in January, and four seasons...but mostly
how different pieces done in slightly similar mode, fit together as a
whole). Don't want to make you answer a post, but since I am new, is
this all software or are there some recorded components from you?
Guessing (hoping?) it is all software, but it is really wonderful. Again,
kudos on a nice offering...I'm next, I hope!
Tom Atwood said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
Goodness
First of all, welcome to MacJams, tinkle. And thanks for those generous
comments and comparisons. Everything in this piece is from Jampack 4:
Symphony Orchestra. All parts were played on a Casio Privia PX-300
keyboard. There are no pre-recorded loops, but some parts are played over
and over giving it a looped feel. Jampack 4 is not perfect, but for the price I
think it is pretty good. Good luck with it!

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tinkle said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
And Now,
I read that you are in the Belleville/Edwardsville area near...found a cat
near there on a conference and she (St. Looee) lives with us in DC...I
worked for Governors Thompson and Edgar before moving to DC...and
starting up with GB 2. You've inspired me to follow your lead...
Tom Atwood said 4916 days ago (January 9th, 2006)
And Now,
When you say you worked for Thompson and Edgar, what do you mean? I
covered Thompson (as a reporter) from 1979-1984, and I have a friend who
was Edgar's press secretary. When were you in Springfield? Did you know
Skilbeck? Mosgers? Fields? Gilbert? Mack?

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Keitaro333 said 4913 days ago (January 12th, 2006)
good stuff
The first part has very middle eastern feel and i like the arrangement very much, kinda unusual sound i'd say. Those marimba hits sound awfully familiar but honestly i cant remember where i heard them.
Second part, calm piano playing and clarinet... nice expression on the piano, gets a little repetitive though but its not too long so its cool.
Third part... i dunno if its just me but that umm. what is it, a horn?, sounds false, not in the same key.
Fourth part, very calming and soft would be surely suitable as a background music, nothing too interesting on itself.
Overally pretty nice, i like the first par the most.
Doadars Uncle said 4912 days ago (January 13th, 2006)
Nice slice
of a moment.

Travelling themes. Thoughtful feeling.
Check out my latest song called Don't Leave (remix)
Mystified said 4908 days ago (January 17th, 2006)
Camels and Bazaars?
There is an amazing diversity in this work, and yet it all works together
very well.

As others have noted, I can also see this as a cinematic piece, with
brilliant colors and sand dunes as a backdrop.

From the first section, that invokes images of camels parading across a
desert landscape, to the busy clatter of marimbas in Part 3 that very
much sounds like a chase in a market bazaar, to the serene final
passages that swirl in a rich wash of tonal colors, very much like a
soothing sunset.

Wonderful music :)

Check out my latest song called Elevated--Miss Chaos/Mystified vox
maxruehl said 4799 days ago (May 6th, 2006)
Very Nice
I like this very much. I could easily see this as the score to a decent TV
movie. Style is somewhat jazzy--reminds me a bit of a composer I like
very much named Jeff Beal. Thanks for sharing it--I'll have to check out
your other stuff.:)
Check out my latest song called Shaolin Munk Funk (w/ musichead & awigze)
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I guess I could be a 'poster child' for MacJams. I joined the site on New Year's Eve 2004, after several years of not making much music at all. A long dry spell. Since then, I have posted more than 50 songs here, collaborated with some wonderful arti... [see more]

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